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How to Use VST Plugins in Ableton Live

Our SodaSynth and Analog Extracts plugins are both available as VST plugins on Windows and Mac OS X, and compatible with Ableton Live. Here's some instructions to show you how to use VST plugins in Ableton Live:

Ableton Live

    Ableton Live File/Folder Preferences Showing the Custom VST Folder on Windows
  1. Setup your VST Plug-ins Directory

    Mac OS X users can skip this step!

    In the Ableton Live preferences, go to the "File Folder" tab. Ensure "Use VST Plug-In Custom Folder" is ON, and click "Browse" to choose the folder where all your VST plugins are. After that, click "Rescan" to make sure Ableton Live has refreshed the list of installed plugins.

    On Windows, Oscillicious VST plugins install to "C:\VST Plugins" by default, or "C:\VST Plugins (64-bit)" for 64-bit plugins.

    On Mac OS X, Oscillicious plugins install to the system-wide standard VST plugins folder, so no configuration is required (/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST).

  2. Ableton Plug-in Devices Tab
  3. Open the Plug-in Devices Tab

    Back in the main window, click the icon to open the Plug-In Devices tab. This tab displays a list of all the plugins Ableton Live has detected on your computer, by looking in both system-standard paths and your custom VST folder that we set up in the previous step.

  4. How to add a plugin in Ableton Live
  5. Add a Plug-In Instrument to a Track

    Double-click on one of the plug-in instruments in the list to add it to a track, or drag and drop it to the specific track you'd like to add it to. For example, you'll if you double-click on SodaSynth, you should SodaSynth added to a track in the Sesion or Arrangement view, and appear in the bottom panel.

  6. VST Presets in Ableton Live

    Select a VST Preset

    VST presets (synth patches or programs) appear in the bottom panel, and have been circled in red in the next screenshot. Clicking on that combobox allows you to quickly select any of the presets bundled with the VST plugin.

  7. Open the Custom VST Editor

    Most VST plugins come with a built-in custom editor screen, with knobs and extra help. Clicking the The Wrench Icon icon beside the SodaSynth label in Ableton Live will open up the SodaSynth editor, which gives you access to our extra help screens.

  8. Adjusting Parameters inside Ableton Live

    Clicking the icon beside the SodaSynth label will open up the parameter area, allowing you to adjust the VST plugin's parameters directly from inside Ableton Live. Right-clicking on a parameter allows you to set up automation curves and MIDI mappings for that parameter.

    The expanded VST parameters area in Ableton Live.
  9. Compose!

    Create a MIDI part and in the track that you added the SodaSynth VST instrument to, and either record from your MIDI keyboard or start writing a melody in the MIDI editor. If you want to fatten up SodaSynth's sounds a bit, try adding a little bit of chorus or delay using the built-in Ableton Live effects.

    Composing a melody with Ableton Live and SodaSynth

That's it! This tutorial covered how to setup your VST plugins folder in Ableton Live, how to find plug-in devices and add them to a track, and how to change VST presets and paramters using both the Ableton Live and a plugin's custom VST editor. From here, you can use VST plugins as instruments in tracks, and create MIDI parts that trigger them.

We hope this tutorial was helpful, but if you need extra help or have suggestions on how we can improve this tutorial, please let us know!

Oscillicious VST Plugins for Windows and Mac OS X

Analog Extracts is a sample pack containing 227 samples produced from a legendary analog modular synthesizer, capturing a range of 100% original synth sounds.

These raw analog sounds can be triggered by the included bonus VST and AU plug-in that instantly transforms each sample into an instrument mapped to the entire keyboard, to save you the hassle of mapping them into a sampler. The plug-in works with any VST or Audio Units host, and doesn't require an existing sampler!

Find out more about Analog Extracts!


SodaSynth is a pristine, clean sounding synth that's easy to layer and mix.

Starting with an ensemble of oscillators, SodaSynth smoothly adds or subtracts harmonics while modulating the frequencies of these new components in novel ways. The results are clean harmonies that sound familiar, yet can morph in new ways.

Find out more about SodaSynth!

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