Ableton Live 11

how a modern drum machine sending a quantized click track would be significantly more jittery than your daw sending a click to the multiclock?



If by “sending a click track” from “a modern drum machine” you mean sending one timing event on every down beat into your DAW, then you are suggesting that:

  • You send a kick drum on every downbeat from the audio out of your drum machine into an audio interface
  • The audio interface converts that analog signal to digital information
  • Your DAW receives that digital information
  • Then looks for, likely, a combination of transient and frequency information over the span of a minimum of two (or more) of these detected events to make an averaged estimation of BPM.

And comparing this to:

  • A plug-in or single cycle pulse waveform generated in your DAW at a resolution of no less than 24 PPQN (pulse per quarter note)
  • That gets converted from digital to analog through your audio interface
  • Is received by the Multiclock through an audio jack.
  • And uses no more than two timing events to confirm (not estimate) BPM.

Your modern drum machine’s sampled audio information is subject to a detection, analysis, and averaging method with a timing event 4 times in one bar.

The Multiclock is structured on a sample accurate pulse with an instantaneous leading edge that can be detected many times faster than the breaching of a transient threshold from a complex waveform that your drum machine is producing. And it does all of this no less than 24 times faster than your “1 kick every down beat” method.

Add to this, the Multiclock is configured with time signature so it only needs two timing events to accurately determine BPM. Your method needs two or more (and likely 3 to 4) timing events to make an ongoing estimation of BPM.

The methods/devices serve two different purposes though. Ableton’s Tempo Following is designed to:

  • Take the loose and organic timing of musicians to provide ongoing clocking estimations for Ableton to follow along with externally played instruments.

The E-RM Multiclock is designed to:

  • Respond to a sample accurate timing source produced by a DAW so that external hardware can maintain tight, imperceptibly jitter-free, synchronization to a software environment.

Both have their applications. I would argue that trying to slave your DAWs timing to external hardware using a detection, analysis, and averaging method would be far more unstable than just sending it MIDI clock through USB MIDI. Unless your aim is to keep the timing of your DAW relative to the beat of your drum machine. If your aim is to impose timing structure in a hybrid DAW/hardware environment, I would suggest that there are many better ways of doing it.

Your needs may be different than mine or others though.


24ppqn is no better than MIDI clock, just for reference…

I have no issues syncing external gear to Ableton via ordinary MIDI clock, honestly. But I don’t use Ableton to produce sound via plugins at all - it’s all hardware. Ableton clocks my RYTM, my RYTM clocks the rest of the studio through an iConnectivity expander, everything stays perfectly in sync. No E-RM gear in sight.

24PPQN is certainly better than the 1PPQN that @Philippe-2000 was proposing using for his method and what I was answering above :slight_smile:

EDIT: And I did state “no less than”. The Multiclock sync source is likely a far higher resolution. 24PPQN is just the the lowest timing I can find in its documentation.


Ahh…this is super cool.

thanks for your detailed answer!!! :slight_smile:

I think there is nothing stopping us to use a steep click instead of a kick to send sync if that works better!
I get your point that the tempo detection from the follow feature is different from what the multiclock provide. and it was designed to serve a different purpose.
But if we send a rock solid click I don’t see why it would not work, at least be acceptable in some real world situations.

The resolution thing I had not realized, thank you!
having sync happening more slowly due to resolution differences is not a deal breaker for me because I don’t change tempo during sessions a lot but I get your point, this can be a problem

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ah, yeah! went totally over my head there. assumed it was possible but missed you mentioning you were doing that as well. good to know it’s possible to approach it as such, thanks :slight_smile:

Where did you see that?

can always add automation/modulation to clips though. i mean… not like it lacks ability to change every note per note and now w/MPE even more so. but also some max4live devices work like p-locks too.


right, clip envelopes = p-locks, and those have been around for ages, at least 17 years.
More “recently” than that, SOS wrote about them all the way back in 2008


I believe the Push 2 can do p-locks to a certain degree but that feature pre-dates Live 11. I have a Push 2 in front of me that I suppose I could test if I weren’t up to my earballs in work at the moment…

step automation


On Push 2 you can hold down a step on the step sequencer when on the Device Page (with Sequencer Layout active) and enter a per step parameter offset (as a percentage).

However, you can only do this for notes you have sequenced using the pad grid/Sequencer Layout of Push 2. If you live record notes using Push 2, they do not “appear”/will not be reflected in the Push 2 Sequencer Layout on the pad grid - only in the on-screen Clip view. So no p-locking in that context. I would love for someone to tell me I am wrong about this part.

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also, fabrizio’s step locker

fabrizio’s step locker looks interesting… love that you can stack multiple params per step.

One thing i’ve been trying to find is a X/Y parameter sequencer. There’s one in Reaktor but thats sort of a pain in the ass to route the midi out, and I haven’t had too much time just build one myself in max yet… if anyone’s got a lead.

On the other hand there’s always just running Plocks into ableton from the octatrack :stuck_out_tongue:

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aggh i meant trig probability not plocks sorry :pensive:


Liking live 11 on my M1 MacBook Air. It makes such a difference to not have fans whirring. To me it finally feels like hardware, as the Mac is responsive and the software mature.
If anyone is interested, I’ve been getting good results sending link to my iPhone, which has the Link to Midi app on it, then through a cheap USB interface to my elektrons and everything stays locked in better than midi clock. You also have the ability to use any iOS sequencer (Xynthesizr in my case)
Also loving the randomise feature on macros


I was wondering if there is anything like sample slot randomization in ableton 11. This is a feature i would miss from the digitakt if i fully switched over to ableton as a sequencer/sampler. Setting an lfo to the sample slot on the DT is pretty fun. Maybe there a m4l device like this?