Ableton Live Insider Tips #38: Why Not To Use Complex As The Default Warp Mode

This time in the Ableton Live Insider Tips, I address that you can specify a default warp mode in the preferences and why it’s a bad idea to use Complex mode for it. Unfortunately, when someone asks in various online forums and Facebook groups what warp mode others are using, almost half of the answers still seem to be Complex. Watch the video, why this is not a good option and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

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Feel free to leave a comment if you would like to ask or add something.

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10 Responses

  1. I agree re: avoiding Complex/Complex Pro for production.

    However when using Live for DJing, using complex Pro seems like the only viable choice. If I want the tracks to remain in their original key (which is almost always the case) *and* I want to beat match tracks at different tempos, then I can’t use RePitch, which is the only Warp mode that doesn’t degrade the sound quality in any way.

    All the other Warp modes sound terrible when changing the tempos of long tracks except Complex Pro. However, as you mentioned, Complex/Complex Pro degrades the sound, esp the low frequencies. The degradation isn’t too bad but overall it is noticeable, esp compared to other DJ software/hardware (ex. Serato, Traktor, Pioneer). The sound degradation of Complex Pro, combined with Ableton’s lack of development for key DJ features. eventually me led to stop using Live for DJing, though I still love it for production.

    Any comments most welcome.

    1. I’m not saying, don’t use Complex, I say it’s generally not a good idea to set as the default setting. If the only audio you ever work with in Live is whole tracks, then it’d be the exception to the rule.

    1. Dangerous how? Because I’m pointing out what Ableton recommends for all those who don’t read the manual or not until the end? If people can’t deal with their cognitive dissonance over such a small thing, humanity has lost.

  2. if i record my guitar into ableton, and it’s set to beats, it’s sounds gargly and rubbish – have to change it to tones

  3. Apologies if I seemed somewhat combative, that wasn’t my intention.

    I was a bit concerned that we may go down the rabbit hole to technical madness that sometimes appears when talking about this subject and similar ones.

    Try GearSlutz for a laugh, but I still find it very educational.

    Keep up the good work.


    1. I think you’re confusing me with men who like to argue over stupid things for the sake of arguing. I’ve seen enough of these threads to last me a lifetime. All I’m interested in is getting the information out that Complex can change the sound even when in the original BPM without shrinking or stretching the audio, but simply having Warp on, and that that generally makes it a bad choice as the default setting. What people do once they have this information is up to them, but they need to know to make an informed decision.

  4. Hello SBloom,
    thank you for this little reminder.
    Have you already done a tutorial on;
    Loop / Warp Short Sample
    Auto-Warp Long Sample.
    It would be interesting also to know a little more about the possibilities and different settings of these two boxes.
    Overall, how and what does it serve?
    Thank you.
    Regards JB.

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