(Modulate This) Ableton Live ONE PATCH PERFORMANCE Synth: Ableton Operator

“Melodic Metal” by Mark Mosher – One Patch Performance Series with Ableton Operator

I posted a new “One Patch Performance” to YouTube. One Patch Performances are a series of experimental videos I’ve come up with where I use an instance of one synthesizer plus automation to create a song. 

Watch embedded video. Performance notes are below.

In this song I use Ableton Operator, Chorus, and Ping-Pong delay. I’ve placed these elements into an instrument rack then assigned Macros to various parameters.

I created a custom patch for Operator from scratch. I won’t go into extreme detail on this patch is it’s fairly complex, but here are some highlights and performance notes. I used the new partial editor (P. 389 in the Manual), and modulation of the FM algorithm on the fly.


I also assigned “Time” which is a global control for envelope rates to a Macro knob alone. I also modulate oscillator levels, LFO rates and more. I then created some simple melodies which I stored into MIDI clips. I then recorded an improvisation where I manipulate these automation parameters in one pass in real-time.

I have an oscilloscope and spectral analysis window at the top of the video which illustrate the amazing range of the harmonic content being created by Operator’s.

In the end, I’m hoping this video inspires you to dig deeper with some synths to create unique sounds and to use automation to add dynamics to your tracks.


Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO

(Modulate This) Ableton Live ONE PATCH PERFORMANCE Synth: Ableton Operator

“Circuit Path” – First in the “One Patch Performance” Video Series

One Patch Performance
Over the years I’ve produced some very detailed step-by-step videos with voice-over on sound design and music technology. To balance things out, I’m launching a new video series called “ONE PATCH PERFORMANCE”. 

In this new series there will be no voice over just sound and music. The videos are intended to show what's possible when you go constrain your tool set to one synth and one preset with many modulation routings mapped for performance. Ultimately I hope to inspire others to extend their craft by "going deep" and transcending technology. I’ll also start showing controller use in future videos.

“Circuit Path”
In this first video I thought I’d start of with a very brief and  simple performance utilizing the fantastic Ableton Operator. The song is called “Circuit Path”.

Programming Notes
The synthesizer used in this video is the FM/Subtractive Ableton Operator.


I create a custom preset. Along the way I set the Volume Envelope Loop Mode to Beat so while I press a note it repeats.




I loaded Operator along with FX (EQ Three, Chorus, Beat Repeat, and Filter Delay) into an Instrument Rack so I could assign Macro Control knobs making it easy to tweak parameters in real-time. For example “Plastic” increase these level of oscillator 2 which increases Frequency Modulation and changes the character of the timbre.


Plastic Gate is assigned to Osc-B Envelope Rates.


Time Travel is assigned to EQ Three GainH controlling brightness.

Performance Notes
I went into Arrangement View in Ableton Live, hit the global record button, held down a note then started performing with the Macro Control knobs. In the video you can see my knob movement in the automation lanes.

Start Tweaking
Hopefully my brief notes are enough to get your creative juices flowing. So what are you waiting for, fire up your DAW and drop in a Synth and start tweaking!


  • Modulate This post on Ableton Operator

  • Sound Design in Ableton Live: Operator by Nick’s Tutorials 
  • Operator Mini-Pack by Ultimate Ableton Tutorials
  • Official Ableton Operator page

    Mark Mosher
    Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer

    Download/Buy my album REBOOT on Bandcamp
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