I haven't found much info on this from web searches... maybe I'm using the wrong terminology or something. It seems like a relatively basic thing considering the complexity of modern DAWs, and considering analog synths have done similar things with control voltages for a long time.

Essentially I just want to control a parameter using the amplitude of another track. So, for example imagine a kick drum pulsing and the synth's LFO rate being influenced by that pulse (change in amplitude).

Ableton Live synth LFO rate parameter

I believe if I were using Reason this would be done using audio to CV on a Combinator. I can't figure out what the equivalent in Live would be.

Thanks in advance if you can point me in the right direction.

1 Answer 1


You can map the amplitude of one track to the control parameter of another (e.g., LFO rate) using the "Envelope Follower" Max for Live device. See: https://www.ableton.com/en/manual/max-for-live-devices/#26-2-1-envelope-follower

Drag the "Envelope Follower" effect onto the source track, click on the effect's "Map" button, and then hop over to your instrument track to click on the destination parameter, such as LFO rate.

Note that its not available in the Intro, Lite and Standard Editions of Live. So, I guess that means only the Suite version.

  • 1
    Thanks! This worked exactly as I had hoped. It’s worth mentioning that (in addition to having the Suite version of Live) the Max for Live Essentials pack must be installed to get the Envelope Follower. Once installed it can be found in Packs > Max for Live Essentials > Max Audio Effect > Control Devices > Envelope Follower.amxd (Probably faster to just type “env” in the search field to find it.)
    – Mentalist
    Commented Aug 4, 2018 at 14:11
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    Update: After utilizing your technique for about a year, I can say it has become one of my production staples. It's super useful for adding variation to just about anything. Clearly I hadn't been experimenting with it enough though, because today I wanted to invert the effect (to push the parameters in the opposite direction), and as it turns out, there are two input fields on the Envelope Follower with leftward-facing arrows... which if you swap the values of [0] [100] to [100] [0] it will flip the output. So for anyone reading this who isn't getting the results they imagined - try inverting.
    – Mentalist
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 14:40

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