Engineering a song to perfection can be difficult for even master engineers. While the mix and master may sound impeccable, the creative flair an engineer adds to the final master can make or break a record. Vocal stutters, beat drops, and tape stops are frequently used in hip hop tracks to make the final master more interesting. 

This also gives the engineer a way to embed themselves personally in the track. The more complex of the three effects, the tape stop, is often used on vocals or the instrumental to give emphasis to a certain line. 

This effect can be done quickly with a number of paid plugins. However, for many artists and engineers, accomplishing creative effects without investing in plugins for one or two effects is imperative. This article will dive into how to easily and manually create the tape stop effect on a track in Ableton Live 10 without the use of any plugins. 

Adding the Tape Stop Effect

The first step in getting a tape stop effect is to find a section of the song you want the effect to go in. 

Place your marker where you would like the effect to end, and split the track there by pressing COMMAND+E, or Edit, Split. Next you’ll want to enter automation mode by pressing A or View, Automation Mode. Your screen should now look like the following:

Now, double click on the track you want the effect on, in the above instance the track on the left, and view the Track Display.

Now in Sample, click Warp, and then select Complex from the drop down that is shown above as Beats.

Press the Show Envelopes button in the bottom left corner of the above screenshot, the icon that is greyed out, to show the below expanded Track Display. Click Transposition from the drop down under the Clip drop down.

If you are currently in Draw mode, and seeing a pencil, press B to exit Draw mode, or Options, Draw Mode. Create a Mark to start automation at 0st in the middle of the last phrase, drum, or sound effect you are trying to apply the effect to.

Create another Mark at the end of the clip, and drag the Mark down to -48st. Adjusting the automation will allow you to then customize the timing of the effect. 

Press play! You’ve just added the tape stop effect.


The tape stop effect is a much desired and confusing effect to apply to your mixes. However, it is quite simple to do without plugins and this method can save you time and money. In addition, it always helps to learn more automation skills. In the future, we’ll continue to release guides and tutorials on Ableton Live 10!