Let’s get straight to the point. Ableton’s stock content library is immense. Read that again, it wasn’t a mistake. Ableton Live 11 Suite contains more than 70 GB of sounds, samples, and effects right out of the box, sometimes I wonder why you’d ever need to buy another plugin or sample pack ever again. I know, I know – before you bite my head off, of course, there are many third-party companies that make incredible software instruments (many I make use of all the time) but the point I’m making is that Live provides you with a tonne of sounds made by different artists and sound designers from around the world the grouped in thematic packs for you to use in your projects.
The thing I love about sound packs is they are often the perfect place to source some inspiration for a musical idea no matter what genre of music you’re making. They can also be an amazing resource for finding that perfect ‘missing-link’ element that your track needs. I thought it would be helpful to list some of my favourite stock sound packs that come right out of the box with Live 11 suite. So, whether you’ve been using Live for years, or if you’ve just installed Live for the very first time don’t run off and look elsewhere for new sample packs or plug-ins – cruise through Ableton’s own content library and you’ll find some hot content ready for your next musical masterpiece! So here are my five favourite packs:
One of the key reasons to fork out the extra for Live Suite is Beat Tools, an essential collection of sounds, samples, FX chains and MIDI clips, perfect for a wide variety of genres. Whether you’re into House, Disco, Hip Hop, or Trap –this pack is filled to the eyeballs with goodness that will get you throwing down beats like it’s nobody’s business. Check out a beat I made on Push using the Street Kit from Beat Tools.
Also, peep some sample previews:
Ableton describes this as a “homage to the style that made sampling an art form and put a new kind of groove on the musical map” which is a savvy way of saying that this pack absolutely slaps. Introduced back with Ableton Live 10 – this pack features all the jazzy chords, crusty guitar loops, hard-hitting kicks and sizzling snares that’ll snap the neck of any OG boom-bap head. I’ve used this pack a bunch of times purely for the drum racks alone, although whilst writing this article I’ve rediscovered all the amazing bluesy chord loops and one-shots that are ripe for chopping up.
Evocative, organic and textural; are just a few adjectives I’d use to describe this pack. This one is certainly for the sound designers, composers and a variety of electronic music compositions. Mood Reels features a collection of sounds for adding an emotional element, as the name implies. There are plenty of instrument racks, samples, and FX chains that add mood, space and movement to your productions. However, even if you don’t feel you necessarily need the emotional element in your music, this pack features a range of moving elements that can bring a nice contrast or a subtleness to many different genres and music styles. Remember experimentation helps the creative process regardless of your style.
Check out one of the Mood Reel demo sets to hear a collection of these sounds.
Everyone needs more synths, and if you’re reading this, I’m sure you understand – even if you’re new to exploring synth and synthesis, this pack is so good, easy to use and sounds great. Let me break it down – Synth Essentials pack is an extension of Ableton Lives Core Library, comprised entirely of presets for Ableton Live’s own synthesizer instruments. Operator, Wavetable, Analog, Tension and Collision Synths. The presets showcase a broad range of different sounds from basses to leads and pads to FX. They come pre-packaged within complex instrument racks, and mappings to FX chains and all easily tweakable from macros controls directly from the Instrument rack. All the hard work has been done for you. It’s also a great way to learn or go down the rabbit hole of how certain sounds are created in Ableton’s synths. Check out some previews below.
I’m a huge fan of Modeselektor’s work and this is a great example of some more niche sounds provided by producers and sound designers who collaborate with Ableton. Modeselektor has been a consistent contributor to the Techno and electronica scene with a string of releases over many years. It’s a collection of sounds that range from old vintage drum machines, synthesizers and effects boxes which is a bit like trawling through little, tiny snippets that make up the Modeselektor sound. If you’re into deep, industrial metallic tones along with experimental sound FX and dark atmospheres this one is definitely for you.
Check out this little Techno groove I cooked up using 100% sounds from this pack.
There are so many more packs to explore with Ableton continually adding to their great line-up, all searchable under genre or instrument type. Other notable mentions include FlexGroove, Future Beat and Synthwave packs. Regardless if you’re new to Ableton Live or an experienced music maker, Ableton’s Packs can be the creative fuel your next project needs.