I've been trying all sorts of routes but I can't get the app to work the way I want and at this point I'm wondering if this is even possible.


  • Ableton Live 10
  • Focusrite 6i6
  • BiasFX guitar effects on x2 audio tracks (clean and distorted)

When live looping I would like to hear the distorted guitar sound from BiasFX into my headphones, before recording it to an audio track. This will allow me to get into the groove and experiment a little bit "in my head" before recording the clip with my idea.

When I'm done with the first track I would switch to the next track (with a different effect). I would hear that effect through my headphones, jam a little bit without the audience listening to my jam and then when I'm ready I would record my idea. Obviously, when I play the clips I want to hear the clips with their corresponding guitar effects on.

Here is also an image of how I have my Ableton at the moment.

enter image description here

The problem at the moment is that I can hear just the clean input from the guitar without the effects.


1 Answer 1


You'll have to change something. Let's put facts together and see where it leads us:

  • (1) The track where you record clips will have to have its Monitor switch set to Off, because you want it to only start outputting when you're finished recording a clip and the clip starts playing.
  • (2) The channel/track where you have the effects will have to have its Monitor switch set to In (or Auto with recording enabled), because that's the only way to get it to pass through audio from its input to its output.
  • (3) A track's Monitor switch can only be in one position at any given time. For example, it cannot be both Off and In at the same time.

--> From these facts I can only conclude that the track that has the effects and the track that records and plays back the clips cannot be the same track.

I propose the following kind of setup:


    • Audio From: your guitar input
    • Audio To: Headphones
    • Monitor: In

    • Audio From: TRACK 1
    • Audio To: Master (audience)
    • Monitor: Off

Track 1 should have an Audio Effect Rack where you create two chains, one for the Clean sound and another for Distortion, and configure these so that you can switch between chains. How to do that is a bit complicated, but all the required steps are explained in this guide: https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000727359-How-to-switch-chains-in-a-Rack-using-the-chain-selector

The above scheme doesn't take advantage of the Cue mode and switches. It might be useful for switching the monitoring of your guitar on/off as needed.

Disclaimer: I didn't actually test this with a guitar and headphones etc. I'll have to try it later, it seems like an interesting way to use Ableton.

  • Piiperi thanks! That's what I wanted to achieve. I was able to replicate this to other tracks. Really, really exciting stuff.
    – Ando
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 7:40
  • 1
    @Ando Did I understand correctly that you don't want the audience to see and hear your live playing while you're recording a clip? That would mean that they will actually never see and hear you play live even for one second, because everything that's heard comes from playback of clips. Personally, this feels a bit strange, because it kind of takes away one of the most important aspects of playing live - that it happens completely in realtime and the performer's actions are exposed. Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 10:03
  • yes, that's exactly what I'm looking for. Your solution works well by the way.
    – Ando
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 18:26

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