Understanding Ableton’s Racks & Preset Layout

A Rack is a flexible tool for working with effects, plug-ins and instruments on a track’s device view. There are 3 basic views in Live’s Racks:

  1. Macro Controls
  2. Chain
  3. Instrument & Device

You might have already grabbed a preset from Live’s Sounds or Instruments folder and seen something similar to the image above. Racks can be used to build complex signal processors, dynamic performance instruments, stacked synthesizers and more. We’ll review these things in more depth later in this course.

You can open and close the 3 main rack views by selecting the icons in the top-left corner near the Macro Controls as shown:

Many of Live’s presets will have Macro Controls mapped to parameters inside the Chain and Instrument or Devices. Play with these eight Macro Control knobs to quickly shape the sound and create cool effects with instruments you load onto a track.