8 Steps to Configure Ableton With Loop and Vocal Cue Tracks


ableton_live6A vocal cue track is an audio track set to a click, and usually ran along side of a loop, that is sent to your in ear monitors only and serves as a helper track, guiding you inside your arrangement. The primary purpose is to keep the band in sync with the arrangement and is especially important when using loops. If you get off the loop disaster can come quick and hard.

You can create a vocal cue track in your audio recording software of choice. What I do is just import my loop to GarageBand, create a new vocal cue track and record along side the loop, then just export the vocal cue track by itself. If you are running integrated clicks inside your loop, that is panning a click in the left channel with the loop in the right, then you’d just add the vocal cue track to the left click channel as well. I don’t do this because I use Ableton and it handles my click track dynamically which gives me more flexibility. Once you have a loop track and/or vocal cue track here’s what you do in Ableton, this is a complete tutorial of running loops and vocal cue tracks in Ableton.

1. In Session View add your loop track to the Audio channel


2. Add additional Audio Channel for vocal cue track


3. Add vocal cue track to accompanying loop “scene”


4. Set launch tempo for scene



5. Set proper audio out channels for click, loop and vocal cue tracks

Click on the image below to see it in full size. This diagram shows a 3 song set configured.


6. Turn on the click track

Pay no attention to the BPM counter next to the click track, it will change when you launch from the Master launch tempo.


7. Configure loop audio tracks for proper playback

Here is where some complication comes in. You can enable warping so you can do creative things with tempo, also with dynamically repeating portions of the song, key changes and other nifty things. I will show you both methods below. If you have a loop that you aren’t doing any dynamic repeating, key changes or tempo changes, you basically just want to play the track as is and play along, then do this for both the loop and vocal cue track(click images for full size):


If you have a track that needs warping you do something like I’ve done here for Gloria track. I am modulating the track up 1 full step:


8. And finally…launch the track


You are off and running with loop and/or vocal cue tracks.

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