When Ableton Live dropped back in 2001, it changed the way many producers thought about creating electronic music with computers. Instead of trying to imitate the hardware studio, offering console layout emulation, tape-machine style tracking and more fundamental mixing tools, it re-thought the way in which musicians interact with digital tools but in the studio and on stage. Since, it’s shimmied its way into its own niche spot in the music-making market, only recently rivalled by tools like Bitwig and Studio One.

Part of Ableton’s appeal is its flexibility in the creation of custom live templates, mapping and their revolutionary Racks. Allowing you to build complex FX, mixing and sound creation chains and save them as a single Rack saved time and invited creativity and here at Sample Magic we’ve been all over the Ableton-specific tools. In fact, we decided to round up some of our favourite SM Racks to help you break creative block and kick-start your Ableton inspiration.

Future Beat – SM105

An official collaboration with Ableton and given 10-out-of-10 in Computer Music, Future Beat is one of our most popular Ableton toolkits we’ve ever made. Compiled by a wide collection of our best producers, it covers everything from contemporary R&B, trap, hip-hop and other urban genres. Covering synths, drums, loops, FX, one-shots and more it’s a complete solution for anyone looking to start a track from scratch, or to re-ignite your shelved projects and tracks. An absolute must-hear for Ableton users.

Ableton Magic Racks: Mixing & FX Power Pack

Combining 15 Ableton racks our Mixing & FX Power Pack is custom-designed for incisive,intuitive and creative mixing, FX processing and mastering. With effects including the SM Ultra Delay and the Psychedelizer, custom-made mixing solutions like Mid-Side Meddler and our very own Channel Strip (demo’d above) as well as sound creation tools like Kick Tweaker, Snare Shaper and Synth Modulator, it’s a one-size-fits-all solution for mixing and mastering. Check it out here.

Ableton Classic Synth Bass

With over 105(!) mono synths multi-sampled and multi-mapped, including a purpose-built signal chain to beef up and filter your synth, Ableton Classic Synth Bass is a one-stop shop for all things monophonic. Broken down into genres and specific synth models, you can quickly find the synth that fits your track, or simply experiment with MIDI clips by cycling through the selector. A mono synth powerhouse.

Ableton Instrument Racks

Designed with Ableton Push in mind, this collection of five mammoth instruments integrates some of the most famous synths of all time into one powerful Rack. Broken into key dance music elements – bass, lead, pad, kick and snare – each pack comes with 64 sample instruments along with either macros for immediate control. With rave reviews from both Computer Music and Future Music, Ableton Instrument Racks is another unmissable Rack for dedicated Live users.

Ableton Chord Rack

Filled with dusty, powerful and epic chords from the DX7, Juno-60 and Jupiter-6, Ableton Chord Rack is your go-to solution for quick and usable chords. All sampled under eight FX macros, it’s easy to quickly shape the samples to find your track with delay, flanger, reverb and more all built right into the Rack. With 127 chord samples and plenty of transposing tools, it’s a great way to quickly inject your track with musicality, even if you’re not classically trained. Check it out here.