When you’re producing music, you want to be in the flow. When you have to stop and do a bunch repetitive technical tasks, it can slow down your production and halt the creativity. Ableton Live features a huge collection of features to help speed up your game. Below is a list of my fast workflow tips in Live.
If you are working on a remix, particularly for a band, then this is a life savor. There are instances when you have a bunch of Audio in Live and you want to move all the Warp Markers in a track at the same time. You can easily do this. All you need to do is:
- Make sure they are all the same length. If they are not using the Consolidate feature to get all the clips to the same size.
- Select all the Audio Clips.
- The last one you selected will be shown in the Sample Display. Create Warp Markers and move it. You will see that all the other audio clips will move as well.
I did a video and full article on this because it’s a very important tip. Extract Chains lets you remove any Drum Cell in a Drum Rack and automatically place it in its own Midi Track. This makes editing really easy.
MIDI to Audio with frozen tracks – No Flatten
Have you ever wanted to turn your MIDI track to Audio but keep the MIDI? Well, I use this quick tip all the time. I discovered it by mistake when editing years back, and find myself doing it all the time. What you need to do is first Freeze your MIDI track. Once it is frozen you can select the MIDI Clip and drag it into an Audio Track by holding Ctrl or CMD while you move it. This will create a copy of the “frozen” audio in the Audio Track, but the MIDI will still be there. You can then Unfreeze the MIDI track.
Copy and Paste Time
When you are writing a track there are times that you want to copy a whole section of the music or move the Verse after the Chorus, or you name it. This can be really tedious without knowing this workflow hack. The key is the Cut Time, Paste Time, and Duplicate Time option in Ableton Live.
All you need to do is select an area in Arrangement View. This will be the area that will be duplicated or cut. Then navigate up to the Edit –> Duplicate Time. This will duplicate everything during that time period of the track. I will usually then pick, Edit –> Cut Time, select where I want this section to go and then, Edit –> Paste Time. This way I can duplicate the whole verse or chorus and place it later on in the track as I am building the composition.
Drag in Older Versions
Let’s say you are working on a track. You save multiple versions as you go, this is just a damn good idea. You had a baseline and started to rewrite it. After a while, you realize that you liked the old baseline, but have done a lot of other things along the way. You can actually drag a track from one of the older versions. This makes it easy to revert back to a past part.
To do this I usually navigate to the Current Project in my Browser. This shows all other versions you have saved if it is in the same project folder. If not, or you want to bring in another track from another song you can just navigate there with your browser. Next up you click the triangle next to the Live Set to open it up. You will then see all the tracks in the Live Set. Click the track you want and drag it into Live.
This lets you easily revert to older versions and save a lot of time.
Copy Value to Sibling
When you are tweaking a Drum Rack or Instrument Rack, it can be annoying to go in and adjust all the chains by hand. Sometimes you decided that you want all the one shots to have more sustain or not and doing this by hand can take forever. There is a little-known feature called Copy Value to Sibling that will save you this headache.
To do this all you need to do is right click the parameter you want copied to all other Chains in the Rack. You will get a menu like the one below. Pick the Copy Value to Siblings. The number in parentheses is how many other parameters are similar that will be changed when you do this.
Here is a GIF Example of copying the Sustain of the Kick 606 to all other Samplers in the Drum Rack.
Arrangement View to Session View
If you like triggering with the APC or Launchpad, it can be annoying to work in the Arrangement View and try and get it back in Session View. The upgrade from Live 8 to 9 gave us an elegant solution. You can now use Consolidate Time to New Scene. To do this just select an area in Arrangement View and right click. Then select Consolidate Time to New Scene in the drop down menu.
Here is a video on going from Session View to Arrangement View and back. It should start half way through on the Arrangement View to Session View part. This video is one of 90 in my Ableton Live Breakthrough course. That course has 6 hours of videos to get any beginner rocking Ableton Live as an instrument in no time.
Select Multiple Tracks
This last trick is a simple one, but if you don’t know it you will love it. Ableton Live has been pretty helpful with adding little intuitive features to help with editing multiple tracks. The simplest of these is selected multiple tracks to affect all of them at the same time. Point being… If you selected all the tracks, or groups and then move the Volume Fader, all the volume faders will move up and down. Same with Pan and many other parameters. This is a godsend for quick adjustments across the board.
These hacks and workflow tips can greatly speed up your production and help you stay in the creative flow. I use these tricks all the time and am happy to share them. If you know of some workflow tips, please share them in the comments.