12 July 2010

28 Ableton Live (basic) tricks

found on musicradar

2009 has been another immense year for Ableton. It released Live 8, endorsed its first hardware controllers (Akai's APC40 and Novation's Launchpad) and celebrated its tenth anniversary. More recently, it's conspired with Cycling '74 to release Max for Live.
It's Live itself, though, that still commands most attention, with version 8 bringing a new groove engine, enhanced warping, improved MIDI features, a better workflow and more. It's been available for more than six months now, but we reckon there are still some things you don't know about it. 28 of them, in fact…

1. Easy automation

One of the easiest ways to add automation to one small section of a track is to highlight the section to be altered, then grab the automation line and move it. Live will then create two breakpoints in the automation. This is also an easy way to create breakpoints on strict timing points, simply by zooming to the correct grid size.

2. Lock Envelopes

It's very easy to overlook, but if you right-click in an automation lane and select Lock Envelopes, you can move clips (or sections of clips) around the arrangement without it altering the automation. This can be particularly handy when you are creating edits in the tracks of a DJ mix.

3. Freehand drawing

When using the Pencil Tool to draw in automation envelopes in Live, it will snap to the grid values by default. However, holding down Alt as you draw will disable the grid, allowing entirely freehand envelope drawing.

4. Breakpoint overwriting

It's a very simple trick, but when you are dragging automation and you hit a breakpoint, hold down Shift to overwrite the point and carry on past it. Unlike with some programs, however, you will need to Undo the move to get the previous point back.

5. Custom metronome

Tired of your metronome? To create a new one, search for metronomeup.wav and metronome.wav on PC, or follow the path Applications/Live 8.X.X OS X/Live/package contents/Contents/App Resources/Misc/ Metronome/Samples if you're using a Mac. Then replace the files with your own. Give them the same names, though.