SubBass' Favourite Ableton Distortion Effects

Here at Sub Bass we have had a large wealth of experience working with one of the world's favorite digital audio workstations - Ableton. Over the last few years there have been a number of audio effects that have really struck a chord with our students none more than the distortion based audio effects that we will be covering in todays blog post!

Auto Filter (Filter Circuits)

Though rather new to the distortion scene in terms of Ableton it hasn’t taken long for the filter circuits in the auto filter to become a class favorite. You can get the drive of classic synths like Korg MS20 and prophet from Sequential Circuits which can help add a pure retro feel to your tracks.

All you have to do is add this bad boy to any sound, choose a circuit and drive it to hell which will bring a lease of life and character to any sound. Once our students see how these circuits can enhance their tracks it is pretty much rinsed throughout the production process.


Saturation is a similar story. Again this audio effect helps take a clean rather lifeless sound and turn it into a analogue beast. Simply set your saturation unit to analog clip and turn up the drive.

With all sounds and audio effects there will be a sweet spot, what we learn in the classroom is to push the sound until it starts to crap out (sound bad) and then slowly pull it back until you hit gold.


Overdrive is a little harder to tame - we have found that using this audio effect on a return or utilising the dry wet control can help control the sound and stop all out mayhem from being unleashed (but maybe thats what you want so have at it).

What we have also found useful on this audio effect is the filter section where you can really home in on finding the right area in terms of frequency that the audio unit can effect. For example of a kick drum you may like to leave the sub and click/beater part of the kick nice and clean but you only want to affect the body for the kick around about 100-200Hz you can do this with a narrow bandwidth on the filter.

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DJ Jess Bays