Capture Impulse Responses

Capture Impulse Responses

Capture Impulse Responses

Capture Impulse Responses – How to Capture Impulse Responses of Your Hardware Gear with Ableton Live’s Max IR Measurement Tool

In this video I demonstrate how to capture impulse responses of your hardware effects with Ableton Live’s Max IR Tool, for use in Live’s Convolution Reverb Pro. In this video I’m capturing my 1982 Bandive Great British Spring stereo reverb unit. You can hear an A/B comparison of the hardware and the capture towards the end of the video.

Capture Impulse Responses


Ever wish you could bottle the sound of your favorite recording space or that vintage reverb pedal? With Ableton Live Suite and its Max for Live (M4L) toolkit, you can! This article will guide you through capturing Impulse Responses (IRs) using the IR Measurement Tool in M4L, allowing you to add the unique sonic character of any space or effect to your Ableton productions.

Before You Begin

  • Make sure you’re using Ableton Live Suite – M4L is exclusive to this version.
  • Download and install Max for Live Essentials (usually included with Suite).

Finding the Tools

  1. Launch Ableton Live Suite.
  2. Within Max for Live, navigate to the Audio Effects section and locate the Convolution Reverb device. This is where you’ll load your captured IRs later.

Building the Measurement Chain

  1. Drag the Convolution Reverb onto an Audio Track. This dedicated track will handle the IR capturing process.
  2. Inside the Convolution Reverb device, you’ll find the IR Measurement Tool. This is where the IR capturing magic happens!

Setting Up the IR Measurement Tool

  1. Arm the Audio Track: Prepare the track for recording the IR.
  2. Microphone Input: Select the microphone input that will capture the sound of the space or effect you’re capturing.
  3. Stereo or Mono? Choose between True Stereo (for capturing stereo spaces) or Mono to Stereo (captures a mono signal and creates a stereo IR).
  4. Amp Level: Set this to 0 dB. We’ll be using a short burst of sound (impulse) to capture the IR, not a continuous signal.
  5. Impulse Response Time: This determines the length of the captured reverb tail. Start with 5 seconds and adjust based on the space’s reverberation time.

Capturing the Impulse Response

  1. Click the “Sweep” button. This initiates the IR capture process. The tool will emit a sweeping sine wave to excite the space or effect, and your microphone will record the resulting reverb tail.
  2. Monitor the Progress Bar: Keep an eye on the bar as the sweep unfolds.
  3. Measurement Done! Once the sweep finishes, the bar will turn blue, signifying a successful capture.

Saving Your Captured Impulse

  1. Click “Measurement Done”. This opens a file save dialog.
  2. Give it a Descriptive Name: Choose a name that reflects the captured space or effect. Remember, you can capture multiple IRs for different sonic textures.
  3. Save! Your custom IR is now stored as a .wav file, ready to be loaded into the Convolution Reverb for sonic exploration.

Pro Tips for Great IRs

  • Experiment with Microphone Placement: Positioning your microphone in different locations within a space will yield distinct sonic characteristics.
  • Silence is Golden: Ensure the space you’re capturing is as quiet as possible for a clean IR.
  • Beyond Rooms: Don’t limit yourself to spaces! Capture the unique character of your favorite guitar pedals or other hardware effects using this method.

By following these steps and using your creativity, you can leverage the power of Max for Live’s IR Measurement Tool to expand your sonic palette within Ableton Live. Happy capturing!