Thank you for checking out Channel Strip! In this manual you’ll find everything you need to better understand what’s inside Channel Strip and how to use everything effectively.
Channel Strip can save you a lot of time in the creative process. Instead of adding all of the included effects and having to configure all parameters manually each time, Channel Strip already has all the essential tools set up for quick access.
To start using Channel Strip, place the unzipped .adg file in your user library, or in one of your custom folders in Live’s Browser. From here, drag Channel Strip on any desired channel. To speed up your workflow, it is recommended to place Channel Strip on both a MIDI and an Audio channel, and save both as default channels. To do this, right click on the title bar of the channel, and select “Save as Default Audio/MIDI Track”. Make sure that Channel Strip is on the end of the signal chain, so always place any other audio effects before / left of Channel Strip.
The additional “Cytomic The Drop” adg file is the same Channel Strip, but replaces Ableton’s Auto Filters with Cytomic’s The Drop. If you don’t own this plug-in, use the standard Channel Strip.
The first device the audio signal passes through is the Sidechain Compressor, which is passive by default. To activate it, select a sidechain signal and bring down the Threshold. Additionally, change the Release so that the ducking fits to the groove of the track.
The EQ is also enabled by default, in case the input signal contains more frequencies than desired. For example: the main drums of your song are coming from an (audio) drum loop containing both kicks and snares. The audio will be ducked whenever a peak enters the sidechain, and most of the time it is desired to only let the ducking happen when the kick is playing. In this case, bring down the Cutoff Frequency in the EQ, so that the ducking only happens when low frequencies are playing.
The Sidechain Compressor, showing it only responds to low frequencies from a drum loop.
Controls is an Audio Effect Rack with one single Chain inside. On this Chain are a Utility effect and two Auto Filters. All the essential parameters are mapped to Controls’ eight Macro knobs.
What happens inside
Opening the Chain List will reveal that the Controls Audio Effect Rack contains only one audio Chain, called the Main feed. The volume and panning parameters of this Chain are mapped to their respective Macros. This Chain serves as a substitute for the Main Mixer’s volume and panning controls so you can keep them free of automation, which is more convenient for the final mixing process.
Chain List opened with Main feed visible.
Aside from serving as a substitute, the Chain also houses three effects. First off is a Utility effect, of which the M/S Balance knob is mapped to the Mono Stereo Macro. Gain is mapped to the Gain Stager Macro. Finally there’s the two filters, of which the Freq and Res knobs have all been mapped to their respective Macros.
Notice that when leaving the HP Freq and LP Freq Macros untouched, both Auto Filters are actually deactivated. This is done to make sure the Auto Filters do not alter the audio signal in any way. Other than linear phase EQ’s, any High-Pass filter generally causes phase delay, altering the sound on the low end. This is avoided by turning the filter off when it’s left unused.
While the HP Freq and LP Freq Macros are untouched, both Auto Filters are deactivated.
As soon as the HP Freq and LF Freq Macros are moved, the Auto Filters are activated.
The map window shows all of the parameters that are assigned to the Macros. The most interesting parts here are the Device On functions for HP Freq and LP Freq. As soon as you turn the HP Freq Macro and its value hits 1 (out of 127), the Auto Filter is switched on as the Cutoff Frequency starts on the left end of the frequency spectrum. For the LP Freq Macro its value has to hit 126 as the Cutoff Frequency starts on the right end of the frequency spectrum.
The Map Window of the Controls Macros.