MIXING & AUTOMATION IN ABLETON LIVE: Bring Your Tracks To Life With Dynamics & Effects | Kia Orion | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

MIXING & AUTOMATION IN ABLETON LIVE: Bring Your Tracks To Life With Dynamics & Effects

teacher avatar Kia Orion, Artist & Music Producer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Intro To Automation

    • 2. Welcome To Class!

    • 3. Course Project

    • 4. Automation Course Overview

    • 5. Automation For Arrangement

    • 6. Creating Dynamic Transitions

    • 7. Writing Unique Automation Patterns

    • 8. Tying It All Together

    • 9. What's Next?

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Do you listen to your tracks and feel like something’s missing?

It is. 

Every song tells a story. 

If you aren’t in control of your dynamics you’re leaving a lot of that story untold.

Automation gives you the power to manipulate audio in a way you didn’t know was possible.

Or maybe you did, but you’ve been using simple automation lines going up and down on a straight slope.

There are many more ways to get creative with automation shapes: square or saw waves, lines with curves, and even drawing in your own. 

Automation gives you the freedom of more fine-tuned creativity that can be unleashed by using shorter shapes.

And I show you exactly how to make that work.

It took me years of trial-and-error, wasting time trying to learn concepts I thought I needed before I finally figured out how to automate in an easy and effective way.

What’s the answer?

Beat School.

Beat School is an online academy that teaches the foundational elements of music production in a simple and effective way. 

This course on automating effects is part of the beginner series designed to help students gain an understanding of music production and mixing with a step-by-step approach. 

In this course, my goal is simple:

I am here to teach you how to automate effects, create unique patterns, and easily make more dynamic music.

In this course I won’t overwhelm you with fancy software or advanced techniques.

You’ll learn exactly what you need to start implementing these ideas as fast as possible. 

In doing so, I have built what I believe is the most effective way to automate your effects.

My courses are effective, impactful, and include extra resources to help you level up.

That being said, your progress is completely up to you. I can’t do the work for you. 

But I CAN lessen the learning curve, provide an easy to follow blueprint, and shave years off your path to mastery.

I hope to empower you with the knowledge, practice, and resources you need to realize that this isn’t rocket science. 

You can do this. If you are willing to invest in yourself and commit to learning a few hours a week, I have no doubt you’ll be able to achieve your dreams in music.

You ready to rock?

Download the stems, set aside a few hours for dedicated learning, and let’s make some magic.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kia Orion

Artist & Music Producer


Ay! I'm Kia. 

I'm an artist and educator who believes life wouldn't be the same without music.

Or tacos.

I realized that I was equally as passionate about teaching music as I was making it.

In 2016 I founded Beat School, an online platform and series of educational programs to help aspiring artists and producers learn how to make beats, accelerate their growth, and stay inspired. 

I'm originally from New York but these days you'll find me traveling around the world writing songs or playing beats on a rooftop somewhere.

I appreciate you stopping by, and if you'd like to get in touch you can DM me or shoot me an email at [email protected] 

Life is too short not to do what you lov... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro To Automation: Yeah. I heard you were looking for some more information. You were turning knobs which went on the way. One I'm a teach you the basics. Ai show you How was dunking Booth? Way out on the face. Now, when you take the song when you take a check in turn girl, I'm gonna show you how to automate effects How to take in this dimension. Turn them right into the left. How to do it? Why? To do it. You no longer got a guest house. Let him know. Signal transitions? No, we do it different. But now it's so official. The way of breaking down. It's like campaigning you a picture. So go on, get stems Just me. You don't want to miss it Learn and everything controlled And all the failures in Mexico teach you everything you need to get started Automating your effects but you don't learn from watching. We learned from doing to download the stems Follow along on I walk you through the basics of automation How to use it for arrangement Making tracks more interesting and transitions this course for beginners. Students interested in making tracks dynamic. Are you ready to level? Let's get it 2. Welcome To Class!: Welcome to your new course. My name is Keio Line, and I will be your instructor for this class. I am the man who is obsessed with making don't music and teaching you how to make your own . I've been making music, producing, writing, wrapping, recording sing for over 10 plus years. And I start in the music industry at Island Def Jam is an intern and then decided the music industry was not the place for me and decided to pursue an independent career in music. Since then, I've done tons of trial and air. I've learned over the templates years of top music production workshops in person and now have taken these courses online. I've taught hundreds of students, and in this course I hope to break down for you automation, the basics of automation, what it is, how to do it and why it matters. In this course, you're gonna learn three pivotal things. How to manipulate sounds, how to add effects, an interesting automation patterns. There will also be a course project with this class, and they'll be downloadable files along the way. So that way you can jump in, get practice with hands on experience I hope that that sounds fun. If you're ready to rock and roll, learn about automation. How you can breathe these dynamic elements in your own tracks. Grab your beverage of choice. Follow along. Let's get 3. Course Project: if you've taken any of my classes before, you know that I'm a huge advocate for practice. That is true learning. You don't learn that. So you just getting the information. The key is to take these concepts that I'm gonna teach you and then implement them and put them into practice. So with all my courses, I make sure that I include the stems and downloadable files for you. So that way you can take them and follow along with me as I walk you through this process step by step. If you're in the premium version of the course, don't worry about it. The downloads will be for you in the next module. If you're in one of the more entry level versions of this course, you can find all of the downloadable stems. And resource is in the bonus lecture or resource is file and lecture that you'll be able to find below attached with this course. So for the course project, where I want you to do is the download. These stems follow along with me and see if you can add these different elements and automate your own track. I would love to hear what you come up with that? You neither post that track below or feel free to send that to me any time. I'm always willing to hear students projects and give you feedback on them. I know that learning doesn't happen in a vacuum. I try to make these courses as hands on as interactive, fun and enjoyable as possible. I've taken music production course myself. I know that they can be dry, and it could be hard to follow along as a lot of information packed into a short amount of time. And I think if you have these stems that you could actually go in there and make these changes and tweaks yourself, it will really help solidify some of these concepts for you, so please give these a shot. I'm not joking. Download these stems. Do the course project give it a shot yourself and then posted below or send in my way. I would love to hear it. Thank you. And if you're ready to rock and roll, it's showtime. Let's learn about automation 4. Automation Course Overview: and this course, you're gonna learn all the aspects of automation that you've been too afraid to ask. If you've heard people talking about adding effects, different things that sound fancy, it really isn't. If you think about attract fading in and fading out, that's automation. However, one interesting element about automation that we can now do with the digital audio workstations is get very granular. And there are a couple elements that I believe why it's important. And this isn't going to cover all of the different elements of automation that you can do. In this course. We're just gonna cover automating effects. I will have other courses on more advanced topics, like automating synthesis, eventually down the line. But for now, I'm going to talk to you about kind of the three big things that I used automation for. When it comes to my own production, the first pillar of automation I like to use it for is for arrangement. This means you can turn effects on or turn effects off or change volumes of different parts . Your track toe. One make it more dynamic, but then you also have similar elements in attracts. A. Maybe you have a base or your main melody or vocals or something along those lines and using automation, you can turn filters or phasers or delays re verbs, things like that on and off simply so that it makes you can turn a 18 bar loop, a simple arrangement into something much more complex, using very simple automation techniques. And I'll show you how to do this in the track that I created for this course. But you can also download and practice along with me. Another element for automation that I find incredibly helpful that I'm gonna teach you is how to use automation to create transitions. So if you have an intro and a pre hook in a hook and then a verse, a second party reverse in court, all of these different elements, you can use things like risers and impacts to signify transitions. You can also use automation to do this in a way that is creative and unique, So I will show you how I often create transitions by either using filter envelopes by modulating filters by automating different, like reverb and delays, uncertain drum parts and different voices within the track. So that way you can create transitions within your track that are unique to that one transition. So it might not necessarily be something that is a super intense hook that you're dropping into, but you might want a signal to the listener in one way or another, transitioning that a transition is about to take place. I love using automation to transition between different elements and parts of my track without having to create or play new instruments and different transitions into the track. I just get in there, and I technically automated The third way that I like to use automation in my tracks is located a little bit of swag, and that's that's the swag sauce that's my secret sauce. When it comes to dynamic tracks is automation, So this might mean you take high ATS. There's something I'll show you in the course is how to take high hats and slowly paying them from one year to the next, or how to create certain effects if it's a tape delay, either a delay that you wanna have reverb only on one part of your track or if you want to maybe create a phaser and record in effects for certain melodies. Or maybe you have a sample and you want to do some sort of a unique blend that you can use a filter in and out that you might not be able to do just from turning an effect on and off . So this way, what automation allows you to do is go in, get very specific and granular and kind of create these unique patterns and sounds, which I'll teach you how to do in the course at the end of the day. Well, automation allows you to do Is it saves you time. It allows you to make adjustments with the exact timing precision and that lets you create unique effects. These can be things that you play in or envelopes that already come loaded into the program , which I'll show you how to dio. So if you're ready to learn those things, automation basics. When it comes to automation, how to automate effects to create better arrangements, transitions and add some secret swag sauce to your tracks, you're in the right place 5. Automation For Arrangement: they are welcome to your course in automation. And in this part, of course, I'm going to show you how to use automation for arrangement. This is a little loop that I created. And for every course that I make, I create a beat in an original song for everyone. This is the song that I created for this course, and I'm going to show you how I'm going to build out this track for the course and also show you in doing so the different taking saves for automation. So this is a little bit meta, but I hope that you dig it. So this is the beginning of the course. It starts with these 1st 8 bars. And what I want to show you in this part of the course is how to use automation to create different parts of arrangement without having to create new effects or play in new parts of the melody. And so what I've done here and what I want to show you is how have used the filter toe automate these two different sections using the same base using the same eight await So in this part of the song, since it's the intro part of the song I have the order filter turned on because it's the intro part of the course and this are are seeing is the central part of the song in this part is you can tell when I move it over the odor filter turns off because I want this base to be in your face. I want that distortion. I want this really kicking. And so the way that you can automate and use automation using filters for arrangement is pretty simple. And what automation will allow you to do is tell the track until the program where you want the effect to turn on and off. And so this is how I use it for an arrangement. Purpose. So what I did was I click this little automation, but it's gonna be different in every Daw in the logic, I think it's up here. It's like these two little yellow dots. But no matter where you are, what dog it will show up like this with a line that you can use and enabled in over here, every single track will show up. I'll tell you what the devices that you're gonna be automating And then I'll tell you what the part of the devices that you'll be automating and so I want. I'll come in here. He's the different things that I can do going to use my auto filter because that's what I want. And these are all that. Everything is that you can automate when it comes to your filter. But I've already sent the filter to where I wanted it, and I'm going to be turning on and off the device, so I'll be telling the program. This is where I want the device to be turned on. This is, I want the device to be turned off and you can do this a couple different ways. So an easy way that you can do it is let's actually delete. All this automation is that you can put in these little automation points, and I'll say This is where I want the device to be on, and everything after this will be on or off, depending what you want and then see how that little line highlights. You can drag that off or on, and because I only have one automation point here, it will drag the entire well. It'll drag the entire track often on. So you come in here, you make sure that you have to automation points so that you can control the two different parts of the bar. And so I'm gonna come in here. I'm gonna add one other piece of automation point here. And also, I wanted to change what's gonna add one at the beginning. And by doing so, it will allow me to just change this part of the track. So one way that I can do this is I can either drag just this part of the the automation point down. Or but I can do is I'll take this pencil and I'll just draw it off so you can get really intricate with ease. There are a couple of ways to draw on automation. You can draw it in with this pencil. You can drag and drop these automation points. Excuse me, click and drag his automation points. Or you can highlight the different parts of the track that you want and let me get rid of this one. And then with this, if you right click and able to, then you have these different shapes that you can draw in is over this one. Ah, I wanted to. You can, like, add this shape and it'll add this cool stuff. But for me, it's just easier for this because this isn't a super complex automation. I'm starting seven with you guys. It's just often on that. I'm keeping this very simple. And so when I play this, it's off that since I want to have this on, I'll turn this part on so turned on there and then I'll turn this part off, and so I'll play this back. And then in this part of the track, appear water filter comes off. And so we're doing this. You can show different parts. Your arrangement. They make it really easy to turn on and off filters when you want to have certain effects. Onley in certain parts, your track. And so in this part of the track as well. I want to have this snare filtered because this snare, when the filters off it feel it doesn't feel like it fits this part of the track For me that's near to me. It's a little bit too abrasive, and I want this near to pop more when it drops into the hook, so I'll do the same thing with a filter here, and I'm gonna turn the filter off just by clicking it off. And so if you watch that red line, it clicks on and off. And then I use my pencil again to draw in just where I wanted on. And then when it drops into here again, it comes out. So that way, automating makes it really easy to keep the same instruments for your arrangement. But then just filtering. Excuse me. Adding a filter of certain things like that that I want to show you in a second can add a lot of character to your track as well. 6. Creating Dynamic Transitions: when it comes to the arrangement. Another way the automation come in super helpful is for transitions to signify when a transition is happening. So you will have probably heard this a zillion times, but may not have realized that this was part of an automation technique. But when it comes to filters, I love using filters both for the use arrangement but then for transitions. And the reason that this unpacking this as the second part of foundational lesson is that it's a little bit more complicated than simply an often and on, although show you that here in a second is that this is when you can get more intricate with the actual different elements of something like a filter a phaser. And it can add some more character in your track to let the people know that the transition is happening. So what I'm going to do here is I know that in this part of the track, I'm coming up on about to drop into the hook on, so one way that we can do that is with these risers and things of that nature. But if you want to do this automation, you can add in multiple automation elements for a device. So I've already told this device auto filter that I want the device on right here. But I'm going to come in here now, come to a parameter and go to frequency. And what I want the frequency to do is as I get closer to the hook, I want the frequency to slowly increase. And so for this, I'm not gonna use the pencil because I want it to be a little bit more precise and you can use a couple different ways you can record it in, and then just use the actual envelope that you want to change, which I'll show you about here in a second. But this way that I want to show you is by using automation points to simply indicate what you want to happen. And so what I'm gonna do here is I'm telling it that I want to start here. I wanted to start increasing the frequency, or what we could dio is. You could also decrease the frequency which could be cool. That's so right here. It might just take some experimenting. I have a couple of different ideas. I want to try out. So let's try this. And so I'm pushing this. I wanted by the time it comes through, I wanted to be back to where there isn't much filter and going on. So we can we'll watch it now here. And so that's one way that you can draw it in, which is cool. And one way that you can kind of let people know that transitioning is happening in your track because this starts to get filtered out in another way. That I like to use. This is triggering certain events at certain times. So in this regard, I like to use this a lot for drums because I don't necessarily want, um, I don't necessarily want this thing this snare to have a reverb on all the time, but I think it could be cool. And this is one of my favorite transition techniques with automation is to have this last snare have a ton of reverb on it and that this is really something that you have to do with automation. And so, without doing here, is I come in. You know what? My device on I'm coming in here. So right now, the device is all on the red lines on on I'm going to turn the device off. And then again, I'm gonna come into my pencil. And when it till I just wanted on for this snare and I want the reverb trail that kind of keep playing here. So the reason I'm putting it on over here is because if I solo this and I only have it on right here with the snare, then I'll lose the reverb trail. I'll tell you what, I'll show you what I mean. But if I want that snare to really kind of play out, I need to leave this on up until the rest of the snare are up. Excuse me. Up until the rest of the transition and what I might do as well is the same thing that I did before with the auto filter for the melody and turn this auto filter the frequency up for these different snares as the transition happens so I might take this filter. Oh, cool. So I actually might leave it just I realize what I might do is I might just again turn it on for this snare right now. A lot of this comes down to experimenting. Actually, what? This instead of having to draw this in? Since I don't want something, I'm not like having it be this gradual climb. I I'll just turn the auto filter off for this last year and see how that sounds cool. I like that. And another thing that you can do is since you can automate everything and I really want this sneer to snap or stand out, I might also add in another effect here, like a delay or something, just to kind of give it some more. Just kind of Ah, little bit more impact. Oh, I like that. And so again, this simply can take as much time gets fancy with it as you want of my delay. It is going to be simple on and off feature where I just have the device on for this last snare. And then obviously I let the tail and there as well. So that's how that bar sounds pretty straightforward but adds a lot of character and really allows interesting transition effects that you can automate and literalist or know that a change is coming out pretty easily with automation as well 7. Writing Unique Automation Patterns: all right, so saving the best for last When it comes to automating certain parts of effects, I want to show you how you can add spice and flair to your tracks, where you can take simple loops but make them more interesting. And for every original song that I make for these courses and original beat that I make, there's a kind of I have a different kind of system for the way I like the tracks to flow. But since I also have it as a promo and an intro, I like there to be a part of the track where things calm down a bit so that I can tell you about the course when I make the video for the course, there's apart where I want to be able to let you know, like what's in the course, what you can expect to its for all that sort of stuff. And so I need the beat to calm down a bit and in for this course in particular, I'm going to do a couple things that make it interesting. The song interesting, but that is there's not so much going on that it's distracting when I'm trying to do a voice over. And so what I'm going to do is take this kind of, uh, main after this main hook section, I'm gonna come and copy our intro part that we had Poppy this over here. And I like to have a voice over for maybe eight bars somewhere in there. We'll do that just to be safe. And so all that that copied over was my main melody and eight awaits. And when you when you copy like that enable to the least it will also copy your automation , so it'll come back. So it'll have are same changes with the auto filter device on etcetera, etcetera. But there are few things that I want to do here. Ah, one of them is. And let's see how this sounds without the aid of weight. Um, one of my favorite techniques when it comes to automation is panning. If you've taken any of my other courses, you know how big of a fan I am of panning. And that's one of my favorite things to do when it comes to adding some flare and creativity to your tracks. So this is a high hat loop that I want to have for this part of the track. And what I'll probably do is because will be voiceover and I might not want Oh, I mean, I wanted to stick out quite so much when I'm trying to talk over it, I'll add again at a filter to it, and I'll automate that filter on. I said, I just want this right here. And then another thing that I'm going to dio when it comes to automation to make it interesting is panning. I'm gonna go to mixer. You can automate track volume all of these different things, but track panting and one of my favorite things to do, especially with high hats, because I love kind of doing just weird stuff of my hats to make it. Ah, different is I'm going toe under the pencil and right now I have them paying, you know, 16 to the right, and I'm going to add these automation points. So about halfway through and then one of the end and I'm gonna have these come down 45 left and this again might come to experimenting, and I might have these paying from the left or the right here And so this one. You've got to be careful because if I push this all the way up, this means in the rest of the track will be at 50 right, which I don't want. So I had this information here. Automation point. Let's see how that sounds. So you can see it's kind of keeping it interesting. So it starts all the way left and then goes all the way to the right. And that's on my favorite ways that you can kind of experiment with it. And maybe you. What I might want to do is, um, come in here. And if I right click, I get all these different options I might want it to. So that's what kind of a cool one that you can let's see if you can. I was grabbing this. You know what I might Dio is? Delete that and have it be more pronounced because why not? So let's try this at this point here, bring this down, bring us up and see how this sounds. Keeps a little bit more. There's a little bit more emotion going on there, so I like that. I think I might keep it like that. And another thing that I'm going to dio is to make things interesting. And I wanted to show you what it's like when you can actually record things in live is to add something to this melody part of the track. So let's come in here. And this is one of my favorite things to do as well Have a couple go twos. Obviously, uh, where's my phaser? I really like phasers. Even though they can be overdone. Uh, e I think that sounds dope. And so what I'm gonna show you how to do here is how to record things in how to record in automation effects live instead of having to pencil the main or collect them in. So I'll come to this part of the melody and record it and then drag this in. Obviously, this is something you could have just penciled in there. But if you want to do something maybe a little bit more dramatic, let's try something else. And so you can get super creative with this type of stuff, and then it will follow along. What of the automation point is? And so one thing that you can do that you might hear often in tracks as well is. So let's say we delete that for a second. Ah, is this kind of effect? People do this a lot with filters, so let's say we start up here and we're gonna let's record this in. So if you hear that sort of effect, that's often from a filter, so you can get super creative with this type of stuff. I highly recommend toying around with different source of envelopes and filters and panning and different things just so. That way you can have different arrangements, so again it makes it super easy. I don't have to play in new eight awaits. Er can just kind of a filter on it. Automate that often on you can also have your transitions. Makes it a lot easier just to have certain things. You have to have this reverb on the entire time with snare the delay, whatever. And then you can just add a bit of spice, a bit of flair to your tracks and have things like your high hats, panning and just different filters. Whatever going on, the key is to, uh, just have fun with it, because you can spend all day on your automation, and then when you actually try toe vocals on it realize maybe you're doing too much. But I hope that that is helpful and kind of gives you a bit of a crash course on automation in all the abilities that you can do once you have it mastered. 8. Tying It All Together: so to tie this whole thing together, I want to make a few key points on why automation is important and a couple takeaways for you moving forward. So remember, one of the big key takeaways when it comes to automation is that it can save time and give you very precise control over effects. However, now that you have this secret sauce and you have the ability to add automation, what a lot of beginners mistakes that I see that they make is that they want to do it too much. And you can make tracks overly busy very quickly, which, if you're making veto a vocalist can be very distracting. So if you having high hats paying around, having phasers come in and out, you're adding reverb all at the same time. It's too much. So now that you know how to use automation to use it sparingly under effects and use it for arrangement purposes for transitions. Or if you have a certain party attract that you want to make especially dynamic at that secret sauce, feel free to do so. But try not to get too carried away in doing so, because you definitely can take this overboard very quickly. Another thing I want to recommend or if they're certain effects, that you're curious if they would make good things to automate. If you aren't sure where to start, you weren't sure exactly sure what to automate. These are things that I recommend riv, herbs, filters, tape stops, delays and volume or panning the's air all great things to automate these happen all the time. Zin tracks. You might not even realize it now until you start jumping into your own tracks and adding them. But I think there's a great place to start just to add some flair and breathe a little bit of life into your own tracks. 9. What's Next?: that is basic effect. Automation. In a nutshell. I hope that you were able to get some things from this A learn a thing or two. I hope that you were in there with the stems tweaking the knobs, turning things here and there. The learning again happens from practice. This isn't gonna happen overnight. Might take a little while to get used to what? It's actually to automate things, but once you do, you can't go back. There are zillion things to automate when it comes to synthesis. More advanced concepts. But for this course, I want to keep it basic. Just with some simple effects in your mixer. How you can really create interesting effects pretty easily in your doll, if you would like more. Resource is, you know I'm all about helping you level up. I have a built in templates. I have sample packs. I have free courses I have. What else do I have? A free plug ins? I have templates. I have sound packs. I have resource guys, all at producer downloads dot com. If you want some simple freebies. Producer downloads dot com I created to help you take your game to the next level. If you want to follow up with me personally, you know you can always find me. I'm at Keio Ryan everywhere on the Internet. I'm easy due to get a hold up. If you enjoy the course, please leave a review. If you didn't as well, please leave a review or reject me personally. Let me know what I can do Better what I can do to improve. I'm here for you always want to make these courses better. So if you need some freebies you wanna upgrade producer downloads? If you want feedback on the tracks, you know where to find me. Give that of course. Project to shot turned some knobs. Adam Automation. And please post it below Or send it to me if you were able to get something with that. Thank you again for tuning in, as always. Means more than you know Keep making dope beats. I'll see you at the top. Peace