Novice question. Automation can gradually activate an Audio Effect over the course of a track.

But is there a feature that can initiate an Effect knob curve on each note the instrument plays? For example, you might want a sine tone instrument to start solid, then gradually start flanging.

Here's a Photoshop mockup of a such a feature, in the form of a rack-style effect.

enter image description here

Alternative suggestions are also welcome.

  • Even if you could do it - which I find rather doubtful - you'd be mono-only & have to wait the full release time before you could trigger a new note… or chaos will ensue. I'd find a synth that can do that within a voice instead.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 19:16
  • Max MSP/Max for Live probably makes this possible. Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 19:46
  • Mistakenly wrote MIDI Effect instead of Audio Effect. Edited title. Might be relevant to Tetsujin's comment which is why I'm commenting. I've also realized that what I'm looking for is basically sidechaining (but inverted, plus a custom curve?), but that's only available on a limited number of effects.
    – Robert B
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 19:47
  • Would an envelope follower be close enough? ask.audio/articles/… Related to your comment, it lets you "side chain" any effect parameter music.stackexchange.com/questions/73040/… Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


I just realized a way to do this.

  1. Duplicate the track that has the instrument that you want to trigger the control change when you play it.
  2. On the duplicate track, replace the instrument with a synth and configure the synth to just have a noise oscillator. Make sure this duplicate track is configured to play every time the original instrument track plays (duplicate clips, route MIDI, however you prefer to do it.
  3. Put an envelope follower on the duplicate track and mute that track.
  4. Refer here Ableton Live: How to control a parameter using the amplitude of another track? to configure the envelope follower to control the parameter of the effect that you want to change.
  5. Now, you just have to adjust the envelope in the "noise synth" instrument to have the parameter curve you want for the linked parameter.

When the instrument and noise tracks receive MIDI input, the instrument plays and the noise plays. The noise will play (silently) with the envelope you configure for that synth, and the envelope follower on that track will follow that envelope and control the effect parameter using that envelope.

Hopefully that's a clear explanation.

  • 1
    Absolutely perfect. It took me a moment to figure out how to (1) how to invert the effect (make the knob go low when noise goes high) and (2) how to have it be instantaneous upon note firing - for (1) you just go to the "map" section and set "min" value above max, and (2) set "Rise" to 0 and let "Fall" control the downward slope. And of course it even works when the "noise controller" layer is muted. And (3) ctrl+click the arm buttons to play both at once. It doesn't have complex curve control, but for the purpose of designing a realistic instrument with an attack and a sustain, it's perfect.
    – Robert B
    Commented Apr 21, 2023 at 15:24

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