Creating Binaural Beats with Ableton Live

The origin of Subaqueous and my trip down the musical rabbit hole, came from Binaural Beats. Through the years I have had many musicians contact me about it. It has been 10 years since I started experimenting with Binaural Beats. It’s been an amazing experience, and I have decided to distill the information I have learned from the years to help others that are inspired to play with consciousness and sound.

Introduction to Binaural Beats:

First off lets look at what Binaural Beats are.

Binaural beat recordings are specially generated sounds, designed to alter our brainwaves and consciousness. The basic idea behind binaural beats is that our brains operate at certain bandwidths, which are measured in frequencies. Our brainwaves change depending on how we are feeling, and what we are doing. Using binaural beats we can emulate natural brainwave frequencies and then slowly change them to another brainwave frequency. This is based off the theory of entertainment.

When the perceived beat frequency corresponds to the delta, theta, alpha, beta, or gamma range of brainwave frequencies, the brainwaves entrain to or move towards the beat frequency. For example, if a 315 Hz sine wave is played into the right ear and a 325 Hz one into the left ear, the brain is entrained towards the beat frequency 10 Hz, in the alpha range. Since the alpha range is associated with relaxation, this has a relaxing effect, or if in the beta range, more alertness. An experiment with binaural sound stimulation using beat frequencies in the beta range on some participants and the delta/theta range on other participants found better vigilance performance and mood in those on the awake alert state of beta-range stimulation.

Binaural beat stimulation has been used fairly extensively in attempts to induce a variety of states of consciousness, and there has been some work done in regards to the effects of these stimuli on relaxation, focus, attention, and states of consciousness. Studies have shown that with repeated training to distinguish close frequency sounds that a plastic reorganization of the brain occurs for the trained frequencies and is capable of asymmetric hemispheric balancing. Wikipedia

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When we are in a meditative state, then our brain operates at a theta frequency. If we are very active, or a little stressed, then we operate at the beta frequency. Here is a list of the different brain wave frequencies.

My Exploration:

Over the past 10 years I have used binaural beats. It first started with a art instillation I created with my friend Jael Topek.  After many experiments we traveled the west coast with the yurt sharing and studying the experiment.  This video is an overview of my experiences.

Creating Binaural Beats in Ableton Live:

When I first started, I was using garage band, and Neuro programmer. Over time by working with ambient music I found Ableton Live was a much easier program for what I was trying to do. The rest is history from there. I love using Ableton Live for binaural beats. There are a few tricks to it, but in general it’s a pretty robust program for it.  I decided to release a collection of resources in helping others get started with Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones in Ableton Live.

Here is a free E-book on creating Binaural Beats in Live. I go over the basics of what Binaural are, how to edit, and create them in Live.

Download the E-Book

If you want indepth video’s, Live templates, Instrument Racks, Audio Effects, and interviews with me about Binaural Beats then check out the Producing Binaural Beats Live Pack. It’s a huge collection of resources for anyone diving into affect consciousness with sound.

This video does a basic walk through of creating a binaural beat in Ableton Live:

Grab the Ableton Live Pack:

With the E-Book and video you have a great start in working with Binaural Beats. If you want to have an even easier way of building an ambient pallet for your tracks, and dialing in your Binaurals, then check out the Producing Binaural Beats Live Pack. The live pack has over an hour of videos on the subject. Everything from showing off custom Live Effects for advanced control of Binaural Beats, to Isochronic Tone Generators. I also include a set of Ambient Instrument Racks, Morphonic Testures, to help you in creating your tracks.  Here is a list of what you can get in the pack:

  • Over an hour of videos
  • 3 Completed Binaural Beat tracks as Ableton Live Sets
  • 5 Custom Audio Effect Racks to make morphing Binaurals, panning effects, and advance control of consciousness
  • 3 Instrument Racks all set up and optimized to lay down Binaural Beats and Isochronic Tones
  • Added bonus of the Morphonic Textures Live Pack to help create ambient soundscapes

Grab the live pack, or just buy it to support the cause. 

10 Comments

  1. Jordan September 3, 2015 at 6:45 am - Reply

    Binaural beats seem like a really interesting concept, both to listen to and to create. Thanks for this guide to the theory behind it! Might have to try making some myself.

    • Subaqueous September 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Your welcome Jordan. Let me know how it goes.

  2. Dan Stanley September 6, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    Hello,
    Great stuff you share.
    I worked with Binaural 10-15 years ago together with an German scientist/engineer. He created a plugin for an audio player, that used these different frequiences. I did a couple recordings and I do think they gave me a better life at the moment. So im happy to see some diving into this again.
    Will give a spin myself for sure.

    Thanks once again

    • Subaqueous September 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      That’s fantastic Dan! Life can be a wheel sometimes.

  3. Tom December 1, 2015 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Hey Isaac, awesome to see this, I’m thinking of buying the pack. I’ve heard that binaurals facilitate hemisphereic synchronization, more than isochronic tones. But, aren’t isochronic tones proven more powerful in terms of changing brainwaves? I love my Neuroprogrammer/Mindworkstation, but I’m planning on making the meditation sound a little more dynamic, with some Ableton. Any more advice or resources on where to learn “sound healing” influenced electronic music? Thanks!!!

    • kask November 5, 2016 at 8:52 am - Reply

      did you find anything interesting about sound healing in electronic music ?

  4. Tom December 1, 2015 at 7:59 am - Reply

    One thing I like about Mindworkstation, is the ability to take any sound file and add entrainment to a specific band. Can you do this with Ableton? Is there a way to add entrainment to live vocals from a microphone?

  5. CeZar Mgc December 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    ey man… thanks lots.. God bless U.

  6. Graeme Ferguson August 11, 2016 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Hi,

    I have started using binaural beats and was wondering if you have a tips for using these within full tracks with bass and drums. Is their an easy way (or calculation) to get these to sit in time with a tracks bpm? Also do the beats still work across the whole frequency spectrum ie can you cut the low end of the generated tones to sit better in a mix while still gaining the effect.
    Thanks

  7. soren July 23, 2017 at 4:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for some really powerful tools and amazing videos. You are really clear, precise and truly capable of passing knowledge on, keep up the amazing workl!!

    I would like to ask if you know of other articles or sources for further knowledge. I think about if it is possible to read about others experiences with things like having multiple beats at the same time, adjusting both channels towards the desired frequency (instead of just the left or right, in order to keep a stable middle), adding isochronic burst etc etc ?

    Thanks!

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