Ableton Live - 6.0 Reference Manual

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Ableton Live - 6.0 Reference Manual | Manualzz


Live Version 6.0 for Windows and Mac OS

Created by Bernd Roggendorf, Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, Awi, Reiner Rudolph, Stefan

Haller, Stefan Franke, Frank Hoffmann, Andreas Zapf, Ralf Suckow, Gregor Klinke, Matthias

Mayrock, Friedemann Schautz, Ingo Koehne, Jakob Rang, Pablo Sara, Nicholas Allen,

Henrik Lafrenz, Jan Buchholz, Kevin Haywood, Dominik Wilms, Christian Kleine, Amaury

Groc, Daniel Buettner, Alex Koch, Henrik Hahn, Simon Frontzek, Torsten Wendland, Torsten

Slama, Eduard Mueller, Jeremy Bernstein, Bernard Chavonnet.

Reference Manual by Kevin Haywood, Rose Knudsen, Gerhard Behles, Jakob Rang, Robert

Henke, Torsten Slama.

Essential Instrument Collection created by SONiVOX.


Drum samples provided by Big Fish Audio.

Copyright 2006 Ableton AG. All rights reserved.

This manual, as well as the software described in it, is furnished under license and may be used or copied only in accordance with the terms of such license. The content of this manual is furnished for informational use only, is subject to change without notice, and should not be construed as a commitment by Ableton. Ableton assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or inaccuracies that may appear in this book.

Except as permitted by such license, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Ableton.

Ableton is a trademark of Ableton AG. Mac, the Mac logo, Mac OS, Macintosh and QuickTime are trademarks of Apple Computer,

Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Audio Units logo and GarageBand are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.

Windows and DirectX are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries. SONiVOX is the brand name trademark of Sonic

Network, Inc. VST is a trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. ASIO is a trademark and software of Steinberg Media

Technologies GmbH. ReWire is a trademark of Propellerhead Software AB. Mackie Control is a trademark of LOUD Technologies,

Inc. Ogg Vorbis and FLAC are trademarks of Xiph.Org. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Chapter 1

Welcome to Live


The Ableton Team Says: Thank You

Live is the result of musicians wanting a better way to create, produce and perform music using a computer. A great deal of effort has been put into making Live easy and fun to use, yet at the same time capable of helping you create music with unlimited depth and sophistication. This effort continues even as you read these lines... in fact, a new, improved

Live version might already be available for download! Please check on our website now 1 , or choose the Check for Updates command from the Help menu.

We hope you enjoy using Live and that it enhances your creative process. Should you have suggestions about how we can improve Live, please let us know 2 .

Your Ableton Team.


2 [email protected]




What's New in Live 6?


Movie Import

ˆ Improvise, compose and

warp music to picture



Live Effects and Instruments



optional add-on instrument


Dynamic Tube effect

ˆ EQ Four upgrades to

EQ Eight


Note Length MIDI effect

ˆ Enhancements for

Operator ,





Instrument and Effect Racks

enable custom groupings of devices along with a simpli ed set of controls for tweaking the sound


Mixing and Routing

ˆ Pro

Session Mixer features

ˆ Pre-effects, post-effects and post-mixer

routing options

for more exible mix setups




Tempo Master setting

for warped audio and video clips in the Arrangement


Multi-clip warping



ReWire and Remote Control

ˆ ReWire master

access to Live's instruments


Instant mappings

for many popular control surfaces


Improved MIDI and key mapping


File Management and Browsing

ˆ New

le management tools

ˆ Better



Processor Maximization

ˆ Multiplied audio processing power with

multicore and multiprocessor support


Deep Freeze

keeps most editing functions available while tracks are frozen


Chapter 2

First Steps

When you install Live and run it for the rst time, you will be presented with a dialog asking for your Live serial number. Please see the chapter on

unlocking Live

should you have questions or concerns during the authorization process.

If you do not (yet) own Live, you can close the dialog and proceed, as Live will run in Demo

Mode by default. In Demo Mode, you will be able to work with all of Live's features with the exception of saving and exporting.


Learn About Live

Live comes with a set of interactive lessons to take you step by step through the key features of the program. The lessons are organized in a table of contents, which can be opened directly in the program via the Help menu. We highly recommend following the lessons.

Many users have told us that the lessons helped them become familiar with the program very quickly.

We also recommend that you read the

Live Concepts chapter , which encapsulates every-

thing that Live is and can do, and is therefore a worthwhile read for both beginners and


CHAPTER 2. FIRST STEPS 5 experienced users. The remaining chapters of this manual serve as in-depth reference for the material introduced in Live Concepts.


Using the Info View and Index

Live's Info View tells you the name and function of whatever you place the mouse over.

If you require more information on a speci c user interface element or topic, please consult this reference manual. The index, found at the end of the manual, contains the names of all user interface elements and will lead you to the relevant section.

The Info View and its

Show/Hide Button.


Setting up Preferences

Live's Preferences window is where you can nd various settings that determine how Live looks, behaves and interfaces with the outside world. This window is accessed from the

Options menu's (Windows)/Live menu's (Mac OS X) Preferences command, or with the

Ctrl , (PC) / , (Mac) shortcut.

Live's Preferences are distributed over several tabs:


ˆ In the Look/Feel tab, you can make various settings, including the language used for text display and the color scheme, or skin, for the Live user interface.

ˆ The Audio Preferences are used to set up Live's audio connections with the outside world via an audio interface. Please take the time to follow the program's built-in

Setting up Audio I/O lesson, which will walk you through all the steps required to set up and optimize the settings for any given system. To access the lesson, use the

Lessons Table of Contents command from the Help menu.

ˆ The MIDI/Sync Preferences are used to help Live recognize MIDI devices for three separate and distinct purposes:

Playing MIDI notes. To learn how to route an external device into Live for MIDI input, or how to send MIDI to an external device, please see the

Routing and I/O chapter .

Controlling parts of the interface remotely. This subject is covered in detail in the

MIDI and Key Remote Control chapter .

Syncing the program with an external sequencer or drum machine, either as a master or a slave. Please see the

Synchronizing via MIDI chapter

for details.

ˆ The File/Folder Preferences pertain to Live's

le management

and the location of

plug-in devices .

ˆ The Record/Warp/Launch Preferences allow customizing the default state for

new Live



their components , as well as selecting options for

new recordings .

ˆ The CPU Preferences include options for managing the

processing load , including

multicore/multiprocessor support.

ˆ The Products Preferences are used to manage licensing and installation of

the Live platform , and add-on components like

the Operator instrument


Live Packs .


The Main Live Screen

Most of your work in Live happens in the main Live screen. This screen consists of a number of views, and each view manages a speci c aspect of your Live Set. Since screen space is

CHAPTER 2. FIRST STEPS 7 usually limited, the Live views can't all be displayed at the same time.

Each one of the selector buttons at the screen borders calls up a speci c view; clicking this one, for instance, accesses the Live devices:

To hide one of Live's views and free up screen space, click on the triangle-shaped button next to it. To restore the view, click the button again.

The Device Browser


You can run Live in Full Screen Mode by selecting the Full Screen command from the View menu. To leave Full Screen Mode, click the button that appears in the lower right corner of the screen. Full Screen Mode can also be toggled by pressing F11 . (Note: On Mac OS

X, this key is assigned by default to Exposé, and will not toggle Full Screen Mode unless

Exposé has been deactivated or assigned to a different key in OS X's System Preferences.)

You can adjust the main window's horizontal split by dragging.

A View Show/Hide


Adjusting the Main

Window Split.

Chapter 3

Unlocking Live

Live is protected against illegal use by a copy protection scheme. This scheme has been designed to meet the highest security standards while avoiding hassles for our customers. If you nd this procedure to be an inconvenience, please understand that the copy protection secures your investment: It allows Ableton to provide you with support and to continue developing Live.

Authorization of Ableton products takes place in the Preferences' Products tab, which will appear when you start Live for the rst time.

Here you can choose to authorize ( unlock ) or purchase any Ableton products available to you, for example the

Operator instrument .

Please note that products such as Operator are sold separately from Live but are unlocked using the same procedure described in the following sections. They can also be individually set to Demo Mode in the Products tab so that you can try them out.



Clicking on any product listed in the Products tab will give you the option of unlocking or buying that product. Please click the Unlock button here to complete the unlocking process in two steps. If you have not yet purchased the product, you can do so online by clicking the

Buy button. You can always return to the Products Preferences tab later or visit the Ableton webshop 1 to make a purchase. Live's Preferences are available via the Options menu (or the Live menu in Mac OS X).

The Products Tab in the





Step 1: Entering Your Serial Number

As an owner of Live, you have received a serial number from Ableton, either via e-mail (if you ordered Live directly from Ableton), or on a card as part of the Live package.

Selecting the Unlock

Button in the Products


After clicking the Unlock button in the Products tab, you will be presented with six elds for typing in your serial number. Each eld holds four characters. The serial number is composed of numbers 0..9 and letters A..F. If you accidentally type the wrong string into a eld, the eld will turn red. When you have successfully entered the serial number, click the

Ok button to proceed.

The serial number identi es your ownership of Live. Because your serial number is a valuable good, you should keep it in a safe place and out of reach of unauthorized hands. Please be aware that sharing your serial number will render it unusable. The only way for Ableton

The Fields for Entering

Your Serial Number.

CHAPTER 3. UNLOCKING LIVE 11 technical support to help you get back your serial number if you lose it is via your registration data. Therefore, please register your product 2 , as otherwise you might lose your property!


Step 2: Unlocking Live

The second step of authorizing Live is called unlocking. Unlocking means associating your serial number with a speci c computer. Please be aware that the standard Live license grants you the right to use Live on only one computer at a time. You can, however, unlock Live with your serial number more than once under the legal and technical conditions described

later .


The Unlock Key

For unlocking, you require an unlock key that can only be created by the Ableton server.

Unlocking therefore requires access to the Internet. The computer from which you connect to the Internet does not have to be the same computer for which you wish to unlock Live, but it does make things easier.


The Challenge Code

The Ableton server creates the unlock key from your serial number and a so-called challenge

code. The challenge code is a ngerprint that Live takes of your computer's components.

For details, please see

the corresponding section .




Unlocking Online


If the computer you want to unlock Live for is connected to the Internet, the only thing you need to do is press the Unlock Online button. Live will then create a connection to the

Ableton server, send your serial number and challenge code, and receive the unlock key from the server. No information other than this is exchanged between your computer and the Ableton server.

Unlocking Live Online.


Unlocking Of ine

If the computer you want to unlock Live for is not connected to the Internet, you can use any other computer to access the Ableton server's web interface 3 . This is a website with elds for entering your serial number and the challenge code, which you can copy from

Live's Unlock dialog.

Unlocking Live Of ine.



If you have entered your serial number and challenge code correctly, another website will appear to provide you with the unlock key. There now are two options for transferring the unlock key to the computer that is to be unlocked:

Follow the weblink to download the unlock key as a le. Transfer the le to the target computer via a diskette or CD-ROM. Then, press the Unlock dialog's Load Unlock Key button to load the unlock key le.

The Live Unlocking Web


OR it might be more convenient to print the webpage with the unlock key on it. On the target computer, press the Enter Unlock Key button to open a dialog with elds for typing in the unlock key. Typing it in is easier than it rst appears, because the elds will turn red if you type the wrong string.

The Unlock Key Can Be

Downloaded as a Text


Manually Enter Your

Unlock Key.



Copy Protection FAQs



Can I Use Live or Other Ableton Products Without a Serial Number?

If you do not (yet) own Live, you can work with Live in Demo Mode. Demo Mode offers

Live's complete functionality, but saving and exporting are disabled.

Live will run in Demo Mode by default if it has not been authorized. You can try out other

Ableton products, such as the

Operator instrument , by individually switching them to Demo

Mode in the Products tab of the Preferences.

Demo Mode can also be deactivated on a product-by-product basis in the Product Preferences.

If running Live or another product in Demo Mode raises your interest in purchasing it, please select it from the Products Preferences tab and then click the Buy button, or visit the Ableton webshop


. This site contains information about Ableton's distributor and dealer network.

It also offers you the opportunity to buy Ableton products online. Live's Preferences are available via the Options menu (or the Live menu in Mac OS X).

Click Here if You Are

Interested in Buying





What if I Change My Computer's Components?

If the challenge code of your computer changes for some reason, Live will indeed ask you to unlock the software

another time . The challenge code does not change, however,

when computer peripherals are replaced (audio or MIDI hardware, printers, modems). The challenge code may change if the motherboard, processor or network card is replaced. On some computers, reformatting a hard drive also changes the challenge code.


Can I Unlock Live More than Once?

The standard Live license allows you to use Live on only one computer at a time. However, if you have registered your product 5 , the Ableton server will provide you with two unlock keys in good faith that you will use Live on only one machine at a time. Just proceed as described in

the corresponding section .

You can therefore run Live on both a studio desktop computer and a tour laptop, but not at the same time.

Should the Ableton server reject your demand for another unlock key, please contact Ableton's technical support.

They can be reached by:

ˆ E-mail 6 ;

ˆ Telephone: +49 (0)30 - 288 763 151 (available Monday to Friday 11 to 15hrs CET);

ˆ Fax: +49 (0)30 - 288 763 11.

To speed up the process, please:

ˆ Register your copy of Live 7 ;

ˆ Include a brief explanation of the circumstances.


6 [email protected]



To use Live on more than one computer at a time, you require a secondary license or a site

license. Ableton offers these licenses at special rates. Please contact the sales team 8 for details.


Can I Play my Set from a Computer That Is Not Unlocked?

In Demo Mode, you can load and perform a Live Set with no time limitation. You cannot, however, save or export your work. When you go on tour, consider taking along your Live program CD and a CD with the last state of your Live Set(s). In case of an emergency, you can install and run Live on any computer available and play your backup Live Set(s).


How Can I Turn Demo Mode Off?

If Live is unlocked but other products are set to Demo Mode, Live will also run in Demo

Mode, and you will not be allowed to save or export your work. To turn Demo Mode off in this case, activate the Hide option for each additional product in its respective Product

Preference page.

Click Here to Hide a

Product's Features.

8 [email protected]


You can always choose to show a product again later, and then try out its features by using them in Demo Mode.


What Do I Do About Problems or Questions Regarding Copy Protection?

Please contact technical support 9 . They are happy to help!

9 [email protected]


Chapter 4

Live Concepts

This chapter introduces the essential concepts of Live. We advise you to read this chapter early in your Live career, as a solid understanding of the program's basic principles will help you fully exploit Live's potential for your music-making.


Live Sets

The type of document that you create and work on in Live is called a

Live Set . Live Sets

reside in a Live Project a folder that collects related materials and can be opened either through the File menu's Open command or via the built-in File Browsers.

A Live Set in the File



Selecting the Library bookmark in Live's File Browser will take you to the Live Library of creative tools. There are a number of Demo Sets here, and double-clicking a Live Set's name in the Browser will open that Live Set.


Arrangement and Session

The basic musical building blocks of Live are called clips. A clip is a piece of musical material: a melody, a drum pattern, a bass line or a complete song. Live allows you to record and alter clips, and to create larger musical structures from them: songs, scores, remixes, DJ sets or stage shows.

A Live Set consists of two environments that can hold clips: The Arrangement is a layout of clips along a musical timeline; the Session is a real-time-oriented launching base for clips.

Every Session clip has its own play button that allows launching the clip at any time and in any order. Each clip's behavior upon launch can be

precisely speci ed through a number of settings .

Clips in the Session View

(Left) and in the

Arrangement View


The Arrangement is accessed via the

Arrangement View

and the Session via the


View ; you can toggle between the two views using the computer's Tab key or their respective

selectors. Because the two views have distinct applications, they each hold individual collections of clips. However, it is important to understand that ipping the views simply changes the appearance of the Live Set and does not switch modes, alter what you hear or change what is stored.

The Arrangement and

Session View Selectors.


The Arrangement View and the Session View interact in useful (though potentially confusing) ways. One can, for instance, improvise with Session clips and

record a log of the improvisation

into the Arrangement for further re nement. This works because Arrangement and

Session are connected via tracks.



Tracks host clips and also manage the ow of signals, as well as the creation of new clips through recording, sound synthesis, effects processing and mixing.

The Session and Arrangement share the same set of tracks. In the Session View, the tracks are laid out vertically from left to right, while in the Arrangement View they are horizontal from top to bottom. A simple rule governs the cohabitation of clips in a track:

A track can only play one clip at a time.

Therefore, one usually puts clips that should play alternatively in the same Session View column, and spreads out clips that should play together across tracks in rows, or what we call

scenes .

A Track in the

Arrangement View.

A Scene in the Session



The exclusivity of clips in a track also implies that, at any on time, a track will either play a

Session clip or an Arrangement clip, but never both. So, who wins? When a Session clip is launched, the respective track stops whatever it is doing to play that clip. In particular, if the track was playing an Arrangement clip, it will stop it in favor of the Session clip even as the other tracks continue to play what is in the Arrangement. The track will not resume

Arrangement playback until explicitly told to do so.

The Back to

Arrangement Button.

This is what the Back to Arrangement button, found in the Control Bar at the top of the

Live screen, is for. This button lights up to indicate that one or more tracks are currently not playing the Arrangement, but are playing a clip from the Session instead.

We can click this button to make all tracks go back to the Arrangement. Or, if we like what we hear, we can capture the current state into the Arrangement by activating the Record button. Disengaging Record Mode or stopping Live using the Stop button leaves us with an altered Arrangement.


Audio and MIDI

Clips represent recorded signals. Live deals with two types of signals: audio and MIDI. In the digital world, an audio signal is a series of numbers that approximates a continuous signal as generated by a microphone or delivered to a loudspeaker. A MIDI signal is a sequence of commands, such as now play a C4 at mezzo piano. MIDI is a symbolic representation of musical material, one that is closer to a written score than to an audio recording. MIDI signals are generated by input devices such as MIDI or USB keyboards 1 .

It takes an


to convert MIDI signals into audio signals that can actually be heard.

Some instruments, such as Live's Simpler, are for chromatic playing of one sound via the keyboard. Other instruments, such as Live's Impulse, have a different percussion sound assigned to each keyboard key.

1 For an introduction to digital audio and MIDI, please see and


Audio signals are recorded and played back using audio tracks, and MIDI signals are recorded and played back using MIDI tracks. The two track types have their own corresponding clip types. Audio clips cannot live on MIDI tracks and vice versa.

Information about inserting, reordering and deleting audio and MIDI tracks is found

here .


Audio Clips and Samples

An audio clip contains a reference to a sample (also known as a sound le or audio le ) or a compressed sample (such as an MP3 le). The clip tells Live where on the computer's drives to nd the sample, what part of the sample to play and how to play it.

When a sample is dragged in from one of Live's built-in

File Browsers , Live automatically

creates a clip to play that sample. Prior to dragging in a sample, one can audition or

preview it directly in the Browser; the switch in the Browser with the headphone icon activates previewing.

Live offers many options for playing samples in exciting new ways, allowing you to create an abundance of new sounds without actually changing the original sample all the changes are computed in real time, while the sample is played. The respective settings are made in the

Clip View , which appears on screen when a clip is double-clicked.

Samples Are Dragged in from Live's File Browsers.


An Audio Clip's

Properties as Displayed in the Clip View.

Many powerful manipulations arise from Live's


capabilities. Warping means changing the speed of sample playback independently from the pitch so as to match the song tempo. The tempo can be adjusted on the y in the Control Bar's Tempo eld.

The most elementary use of this technique, and one that usually requires no manual setup, is synchronizing sample loops to the chosen tempo. Live's Auto-Warp algorithm actually makes it easy to line up any sample with the song tempo, such as a recording of a drunken jazz band's performance. It is also possible to radically change the sonic signature of a sound using extreme warp settings.

The Control Bar's Tempo



MIDI Clips and MIDI Files

A MIDI clip contains musical material in the form of MIDI notes and controller envelopes.

When MIDI is imported from a

MIDI le , the data gets incorporated into the Live Set, and

the original le is not referenced thereafter. In the Live File Browsers, a MIDI le appears as a folder that can be opened to reveal its individual component tracks, which can be selectively dragged into the Live Set.


As you'd expect, a MIDI clip's contents can be

accessed and edited

via the Clip View, for instance to change a melody or paint a drum pattern.

MIDI Files Are Dragged in from Live's File



Devices and the Mixer

A track can have not only clips but also a chain of


for processing signals. Doubleclicking a track's title bar brings up the Track View, which shows the track's device chain.

A MIDI Clip's Properties as Displayed in the Clip



Live's built-in

audio effects ,

MIDI effects



are available from the Device

Browser and can be added to tracks by dragging them from there into the Track View, or into a Session or Arrangement track.

The Track View

Displaying a MIDI Track's

Device Chain.

You can also use

plug-in devices

in Live. VST and Audio Units (Mac OS X only) Plug-ins are available from the Plug-In Device Browser.

Live's Built-in Devices

Are Available from the

Device Browser.


Consider an audio clip playing in an audio track. The audio signal from the clip reaches the leftmost device in the chain. This device processes (changes) the signal and feeds the result into the next device, and so on. The number of devices per track is theoretically unlimited.

In practice, the computer's processor speed does impose a limit on the number of devices you can use at the same time, a topic that deserves

separate discussion . Note that the

signal connections between audio devices are always stereo, but the software's inputs and outputs can be con gured to be mono in the Audio Preferences.

When the signal has passed through the device chain, it ends up in Live's

mixer . As the

Session and Arrangement share the same set of tracks, they also share the mixer. The mixer can be shown in both views for convenience. To optimize the screen layout, the individual mixer sections can be shown or hidden using the View menu's entries.

Plug-In Devices Are

Available from the

Plug-In Device Browser.

The mixer has controls for volume, pan position and sends, which adjust the contribution

The Live Mixer in the

Arrangement View (Left) and Session View (Right).

CHAPTER 4. LIVE CONCEPTS 27 each track makes to the input of any return tracks. Return tracks only host effects, and not clips. Via their sends, all tracks can feed a part of their signal into a return track and share its effects.

The mixer also includes a

crossfader , which can create smooth transitions between clips

playing on different tracks. Live's crossfader works like a typical DJ mixer crossfader, except that it allows crossfading not only two but any number of tracks including the returns.

Devices that receive and deliver audio signals are called audio effects. Audio effects are the only type of device that t in an audio track or a return track. However, two more types of devices are available for use in MIDI tracks: MIDI effects and instruments.

Consider a MIDI track playing a clip. The MIDI signal from the clip is fed into the track's device chain. There, it is rst processed by any number of MIDI effects. A MIDI effect receives and delivers MIDI signals. One example is the Scale effect, which maps the incoming notes onto a user-de ned musical scale. The last MIDI effect in the chain is followed by an instrument. Instruments, for instance Live's Simpler and Impulse, receive MIDI and deliver audio. Following the instrument, there can be any number of audio effects as in an audio track.

Live's Crossfader.

If a MIDI track has no instrument (and no audio effects), then the track's output is a plain

MIDI signal, which has to be sent somewhere else to be converted into audio. In this case, the track's mix and Send controls disappear from the mixer.

A MIDI Effect, an

Instrument and an Audio

Effect in a MIDI Track.



Presets and Racks

Every Live device can store and retrieve particular sets of parameter values as

presets . As

presets are stored independently from Live Sets, new presets become part of a library that any project can draw from.


Instrument and Effect Racks

allow saving combinations of devices and their settings as a single preset. This feature allows for the creation of powerful multi-device creations and effectively adds all the capabilities of Live's MIDI and audio effects to the built-in instruments.



As we have seen, all tracks deliver signals, either audio or MIDI. Where do these signals go? This is set up in the mixer's In/Out section, which offers, for every track, choosers to select a signal source and destination. The In/Out section, accessible through the View menu's In/Out option, is Live's patchbay. Its

routing options

enable valuable creative and technical methods such as resampling, submixing, layering of synths, complex effects setups and more.

The Mixer for a MIDI

Track without an



Signals from the tracks can be sent to the outside world via the computer's audio and MIDI interfaces, to other programs that are connected to Live via


or to other tracks or devices within Live.

Likewise, a track can be set up to receive an input signal to be played through the track's devices. Again, tracks can receive their input from the outside, from a ReWire program or from another track or device in Live. The Monitor controls regulate the conditions under which the input signal is heard through the track.

Track Routing Is Set up

Using the In/Out Section in the Arrangement (Left) or Session View (Right).


Recording New Clips

Audio tracks and MIDI tracks can record their input signal and thereby

create new clips .

Recording is enabled on a track by pressing its Arm button (Hold down the Ctrl (PC) /

(Mac) modi er to arm several tracks at once). When the Control Bar's Record button is on, every armed track records its input signal into the Arrangement. Every take yields a new clip per track.

It is also possible to

record into Session View slots on the y . This technique is very

useful for the jamming musician, as Session recording does not require stopping the music.

When a track is armed, its Session slots exhibit Clip Record buttons, and clicking one of

Track Arm Buttons, as

They Appear in the

Session View.

CHAPTER 4. LIVE CONCEPTS 30 these commences recording. Clicking the Clip Record button again de nes the end of the recording and launches the new clip. As these actions are subject to real-time launch

quantization, the resulting clips can be automatically cut to the beat.

Session recording in conjunction with the Overdub option and Record Quantization is the method of choice for creating drum patterns, which are built up by successively adding notes to the pattern while it plays in a loop. It only takes a MIDI keyboard (or the computer keyboard) and a MIDI track with Live's Impulse percussion instrument

to do this .

The Control Bar's

Quantization Chooser.


Automation Envelopes

Often, when working with Live's mixer and effects, you will want the controls' movements to become part of the Arrangement. The movement of a control across the Arrangement timeline is called

automation ; a control whose value changes in the course of this timeline is

automated. Automation is represented in the Arrangement View by breakpoint envelopes, which can be edited and drawn.

Practically all mixer and effect controls in Live can be automated, even the song tempo.

Creating automation is straightforward: All changes of a control that occur while the Control

Bar's Record switch is on become automation.

Changing an automated control's value while not in Record Mode is similar to launching a

Session clip while the Arrangement is playing: It deactivates the control's automation (in favor of the new control setting). The control will stop tracking its automation and rest with the new value until the Back to Arrangement button is pressed, which will resume

Arrangement playback.

The Automated Pan

Control and its




Clip Envelopes


Envelopes are found not only in tracks but also in clips.

Clip envelopes

are used to modulate device and mixer controls. Audio clips have, in addition, clip envelopes to in uence the clip's pitch, volume and more; these can be used to change the melody and rhythm of recorded audio. MIDI clips have additional clip envelopes to represent MIDI controller data. Clip envelopes can be unlinked from the clip to give them independent loop settings, so that larger movements (like fade-outs) or smaller gestures (like an arpeggio) can be superimposed onto the clip's material.


MIDI and Key Remote

To liberate the musician from the mouse, most of Live's controls can be remote-controlled via an external MIDI controller. Remote mappings are established in

MIDI Map Mode , which

is engaged by pressing the MIDI switch in the Control Bar.

In this mode, you can click on any mixer or effect control, and then assign it to a controller simply by sending the desired MIDI message (for example, by turning a knob on your MIDI control box). Your assignments take effect immediately after you leave MIDI Map Mode.

Session clips can be mapped to a MIDI key or even a keyboard range for chromatic playing.

MIDI keys and controllers that have been mapped to Live's controls are not available for recording via MIDI tracks. These messages are ltered out before the incoming MIDI is passed on to the MIDI tracks.

An Envelope for Clip



Session clips, switches, buttons and radio buttons can be mapped to computer keyboard keys as well. This happens in

Key Map Mode , which works just like MIDI Map Mode.

Live offers, in addition to this general purpose mapping technique, dedicated support for

Mackie Control-compatible mixer surfaces , which allows for mouse-free operation of the


The Key/MIDI Map



Saving and Exporting

Saving a Live Set saves everything it contains, including all clips, their positions and settings, and settings for devices and controls. An audio clip can, however, lose the reference to its corresponding sample if it is moved or deleted from disk. The links between samples and their clips can be preserved with a special command,

Collect and Save , which makes a copy

of each sample and stores it in a project folder along with the Live Set.

A separate Save button in the Clip View

saves a set of default clip settings

along with the sample, so that each time the sample is dragged into the program, it will automatically appear with these settings. This is especially useful if you have made warp settings for a clip and want to use it in multiple Live Sets.

Exporting audio from Live can be done from both the Session and Arrangement Views.

Live will export the audio coming through on the Master output as an audio le of your speci cations via

Render to Disk .

Live can also

export individual MIDI clips as MIDI les .

Exporting and saving material for later use in Live can be done very conveniently with the

Live Clip format. Session View clips can be dragged back out of a Live Set to the File

Browsers, and thereby

exported to disk as Live Clips .


Live Clips are a very powerful way of storing ideas, as they save not only the clip's Clip View settings, but also the corresponding track's instruments and effects chain. Live Clips in the

Browser can be previewed and added to any open Live Set just like sample les. In the Live

Set, they restore the original clip's creative options.

Using Live Clips, you can build your own personalized library of:

ˆ MIDI sequences with matching instruments and effects, e.g., a MIDI drum pattern with the associated Impulse and effects settings;

ˆ Different

regions or loops

referencing the same source le;

ˆ Variations of a sample loop created by applying

Warp Markers ,

clip envelopes


effects ;

ˆ Ideas that may not t your current project but could be useful in the future.

A Live Clip in the File



The Library


Live Library

acts as a repository of sounds that are available to all projects. In Live's

File Browsers, the Library is accessible through a

bookmark . Bookmarks can be selected by

clicking the Browser's title bar to open the Bookmark menu:


After installation the Library will already contain a few sound ideas, courtesy of Ableton. We encourage you to remove, change, augment or replace this content as you like.

Ableton provides additional Library content in the form of Live Packs which are available from installation CDs, DVDs or the Ableton website 2 . Owners of a boxed version of Live can enjoy the

Essential Instrument Collection , a multi-gigabyte library of meticulously sampled

and selected instruments.

Choosing the Library




Chapter 5

Managing Files and Sets

Various types of les are used in making music with Live, from those containing



audio , to more program-speci c les such as

Live Clips


Live Sets . This chapter will

explain everything you need to know about working with each of these le types in Live.

However, we should rst take a look at Live's File Browsers, through which most les arrive in the program.


Working with the File Browsers

Live offers three File Browsers which can be accessed via their selector buttons.


Each Browser can point to a different disk location, something that Live will remember across sessions. The Browser display is divided into columns corresponding to Name , Date, etc., which you can show and hide using the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu options.

The File Browser

Selector Buttons.

Columns can be reordered by drag and drop. To resize the columns, drag their divider lines horizontally.

Showing/Hiding Browser


Resizing Browser



Browsing the Folder Hierarchy

Each of the three File Browsers has its own root directory, shown at the top of the Browser, the contents of which are available for browsing below.


The Browser root can easily be changed: The topmost Browser item, called Parent Folder, will move the Browser root up one step up in the disk hierarchy when double-clicked.

Library Is this

Browser's Root.

You can also set the Browser root to any folder in the Browser by double-clicking the folder, or by selecting it and pressing Return .

The File Browser's

Parent Folder Item.

Moving through the les in Live's Browser can be done with either the mouse or the computer keyboard:

ˆ Scroll up and down in the Browser with

ˆ Close and open folders with and .

and .

ˆ Jump to the parent folder of any closed folder using . (Hint: If executed on a top-level folder, this is an alternative to selecting the Parent Folder item, and will move the Browser root up one level.)

To clean up the Browser, use (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) to access the context menu, and then select the Close All Folders option to show only top-level folders. Double-clicking a

A Folder in the Browser.


File Browser's selector button will do the same.



Browser Bookmarks

Using bookmarks, you can quickly save and recall frequently used folder locations in the

Browser. Clicking in the Browser's title bar will open the Bookmark menu.

The Bookmark menu lists a number of preset bookmarks such as Desktop and Library.

Selecting the latter will bring you to the

Live Library . To bookmark the current Browser root,

choose the Bookmark menu's topmost item, the Bookmark Current Folder command. Note that if the current Browser root is already bookmarked, the topmost option in the Bookmark menu will remove the bookmark. All File Browsers share the same set of bookmarks; a bookmark stored in one Browser can be retrieved from another.

The Bookmark Menu.


Searching for Files

Live's File Browsers are equipped with a search function for nding les. Clicking the

Search button in the upper right corner of the Browser or using the Ctrl F (PC) /

F (Mac) shortcut will open the Browser's Search Mode.


After entering your search terms, begin the search by clicking the Go button or pressing

Return on your computer keyboard.

Activating Browser

Search Mode.

Live will search the entire Browser root for your search terms. The results will include les that match all search terms, as opposed to any. For example, if you search for acoustic bass, the search will yield all acoustic bass sounds not all acoustic sounds and all bass sounds.

By default, the search function matches the entered criteria not only to any part of a le's name and suf x (e.g., .wav ) but also to any part of its le path. This means that a search for bass, for example, will yield not only les with names containing the word bass but also those located in folders with names containing the word bass.

Compressed sample metadata tags are also included in the search, making it possible to search for songs from a speci c album or artist, for example. Searching le paths and metadata can be deactivated with the Search In Path and Search In Metadata settings, available in the

Preferences' File/Folder tab. The names of MIDI tracks within multitrack MIDI les are also included in searches.

Live maintains an index of the hard disk so that it can deliver search results instantly. The index is kept up to date as you create, install, delete, rename and move les within Live it has no way of knowing, however, what you are doing outside of Live. If you have subsequently moved les using programs other than Live, the initial results of a search might be incomplete. The Go button's label will change to Rescan. If you can't nd a le in the search results, or need to be sure that the results are comprehensive, click the Rescan button (or Return once more), and Live will rebuild its index for the current Browser root.

The Search Field and Go



Automatic rescanning for new searches can be activated and deactivated in the File/Folder


While a search/rescan is going on, the adjacent search button is labeled Stop. Rescanning happens in the background, and you can keep making music while Live does its work, but you can also abort the search with this button if the disk traf c is bothering you.

You can go back to the Browser's folder view at any time by closing the search eld:

The Rescan Button.

If you select a le from the search results and then close the search eld, Live makes sure that le remains selected in the folder view, opening folders as required:

Closing the Search


... Locates the File Last

Selected Among the

Search Results.

For mouse-free searching, we suggest the following sequence of shortcuts:

1) Ctrl F (PC) / F (Mac) to open the search eld;




2) Type your search terms;

3) Return to Go ; to jump to the search results; and to scroll the search results;

6) Ctrl F (PC) / back to the folder view.

F (Mac) to close the search eld and go



Previewing Files

Live allows you to preview les in the File Browser before they are imported into the program.

Previewing is activated using the Browser's Preview switch.

Hint: You can preview les even when the Preview switch is not activated by pressing

Return .

Click on the les (or use and ) to select and listen to them. Live tries to preview les in sync with the current Live Set, so that you can better judge which samples will work for you.

The previewing volume can be adjusted using the mixer's Preview Volume knob.

The Preview Switch.

The Preview Volume



If your audio hardware offers multiple audio outs, you can privately audition, or cue, les via headphones connected to a separate pair of outs while the music continues to play.

To learn how to set up Live for cueing, please refer to the

relevant section

of the Mixing chapter.


Adding Clips from the Browser

There are several ways to add clips to a Live Set:

ˆ Files can be dragged and dropped from the File Browsers into tracks in the Session or

Arrangement View. Dragging and dropping material from the Browser into the space to the right of Session View tracks or below Arrangement View tracks will create a new track and place the new clip(s) there.

ˆ In the Session View, double-clicking or pressing

Return on a le in the Browser will automatically create a new track to the right of the other tracks and load it with the clip.

ˆ Files can be dropped directly into Live from the Explorer (Windows)/Finder (Mac).

Dropping a Clip to

Create a New Track.


File Maintenance in the Browser

You can use Live's File Browsers for all of the le maintenance activities that you are familiar with on your operating system.


ˆ Move les and folders by dragging and dropping, or by copying/cutting and pasting.

Copying, cutting and pasting can be done with either Edit menu commands or

keyboard shortcuts . A le can be moved from one File Browser to another by dragging it

over the target Browser's button.

ˆ Rename les and folders using the Edit menu's Rename command or the

Ctrl R

(PC) / R (Mac) shortcut. Cancel renaming with the Esc key.

ˆ Create folders by opening the context menu with selecting the Create Folder command.

(PC) / Ctrl (Mac), and then

ˆ Delete les and folders using the Edit menu's Delete command or your computer's or Delete key. Deleting items within Live moves them to the system trash; if necessary, you can recover items from the system trash via your computer's operating system.

Note that, while you can rename or delete entire

MIDI les

via the Browser, this is not possible with the individual MIDI tracks contained within them. This is also the case with the individual components of

Live Sets .


Hot-Swap Mode

In addition to the drag-and-drop method of loading les from the Browser, Live offers a

Hot-Swap Mode to save you mouse travel. Hot-Swap Mode establishes a temporary link between the Browser and, for example, a virtual instrument. While in Hot-Swap Mode, you can step through samples or presets to audition them in place, that is, within the instrument. Hot-swapping for presets is covered in the

Live Device Presets section . Let's go

through an example of hot-swapping samples:

Live's built-in


instrument features eight sample-player slots that can be lled by dropping samples into them. Alternatively, we can click the Hot-Swap button that appears as we move the mouse over a slot.

The Hot-Swap Button in an Impulse Slot.


Clicking the Hot-Swap button engages Hot-Swap Mode: Live's Hot-Swap Browser opens, and the Hot-Swap icon appears next to one of the les shown.

While in Hot-Swap Mode, pressing the Return key loads that le into the Impulse slot

(presumably while Impulse is playing incoming MIDI notes); pressing , then Return loads the next sample, and so on. Instead of using the keys, we can also double-click on a sample to load it. The link between the Browser and the instrument will be broken if a different view is selected, or if the Hot-Swap button is pressed again. Hot-swapping can also be cancelled with a press of the Esc key.

When Hot-Swap Mode is re-entered, the Hot-Swap Browser will try to reconstruct what you saw when you loaded the current le into the Impulse slot. If, for instance, the current le was found by searching for gretsch kick, the Hot-Swap Browser will come up with that search string in the search eld. In our example, we were hot-swapping for an empty

Impulse slot, so Live came up with something appropriate: a search for Drum Kick in


The Hot-Swap Browser.


Sample Files

A sample is a le that contains audio data. Live can play both uncompressed le formats

(WAV, AIF and Sound Designer II for Mac) and compressed le formats (MP3, AAC, Ogg

Vorbis, Ogg FLAC and FLAC).


A note on using Variable Bit Rate (VBR) les: Please install QuickTime for decoding purposes if you do not already have it on your system. It can be downloaded from the Apple website 1 .

As Live plays the samples directly from disk, you can work with a large number of (large) samples without running into RAM memory limitations.

Live can combine uncompressed mono or stereo samples of any length, sample rate or bit depth without prior conversion. To play a compressed sample, Live


the sample and writes the result to a temporary, uncompressed sample le. This usually happens quickly enough that you will be able to play the sample right away, without waiting for the decoding process to nish.

Note: When adding a long sample to a project, Live might tell you that it cannot play the sample before it has been analyzed. Please see the section on


for an explanation.


The Decoding Cache

To save computational resources, Live keeps the decoded sample les of compressed samples in the decoding cache, a sub-directory of the

Audio Record Folder . Maintenance

of the cache is normally not required, as Live automatically deletes older les to make room for those that are new. You can, however, impose limits on the cache size using the

File/Folder Preferences' Decoding Cache section. The cache will not grow larger than the

Maximum Cache Size setting, and it will always leave the Minimum Free Space on the hard disk. Pressing the nearby Cleanup button will delete all les not being used by the current

Live Set.

Preferences for the

Decoding Cache.




Analysis Files (.asd)

An analysis le is a little le that Live creates when a sample le is brought into the program for the rst time. The analysis le contains data gathered by Live to help optimize the stretching quality, speed up the waveform display and

automatically detect the tempo of long samples .

When adding a long sample to a project, Live might tell you that it cannot play the sample before it has been analyzed. This will not happen if the sample has already been analyzed

(i.e., Live nds an analysis le for this sample), or if the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences'

Auto-Warp Long Samples preference

has been deactivated. To prevent waiting for analysis of longer samples, you can

pre-analyze them

via the Browser, as we will see in a moment.

An analysis le can also store default clip settings for the sample:

Clicking the Clip View's

Save button

will store the current clip's settings with the sample's analysis le. The next time the sample is dragged into Live, it will appear with all its clip settings intact. This is particularly useful for retaining

Warp Marker settings

with the sample.

Storing default clip settings with the analysis le is different from

saving the clip as a Live

Clip .

The analysis le's name is the same as that of the associated sample, with an added .asd

extension. Live puts this analysis le in the same folder as the sample.

Samples that have an .asd le are displayed like this in the Browser.

Samples without an .asd le look like this.

The analysis les themselves do not appear in Live's Browsers.

Note that you can suppress the creation of .asd les by turning off the Create Analysis Files option in the File/Folder Preferences. All data (except for the default clip settings) can be recreated by Live if the .asd le is missing, however this will take some time for longer samples.



File Pre-Analysis

To avoid waiting for longer samples to be analyzed the rst time they are imported into Live, you may want to pre-analyze them.

To pre-analyze all the les contained in any folder in the Browser, use the (PC) / Ctrl

(Mac) context menu's Analyze Audio command. This process can also be cancelled via the context menu.


Exporting Audio

The File menu's Render to Disk command allows exporting Live's audio output as new samples. The resulting les can be used to burn an audio CD for listening purposes or a data CD, which could serve as a backup of your work or be used with other digital audio applications.

Which Signal Will Be Rendered?

The Render dialog's Rendered Track chooser offers several options for which signal to render:

ˆ Master the post-fader signal at Live's Master output. If you are monitoring the Master output, you can be sure that the rendered le will contain exactly what you hear.

ˆ All tracks the post-fader signal at the output of each individual track, including return tracks and MIDI tracks with instruments. Live will create a separate sample for each

The Rendered Track


CHAPTER 5. MANAGING FILES AND SETS 48 track. All samples will have the same length, making it easy to align them in other multitrack programs.

ˆ Individual tracks the post-fader signal at the output of the selected track.

When Render to Disk is invoked while the Arrangement View is up, Live will render the selected time range.

If you would like to render the current Arrangement loop, choose the Select Loop command from the Edit menu prior to choosing Render to Disk. If you choose Render to Disk while the Session View is up, Live will ask you to specify the length of the sample to be rendered.

The Render to Disk dialog will come up with a bars-beats-sixteenths eld where you can type in the desired length. Live will capture audio starting at the current play start position for whichever duration you have speci ed.

Rendering Options

The Render dialog offers several rendering options:

Rendering Options.


ˆ Normalize If this is activated, the sample resulting from the render process will be normalized (i.e., the le will be ampli ed so that the highest peak attains the maximum available headroom).

ˆ Render as Loop If this is activated, Live will create a sample that can be used as a loop. For example, suppose your Live Set uses a delay effect. If Render as Loop is on,

Live will go through the rendering process twice: The rst pass will not actually write samples to disk, but add the speci ed delay effect. As the second pass starts writing audio to disk, it will include the delay tail resulting from the rst pass.

ˆ File Type, Bit Depth, Sample Rate These options specify the type of sample to be created.

ˆ Create Analysis File If this is activated, Live will create an .asd le that contains analysis information about the rendered sample. If you intend to use the new sample in Live, check this option.

ˆ Convert to Mono If this is activated, Live will create a mono le instead of a stereo le.


MIDI Files

A MIDI le contains commands that prompt MIDI compatible synthesizers or instruments, such as Live's

Simpler , to create speci c musical output. MIDI les are exported by hardware

and software MIDI sequencers. Importing MIDI les into Live works differently than with samples: MIDI le data is incorporated into the Live Set, and the resulting MIDI clips lose all reference to the original le. MIDI les appear as folders in the File Browser; opening the folders gives you access to the le's individual tracks (also called voices or instruments ).



Exporting MIDI Files

Live MIDI clips can be exported as Standard MIDI les. To export a MIDI clip, use the File menu's Export Selected MIDI Clip command. This command will open a le-save dialog, allowing you to choose the location for your new MIDI le.

Exporting a MIDI le is different from

saving the clip as a Live Clip .


Live Clips

Individual clips can be exported to disk in the Live Clip format for easy retrieval and reuse in any project.

To save a clip from the open Live Set to disk, simply drag it to the File Browser and drop it into any folder. You can then type in a new name for the clip or con rm the one suggested by Live with Return .

A MIDI File and its

Tracks in the Browser.


Live Clips are a great way of storing your ideas for later use or development, as they save not only the original clip, including all its clip and envelope settings, but also the original track's devices. In order to recreate a Live Clip's device chain, either

import it

into a track containing no clips or devices, or drag it into the space in the Session or Arrangement View containing no tracks. Note that Live Clips that are imported into tracks already containing devices or clips will appear with their clip settings but not their devices. You could, for instance, drop a bass line Live Clip on an existing track that drives a bass instrument, rather than creating a new track.

Clips belonging to any Live Sets already on disk are also Live Clips. Please see the section on

merging Sets

for more on this topic.

Note that

storing default clip settings with a sample's analysis le

is different from saving a

Live Clip. The default clip in the .asd le annotates the sample with sensible default values

(warp, gain and pitch settings) so that it will play in a de ned way when it is added to a Set.

Live Clips, on the other hand, are stored on disk as separate musical ideas. For example, you could create a number of variations from the same audio clip by using different warp, pitch, envelope and effect settings, and store them all as separate Live Clips. In the Browser, you could then independently sort and preview these clips, even though they are all referring to the same source sample.

A Live Clip in the



Live Sets

The type of document that you create and work on in Live is called a Live Set.



Creating, Opening and Saving Sets

Use the File menu's New command to create new Live Sets, and the Open or Open Recent command to open existing ones. In the File Browser, you can double-click or press Return on a Live Set to open it.

The File menu's Save command saves the current Live Set exactly as it is, including all clips and settings.

You can also use the Save As command to save the current Live Set under a different name and/or in a different directory location, or the Save a Copy command to create a copy of the current Live Set with a new name and/or new directory location.


Merging Sets

Live makes it easy to merge Sets, which can come in handy when combining work from different versions or pieces. To add all tracks (except the return tracks) from one Live Set into another, drag the Set from the File Browser into the current Set, and drop it onto any track title bar or into the drop area next to or below the tracks. The tracks from the dropped

Set will be completely reconstructed, including their clips in the Session and Arrangement

View, their devices, and their automation.

Session View Drop Area for Importing Live Sets.

Arrangement View Drop

Area for Importing Live



If you prefer to import individual tracks from a Set, you can unfold the Live Set in the File

Browser just as if it were a folder.

You can now drag the individual tracks and drop them as described at the beginning of this section.

Of the three tracks contained in the Tango Set shown in the following gure, two contain

Session View clips. These can be accessed by unfolding the tracks:

Unfolding a Set to

Reveal its Tracks.

You can browse, preview and import Session View clips from the Set as if they had been stored as individual

Live Clips . This, basically, means that any Live Set can serve as a pool

of sounds for any other, suggesting creative reuse and crossover.

Revealing the Session

View Clips Contained in a Set.


Exporting Session Clips as New Sets

You can export a selection of Session View clips as a new Live Set by dragging them to the

File Browser. To export a Set, rst click and drag, or use the or Ctrl (PC) /


(Mac) modi ers, to select more than one Session View clip. Then, simply drag the clips to a folder in the File Browser, where you can either con rm Live's suggested name or type in one of your own.


Template Sets

Use the File/Folder Preferences' Template Save button to save the current Live Set as a template. Live will use these settings as the initialized, default state for new Live Sets. You can use this to pre-con gure:

ˆ Your multichannel input/output setup.

ˆ Preset devices, like EQs and Compressors, in every track.


Computer key mappings .


MIDI mappings .

The template Live Set, Template.als, is located in Live's Preferences folder and can be copied or deleted from there. The easiest way to locate this folder is to search your disk for



Viewing and Changing a Live Set's Sample References

To view a list of the samples referenced by the current Live Set, choose the Manage Files command from the File menu, click the Manage Set button, and then click the View Samples button. Live will display one line for each sample used by the Live Set, regardless of how many clips or instruments within the Live Set are using that sample. Here is what you can do:

ˆ Replace a sample Dragging a sample from the File Browser and dropping it on a line in the list makes the Live Set reference the new sample instead of the old one. For samples used in audio clips, Live retains the clip properties; the

Warp Markers

are kept if the new sample has the same or a greater length as the old sample and discarded otherwise.



Hot-swap samples

Using the Hot-Swap button at the left-hand side of each line, you can quickly browse through alternatives for the sample that is currently being referenced. This is like dragging samples here, only quicker.

Every Line in the Sample

Reference List is a Drop

Target for Samples.

The Sample Reference

List's Hot-Swap Button.

ˆ Edit a referenced sample using an external application (which can be chosen in the

Preferences' File/Folder tab). Clicking the Edit button will open the referenced sample in the external application. The sample will remain of ine as long as the Edit switch is engaged. For samples used in audio clips, the current set of Warp Markers is retained only if the sample length remains the same as before.

ˆ View a sample's location The Location column states if a sample is

missing , or if it

resides in the

Live Library , a


or somewhere else ( external ).

The Sample Reference

List's Edit Switch.

The Sample Reference

List's Location Column.


Live Projects

A Live Project is a folder containing Live-related les that belong together. Consider, for example, work on a piece of music: You start out with an empty Live Set; you record audio and thereby create new sample les; you drag in samples from collections; you save different

CHAPTER 5. MANAGING FILES AND SETS 56 versions of the Live Set along the way so that you can go back and compare. Perhaps you also save Live Clips or device presets that belong to this particular musical piece. The project folder for this Live Project will maintain all the les related to this piece of music and Live's File Manager will provide the tools you need to

manage them .


Projects and Live Sets

In Live, there is no need to manually create Projects, as they are automatically built for you.

When you save a Live Set under a new name or in a new folder location, Live will create a new project folder and store the Live Set there unless you are saving the Live Set into an existing Live Project. Let's look at an example to illustrate this process:

We have recorded some audio into a new Live Set. We now save the Live Set under the name Tango on the Desktop. Here is the result as displayed by the Live Browser:

The project folder ( Tango Project ) contains the Live Set ( Tango.als ) and a Samples folder, which in turn contains a Recorded folder with two samples in it. Note that the main window of Live now shows us that we are working on Project Tango.

Next, we record another track into our Project. We save the modi ed version of the Live

Set under a new name so that we do not lose the previous version. Accepting the Save As command's default suggestion, we store the new version of the song in the Tango Project folder.

A Live Set and its

Recordings in a Live

Project Folder.


The Tango Project now contains two Live Sets, and its Samples/Recorded folder contains the samples used by both of them.

And now for something completely different: We choose the File menu's New command and record a samba tune. As this has nothing to do with our tango dabblings, we decide to save it outside the Tango Project folder, say on the Desktop. Live creates a new project folder named Samba Project next to Tango Project.

A Second Version of the

Live Set Has Been

Added to the Project.

So far we have seen how to create Live Projects and save versions of Live Sets into them.

How do we open a Project? Simply by opening any of its contained Live Sets. Doubleclicking Tango with Piano.als opens that Set and the associated Project as displayed in the Live window's title bar.

Let's suppose that, in the course of our work on Tango with Piano.als, we get sidetracked:

A New Project Was

Added Next to Tango



The piece evolves towards something entirely different, and we feel that it should live in a

Project of its own. So, we Save As... under a new name and in some location outside the current Project, say the Desktop:

Note that the new project folder has no Samples folder (yet).

Electro with Piano.als is still referencing the piano sample from the original Tango Project. There is nothing wrong with this except for when the Tango Project is moved away or deleted; then Tango with

Piano.als will be missing samples. You can prevent this by

collecting samples . Even after

the fact, Live's

tools for searching missing samples

can help solve this problem.

There is actually no need to keep a Project's Live Set exactly one level below the Project itself. Within a project folder, you can create any number of sub-folders and move les around to organize them as desired.

In general, Live will do what it can to prevent situations such as orphaned (Project-less)

Live Sets (and Live Clips and presets) or nested project folders, which have the potential of confusing both the user and Live's le management tools. It cannot, however, control situations in which Sets or les are moved out of order and become disorganized via the

Explorer (Windows)/Finder (Mac).

A note for users of older Live versions: Live 6 does not allow overwriting Live Sets that were created by older versions to prevent compatibility problems. Instead, you will be requested to Save As... . Doing this will insure that the newly saved Live Sets reside in project folders.

A New Project Was

Added by Saving a Live

Set Outside its Original




Projects and Presets

By default, new instrument and effect presets are stored in the

Live Library , making them

available to any project. At times however, it may make more sense to save a preset with the current Project. You might, for example, want to keep a number of alternative master

EQ settings for a given piece. These EQ presets are speci c to the piece and of little use to other Projects. For this reason, every device in the Device Browser has a Current Project sub-folder. Simply drag a preset here after




Managing Files in a Project

Live's File Manager offers several convenient tools for managing Projects. Choose the

Manage Files command from the File menu, and then click the Manage Project button. The

File Manager will present you with an overview of the Project's contents and tools for:


locating samples that the Project is missing ;


collecting external samples into the Project ;


listing unused samples in the Project ;

Project-Speci c Presets

Appear Under Current

Project in the Device




packing a Project in Live Pack format ;


exporting the Project's contents to the Library .



The Live Library

The Live Library acts as a repository of sounds that are available to all Live Projects. In Live's

File Browsers, the Library is accessible through a bookmark:

Clips can be conveniently saved in

Live Clip format

for later reuse by dragging them from the open Live Set into the desired folder in the Library. Device presets are saved in the

Library by default (but you can also

save them with a Project ). Note that saving presets and

Live Clips in the Library does not mean that their referenced samples are also saved, but

Live offers

tools for collecting these samples

so as to make the Library self-contained.

Ableton delivers Library content that can serve as a starting point for creative exploration.

Content is shipped in the form of Factory Live Packs. Factory Live Packs are available from installation CDs, DVDs or the Ableton website 2 . To install a Factory Live Pack in the Library, double-click the Live Pack le (.alp), drag it into the Live main window, or locate it via the

File menu's Install Live Pack command.

A list of the currently installed Factory Live Packs is available from the Preferences' Products tab. Here you can select individual Live Packs from the list and click the Uninstall button to remove them.


Choosing the Library



You can of course also move, remove or rename any les or folders residing in the Library, whether you have put them there yourself or they have been installed from a Factory Live

Pack the Library is intended to be your own Live space.


Changing the Library Location, Upgrading a Live 5 Library

The Library can reside in any hard disk location of your choice. In the Preferences' File/Folder tab, you will nd the Library Path button, which brings up a dialog for selecting a Library folder.

When you have selected a path, Live will ask whether you want the contents of the current Library merged into the target location. Doing this can have a few different effects, depending on the new location:

ˆ If the target location is an empty folder, the contents of the current Library will be copied there.

ˆ If the target location is a Live 6-formatted Library, the contents of the current Library will be copied into the target location without altering what was already there.

ˆ If the target location is a Live 5-formatted Library, Live 6 will interpret this as your irreversible decision to upgrade and leave Live 5 behind. The folder structure of the

Live 5-formatted Library will be changed to match new Live 6 conventions; then the current Library's contents will be merged with the pre-existing contents. The resulting

Library will contain both the old les and the new les, but Live 5 will no longer be able to use it. This is only recommended if you are sure about abandoning Live 5 or have saved a backup copy of your Library elsewhere.

The Library Path




Importing Projects into the Library

You can merge the contents of a Live Project into the Library to make them available to any


1) Open any of the Project's Live Sets to make this Project the current Project.

2) Choose the Manage Files command from the File menu.

3) Click the Manage Project button.

4) Unfold the Export to Library section by clicking the arrow on its left-hand side, and click the Export button.

Note that, as an alternative to steps 1 through 3 above, you can (PC) / Ctrl on a project folder in the File Browser and select the Manage Project command.



Locating Missing Samples

If you load a Live Set, Live Clip or preset that references samples which are missing from their referenced locations, Live's Status Bar (located at the bottom of the main screen) will display a warning message. Clips and instrument sample slots that reference missing samples will appear marked Of ine, and Live will play silence instead of the missing samples.

Live's File Manager offers tools for repairing these missing links. Click on the Status Bar message to access these. (This is actually a shortcut for choosing the Manage Files command from the File menu, clicking the Manage Set button, and then clicking the Locate button found in the Missing Files section.) The File Manager will present you with a list of the missing les and associated controls.



Manual Repair

To manually x a broken sample reference, locate the missing sample in the File Browser, drag it over to the File Manager and drop it on the respective line in the list of missing les.

Note that Live will not care if the sample you offer is really the sample that was missing.

In fact, to Live, xing a broken sample reference is no different than

replacing a working sample reference .


Automatic Repair

Live offers a convenient automatic search function for repairing sample references. To send

Live on a search, click the Automatic Search section's Go button. To reveal detailed options for guiding the automatic search function, click the neighboring triangular-shaped button.

The File Manager's List of Missing Samples.


ˆ Search Folder includes a user-de ned folder, as well as any sub-folders, in the search.

To select the folder, click the associated Set Folder button.

ˆ Search Project includes this Set's

project folder

in the search.

ˆ Search Library includes the

Live Library

in the search.

ˆ Search nearby samples already found includes the neighborhood of samples that have already been xed, manually or automatically, in the search.

ˆ Require exact matches only samples that exactly match those missing will be accepted as candidates. Live will use ngerprints of header and audio data to test sample identity, somewhat slowing down the search.

ˆ Fully rescan folders guarantees all samples currently present will be considered, not only those currently known to

Live's index of the le system . Note that searching the

hard disk this way is much slower than using the information from the index.

Automatic Repair

Options in the File



For each missing sample, the automatic search function may nd any number of candidates.

Let's consider the following cases:

ˆ No candidate found you can either relax the search function's constraints and try again, or locate the sample manually.

ˆ One candidate found Live accepts the candidate and considers the problem solved.

ˆ Several candidates found Live requires your assistance: Click the Hot-Swap button

(i.e., the leftmost item in every line of the list of missing samples) to have the File

Browser present the candidates in

Hot-Swap Mode . You can now double-click the

candidates in the File Browser to load them, as the music plays if you like.


Collecting External Samples

To prevent a Live Set from containing

broken sample references , Live provides the option

of collecting (i.e., copying) them into the Set's

project folder . This is accomplished via the

File Manager:

ˆ Choose the Manage Files command from the File menu

ˆ Click the Manage Set button

ˆ Unfold the triangular-shaped fold button in the External Samples section.


Separated by location (the Library, other Projects and elsewhere sample collections from external drives, for example), the File Manager provides:

ˆ A sample count and the associated disk space used;

ˆ A Show button that will list the samples in the File Browser;

ˆ A Yes/No toggle for engaging or disengaging collection.

Note: Make sure to con rm your choices by clicking the File Manager's Collect and Save button!

Options for Collecting

External Samples.

The File Manager's

Collect and Save Button.


The File menu's Collect All and Save command is a shortcut that collects and saves all external samples referenced by the current Set, including those from the Library. Note that this can cause a lot of copying, especially when the Library contains large multisample collections!


Aggregated Locating and Collecting

Instead of having to deal with problems while you are in a creative mode, you might prefer putting aside some dedicated housekeeping time to solve all the problems in one go. Using

Live's File Manager, you can

nd missing samples


collect external samples

not only for the current Live Set but also for:

ˆ The Library choose the Manage Files command from the File menu; then click the

Manage Library button.

ˆ The

current Live Project

choose the Manage Files command from the File menu; then click the Manage Project button.

ˆ Any Live Project (PC) / Ctrl choose the Manage Project option.

(Mac) on a Project in the Live Browser, and

ˆ All Projects found in a speci c folder (and its sub-folders) (PC) / Ctrl on a folder in the File Browser, and choose the Manage Projects command.


ˆ Any selection of Live Sets, Live Clips, Live Presets (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the respective items in the File Browser, and choose the Manage Files command.

Remember to click the Collect and Save button at the bottom of the File Manager when you are nished. Otherwise your changes will be discarded.


Finding Unused Samples

Live's File Manager can nd the unused samples in a Project for you. You can then review them and decide to delete them individually or collectively. When searching for unused samples, Live will inspect each sample in a project folder, checking if it is referenced by any

CHAPTER 5. MANAGING FILES AND SETS 68 of the Live Sets, Live Clips or device presets in the Project. If not, the sample is regarded as unused even if other Projects or programs still use it.

To nd the unused samples for the currently open Project, choose the Manage Files command from the File menu, click the Manage Project button, and then click on the triangularshaped fold button next to Unused Samples to access a summary and the Show button.

Clicking the Show button makes the File Browser list the unused samples; there, you can

preview the samples

and delete them if you like.

Note you can also nd the unused samples from the Library: choose the Manage Files command from the File menu, then click the Manage Library button, and then see the

Unused Samples section.

Last but not least, you can nd the unused samples for all Projects found in a speci c folder

(and its sub-folders): (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on a folder in the File Browser and choose the Manage Projects command, then see the Unused Samples section. Live inspects each

Project individually and labels a sample unused even if another Projects in the same folder does use that sample. To prevent losses, you may want to rst collect the samples into their respective Projects and then purge the Projects of unused samples.


Packing Projects into Live Packs

Live's File Manager provides the option of packing a

Live Project

in Live Pack format for convenient archiving and transfer. To do this, choose the Manage Files command from the

File menu, click the Manage Project button, and then click on the triangular-shaped fold button next to Packing. Click the Create Live Pack button to bring up a le-select dialog where you can specify the name and location of a new Live Pack le. Creating a new Live

Pack from a Project does not affect the Project. If you want the Project deleted, you can delete it using the File Browser.

Live employs lossless compression techniques to minimize the le size of Live Packs. Depending on the audio materials in a Project, this saves up to 50 percent in le size.

To unpack a Live Pack (i.e., to restore the original Live Project), double-click the Live Pack le (.alp), drag it into the Live main window, or locate it via the File menu's Install Live Pack command. Live will then request that you choose a location for the new Project. Note:


Factory Live Packs (those provided by Ableton) will automatically be installed in the


Library .


Chapter 6

Arrangement View

The Arrangement View displays the Arrangement, which contains music laid out along a song timeline, like a multitrack tape.

The Arrangement View is a powerful editing tool that easily lets you combine and arrange

MIDI, loops, sound effects, video and complete pieces of music.

A Piece of Music in the

Arrangement View.




Live offers several fast methods for zooming and scrolling the Arrangement display:

6 1 2 3 4 5


1. To smoothly change the zoom level, click and drag vertically in the beat-time ruler at the top of the Arrangement View (you can also drag horizontally to scroll the display).

2. To zoom in and out around the current selection, use the computer keyboard's + and - keys. To pan the display, click and drag while holding the Ctrl Alt

(PC) / Alt (Mac) modi er.

3. The Arrangement Overview is like a bird's-eye view of your music. It always shows the complete piece, from start to end. The black rectangular outline represents the part of the Arrangement that is currently displayed in the Arrangement display below. To scroll the display, click within the outline and drag left or right; to zoom out and in, drag up and down.

4. To change the displayed part of the Arrangement, drag the outline's left and right edges.

5. To see a speci c part of the Arrangement in more detail, click on it in the Overview and drag downwards to zoom in around that part. Note that you can also drag

Navigating the

Arrangement View.

CHAPTER 6. ARRANGEMENT VIEW horizontally to scroll the display. Using this method, you can zoom and scroll to focus around any part of the Arrangement with just one mouse motion.

6. To have the Arrangement display follow the song position and scroll automatically, turn on the Follow switch, or use the Follow command from the Options menu.




There are a number of ways to control Live's transport with the computer keyboard and mouse:

1. You can start Arrangement playback by clicking the Control Bar's Play button, and stop playback by clicking the Stop button. Arrangement playback can also be toggled on and off by pressing the keyboard's space bar.

The Play and Stop

Buttons in the Control


2. You can set the Arrangement playback position by clicking anywhere along the

Arrangement to place the ashing insert marker. Double-clicking the Stop button will return the Arrangement play position to 1.1.1.

To continue playback from the position where it last stopped, rather than from the insert marker, hold down the modi er while pressing the space bar.

3. Clicking in the scrub area above the tracks will make playback jump to that point.

The size of these jumps is quantized according to the Control Bar's Quantization menu setting. While the mouse is held down over the scrub area, a portion of

Arrangement Playback

Begins from the Insert


CHAPTER 6. ARRANGEMENT VIEW the Arrangement the size of the chosen quantization setting will be repeatedly played. With small quantization settings, or a setting of None, this allows you to scrub through the music.


Scrubbing Arrangement


4. The song position can be adjusted numerically using the Control Bar's Arrangement Position elds.

The Arrangement Position elds show the song position in bars-beats-sixteenths.

To change the values:

ˆ Click and drag up or down in any of these elds.

ˆ Click and type a number, then hit

Return .

ˆ Click and decrement or increment the value with and .

5. Arrangement playback can be started at a particular point in one of your clips using the scrub area in the

Clip View .

6. Several Arrangement playback positions can be set using launchable

locators .

Note that any computer keyboard key or MIDI message can be mapped to the transport controls, as described in

the respective chapter .

Setting the Play Position in the Arrangement

Position Fields.



Launching the Arrangement with Locators


Locators can be set at any point in the Arrangement. This can be done in real time during playback or recording with the Set Locator button, and will be quantized according to the global quantization value set in the Control Bar. Clicking the Set Locator button when the

Arrangement is not playing will create a locator at the insert marker or selection start. You can also create a locator using the context menu in the scrub area above the tracks or via the

Insert menu. Note that the position of a new locator is quantized according to the Control

Bar's Quantization menu setting.

Using Locators to

Launch Play in the


You can recall (jump to) locators by clicking on them, or with the Previous and Next Locator buttons on either side of the Set button. Locators can also be recalled using

MIDI/key mapping . Note that locator recall is subject to quantization. Double-clicking a locator will

select it and start Arrangement playback from that point.

After jumping to the rst or last locator in the Arrangement, the Previous and Next Locator buttons will jump to the Arrangement start or end, respectively.

Locators can be moved by clicking and dragging, or with the arrow keys on your computer keyboard.

The Locator Controls.


To name a locator, select it by clicking its triangular marker, and choose the Rename Edit menu command (or use the Ctrl R (PC) / R (Mac) shortcut). Locators can be removed with your computer's button.

or Delete key, the Insert menu, or the Delete Locator

Note that the locator (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu offers a quick way of

looping playback

between two locators with its Loop To Next Locator command.

The locator (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu's Set Song Start Time Here command can be used to overrule the default play starts at selection rule: when this command is checked, play starts at the locator.


The Arrangement Loop

The Control Bar's Loop


For Live to repeatedly play a section of the Arrangement, activate the Arrangement loop by clicking on the Control Bar's Loop switch.

The Loop Start Fields

(Left) and the Loop

Length Fields (Right).

You can set loop length numerically using the Control Bar elds: The left-hand set of elds determines the loop start position, while the right-hand set determines loop length.

The Edit menu's Loop Selection command accomplishes all of the above at once: It turns the Arrangement loop on and sets the Arrangement loop brace to whatever timespan is selected in the Arrangement.


The loop brace can be selected with the mouse and manipulated with commands from the computer keyboard:


ˆ and nudge the loop brace to the left/right by the current

grid setting .

and shift the loop brace left/right in steps the size of its length.

ˆ The

Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi er used with the arrow left and right keys shortens or lengthens the loop by the current

grid setting .

ˆ The

Ctrl (PC) / halves the loop length.

(Mac) modi er with the arrow up and down keys doubles or

You can also drag the Arrangement's loop brace: Dragging the left and right ends sets the loop start and end points; dragging between the ends moves the loop without changing its length.

The loop's (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu's Set Song Start Time Here command can be used to overrule the default play starts at selection rule: when this command is checked, play starts at the loop start.

The Arrangement's Loop



Moving and Resizing Clips

A piece of audio or MIDI is represented in the Arrangement View by a clip sitting at some song position in one of Live's

tracks .


Moving a Clip.

Dragging a clip moves it to another song position or track.

Dragging a clip's left or right edge changes the clip's length.


Selecting Clips and Time

With the exception of moving and resizing clips, Arrangement editing in Live is selectionbased: You select something using the mouse, then execute a menu command (e.g., Cut,

Copy, Paste, Duplicate) on the selection. This editing method lends itself to an ef cient division of labor between the two hands: One hand operates the mouse or trackpad, while the other hand issues the keyboard shortcuts for the menu commands. The menu eventually is only used as a reference for looking up the keyboard shortcuts.

Here is how selection works:

ˆ Clicking a clip selects the clip;

ˆ Clicking into the Arrangement background selects a point in time, represented by a ashing insert mark;

ˆ Clicking and dragging selects a timespan.

ˆ To access the time within a clip for editing, unfold its track by clicking the next to the track name.


Changing a Clip's



Notice that you can adjust the height of the unfolded track by dragging the split line below the Unfold Track button. Clicking and dragging in the waveform display below the clip's horizontal strip allows you to select time within the clip. Note that you can actually unfold all of your tracks at once by holding down the Alt (PC) / Alt

(Mac) modi er when clicking the button.

ˆ Clicking on the loop brace is a shortcut for executing the Edit menu's Select Loop command, which selects all material included within the loop.

ˆ Holding tracks.

while clicking extends an existing selection in the same track or across

Adjusting an Unfolded

Track's Height.


Using the Editing Grid

To ease editing, the cursor will snap to grid lines that represent the meter subdivisions of the song tempo. The grid can be set to be either zoom-adaptive or xed.

You can set the width of both zoom-adaptive and xed grid lines using the


(PC) /

(Mac) context menu available in either the Arrangement View track area or the

Clip View display.

Clicking the Loop Brace to Select the Loop for



The following shortcuts to Options menu commands allow quickly working with the grid:

ˆ Use

Ctrl 1 (PC) / 1 (Mac) to narrow the grid, doubling the density of the grid lines (e.g., from eighth notes to sixteenth notes).

ˆ Use

Ctrl 2 (PC) / 2 (Mac) to widen the grid, halving the density of the grid lines (e.g., from eighth notes to quarter notes).

ˆ Use

Ctrl 3 (PC) / 3 (Mac) to toggle triplets mode; this would, for instance, change the grid from eighth notes to eighth note triplets.

ˆ Use

Ctrl 4

(PC) /


(Mac) to turn grid snapping on or off. When the grid is off, the cursor does not snap to meter subdivisions.

ˆ Use

Ctrl 5

(PC) /


(Mac) to toggle xed and adaptive grid modes.

The current spacing between adjacent grid lines is displayed in the lower right corner of the

Arrangement View or Clip View.


Using the ...Time Commands

Whereas the standard commands like Cut, Copy and Paste only affect the current selection, their ... Time counterparts act upon all tracks by inserting and deleting time.

ˆ Cut Time cuts a selection of time from the Arrangement, thereby moving any audio or MIDI on either side of the cut area closer together in the timeline. This command reduces the length of your Arrangement by whatever amount of time you have cut.

Note that the Cut Time command affects all tracks, not only the selected ones.

A Gap Between Clips

Has Been Deleted by

First Selecting It, Then

Executing the Delete

Time Command.


ˆ Paste Time places copied time into the Arrangement, thereby increasing its overall duration by the length of time you have copied.

ˆ Duplicate Time places a copy of the selected timespan into the Arrangement, thereby increasing its overall duration by the length of the selection.

ˆ Delete Time deletes a selection of time from the Arrangement, thereby moving any audio or MIDI on either side of the deleted area closer together in the timeline. This command reduces the length of your Arrangement by the amount of time you have deleted. Note that the Delete Time command affects all tracks, not only the selected ones.

ˆ Insert Silence inserts as much empty time as is currently selected into the Arrangement, before the selection.


Splitting Clips

The Split command can divide a clip or isolate part of it.

To split a clip in two halves, do the following:

1. Unfold the track;

2. In the waveform or MIDI display, click at the position where you want the clip to be split;

3. Execute the Split command.

To isolate a part of a clip, do the following:

1. Unfold the track;

2. In the waveform or MIDI display, drag a selection over the part of the clip you want to isolate;

3. Execute the Split command to divide the original clip into three pieces.



Consolidating Clips

The Consolidate command replaces the material in the Arrangement View selection with one new clip per track. This is very useful for creating structure.

The Result of Splitting a


Suppose you have, by editing or improvising, come up with a layout of clips that sound good in

Arrangement Loop mode . Selecting that part of the Arrangement, for instance by

using the Edit menu's Select Loop command, and then executing the Consolidate command creates a new clip that can be treated as a loop. You can now, for instance, drag the clip edges to create more repetitions. You might also want to drag the new loop via the Session

View selector into a Session View slot for real-time arrangement purposes.

Consolidating Several

Clips Into a New Clip.


When operating on audio clips, Consolidate actually creates a new sample for every track in the selection. The new samples are essentially recordings of the time-warping engine's audio output, prior to processing in the track's effects chain and mixer. Hence, the new sample incorporates the effects of in-clip attenuation, time-warping and pitch shifting, and of the respective

clip envelopes ; however, it does not incorporate the effects. To create a

new sample from the post-effects signal, please use the

Render to Disk command .

The new samples can be found in the current Set's

Project folder , under Samples/Processed/

Consolidate. Until the Set is saved, they remain at the location speci ed by the


Folder .


Chapter 7

Session View

In Live's

Arrangement View , as in all traditional sequencing programs, everything happens

along a xed song timeline. For a number of applications, this is a limiting paradigm:

ˆ When playing live, or when DJing, the order of pieces, the length of each piece and the order of parts within each piece is generally not known in advance.

ˆ In the theatre, sound has to react to what happens on stage.

ˆ When working along with a piece of music or a lm score, it can be more ef cient and inspirational to start with an improvisation, which is later re ned into the nal product.

This is exactly what Live's unique Session View is for.



Session View Clips


1. Each clip in the Session View has a triangular button at the left edge. Click the button with the mouse to launch clip playback at any time, or pre-select a clip by clicking on its name, and launch it using the computer's Return key. You can then move on to the neighboring clips using the arrow keys. Please refer the manual section on

clip launch settings

for details on how to customize this behavior.

2. Click on a square Clip Stop button to stop a running clip, either in one of the track's slots, or in the Track Status eld below the Session grid.

Clips can be

controlled remotely

with the computer keyboard or a MIDI controller. They can even be mapped to MIDI note ranges so that they play chromatically.

Clips can be played at any time and in any order. The layout of clips does not predetermine their temporal succession; the Session grid offers random access to the clips it contains.

Notice that, even if you stop playback for a Session View clip, the Play button in the Control

Bar will remain highlighted, and the Arrangement Position elds will continue running.

These elds keep a continuous ow of musical time going, so that you can always know your position in song time during a live performance or while

recording into the Arrangement ,

regardless of what your individual Session clips are doing.

You can always return the Arrangement Position elds to 1.1.1 and stop playback for the entire Live Set by pressing the Control Bar's Stop button twice.

The Controls for a

Session View Clip.



Tracks and Scenes

Each vertical column, or

track , can play only one clip at a time. It therefore makes sense to

put a set of clips that are supposed to be played alternatively in the same columns: parts of a song, variations of a drum loop, etc.


The Arrangement

Position Fields and the

Stop Button.

For convenient access to more clips at once, you can resize Session View tracks by clicking and dragging at the edges of their title bars. Tracks can be narrowed this way so that only

Clip Launch buttons and essential track controls are visibile.

Resized Session View


The horizontal rows are called scenes. The Scene Launch buttons are located in the rightmost column, which represents the

Master track . To launch every clip in a row simultaneously,

click on the associated Scene Launch button. This can be very useful in organizing the live performance of a song with multiple parts.

A Scene in the Session



The scene below a launched scene will automatically be selected as the next to be launched unless the Select Next Scene on Launch option in the Launch Preferences is set to Off.

This allows you to trigger scenes from top to bottom without having to select them rst.

Computer keys or a MIDI controller can be used to

launch scenes and scroll between them .

Scenes can be renamed using the Edit menu's Rename command. One can quickly rename several scenes by executing the Rename command and using the computer's Tab key to move from one scene to the next.

Each scene can actually store a tempo setting as part of its name, so that it changes the project tempo upon launch; this is accomplished by selecting the scene and renaming it with a viable tempo (e.g., 96 BPM ). Any tempo can be used, as long as it is within the range allowed by Live's Tempo control (20 999 BPM).

This Scene Will Change the Tempo to 96 BPM.


The Track Status Fields

You can tell a track's status by looking at the Track Status eld just above the active track's mixer controls:

The pie-chart icon represents a

looping Session clip . The number to the right of the circle

is the loop length in beats, and the number at the left represents how many times the loop has been played since its launch.

A Track Playing a

Looping Session Clip...


The progress-bar icon represents a one-shot (non-looping) Session clip. The value displays the remaining play time in minutes:seconds.

... A One-shot Session


A microphone icon appears in an audio track that is set to

monitor its input . A keyboard

icon appears in a MIDI track under these same circumstances.

... Monitoring the


If the track is playing clips from the Arrangement, a miniature display representing the

Arrangement clips being played appears.

... Playing the



Setting Up the Session View Grid

Clips arrive in the Session View by being

imported from the File Browsers

or through

recording .

Dropping Multiple Clips

Into the Session View.


If you are dragging multiple clips into the Session View, Live defaults to arrange them vertically, in one track. Hold down Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) prior to dropping them so as to lay the clips out in one scene.

Clips can be moved around the Session grid by drag-and-drop. To move several clips at once, select them by using the - or Ctrl (PC) / (Mac)-modi er before dragging. You can also click into an empty slot and rubber-band select from there. Scenes can be reordered by drag-and-drop as well.


Select on Launch

By default, clicking a Session View clip's Launch button also selects the clip, since you will typically want the Clip View to show the newly launched clip. However, some power-users don't want the current focus (e.g., a return track's devices) to disappear just because a clip has been launched, especially when starting a clip in order to try it with the return track device settings. Turn off the Select on Launch option from the Launch Preferences if you prefer the view to remain as is when you launch clips or scenes.


Removing Clip Stop Buttons

You can add and remove Clip Stop buttons from the grid using the Edit menu's Add/Remove

Stop Button command. This is useful for pre-con guring the scene launch behavior: If, for instance, you don't want scene 3 to affect track 4, remove the scene 3/track 4 Stop button.

Slots Without Clip Stop




Editing Scenes

There are a number of useful commands in the Edit and Insert menus that apply to scenes:

ˆ Cut Scenes cuts out scenes with selected slots from the Session View, thereby reducing the total number of scenes. Please note that the Cut Scenes command affects all tracks, not only those containing selected slots.

ˆ Paste Scenes works like Paste, but inserts blank scenes before pasting. Live inserts enough scenes to t the material from the clipboard. The new scenes will be inserted behind the current selection.

ˆ Duplicate Scenes works like Duplicate, but inserts blank scenes before pasting. Live inserts enough scenes to t the material from the clipboard.

ˆ Delete Scenes deletes all scenes with selected slots from the Session View, thereby reducing the total number of scenes. Please note that the Delete Scenes command affects all tracks, not only those containing selected slots.

ˆ Insert Scene inserts an empty scene below the current selection.

ˆ Capture and Insert Scene inserts a new scene below the current selection, places copies of the clips that are currently running in the new scene and launches the new scene immediately with no audible interruption. This command is very helpful when developing materials in the Session View. You can capture an interesting moment as a new scene and move on, changing clip properties and trying clip combinations.


Recording Sessions into the Arrangement

Your Session View playing can be recorded into the Arrangement, allowing for an improvisational approach to composing songs and scores.

The Control Bar's Record


When the Record button is on, Live logs all of your actions into the Arrangement:

ˆ the clips launched;


ˆ changes of those

clips' properties ;

ˆ changes of the mixer and the devices' controls, also known as

automation .

To nish recording, press the Record button again, or stop playback.


The Arrangement


To view the results of your recording, bring up the Arrangement View. As you can see, Live has copied the clips you launched during recording into the Arrangement, in the appropriate tracks and the correct song positions. Notice that your recording has not created new audio data, only clips.

The Session clips and the Arrangement clips in one track are mutually exclusive: Only one can play at a time. When a Session clip is launched, Live stops playing back the Arrangement in favor of the Session clip. Clicking a Clip Stop button causes the Arrangement playback to stop, which produces silence.

The Back to

Arrangement Button.

Arrangement playback does not resume until you explicitly tell Live to resume by clicking the Back to Arrangement button, which lights up to remind you that what you hear differs from the Arrangement.

The Stop All Clips



To disable all Arrangement clips simultaneously, click on the Stop All Clips button in the

Master Track Status eld. The clips in the Arrangement and in the Session View exist independently from one another, which makes it easy to improvise into the Arrangement over and over again until it's right.

Furthermore, you can move clips not only within the Session grid, but also from the Session

View to the Arrangement and vice versa by using Copy and Paste, or by dragging clips over the or selectors.

When pasting material from the Arrangement into the Session View, Live attempts to preserve the temporal structure of the clips by laying them out in a matching top-to-bottom order. Moving through the scenes from the top down, you can reconstruct the original arrangement. This is useful for taking a composed piece of music back to the improvisational stage.


Chapter 8

Clip View

The Clip View is where clip properties can be set and adjusted.

The Clip View is opened by clicking on the Clip Overview or double-clicking a clip in the

Session or Arrangement View.

The Clip View.


Clicking the Clip

Overview Opens the

Clip View.

In the Session View, clicking on a Track Status Field opens the Clip View for editing the clip that is currently running in the track.

The properties of more than one clip can be edited collectively in the Clip View as a multiselection. To create a multi-selection, click and drag to highlight the clips, or select one clip and use the Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) or modi ers to add to your selection. The properties available in the Clip View for a multi-selection depend on the contents of the clips; generally only properties which the clips have in common are shown.

Clicking a Session View

Track Status Field Opens the Clip View.

Controls such as sliders and knobs behave slightly differently when they are part of a multiselection. If the clips in a multi-selection have differing values for any particular knob or slider parameter (clip transposition, for example), the range of these values will be displayed and can be adjusted with the control. Dragging the knob or slider to its absolute maximum or minimum value will make the clips' settings thereafter identical, adjustable as a single value.

MIDI clips and audio clips in Live have different sets of properties and, consequently, do not share the same set of Clip View controls. The two types of clips do have the following

Creating a Clip


CHAPTER 8. CLIP VIEW 94 in common:

ˆ The Clip box contains basic clip settings.

ˆ The Envelopes box and the Envelope Editor manage the clip's envelopes, which are used to modulate the effects, mixer, and clip or MIDI controls. Clip envelopes and their associated Clip View components are covered in detail in a

separate manual chapter .

ˆ The Launch box controls clip launch behavior and, as such, only appears for Session

View clips. Setting Session View clip launch properties is covered in detail in a

separate manual chapter .

Audio clips have these additional Clip View controls:

ˆ The Sample Display toggles with the Envelope Editor on the right-hand side of the

Clip View, and controls Live's

sample-warping capabilities


clip playback settings .

ˆ The Sample box contains settings pertaining to how the clip plays its sample and displays it in the Sample Display.

MIDI clips have these additional Clip View controls:

ˆ The MIDI Editor toggles with the Envelope Editor on the right-hand side of the Clip

View, and allows

editing and creating MIDI notes and velocities .

ˆ The Notes box contains settings pertaining to how Live plays a MIDI clip and what it displays in the MIDI Editor.

The Clip View for an

Audio Clip.


To make best use of the screen real estate, you can show or hide the Launch, Envelopes, and Sample or MIDI boxes using the Clip View Box selector in the Clips box. You can also toggle between the Sample Display/MIDI Editor and the Envelope Editor by clicking in the title bars of the Sample/Notes box and the Envelopes box, respectively.

The Clip View for a MIDI


The Clip View Box

Selector Shows and

Hides Various Clip View




The Clip Box



Clip Activator Switch

Using this switch, you can deactivate a clip so that it does not play when launched in the

Session View or during Arrangement playback. Clips can also be activated/deactivated directly from the Session or Arrangement View with their menus.

(PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context


Clip Name and Color

The Clip Name eld allows naming the clip. By default, a clip's name matches the name of the le it references but, in general, the clip name is independent from the le name.

Renaming an audio clip does not rename the referenced sample le. To rename a le, select it in Live's File Browsers, and then choose the Edit menu's Rename command.

The Clip Color chooser allows choosing a clip color.

The Clip Box.



Clip Signature

Using the Clip Signature elds, you can specify the signature of an audio clip's sample. This setting is relevant only for display; it does not affect sample playback.



The Clip Groove chooser selects the type of groove used for the clip.

Swing 8, for example, applies an 8th-note groove.

The Global Groove control de nes the amount of the groove for every clip in the Live Set.

So, how does it work? Imagine a simple one-bar MIDI clip that has a time signature of 4/4.

Our MIDI clip is made up of 8th notes eight of them that play either on or between each of the four beats. With a Clip Groove setting of Swing 8, the timing of our one-bar clip becomes a bit like a rubber-band that is pinned down at each beat but exible in between.

The 8th notes that fall between beats can shift slightly forward. With a Global Groove setting of 50, for example, the notes will wait until 2/3 of the way through the beat to play, where an 8th-note triplet would normally fall.

16th- and 32nd-note swing works similarly, but on a smaller scale: Every other note shifts forward, toward the nearest 16th- or 32nd-note triplet position.

Returning to our rubber-band analogy, we can see that Swing 8 can actually affect more than just 8th notes. Actually, any notes that do not lie directly on a beat will be affected when the rubber-band is stretched including 16th and 32nd notes. By the same token,

Swing 16 (where our rubber-band is anchored to positions just an 8th note apart) can affect

32nd notes.

Groove can be applied to both MIDI clips and audio clips. Applying groove to audio clips does require that the Warp switch be activated and a

Warp Mode

other than Re-Pitch selected. If an audio clip is in Beats Mode, the Transients setting must be greater than or equal to the Clip Groove chooser's swing setting (e.g., with a Transients setting of 1/16,

Swing 8 and Swing 16 can be used, but not Swing 32).

The Control Bar's Global

Groove Control.


Because of this feature's dependency on note timing, we recommend that you


MIDI clips prior to applying groove provided you want predictable results. For audio clips, any swing contained within the original sample can be removed by

appropriately setting

Warp Markers

prior to applying the arti cial swing of the Groove setting.


Clip Offset and Nudging

To jump within a playing clip in increments the size of the global quantization period, you can use the Nudge buttons in the Clip box.

These buttons can also be

mapped to keys or MIDI controllers . In MIDI Map Mode, a scrub

control will appear between the Nudge buttons and can be assigned to a rotary encoder wheel for continuous scrubbing.

Using the Nudge

Buttons to Jump

Through a Clip.

With quantization set to values less than one bar, it is easy to offset clip playback from Live's master clock by launching clips, using the Nudge buttons or

scrubbing within the clip .

The Scrub Control in

MIDI Map Mode.


When clip play is offset from global time in this manner, a little dot will illuminate in the

Sample Display or MIDI Editor to display the offset start position.

Clip Offset from Global

Time as Shown in the

Clip's Display.

The current offset as indicated by the dot can be made permanent by moving the start marker to the dot's position and this is exactly what the Keep button, found just beneath the Nudge buttons, does. Or, the current offset can be undone using the Revert button.

Using the Keep and

Revert Buttons to

Manage Meter Offset.



The Sample Box


Warp Controls


When the Warp switch is off, Live plays the sample at its original, normal tempo, irrespective of the current Live Set tempo. This is useful for samples that have no inherent rhythmic structure: percussion hits, atmospheres, sound effects, spoken word and the like. Turn the Warp switch on to play rhythmically structured samples (such as sample loops, music recordings, complete music pieces, etc.) in sync with the current song tempo.

The Sample Box Warp


The Control Bar's Tempo


To verify this, note that a warped sample's speed follows the tempo as you change the

Control Bar's Tempo control.

Live offers a number of controls to adjust the time-warping engine for

optimal stretching quality . For accurate warping, Live needs to know the sample's metrical structure. For

properly prepared loops, tempo and duration are calculated automatically; most of the time this is accurate enough that the sample is immediately ready for use in Live. For other samples, you may have to

provide some hints . We will examine these topics thoroughly in


Tempo Control and Warping




Sample Loop/Region and Display

Zooming and Scrolling


Zooming and scrolling in the Sample Display work much like they do in the


View . Using the zoom/scroll area in the top half of the waveform, you can click and drag

vertically to smoothly change the zoom level, and horizontally to scroll the display.

The Clip Zoom/Scroll


The Clip Overview provides additional zoom/scrolling functionality. It always shows the complete clip, from start to end. The black rectangular outline represents the part of the clip that is currently displayed. You can click within the outline and drag horizontally or vertically to scroll or zoom.

To have the Sample Display follow the play position and scroll automatically, turn on the

Follow switch, or use the Follow command from the Options menu.

The Clip Overview.


Playing and Scrubbing Clips

The section of the sample that plays when a clip is launched is set with the clip's region and

loop controls . An unlooped clip will play from its start marker to its end marker or until it is


The Follow Switch.

These markers can be clicked and dragged to new positions in the Sample Display, or they can be moved with the and keys. To move the entire clip region (i.e., both the start and end markers), select the start marker, hold down , and use the arrow keys.

The Clip Start and End


You can also adjust the clip start and end numerically using the respective value elds to the left of the Sample Display. For warped clips, these elds display values as bars-beats-

Using Clip Start and End

Controls to Change Clip


CHAPTER 8. CLIP VIEW 103 sixteenths; for unwarped clips, the display is in minutes-seconds-milliseconds. Notice that you can use the Set buttons here to place the markers during playback. Setting markers this way is quantized according to global quantization.

Clicking in the scrub area in the lower half of the waveform or above the beat-time ruler will make clip playback jump to that point.

The size of this jump is quantized by the global quantization setting, which can be quickly changed using the Ctrl 6 (PC) / 6 (Mac), 7 , 8 , 9 and 0 shortcuts. While the mouse is held down over the scrub area, a portion of the clip the size of the chosen quantization setting will be repeatedly played. With small quantization settings, or a setting of None, this allows you to scrub through the music.

The Clip Scrub Area.

Looping Clips

To have the clip play as a (potentially in nite) loop, turn on the Loop switch. Note that the Warp switch must be activated before the Loop switch is accessible, as unwarped clips cannot be looped.

You can click and drag to change the position and length of the loop brace in the Sample

Display, or you can type exact values into the Loop Length and Position elds to the left of the display.


The loop brace can be selected with the mouse and its position changed with commands from the computer keyboard:


ˆ and nudge the loop brace to the left/right by the current

grid setting .

and shift the loop brace left/right in steps the size of its length.


Ctrl (PC) / current

grid setting .


Ctrl (PC) /

(Mac) shortens or lengthens the loop brace by the

(Mac) doubles or halves the loop length.

Regardless of the position of the loop brace, clip play upon launch will begin at the position marked by the start marker, which means you can set up the clip to run into a loop.

The Clip Loop Controls.

The Loop Length and Position elds are equipped with Set buttons, which can be used to create loops spontaneously during playback:

Setting the Clip to Run

Into a Loop.


ˆ Playing the clip and then clicking the Set Loop Position button moves the beginning of loop to the current playback position (rounded to the global quantization setting) and engages the loop. Then, clicking the Set Loop Length button moves the end of the loop to the current playback position. This lets you capture the music in a loop on the y.

ˆ While the loop is still off, you can click the Set Loop Length button to set the loop to end at the current playback position without changing its preset length. This simultaneously activates looping.

The Set buttons, the Loop switch, the loop brace and the start/end markers can all be

mapped to MIDI controls . You could, for example, use a rotary encoder to move the loop

through a sample in increments the size of the chosen quantization interval.


Clip Pitch and Gain

The Transpose control shifts the clip pitch in semitones.

The Detune eld ne-tunes the clip in cents (100 cents = one semitone).

The Clip Gain slider, calibrated in dB, changes the clip gain.

The Clip Pitch and Gain




Saving Default Clip Settings with the Sample


The Save Default Clip button saves the current clip's settings with the sample. Once saved,

Live will restore the current clip settings whenever you drop the sample into a Live Set. This is especially useful with regards to the Warp Markers, which have to be set correctly for

Live to play long les in sync. Note that you can use the Save button without affecting any existing clips; Save just saves default settings for future clips using this sample.

The clip data becomes part of the

analysis le

that accompanies the sample.

Note that storing default clip settings with the sample is different from saving the clip as a

Live Clip , which also saves devices and device settings.

The Save Default Clip



High Quality Interpolation

If the High Quality switch is on, Live uses an advanced sample-rate conversion algorithm that provides better sound quality at the expense of a higher

CPU load . Samples processed

with the Hi-Q algorithm generate less distortion, particularly at high frequencies, when transposing a sample and/or matching an imported sample's sampling rate to the system's sampling rate. Note: This feature involves only sample rate conversion, not the timestretching quality. There are dedicated controls for

adjusting the stretching properties .

The High Quality Switch.



Clip Start and End Fades


The Clip Fade switch, when enabled, applies a short fade to the clip start and end to avoid clicks at the clip edges. The length of the fade is signal-dependent and ranges from 0-4 milliseconds.

The Clip Fade Switch.


Clip RAM Mode

If the RAM Mode switch is on, Live is loading the audio referenced by the clip into the computer's memory rather than reading it from disk in real time. RAM Mode can help with these problems:

ˆ Your computer's hard disk is too slow to deliver audio for as many tracks as desired in real time. For more information on disk-related problems, please refer to the

respective section .

ˆ You are experiencing audio dropouts when playing clips in

Legato Mode .

Use RAM Mode with care, as RAM is usually a scarce resource. Your computer is using the hard disk for swapping out RAM contents that have not been used in a while. The more clips you are running in RAM Mode, the higher the likelihood for them to be swapped out. Live can handle disk overloads more gracefully than swapped-out audio arriving late:

Disk overloads result in unwanted mutes, whereas RAM overload results in both mutes and rhythmical hiccups.

The RAM Mode Switch.



Reversing Samples


This function creates a new sample by reversing the sample referenced by the current clip. It then reapplies the old clip's settings (according to some rules that we will explain in a moment), and replaces the original sample with the reversal in the Clip View. The new sample can be found, after saving the Live Set, in the Set's

Project folder , under

Samples/Processed/Reverse. Until the Set is saved, new samples remain at the location speci ed by the

Temporary Folder .

There are a few rules for the reversing process. First, any

Warp Markers

will remain xed to their positions in the sample. This means that a Warp Marker on the downbeat of the second bar of a clip will end up on the downbeat of the second-to-last bar after reversal.

Clip loop/region settings are similarly ipped. Second,

clip envelopes

remain xed to their position in time. Therefore, a mixer volume envelope that lowers the volume of the rst half of a clip will continue to do exactly that after reversal.

The reversal process is quite fast (about as fast as copying), but for very long samples it might take a little time. When this is the case, the Status Bar in the lower portion of the Live screen will give you a progress display, and further actions in the program will be temporarily locked

(though running clips will continue to play). You can play the reversed clip and perform other actions in the program as soon as Live begins to draw the new waveform into the Sample

Display. Once a sample is reversed, a link to the reversed sample will be maintained until the you quit the program, and reversing the same clip again (or a copy) will be instantaneous.

It is not recommended that you reverse clips in a live performance situation, as a slight glitch can sometimes occur while Live reapplies the warp and loop settings.

The Reverse Button.


Cropping Samples

The Sample Display's (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu includes the Crop Sample command. This function creates, similarly to the

Reverse function , a new sample by copying

CHAPTER 8. CLIP VIEW 109 the sample currently in use - but only the excerpt that is actually used plus a 50 millisecond safety margin on both ends. The new sample can be found, after saving the Live Set, in the


Project folder , under Samples/Processed/Crop. Until the Set is saved, the new sample

remains at the location speci ed by the

Temporary Folder .


Replacing and Editing the Sample

To replace the sample referenced by the clip with a different one, drop the new sample directly from the File Browser into the Clip View. Clip settings like pitch and volume will be retained. The Warp Markers will be retained only if the new sample has the exact same length as the old sample.

The Sample Display's (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu includes the Reveal Sample command. This opens the File Manager for the current Set with the sample referenced by the clip selected. From there, you can

replace and destructively edit the sample , in such a

way that all clips and instruments referencing the sample will be affected.


The Notes Box

The Notes Box.



Tempo Controls

The Orig. BPM eld displays Live's interpretation of the tempo at which the clip's MIDI was recorded. When dragging up or down in the Original BPM eld, or clicking the :2 and

*2 buttons, you will see that the notes in the MIDI Editor are correspondingly stretched or compressed. This is useful for aligning notes that you have recorded without a tempo reference, like Live's

metronome .


Bank and Program Change

Live can send MIDI bank/program change messages to external devices. According to the settings in these controls, launching a clip also sends its bank/program change message. If you are using Live to send MIDI to your synth, this means that each MIDI clip in your Live

Set can play a different sound on your synth. Live offers messages for 128 banks with 128 sub-banks, each of which has 128 programs. Please see the documentation that came with your synthesizer to determine how many of these messages it can use. If you do not want your clip to send program or bank change messages, simply set the bank/program choosers to None.


MIDI Loop/Region

These controls manage how the contents of a MIDI clip are played and shown in the MIDI

Editor. They work the same way as those for

audio clips .

In the MIDI Editor, the zoom/scroll area is located above the beat-time ruler, the scrub area just below.


Clip Defaults and Update Rate

You can change the rate at which Live applies your Clip View settings to a running clip. Clip

View changes will be quantized by the rate selected from the Clip Update Rate chooser in the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences. Certain clip settings, such as Launch Mode and Warp


Mode, can be set up as defaults for all new clips. This is also done in the Record/Warp/Launch



Chapter 9

Tempo Control and Warping

Unlike music stored on tape or in a traditional digital audio workstation, the music in Live remains elastic at all times. Live is capable of time-warping samples while streaming them from disk so as to synchronize them to the current Live Set's tempo. This happens without affecting the pitch, which can be changed independently. Mixing and matching audio from different origins is therefore extremely easy.




Setting the Tempo

The Control Bar's Tempo eld allows you to change the playback tempo of your Live Set at any time, in real time. You can even

automate the tempo

to create smooth or sudden tempo changes along the song timeline.

The Control Bar's Tempo



You can have an external sequencer (or drum machine) play along with Live or have Live play along with the sequencer. The respective settings are made in the MIDI/Sync Preferences, and the EXT switch next to the tempo control is activated to have Live follow an external

MIDI clock source. Please refer to the section on


for details.


Tapping the Tempo

You can use Live's Tap Tempo function to set the tempo at any time. As you click the Control

Bar's Tap Tempo button once every beat, the tempo of the Live Set will follow your tapping.

The Tap Button.

It is better to assign the Tap button to a computer key than using the mouse. Click on the

Control Bar's KEY switch to enter Key Map Mode; then select the Tap button; press the key you would like to use for tapping; click the KEY switch again to leave Key Map Mode. The assignment will take effect immediately. The Tap button can also be assigned to a MIDI note or controller, like a foot switch, in a

similar fashion . Although Live responds to your

tapping immediately, it does apply some degree of inertia to prevent sluggish behavior in the software. The more taps Live receives in a row, the more precisely it will be able to conclude the desired tempo.

You can also use tapping to count in: If you are working in a 4:4 signature, it takes four taps to start song playback at the tapped tempo.

The Key Map Mode



Time-Warping Samples

Live's ability to play any sample in sync with a chosen tempo is a unique and important feature. In addition, you can warp the rhythmic ow of a piece, changing its feel, or even move notes to other meter positions.


A clip's warping properties are set in the

Sample box , which is a sub-section of the Clip View.

The most signi cant control here is the Warp switch, which toggles a clip's warping on or off. The Warp section of Live's Preferences will determine the default warp settings for new clips, but they can always be overridden here on a per-clip basis.

When the Warp switch is off, Live plays the sample at its original, normal tempo, irrespective of the current Live Set's tempo. This is useful for samples that have no inherent rhythmic structure: percussion hits, atmospheres, sound effects, spoken word and the like.

Turn the Warp switch on to play rhythmically structured samples (such as sample loops, music recordings, complete music pieces, etc.) in sync with the current song tempo.

To direct Live's assumptions about new samples, use the Record/Warp/Launch tab of Live's

Preferences. If the Auto-Warp Long Samples preference is on, Live assumes that long samples contain music that should be played in sync with the Live Set's tempo. If you would rather have Live default to playing long samples as they are, disengage this preference.

The Sample Box's

Warping Controls.


Tempo Master/Slave

All warped clips in the Arrangement View have one further option: They can be de ned as

tempo masters by toggling their Master/Slave switches. Any number of clips can be set as tempo masters, but only one clip at a time can actually be the tempo master. This distinction is always granted to the bottom-most, currently playing clip in the Arrangement View.

The clip that is the current tempo master will play as if warping was off, but with one important difference the rest of the Live Set will be warped so that it plays in sync with the

CHAPTER 9. TEMPO CONTROL AND WARPING 115 current tempo master.

This is achieved by adding tempo automation to the Master track for the duration of the tempo master clip. You will notice that the Tempo eld in Live's Control Bar becomes disabled in this state; this is because all tempo control is handed over to the tempo master clip.

When toggling a clip's Master/Slave switch, or when deleting a clip that was set as tempo master, the Master track tempo automation is removed again, restoring the proper tempo to the region. If you wish instead to keep the generated tempo automation to continue working with it, then (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the Control Bar's Tempo eld, and choose the Unslave Tempo Automation command. All clips will then be set to Slave, but the tempo automation will remain in place.

Note that when Live's

EXT switch is enabled , the Master/Slave switch has no effect and

appears disabled.


Warp Markers

Think of a sample as a rubber-band that you want to pin to a (musical time) ruler. In Live, the pins are called Warp Markers. A Warp Marker forces the software to arrive at a speci c point in the sample at a speci c musical time. You can use any number of Warp Markers to create an arbitrary mapping of the piece's inherent rhythm to a musical meter.

Warp Markers are set in the Clip View's Sample Display by double-clicking any of its numeric grid markers. They can then be dragged or moved with the arrow keys to different positions in the clip. Warp Markers can also be deleted by double-clicking them, or by pressing the computer keyboard's or Delete key after selecting them.


Double-Clicking a Grid

Marker Creates a Warp


When working with your sample, you can have Live scroll the Sample Display to follow playback. Use the Control Bar's Follow switch to activate this feature. It also might be helpful to vertically resize the Sample Display by dragging on the split line between the Clip

View and the Session View track area.

The Follow Switch in the

Control Bar.

Saving Warp Markers

Your Warp Markers will automatically be saved with the Live Set, but you may also want to save them with the sample le itself, so that they are reconstructed anytime you drag the le into Live. To do this, click the Clip View's

Save button .

Note that if a sample has a

saved set of Warp Markers , Auto-Warp will have no effect. When

this is the case, you can use any of the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu commands described in this section to initiate auto-warping.


Using Warp Markers

In the following sections, we will look at a couple of applications for time-warping samples.

Warping is, of course, an optional property of clips.


Syncing Straight Loops

When you import a sample that represents a well-cut musical loop of 1,2,4 or 8 bars in length, Live usually makes the correct assumptions to play the loop in sync with the chosen tempo. It places two Warp Markers, one at the sample's beginning and one at the end.

The Orig. BPM eld displays Live's guess of the loop's tempo; if you happen to know the tempo of the loop, you can type it in here. Sometimes Live's guess of the original tempo is wrong by half or double. If so, correct this by clicking on the buttons labeled *2 and

:2, respectively. The sample plays at double speed when you press :2 because you are changing Live's interpretation of the sample's tempo, which serves as a point of reference for determining the required time-stretch factor.

A One-Bar Loop as It

Appears in the Clip

View, by Default.

Syncing Uncut Loops

When importing a loop that has not been edited into a well-cut loop, Live will play it out of sync. Suppose there is a portion of silence at the sample beginning, prior to the rst beat.

You can easily correct this by moving the Warp Marker labeled with a 1 to the rst beat's onset. Likewise, you can eliminate silence after the actual loop end by moving the Warp

Marker at the sample's right edge.


Syncing Odd-Length Loops

If you import a sample that contains a seven-bar loop, Live initially assumes the loop is eight bars long (or four, depending on its length) and plays it out of sync. For correct playback, the last marker needs to show an eight, not a nine. To achieve this do the following:

1. Double-click on the last Warp Marker to delete it.

2. Double-click on the eight to create a new Warp Marker.

3. Drag the new Warp Marker to the sample end.

If Live's initial guess had been a four-bar loop, the eight would not have been accessible. In that case, you could initially drag the Warp Marker at the end toward the left until the eight became visible.

Theoretically this should have done the job for our seven-bar loop. Practically, though, it is very likely that moving the markers led to a change of the loop start and end points. This is because the loop is tied to the meter grid and therefore moves with the Warp Markers, which de ne the meter grid. Live makes sure the loop ts in the sample, and therefore has to change its length if required by a Warp Marker change.

Setting the Warp

Markers for a Poorly Cut



Manipulating Grooves

You can now create any number of Warp Markers by double-clicking on one of the numeric grid markers. Drag in a straight looped sample, set a few Warp Markers, and move them around to see what happens. Warp Markers really serve two purposes:

1. to provide a correct interpretation of the ow of musical time in the sample;

2. to mess up the ow of time in the sample.

If a single event in a percussion loop comes late, just pin it to the Warp Marker, which shows the beat position at which you actually want to hear that event. You may want to pin the adjacent beat positions as well, to avoid affecting neighboring regions in the sample.

Removing a sample's natural groove by applying Warp Markers is an interesting creative method, particularly in conjunction with Live's

ability to impose an arti cial groove onto clips in real-time .

Using Warp Markers to

Manipulate the Groove.

Syncing Longer Pieces

Live's Auto-Warp algorithm makes longer samples and entire songs readily available for integration into your project. You can use the


to import long samples or MP3, AAC,

Ogg Vorbis, Ogg FLAC and FLAC les.

When you drag a le into Live that is too long to justify the assumption that it is a loop or a one-shot, Live will auto-warp the clip by default (though this can be changed in the


Record/Warp/Launch Preferences ).

Note that, for the auto-warp mechanism to work, les which are being imported into the program for the rst time will need to undergo a rst-time

analysis process

and will not be immediately available for playing or editing. As explained in the section in this manual on analysis les, analysis can be batch-processed with the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu's Analyze Audio command. Once analysis is nished, you can view the results of

Auto-Warp's assumptions about the le.

Auto-Warp's Results in the Clip View.

As long as Auto-Warp made the correct set of informed guesses, the clip will be ready to play in perfect sync with the Live Set's tempo. However, if Auto-Warp does not quite do what you want, you can control its results. The remainder of this section will focus on various ways of guiding Live's auto-warping. Remember that the metronome in the Control Bar will probably come in handy as you warp longer pieces.

It might happen that Auto-Warp guesses the tempo correctly but gets the downbeat wrong.

To remedy this, you can do the following:

ˆ Zoom in and drag the 1.1.1 marker to the desired position;

ˆ Use the start marker's

Here command.

(PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu to select the Set 1.1.1

The Metronome Switch.


Directing Auto-Warp is also relatively simple when you have imported a perfectly cut loop.

You can tell Auto-Warp to work accordingly using the Warp As ...-Bar Loop command. Live will propose a loop length that makes the most sense given the current Live Set's tempo.

Decreasing the Live Set's tempo can, for instance, lead Live to assume the loop is 8 bars at

90 BPM instead of 16 bars at 180 BPM.

Sometimes more accurate control of Auto-Warp is necessary. The best way to go about warping a clip that requires more detailed attention is in sections, working gradually from left to right. You can set a Warp Marker by double-clicking one of the numeric grid markers to the right of each correctly warped section, pinning it into place. The shortcuts for working with the

clip loop brace and start/end markers

can speed up this process considerably.

You might also nd it helpful to select multiple Warp Markers for moving by selecting them with the or Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi ers held down.

The four Warp From Here commands provide various ways of resetting Warp Markers to the right of the selected grid marker or Warp Marker, leaving Warp Markers to the left untouched. These commands are also available from the start marker.

ˆ Warp From Here runs the Auto-Warp algorithm on the material to the right of the selected marker.

ˆ Warp From Here (Start At ...) directs Auto-Warp to use the current Live Set's tempo as a starting point for tempo tracking. The strategy here is as follows:

1. Deactivate the Warp switch for the clip so that it plays unwarped;

Using the Context Menu to Direct Auto-Warp.


2. Use the Control Bar's Tap Tempo button to tap along, thereby setting the

Live Set's tempo to match that of the clip;

3. Turn warping on again and use the Warp From Here (Start At ...) command to tell Auto-Warp to use your tapped tempo as a reference.

ˆ Warp From Here (Straight) tells Auto-Warp that this is a clip with no tempo variations

(common in electronically produced works). Auto-Warp will then set a single Warp

Marker derived from its guess of the le's original tempo.

ˆ Warp ... BPM From Here will also set a single Warp Marker, but in this case, Auto-Warp is forced to interpret the clip as exactly matching the Live Set's tempo. This is useful in cases when you happen to know the exact BPM value of an electronically-produced work and can type it into the Control Bar before warping.

Multi-Clip Warping

When clips of equal length are multi-selected, adding or changing Warp Markers for one clip will apply identical Warp Markers to all. This is convenient in any situation where several tracks have the same rhythm, and you wish to alter the timing of each recording in the same way. A common scenario would be when multi-tracking a band's performance, where the musicians all play in time with each other, yet the timing itself is in some way awed.

Copying Warp Markers

You can also selectively copy and paste Warp Markers from one clip to another. Copied

Warp Markers don't even need to be pasted into the same bar as the original.


Here are the steps:

1. Select the Warp Markers that you wish to copy by clicking on them with the mouse. After the rst Warp Marker has been selected, hold while clicking another to select the range of Warp Markers in between, or Ctrl (PC) /

(Mac)-click to add individual Warp Markers to your selection.

2. Once your selection is complete, choose the Copy command from the Edit menu.

3. Click on the title bar of the destination clip to select it.

4. In the destination clip's Clip View, click once on any Warp Marker to select it as the starting point for placement of the new Warp Markers.

5. Choose the Paste command from the Edit menu. The Warp Markers will be pasted into the destination clip.


Adjusting for Good Stretching Quality

Live offers a number of time-stretching modes to accommodate all sorts of audio material.

Each clip's time-stretching mode and associated parameters are set in the Clip View's Sample


The warp modes are different varieties of granular resynthesis techniques. Granular resynthesis achieves time compression and expansion by repeating and skipping over parts of

Three Selected Warp


CHAPTER 9. TEMPO CONTROL AND WARPING 124 the sample (the grains ). The warp modes differ in the selection of grains, as well as in the details of overlapping and crossfading between grains.

Let's investigate which warp modes work best for different types of signals and how to adjust the warping controls for clean stretching. It's also fun to misuse these controls to achieve interesting artifacts instead of accurate stretching.


Beats Mode

Beats Mode works best for material where rhythm is dominant (e.g., drum loops as well as most pieces of electronic dance music). The granulation process is optimized to preserve transients (attacks, note onsets) in the audio material.

Use the Transients control to guide Live's assumptions about where to nd transients in the waveform. If there is no rhythmic activity at odd 16th notes, choose 8th, etc. For some interesting rhythmic artifacts, choose large transient values in conjunction with pitch transposition.


Tones Mode

Tones Mode serves well for stretching material with a more or less clear pitch structure, such as vocals, monophonic instruments and basslines.

Grain Size provides rough control over the average grain size used. The actual grain size is determined in a signal-dependent manner. For signals with a clear sense of pitch contour, a small grain size works best. Larger grain sizes help avoid artifacts that can occur when the pitch contour is unclear, but the tradeoff can be audible repetitions.


Texture Mode

Texture Mode works well for sound textures with an ambiguous pitch contour (e.g., polyphonic orchestral music, noise, atmospheric pads, etc.). It also offers rich potential for manipulating all kinds of sounds in a creative way.


The Grain Size control determines the grain size used, but unlike in Tones Mode, this is a setting that Live will use unaltered, without considering the signal's characteristics.

Fluctuation introduces randomness into the process. Larger values give more randomness.


Re-Pitch Mode

In Re-Pitch Mode, Live doesn't really time-stretch or compress the music; instead, it adjusts the playback rate to create the desired amount of stretching. In other words, to speed up playback by a factor of 2, it's transposed up an octave. This is like the DJ stretching method of using variable-speed turntables to sync two records, or what happens to samples in samplers when they're transposed.

The Transpose and Detune controls have no effect in Re-Pitch Mode.


Complex Mode

Complex Mode is a warping method speci cally designed to accommodate composite signals that combine the characteristics covered by other Warp Modes; it works well for warping entire songs, which usually contain beats, tones and textures.

Complex Mode is a rather CPU-intensive function, using approximately ten times the CPU resources required by the other Warp Modes. As such, you may want to

freeze tracks


Complex Mode is used or


the results as a new clip to use as a substitute.


Chapter 10

Editing MIDI Notes and Velocities

A MIDI clip in Live contains notes and controller data for playing a MIDI instrument. This instrument can be a virtual instrument in a MIDI track's

device chain

or an external synth fed via the track's

output routing . The

MIDI clip

provides the device with a musical score to play, specifying note pitch, length, position and dynamics (referred to as velocity in the

MIDI lexicon). MIDI is composed and edited in Live's MIDI Editor.


Creating an Empty MIDI Clip

MIDI clips are created

ˆ by means of

recording ;

ˆ or by double-clicking an empty Session slot in a MIDI track;

ˆ or by selecting an empty Session slot in a MIDI track and choosing the Insert menu's

Insert MIDI Clip command;

ˆ or, in the Arrangement View, by selecting a timespan in a MIDI track and choosing the

Insert menu's Insert MIDI Clip command.



The MIDI Editor


To bring up the MIDI Editor, double-click a MIDI clip to open the Clip View. You can use the

Clip View Box selector to make sure the

Notes box

is showing, then click in the title bar of the Notes box to bring up the MIDI Editor on the right-hand side of the screen.

The MIDI Editor is comprised of two editing windows: the upper Note Editor and the lower

Velocity Editor. You can resize the Velocity Editor by dragging on the split line that runs between it and the Note Editor. You can also show and hide the Velocity Editor using the triangular button on the left-hand side of the split line.

The MIDI Editor.

The Control Bar's Draw

Mode Switch.

Switch to Draw Mode by activating the Control Bar's Draw Mode switch. You can now draw

MIDI notes into the Note Editor with the mouse. Deactivating Draw Mode allows notes to be selected and moved around by clicking and dragging, either vertically to change their transposition, or horizontally to change their position in time.


Provided your MIDI track's device chain contains an

instrument , activating the Preview switch

in the MIDI Editor allows you to hear notes as you select and move them.

Note velocity is adjusted in the Velocity Editor, by clicking and dragging on the associated markers. You can also use Draw Mode in the Velocity Editor: It will draw identical velocities for all notes within a grid tile.

After drawing a few notes and moving them around, you will probably want to know how to get around in the Note Editor. So, before we get into detailed editing information, we will rst explain MIDI Editor navigation.

Previewing MIDI Notes.


MIDI Editor Navigation and Transport

The MIDI Editor has both vertical and horizontal navigation. Along the horizontal axis lies

Note Scale Position Is

Shown Vertically and

Beat-Time Horizontally.

CHAPTER 10. EDITING MIDI NOTES AND VELOCITIES 129 a time ruler, which shows note position along a musical timeline. The vertical axis contains both the note ruler, displaying octaves C0 C10, and a representation of a piano keyboard

(the piano roll). Note that if the Preview switch at the top of the piano roll is activated, you can listen to the results of your piano roll playing.

2 1 3 5 6

1. To smoothly change the time-zoom level, click and drag vertically in the time ruler. Drag horizontally in the time ruler to scroll from left to right.

2. Click and drag vertically in the note ruler to change which octaves are shown, or drag horizontally to change the vertical zoom size of MIDI notes and the keyboard.

3. Click and drag over one or more notes to de ne a selection. Then, double-click on the note ruler to automatically zoom in on your selection. If no notes are selected, double-clicking the note ruler will zoom in on the area from the lowest to the highest note in the clip.

4. To zoom in and out around the current selection, use the computer keyboard's

+ and - keys.

5. The Clip Overview just beneath the MIDI Editor can also be used for navigation.

It always shows the complete contents of the selected MIDI clip. The black rectangular outline represents the part of the clip that is currently displayed in the Editor above. To scroll, click within the outline and drag left or right; to zoom

MIDI Editor Navigation.

CHAPTER 10. EDITING MIDI NOTES AND VELOCITIES in and out, drag up and down.

6. Change the length of what is shown in the Editor by dragging the left or right edges of the outline in the Clip Overview.

7. To quickly change what is shown in the Editor, click on a section that you want to examine in the Clip Overview, then drag downwards to zoom in, or scroll by dragging left and right.

8. The Page Up and Page Down keys on your computer keyboard scroll the Note

Editor vertically. The horizontal scrolling.

Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi er will change this to


The area displayed in the Note Editor can be set to scroll with playback using the Follow switch from the Control Bar.

The Control Bar's Follow


You can click in the scrub area just below the beat-time ruler to start playback from that point, rounded by the global quantization setting. Learning about the

loop/region controls

and associated shortcuts can also be helpful in getting around in the MIDI Editor and playing selections quickly and easily.

As you work with MIDI, you may nd yourself needing extra screen space. You can click and drag vertically on the window split between the Session or Arrangement View and the Clip

View to enlarge the MIDI Editor.

The MIDI Clip Scrub



Enlarge the MIDI Editor by Dragging the

Window Split Between

Session and Clip Views.


Editing MIDI


Non-Destructive Editing

You can always return your MIDI clip to its previous state by using the Edit menu's Undo command. Furthermore, if the MIDI clip being edited originated in a MIDI le on your hard drive, none of your editing will alter the original MIDI le, as Live incorporates its contents into your Live Set when importing.


Folding and Looping

An important feature of the MIDI Editor is the Fold button, located in the upper left corner.

Activating this button will immediately hide all rows, or key tracks, that do not contain

MIDI notes. This is very useful when working with percussion kits, for example, which are oftentimes mapped out along a keyboard in sections corresponding to percussion type

(e.g., snares grouped together two octaves down from hi-hat cymbals, etc.). When working with a MIDI le created by such a mapping, sometimes only one or two of each type of percussion sound is used, and it becomes unnecessary to view the entire keyboard range.

The Fold Button Extracts

Key Tracks Containing



When editing MIDI, you might nd that you want to change which part of the clip you are listening to, or loop the clip in order to listen to it repeatedly. You can use the

loop/region markers

for this.


Grid Snapping

Most functions in the MIDI Editor are subject to

grid snapping . You can hold down the

Alt (PC) / (Mac) modi er while performing an action to bypass grid snapping.

Note movements will also snap to an offset, which is based on the original placement of the note relative to the grid. This is useful for preserving a groove or loose playing style that you do not necessarily want to set straight.


Arranging and Quantizing Notes

As we have seen, notes in the MIDI Editor can be moved both horizontally (changing their position in time) and vertically (changing their transposition). They can be moved either by clicking and dragging, or with the arrow keys on your computer keyboard; in either case, they are subject to grid and offset snapping. If you are playing the clip while you move notes, you can listen to them play in their new assignments as you drag them, without waiting until you have released the mouse button.

Multiple notes can be selected and moved in unison: Rubber-band select more than one note with one mouse motion by clicking in empty space, then dragging diagonally upward

Use the Loop/Region

Markers to Select a

Speci c Region of the

Clip to Play.

CHAPTER 10. EDITING MIDI NOTES AND VELOCITIES 133 or downward to enclose the notes in the dotted line that appears.

You can use the modi er to click and add individual notes or additional rubberband selections to your current selection. You can also remove a single note from your selection by holding down and clicking on it. Holding piano roll selects all notes in a single key track.

and clicking on the

There are two options for quantizing MIDI notes in Live. As

previously mentioned , you can

move notes so that they snap to the visible grid lines. Alternatively, you can select a note or notes and choose the Quantize command from the Edit menu, or use the Ctrl U (PC)



(Mac) hotkey. This brings up a dialog box with several quantization options.

Using the options presented here, you can select a meter value for quantization and set either the note start or end (or both) to be quantized. Quantizing the note end will stretch the note so that it ends at the chosen meter subdivision. You can also quantize notes without giving them that quantized feel using the Amount control, which will move notes only by a percentage of the set quantization value.

Quantizing MIDI Notes.


Creating and Editing Notes

Selecting a note (or notes) makes it subject to commands from the Edit menu, such as Copy and Paste. You can use the Ctrl (PC) / Alt (Mac) modi er to click and drag a copy of a note to a new location.


The Edit menu's Select Loop command selects all notes that begin within the loop brace.

The Select Loop command can also be executed without the menu by simply clicking the loop brace. This command can speed up editing when coupled with

the loop brace's shortcuts . Let's say you have arranged a nice 1-bar loop in the Note editor, and you want to

duplicate it a couple of times. You can click the loop brace to select the notes that begin within the loop, execute the Edit menu's Copy command, shift the loop to the right by one loop length with , and execute the Edit menu's Paste command.

As we have already seen, creating new MIDI notes is as simple as activating Draw Mode and drawing them into the Note Editor. MIDI notes can also be added and deleted by double-clicking when Draw Mode is inactive.

Vertical movements in Draw Mode correspond to velocity changes. This means that, with one horizontal motion and one vertical motion, you can draw multiple notes and their velocities without releasing the mouse button. If you change velocity with this vertical movement, Live will remember the change and use your new velocity on any notes that you draw afterward.

You may sometimes, by dragging or by drawing, place a new note on top of one that already exists. If the new note overlaps with the beginning of the original note, the original note will vanish. The original note is invisible, but still exists, and will reappear intact if the new note is moved away again. If the new note overlaps with the tail of the original, the original note's length will change so that it lasts just until the new note's beginning. This, too, is not an irreversible action, and the old note length will be restored if the new clip is again moved.

Copying (Left) and

Pasting (Right) a Loop.



Changing Note Length

Clicking and dragging on a note's left or right edges changes its length. Note length can only be changed when Draw Mode is inactive, and will be quantized unless the Alt (PC)

/ (Mac) modi er is held down while dragging.

Tip: To set a group of notes to the same length, select them all, grab the end of the longest one, drag them all down to zero length and then extend them.

Changing Note Length.

MIDI Note Stretch

When multiple notes are selected in the Note Editor, the Stretch Notes command becomes available from the context menu, if you invoke it with (PC) / Ctrl (Mac). Note Stretch

markers will then appear in the Note Editor, allowing notes to be scaled proportionally in time. The markers are a pair of downward-pointing indicators that snap to the beginning of the rst and last notes in the selection.

By clicking and dragging one of the markers horizontally, the selected notes will move and stretch so that they continue to occupy the same proportion of time that they did when they were initially selected. The Note Stretch markers will always snap to the Note Editor's grid

Three Variations Created with the Stretch Notes


CHAPTER 10. EDITING MIDI NOTES AND VELOCITIES 136 lines unless the grid is not shown, or the Alt dragging.

(PC) / (Mac) modi er is held while

If one marker is dragged beyond the boundary of the other, then the order of the stretched notes will be re ected in relation to their initial sequence; this is sometimes referred to as retrograde behavior.

Any changes occurring to the notes included in the Note Stretch before the mouse button is released will cancel the stretch operation. This can occur, for example, if the MIDI clip is simultaneously being overdubbed with new notes.


Editing Velocities

To change velocity for a MIDI note, click and drag on the associated marker in the Velocity

Editor. (To help you locate the velocity marker belonging to a MIDI note that may be stacked vertically with others, Live highlights the velocity marker for whichever note your mouse is hovering over.) Velocity changes will be shown numerically in a small display in the time ruler.

As in the Note Editor, you can select multiple velocity markers to change by clicking with the modi er held down.

Tip: To set a group of notes so that they all have the same velocity, select their markers in the Velocity Editor, drag them up to maximum velocity and then decrease velocity to the desired value.

As we saw earlier, Draw Mode allows drawing identical velocities for all notes within a grid tile. Velocity drawing can be limited to only those notes that are currently selected if the

Changing Note Velocity.

CHAPTER 10. EDITING MIDI NOTES AND VELOCITIES 137 modi er is held. To draw markers individually (as you would want to with a crescendo, for instance) deactivate grid snapping with the Ctrl 4 (PC) / 4 (Mac) shortcut, or simply hold down the Alt (PC) / (Mac) modi er.

Tip: To draw a velocity ramp with notes that are all in the same key track, press and click on the piano roll to select all notes within the desired key track, make sure Draw Mode is activated and draw the ramp into the Velocity Editor while holding the so that you affect only the selected notes.

modi er,

Notes in the Note Editor display their velocity in their coloring light notes play softly, and vice versa. To change the velocity of notes without the Velocity Editor open, click any selected note and drag vertically while pressing the the Alt (PC) / (Mac) modi er.

Drawing Identical

Velocities (Left) and a

Crescendo (Right).


Deactivating Notes

To deactivate, or mute, a note (or notes) in the MIDI Editor, select it and (PC) / Ctrl

(Mac) to access the context menu. The Deactivate Note(s) command will mute the note, making it appear gray in the display. To reactivate notes, use the context menu's Activate

Note(s) command.


Chapter 11

Launching Clips

The Live Session View is set apart by the fact that it gives you, the musician, an spontaneous environment that encourages performance and improvisation. An important part of how you take advantage of the Session View lies within how you con gure your various Session

View clips. This chapter explains the group of settings used to de ne how each Session

View clip behaves when triggered, or launched.


The Launch Box

Remember that clips in the Session View are launched by their

Clip Launch buttons


remote control . Clip launch settings are made in the Launch box. The Launch box only applies to

Session View clips, as Arrangement View clips are not launched but played according to their positions in the Arrangement.

To view the Launch box, open the

Clip View

of a Session View clip by double-clicking the clip, then activating the leftmost Clip View Box selector panel.


Note that you can edit the launch settings of more than one clip at the same time by rst selecting the clips and then opening the Clip View.

Use the Clip View Box

Selector to Bring up the

Launch Box.


Launch Modes

The Launch Mode chooser offers a number of options for how clips behave with respect to mouse clicks,

computer keyboard actions or MIDI notes :

ˆ Trigger: down starts the clip; up is ignored.

ˆ Gate: down starts the clip; up stops the clip.

ˆ Toggle: down starts the clip; up is ignored. The clip will stop on the next down.

ˆ Repeat: As long as the mouse switch/key is held, the clip is triggered repeatedly at the clip quantization rate.

The Clip Launch Mode




Clip-Level Quantization


The Clip Quantization chooser lets you adjust an onset timing correction for clip triggering.

To disable clip quantization, choose None.

To use the Control Bar's Global Quantization setting, choose Global. Global quantization can be quickly changed using the Ctrl 6 (PC) / 6 (Mac), 7 , 8 , 9 and 0 shortcuts.

Note that any setting other than None will quantize the clip's launch when it is triggered by

Follow Actions .

The Clip Quantization




The Velocity Amount



The Velocity Amount control allows you to adjust the effect of MIDI note velocity on the clip's volume: If set to zero, there is no in uence; at 100 percent, the softest notes play the clip silently. For more on playing clips via MIDI, see the

respective section .


Legato Mode

Suppose you have gathered, in one track, a number of looping clips, and you now want to toggle among them without losing the sync. For this you could use a large quantization setting (one bar or greater), however, this might limit your musical expression.

Another option, which works even with quantization turned off, is to engage Legato Mode for the respective clips. When a clip in Legato Mode is launched, it takes over the play position from whatever clip was played in that track before. Hence, you can toggle clips at any moment and rate without ever losing the sync.

Legato Mode is very useful for creating breaks, as you can momentarily play alternative loops and jump back to what was playing in the track before.

Unless all the clips involved play the same sample (differing by clip settings only), you might hear dropouts when launching clips in Legato Mode. This happens because you are unexpectedly jumping to a point in the sample that Live has had no chance to pre-load from disk in advance. You can remedy this situation by engaging

Clip RAM Mode

for the clips in question.

The Legato Mode



Follow Actions

Follow Actions allow creating chains of clips that can trigger each other in an orderly or random way (or both). A clip's Follow Action de nes what happens to other clips in the

CHAPTER 11. LAUNCHING CLIPS 142 same group after the clip plays. A group is de ned by clips arranged in successive slots of the same track. Tracks can have an unlimited number of groups, separated by empty slots.




1. The Follow Action Time control de nes when the Follow Action takes place in bars-beats-sixteenths from the point in the clip where play starts. The default for this setting is one bar.

2. The Follow Action choosers allow selecting two different Follow Actions, A and


3. The Chance A and Chance B controls set the likelihood of each of the two

Follow Actions occurring. If a clip has Chance A set to 1 and Chance B set to

0, Follow Action A will occur every time the clip is launched. As we can see from this example, a Chance setting of 0 means that an action will never happen.

Changing Chance B to 10 in this scenario makes Follow Action A occur much less often approximately once out of every ten clip launches.

There are eight Follow Actions available:

Stop simply stops the clip after it has played for the chosen Follow Action Time. Note that this overrides clip loop/region settings.

Play Clip Again restarts the clip.

Play Previous Clip triggers the previous clip (the one above the current one).

Play Next Clip triggers the next clip down in the group. If a clip with this setting is last

The Follow Action


CHAPTER 11. LAUNCHING CLIPS 143 in a group, this Follow Action triggers the rst clip.

Play First Clip launches the rst (top) clip in a group.

Play Last Clip launches the last (bottom) clip in a group.

Play Any Clip plays any clip in the group.

Play Other Clip is similar to Play Any Clip, but as long as the current clip is not alone in the group, no clip will play consecutively.

There is also the possibility to have no Follow Action by selecting No Action, or leaving the chooser blank.

Note that a Follow Action happens exactly after the duration that is speci ed by the Follow

Action Time controls unless clip quantization is set to a value other than None or Global.

Follow Actions circumvent global quantization but not clip quantization.

So why do you need these things? Music is repetition and change. Music based on loops or short melodic fragments has a tendency to sound static. Follow Actions allow you to create structures that will repeat but can also be surprising. Remember that you can always


the results of your experiments, so this can provide a good source for new material.

In the following sections we will look at some practical examples and ideas for Follow



Looping Parts of a Clip

Let's say that you want to play a longer clip, but then you want only the last eight bars to loop. You can set this up using Follow Actions:

1. Drag the clip into the Arrangement View and make sure that the Clip View's

Loop switch is not activated. Use the Edit menu's

Split command

to split the clip between the non-looping and looping parts.

2. Click and drag the resulting two clips into the Session View by letting the mouse cursor hover over the Session View selector. Drop the two clips into a track. They now form a Follow Action group.





3. Set up Follow Actions for the rst clip. You will want to make Follow Action Time equal to the clip's length. Set the Follow Action A chooser to Play Next Clip, with a Chance setting of 1, leaving Follow Action B alone. Now this clip is set up to advance to the looping clip after it plays.

4. Activate the Loop switch for the second clip.

The rst clip will now proceed to the second after it has played in its entirety; the second clip will simply play in a loop until it is stopped.

Creating a Group With the Two Clips.


Creating Cycles

One of the most obvious possibilities that Follow Actions open up is using a group of samples to form a musical cycle. If we organize several clips as a group and use the Play

Next Clip Follow Action with each clip, they will play one after the other ad in nitum, or until we tell them to stop.

Cycles can be peppered with occasional rearrangements through the addition of other

Follow Actions, such as Play Any Clip, with smaller relative Chance settings.


Temporarily Looping Clips

There are some interesting applications of Follow Actions when it comes to creating temporary musical loops.


The default setting for Follow Action is actually a 1:0 chance that Nothing happens after the Follow Action Time, which means that there is effectively no Follow Action. But now, imagine a group consisting of one single clip. Follow Action A is set to Play Clip Again, with a Chance of 8. Follow Action B is set to None, with a Chance of 1. The clip uses a long sample, and Follow Time is set to one bar. Clicking on the clip will play the rst bar, after which it will be very likely that it will play the rst bar again. However, after a few repetitions, it will eventually come to Action B Nothing and continue playing the rest of the sample.

Or, a clip can be played from its start to a speci c point, when its Follow Action tells it to

Play Next Clip. The same le can be used in the next clip in the group, but this one can be set to loop. This second clip can have any manner of Follow Action settings, so that it might then play forever, for a speci ed time or until random chance leads to the next clip in the group.


Adding Variations in Sync

Paired with

clip envelopes


warping , Follow Actions can be used to create all sorts of

interesting variations within a group of similar clips. You could, for example, use Follow

Actions to randomly trigger clips with different MIDI controller clip envelopes, so that ne variations in pitch bend or modulation of an instrument or synth could occur as the clips in a group interacted. Audio clips could morph between different effect or clip transposition settings.

Using Follow Actions and Legato Mode together provides a powerful way of gradually changing a melody or beat. Imagine that you have several identical clips of a melody that form a group, and they are set up to play in

Legato Mode . Whenever their Follow Actions

tell them to move on to another clip in the group, the melody will not change, as Legato

Mode will sync the new play position with the old one in beat-time. The settings and clip envelopes of each clip (or even the actual notes contained in a MIDI clip) can then be slowly adjusted, so that the melody goes through a gradual metamorphosis.



Mixing up Melodies and Beats

You can let Follow Actions perform unpredictable remixes and solos for you: Use a clip containing a beat or melody, and copy it so that there are several instances of it forming a group. Alternatively, you can use several different beats or melodies that you want to mix together. The

start and end

for each clip can be set differently, as can

clip envelopes

and other clip settings. As long as Follow Action Time in each clip is equal to the length of the clip that you want to play, you can set up two Follow Actions with different Chance values in each clip, launch a clip, and surprise yourself.


Creating Nonrepetitive Structures

Follow Actions are great when it comes to sound installations, as they allow you to create structures that play for weeks or months and never exactly repeat. You can set the Follow

Action Time controls in a series of clips to odd intervals, and the clips will interact with each other so that they never quite play in the same order or musical position. Remember that each clip can have two different Follow Actions with corresponding Chance settings... have fun!


Chapter 12

Routing and I/O

In the context of Live, routing is the setup of the tracks' signal sources and destinations

(i.e., their inputs and outputs). Routing happens in the mixer's track In/Out section, which offers, for every track, choosers to select a signal source and destination. The mixer's In/Out section is Live's patchbay.

The In/Out section can be independently shown or hidden from the Session and Arrangement Views. Toggle its visibility using the I/O Mixer Section selector, or via the View menu's

In/Out option.


For every track (except the Master), the In/Out section has the same layout:

ˆ The upper chooser pair ( Audio/MIDI From ) selects the track's input. Audio tracks have an audio input, and MIDI tracks have a MIDI input. Return tracks receive their input from the respective

sends .

ˆ The Monitor radio button selects the monitor mode: the conditions under which the track's input is heard through the track.

ˆ The lower chooser pair ( Audio/MIDI To ) selects the track's output. All tracks have audio outputs, except for MIDI tracks without instruments. Remember that

instruments convert MIDI to audio .

Within a chooser pair, the upper chooser selects the signal category ( Ext., for instance, for external connections via an audio or MIDI interface), and is called the Input/Output Type chooser. If this signal type offers sub-selections or channels, they are available from the lower chooser, or the Input/Output Channel chooser. In our Ext. example, these would be the individual audio/MIDI inputs and outputs.

The Mixer's In/Out

Section and Mixer

Section Selectors.



Monitoring, in the context of Live, means passing a track's input signal on to the track's output. Suppose you have set up an audio track to receive its input signal from a guitar.

Monitoring then means that the signal from your live guitar playing actually reaches the

CHAPTER 12. ROUTING AND I/O 149 track's output, via the track's device chain. If the track's output is set to Master, you can hear the guitar signal, processed by whatever effects are used (and delayed by whatever latency the audio hardware interface incurs), over your speakers.

The In/Out section offers, for every audio track and MIDI track, a Monitor radio button with the following three options:

ˆ The default Auto-monitoring setting does the right thing for most straightforward recording applications: Monitoring is on when the track is

armed (record-enabled) ,

but monitoring is inhibited as long as the track is playing clips.

ˆ To permanently monitor the track's input, regardless of whether the track is armed or clips are playing, choose In. This setting effectively turns the track into what is called an Aux on some systems: The track is not used for recording but for bringing in a signal from elsewhere (for instance, a ReWire slave program). With this setting, output from the clips is suppressed. An In monitoring setting can be easily recognized even when the In/Out section is hidden by the orange color of the track's Activator switch.

ˆ Monitoring can be turned off altogether by choosing the Off option. This is useful when recording acoustic instruments which are monitored through the air, when using an external mixing console for monitoring or when using an audio hardware interface with a direct monitoring option that bypasses the computer so as to avoid latency. Generally, it is preferable to work with an audio interface that allows for negligible latencies (a few milliseconds). If you are recording into Live with monitoring set to Off, you may want to make the Audio Preferences' Overall Latency adjustment, which is described in the built-in program tutorial on setting up the Audio Preferences.

Audio and MIDI Track

Arm Buttons.



External Audio In/Out


An audio interface's inputs are selected by choosing Ext. In from the Input Type chooser of an audio track. The Input Channel chooser then offers the individual input channels. Entries in this chooser each have meters next to their names to help you identify signal presence and overload (when the meter ashes red). Setting up the audio interface's outputs works the same way via the output chooser pair.

The list of available inputs and outputs depends on the Audio Preferences, which can be reached via the Input and Output Channel choosers' Con gure...

option. Note that the Audio Preferences also provide access to the Channel Con guration dialogs, which determine which inputs and outputs are used, and whether they are available to Live as mono or stereo pairs. Essentially, the Channel Con guration dialog tells Live what it needs to know about how the computer is connected to the other audio components in your studio.


Mono/Stereo Conversions

When a mono signal is chosen as an audio track's input, the track will record mono samples; otherwise it will record stereo samples. Signals in the track's device chain are always stereo, even when the track's input is mono or when the track plays mono samples.

Mono is turned into stereo simply by using the identical signal for left and right channels.

When a track is routed into a mono output, the left and right signals are added together and attenuated by 6 dB to avoid clipping.


External MIDI In/Out

MIDI from the outside world is routed into Live just like audio. From the Input Type chooser of a MIDI track, you can either select a speci c MIDI input port or All Ins, which is the merged input of all external MIDI ports. The Input Channel chooser offers the individual input channels of the selected MIDI port and the merged signal of all channels, All. As is

CHAPTER 12. ROUTING AND I/O 151 the case with audio inputs, the Input Channel chooser also has meters next to every entry to represent activity on the respective input channel.


The MIDI Ports List in the Preferences

You can con gure which MIDI ports are made available to Live using the MIDI Ports section of the MIDI/Sync Preferences. All available input and output ports are listed here. For Live's tracks to receive/send MIDI from/to a speci c MIDI port, the corresponding switch in the

Track column must be set to On. You can use any number of MIDI ports for track input and output; the mixer's In/Out choosers allow them to be addressed individually.

The MIDI Ports List in the Preferences.


Playing MIDI With the Computer Keyboard

The computer keyboard can be used as a pseudo-port for generating MIDI notes from computer keyboard strokes. Using this pseudo-port, you can generate MIDI even without a real MIDI input port. To turn the computer MIDI keyboard on, use the Control Bar's Computer MIDI Keyboard button, or the Ctrl K

(PC) /


(Mac) shortcut to the Options menu entry.

Activating the Computer

MIDI Keyboard.

The center row of letter keys on the keyboard will play notes corresponding to the white keys on a piano, beginning on the left with the note C5. The black keys on a piano correspond to the upper row of computer keys. The four leftmost letters on the lower row of the keyboard are used to transpose the note range and to set velocity. The results of changing these values are displayed in the Status Bar at the bottom of the Live screen.

As it happens, when the computer keyboard is set to send notes between C3 and C4, the keys are mapped to MIDI notes such that the center row of the keyboard (ASDF...) addresses


Impulse percussion sampler's sample slots . This means that you can play and record

drum patterns right off the computer keyboard.

Note that when the computer MIDI keyboard is activated, it will steal keys that may have otherwise been assigned to


elements of the Live interface. To prevent this, you can turn the computer MIDI keyboard off when it is not needed.


Connecting External Synthesizers

Routing MIDI to an external synthesizer is straightforward: The Output Type chooser is set to whatever MIDI port the synthesizer is connected to; the Output Channel chooser is used to select which MIDI channel to send on.

Important: If you are using a keyboard synthesizer both as a master keyboard to play into

Live and as a sound generator, then please make sure to check the synthesizer's Local

Off function. Every synthesizer has this function, which effectively separates the keyboard from the sound generator, allowing you to treat both components as if they were separate devices. This allows you to use Live as the hub of your MIDI studio, which receives MIDI from the keyboard and dispatches the incoming MIDI, as well as the MIDI from the clips, as appropriate.


MIDI In/Out Indicators

Live's Control Bar contains three pairs of indicator LEDs that tell you about incoming and outgoing MIDI. These indicators tell you not only about the presence of signals, but also about their use. In every pair, the upper indicator ashes when a MIDI message is received, and the lower indicator ashes when a MIDI message is sent.

The Control Bar's MIDI


The three indicator pairs represent, from left to right:

1. MIDI Clock and Timecode signals that are used for

synchronizing Live with other sequencers ;


2. MIDI messages that are used for

remote-controlling Live's user-interface elements ;

3. MIDI messages coming from and going to Live's MIDI tracks.

MIDI messages that are mapped to remote-control Live's user-interface elements are eaten up by the remote control assignment and will not be passed on to the MIDI tracks. This is a common cause of confusion that can be easily resolved by looking at the indicators.


Master and Cue Outs


Master track

is the default destination for audio signals. The Master track, in turn, is routed to the external audio outputs.

The Cue/Preview Out can be independently routed to allow, for instance, for previewing samples and cueing tracks

via headphones .


ReWire Slave Routing

Live can operate as a ReWire master or slave in cooperation with another ReWire application.

As a ReWire master, Live can send MIDI to, and receive audio from, any ReWire slave application installed on the same computer.


The following example shows how to send MIDI from one of Live's MIDI tracks into an instrument within Propellerhead's Reason, and then route the audio result back into an audio track:

1. First, start Live.

2. Then, start Reason and set up the Reason rack as desired.

3. Select Reason from the MIDI track's Output Type chooser.

4. The Output Channel chooser presents you with a list of the instruments that you currently have in your Reason rack; select the instrument you want to address.

5. Select Reason from the audio track's Input Type chooser.

6. From the audio track's Input Channel chooser, select the audio channel that corresponds to the instrument to which you are sending MIDI.

7. Set the audio track's Monitor radio button to In.

8. Select All Ins from the MIDI track's Input Type chooser.

9. Arm the MIDI track.

Now, any MIDI that you are playing into Live will arrive in Reason, which will generate the corresponding audio back into the audio track, ready for further processing in Live's mixer and effects. If you want to continue work on the project without reopening Reason, simply record Reason's audio by arming the audio track and engaging Record Mode.

An Audio Track

Receiving Audio From and a MIDI Track

Sending MIDI to Reason.





Live's Master output can be routed into an individual audio track and recorded, or resampled.

Resampling can be a fun and useful tool, as it lets you create samples from what is currently happening in a Live Set that can then be immediately integrated. It can be used to record tracks that include processor-intensive devices, so as to delete the devices, or for quickly previewing before

rendering to disk .

The Resampling option in any audio track's Input Type chooser will route the Master output to that track. You can then decide on what exactly you will be resampling and mute, solo or otherwise adjust the tracks that are feeding the Master output. You will probably want to use the Master Volume meter to make sure that your level is as high as possible without clipping (indicated by red in the meter). Then you can arm the track and

record into any of its empty clip slots . Note that the recording track's own output will be suppressed

while resampling is taking place, and will not be included in the recording.

Samples created by resampling will be stored in with the current Set's

Project folder , under

Samples/Recorded. Until the Set is saved, they remain at the location speci ed by the

Temporary Folder .


Internal Routings

Live's mixer allows for inter-track routings. These routings, albeit potentially confusing, enable many valuable creative and technical options. Inter-track routing can work two ways:

1. Track A is set up to send its output signal to Track B. This is possible because every track that can receive an output signal of the appropriate type from Track

A shows up in its Output Type chooser.

2. Track B is set up to receive its input signal from Track A. This works because every track that delivers a signal of the appropriate type appears in Track B's Input Type chooser.


Both approaches result in Track A's output being fed into Track B. Approach 1 leaves Track

B's in/out settings alone, and we can, at any time, add more tracks that feed their output into Track B. This is the method of choice for many-to-one routings such as submixes or several MIDI tracks playing the same instrument.

Approach 2, on the other hand, leaves Track A unaffected except for Track B tapping its output. We can easily add more tracks like Track B that all tap Track A's output. Instrument layering is a good example of such a one-to-many routing setup.

Two Ways to Route Track

A into Track B.


Internal Routing Points

Signals travel from Live's tracks into their respective device chains and then into the track mixer, where they might become panned or have their levels altered by the tracks' faders.

Whenever a track's Audio From input chooser is set to another track (as described in the previous section's Approach 2), the signal received can be tapped from one of three different points chosen from the Input Channel chooser: Pre FX, Post FX or Post Mixer.


ˆ Pre FX taps the signal that is coming directly from a track, before it has been passed on to the track's device chains (FX) or mixer. Therefore, changes that are made to the tapped track's devices or mixer have no effect on the tapped signal.

ˆ Post FX taps the signal at the output of a track's device chains (FX), but before it has been passed back to the track mixer. Changes to the tapped track's devices will therefore alter the tapped signal, but changes to its mixer settings will not.

ˆ Post Mixer taps the nal output of a track, after it has passed through its device chains and mixer.

Tap Points for Track



Routing Points in Racks


If a track has one or more


in its device chain, internal routing points (Pre FX, Post FX and Post Mixer) will also be available for every chain within the Rack. In this case, each Rack will also be listed in the Input Channel chooser:

ˆ (Rack Name) | (Chain Name) | Pre FX The signal will be tapped from the point that it enters the Rack, before it reaches the chain's devices.

ˆ (Rack Name) | (Chain Name) | Post FX The signal will be tapped from the end of the chain, but before it passes to the chain's mixer.

ˆ (Rack Name) | (Chain Name) | Post Mixer The signal will be tapped from the output of the chain's mixer, just before the point where all of the chains in the Rack are summed together to create the Rack's output.

Tap Points for Every

Chain in a Track.


Making Use of Internal Routing

This section presents several internal routing examples in more detail.


Post-Effects Recording

Let's say that you are feeding a guitar into Live, building up a song track by track, overlaying take onto take. It is certainly powerful to have a separate effects chain per track for applying different effects to different takes after the fact. You might, however, want to run the guitar signal through effects (a noise gate or an amp model, for instance) before the recording stage, and record the post-effects signal.

This is easily accomplished by devoting a special audio track for processing and monitoring the incoming guitar signal. We call this track Guitar and drag the desired effects into its device chain. We do not record directly into the Guitar track; instead we create a couple more tracks to use for recording. Those tracks are all set up to receive their input Post FX from the Guitar track. Note that we could also tap the Guitar track Post Mixer if we wished to record any level or panning from it.

As for monitoring, we set the Guitar track's Monitor radio button to In, because we always want to listen to our guitar through this track, no matter what else is going on in Live. The other tracks' Monitor radio buttons are set to Off.

An Example Setup for

Post-Effects Recording.

Recording MIDI as Audio

When working with MIDI and complex software instruments, it is sometimes more useful to record the resulting audio than the incoming MIDI. A single MIDI note can prompt, for example, Native Instruments' Absynth to produce something that sounds more like a piece of music than a single tone. This output lends itself more to representation as an audio waveform than a single note in a MIDI clip, particularly when comparing the editing options.


A setup similar to the one described


accomplishes the task. We have one MIDI track hosting the virtual instrument, and we use additional audio tracks to record the audio result of playing the instrument.

Recording the Output of a Complex Instrument in

Audio Tracks.

Creating Submixes

Suppose we have the individual drums of a drum kit coming in on separate tracks for multitrack recording. In the mix, we can easily change the volumes of the individual drums, but adjusting the volume of the entire drum kit against the rest of the music is less convenient.

Submixing the Individual

Drums of a Drum Kit.


Therefore, we add a new audio track to submix the individual drums. The drum tracks are all set to output to the submix track, which outputs to the Master. The submix track gives us a handy volume control for the entire drum kit.

Several MIDI Tracks Playing the Same Instrument

Consider a MIDI track containing a virtual instrument a


playing a pad sound, for example. We have already recorded MIDI clips into this track when we realize that we would like to add an independent, parallel take for the same instrument. So we add another MIDI track. We could now drag another Simpler into the new track, but we would really like to reuse the Simpler from the pad track, so that changing the pad's sound affects the notes from both tracks.

This is accomplished by setting the new MIDI track's Output Type chooser to Pad. Note that the Output Channel chooser now offers a selection of destinations: We can either feed the new track's output into the input of the pad track, or we can directly address the Simpler.

The Track In option in the Output Channel represents the pad track's input signal (the signal to be recorded), which is not what we want. We instead select Simpler Ch. 1 to send the new track's MIDI directly to the Simpler, bypassing the recording and monitoring stage. With this setup, we can choose to record new takes on either track and they will all play the same pad sound.

Feeding an Additional

MIDI Track Into an

Existing MIDI Track to

Reuse its Instrument.


We might be bothered by the fact that muting the pad track (by turning off its Activator switch) also mutes the other MIDI track. To be precise, the other track keeps playing, but its

MIDI is played by an instrument that is out of the mix. This can be easily remedied by cutting the clips from the pad track and pasting them into a third track that can be independently muted (and that can hold its own MIDI effects). The original pad track now acts as a mere instrument container. As we are not recording new clips into this track, we can set its Input

Type chooser to No Input, which makes its Arm button disappear and helps to avoid confusion when the mixer's In/Out section is hidden.

The Instrument Has

Been Isolated in a

Dedicated Track.

Tapping Individual Outs From an Instrument

Some software instruments, like Live's

Impulse percussion sampler , offer multiple audio

outputs for the signals they produce. By default, Impulse mixes the output of its eight sample slots internally and delivers the mix at the instrument's audio out. Any audio effects following Impulse in the same track process the composite signal. Sometimes it is desirable to take an individual drum sound out of the mix for individual effects processing and mixing.

This is possible because Impulse offers its sample slots as audio sources to other tracks.


We simply create an audio track and select from its Input Type chooser the track with the

Impulse. The Input Channel chooser now offers, in addition to Pre FX, Post FX and Post

Mixer, Impulse's eight individual outputs, labeled according to the sample used in each slot.

Notice that routing an individual output from Impulse into another track automatically takes this signal out of Impulse's own internal mix. This convenience is not standard behavior of most plug-in instruments, however.

Using Impulse's

Individual Outs to

Separately Process

Sample Slots.

Using Multi-Timbral Plug-In Instruments

Many plug-in instruments support multi-timbral operation. A multi-timbral instrument is like several instruments in one, with each component part (or whatever term the manufacturer uses) receiving MIDI on a separate MIDI channel. Usually, the multi-timbral instrument offers individual outputs so that the parts can be separately routed into the mixer. Or, the instrument might offer a submixer of its own.


Sending MIDI to a multi-timbral instrument is a variation of a case described

above . One

MIDI track hosts the multi-timbral instrument, and additional MIDI tracks are used to feed its individual parts. Each additional MIDI track has its Output Type chooser pointed to the track that contains the instrument, and its Output Channel chooser referencing the target

MIDI channel. Additional audio tracks can then be used to tap the instrument's individual outputs, as described

earlier .

Tracks Feeding MIDI to and Tapping Audio

From the Parts of a



Feeding Sidechain Inputs

Some effects have so-called sidechain inputs. A vocoder, for instance, imposes spectral characteristics taken from one signal (say, spoken word) onto another signal, for instance a string pad. The vocoder is inserted as an audio effect into the string track. It has a sidechain input for the speech signal, which has to be delivered from another track. So, we create an additional audio track named Speech and set its Output Type chooser to the Strings track. From the Output Channel chooser, we select the vocoder's sidechain input.


Some vocoder plug-ins include a built-in synthesizer to generate the carrier signal. In this case, the only difference from the above procedure is that the vocoder instrument is dragged into a MIDI track. Feeding the side-chain audio input works as described above.

Routing a Speech Signal

Into a Vocoder's

Sidechain Input.

Layering Instruments

Suppose that we have a MIDI track containing an instrument playing a string sound, which we would like to lubricate by adding a brass sound playing the same notes. This can be easily done by adding a MIDI track that contains an instrument playing the brass sound and setting its Input Type chooser to tap the string track's Post FX signal.

Perhaps you wonder why this works, given that the string track's output is audio and not

MIDI. When routing MIDI in from another track, we are tapping the MIDI at the latest possible

Using an Auxiliary MIDI

Track to Layer


CHAPTER 12. ROUTING AND I/O stage, which is after any MIDI Effects, and just before the instrument.



Chapter 13



The Live Mixer

Live includes a mixer section that is accessible from two views:

In the Arrangement View, the mixer appears as a horizontal strip to the right of the track area. To display all mixer controls for a track, unfold the track using the button next to

The Arrangement View


CHAPTER 13. MIXING its name, and adjust its height accordingly.


The Session View is a standard vertical mixer layout. You'll likely nd the Session View mixer more intuitive than the Arrangement mixer, which comes in handy when you work with

automation . Note that the Tab key toggles between the Arrangement and Session Views.

The Session View Mixer.

The View menu options listed below show or hide mixer components. You can use different mixer view setups in the Session View and in the Arrangement View:

ˆ In/Out

ˆ Sends

ˆ Returns

ˆ Mixer

ˆ Track Delays

ˆ Crossfader

The Mixer Section selectors on the right-hand side of the screen duplicate the View Menu commands, making it possible to quickly show or hide different mixer components.


The Mixer Section


Let's look at the mixer controls:

5 6









2 3

1. The Meter shows the track's RMS (average) and peak output level. While monitoring, however, it shows the input level.

2. The Volume control adjusts the track's output level.

3. The Pan control positions the track's output in the stereo eld. To reset the Pan control to center, click on its associated triangle.

4. To mute the track's output, turn off the Track Activator switch.

5. The Solo switch solos the track by muting all other tracks, but can also be used for

cueing . Tracks can only be soloed one at a time unless the Exclusive Solo

option in the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences is deactivated. Alternatively, you can hold down the Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi er to solo more than one track.

6. If the Arm Recording button is on, the track is

record-enabled . Tracks can only be

armed one at a time unless the Exclusive Arm option in the Record/Warp/Launch

Preferences is deactivated. Alternatively, you can hold down the Ctrl (PC) /

(Mac) modi er to arm more than one track.

The Mixer Controls.



Session Mixer Features


The Mixer section of the Session Mixer has several additional features that are not visible by default. The mixer is resizable, and dragging upwards on the top of the mixer will extend the height of the track meters, adding tick marks, a numeric volume eld and resettable peak level indicators. Increasing a track's width in this state will add a decibel scale alongside the meter's tick marks.

These enhancements are tailored for use in traditional mixing settings, but are available anytime the Mixer section is displayed.

Because of the enormous headroom of Live's 32-bit oating point audio engine, Live's meters can be driven far into the red without causing the signals to clip. The only time that signals over 0 dB will be problematic is when routing to or from physical inputs and

outputs, like those of your sound card, or when saving audio to a le.

Nevertheless, Live provides this optional visual feedback for signals that travel beyond 0 dB in any track.

The Session Mixer's




Audio and MIDI Tracks


Audio and MIDI tracks in Live are for hosting and playing clips, as explained

earlier .

You can add new audio and MIDI tracks to your Live Set's mixer at any time using the appropriate Insert menu commands.

Tracks can also be created by double-clicking or pressing Return on les in the Browser to load them, or by dragging objects from the Browser into the space to the right of Session

View tracks or below Arrangement View tracks. Devices or les loaded into Live in this manner will create tracks of the appropriate type (e.g., a MIDI track will be created if a MIDI le or effect is dragged in).

A track is represented by its track title bar. You can click on a track title bar to select the track and then execute an Edit menu command, such as Rename, on the track. One can quickly rename a series of tracks by executing this command and then using the Tab key to move from title bar to title bar.

You can drag tracks by their title bars to rearrange them, or click and drag on their edges to change their width (in the Session View) or height (in the Arrangement View).

Tracks are deleted using the Edit menu's Delete command.

Tracks are Represented by Track Title Bars.


Return Tracks and the Master Track

In addition to tracks that play clips, a Live Set has a Master track and up to twelve return

tracks; these cannot play clips, but allow for more exible signal processing and routing.

The return tracks and the Master track occupy the right-hand side of the Session mixer view and the bottom end of the Arrangement View.


Note that you can hide and show the return tracks using the Returns command in the View menu.

Like the normal clip tracks, the returns and the Master can

host any number of effects .

However, whereas a clip track's effect processes only the audio within that track, return tracks can process audio sent to them from numerous tracks.

For example, suppose you want to create rhythmic echoes with a delay effect. If you drag the effect into a clip track, only clips playing in this track will be echoed. Placing this effect in a return track lets it receive audio from any number of tracks and add echoes to them.

A clip track's Send control regulates how much of the clip track's output feeds the associated return track's input. What's more, even the return track's own output can be routed to its input, allowing you to create feedback. Please use this feature with care, as runaway feedback can boost the level dramatically and unexpectedly.

Every return track has a Pre/Post toggle that determines if the signal a clip track sends to it is tapped before or after the mixer stage (i.e., the pan, volume and track-active controls).

The Pre setting allows you to create an auxiliary mix that is processed in the return track, independently of the main mix. As the return track can be

routed to a separate output , this

can be used to set up a separate monitor mix for an individual musician in a band.

The Master track is the default destination for the signals from all other tracks. Drag effects here to process the mixed signal before it goes to the master output. Effects in the Master track usually provide mastering-related functions, such as compression and/or EQ.

You can create multiple return tracks using the Insert menu's Insert Return Track command, but by de nition, there is only one Master track.

The Send Controls and

Pre/Post Toggle.



Using Live's Crossfader


Live includes a crossfader that can create smooth transitions between clips playing on different tracks. Live's crossfader works like a typical DJ-mixer crossfader, except that it allows crossfading not only two, but any number of tracks including the returns.

The crossfader is accessed via the Session View's mixer selectors. It features seven different crossfade curves so that you can choose the one that ts your style the best. To change the curve, menu.

(PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the crossfader, then select an entry from the context

The Crossfader and


The crossfader can be

mapped to any continuous MIDI controller (absolute or incremental) .

In addition to the crossfader's central slider, its absolute left and right positions are separately available for MIDI or keyboard mapping. There are two special scenarios for remote control with respect to the crossfader:

ˆ A key mapped to any one of the three assignable crossfader positions (left, center or right) will toggle the crossfader's absolute left and right positions.

Choose from Seven

Crossfader Curves.


ˆ Mapping to two of the three elds allows for a snapping back behavior when one of the assigned keys is held down and the other is pressed and released.

Each track has two Crossfade Assign buttons, A and B. The track can have three states with respect to the crossfader:

ˆ If neither Assign button is on, the crossfader does not affect the track at all.

ˆ If A is on, the track will be played unattenuated as long as the crossfader is in the left half of its value range. As the crossfader moves toward the right across the center position, the track fades out. At the crossfader's rightmost position, the track is muted.

ˆ Likewise, if B is on, the track's volume will be affected only as the crossfader moves left across its center position.

It is important to understand that the Crossfade Assign buttons do not affect the signal routing: The crossfader merely in uences the signal volume at each track's gain stage. The track can be routed to an individual output bus regardless of its crossfade assignment. In studio parlance, you can think of the crossfader as an on-the- y VCA group.

As with almost everything in Live, your crossfading maneuvers can be

recorded into the


for later in-depth editing. To edit each track's crossfade assignment, please choose Mixer from the Envelope Device chooser and X-Fade Assign from the Control chooser. The crossfader's automation curve is accessible when Mixer is chosen from the

Master track's Device chooser and Crossfade is selected from its Control chooser.

Crossfade Assign




Soloing and Cueing


By default, soloing a track simply mutes all other tracks. The signal from the soloed tracks is heard through their respective outputs, with the pan setting of each track preserved.

Soloing a clip track leaves the return tracks unaffected (solo in place). Soloing a return track affects all other tracks.

Live allows you to replace the standard soloing operation with a cueing operation that lets you preview tracks as though you were cueing a record on a DJ mixer. This allows choosing clips and adjusting effects without the audience hearing, before bringing tracks into the mix.

In order to set Live up for cueing, you must be using an audio interface with at least four dedicated outputs (or two dedicated stereo outputs). The respective settings are accessible in the Session View mixer. Make sure you have the Mixer and In/Out options checked in the

View menu.

4 5 3 2 1

1. The Master Out chooser selects the output on your interface to be used as the main output.

2. The Cue Out chooser selects the output on your hardware interface to be used for cueing. This has to be set to an output other than that selected for the Master.

If the desired outputs don't show up in these choosers, please check the Audio


The Cueing-Related

Session Mixer Controls.


3. Activate cueing by setting the Solo/Cue Mode switch to Cue.

4. The tracks' Solo switches are now replaced by Cue switches with headphone icons. When a track's Cue switch is pressed, that track's output signal will be heard through the output selected in the Cue Out chooser. Note that the Track

Activator switch on the same track still controls whether or not the track is heard at the Master output.

5. The Cue Volume control adjusts the volume of the cueing output.

Note that when cueing is set up and activated, the output of audio les that you are previewing in the Browser is also heard through the Cue Out.


Track Delays

A Track Delay control is available for every track in Live. The control allows delaying or predelaying the output of tracks in milliseconds in order to compensate for human, acoustic, hardware and other real-world delays.

This section of the interface can be shown or hidden using its respective Mixer Section selector.

We do not recommend changing track delays on stage, as it could result in undesirable clicks or pops in the audio signal. Micro-offsets in Session View clips can be achieved using the

nudge buttons in the Clip View , however track delays can be used in the Arrangement

View for such offsets.

Note that

delay compensation for plug-ins and Live devices

is a separate feature, and is automatic by default. Unusually high Track Delay settings or reported latencies from plugins may cause noticeable sluggishness in the software. If you are having latency-related dif culties while recording and playing back instruments, you may want to try turning off

The Track Delay Control and Selector.

CHAPTER 13. MIXING 177 device delay compensation, however this is not normally recommended. You may also nd that adjusting the individual track delays is useful in these cases. Note that the Track Delay controls are unavailable when device delay compensation is deactivated.


Chapter 14

Recording New Clips

This chapter is about recording new clips from audio and MIDI input signals. Note that this is a different kind of recording than the

capturing of Session clips into the Arrangement .

For successful audio recording, please make sure the audio preferences are set up properly.

For more on this, please see the built-in program lesson on setting up Audio Preferences.

Also, keep in mind that devices such as microphones, guitars and turntables do not operate at line level, meaning that they will need to have their levels boosted before they can be recorded. For these devices, you must therefore use either an audio interface with a preamp, or an external preamp.


Choosing an Input

A track will record whatever input source is shown in its In/Out section, which appears when the View menu's In/Out option is checked. (In the Arrangement View, unfold and resize the track in order to completely see the In/Out section.)


Audio tracks default to recording a stereo signal from the external input pair 1/2.

MIDI tracks default to recording all MIDI that is coming in through the

active external input devices . The computer keyboard is, by default, activated as a pseudo-MIDI input device ,

allowing you to record MIDI even if no MIDI controller hardware is currently available.

For every track, you can choose an input source other than the default: any mono or stereo external input, a speci c MIDI channel from a speci c MIDI-in device, audio from ReWire slave programs or a signal coming from another track. The

Routing chapter

describes these options in detail.

The Track In/Out Section in the Arrangement

(Left) and Session View



Arming (Record-Enabling) Tracks

To select a track for recording, click on its Arm button. It doesn't matter if you click a track's

Arm button in the Session View or in the Arrangement View, since the two

share the same set of tracks .

By default, armed tracks are monitored, meaning that their input is passed through their device chain and to the output, so that you can listen to what is being recorded. This

Track Arm Buttons in the

Arrangement (Left) and

Session (Right) Mixers.

CHAPTER 14. RECORDING NEW CLIPS 180 behavior is called auto-monitoring and you can

change it to t your needs .

Clicking one track's Arm button unarms all other tracks unless the Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi er is held. Arming a track selects the track so you can readily access its

devices in the

Track View .



Recording can be done in both the Session and the Arrangement Views. If you want to record onto more than one track simultaneously and/or prefer viewing the recording linearly and in-progress, the Arrangement View may be the better choice. If you want to break your recording seamlessly into multiple clips or record while you are also launching clips in Live, use the Session View.


Recording Into the Arrangement

1 3





Recording Into the



1. Recording commences when the Control Bar's Record button is activated and the Play button is pressed.

2. Recording creates new clips in all tracks that have their Arm button on.

3. When the Overdub switch is on, the new clips contain a mix of the signal already in the track and the new input signal. The Overdub option only applies to MIDI tracks.

4. To prevent recording prior to a punch-in point, activate the Punch-In switch. This is useful for protecting the parts of a track that you do not want to record over and allows you to set up a pre-roll or warm-up time. The punch-in point is identical to the Arrangement Loop's start position.

5. Likewise, to prevent recording after the punch-out point, activate the Punch-Out switch. The punch-out point is identical to the Arrangement Loop's end position.

6. When you are recording into the

Arrangement Loop , Live retains the audio

recorded during each pass.

You can later unroll a loop recording, either by repeatedly using the Edit menu's Undo command or graphically in the Clip View: After loop recording, double-click on the new clip.

In the Clip View's Sample Display, you can see a long sample containing all audio recorded during the loop-recording process. The Clip View's

loop brace

de nes the audio taken in the last pass; moving the markers left lets you audition the audio from previous passes.


Recording Into Session Slots

You can record new clips, on the y, into any Session slots.


4 3 2 1


1. Set the Global Quantization chooser to any value other than None to obtain correctly cut clips.

2. Activate the Arm button for the tracks onto which you want to record. Clip

Record buttons will appear in the empty slots of the armed tracks.

3. Click on any of the Clip Record buttons to commence recording. A new clip will appear in the slot with a red Clip Launch button that shows it is currently recording. To go from recording immediately into loop playback, press the clip's

Launch button.

4. Alternatively, you can click a Clip Stop button or the Stop button in the Control

Bar to stop recording, leaving the new clip silent.

Note that, by default, launching a

Session View scene

will not activate recording in empty record-enabled slots belonging to that scene. However, you can use the Start Recording on Scene Launch option from the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences to tell Live that you do want empty scene slots to record under these circumstances.

Recording a New Clip

Into the Session View.



Overdub Recording MIDI Patterns

Live makes pattern-oriented recording of drums and the like quite easy. Using Live's


instrument and the following technique, you can successively build up drum patterns while listening to the result. Or, using an instrument such as

Simpler , which allows for chromatic

playing, you can build up melodies or harmonies, note by note.

1. Set the Global Quantization chooser to one bar.

2. To automatically quantize the notes you are about to record, choose an appropriate value for

Record Quantization .

3. Double-click any of the Session View slots in the desired MIDI track (the one containing the Impulse or other instrument). A new, empty clip will appear in the slot. The new clip will default to a loop length of one bar, but you can change that by double-clicking the clip and changing its

loop properties .

4. Arm the track.

5. Launch the clip.

6. The notes you play are added into the looping clip, and you can observe your recording in the Clip View.

7. By default, the Control Bar's Overdub switch is activated, so that you can build your pattern layer by layer. However, if you would like to pause recording for a moment to rehearse, you can deactivate the Overdub switch. The contents of the clip will continue to play, but you can play along without being recorded.

When you are ready to record again, simply turn on the Overdub switch.

8. Stop recording by pressing a Clip Stop button or the Stop button in the Control


Note that holding Alt (PC) / Alt (Mac) while double-clicking the empty slot to create a new clip will implicitly arm the track and launch the clip.

At any time while overdub recording is going on, you can use the Undo command to remove the last take, or even draw, move or delete notes in the Clip View's Note Editor.

Note that you can also add notes to existing Session clips while the Overdub switch is on.



Recording in Sync


Live keeps the audio and MIDI you have recorded in sync, even when you later decide on a different song tempo. In fact, Live allows you to change the tempo at any time before, after and even during recording. You could, for instance, cheat a bit by turning down the tempo to record a technically dif cult part, and pull it up again afterwards.

It is important to record in sync to make sure everything will later play in sync.

The easiest way to record in sync is to play along with or to use the built-in metronome, which is activated via its Control Bar switch and will begin ticking when the Play button is pressed or a clip is launched.

The Metronome Switch.

To adjust the metronome volume, use the mixer's Preview Volume knob.

Notice that Live's metrical interpretation of the audio being played can be edited, at any time, using the

Warp Markers . Warp Markers can be used to x timing errors and to change

the groove or feel of your recordings. Using Warp Markers, you can x things in your recordings that would otherwise require complicated editing or could not be done at all.

Likewise, the metrical interpretation of recorded MIDI can be changed after recording, using the MIDI clip's

Original BPM controls .

The Preview Volume




Recording Quantized MIDI Notes


If you will be recording MIDI, you have the option of automatically quantizing MIDI notes while recording. The Record Quantization chooser in the Edit menu allows selecting the meter subdivisions with which your recorded notes will align. When recording

into Session slots


into the Arrangement , record quantization is an independent step in Live's Undo

history. This means that if, for example, you recorded with Record Quantization set to

Eighth Note Triplet Quantization and then changed your mind, using the Edit menu's

Undo command would undo only the quantization and leave your recording otherwise intact.

For Session and Arrangement recording, the Record Quantization setting cannot be changed mid-recording.


overdub recording

with the Clip View Loop activated, changes to the Record Quantization take effect immediately, and they cannot be separately undone with the Edit menu command.

Recorded MIDI notes can also be quantized post-recording with the Edit menu's Quantize command, as described in the chapter on

editing MIDI .


Recording with Count-in

A count-in for recording can be set in Live's Record/Warp/Launch Preferences. When the

Count-In preference is set to any value other than None, Live will not begin recording until the count-in is complete. The Arrangement Position elds in the Control Bar display the count-in in orange as bars-beats-sixteenths.

The Count-In is

Displayed in the Control


The count-in runs from negative bars-beats-sixteenths (beginning at -2.1.1., for example, with a Count-In setting of 2 bars) up to 1.1.1., at which point recording commences.

Note that count-in recording does not apply when Live is

synced to external MIDI devices or being used as a ReWire slave .



Setting up File Types


The following Preferences from the Record/Warp/Launch tab are relevant to the sample les that are created by recording:

ˆ The sample le type you would like Live to create can be chosen from the File Type chooser in the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences.

ˆ The bit depth of the sample le you will create by recording can be chosen from the

Bit Depth chooser in the Record/Warp/Launch Preferences.

You can save time by setting up reasonable defaults for the clips you are recording in the

Record/Warp/Launch Preferences tab. In particular, it is smart to indicate the rough category of sound to be recorded by choosing the appropriate default Warp Mode. If you decide later on a different song tempo, the program will automatically maintain

good sound quality ,

usually without further adjustment.


Where are the Recorded Samples?

Recorded samples are stored with the current Set's

Project folder , under Samples/Recorded.

Until the Set is saved, it remains at the location speci ed by the Temporary Folder preference which is found in the Preferences' File/Folder tab. To make sure Live will not run out of disk space while recording into a new Set, please make sure the Temporary Folder is on a drive/partition with suf cient free space.


Using Remote Control for Recording


Key Map Mode and MIDI Map Mode , you can operate Live's recording functions

without using the mouse.

You can map the Control Bar's Record and transport controls as well as the track Arm buttons.

For recording into the Session slots, you can map the individual slots as well as the relative navigation controls to initiate recording remotely; for instance:


One key is used to jump to the next scene...

... and another key to start and end recording in the respective track.


The Scene Up/Down


A Track Launch Button.


Chapter 15

Working with Instruments and


Every track in Live can host a number of devices. These devices can be of three different sorts:

ˆ MIDI effects act upon MIDI signals and can only be placed in MIDI tracks.

ˆ Audio effects act upon audio signals and can be placed in audio tracks. They can also be placed in MIDI tracks as long as they are downstream from an instrument.

ˆ Instruments are devices that reside in MIDI tracks, receive MIDI and output audio.


The Track View is where you insert, view and adjust the devices for the selected track. To select a track and open the Track View to access its devices, double-click the track's name.

The Track View appears in the bottom area of the Live screen.

To learn about a particular device and how to operate it, consult the

Live Audio Effect

Reference ,

Live MIDI Effect Reference

or the

Live Instrument Reference .

To learn about creating and using custom groupings of instruments and effects, check out the

Instrument and Effect Racks


Get hands-on with devices by assigning their parameters to

MIDI or key remote control .

Devices in the Track




Using the Live Devices


Click on the Device Browser selector to access the palette of Live's built-in devices. You will notice that MIDI effects, audio effects and instruments each have their own folders in the


The easiest way to place a device in a track is to double-click on it in the Browser, which creates a new track to hold the device. Alternatively, select a destination track by clicking within it, then select a device or preset in the Browser and press Return to add it to the selected track.

You can also drag devices into tracks or drop areas in the Session and Arrangement Views, or into the Track View.

Note: If you are using an external input signal to feed your Live track using the default settings, you will need to activate the track's Arm button in the mixer in order to hear the input through the devices in your track's device chain.

The Live Device Browser.


This is how you would play live instruments through effects on a track, for example, or use a MIDI keyboard's input to play a track's instrument. Note that you can easily move from this setup into

recording new clips

for further use in Live. If you have alternative monitoring preferences, please see the

Monitoring section

to learn how to make these settings.

To add another device to the track, simply drag it there or double-click its name to append it to the device chain. Signals in a device chain always travel from left to right.

You can drop audio effects in at any point in an audio track's device chain, keeping in mind that the order of effects determines the resulting sound. The same is true for a MIDI track's device chain.

If you drop an instrument into a MIDI track's device chain, be aware that signals following

(to the right of) the instrument are audio signals, available only to audio effects. Signals preceding (to the left of) the instrument are MIDI signals, available only to MIDI effects. This means that it's possible for a MIDI track's device chain to hold all three types of devices: rst

MIDI effects, then an instrument, and nally audio effects.

MIDI and Audio Track

Arm Buttons


To remove a device from the chain, click on its title bar and press your computer's or Delete key, or select Delete from the Edit menu. To change the order of devices, drag a device by its title bar and drop it next to any of the other devices in the Track View. Devices can be moved to other tracks entirely by dragging them from the Track View into the Session or Arrangement Views. Generally, devices can be placed, reordered and deleted without interrupting the audio stream.

A MIDI Track's Device

Chain Can Contain All

Three Device Types.

Devices are turned on and off using their Activator switches. Turning a device off is like temporarily deleting it: The signal remains unprocessed, and the device does not consume

CPU cycles. Live devices generally do not load down the CPU unless they are active.

For more information, please refer to the

CPU load section . The Freeze Track command

discussed there is especially helpful when working with CPU-intensive devices.

Devices in Live's tracks have input and output level meters. These meters are helpful in nding problematic devices in the device chain: Low or absent signals will be revealed by the level meters, and relevant device settings can then be adjusted, or the device can be turned off or removed.

Device Activator



Note that no clipping can occur between devices because there is practically unlimited headroom. Clipping can occur when an overly strong signal is sent to a physical output or written to a sample le.

Further information about track types in Live can be found in the

Routing and I/O chapter , in-

cluding information on using return tracks to distribute the effect of a single device amongst several tracks. After reading about using devices in Live, it might also be interesting look into

clip envelopes , which can modulate individual device parameters on a per-clip basis.

The Level Meters

Between Devices in a



Live Device Presets

Every Live device can store and retrieve their parameter settings as presets. Presets for Live instruments and effects are managed through the Device Browser. Each device appears there as a folder that can be opened to reveal its presets.


Presets in the Device


You can browse and load presets quickly with the computer keyboard:

ˆ Scroll up and down using the and keys.

ˆ Close and open device folders using the

ˆ Press

Return to load a device or preset.

and keys.

Clicking a device's Hot-Swap Presets button will temporarily link the Browser to a device, calling up its presets in the Device Browser. With the device and Browser linked in this manner, you can quickly browse, load and audition different presets. You can even replace the current device with a new one by simply selecting another device's preset. To load a device's default factory settings, select the parent folder of its presets (i.e., the one with the device's name) from the Device Browser.

The link between the Device Browser and the device will be broken if a different view is selected, or if the Hot-Swap button is pressed again. Preset hot-swapping can also be cancelled with a press of the Esc key.

Note that although importing via the Browser is the recommended method, presets can also be dropped directly into Live from the Explorer (Windows)/Finder (Mac).

The Hot-Swap Presets



Saving Presets

You can create and save any number of your own presets in the Device Browser.


Click the Save Preset button to save a device's current settings as a new preset. You will be redirected to the Browser, where you can press Return to use Live's suggested name, or you can type one of your own.

For detailed information on what can be done with the Browser, please see the

Managing Files and Sets chapter . For more on how to store project-speci c presets, see the

appropriate section .

The Save Preset Button.


Using Plug-Ins

The collection of devices that you can use in Live can be extended with plug-ins. Live supports Steinberg Media's VST Plug-ins format, as well as Apple Computer's Audio Units

Plug-ins format (Mac OS X only).

Working with VST and Audio Units (AU) Plug-ins is very much like working with Live devices.

VST and AU instruments can only be placed in Live MIDI tracks and, like Live instruments, they will receive MIDI and output audio signals. Plug-in audio effects can only be placed in audio tracks or following instruments. Please see the previous section,

Using the Live

Devices , for details.


Audio Units and VST Plug-ins are browsed and imported using the Plug-In Device Browser, which is accessed via its selector. Plug-in instruments can be differentiated from plug-in effects in the Browser, as they appear with a keyboard icon.

The Browser's search functionality is only available for Audio Units Plug-ins, as is loading presets directly from Track View devices via the Hot-Swap button. In some instances, factory presets for Audio Units will only appear in the Browser once the device has been placed in a track and its Hot-Swap button activated.

Note: The rst time you start Live, no plug-ins will appear in the Plug-In Device Browser, as you must rst activate your plug-in sources. Activating your plug-in sources tells Live which plug-ins you want to use and where they are located on your computer. Information on activating (and deactivating) plug-in sources can be found later in this chapter, in the sections on the

VST Plug-in folder


Audio Units Plug-ins .

Note for Intel Mac users: Intel Macs cannot natively run VST or AU plug-ins that have been written for the PowerPC platform. Only plug-ins of type (Universal) or (Intel) can be used in Live.

If you install/de-install a plug-in while the program is running, Live will not detect your changes or implement them in the Plug-In Device Browser until the next time you start the program. Use the Rescan button in the File/Folder Preferences to rescan your plug-ins while

Live is running, so that newly installed devices become immediately available in the Plug-In

Device Browser.

The Plug-In Device



You can also rescan if you believe that your plug-in database has somehow become corrupted. Holding down the Alt (PC) / Alt (Mac) modi er while pressing Rescan will delete your plug-in database altogether and run a clean scan of your plug-ins.


Plug-Ins in the Track View

Once a plug-in is dragged from the Browser into a track, it will show up in the Track View.

The original plug-in panel graphics will be replaced with a Live panel, which will usually represent all of the plug-in parameters accurately and completely, unless they are simply too numerous or are not modi able in real time. When this is the case, the plug-in's original editor panel can be opened in a

separate window .

A VST Plug-In in the

Track View.

You can view or hide the VST Plug-in's parameters by toggling the title bar.

button in the plug-in's

The X-Y control eld can be used to control two plug-in parameters at once and is therefore especially well-suited for live control. To assign any two plug-in parameters to the Live panel

X-Y eld, use the drop-down menus directly beneath it.

The Plug-In Unfold



Once a plug-in is placed in a track, you can use it just like a Live device:

ˆ You can edit all of its parameters and drag it to different locations in the device chain or to other tracks, according to the rules of audio effects and instruments.

ˆ You can

map MIDI controller messages to its parameters .

ˆ You can modulate its continuous parameters with

clip envelopes .

ˆ You can also use the multiple I/O features of some plug-ins by assigning them as sources or targets in the routing setup of tracks. See the

Routing and I/O chapter

for details.

Showing Plug-In Panels in Separate Windows

The Plug-In Edit button opens a oating window that shows the original VST or Audio Units

Plug-in panel. Changing parameters on the oating window has the same effect as changing them in the Live panel, and vice versa.

There are a few important Plug-In Preference settings for working with plug-in edit windows:

ˆ If activated, the Auto-Open Plug-In Windows Preference assures that plug-in edit windows open automatically when plug-ins are loaded into tracks from the Browser.

ˆ If the Multiple Plug-In Windows option in the Plug-In Preferences is activated, you can open any number of plug-in windows at once. Even with this option off, you can hold down the Ctrl (PC) / (Mac) modi er when opening a new plug-in window to keep the previous window(s) from closing.

ˆ Using the Auto-Hide Plug-In Windows preference, you can choose to have Live display only those plug-in windows belonging to the track that is currently selected.

The Plug-In Edit Button.


You can use the View menu's Show/Hide Plug-In Windows command or the Ctrl Alt

(PC) / Alt P


(Mac) shortcut to hide and show your open plug-in windows. Notice that the name of the track to which the plug-in belongs is displayed in the title bar of the plug-in editor window.

Macintosh only: The oating editor windows of some VST Plug-ins do not receive computer key strokes. This is generally an implementation error in the plug-in itself. If it is necessary to type into a plug-in window, for instance for entering a serial number or unlock code, hold down while clicking the Plug-In Edit button. The editor window will then appear as a normal application window, rather than as a oating window, and receive your typing.

Note that this functionality is intended only as a workaround for the limitations of such plugins. We recommend closing the window after you have nished typing, then reopening it normally before working with the plug-in parameters.


Plug-In Performance Options

The CPU Preferences contain a Plug-In Buffer Size setting for balancing plug-in latency and performance. Here you can set the number of samples processed at any one time by the plug-in. Higher settings may result in a noticeable performance increase but will also result in higher latencies.

With the As Audio Buffer setting selected, the plug-in will calculate the exact number of samples per millisecond as the computer's sound card. This setting usually means that very few dropouts or performance problems will occur, especially with DSP cards.

The size of the computer's sound card buffer (i.e., the number of samples it calculates per millisecond) can be set using the Buffer Size setting in the Audio Preferences.


VST Plug-Ins


The VST Plug-In Folder

When you start Live for the rst time, you will need to activate your VST Plug-in sources before working with VST Plug-ins. Depending on your computer platform, you may also

CHAPTER 15. WORKING WITH INSTRUMENTS AND EFFECTS 200 have to tell Live about the location of the VST Plug-in folder containing the devices you want to use. In order to set up your VST sources, press the Activate button in the Plug-In

Device Browser, or open the File/Folder Preferences by pressing Ctrl , (PC) /

(Mac). There you will nd the Active Sources section.


For Windows, proceed as follows:

1. Use the VST Plug-In Custom Folder entry to tell Live about the location of your

VST Plug-ins: Click the Browse button to open a folder-search dialog for locating and selecting the appropriate folder.

2. Once you have selected a VST Custom Folder and Live has scanned it, the path will be displayed. Note that, on Windows, Live may have found a path in the registry without the need for browsing.

3. Make sure that the Use VST Plug-In Custom Folder option is set to On, so that your selected folder is an active source for VST Plug-ins in Live. Note that you can choose not to use your VST Plug-ins in Live by turning off the Use VST

Plug-In Custom Folder option.

Setting up VST Plug-In

Sources for Windows.

Set up your VST Plug-ins under Mac OS X by doing the following:

1. Your VST Plug-ins will normally be installed in the following folder in your home

Setting up VST Plug-In

Sources for Mac OS X.

CHAPTER 15. WORKING WITH INSTRUMENTS AND EFFECTS 201 and local directories: /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST. You can turn Live's use of these plug-ins on or off with the Use VST Plug-ins in System Folders option.

2. You may have an alternative folder in which you store your VST Plug-ins (perhaps those that you use only with Live). You can use VST Plug-ins in this folder in addition to, or instead of, those in the System folders. To tell Live about the location of this folder, click the Browse button next to the VST Plug-In Custom Folder entry to open a folder-search dialog for locating and selecting the appropriate folder.

3. Note that you can turn off your VST Plug-ins in this folder using the Use VST

Plug-In Custom folder option.

Once you have con gured your Plug-In Preferences, the Plug-In Device Browser will display all plug-ins it nds in the selected VST Plug-in folder(s) as well as any sub-folders.

It is also possible to use VST Plug-ins stored in different folders on your computer. To do this, create a Mac OS or Windows alias of the folder where additional VST Plug-ins are stored, and then place the alias in the VST Plug-In Custom folder (or in the VST Plug-In

System folder on Mac OS X) selected in Live's File/Folder Preferences. The alias can point to a different partition or hard drive on your computer. Live will scan the set VST Plug-in folder as well as any alias folders contained therein.

Some VST Plug-ins contain errors or are incompatible with Live. During the scanning process, these may cause the program to crash. When you re-launching Live, a dialog will appear to inform you about which plug-in caused the problem. Depending on what Live detects about the plug-in, you may be given the choice between performing another scan or making the problematic plug-in unavailable. If you choose to rescan and they crash the program a second time, Live will automatically make them unavailable, meaning that they will not appear in the Plug-In Device Browser and will not be rescanned again until they are reinstalled.


VST Programs and Banks

Every VST Plug-in instance owns a bank of programs. A program is meant to contain one complete set of values for the plug-in's controls.


To select a program from the plug-in's bank, use the chooser below the title bar. The number of programs per bank is xed. You are always working in the currently selected program, that is, all changes to the plug-in's controls become part of the selected program.

Note that VST programs are different from

Live device presets : Whereas the presets for a

Live device are shared among all instances and Live Sets, the VST programs belong to this speci c instance of the VST Plug-in.

The VST Plug-In

Program Chooser.

To rename the current program, select the VST program chooser and execute the Edit menu's Rename Plug-In Preset command. Then type in a new program name and con rm by pressing Return .

Renaming a VST Plug-In


The VST Program/Bank

Load Button (Left) and

Save Button (Right).

VST programs and banks can be imported from les. Clicking the VST Program Load button brings up a standard le-open dialog for locating the desired le.

Windows only: Please select from the File Type menu whether you want to locate VST

Device Program les or VST Device Bank les.

To save the currently selected program as a le, click the VST Program/Bank Save button to bring up a standard le-save dialog; select VST Device Program from the Format menu

(Macintosh)/from the File Type menu (Windows); select a folder and name. For saving the entire bank as a le, proceed likewise but choose VST Device Bank as a le type/format.



Audio Units Plug-Ins


Audio Units Plug-ins are only available in Mac OS X. In most respects, they operate just like

VST Plug-ins .

The rst time you open Live, Audio Units Plug-ins will not appear in the Plug-In Device

Browser. In order to activate your Audio Units as a plug-in source, please press the Activate button in the Plug-In Device Browser, or go to the File/Folder Preferences by pressing

Ctrl , (PC) / , (Mac). There you will nd the Active Sources section. Turning on the Use Audio Units option activates Audio Units Plug-ins so that they appear in Live's

Plug-In Device Browser.

Note that you can always turn this option off later if you decide not to use Audio Units.

An Audio Units Plug-In.

Audio Units Plug-ins sometimes have a feature that allows choosing between different modes for the device. You might be able to choose, for example, between different levels of quality in the rendering of a reverb. Choosers for these device modes can only be accessed through the original plug-in panel, which is opened using the Plug-In Edit button.

Activating Audio Units



Audio Units have presets that function just like those for the

Live effects . However, some

AU presets cannot be dragged to different locations in the Browser, as they are read-only.

Audio Units presets have an .aupreset extension and are stored in the following directory according to their manufacturer's name:

[Home]/Library/Audio/Presets/[Manufacturer Name]/[Plug-in Name]

Opening an Audio Units

Plug-In Window.


Device Delay Compensation

Live automatically compensates for delays caused by Live and plug-in instruments and effects, including those on the return tracks. These delays can arise from the time taken by devices to process an input signal and output a result. The compensation algorithm keeps all of Live's tracks in sync, regardless of what their devices are doing, while minimizing delay between the player's actions and the audible result.

Device delay compensation is on by default and does not normally have to be adjusted in any way. However, Live Sets that were created with Live 4 or earlier will open without device delay compensation. To manually turn latency compensation on (or off), use the

Delay Compensation option in the Options menu.

Unusually high

individual track delays

or reported latencies from plug-ins may cause noticeable sluggishness in the software. If you are having latency-related dif culties while recording and playing back instruments, you may want to try turning off device delay compensation, however this is not normally recommended. You may also nd that adjusting the individual track delays is useful in these cases.

Note that device delay compensation can, depending on the number of tracks and devices in use, increase the CPU load.


Chapter 16

Instrument and Effect Racks

A Rack is a exible tool for working with effects, plug-ins and instruments in a track's device chain. Racks can be used to build complex signal processors, dynamic performance instruments, stacked synthesizers and more. Yet they also streamline your device chain by bringing together your most essential controls. While Racks excel at handling multiple devices, they can extend the abilities of even a single device by de ning new control relationships between its parameters.

Racks greatly expand upon the concept of device groups introduced in Live 5. The device groups of any Live Sets imported from Live 5 are automatically converted to Racks by Live

6. Note that these Live Sets, once saved, can no longer be opened in older versions of Live.

An Audio Effect Rack.



An Overview of Racks



Signal Flow and Parallel Device Chains

In any of Live's tracks, devices are connected serially in a device chain, passing their signals from one device to the next, left to right. By default, the Track View displays only a single chain, but there is actually no limit to the number of chains contained within a track.

Racks allow (among other things) additional device chains to be added to any track. When a track has multiple chains, they operate in parallel: Each chain receives the same input signal at the same time, but then processes that signal serially through its own devices. The output of each of these parallel chains is then mixed together, producing the Rack's output.

The entire contents of any Rack can be thought of as a single device. Indeed, when all of a

Rack's views are collapsed, they take up almost no space at all. If more devices follow after a Rack in a track's device chain, the Rack's output is passed on to them, as usual.


Macro Controls

One unique property of Racks are their Macro Controls.

The Macro Controls are a bank of eight knobs, each capable of addressing any number of parameters from any devices in a Rack. How you use them is naturally up to you whether it be for convenience, by making an important device parameter more accessible; for de ning

The Macro Controls.

CHAPTER 16. INSTRUMENT AND EFFECT RACKS 207 exotic, multi-parameter morphs of rhythm and timbre; or for constructing a mega-synth, and hiding it away behind a single customized interface.

For the greatest degree of expression, try


the Macro Controls to an external control surface.


Creating Racks

Three Rack variants cover the range of Live's devices: Instrument Racks, Audio Effect Racks and MIDI Effect Racks. Just as with track types, each kind of Rack has rules regarding the devices it contains:

ˆ MIDI Effect Racks contain only MIDI effects, and can only be placed in MIDI tracks.

ˆ Audio Effect Racks contain only audio effects, and can be placed in audio tracks.

They can also be placed in MIDI tracks, as long as they are downstream from an instrument.

ˆ Instrument Racks contain instruments, but can additionally contain both MIDI and audio effects. In this case, all MIDI effects have to be at the beginning of the Instrument

Rack's device chain, followed by an instrument, and then any audio effects.

There are different ways to create Racks. A new, empty Rack can be created by dragging a generic Rack preset ( Audio Effect Rack, for example) from the Device Browser into a track.

Devices can then be dropped directly into the Rack's Chain List or Devices view, which are introduced in the

next section .

If a track already has one or more devices that you would like to group into a Rack, then simply select the title bars of those devices in the Track View, and use the Edit menu's Group command. Alternatively, (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on one of the selected title bars to open a context menu featuring the same command. Note that if you repeat the command again on the same device, you will create a

Rack within a Rack .

To ungroup devices, dismantling their Racks, select the Rack's title bar, and then use the

Edit menu or the context menu to access the Ungroup command.



Looking at Racks

1 2 3 4



1. Racks have three distinct views that can be shown or hidden as needed. Therefore, every Rack has a view column on its far left side that holds the corresponding view selectors.

2. Macro Controls

3. Chain List

4. Devices

5. Racks are also identi able by their round corners, which bracket and enclose their content. When the Devices view is shown, the end bracket visually detaches itself to keep the Rack hierarchy clear.

To move, copy or delete an entire Rack at once, simply select it by its title bar (as opposed to the title bars of any devices that it contains). When selected, a Rack can also be renamed by using the Edit menu's Rename command.

When all of a Rack's views are hidden, its title bar will fold into the view column, making the entire Rack as slim as possible.

Components of a Rack.


If you would like to locate a particular device in a Rack without searching manually through its entire contents, you will appreciate this navigation shortcut: (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the Track View selector, and a hierarchical list of all devices in the track's device chain will appear. Simply select an entry from the list, and Live will select that device and move it into view for you.

Racks Can Be Very


Navigate Racks Quickly

Via a Context Menu.



Chain List


As signals enter a Rack, they are rst greeted by the Chain List. We will therefore also choose this point for our own introduction.

The Chain List represents the branching point for incoming signals: Each parallel device chain starts here, as an entry in the list. Below the list is a drop area, where new chains can be added by dragging and dropping presets, devices, or even pre-existing chains.

Since the Track View can show only one device chain at a time, the Chain List also serves as a navigational aid: The list selection determines what will be shown in the adjacent Devices view (when enabled). Try using your computer keyboard's and keys to change the selection in the Chain List, and you'll nd that you can quickly ip through the contents of a


The Chain List also supports multi-selection of chains, for convenient copying and organizing.

In this case, the Devices view will indicate how many chains are currently selected.

Each chain has its own volume slider, as well as Chain Activator, Solo and



Like Live Clips, entire chains can be saved and recalled as presets in the Device Browser.

You can give a chain a descriptive name by selecting it, then choosing the Edit menu's

Rename command. You'll appreciate your effort once your Racks start growing in size and complexity!

The Chain List.



Auto Select

When the Auto Select switch is activated, every chain that is currently processing signals becomes selected in the Chain List. This feature works in conjunction with zones, which are discussed next, and is quite helpful when troubleshooting complex Racks.



Zones are sets of data lters that reside at the input of every chain in a Rack. Together, they determine the range of values that can pass through to the device chain. By default, zones behave transparently, never requiring your attention. They can be recon gured, however, to form sophisticated control setups. The three types of zones, whose editors are toggled with the buttons above the Chain List, are Key, Velocity, and Chain Select. The adjacent

Hide button whisks them out of sight.

Note: Audio Effect Racks do not have key or velocity zones, since these two zone types lter MIDI data only.

Zones contain a lower, main section, used for resizing and moving the zone itself, and a narrow upper section that de nes fade ranges. Resizing of either section is done by clicking and dragging on its right or left edges, while moving is accomplished by clicking and dragging a zone from anywhere except its edges.


Signal Flow through Zones

To understand how zones work, let's examine the signal ow in a MIDI Effect Rack. Our

MIDI Effect Rack resides in the device chain of a MIDI track, and therefore processes MIDI signals. We will assume that it contains four parallel device chains, each containing one

MIDI effect.

1. All MIDI data in the track is passed to its device chain, and therefore into the input of the MIDI Effect Rack.

2. Our MIDI Effect Rack has four device chains, all of which receive the same MIDI data at the same time.


3. Before any MIDI data can enter a device chain, it must be able to pass through

every zone in that chain. Every chain in a MIDI Effect Rack has three zones: a key zone, a velocity zone and a chain select zone.

4. An incoming MIDI note gets compared to a chain's key zone. If the MIDI note lies within the key zone, it is passed to the next zone for comparison; if it does not, then we already know that the note will not be passed to that chain's devices.

5. The same comparisons are made for the chain's velocity and chain select zones.

If a note also lies within both of these zones, then it is passed to the input of the rst device in that chain.

6. The output of all parallel chains is mixed together to produce the MIDI Effect

Rack's nal output. If there happened to be another device following after the Rack in the track's device chain, it would now receive the Rack's output for processing.



Key Zones

When the Key button is selected, the Key Zone Editor appears to the right of the Chain List, illustrating how each chain maps to the full MIDI note range (nearly 11 octaves). Chains will only respond to MIDI notes that lie within their key zone. The zones of individual chains may occupy any number of keys, allowing for exible keyboard split setups.

Key zone fade ranges attenuate the velocities of notes entering a chain.

The Key Zone Editor.



Velocity Zones


Each chain in an Instrument Rack or MIDI Effect Rack also has a velocity zone, specifying the range of MIDI Note On velocities that it will respond to.

The Velocity Zone Editor, when displayed, replaces the Key Zone Editor to the right of the

Chain List. MIDI Note On velocity is measured on a scale of 1-127, and this value range spans the top of the editor. Otherwise, the functionality here is identical to that of the Key

Zone Editor.

Velocity zone fade ranges attenuate the velocities of notes entering a chain.

The Velocity Zone Editor.


Chain Select Zones

Activating the Chain button displays the Chain Select Editor. All Rack types have chain select zones, which allow you to lter chains spontaneously via a single parameter. The editor has

The Chain Select Editor.

CHAPTER 16. INSTRUMENT AND EFFECT RACKS 214 a scale of 0-127, similar to the Velocity Zone Editor. Above the value scale, however, you will nd a draggable indicator known as the Chain selector.

The chain select zone is a data lter just like the other zones; although all chains in a Rack receive input signals, only those with chain select zones that overlap the current value of the

Chain selector can be addressed and thereby produce output.

In MIDI Effect Racks, chain select zones lter all incoming MIDI events (such as MIDI CCs), not just notes. Fade ranges attenuate the velocities of notes entering a chain.

In Instrument Racks and Audio Effect Racks, which both output audio signals, fade ranges attenuate the volume level at each chain's output. So what happens, then, if the Chain selector is moved outside of the chain select zone where a sound is currently playing? If the zone ends in a fade range, the chain's output volume is attenuated to zero while the

Chain selector is outside of the zone. If the zone had no fade range, the output volume is not attenuated, allowing the chain's effects (like long reverb tails or delays) to fade out according to their own settings.

Let's consider how we can make use of chain select zones in a performance situation:

Making Preset Banks Using Chain Select

Unlike the other zone types, the default length of a chain select zone is 1, and the default value is 0. From this setup, we can quickly create preset banks using the Chain Select


Again, we will use a Rack with four chains as our starting point. Each of the four chains contain different effects that we would like to be able to switch between. To make this

Using Chain Select

Zones to Create Effects


CHAPTER 16. INSTRUMENT AND EFFECT RACKS 215 a hands-on experience, we have MIDI-mapped the Chain selector to an encoder on an external control surface.

Let's move the chain select zones of the second and third chains so that each of our zones is occupying its own adjacent value: The rst chain's zone has a value of 0, the second chain's zone has a value of 1, the third has a value of 2, and the fourth has a value of 3.

Since each of our chain select zones has a unique value, with no two zones overlapping, we now have a situation where only one chain at a time can ever be equal to the Chain selector value (shown at the top of the editor). Therefore, by moving the Chain selector, we determine which chain can process signals. With our MIDI encoder at hand, we can now ip effortlessly between instrument or effect setups.

Crossfading Preset Banks Using Fade Ranges

Taking the previous example one step further, we can tweak our chain select zones to produce a smooth transition between our presets. To accomplish this, we will make use of our zones' fade ranges.

To create some room for fading, let's extend the length of our zones a bit. Setting the zones as shown maintains four exclusive values for our presets, so that each still has one point where neither of the others are heard. We crossfade between the presets over eight steps.

If this is too rough a transition for your material, simply reposition the zones to maximize the fade ranges.

Crossfading Between

Effects Presets Using

Chain Select Zones.



Using the Macro Controls


With the potential for developing such complex device chains, Macro Controls keep things manageable by taking over the most essential parameters of a Rack (as determined by you, of course!). Once you have set up your ideal mapping, the rest of the Rack can be hidden away.

The Macro Control view's dedicated Map Mode button opens the door to this behavior.

Enabling Macro Map Mode causes three things to happen:

ˆ All mappable parameters from a Rack's devices will appear with a colored overlay;

ˆ Map buttons will appear beneath each Macro Control dial;

ˆ The

Mapping Browser

will open.

The following steps will get you started mapping:

1. Enable Macro Map Mode by clicking the Map Mode button;

2. Select a device parameter for mapping by clicking it once;

3. Map the parameter by clicking on any Macro Control's Map button. The details will be added to the Mapping Browser.

4. Re ne the value range if desired using the Min/Max sliders in the Mapping

Browser. Inverted mappings can be created by setting the Min slider's value greater than the Max slider's value. The current values can also be inverted by pressing (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the entry in the Mapping Browser.

Making Macro Control

Assignments in Map



5. Select another device parameter if you'd like to create more mappings, or click on the Map Mode button once more to exit Macro Map Mode.

Note that once assigned to a Macro Control, a device parameter will appear disabled, since it hands over all control to the Macro Control (although it can still be modulated externally, via

Clip Envelopes ).

You can edit or delete your assignments at any time using the Mapping Browser (which only appears when Map Mode is enabled).


Racks Within Racks

Now that you have seen all of the components that make up a Rack, we will introduce an advanced concept: A Rack can contain any number of other Racks within its device chains! This idea is easier to grasp if you remember our statement from the beginning of this chapter: The entire contents of any Rack can be thought of as a single device. With this in mind, adding a new Rack at any point in a device chain is no different than adding any other device.

A Rack can be enclosed in another Rack by rst selecting it, and then selecting the Group command from the Edit menu. In the Track View, the contents of Racks are always contained between end brackets: Just as with punctuation or in mathematics, a Rack within a Rack will have a pair of brackets within a pair of brackets.

Racks, chains and devices can be freely dragged into and out of other Racks, and even

One MIDI Effect Rack

Contained Within


CHAPTER 16. INSTRUMENT AND EFFECT RACKS 218 between tracks! Selecting a chain, then dragging and hovering over another Session or

Arrangement View track will give that track focus; its Track View will open, allowing you to drop your chain into place.


Chapter 17

Automation and Editing Envelopes

Often, when working with Live's mixer and devices, you will want the controls' movements to become part of the music. The movement of a control across the song timeline is called

automation; a control whose value changes in the course of this timeline is automated.

Practically all mixer and device controls in Live can be automated, including the song tempo.


Recording Automation

Creating automation is straightforward: All changes of a control that occur while the Control

Bar's Record switch is on become automation. Try recording automation for a control, for instance a mixer volume slider. After recording, play back what you have just recorded to see and hear the effect of the control movement. You will notice that a little LED has appeared in the slider thumb to indicate that the control is now automated. Try recording automation for track panning and the Track Activator switch as well; their automation LEDs appear in their upper left corners.


Volume, Pan and the

Track Activator Switch

Have Been Automated.


Deleting Automation

To delete automation data, simply select an automated control by clicking on it, and choose the Edit menu's Delete Automation command. The automation LED disappears, and the control's value stays constant across the entire song. Note that this will not work with controls that are switches, like the Track Activator switch, because they cannot be selected by clicking.

You can only delete automation for switches by editing their

breakpoint envelopes .


Overriding Automation

In practice, you will often want to try out new control moves without overwriting existing automation data. Well, nothing is forever in the world of in nite

Undo , but it's easy to

disable a control's automation temporarily to avoid overwriting existing data: If you change an automated control's value while not in Record mode, the automation LED goes off to indicate the control's automation is inactive. Any automation is therefore overridden by the current manual setting.

The Back to

Arrangement Button.

When one or more of the automated controls in your Live Set are not active, the Control

Bar's Back to Arrangement button lights up. This button serves two purposes:

1. It reminds you that the current state of the controls differs from the state captured in the Arrangement.


2. You can click on it to reactivate all automation and thereby return to the automation state as it is written on tape.



Drawing and Editing Automation

In the Arrangement View, automation curves can be viewed and edited as breakpoint envelopes.

3 5 1 4 2

1. To access a track's envelope, unfold the track by clicking the to the track name.

button next

2. Clicking on one of the track's mixer or device controls will display this control's envelope.

3. The envelope appears on top of the audio waveform or MIDI display. Its vertical axis represents the control value and the horizontal axis represents time.

For switches and radio buttons, the value axis is discontinuous.

4. The Automation Device chooser either selects the track mixer, one of the track's devices or None to hide the envelope. It also provides you with an overview of what devices actually have automation by showing an LED next to their labels.

5. The Automation Control chooser selects a control from the device chosen in the

Automation Device chooser. The labels of automated controls have an LED.

An Automation

Envelope in the

Arrangement View.



Drawing Envelopes

With Draw Mode enabled, you can click and drag to draw an envelope curve.


To toggle Draw Mode, select the Draw Mode option from the Options menu, click on the

Control Bar's Draw Mode switch, or press Ctrl B (PC) / B (Mac).

The Draw Mode Switch.

Drawing creates steps as wide as the visible grid, which you can modify using

a number of handy shortcuts . For freehand drawing, you can hide the grid using the Snap to Grid

Options menu entry or the Ctrl 4

(PC) /


(Mac) shortcut.

Drawing an Envelope.


Editing Breakpoints

With Draw Mode off, the envelope display looks and works differently. The line segments and the breakpoints connecting them become draggable objects. Clicking and dragging in the envelope's background de nes a selection. Here is what you can do:

ˆ Double-click at a position on a line segment to create a new breakpoint there.

ˆ Double-click on a breakpoint to delete it.

ˆ Click and drag a breakpoint to move it to the desired location. If the breakpoint you are dragging is in the current selection, all other breakpoints in the selection will follow the movement.


Your movement is constrained by the neighboring breakpoints unless you hold down the modi er while dragging, which will eliminate breakpoints as you wipe over them. Holding down the Ctrl (PC) / to a ner resolution.

(Mac) modi er while dragging switches

ˆ Click and drag a line segment between two breakpoints to move it vertically, without affecting the breakpoint's horizontal position. If the line segment is in the current selection, the envelope is moved vertically across the selected timespan. Live inserts breakpoints at the selection's edges to make sure the move only affects the selected part of the envelope.

To Move all Breakpoints

Within the Selection,

Drag Any One of Them.


Locking Envelopes

When moving clips, Live normally moves all automation with the clip. Sometimes, you might want to lock the envelopes to the song position rather than to the clips, and the

Arrangement View's Lock Envelopes switch does just that.

You can also choose to lock envelopes from the Options menu.

Dragging an Envelope

Line Segment Moves the

Segment Vertically.



Edit Menu Commands

There are a number of useful Edit menu commands for editing envelopes.

To cut or copy automation from a track, independent of the associated clip, use the Edit menu's Cut Envelope and Copy Envelope commands, respectively.

To simultaneously copy and paste a selection of envelope into a track's future, use the

Duplicate Envelope command.

Note that Live allows you to copy and paste envelope movements not only from one point in time to another, but also from one parameter to another. However, there is obviously no meaningful conversion from a pan movement to, say, an equalizer frequency, and all Live can do is somehow preserve the gesture.


Editing the Tempo Automation

The ability to dynamically stretch and compress audio to track any tempo or tempo variation is one of Live's specialties. In Live, the song tempo is just another automated control.

To edit the song tempo envelope, unfold the Master track, choose Mixer from the top envelope chooser and Song Tempo from the bottom one.

The Lock Envelopes


The Tempo Envelope.


When adjusting the tempo envelope, you might want to scale the value axis display, which is the function of the two value boxes below the envelope choosers: The left box sets the minimum, and the right box sets the maximum tempo displayed, in BPM.

Note that these two controls also determine the value range of a

MIDI controller

assigned to the tempo.


Chapter 18

Clip Envelopes

Every clip in Live can have its own clip envelopes. The aspects of a clip that are in uenced by clip envelopes change depending upon clip type and setup; clip envelopes can do anything from representing MIDI controller data to modulating device parameters. In this chapter, we will rst look at how all clip envelopes are drawn and edited, and then get into the details of their various applications.



The Clip Envelope Editor


To work with clip envelopes, bring up the Clip View's Envelopes box by activating the rightmost Clip View Box selector panel. The Envelopes box contains two choosers for selecting an envelope to view and edit.

Use the Clip View Box

Selector to Bring up the

Envelopes Box.

The top menu is the Device chooser, which selects a general category of controls with which to work. Device chooser entries are different for different kinds of clips:

ˆ Audio clips have entries for Clip (the clip's sample controls), every effect in the track's device chain and the mixer.

ˆ MIDI clips have entries for MIDI Ctrl (MIDI controller data) and every device in the track's device chain.

The Clip View's

Envelopes Box.


The bottom menu, the Control chooser, selects among the controls of the item chosen in the top menu. In both the Device and the Control chooser, you can easily identify the items that have a non-neutral clip envelope by a little LED appearing next to their names.

The quick-chooser buttons below the menus select commonly edited controls.

Clicking the menus or the quick-chooser buttons brings up the Envelope Editor showing the selected envelope, instead of the Sample Display or MIDI Editor. You can toggle the display by clicking on the title bars of the Sample/Notes and Envelopes boxes.

The techniques for drawing and editing clip envelopes are the same as those for automation envelopes in the

Arrangement View .

If you create a nice section of envelope that you want to have repeat several times, try the following:

1. Enclose the desired selection in the loop brace, and click the brace so that it is selected. This will execute the Edit menu's Select Loop command, which selects all material in the loop.

2. Copy the envelope with Ctrl C (PC) / C (Mac).

3. Shift the loop brace to the right by one loop length with .

4. Paste the envelope with Ctrl V (PC) / V (Mac).

Note that you can use the arrow keys to quickly

manipulate the loop brace and start/end markers

in other useful ways to expedite clip envelope editing tasks.

To delete a clip envelope (i.e., to set it back to its default value), rst go to Edit/Select All, then to Edit/Delete.

Let us now look at some uses of clip envelopes.


Audio Clip Envelopes

Clip envelopes extend Live's elastic approach to audio and, in conjunction with Live's audio effects, turn Live into a mighty sound-design tool. Using clip envelopes with audio

CHAPTER 18. CLIP ENVELOPES 229 clips, you can create an abundance of interesting variations from the same clip in real time anything from subtle corrections to entirely new and unrelated sounds.


Clip Envelopes are Non-Destructive

Using clip envelopes, you can create new sounds from a sample without actually affecting the sample on disk. Because Live calculates the envelope modulations in real time, you can have hundreds of clips in a Live Set that all sound different, but use the same sample.

You can, of course, export a newly created sound by

rendering , or by

resampling . In the

Arrangement View, you can use the

Consolidate command

to create new samples.


Changing Pitch and Tuning per Note

Drop a sample loop from the Browser into Live and play it. Click on the Transpose quickchooser button. You can now alter the pitch transposition of individual notes in the sample as you listen to it.

The fast way to do this is by enabling

Draw Mode

and drawing steps along the grid.

Deactivate Draw Mode to edit breakpoints and line segments. This is useful for smoothing the coarse steps by horizontally displacing breakpoints.


Note that the warp settings determine how accurately Live's time-warping engine tracks the envelope shape. To obtain a more immediate response, reduce the Grain Size value in

Tones and Texture Mode or choose a smaller value for the Transients control in Beats Mode.

To correct the tuning of individual notes in the sample, hold down the Ctrl (PC) /

(Mac) modi er while drawing or moving breakpoints to obtain a ner resolution.

To scroll the display, hold down the dragging.

Ctrl Alt (PC) / Alt (Mac) modi er while

Pitch is modulated in an additive way. The output of the transposition envelope is simply added to the Transpose control's value. The result of the modulation is clipped to stay in the available range (-48..48 semitones in this case).

The Transposition

Envelope with Steps

(Top) and Ramps




Muting or Attenuating Notes in a Sample

Click on the Volume quick-chooser to access an audio clip's volume envelope. By drawing steps in Draw Mode or creating shapes with breakpoints, you can impose an arbitrary volume shape onto the sample.

The volume envelope's output is interpreted as a relative percentage of the clip volume slider's current value. The result of the clip envelope's modulation can therefore never exceed the absolute volume setting, but the clip envelope can drag the audible volume down to silence.

Imposing a Volume

Envelope on a Sample.


Scrambling Beats

One very creative use of clip envelopes is to modulate the sample offset. Sample offset modulation makes the most sense for rhythmical samples, and is only available for clips that are set up to run in the Beats Warp Mode.

Try sample offset modulation with a one-bar drum loop: Make sure Beats Mode is chosen; in the Envelopes box, choose Clip from the Device chooser and Sample Offset from the Control chooser. The Envelope Editor appears with a vertical grid overlay. In


Draw Mode , set steps to non-zero values to hear the loop scrambled. What is going on?

Imagine the audio is read out by a tape head, the position of which is modulated by the envelope. The higher a value the envelope delivers, the farther away the tape head is from its center position. Positive envelope values move the head towards the future, negative values move it towards the past. Fortunately, Live performs the modulation in beats rather

CHAPTER 18. CLIP ENVELOPES 232 than centimeters: A vertical grid line is worth a sixteenth note of offset and the modulation can reach from plus eight sixteenths to minus eight sixteenths.

Sample offset modulation is the tool of choice for quickly creating interesting variations of beat loops. We discourage using this technique for analytical cut-and-splice tasks; they are much easier to perform using Live's Arrangement View, and the results can easily be

consolidated into new clips .

Some sample offset envelope gestures have a characteristic effect: a downward escalator shape, for instance, effectively repeats the step at the envelope's beginning. Similarly, a smooth ramp with a downwards slope is slowing time and can create nice slurring effects when the slope is not quite exactly 45 degrees; try this with a 1/32 Transients setting.

Repeating Steps and

Slowing Time with the

Sample Offset Envelope.


Using Clips as Templates

As you are making creative use of clip envelopes, the clips containing them develop a life of their own, independent of the original sample. You might wonder at a point: What does this clip sound like with a different sample? This is easy to nd out by selecting the clip so that it is displayed in the Clip View and dragging the desired sample from one of the

File Browsers, or the Session or Arrangement View, onto the Clip View. All clip settings, including the envelopes, will remain unaltered; only the sample will be replaced.



Mixer and Device Clip Envelopes


Clip envelopes can be used to modulate mixer and device controls. Since mixer and device controls can also be controlled by the Arrangement's

automation envelopes , this is

a potential source of confusion. However, clip envelopes differ from automation envelopes in one important way: Whereas automation envelopes de ne the value of a control at any given point in time, clip envelopes can only in uence this de ned value. This difference allows the two types of envelopes to work together in harmony when controlling the same parameter.

Imagine that you have recorded volume automation for an audio clip so that it gradually fades out over four bars. What happens to your fade-out when you create a clip envelope that gradually increases the mixer volume over four bars? At rst, your fade-out will become a crescendo, as the clip envelope gradually increases the volume within the range allowed by the automation envelope. But, once the decreasing automated value meets with the increasing clip envelope value, the fade-out will begin, as automation forces the absolute control value (and the operable range of the clip envelope) down.


Modulating Mixer Volumes and Sends

Notice that there are actually two volume modulations: Clip Volume and Mixer Volume.

The latter is a modulation for the mixer's gain stage and therefore affects the post-effect signal. To prevent confusion, a small dot below the mixer's volume slider thumb indicates the actual, modulated volume setting.

Modulating the Mixer

Volume. The Little Dot

Below the Volume Slider

Thumb Represents the

Modulated Volume


As you raise and lower the Volume slider, you can observe the dot following your movement in a relative fashion.

Modulating the track's Send controls is just as easy. Again, the modulation is a relative

CHAPTER 18. CLIP ENVELOPES 234 percentage: The clip envelope cannot open the send further than the Send knob, but it can reduce the actual send value to minus in nite dB.

Modulating a Send. The

Send Knob's Position

Ring Indicates the

Modulated Value.


Modulating Pan

The Pan envelope affects the mixer pan stage in a relative way: The pan knob's position determines the intensity of the modulation. With the pan knob set to the center position, modulation by the clip envelope can reach from hard left to hard right; the modulation amount is automatically reduced as you move the pan knob towards the left or right. When the pan knob is turned all the way to the left, for instance, the pan clip envelope has no effect at all.


Modulating Device Controls

All devices in a clip's track are listed in the upper clip envelope Device chooser. Modulating the devices' controls works just as you would expect. When modulating device controls, it is important to keep the interaction of clip envelopes and device settings in mind: Unlike a

device preset , the clip envelope cannot de ne the values for the devices' controls, it can

only change them relative to their current setting.


MIDI Controller Clip Envelopes

Whether you are working with a new MIDI clip that was


directly into Live, or one from your les, Live allows you to edit and create MIDI controller data for the clip in the form of clip envelopes.

Choose MIDI Ctrl from a MIDI clip's Device chooser and use the Control chooser below it to select a speci c MIDI controller. You can create new clip envelopes for any of the listed controllers by drawing steps or using breakpoints. You can also edit clip envelope representations of controller data that is imported as part of your MIDI les or is created

CHAPTER 18. CLIP ENVELOPES 235 while recording new clips: Names of controllers that already have clip envelopes appear with a little LED in the Control chooser.

Live supports most MIDI controller numbers up to 119, accessible via the scroll bar on the right-hand side of the menu. Note that devices to which you send your MIDI controller messages may not follow the conventions of MIDI control channel assignments, so that

Pitch Bend or Pan, for example, will not always achieve the results that their names imply.

Many of the techniques described in the following section on

unlinking a clip envelope

from its associated clip can be adapted for use with MIDI controller clip envelopes.

A MIDI Controller Clip



Unlinking Clip Envelopes From Clips

A clip envelope can have its own local loop/region settings. The ability to unlink the envelope from its clip creates an abundance of exciting creative options, some of which we will present in the rest of this chapter.


Programming a Fade-Out for a Live Set

Let us start with a straightforward example. Suppose you are setting up a Live Set and wish to program a fade-out over eight bars to occur when a speci c clip is launched but all you have is a one-bar loop.


2 4


1 3

1. Choose the Clip Volume envelope, and unlink it from the sample.

The clip envelope's loop braces now appear colored to indicate this envelope now has its own local loop/region settings. The loop/region controls in the

Envelopes box come to life.

2. Make sure the clip envelope's Loop switch is off. Notice the Sample box's Loop switch is not affected. The sample will keep looping although the envelope is now playing as a one-shot.

3. Type 8 into the leftmost envelope loop-length value box.

4. Zoom the envelope display out all the way by clicking on the Envelope's time ruler and dragging upwards.

5. Insert a breakpoint at the region end and drag it to the bottom (zero percent).

Now, as you play the clip, you can hear the one-bar loop fading out over eight bars.

Please note: toggling Linked Mode changes the envelope data. Toggling back and forth effectively deletes the envelope data. To return to the previous state, please use the Edit menu's Undo command.

Using a Clip Envelope to

Create a Fade-Out Over

Several Repetitions of a




Creating Long Loops from Short Loops

Let us take this a step further. For a different part of your set, you would like to use the same one-bar loop because it sounds great but its repetition bores you. You would like to somehow turn it into a longer loop.

We depart from the clip we just set up to fade out over eight bars. Activate the clip volume envelope's Loop switch. Now, as you play the clip, you can hear the eight-bar fade-out repeating. You can draw or edit any envelope to superimpose onto the sample loop. This, of course, not only works for volume but for any other control as well; how about a lter sweep every four bars?

Note that you can create as much time as needed in the Envelope Editor, either by dragging the loop braces beyond the view limit, or by entering values into the numeric region/loop controls.

You can choose an arbitrary loop length for each envelope, including odd lengths like 3.2.1.

It is not hard to imagine great complexity (and confusion!) arising from several odd-length envelopes in one clip.

To keep this complexity under control, it is important to have a common point of reference.

The start marker identi es the point where sample or envelope playback depart from when the clip starts.

Note that the start/end markers and loop brace are subject to

quantization by the zoomadaptive grid , as is

envelope drawing .

The Sample (Left) and

Envelope (Right) Start




Imposing Rhythm Patterns onto Samples

So far, we have been talking about imposing long envelopes onto small loops. You can also think of interesting applications that work the other way around. Consider a sample of a song that is several minutes long. This sample could be played by a clip with a onebar volume envelope loop. The volume envelope loop now works as a pattern that is repeatedly punching holes into the music so as to, perhaps, remove every third beat. You can certainly think of other parameters that such a pattern could modulate in interesting ways.


Clip Envelopes as LFOs

If you are into sound synthesis, you may want to think of a clip envelope with a local loop as an LFO. This LFO is running in sync with the project tempo, but it is also possible to set up a loop period odd enough to render the envelope unsynchronized. By

hiding the grid , you

can adjust the clip envelope loop start and end points completely independent of meter grid.


Chapter 19

Working with Video

Live's exible architecture makes it the perfect choice for scoring to video. You can trim video clips to select parts of them, and then use Warp Markers to visually align music in the

Arrangement View with the video.

Before diving in, you will want to be familiar with the concepts presented in the


Control and Warping


If you are interested in syncing Live with external video equipment, you'll also want to read the chapter on

synchronization .


Importing Video

Live can import movies in Apple's QuickTime format (.mov) to be used as video clips. Movie les appear in Live's File Browser alongside audio les and Live Sets, and can be imported in the same way, by simply dragging them into the Live Set.

Note that Live will only display video for video clips residing in the Arrangement View.

Movie les that are loaded into the Session View are treated as audio clips.



The Appearance of Video in Live



Video Clips in the Arrangement View

A video clip in the Arrangement View looks just like an audio clip, except for the sprocket holes in its title bar.

Live also displays a movie le's QuickTime markers, if present, in the Arrangement View and

Clip View. QuickTime markers are created by external video authoring applications, and although they cannot be selected or edited in any way by Live, they do provide visual cues that can be helpful when scoring. Note that these markers are always read from the original movie le, and are not stored in the Live Set or video clip.

For the most part, video clips in the Arrangement View are treated just like audio clips. They can be trimmed, for example, by dragging their right or left edges. However, there are some editing commands that, when applied to a video clip, will cause it to be replaced by an audio clip (which by de nition has no video component). This replacement only occurs internally your original movie les are never altered. The commands which will cause this are: Consolidate, Reverse and Crop.

A Video Clip with a

QuickTime Marker.



The Video Window


The Video Window is a separate, oating window that always remains above Live's main window: It can be dragged to any location you like, and it will never get covered up by

Live. By default, it opens at the same resolution as the video clip, but it can be resized by dragging its bottom right-hand corner. The video can be shown in full screen (and optionally on a second monitor) by double-clicking in the Video Window.

Movies with Partial Tracks

In the QuickTime le format, the audio and video components do not have to span the entire length of a movie: Gaps in playback are allowed. During gaps in video, Live's Video

Window will display a black screen; gaps in audio will play silence.


Clip View

Soundtrack composers will want to note the Tempo Master option in Live's Clip View. When scoring to video, video clips are usually set as tempo masters, while audio clips are left as tempo slaves. These are, therefore, the default warp properties of clips in the Arrangement

View. In this scenario, adding Warp Markers to a video clip de nes hit points that the

CHAPTER 19. WORKING WITH VIDEO 242 music will sync to. Note that a video clip's Warp switch needs to be activated in order for the clip to be set as the tempo master.

Remember from the

Tempo Control and Warping

chapter that, although any number of warped Arrangement clips can have the Tempo Master option activated, only the bottommost, currently playing clip is the actual tempo master.

This also means that it is possible for video clips that are not the current tempo master to become warped, resulting in warped video output in the Video Window.

Setting a Video Clip as

Tempo Master.

Warp Markers

While dragging a Warp Marker belonging to a video clip, you will notice that the Video

Window updates to show the corresponding video frame, so that any point in the music can be easily aligned with any point in the video clip.

Since Live displays a movie le's embedded QuickTime markers, they can be used as convenient visual cues when setting Warp Markers.


Matching Sound to Video

In Live, it takes just a few steps to get started with video. Let's look at a common scenario matching a piece of music to edits or hit points in a video:


1. Make sure that Live's Arrangement View is visible. Your computer keyboard's key will toggle between the Session View and Arrangement View.

2. Drag a QuickTime movie from Live's File Browser and drop it into an audio track in the Arrangement View. The Video Window will appear to display the video component of the movie le. (Remember that you can move this window to any convenient location on the screen.)

3. Now that the video clip is loaded, drag an audio clip into the Arrangement View's drop area. A new track will automatically be created for it. Unfold both tracks so you can see their contents by clicking the buttons to the left of their names.

4. Double-click on the video clip's title bar to view it in the Clip View. In the Sample box, make sure that the Warp button is enabled. Warped clips in the Arrangement View can be set as tempo master or slave. We want the Master/Slave switch set to Master, which will force the rest of the clips in the Live Set to adapt to the video clip's tempo (i.e., its normal playback rate).

5. Now add

Warp Markers

to the video clip, and adjust them to your liking. The locations of the Warp Markers de ne the synchronizing points between our music and our video. Notice how the video clip's waveform in the Arrangement View updates to re ect your changes as you make them.

6. If desired, enable the

Arrangement Loop

to focus on a speci c section of the composition.

7. When you have nished, choose the Render to Disk command from Live's File menu. All of your audio will be mixed down and saved as a single audio le, which can then be imported into your chosen video authoring program.



Video Trimming Tricks

Commonly, composers receive movie les with a few seconds of blank space before the real beginning of the action. This pre-roll ( two-beep ) serves as a sync reference for the mixing engineer, who expects that the composer's audio les will also include the same pre-roll. While working on music, however, the pre-roll is in the composer's way: It would be

CHAPTER 19. WORKING WITH VIDEO 244 more natural for the movie action to start at song time 1.1.1 and SMPTE time 00:00:00:00.

This can be accommodated by trimming video clips, as follows.

First, we drop a movie le at the start of the Arrangement (1.1.1).

Next, we double-click on the video clip's title bar to display its contents in the Clip View.

There, we drag the Start Marker to the right so the video clip starts at the beginning of the action.

A Video Clip at the Start of the Arrangement.

Now, both the action and the music to be composed start at 1.1.1 / Once the music is done and ready to be

rendered to disk , we need to bring back the pre-roll:

In the Arrangement View, we select all materials (Edit menu/Select All), then drag the entire composition a few seconds to the right:

Dragging the Start

Marker behind the



Now, we click on the video clip's title bar (to deselect everything else), then drag the video clip's left edge to the left as far as possible to reveal the pre-roll again.

The Video Clip and the

Final Clip of Music.

The Render to Disk command, per default, creates sample les as long as the Arrangement selection; as the video clip is still selected, the exported sample le will have the exact same duration as the original movie le, including the pre-roll.

The Video Clip with

Pre-Roll Restored.


Chapter 20

Live Audio Effect Reference

Live comes with a selection of custom-designed, built-in audio effects. The

Working with

Instruments and Effects chapter

explains the basics of using effects in Live.


Auto Filter

The Auto Filter effect provides classic analog lter emulation. It can be modulated by an envelope follower and/or an LFO to create moving lter effects.

The Auto Filter Effect.


There are four different lter types: lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch. For each type, the X-Y controller adjusts frequency (to adjust, click and drag on the X-axis) and Q (also called resonance; to adjust, click and drag on the Y-axis). You can also click on the Freq and

Q numeric displays and type in exact values.

Low Q values create a broad lter curve, while higher values introduce a narrow, resonant peak to the sound. With bandpass ltering, Q sets the bandwidth of the passed signal.

The Quantize Beat control applies quantized modulation to the lter frequency. With Quantize Beat off, frequency modulation follows the control source. Turning this feature on updates the lter modulation rhythmically with stepped changes that track the master tempo. The numbered buttons represent 16th notes, so, for example, selecting 4 as a beat value produces a modulation change once per beat.

The Envelope section controls how the envelope modulation affects the lter frequency.

The Amount control de nes the extent to which the envelope affects the lter frequency, while the Attack control sets how the envelope responds to rising input signals. Low Attack values cause a fast response to input levels; high values integrate any changes gradually, creating a looser, slower response. Think of it as adding inertia to the response.

Lower Release values cause the envelope to respond more quickly to falling input signals.

Higher values extend the envelope's decay.

The Auto Filter also contains a Low Frequency Oscillator to modulate lter frequency in a periodic fashion. The respective Amount control sets how much the LFO affects the lter.

The Rate control speci es the LFO speed. It can be set in terms of hertz, or synced to the song tempo, allowing for controlled rhythmic ltering.

Available LFO waveform shapes are sine (creates smooth modulations with rounded peaks and valleys), square, triangle, sawtooth up, sawtooth down, and sample and hold (generates random positive and negative modulation values) in mono and stereo.

There are two LFOs, one for each stereo channel. The Phase and Offset controls de ne the relationship between these two LFOs.

Phase keeps both LFOs at the same frequency, but can set the two LFO waveforms out of phase with each other, creating stereo movement. Set to 180 , the LFO outputs are 180 degrees apart, so that when one LFO reaches its peak, the other is at its minimum.


Spin detunes the two LFO speeds relative to each other. Each stereo channel is modulated at a different frequency, as determined by the Spin amount.

For sample and hold, the Phase and Spin controls are not relevant and do not affect the sound. Instead, the Auto Filter offers two kinds of sample and hold: The upper sample and hold type available in the chooser provides independent random modulation generators for the left and right channels (stereo), while the lower one modulates both channels with the same signal (mono).


Auto Pan

Auto Pan offers LFO-driven manipulation of amplitude and panning for creating automatic panning, tremolo and amplitude modulation, and beat-synchronized chopping effects.

Auto Pan's LFOs modulate the amplitude of the left and right stereo channels with sine, triangle, sawtooth down or random waveforms.

The Shape control pushes the waveform to its upper and lower limits, hardening its shape.

The waveform can be set to Normal or Invert (use Invert to, for example, create the saw up waveform from the saw down waveform).

LFO speed is controlled with the Rate control, which can be set in terms of hertz. Rate can also be synced to the song tempo.

Though both LFOs run at the same frequency, the Phase control lends the sound stereo movement by offsetting their waveforms relative to each other. Set this to 180 , and the

The Auto Pan Effect.


LFOs will be perfectly out of phase (180 degrees apart), so that when one reaches its peak, the other is at its minimum. Phase is particularly effective for creating vibrato effects.

The Offset control shifts the start point of each LFO along its waveform.

The device's in uence on incoming signals is set with the Amount control.


Beat Repeat

Beat Repeat allows for the creation of controlled or randomized repetitions of an incoming signal.

The Interval control de nes how often Beat Repeat captures new material and begins repeating it. Interval is synced to and set in terms of the song tempo, with values ranging from 1/32 to 4 Bars. The Offset control shifts the point de ned by Interval forward in time. If Interval is set to 1 Bar, for example, and Offset to 8/16 , material will be captured for repetition once per bar on the third beat (i.e., halfway, or eight-sixteenths of the way, through the bar).

You can add randomness to the process using the Chance control, which de nes the likelihood of repetitions actually taking place when Interval and Offset ask for them. If Chance is set to 100 percent, repetitions will always take place at the given Interval/Offset time; if set to zero, there will be no repetitions.

Gate de nes the total length of all repetitions in sixteenth notes. If Gate is set to 4/16 , the repetitions will occur over the period of one beat, starting at the position de ned by

The Beat Repeat Effect.


Interval and Offset.

Activating the Repeat button bypasses all of the above controls, immediately capturing material and repeating it until deactivated.

The Grid control de nes the grid size the size of each repeated slice. If set to 1/16 , a slice the size of one sixteenth note will be captured and repeated for the given Gate length

(or until Repeat is deactivated). Large grid values create rhythmic loops, while small values create sonic artifacts. The No Triplets button sets grid division as binary.

Grid size can be changed randomly using the Variation control. If Variation is set to 0 , grid size is xed. But when Variation is set to higher values, the grid uctuates considerably around the set Grid value. Variation has several different modes, available in the chooser below: Trigger creates variations of the grid when repetitions are triggered; 1/4, 1/8 and

1/16 trigger variations in regular intervals; and Auto forces Beat Repeat to apply a new random variation after each repetition the most complex form of grid variation in Beat

Repeat (especially if triplets are also allowed).

Beat Repeat's repetitions can be pitched down for special sonic effects. Pitch is adjusted through resampling in Beat Repeat, lengthening segments to pitch them down without again compressing them to adjust for the length change. This means that the rhythmical structure can become quite ambiguous with higher Pitch values. The Pitch Decay control tapers the pitch curve, making each repeated slice play lower than the previous one. Warning: This is the most obscure parameter of Beat Repeat.

Beat Repeat includes a combined lowpass and highpass lter for de ning the passed frequency range of the device. You can turn the lter on and off, and set the center frequency and width of the passed frequency band, using the respective controls.

The original signal (which was received at Beat Repeat's input) is mixed with Beat Repeat's repetitions according to one of three mix modes: Mix allows the original signal to pass through the device and have repetitions added to it; Insert mutes the original signal when repetitions are playing but passes it otherwise; and Gate passes only the repetitions, never passing the original signal. Gate mode is especially useful when the effect is housed in a return track.

You can set the output level of the device using the Volume control, and apply Decay to create gradually fading repetitions.





The Chorus effect uses two parallel time-modulated delays to create chorus (thickening) and anging effects.

Each delay has its own delay time control, calibrated in milliseconds. Delay 1 has a highpass lter that can remove low frequencies from the delayed signal. Greater highpass values let only very high frequencies pass through to Delay 1.

Delay 2 can switch among three different modes. When off, only Delay 1 is audible. In Fix

Mode, only Delay 1's delay time will be modulated. When Mod is activated, Delay 2 will receive the same modulation as Delay 1.

To set both delay lines to Delay 1's delay time, turn on the link button ( = ). This is especially useful if you want to change both delays with a single gesture.

The Modulation X-Y controller can impart motion to the sounds. To change the modulation rate for the delay times, click and drag along the horizontal axis. To change the amount of modulation, click and drag along the vertical axis.

You can also make changes by entering parameter values in the Amount and Rate elds below the X-Y controller. The Amount value is in milliseconds, while the modulation frequency rate is in Hertz.

Clicking the *20 switch multiplies the modulation frequency by 20 to achieve more extreme sounds.

The Feedback control determines how much of the output signal feeds back into the input,

The Chorus Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 252 while the Polarity switch sets (surprise!) the polarity. Polarity changes have the most effect with high amounts of feedback and short delay times.

The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent when using Chorus in a return track.


Compressor I

A Compressor reduces gain for signals above a user-settable threshold. Compression reduces the levels of peaks, opening up more headroom and allowing the overall signal level to be turned up. This gives the signal a higher average level, resulting in a sound that is subjectively louder and punchier than an uncompressed signal.

The two most important parameters are the Threshold and the compression Ratio:

The Threshold slider sets where compression begins. Signals below the threshold are not processed. Signals above the threshold are attenuated by an amount speci ed by the Ratio parameter, which sets the ratio between the input and output signal. For example, with a compression ratio of 3:1, if a signal above the threshold increases by 3 dB, the compressor output will increase by only 1 dB. If a signal above the threshold increases by 6 dB, then the output will increase by only 2 dB.

The red Gain Reduction meter shows how much the gain is being reduced at any given moment. The more reduction, the more audible the effect; a gain reduction above 6 dB or so might produce the desired loudness, but signi cantly alters the sound and is easily

The Compressor I Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 253 capable of destroying its dynamic structure. This is something that cannot be undone in later production steps. Keep this in mind especially when using a compressor, limiter or sound loudness-maximizing tool in the master channel. Less is often more here.

Because compression reduces the volume of loud signals and opens up headroom, you can use the Out slider so that the peaks once again hit the maximum available headroom. The

Out meter shows the output signal's level.

A second set of two essential parameters de nes how fast a compressor reacts to input-level changes: Attack time and Release time.

Attack de nes how long it takes to reach maximum compression once a signal exceeds the threshold, while Release sets how long it takes for the compressor to return to normal operation after the signal falls below the threshold.

A slight amount of attack time (5 10 ms) allows peaks to come through unprocessed, which helps preserve dynamics. If these peaks cause overloads, you can try shortening the attack time, but extremely short times take the life out of the signal, and may lead to a slight buzziness caused by distortion. Short release times can cause pumping as the compressor tries to gure out whether to compress or not; while generally considered an undesirable effect, some engineers use it on full drum kits to give unusual sucking effects.


Compressor II

Compressor II is a state of the art compression unit the tool of choice for a wide range of

The Compressor II


CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 254 dynamic processing applications including limiting and loudness maximization. Compressor

II's design is a lot more sophisticated and capable than Compressor I's. It includes frequencyselective compression using a sidechain EQ, variable look-ahead times and two response modes, Peak and RMS. Compressor I is still a valuable sound design tool in spite of, or rather because of, its simplicity and roughness, which can add interesting avors to your sounds.

A compressor can only react to an input signal once it occurs. Since it also needs to apply an attack/release envelope, the compression is always a bit too late. A digital compressor can solve this problem by simply delaying the input signal a little bit. Compressor II offers three different predelay times: zero ms, one ms and ten ms. The results may sound pretty different depending on this setting. Keep in mind that using ten ms of predelay makes the output appear signi cantly later. You may have to delay other tracks with a Simple Delay in order to stay in sync.

Compressor II can either react to short peaks within a signal or to something that is more related to how people perceive loudness. The parameter for this is the Peak/RMS switch. If you intend to use Compressor II as a limiter in the master section, Peak is probably better since it reacts more to the actual signal level, while RMS is usually more musical. But as always if it comes to compression, trust your ears and not the meter!

The most exotic feature of Compressor II is the sidechain EQ. The sidechain is the part of the signal that is used to control the compressor. Normally the sidechain signal is the same as the input signal. However, it can make sense to apply some ltering here. Imagine a bass drum, a snare and some chords in the background. The bass drum has a pretty high level and it will normally determine how the compressor reacts. If you now turn the side chain EQ on and set its Frequency to 100 Hz and the Gain to -15 dB, the bass drum will not in uence the compression anymore and the behavior of the compressor will be very different. You could also set the Frequency to around 1 kHz and turn up the gain to make the compressor more responsive to the snare. Since the EQ is only in the sidechain and not part of the normal signal path, it will not change the sound of the input signal. It only changes how the compressor reacts to different frequencies of the input.

Unlike Compressor I, Compressor II has a built-in compensation stage that counteracts the gain loss due to the compression and makes it much easier to adjust the other parameters.

Careful adjustment of attack and release times is essential when it comes to compression of rhythmical sources. If you are not used to working with compressors, play a drum loop and spend some time adjusting Attack, Release, Threshold and Gain. It can be very exciting!



Dynamic Tube


The Dynamic Tube effect infuses sounds with the peculiarities of tube saturation. An integrated envelope follower generates dynamic tonal variations related to the level of the input signal.

Three tube models, A, B and C, provide a range of distortion characteristics known from real ampli er tubes. Tube A does not produce distortions if Bias is set low, but will kick in whenever the input signal exceeds a certain threshold, creating bright harmonics. Tube C is a very poor tube amp that produces distortions all the time. The qualities of Tube B lie somewhere between these two extremes.

The Tone control sets the spectral distribution of the distortions, directing them into the higher registers, or through the midrange and deeper.

The Drive control determines how much signal reaches the tube; greater Drive yields a dirtier output. The intensity of the tube is controlled by the Bias dial, which pushes the signal into the celebrated realms of nonlinear distortion. With very high amounts of Bias, the signal will really start to break apart.

The Bias parameter can be positively or negatively modulated by an envelope follower, which is controlled with the Envelope knob. The more deeply the envelope is applied, the more the Bias point will be in uenced by the level of the input signal. Negative Envelope values create expansion effects by reducing distortion on loud signals, while positive values will make loud sounds dirtier.

Attack and Release are envelope characteristics that de ne how quickly the envelope reacts

The Dynamic Tube


CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 256 to volume changes in the input signal. Together, they shape the dynamic nature of the distortions. Note that if Envelope is set to zero, they will have no effect.

Cut or boost the device's nal signal level with the Output dial.


EQ Eight

The EQ Eight effect is an equalizer featuring up to eight parametric lters per input channel, useful for changing a sound's timbre. It extends the functionality of the former EQ Four device, and is fully backward-compatible with EQ Four presets.

The input signal can be processed using one of three modes: Stereo, L/R and M/S. Stereo mode uses a single curve to lter both channels of a stereo input equally. L/R mode provides an independently adjustable lter curve for the left and right channels of a stereo input; M/S mode (Mid/Side) provides the same functionality for signals that have been recorded using

M/S encoding.

When using the L/R and M/S modes, both curves are displayed simultaneously for reference, although only the active channel is editable. The Edit switch indicates the active channel, and is used to toggle between the two curves.

The lters can switch among ve responses:

ˆ High cut (cuts frequencies above the speci ed frequency);

ˆ High shelf (boosts or cuts frequencies higher than the speci ed frequency);

The EQ Eight Effect.


ˆ Bell curve (boosts or cuts over a range of frequencies);

ˆ Low shelf (boosts or cuts frequencies lower than the speci ed frequency);

ˆ Low cut (cuts frequencies below the speci ed frequency).

Each lter band can be turned on or off independently. Turn off bands that are not in use to save CPU power.

To edit the lter curve, click and drag on the lter dots in the display. Horizontal movement changes the lter frequency, while vertical movement adjusts the lter band's gain. To adjust the lter Q (also called resonance or bandwidth), hold down the Alt (PC) / Alt (Mac) modi er while dragging the mouse.

You can also use the numbered lter selector buttons to select a band for editing, and then edit parameter values with the Freq, Gain and Q dials (and/or type values into the number elds below each dial).

To achieve really drastic ltering effects, assign the same parameters to two or more lters.

As boosting will increase levels and cutting will decrease levels, use the Gain eld to optimize the output level for maximum level consistent with minimum distortion.

The Scale eld will attenuate the gain of all lters that support gain (all except high cut and low cut).


EQ Three

The EQ Three Effect.


If you have ever used a good DJ mixer you will know what this is: An EQ that allows you to adjust the level of low, mid and high frequencies independently.

Each band can be adjusted from -in nite dB to +6 dB using the gain controls. This means that you can completely remove, for example, the bass drum or bassline of a track, while leaving the other frequencies untouched.

You can also turn on or off each band using the On/Off buttons located under the gain controls. These buttons are especially handy if assigned to computer keys.

EQ Three gives you visual con rmation of the presence of a signal in each frequency band using three green LEDs. Even if a band is turned off, you can tell if there is something going on in it. The internal threshold for the LEDs is set to -24 dB.

The frequency range of each band is de ned via two crossover controls: FreqLo and FreqHi.

If FreqLo is set to 500 Hz and FreqHi to 2000 Hz, then the low band goes from 0 Hz to 500

Hz, the mid band from 500 Hz to 2000 Hz and the high band from 2000 Hz up to what ever your soundcard or sample rate supports.

A very important control is the 24 dB/48 dB switch. It de nes how sharp the lters are cutting the signal at the crossover frequency. The higher setting results in more drastic ltering, but needs more CPU.

Note: The lters in this device are optimized to sound more like a good, powerful analog lter cascade than a clean digital lter. The 48 dB Mode especially does not provide a perfect linear transfer quality, resulting in a slight coloration of the input signal even if all controls are set to 0.00 dB. This is typical behavior for this kind of lter, and is part of EQ

Three's unique sound. If you need a more linear behavior choose 24 dB Mode or use the

EQ Eight.





The Erosion effect degrades the input signal by modulating a short delay with ltered noise or a sine wave. This adds noisy artifacts or aliasing/downsampling-like distortions that sound very digital.

To change the sine wave frequency or noise band center frequency, click and drag along the X-axis in the X-Y eld. The Y-axis controls the modulation amount. If you hold down the

Alt (PC) / Alt the noise bandwidth.

(Mac) modi er key while clicking in the X-Y eld, the Y-axis controls

The Frequency control determines the color, or quality, of the distortion. If the Mode control is set to Noise, this works in conjunction with the Width control, which de nes the noise bandwidth. Lower values lead to more selective distortion frequencies, while higher values affect the entire input signal. Width has no effect in Sine Mode.

Noise and Sine use a single modulation generator. However, Wide Noise has independent noise generators for the left and right channels, which creates a subtle stereo enhancement.

The Erosion Effect.



Filter Delay


The Filter Delay provides three independent delay lines, each preceded by linked lowpass and highpass lters. This allows applying delay to only certain input signal frequencies, as determined by the lter settings. The feedback from each of the three delays is also routed back through the lters.

Each of the three delays can be switched on and off independently. The Filter Delay device assigns delay 1 to the input signal's left channel, delay 2 to the left and right channels and delay 3 to the right channel. The Pan controls at the right can override the delay channels' outputs; otherwise each delay outputs on the channel from which it derives its input.

Each delay channel's lter has an associated On switch, located to the left of each X-Y controller. The X-Y controllers adjust the lowpass and highpass lters simultaneously for each delay. To edit lter bandwidth, click and drag on the vertical axis; click and drag on the horizontal axis to set the lter band's frequency.

To refer delay time to the song tempo, activate the Sync switch, which allows using the Delay

Time beat division chooser. The numbered switches represent time delay in 16th notes. For example, selecting 4 delays the signal by four 16th notes, which equals one beat (a quarter note) of delay. With Sync Mode active, changing the Delay Time eld percentage value shortens and extends delay times by fractional amounts, thus producing the swing type of timing effect found in drum machines.

If the Sync switch is off, the delay time reverts to milliseconds. In this case, to edit the delay time, click and drag up or down in the Delay Time eld, or click in the eld and type in a

The Filter Delay Effect.


The Feedback parameter sets how much of the output signal returns to the delay line input.

Very high values can lead to runaway feedback and produce a loud oscillation watch your ears and speakers if you decide to check out extreme feedback settings!

Each delay channel has its own volume control, which can be turned up to +12 dB to compensate for drastic ltering at the input.

The Dry control adjusts the unprocessed signal level. Set it to minimum if using Delay in a return track.



Flanger uses two parallel time-modulated delays to create anging effects.

Flanger's delays can be adjusted with the Delay Time control. The Feedback control sends part of the output signal back through the device input, while the Polarity switch ( + or

- ) sets the polarity. Delay Time and Feedback can be changed simultaneously using the effect's X-Y controller.

Periodic control of delay time is possible using the envelope section. You can increase or decrease the envelope amount (or invert its shape with negative values), and then use the

Attack and Release controls to de ne envelope shape.

Flanger contains two LFOs to modulate delay time for the left and right stereo channels.

The Flanger Effect.


The LFOs have six possible waveform shapes: sine, square, triangle, sawtooth up, sawtooth down and random. The extent of LFO in uence on the delays is set with the Amount control.

LFO speed is controlled with the Rate control, which can be set in terms of hertz. Rate can also be synced to the song tempo and set in meter subdivisions (e.g., sixteenth notes).

The Phase control lends the sound stereo movement by setting the LFOs to run at the same frequency, but offsetting their waveforms relative to each other. Set this to 180 , and the

LFOs will be perfectly out of phase (180 degrees apart), so that when one reaches its peak, the other is at its minimum.

Spin detunes the two LFO speeds relative to each other. Each delay is modulated at a different frequency, as determined by the Spin amount.

Adjusting the HiPass control will cut low frequencies from the delayed signal.

The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent if using Flanger in a return track.



The Gate effect passes only signals whose level exceeds a user-speci ed threshold. A gate can eliminate low-level noise that occurs between sounds (e.g., hiss or hum), or shape a sound by turning up the threshold to where it cuts off reverb or delay tails or truncates an instrument's natural decay.

The Gate Effect.


The Threshold slider sets the gate's sensitivity. If the gate is open and passing signal (i.e., the signal exceeds the gate threshold), the green LED lights.

The Floor parameter, located beneath the Threshold fader, can allow attenuating signals below the threshold rather than just cutting them off. If set to -inf dB, a closed gate will mute the input signal. A setting of 0.00 dB means that even if the gate is closed, there is no effect on the signal. Settings in between these two extremes attenuate the input to a greater or lesser degree when the gate is closed.

The Attack time determines how long it takes for the gate to switch from closed to open when a signal goes from below to above the threshold. Very short attack times can produce sharp clicking sounds, while long times soften the sound's attack.

When the signal goes from above to below the threshold, the Hold time kicks in. (Note to tech heads: the gate has hysteresis, so the release occurs about 3 dB lower than the threshold.) After the hold time expires, the gate closes over a period of time set by the

Release parameter.


Grain Delay

The Grain Delay effect slices the input signal into tiny particles (called grains ) that are then individually delayed and can also have different pitches compared to the original signal source. Randomizing pitch and delay time can create complex masses of sound and rhythm that seem to bear little relationship to the source. This can be very useful in creating new

The Grain Delay Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 264 sounds and textures, as well as getting rid of unwelcome house guests, or terrifying small pets (just kidding!).

To refer delay time to the song tempo, activate the Sync switch, which allows using the Delay

Time beat division chooser. The numbered switches represent time delay in 16th notes. For example, selecting 4 delays the signal by four 16th notes, which equals one beat (a quarter note) of delay. With Sync Mode active, changing the Delay Time eld percentage value shortens and extends delay times by fractional amounts, thus producing the swing type of timing effect found in drum machines.

If the Sync switch is off, the delay time reverts to milliseconds. In this case, to edit the delay time, click and drag up or down in the Delay Time eld, or click in the eld and type in a value.

You can route each parameter to the X-Y controller's horizontal or vertical axis. To assign a parameter to the X-axis, choose it from the parameter row below the controller. To assign a parameter to the Y-axis, use the parameter row on the left side.

The Feedback parameter sets how much of the output signal returns to the delay line input.

Very high values can lead to runaway feedback and produce a loud oscillation watch your ears and speakers if you decide to check out extreme feedback settings!

You can transpose the grain pitch with the Pitch parameter, which acts much like a crude pitch shifter.

The Spray control adds random delay time changes. Low values smear the signal across time, which adds noisiness to the sound. High Spray values completely break down the structure of the source signal, introducing varying degrees of rhythmic chaos. This is the recommended setting for anarchists.

The Random Pitch control adds random variations to each grain's pitch. Low values create a sort of mutant chorusing effect, while high values can make the original source pitch completely unintelligible. This parameter can interact with the main Pitch control, thus allowing degrees of stability and instability in a sound's pitch structure.

The size and duration of each grain is a function of the Frequency parameter. The sound of

Pitch and Spray depends very much on this parameter.

Grain Delay now also has a dry/wet control; it can be routed to the vertical axis of the X-Y controller.





Phaser uses a series of all-pass lters to create a phase shift in the frequency spectrum of a sound.

The Poles control creates notches in the frequency spectrum. The Feedback control can then be used to invert the waveform and convert these notches into peaks (or poles). Filter cutoff frequency is changed with the Frequency control, which can be adjusted in tandem with Feedback using the effect's X-Y controller.

The device has two modes, Space and Earth, for changing the spacing of notches along the spectrum, and hence the color of the sound. This effect can be further adjusted with the

Color control.

Periodic control of the lter frequency is possible using the envelope section. You can increase or decrease the envelope amount (or invert its shape with negative values), and then use the Attack and Release controls to de ne envelope shape.

Phaser contains two LFOs to modulate lter frequency for the left and right stereo channels.

The LFOs have six possible waveform shapes: sine, square, triangle, sawtooth up, sawtooth down and random. The extent of LFO in uence on the lter frequency is set with the

Amount control.

LFO speed is controlled with the Rate control, which can be set in terms of hertz. Rate can also be synced to the song tempo and set in meter subdivisions (e.g., sixteenth notes).

The Phase control lends the sound stereo movement by setting the LFOs to run at the same frequency, but offsetting their waveforms relative to each other. Set this to 180 , and the

The Phaser Effect.


LFOs will be perfectly out of phase (180 degrees apart), so that when one reaches its peak, the other is at its minimum.

Spin detunes the two LFO speeds relative to each other. Each lter frequency is then modulated using a different LFO frequency, as determined by the Spin amount.

The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent if using Phaser in a return track.


Ping Pong Delay

The Ping Pong Delay effect uses a single tapped delay line to create a delay that jumps from the left to the right output.

The delay is preceded by a lowpass and highpass lter that can be controlled with an X-Y controller. To de ne the lter bandwidth, click and drag on the vertical axis. To set the position of the frequency band, click and drag on the horizontal axis.

To refer delay time to the song tempo, activate the Sync switch, which allows using the

Delay Time beat division chooser. The numbered switches represent time delay in 16th notes. For example, selecting 4 delays the signal by four 16th notes, which equals one beat (a quarter note) of delay. This delay time represents the time it takes for the input signal to appear at the left channel. The delay time between the input and the right channel is twice as long.

If the Sync switch is off, the delay time reverts to milliseconds. In this case, to edit the delay

The Ping Pong Delay


CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 267 time, click and drag up or down in the Delay Time eld, or click in the eld and type in a value.

The Feedback parameter controls how much of the right channel output signal returns to the delay line input. The feedback loop also includes a lter that can color the feedback sound, thus producing different timbres with successive echoes.

The Freeze button, labeled F , will cause the delay to endlessly cycle the audio which is in its buffer at the moment that the button is pressed, ignoring any new input until Freeze is disabled.

The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent if using Ping Pong Delay in a return track.



Nostalgic for the famed low-resolution sound quality of the Ensoniq Mirage, Fairlight CMI or Commodore-64 computer? Redux returns us to the Dark Ages of digital by reducing a signal's sample rate and bit resolution.

The Downsample section has two parameters: Downsample and a downsample Mode switch.

If the downsample dial is set to 1 , every input sample passes to the output and the signal does not change. If set to 2 , only every second sample will be processed, so the result sounds a bit more digital.

The higher the number, the lower the resulting sample rate,

The Redux Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 268 and the more deconstructed the sound. Downsampling is like applying a mosaic effect to an image: There's a loss of information and sharp edges occur between the blocks.

The Downsample Mode switch de nes if the downsampling either interpolates over a smaller range ( soft, down to 20.0 samples) or does not interpolate over a larger range ( hard, down to 200 samples).

Bit Reduction is similar, but while downsampling superimposes a grid in time, bit reduction does the same for amplitude.

If the Bit Reduction amplitude dial is set to 8, amplitude levels are quantized to 256 steps

(8 bit resolution). If set to 1, the result is pretty brutal: Each sample contains either a full positive or full negative signal, with nothing in between.

Bit Reduction de nes an input signal of 0dB as 16 bit. Signals above 0dB are clipped, and the red overload LED will light up.

Turning off Bit Reduction results in modest CPU savings.



This device consists of ve parallel resonators that superimpose a tonal character on the input source. It can produce sounds resembling anything from plucked strings to vocoderlike effects. The resonators are tuned in semitones, providing a musical way of adjusting them. The rst resonator de nes the root pitch and the four others are tuned relative to this pitch in musical intervals.

The Resonators Effect.


The input signal passes rst through a lter, and then into the resonators. There are four input lter types to select from: lowpass, bandpass, highpass and notch. The input lter frequency can be adjusted with the Frequency parameter.

The rst resonator is fed with both the left and right input channels, while the second and fourth resonators are dedicated to the left channel, and the third and fth to the right channel.

The Note parameter de nes the root pitch of all the resonators ranging from C1 to C5.

It can also be detuned in cents using the Fine parameter. The Decay parameter lets you adjust the amount of time it takes for the resonators to be silent after getting an input signal.

The longer the decay time, the more tonal the result will be, similar to the behavior of an undamped piano string. As with a real string, the decay time depends on the pitch, so low notes will last longer than higher ones. The Const switch holds the decay time constant regardless of the actual pitch.

Resonators provides two different resonation modes. Mode A provides a more realistic sounding resonation, while Mode B offers an effect that is especially interesting when

Resonator I's Note parameter is set to lower pitches.

The brightness of the resulting sound can be adjusted using the Color control.

All of the resonators have an On/Off switch and a Gain control. A resonator that is turned off does not need CPU. Turning off the rst resonator does not affect the other ones.

Resonators II through V follow the Note parameter de ned in Resonator I, but they can each be individually transposed +/- 24 semitones using the Pitch controls and detuned in cents using the Detune controls.

The output section features the obligatory Dry/Wet control and a Width parameter that affects only the wet signal and blends the left and right outputs of Resonators II-V into a mono signal if set to zero.






Input Processing

The input signal passes rst through high and low cut lters, whose X-Y controller allows changing the band's center frequency (X-axis) and bandwidth (Y-axis). Either lter may be switched off when not needed to save CPU power.

Predelay controls the delay time, in milliseconds, before the onset of the rst early re ection.

This delays the reverberation relative to the input signal. One's impression of the size of a real room depends partly on this delay. Typical values for natural sounds range from 1ms to 25ms.


Early Re ections

These are the earliest echoes that you hear after they bounce off a room's walls, before the onset of the diffused reverberation tail.

Their amplitude and distribution give an impression of the room's character.

The Shape control sculpts the prominence of the early re ections, as well as their overlap with the diffused sound. With small values, the re ections decay more gradually and the diffused sound occurs sooner, leading to a larger overlap between these components. With large values, the re ections decay more rapidly and the diffused onset occurs later. A

The Reverb Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 271 higher value can sometimes improve the source's intelligibility, while a lower value may give a smoother decay.

Spin applies modulation to the early re ections. The X-Y control accesses the depth and frequency of these modulations. A larger depth tends to provide a less-colored (more spectrally neutral) late diffusion response. If the modulation frequency is too high, doppler frequency shifting of the source sound will occur, along with surreal panning effects. Spin may be turned off, using the associated switch, for modest CPU savings.


Global Settings

The Quality chooser controls the tradeoff between reverb quality and performance. Eco uses minimal CPU resources, while High delivers the richest reverberation.

The Size parameter controls the room's volume. At one extreme, a very large size will lend a shifting, diffused delay effect to the reverb. The other extreme a very small value will give it a highly colored, metallic feel.

The Stereo Image control determines the width of the output's stereo image. At the highest setting of 120 degrees, each ear receives a reverberant channel that is independent of the other (this is also a property of the diffusion in real rooms). The lowest setting mixes the output signal to mono.


Diffusion Network

The Diffusion network creates the reverberant tail that follows the early re ections. The decay time control adjusts the time required for this tail to drop to 1/1000th (-60 dB) of its initial amplitude.

High and low shelving lters provide frequency-dependent reverberation decay. The highfrequency decay models the absorption of sound energy due to air, walls and other materials in the room (people, carpeting and so forth). The low shelf provides a thinner decay. Each lter may be turned off to save CPU consumption.

The Freeze control freezes the diffuse response of the input sound. When on, the reverberation will sustain almost endlessly. Cut modi es Freeze by preventing the input signal from

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 272 adding to the frozen reverberation; when off, the input signal will contribute to the diffused amplitude. Flat bypasses the high and low shelf lters when freeze is on. If Flat is off, the frozen reverberation will lose energy in the attenuated frequency bands, depending on the state of the high and low shelving lters.

The Echo Density and Scale parameters provide additional control over the diffusion's density and coarseness, and, when the room size is extremely small, have a large impact on the coloration contributed by the diffusion.

The Chorus section adds a little modulation and motion to the diffusion. Like the Spin section, you can control the modulation frequency and amplitude, or turn it off.



At the reverb output, you can adjust the effect's overall Dry/Wet mix, and vary the amplitude of re ections and diffusion with the Re ect Level and Diffuse Level controls.



Saturator is a waveshaping effect that can add that missing dirt, punch or warmth to your sound. It can coat input signals with a soft saturation or drive them into many different avors of distortion.

The Saturator Effect.


An X-Y grid helps to visualize Saturator's shaping curve. The shaper's input and output values are mapped to the X and Y axes, respectively. The curve de nes the transfer function, which is the extent to which output values uctuate in relation to input values. Because this is usually a nonlinear process, the incoming signal is reshaped to a greater or lesser degree depending upon its level at each moment in time.

Incoming signals are rst clipped to the dB level set by the Drive control. The meter on the right side of the display shows how much Saturator is in uencing the signal.

Signal shaping has six xed modes: Analog Clip, Soft Sine, Medium Curve, Hard Curve,

Sinoid Fold and Digital Clip. There is also the exible Waveshaper mode, featuring six adjustable waveshaping parameters.

In the Analog Clip and Digital Clip modes, the signal is clipped completely and immediately.

Soft Sine, Medium Curve and Hard Curve modes soften signal clipping to varying degrees.

Sinoid Fold mode can be good for special effects.

The most dramatic effects can be created by selecting the Waveshaper curve, which has its own dedicated set of controls. To access these six parameter elds, unfold the Saturator window by toggling the button in its title bar.

The Waveshaper mode's six additional parameters are: Drive, Lin, Curve, Damp, Depth and


ˆ Drive determines how much the input signal will be in uenced by the Waveshaper parameters. Setting Drive to zero will negate the effect entirely.

ˆ Lin works together with the Curve and Depth parameters to alter the linear portion of the shaping curve.

ˆ Curve adds mostly third-order harmonics to the input signal.

ˆ Damp attens any signal near the grid's origin. It behaves like an ultra-fast noise gate.

ˆ Depth controls the amplitude of a sine wave that is superimposed onto the distortion curve.

ˆ Period determines the density of ripples in the superimposed sine wave.

Activating the Color button enables two lters. The rst of these, controlled with the Base control, dictates how much the effect will be reduced or increased for very low frequencies.


The second lter, essentially an equalizer, is used for controlling higher frequencies. It is shaped with the Freq (cutoff frequency), Width and Depth controls.

The Output control attenuates the level at the device output. When the Soft Clip switch is activated, Saturator will also apply an instance of its Analog Clip curve to the output.

The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent when using Saturator in a return track.


Simple Delay

The Simple Delay provides two independent delay lines, one for each channel (left and right).

To refer delay time to the song tempo, activate the Sync switch, which allows using the

Delay Time beat division chooser. The numbered switches represent time delay in 16th notes. For example, selecting 4 delays the signal by four 16th notes, which equals one beat (a quarter note) of delay.

If the Sync switch is off, the delay time reverts to milliseconds. In this case, to edit the delay time, click and drag up or down in the Delay Time eld, or click in the eld and type in a value.

The Feedback parameter de nes how much of each channel's output signal feeds back into the delay lines' inputs. Internally, they are two independent feedback loops, so a signal on the left channel does not feed back into the right channel and vice versa.

The Simple Delay Effect.


The Dry/Wet control adjusts the balance between the processed and dry signals. Set it to

100 percent when using Simple Delay in a return track.



Utility can perform some very useful tasks, especially in combination with other devices.

The Mute button simply silences the incoming signal when enabled. Note: The active/mute controls of a track are always placed at the very end of the signal chain. However, since you can place Utility anywhere in a signal chain, you can use its mute function to cut the input of a delay line or reverb without turning off the output of these devices.

The Gain control adjusts the level of the input signal +/- 35 dB.

The Channel Mode chooser allows selective processing of the left and right channels of a sample. If, for example, Left is selected, the right channel is ignored and the left channel appears on both outputs. This is especially useful if you have a stereo le that contains different information on both channels and you want to use only one.

The Panorama chooser pans the signal anywhere in the stereo eld. Its main purpose is to individually pan an Instrument or Effect Rack's parallel device chains.

The Width control acts as a continuous mono to stereo controller when set from 0 to 100 percent. However, beyond 100 percent the output starts to fold in on itself. At 200 percent the output contains only the difference between the left and right channels. If

The Utility Effect.

CHAPTER 20. LIVE AUDIO EFFECT REFERENCE 276 either Left or Right have been chosen in the Channel Mode chooser, the Width control has no function and is therefore disabled.

At the bottom of the device you will nd two Phase controls, one for each channel. As their names imply, they invert the phase of each channel.


Vinyl Distortion

The Vinyl Distortion effect emulates some of the typical distortions that occur on vinyl records during playback. These distortions are caused by the geometric relationships between the needle and the recorded groove. The effect also features a crackle generator for adding noisy artifacts.

The Tracing Model section adds even harmonic distortion to the input signal. Adjust the amount of distortion with the Drive knob, or click and drag vertically in the Tracing Model

X-Y display. To adjust the distortion's frequency or color, drag horizontally in the X-Y display or double-click on the Freq eld and type in a value. Holding the Alt (PC) /

Alt (Mac) modi er while dragging vertically in the X-Y display changes the frequency band's Q (bandwidth).

The Pinch Effect section adds odd harmonics to the input signal. These distortions typically occur 180 degrees out of phase, creating a richer stereo image. The Pinch Effect has the same controls as the Tracing Model, but generates a rather different sound.

The Drive control increases or decreases the overall distortion amount created by both the

The Vinyl Distortion



Tracing Model and Pinch.

There are two distortion modes: Soft and Hard. The Soft Mode simulates the sound of a dub plate, while Hard Mode is more like that of a standard vinyl record.

The stereo/mono switch determines whether the Pinch distortion occurs in stereo or mono.

Set it to stereo for realistic simulation of vinyl distortions.

The Crackle section adds noise to the signal, with noise density set by the Density control.

The Volume control adjusts the amount of gain applied to the noise.


Chapter 21

Live MIDI Effect Reference

Live comes with a selection of custom-designed, built-in MIDI effects. The

Working with

Instruments and Effects chapter

explains the basics of using effects in Live.



Live's Arpeggiator effect takes the individual MIDI notes from a held chord (or single note), and plays them as a rhythmical pattern. The sequence and speed of the pattern can be

The Arpeggiator Effect.

CHAPTER 21. LIVE MIDI EFFECT REFERENCE 279 controlled by the device, which also provides a full complement of both classic and original arpeggiator features.

Arpeggiators are a classic element in Eighties synth music. The name originates with the musical concept of the arpeggio, in which the notes comprising a chord are played as a series rather than in unison.

Arpeggio is derived from the Italian word arpeggiare, which refers to playing notes on a harp.


Style and Rate Sections

Arpeggiator's Style chooser determines the sequence of notes in the rhythmical pattern.

Up and Down .

UpDown and

DownUp .

Down & Up and Up

& Down .

Converge and

Diverge .


Con & Diverge .

Pinky Up and Pinky

UpDown .

Play Order places notes in the pattern according to the order in which they are played. This is therefore only recognizable when more than one chord or note has been played.

In addition to the Arpeggiator styles above, there are a number of random styles. Random randomly selects incoming MIDI notes for playback. Random Other creates a random pattern from incoming MIDI notes, and then plays the randomly generated chord repeatedly.

Random Once creates a random pattern from incoming MIDI notes and repeats the pattern until it has been transposed or retriggered, at which point a new pattern is created.

Arpeggiator will play the pattern of notes at the speed set by the Rate control, which can be calibrated in either milliseconds or beat-time using the neighboring Sync/Free button.

With Sync chosen, Arpeggiator will be synced to the song tempo.

A Gate control to the right of Rate determines the length of notes played by Arpeggiator as a percentage of the current Rate setting. Any setting larger than 100% will therefore play notes that overlap (i.e., are legato).

The rhythmic pattern generated by Arpeggiator does not necessarily have to be straight; patterns can be given groove with the respective control just beneath the Mode chooser.

Groove in Arpeggiator works

just like it does for clips , so that the intensity of the groove is

set in the Control Bar.

With the Hold parameter active, Arpeggiator will continue to play the pattern even after the keyboard keys have been released. The pattern will be repeated until any other key is

Thumb Up and

Thumb UpDown .

CHAPTER 21. LIVE MIDI EFFECT REFERENCE 281 pressed. When Hold is active and any of the original keys also remain physically held, notes can be added to the pattern simply by playing them. Notes can also be removed from the pattern in this scenario by playing them a second time, allowing the gradual buildup and rearrangement of the pattern over time.

Tip: If you want the pattern to stop playing, momentarily deactivate Hold.

The Offset parameter shifts the sequence of notes in the pattern by the number of places selected with the control. This is best illustrated with an example: A setting of 1 makes the second note in the pattern play rst, and the rst note last. If you imagine the pattern as a circle of notes that is played in a clockwise direction from a set start point, the Offset parameter effectively rotates this circle counter-clockwise one note at a time, changing where in the pattern play begins.

With the Repeats parameter, the pattern can be set to repeat a speci ed number of times until it is retriggered. A setting of inf will repeat the pattern inde nitely. Hint: This feature provides an excellent way of emulating the strum of a guitar or playing a chord as an arpeggio once or twice. Another interesting effect can be achieved by combining this feature with the Retrigger parameter, which we will explain in a moment. This can be used to create rhythmically generated arpeggios separated by pauses.

The Retrigger parameter resets the pattern so that it starts again from the beginning.

Retriggering can be deactivated (Off), set to occur when new notes are pressed (Note) or set to occur at a speci ed song position or beat-time (Beat). Beat retriggering can be speci ed in terms of notes or bars and is aligned with song position. An LED in the upper right corner of the section indicates when the pattern has been retriggered.


Transposition and Velocity Sections

The pattern generated by Arpeggiator can be transposed; the device's transposition controls allow forcing this transposition into a speci c major or minor key or (using the Transpose chooser's Shift option) doing it in semitones. The distance between transposition steps is set in scale intervals (for Major and Minor transposition) or semitones (for Shift transposition) with the Distance control. Using the Steps parameter, you can choose the number of times the sequence is transposed: A setting of 8 will transpose the sequence a total of eight times, playing it in higher notes each time.


The dynamics of Arpeggiator are controlled using the velocity section. With Velocity set to On and Target set to 0, for example, the sequence will gradually fade out, eventually reaching 0 velocity. The Decay control sets the amount of time Arpeggiator takes to reach the Target velocity. With Retrigger activated, retriggering of the sequence will also retrigger the velocity slope.

Tip: The velocity section's Retrigger option can be used in conjunction with Beat retriggering to add rhythm to the dynamic slope.



This effect assembles a chord, as the name implies, from each incoming note and up to six others of user-de ned pitch. The Shift 1-6 knobs allow selecting the pitch of the notes that contribute to the chord from a range of +/- 36 semitones relative to the original. Setting

Shift 1 to +4 semitones and Shift 2 to +7 semitones, for example, yields a major chord in which the incoming note is the root.

The Velocity control beneath each Shift knob makes further harmonic sculpting possible, given that the instrument allows for changes in volume or timbre as function of velocity. It is a relative control, with a range of 1 to 200 percent (100 percent de ned as playing at a velocity equal to that of the incoming MIDI note). Use the Velocity controls to do anything from adding slight overtones to washing out most of the other chord elements.

The order in which pitches are added to the chord is inconsequential: The effect of a

+12 semitone shift added with the Shift 1 control, for example, is equal in effect to a +12

The Chord Effect.

CHAPTER 21. LIVE MIDI EFFECT REFERENCE 283 semitone shift added with the Shift 6 control.

Note that no two notes of the same pitch can contribute to the chord, and that selecting the same shift value twice (e.g., +8 semitones on both Shift 2 and Shift 3) will result in the latter control appearing disabled, indicating that it is a duplicate and therefore not in use.

Actually, there is no such thing as two notes with the same pitch playing at the same time within the entire Live universe.


Note Length

Note Length alters the length of incoming MIDI notes. It can also be used to trigger notes from MIDI Note Off messages, instead of the usual Note On messages.

When the device is set to trigger from a Note On message, only the timing controls are available. The length of held notes can be adjusted in milliseconds or synced in relation to the song tempo. Gate de nes the percentage of the Length value that notes should be held for. At 200 percent, the Gate parameter will double a note's length.

When the device is set to trigger from a Note Off event (the moment at which a played note is released), the timing of an incoming note will be delayed by its length (because it will be

starting at the point at which it would have been stopping). Note Length's other settings will then determine the duration of the newly triggered note.

Three other parameters are available when the device is triggering from Note Off messages:

The Note Length Effect.


On/Off Balance This determines the velocity of the output note. It is a balance between the incoming note's Note On and Note Off velocities. If your MIDI keyboard does not support MIDI Note Off velocity, you can just set this to zero.

Decay Time This is the time needed for an incoming note's velocity to decay to zero. The decay begins immediately from the moment the device receives a MIDI Note On message.

The value at the time of Note Off will become the velocity of the output MIDI note.

Key Scale The pitch of incoming notes can be used to alter the length of the output notes.

With positive values, notes below C3 will be made progressively longer, and notes above

C3 will be made shorter. Negative values will invert this relationship.



Pitch is a transposition tool that changes incoming note pitch by +/- 48 semitones.

The Range and Lowest controls act together to de ne a pitch range through which notes are allowed to pass. Notes outside of the de ned pitch range will be blocked, and the effect's

LED light will ash when this happens.

Notes outside of the pitch range are limited based on their untransposed pitch, prior to the transposition stage of the effect.

The Pitch Effect.





Random adds an element of the unknown to the otherwise commonplace pitch parameter.

The Chance control de nes the likelihood that an incoming note's pitch will be changed by a random value. You can think of it as being something like a dry/wet control for randomness.

The random value that determines the pitch change is created by two variables: The Choices control de nes the number of different random notes possible, from a range of 1 to 24; the

Scale control value is multiplied by the Choices control value, and the result dictates the pitches that random notes are allowed to have relative to that of the incoming note.

For example, with Chance set to 50 percent, Choices set to 1 and Scale set to 12, half of the resulting notes will play at the original pitch and half will play 12 semitones higher. But, with

Chance set to 50 percent, Choices set to 12 and Scale set to 1, half of the resulting notes will play at the original pitch and half will play at one of any that are 12 semitones higher.

These examples assume that the Sign buttons are set to Add. The Sign controls decide whether the random alteration adds to the original note's pitch, subtracts from it, or does a little of both. The LEDs below the Sign controls give you a visual idea of how output pitch compares with that of the original.

Hint: Try using the Scale effect after Random to obtain random values within a speci c harmonic range.

The Random Effect.





Scale alters incoming note pitch based on a scale mapping. Each incoming note is given an outgoing equivalent on the X-Y scale map of the effect: All incoming Cs, for example, might be converted to outgoing Ds.

The X-Y scale map is 12 squares in length and width, corresponding to the 12 notes in a full octave. Darker squares represent the black keys on a keyboard. The base of the diagonal scale (the lower left square) shown on the map can be changed using the Base control. The

X-axis of the map shows incoming note values, and the Y-axis their outgoing equivalents.

Use mouse-clicks to move or delete the yellow squares, which de ne where an incoming note will be sent on the scale. (Deleting a note on the scale map means that it will no longer play.)

The Range and Lowest controls work together to de ne the note range within which scale mapping will take effect. Outside of the range de ned by these controls, the Scale effect will be inapplicable, and the LED light will ash to indicate that some notes are not being processed by the effect, but are playing at their unaltered pitch.

The Scale Effect.





Velocity re-maps the 127 MIDI note velocity values. It can function on MIDI Note On or

Note Off messages, or both, depending on the setting of the Operation chooser.

The Out Low and Out Hi knobs control the outgoing velocity (from 1 to 127), which is represented by the Y-axis of the X-Y display. Incoming velocities that are shown in the display are within the range chosen by the Range and Lowest controls, and are represented on the X-axis. The resulting curve shows how velocity is being altered by the effect.

If Lowest and Out Low are both set to zero, and Range and Out Hi are set to 127, the display will show a straight diagonal line that indicates the equivalent of an effect bypass: Softly played notes are being output quietly and vice versa. If instead, Out Hi is set to zero and

Out Low to 127, the slope of the line will be reversed, and softly played notes will actually produce the loudest output.

What happens to incoming notes that are outside of the range set with the Range and

Lowest controls? This depends on which Mode is selected. Clip Mode does just what it says: It clips incoming note velocities so that they stay within the range. Gate Mode removes incoming notes altogether if their velocities are outside of the range. You will see the little

LED below the X-Y display ash when a note is blocked by gating. In Fixed Mode, the Out

Hi velocity de nes all outgoing note velocities, regardless of incoming note velocity.

The Random function adds or subtracts a random value to the all velocities, and is represented by a gray area on the display curve.

The Drive and Compand controls can be combined to create more complex curves. Com-

The Velocity Effect.

CHAPTER 21. LIVE MIDI EFFECT REFERENCE 288 pand is a simultaneous expanding and compressing tool. When set to values greater than zero, it forces incoming notes to the outer boundaries of the curve, making them play either loudly or softly. Compand values of less than zero, on the other hand, force outgoing velocity toward the mid-range. Drive pushes all values in the curve to the outer extremes.

Use these two controls together to sculpt or even rede ne the dynamic structure of a piece.


Chapter 22

Live Instrument Reference

Live comes with a selection of custom-designed, built-in instruments. The

Working with

Instruments and Effects chapter

explains the basics of using instruments in Live.

The boxed version of Live 6 ships with the Essential Instrument Collection, a multi-gigabyte library of meticulously sampled and selected instruments ready for use in either Simpler or our newest add-on instrument, Sampler. Learn how to access the EIC sounds at the

end of this chapter .





Impulse is a drum sampler with complex modulation capabilities. The eight drum samples loaded into Impulse's sample slots can be time-stretched, ltered and processed by envelope, saturation, pan and volume components, nearly all of which are subject to random and velocity-based modulation.

The Impulse Instrument.


Sample Slots

Drag and drop samples into any of Impulse's sample slots from the Browser or the Session and Arrangement Views. Alternatively, each sample slot features a Hot-Swap button for

hot-swapping samples . Loaded samples can be deleted with your computer keyboard's

or Delete key.

Imported samples are automatically mapped onto your MIDI keyboard, providing that it is plugged in and acknowledged by Live. C3 on the keyboard will trigger the leftmost sample, and the other samples will follow suit in the octave from C3 to C4. Impulse's eight slots will appear labeled in the

MIDI Editor's key tracks

when the Fold button is active, even if the given key track is void of MIDI notes. Mapping can be transposed from the default by applying a

Pitch device , or it can be rearranged by applying a

Scale device .

Each of the eight samples has a proprietary set of parameters, located in the area below the sample slots and visible when the sample is clicked. Adjustments to sample settings are only captured once you hit a new note they do not affect currently playing notes. Note that

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 291 this behavior also de nes how Impulse reacts to parameter changes from clip envelopes or automation, which are applied once a new note starts. If you want to achieve continuous changes as a note plays, you may want to use the

Simpler .

Slot 8's parameters also include a Link button, located in the lower left corner, which links slot 8 with slot 7. Linking the two slots allows slot 7's activation to stop slot 8's playback, and vice versa. This was designed with a speci c situation in mind (but can, of course, be used for other purposes): Replicating the way that closed hi-hats will silence open hi-hats.

Each slot can be played, soloed, muted or hot-swapped using controls that appear when the mouse hovers over it.


Start, Tune and Stretch

The Start control de nes where Impulse begins playing a sample, and can be set up to

100 ms later than the actual sample beginning. The Transposition control adjusts the transposition of the sample by +/- 48 semitones, and can be modulated by incoming note velocity or a random value, as set in the appropriate elds.

The Stretch control has values from -100 to 100 percent. Negative values will shorten the sample, and positive values will stretch it. Two different stretching algorithms are available:

Mode A is ideal for low sounds, such as toms or bass, while Mode B is better for high sounds, such as cymbals. The Stretch value can also be modulated by MIDI note velocity.



The Filter section offers a broad range of lter types, each of which can impart different sonic characteristics onto the sample by removing certain frequencies. The Frequency control de nes where in the harmonic spectrum the lter is applied; the Resonance control boosts frequencies near that point. Filter Frequency can be modulated by either a random value or by MIDI note velocity.



Saturator and Envelope

The Saturator gives the sample a fatter, rounder, more analog sound, and can be switched on and off as desired. The Drive control boosts the signal and adds distortion. Coincidentally, this makes most signals much louder, and should usually be compensated for by lowering the sample's volume control. Extreme Drive settings on low-pitched sounds will produce the typical, overdriven analog synth drum sounds.

The envelope can be adjusted using the Decay control, which can be set to a maximum of

60 seconds. Impulse has two decay modes: Trigger Mode allows the sample to decay with the note; Gate Mode forces the envelope to wait for a note off message before beginning the decay. This mode is useful in situations where you need variable decay lengths, as is the case with hi-hat cymbal sounds.


Pan and Volume

Each sample has Volume and Pan controls that adjust amplitude and stereo positioning, respectively. Both controls can be modulated: Pan by velocity and a random value, and

Volume by velocity only.


Global Controls

The parameters located to the right of the sample slots are global controls that apply to all samples within Impulse's domain. Volume adjusts the overall level of the instrument, and

Pitch adjusts the transposition of all samples. The Time control governs the time-stretching and decay of all samples, allowing you to morph between short and stretched drum sounds.


Individual Outputs

When a new instance of Impulse is dragged into a track, its signal will be mixed with those of the other instruments and effects feeding the audio chain of the track. It can oftentimes make more sense to isolate the instrument or one of its individual drum samples, and send

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 293 this signal to a separate track. Please see

the Routing chapter

to learn how to accomplish this for Impulse's overall signal or for Impulse's individual sample slots.



Operator is an advanced and exible synthesizer that combines the concept of frequency modulation (FM) with classic subtractive synthesis. It utilizes four multi-waveform oscillators that can modulate each other's frequencies, creating very complex timbres from a limited number of objects. Operator includes a lter section, an LFO and global controls, as well as individual envelopes for the oscillators, lter, LFO and pitch.

The full version of Operator is not included with the standard version of Live, but is a special feature available for purchase separately. For details, please visit the Ableton webshop 1 , where you will be offered the opportunity to buy Operator online. Once you have purchased

Operator, you will need to unlock it before using it, as described in the

chapter on unlocking .

The Operator



General Overview

The interface of Operator consists of two parts: the display surrounded on either side by the shell. The shell offers the most important parameters in a single view and is divided into eight sections. On the left side, you will nd four oscillator sections, and on the right side


CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 294 from top to bottom, the LFO, the lter section, the pitch section and the global parameters.

If you change one of the shell parameters, the display in the center will automatically show the details of the relevant section. When creating your own sounds, for example, you can conveniently access the level and frequency of all oscillators at once via the shell, and then adjust each individual oscillator's envelope, waveform and other parameters in its display.

Operator can be folded with the triangular button at its upper left. This is convenient if you do not need to access the display details.

Each of Operator's oscillators can either output its signal directly or use its signal to modulate another oscillator. Operator offers eleven prede ned algorithms that determine how the oscillators are connected. An algorithm is chosen by clicking on one of the structure icons in the global display, which will appear if the bottom right (global) section of the shell is selected. Signals will ow from top to bottom between the oscillators shown in an algorithm icon.

Operator Folded.

Operator's Global



Typically, FM synthesis makes use of pure sine waves, creating more complex waveforms via modulation. However, in order to simplify sound design and to create a wider range of possible sounds, we designed Operator to produce a variety of other waveforms, including noise. The instrument is made complete with an LFO, a pitch envelope and a lter section.

Note that lots of classic FM synthesizers create fantastic sounds without using lters at all, so we suggest exploring the possibilities of FM without the lter at rst, and adding it later if necessary.

Operator will keep you busy if you want to dive deep into sound design! If you want to break the universe apart completely and reassemble it, you should also try modulating Operator's controls with

clip envelopes


track automation .


Oscillator Section and Aliasing

The oscillators can basically play back ve waveform types sine, square, sawtooth, triangle and noise as chosen from the Wave chooser in the individual oscillator displays. The rst of these waveforms is a pure, mathematical sine wave, which is usually the rst choice for many

FM timbres. Since FM synthesis has a long tradition in hardware synthesizers, we added some variations of the pure sine wave that allow for more realistic modeling of vintage digital synthesizers. The differences between these sine waves are very subtle, and whether or not they are audible is highly dependent upon the individual sound. We also added Sine 4

Bit and Sine 8 Bit to provide the retro sound adored by C64 fans, and Saw D and

Square D digital waveforms, which are especially good for digital bass sounds. Another special case is the noise waveform. This is not real noise, generated by a random generator,

Oscillator D's Display and Shell Parameters.

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 296 but a looping noise sample. For more statistical noise, one could modulate the noise oscillator with another oscillator, or with real noise from the LFO. The square, triangle and sawtooth waveforms are resynthesized approximations of the ideal shape. The numbers included in the displayed name (e.g., Square 6 ) de ne how many harmonics are used for the resynthesis. Lower numbers sound mellower and are less likely to create aliasing when used on high pitches.

Hint: Oscillator waveforms can be copied and pasted from one oscillator to another using the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu.

Aliasing distortion is a common side effect of all digital synthesis and is the result of the nite sample rate and precision of digital systems. It mostly occurs at high frequencies. FM synthesis is especially likely to produce this kind of effect, since one can easily create sounds with lots of high harmonics. This also means that more complex oscillator waveforms, such as Saw 32, tend to be more sensitive to aliasing than pure sine waves. Aliasing is a two-fold beast: A bit of it can be exactly what is needed to create a cool sound, yet a bit too much can make the timbre unplayable, as the perception of pitch is lost when high notes suddenly fold back into arbitrary pitches. The Tone parameter in the global section allows for controlling aliasing. Its effect is sometimes similar to a lowpass lter, but this depends on the nature of the sound itself and cannot generally be predicted. If you want to familiarize yourself with the sound of aliasing, turn Tone up fully and play a few very high notes. You will most likely notice that some notes sound completely different from other notes. Now, turn Tone down and the effect will be reduced, but the sound will be less bright.

The frequency of an oscillator can be adjusted in the shell with its Coarse and Fine controls.

An oscillator's frequency usually follows that of played notes, but for some sounds it might be useful to set one or more oscillators to xed frequencies. This can be done for each individual oscillator by activating the Fixed option. This allows the creation of sounds in which only the timbre will vary when different notes are played, but the tuning will stay the same. Fixed Mode would be useful, for example, in creating live drum sounds. Fixed Mode also allows producing very low frequencies down to 0.1 Hz. Note that when Fixed Mode is active, the frequency of the oscillator is controlled in the shell with the Frequency (Freq) and

Multiplier (Multi) controls.

Operator includes a special Osc<Vel control for each oscillator that allows altering frequency as a function of velocity. This feature can be very useful when working with sequenced sounds in which the velocity of each note can be adjusted carefully. Part of this functionality

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 297 is the adjacent quantize control. If this control is activated, the frequency will only move in whole numbers, just as if the Coarse control were being manually adjusted. If quantize is not activated, the frequency will be shifted in an unquantized manner, leading to detuned or inharmonic sounds (which very well could be exactly what you want...).

The amplitude of an oscillator depends on the Level setting of the oscillator in the shell and on its

envelope , which is shown in its display and can be adjusted from there. It can also

be modi ed by note velocity and note pitch with the Level<Vel and Level<Key parameters available in the lower portion of each oscillator's display.

The phase of each oscillator can be adjusted using the Phase control in its display.

As explained


oscillators can modulate each other when set up to do so with the global display's algorithms. Oscillator D can also modulate itself, via the Feedback parameter available in its display. When an oscillator is modulating another oscillator, two main properties de ne the result: the amplitude of the modulating oscillator and the frequency ratio between both oscillators.


LFO Section

The LFO in Operator can practically be thought of as a fth oscillator. It runs at audio rates, and it modulates the frequency of the other oscillators. It is possible to switch modulation by the LFO on or off for each individual oscillator (and the lter) using the Destination buttons in the LFO's display. The LFO can also be turned off if it is unused.

Operator's LFO



The LFO offers a choice of classic LFO waveforms, sample and hold (S&H), and noise.

Sample and hold uses random numbers chosen at the rate of the LFO, creating the random steps useful for typical retro-futuristic sci- sounds. The noise waveform is simply bandpassltered noise.

Tip: FM synthesis can be used to create fantastic percussion sounds, and using the LFO with the noise waveform is the key to great hi-hats and snares.

The frequency of the LFO is determined by the LFO Rate control in the shell, as well as the low/high setting of the adjacent LFO Range switch. The frequency of the LFO can follow note pitch, be xed or be set to something in between. This is de ned by the Rate<Key parameter in the LFO's display.

The intensity of the LFO is set by the LFO Mod control in the shell. This parameter can be modulated by note velocity via the display's Amt<Vel control. The LFO's intensity is also affected by its

envelope .



Operator has seven envelopes: one for each oscillator, a lter envelope, a pitch envelope and an envelope for the LFO. All envelopes are constructed similarly and feature some special looping modes.

An envelope's shape is de ned by six parameters: three rates and three levels. A rate is the time it takes to go from one level to the next. For instance, a typical pad sound starts with the initial level -inf dB (which is silence), moves with an attack rate to its peak level, moves from there to the sustain level with a decay rate, and then nally, after note-off occurs, back to -inf dB at the release rate. Operator's display provides a good overview of the actual shape of any particular envelope and lets you directly adjust the curve by clicking on a breakpoint and dragging. The breakpoints retain their selection after clicking, allowing them to be adjusted with the keyboard's cursor keys, if desired.

Hint: Envelope shapes can be copied and pasted from one place to another in Operator using the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu.

With FM synthesis, it is possible to create spectacular, endless, permuting sounds; the key to doing this is looping envelopes. Loop Mode can be activated in the lower left corner of

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 299 the display. If an envelope in Operator is in Loop Mode and reaches sustain level while the note is still being held, it will be retriggered. The rate for this movement is de ned by the

Loop Time parameter. (Note that envelopes in Loop Mode can loop very quickly and can therefore be used to achieve effects that one would not normally expect from an envelope generator.)

While Loop Mode is good for textures and experimental sounds, Operator also includes Beat and Sync Modes, which provide a simple way of creating rhythmical sounds. If set to Beat

Mode, an envelope will restart after the beat time selected from the Repeat chooser. In Beat

Mode, the repeat time is de ned in fractions of song time, but notes are not quantized.

If you play a note a bit out of sync, it will repeat perfectly but stay out of sync. In Sync

Mode however, the rst repetition is quantized to the nearest 16th note and, as a result, all following repetitions are synced to the song tempo. Note that Sync Mode only works if the song is playing, and otherwise it will behave like Beat Mode.

Note: To avoid the audible clicks caused by restarting from its initial level, a looped envelope will restart from its actual level and move with the set attack rate to peak level.

The rates of all the envelopes in Operator can be scaled in unison by the Time control in the global section of the shell. Note that beat-time values in Beat and Sync Modes are not in uenced by the global Time parameter. Envelope rates can be further modi ed by note pitch, as dictated by the Time<Key parameter in the global section's display. The rate of an individual envelope can also be modi ed by velocity using the Time<Vel parameter. These modulations in conjunction with the loop feature can be used to create very, very complex things...

The pitch envelope can be turned on or off for each individual oscillator and for the LFO using the Destination A-D and LFO buttons in its display. It can also be turned off altogether via the pitch section of the shell. The pitch envelope amount is adjusted with the adjacent

Pitch Env control.

Tip: If the pitch envelope is only applied to the LFO and is looping, it can serve as another

LFO, modulating the rate of the rst. And, since the envelope of the LFO itself can loop, it can serve as a third LFO modulating the intensity of the rst!



Filter Section


As mentioned earlier, the lters are not the main focus of this instrument. However, they can be very useful for modifying the sonically rich timbres created by the oscillators. And, since the oscillators also provide you with the classic waveforms of analog synthesizers, you can very easily build a subtractive synthesizer with them.

The lter section offers lowpass, bandpass, highpass and notch lters, each with the choice of 12 dB or 24 dB slopes. The 24 dB modes attenuate the ltered frequencies to a much greater degree, and are commonly used in the creation of bass patches.

Filter cutoff frequency and resonance can be adjusted in the shell. Filter frequency can also be modulated by note velocity, note pitch, the LFO and the

lter envelope . The Freq<Vel,

Freq<Key and Envelope controls in the lter's display set these three functions, respectively.

Operator's Filter Section.


Global Controls

The maximum number of Operator voices (notes) playing simultaneously can be adjusted with the Voices parameter in the global display. Ideally, one would want to leave this setting high enough so that no voices would be turned off while playing, however a setting between

6 and 12 is usually more realistic when considering

CPU power .

Tip: Some sounds should play monophonically by nature, which means that they should only use a single voice. (A ute is a good example.) In these cases, you can set Voices to 1.

If Voices is set to 1, another effect occurs: Overlapping voices will be played legato, which

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 301 means that the envelopes will not be retriggered from voice to voice, and only pitch will change.

A high quality setting (HiQ) can be switched on and off in the global display, controlling the interpolation algorithm of the oscillators and LFO. This setting will affect the sound of some waveforms more than others (especially the noise waveform) and also affects

CPU resources .

Global Volume and Transpose controls for the instrument can be found in the global section of the shell, and a Pan control is located in the global section's display. Pan can be modulated by a random factor or by note pitch, using the adjacent Rnd and Key controls, respectively.

MIDI pitch bend messages will affect Operator as de ned by the PB Range control in the pitch section of the display.


Glide and Spread

Operator includes a polyphonic glide function. When this function is activated, new notes will start with the pitch of the last note played and then slide gradually to their own played pitch. Glide can be turned on or off and adjusted with the Glide Time control in the pitch display.

Operator also offers a special Spread parameter that creates a rich stereo chorus by using two voices per note and panning one to the left and one to the right. The two voices are detuned, and the amount of detuning can be adjusted with the Spread control in the pitch section of the shell.

Operator's Pitch Section.


Tip: Whether or not spread is applied to a particular note depends upon the setting of the Spread parameter during the note-on event. To achieve special effects, you could, for instance, create a sequence where Spread is 0 most of the time and turned on only for some notes. These notes will then play in stereo, while the others will play mono.


Strategies for Saving CPU Power

If you want to save CPU power, turn off features that you do not need or reduce the number of voices. Speci cally, turning off the lter or the LFO if they do not contribute to the sound will save CPU power.

For the sake of saving CPU resources, you will also usually want to reduce the number of voices to something between 6 and 12, and carefully use the Spread feature. The high quality setting can also be turned off to conserve CPU resources.

Note that turning off the oscillators will not save CPU power.



Operator is the result of an intense preoccupation with FM synthesis and a love and dedication to the old hardware FM synthesizers, such as the Yamaha SY77, the Yamaha TX81Z and the NED Synclavier II. FM synthesis was rst explored musically by the composer and computer music pioneer John Chowning in the mid-1960s. In 1973, he and Stanford University began a relationship with Yamaha that lead to one of the most successful commercial musical instruments ever, the DX7.

John Chowning realized some very amazing and beautiful musical pieces based on a synthesis concept that you can now explore yourself simply by playing with Operator in Live.

We wish you loads of fun with it!


The Complete Parameter List

The function of each Operator parameter is explained in the forthcoming sections. Remember that you can also access explanations of controls in Live (including those belonging to


Operator) directly from the software by placing the mouse over the control and reading the text that appears in the

Info View . Parameters in this list are grouped into sections based

on where they appear in Operator.

Global Shell and Display

Time This is a global control for all envelope rates.

Tone Operator is capable of producing timbres with very high frequencies, which can sometimes lead to aliasing artifacts. The Tone setting controls the high frequency content of sounds. Higher settings are typically brighter but also more likely to produce aliasing.

Volume This sets the overall volume of the instrument.

Algorithm An oscillator can modulate other oscillators, be modulated by other oscillators, or both. The algorithm de nes the connections between the oscillators and therefore has a signi cant impact on the sound that is created.

Voices This sets the maximum number of notes that can sound simultaneously. If more notes than available voices are requested, the oldest notes will be cut off.

High Quality (HiQ) This changes the interpolation algorithm of the oscillators and the LFO.

If turned off, some timbres will sound more rough, especially the noise waveform. Turning this off will also save some CPU power.

Time<Key The rates of all envelopes can be controlled by note pitch. If the global

Time<Key parameter is set to higher values, the envelopes run faster when higher notes are played.

Pan Use this to adjust the panorama of each note. This is especially useful when modulated with clip envelopes.

Pan<Key (Key) If Pan<Key is set to higher values, low notes will pan relatively more to the left channel, and higher notes to the right. Typically this is used for piano-like sounds.

Pan<Random (Rnd) This de nes the extent to which notes are randomly distributed between the left and right channels.


Pitch Shell and Display

Pitch Envelope On This turns the pitch envelope on and off. Turning it off if it is unused saves some CPU power.

Pitch Envelope Amount (Pitch Env) This sets the intensity of the pitch envelope. A value of 100% means that the pitch change is exactly de ned by the pitch envelope's levels. A value of -100% inverts the sign of the pitch envelope levels.

Spread If Spread is turned up, the synthesizer uses two detuned voices per note, one each on the left and right stereo channels, to create chorusing sounds. Spread is a very

CPU-intensive effect.

Transpose This is the global transposition setting for the instrument. Changing this parameter will affect notes that are already playing.

Pitch Bend Range (PB Range) This de nes the effect of MIDI pitch bend messages.

Pitch Envelope Rates<Velocity (Time<Vel) This parameter exists for lter, pitch, LFO and volume envelopes. It is therefore listed in the

section on envelopes .

Glide (G) With Glide on, notes will slide from the pitch of the last played note to their played pitch. Note that all envelopes are not retriggered in this case if notes are being played legato.

Glide Time (Time) This is the time it takes for a note to slide from the pitch of the last played note to its nal pitch when Glide is activated. This setting has no effect if Glide is not activated.

Pitch Envelope to Osc (Destination A-D) The pitch envelope affects the frequency of the respective oscillator if this is turned on.

Pitch Envelope to LFO (Destination LFO) The pitch envelope affects the frequency of the

LFO if this is turned on.

Filter Shell and Display

Filter On This turns the lter on and off. Turning it off when it is unused saves CPU power.


Filter Type Lowpass, bandpass and highpass are second order lters with resonance. Their names imply the part of the spectrum they affect. The notch lter passes everything apart from its center frequency and is more audible with low resonance settings. The 24 dB lter modes attenuate the ltered frequencies to a much greater degree than the 12 dB modes.

Filter Frequency (Freq) This de nes the center or cutoff frequency of the lter. Note that the resulting frequency may also be modulated by note velocity and by the lter envelope.

Filter Resonance (Res) This de nes the resonance around the lter frequency of the lowpass and highpass lters, and the width of the bandpass and notch lters.

Filter Frequency<Velocity (Freq<Vel) Filter frequency is modulated by note velocity according to this setting.

Filter Frequency<Key (Freq<Key) Filter frequency is modulated by note pitch according to this setting. A value of 100% means that the frequency doubles per octave. The center point for this function is C3.

Filter Envelope Rates<Velocity (Time<Vel) This parameter exists for lter, pitch, LFO and volume envelopes. It is therefore listed in the

section on envelopes .

Filter Frequency<Envelope (Envelope) Filter frequency is modulated by the lter envelope according to this setting. A value of 100% means that the envelope can create a maximum frequency shift of approximately 9 octaves.

LFO Shell and Display

LFO On This turns the LFO (low-frequency oscillator) on and off. Turning it off when it is unused saves some CPU power.

LFO Waveform Select from among several typical LFO waveforms. Sample and Hold creates random steps, and Noise supplies bandpass- ltered noise. All waveforms are bandlimited to avoid unwanted clicks. Cyclic waveforms restart with each note-on message.

LFO Range The LFO covers an extreme frequency range. Choose Low for a range from 50 seconds to 30 Hz, or Hi for 8 Hz to 12 kHz. Due to the possible high frequencies, the LFO can also function as a fth oscillator.


LFO Rate (Rate) This sets the rate of the LFO. The actual frequency also depends on the setting of the LFO Range and the LFO Rate<Key controls.

LFO Amount (Mod) This sets the intensity of the LFO. Note that the actual effect also depends on the LFO envelope.

LFO to Osc (Destination A-D) The LFO modulates the frequency of the respective oscillator if this is turned on.

LFO Envelope Rates<Velocity (Time<Vel) This parameter exists for lter, pitch, LFO and volume envelopes. It is therefore listed in the

section on envelopes .

LFO Rate<Key (Rate<Key) The LFO's frequency can be a function of note pitch. If this is set to 100%, the LFO will double its frequency per octave, functioning like a normal oscillator.

LFO Amount<Velocity (Amt<Vel) This setting adjusts modulation of the LFO intensity by note velocity.

Oscillators A-D Shell and Display

Osc On This turns the oscillator on and off.

Osc Coarse Frequency (Coarse) The relationship between oscillator frequency and note pitch is de ned by the Coarse and Fine parameters. Coarse sets the ratio in whole numbers, creating a harmonic relationship.

Osc Fine Frequency (Fine) The relationship between oscillator frequency and note pitch is de ned by the Coarse and Fine parameters. Fine sets the ratio in fractions of whole numbers, creating an inharmonic relationship.

Osc Fixed Frequency On (Fixed) In Fixed Mode, oscillators do not respond to note pitch but instead play a xed frequency.

Osc Fixed Frequency (Freq) This is the frequency of the oscillator in Hertz. This frequency is constant, regardless of note pitch.

Osc Fixed Multiplier (Multi) This is used to adjust the range of the xed frequency. Multiply this value with the value of the oscillator's Freq knob to get actual frequency in Hz.


Osc Output Level (Level) This sets the output level of the oscillator. If this oscillator is modulating another, its level has signi cant in uence on the resulting timbre. Higher levels usually create bright and/or noisy sounds.

Osc Waveform (Wave) Choose from a collection of carefully selected waveforms, including slight derivations of sine waves that are especially useful for creating emulations of vintage digital hardware synthesizers.

Osc Phase (Phase) This sets the initial phase of the oscillator. The range represents one whole cycle.

Osc Frequency<Velocity (Osc<Vel) The frequency of an oscillator can be modulated by note velocity. Positive values raise the oscillator's pitch with greater velocities, and negative values lower it.

Osc Freq<Vel Quantized (Q) This allows quantizing the effect of the Frequency<Velocity parameter. If activated, the sonic result is the same as manually changing the Coarse parameter for each note.

Volume Envelope Rates<Velocity (Time<Vel) This parameter exists for lter, pitch, LFO and volume envelopes. It is therefore listed in the

section on envelopes .

Osc Output Level<Velocity (Vel) This de nes how much the oscillator's level depends upon note velocity. Applying this to modulating oscillators creates velocity-dependent timbres.

Osc Output Level<Key (Key) This de nes how much the oscillator's level depends upon note pitch. The center point for this function is C3.

Osc D Feedback (Feedback) Osc D can modulate itself. The modulation is dependent not only on the setting of the feedback control but also on the oscillator level and the envelope.

Higher feedback creates a more complex resulting waveform.

Envelope Display

Envelope Attack Time (Attack) This sets the time it takes for a note to reach the peak level, starting from the initial level. The shape of this segment of the envelope is linear.

Envelope Decay Time (Decay) This sets the time it takes for a note to reach the sustain level from the peak level. The shape of this segment of the envelope is exponential.


Envelope Release Time (Release) This is the time it takes for a complete fade-out of a note after a note-off message is received. The shape of this segment is exponential. The note will fade out from the value of the envelope at the moment the note-off message occurs, regardless of which segment is currently active.

Envelope Initial Level (Initial) This sets the initial value of the envelope.

Envelope Peak Level (Peak) This is the peak level at the end of the note attack.

Envelope Sustain Level (Sustain) This is the sustain level at the end of the note decay. The envelope will stay at this level until note release unless it is in Loop, Sync or Beat Mode.

Envelope Mode (Mode) If this is set to Loop, the envelope will start again after the end of the decay segment. If set to Beat or Sync, it will start again after a given beat-time. In Sync

Mode, this behavior will be quantized to song time.

Envelope Beat/Sync Rate (Repeat) The envelope will be retriggered after this amount of beat-time, as long as it is still on. When retriggered, the envelope will move at the given attack rate from the current level to the peak level.

Envelope Loop Time (Time) If a note is still on after the end of the decay/sustain segment, the envelope will start again from its initial value. The time it takes to move from the sustain level to the initial value is de ned by this parameter.

Envelope Rates<Velocity (Time<Vel) Envelope segments will be modulated by note velocity as de ned by this setting. This is especially interesting if the envelopes are looping.

Note that this modulation does not in uence the beat-time in Beat or Sync Modes, but the envelope segments themselves.





Sampler is a sleek yet formidable multisampling instrument that takes full advantage of Live's agile audio engine. It has been designed from the start to handle multi-gigabyte instrument libraries with ease, and it imports most common library formats. But with Sampler, playback is only the beginning; its extensive internal modulation system, which addresses nearly every aspect of its sound, makes it the natural extension of Live's sound-shaping techniques.

The full version of Sampler is not included with the standard version of Live, but is a special feature available for purchase separately. For details, please visit the Ableton webshop 2 , where you will be offered the opportunity to buy Sampler online. Once you have purchased

Sampler, you will need to unlock it before using it, as described in the

chapter on unlocking .

Getting started with Sampler is as easy as choosing a preset from the Device Browser. Like all of Live's devices, Sampler's presets are located in folders listed beneath its name. Presets imported from third-party sample libraries are listed here, too, in the Imports folder.

Once you have loaded a Sampler preset into a track, remember to arm the track for recording

(which also enables you to hear any MIDI notes you might want to play), and then start playing!

The Sampler Instrument.





Before going on, let's introduce the concept of multisampling. This technique is used to accurately capture the complexity of instruments that produce dynamic timbral changes.

Rather than rely on the simple transposition of a single recorded sample, multisampling captures an instrument at multiple points within its critical sonic range. This typically means capturing the instrument at different pitches as well as different levels of emphasis (played softly, moderately, loudly, etc.). The resulting multisample is a collection of all the individually recorded sample les.

Sampler is designed to let you approach multisampling on whatever level you like: You can load and play multisample presets, like those from Ableton's Essential Instrument Collection, import multisamples from third-party vendors, or create your own multisamples from scratch.

Importing Third-Party Multisamples

To import a third-party multisample, navigate to the le in Live's File Browser and doubleclick to import it into the Live Library. (Note that AKAI-formatted CD-ROMs require one step before this can be done please see the next section.)

Importing will create new Sampler presets, which you can nd in the Device Browser under

Sampler/Imported. Live automatically brings up the Device Browser to show the new presets, ready to drag in, sort, rename or delete.

Note that some multisample les will be converted to

Instrument Rack

presets that contain several Sampler instances used to emulate the original more accurately.

For all multisample formats except Apple EXS24/GarageBand and Kontakt, Live will import the actual audio data into the Library, where they will appear as new samples (found under

Samples/Imported). This means the new Sampler presets will work regardless of whether the original multisample le is still around.

To import Apple EXS24/GarageBand and Kontakt multisamples, Live will create new Sampler presets that reference the original WAV or AIF les. This means that removing the original

WAV or AIF les will render the new Sampler presets useless. Live's File Manager offers the option to

collect and save these external samples into the Library .


Mounting AKAI Multisample CDs

To import multisamples from AKAI-formatted CD-ROMs, you rst have to mount the CD-

ROM so that Live can see its contents. This is only necessary because the legacy AKAI

CD format cannot be processed by the operating system like standard CD-ROM formats, which are mounted automatically upon inserting and can be browsed as usual with Live's

File Browser. Here are the steps:

1. Insert the AKAI-formatted sample CD.

2. On a Mac, click on the title bar of Live's File Browser and select All Volumes. On

a PC, navigate Live's File Browser to the Workspace by clicking on the Browser's title bar and selecting Workspace.

3. Click on the Browser item found at the bottom named Find Sample CDs...

4. Double-click the item that appears to import the CD's contents.


Sampler's Tabs

Once you begin working with Sampler, you will notice that its features are organized categorically into tabs, accessed from Sampler's title bar. We will get to know Sampler by examining each of them.

Sampler's Tabs in the

Title Bar.



The Zone Tab


Clicking on the Zone tab toggles the display of Sampler's Zone Editor, which offers a handson interface for mapping any number of samples across key and velocity ranges.

The Zone Editor opens in its own dedicated view, directly above the Track View. When used in conjunction with Sampler's other tabs, this layout greatly accelerates the creation and editing of multisamples.

On the left side of the Zone Editor is the sample layer list, where multisamples are organized.

All of the individual samples belonging to a multisample are shown in this list, where they are referred to as layers.

The rest of the view is occupied by one of two editors that correspond to the sample layers: the Key Zone Editor, and the Velocity Zone Editor. These editors can be horizontally zoomed by pressing options.

(PC) / Ctrl (Mac) within them to bring up a context menu with sizing

Auto Select (Auto) As MIDI notes arrive at Sampler, they are ltered by each sample layer's key and velocity zones. With Auto Select enabled, all sample layers that are able to play an incoming note will become selected in the sample layer list for the duration of that note.

Zone Fade Mode (Lin/Pow) These buttons toggle the fade mode of all zones between linear and constant-power (exponential) slopes.

Zone Editor View (Key/Vel) These buttons toggle the display of the Key Zone Editor and the Velocity Zone Editor.

The Key Zone Editor.


The Sample Layer List

All samples contained in the currently loaded multisample are listed here, with each sample given its own layer. For very large multisamples, this list might be hundreds of layers long!

Fortunately, layers can be descriptively named (according to their root key, for example).

Selecting any layer will load its sample into the Sample tab for examination.

Key Zones

Key zones de ne the range of MIDI notes over which each sample will play. Samples are only triggered when incoming MIDI notes lie within their key zone. Every sample has its own key zone, which can span anywhere from a single key up to the full 127.

A typical multisampled instrument contains many individual samples, distributed into many key zones. Samples are captured at a particular key of an instrument's voice range (known as their root key), but may continue to sound accurate when transposed a few semitones up or down. This range usually corresponds to the sample's key zone; ranges beyond this zone are represented by additional samples, as needed.

By default, the key zones of newly imported samples cover the full MIDI note range. Zones can be moved and resized like clips in the Arrangement View, by dragging their right or left edges to resize them, then dragging them into position.

Zones can also be faded over a number of semitones at either end by dragging their top right or left corners. This makes it easy to smoothly crossfade between adjacent samples as the length of the keyboard is traversed. The Lin and Pow boxes above the sample layer list indicate whether the zones will fade in a linear or exponential manner.

Velocity Zones

Each sample also has a velocity zone, determining the range of MIDI Note On velocities that it will respond to. The timbre of most musical instruments changes greatly with playing intensity. Therefore, the best multisamples capture not only individual notes, but also each of those notes at different velocities.


The Velocity Zone Editor, when toggled, replaces the Key Zone Editor alongside the sample layer list. Velocity is measured on a scale of 1-127, and this number range appears across the top of the editor. The functionality of the Velocity Zone Editor is otherwise identical to that of the Key Zone Editor.


The Sample Tab

The playback characteristics of individual samples are set within the Sample tab. Most of this tab is dedicated to displaying the waveform of the currently selected sample. It is important to keep in mind that most of the values in this tab re ect the state of the currently selected sample only. The Sample chooser always displays the current sample layer's name, and is another way to switch between layers when editing.

The RootKey, Detune, Vol and Pan parameters add basic per-sample mixing tools for quick assembly and tweaking of multisamples.

Reverse This is a global, modulatable control that reverses playback of the entire multisample. Unlike the Reverse function in the Clip View, a new sample le is not generated.

Instead, sample playback begins from the Sample End point, proceeds backwards through the Sustain Loop (if active), and arrives at the Sample Start point.

Snap Snaps all start and end points to the waveform zero-crossings (points where the amplitude is zero) to avoid clicks. As with Simpler, this snap is based on the left channel of stereo samples, so a small Crossfade value may be necessary in some cases to completely eliminate clicks.

The Sample Tab.


Sample Displays the name of the current sample layer, and can be used to quickly select from among the sample layers of the loaded multisample.

Root Key (RootKey) De nes the root key of the current sample.

Detune The sample tuning can be adjusted here by +/- 50 cents.

Volume A wide-range volume control, variable from full attenuation to a gain of +24 dB.

Pan Samples can be individually panned anywhere in the stereo panorama.

Sample Playback

All of the following sample-speci c parameters work in conjunction with the global volume envelope (in the Filter/Global tab) to create the basic voicing of the Sampler instrument. If you are unfamiliar with how envelopes work, you will nd that they are well documented in


Envelopes section .

All time-based values in this tab are displayed in either samples or hours:seconds:milliseconds, which can be toggled using the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu on any of their parameter boxes. Samples in this context refer to the smallest measurable unit in digital audio, and not to the audio les themselves, which we more commonly refer to as samples.

Sample Start The time value where playback will begin. If the volume envelope's Attack parameter is set to a high value, the audible result may seem to begin some time later than the value shown here.

Sample End The time value where playback will end (unless a loop is enabled), even if the volume envelope has not ended.

Sustain Mode The optional Sustain Loop de nes a region of the sample where playback will be repeated while the note is in the sustain stage of its envelope. Activating the Sustain

Loop also allows the Release Loop to be enabled. This creates several playback options:

No Sustain Loop Playback proceeds linearly until either the Sample End is reached or the volume envelope completes its release stage.


Sustain Loop Enabled Playback proceeds linearly until Loop End is reached, when it jumps immediately to Loop Start and continues looping. If Release Mode is OFF, looping will continue inside the Sustain Loop until the volume envelope has completed its release stage.

Back-and-Forth Sustain Loop Enabled Playback proceeds to Loop End, then reverses until it reaches Loop Start, then proceeds again towards Loop End. If Release Mode is OFF, this pattern continues until the volume envelope has completed its release stage.

Link Enabling the Link switch sets Sample Start equal to Loop Start. Note that the Sample

Start parameter box doesn't lose its original value it simply becomes disabled so that it can be recalled with a single click.

Release Mode Whenever the Sustain Loop is active, Release Mode can also be enabled.

OFF The volume envelope's release stage is active, but will occur within the Sustain

Loop, with playback never proceeding beyond Loop End.

Release Enabled When the volume envelope reaches its release stage, playback will proceed linearly towards Sample End.

Release Loop Enabled When the volume envelope reaches its release stage, playback will proceed linearly until reaching Sample End, when it jumps immediately to Release Loop and continues looping until the volume envelope has completed its release stage.

Back-and-Forth Release Loop Enabled When the volume envelope reaches its release stage, playback will proceed linearly until reaching Sample End, then reverses until it reaches

Release Loop, then proceeds again towards Sample End. This pattern continues until the volume envelope has completed its release stage.

Sustain- and Release-Loop Crossfade (Crossfade) Loop crossfades help remove clicks from loop transitions.

Sustain- and Release-Loop Detune (Detune) Since loops are nothing more than oscillations, the pitch of samples may shift within a loop, relative to the loop's duration. With Detune, the pitch of these regions can be matched to the rest of the sample.

Interpolation (Interpol) This is a global setting that determines the accuracy of transposed samples. Be aware that raising the quality level above Normal will place signi cant


RAM Mode (RAM) This is also a global control that loads the entire multisample into RAM.

This mode can give better performance when modulating start and end points, but loading large multisamples into RAM will quickly leave your computer short of RAM for other tasks.

In any case, it is always recommended to have as much RAM in your computer as possible, as this can provide signi cant performance gains.


The Pitch/Osc Tab

The Modulation Oscillator

Sampler features one dedicated modulation oscillator per voice, which can perform frequency or amplitude modulation (FM or AM) on the multisample. The oscillator is fully featured, with 21 waveforms, plus its own loopable amplitude envelope for dynamic waveshaping. Note that this oscillator performs modulation only its output is never heard directly. What you hear is the effect of its output upon the multisample.

The Pitch Envelope

The pitch envelope modulates the pitch of the sample, as well as of the Modulation Oscillator, if it is enabled.

The Pitch/Osc Tab.



The Filter/Global Tab


The Filter

Sampler features a powerful, morphable lter with an integrated waveshaper. The lter can morph continuously from lowpass to bandpass to highpass to notch and back to lowpass.

Naturally, lter morphs can be

automated .

Classic 24 dB lowpass, bandpass and highpass modes supplement the morphable lter's 12 dB and 24 dB modes.

The Volume Envelope

The volume envelope is global, and de nes the articulation of Sampler's voices. Up to 32 voices are available simultaneously from each instance of the device. Voice retriggering can optionally be enabled by activating the Retrigger button to the right of the Voices chooser.

The Filter/Global Tab.



The Modulation Tab


The Modulation tab offers an additional loopable envelope, plus three LFOs, all capable of modulating multiple parameters, including themselves. Each LFO can be free running, or synced to the Live Set's tempo, and LFOs 2 and 3 can produce stereo modulation effects.

The Modulation Tab.


The MIDI Tab

The MIDI tab's parameters turn Sampler into a dynamic performance instrument. The fundamental MIDI controllers Key, Velocity, Release Velocity, Channel Pressure and Pitch

Bend can be mapped to two destinations each, with varying degrees of in uence.

The MIDI Tab.





Simpler is an instrument that integrates the basic elements of a sampler with a set of classic synthesizer parameters. A Simpler voice plays a user-de ned sample section, which is in turn processed by envelope, lter, LFO, volume and pitch components.

Owners of


who wish to take their Simpler creations further can convert Simpler's current settings to an identical setup in Sampler by (PC) / title bar and choosing the Simpler -> Sampler command.

Ctrl (Mac) on Simpler's

The Simpler Instrument.


Sample View

The Sample View displays the sample waveform. Samples can be dragged into Simpler either directly from the Browser, or from the Session or Arrangement View in the form of clips. In the latter case, Simpler will utilize only the section of the sample demarcated by the clip's start/end or loop markers. Samples can be replaced by dragging in a new sample, or by activating the integrated

Hot-Swap button .


Sample Controls

Simpler plays a speci c region or loop of the sample, as determined by a group of sample controls.


The Start and Length controls work together to specify where Simpler begins and ends its sweep of the sample. As the name implies, Start de nes where sample playback starts.

The sample will play for the length de ned by the Length parameter. Both parameters are de ned as a percentage of the whole region, so setting start to 25 percent and length to

50 percent, for example, will start playback 1/4 of the way through the sample and stop playback at the 3/4 mark (using 50 percent of the sample).

Samples are played by Simpler as one-shots or as loops, depending on whether or not the

Loop switch is active. When looping is active, the Loop control dictates the length of the loop, starting from the end of the playing sample. Simpler will play the rst instance of a looped sample beginning with the Start point, then continue playing only the loop region.

When the sample's start or end points are moved, Simpler will try to preserve the loop length for as long as possible by automatically adjusting the Start, Loop and Length settings.

It is possible for glitches or pops to occur between a looped sample's start and end points due to the discontinuity in waveform amplitude (i.e., the sample's loudness). The Snap switch will help mitigate these by forcing Simpler's loop markers to snap to zero-crossing points in the sample (points where the amplitude is zero). Note: Snapping is based on the left channel of stereo samples. It is therefore still possible, even with Snap activated, to encounter glitches with stereo samples.

The transition from loop end to loop start can be smoothed with the Fade control, which crossfades the two points. This method is especially useful when working with long, textural samples.



Quite often, one starts with a longer region of a sample and ends up using only a small part of it. Simpler's Sample view can be zoomed and panned just as in other parts of Live; drag vertically to zoom, and drag horizontally to pan different areas of the sample into view.




Simpler contains three classic ADSR envelopes, as seen in most synthesizers, for shaping the dynamic response of the sample. Volume-, lter frequency-, and pitch modulation are all modi able by toggling their respective buttons in the envelope section. Attack controls the time in milliseconds that it takes for the envelope to reach its peak value after a note is played. Decay controls the amount of time it takes for the envelope to drop down to the

Sustain level, which is held until the note is released. Release time is the amount of time after the end of the note that it takes for the envelope to drop from the Sustain level back down to zero.

The in uence of envelopes on pitch and lter cutoff can be decided using the envelope amount (Env) controls in each of these sections.



The Filter section offers classic 12 dB or 24 dB lowpass, bandpass and highpass lters, as well as a notch lter, each of which can impart different sonic characteristics onto the sample by removing certain frequencies from the waveform. The most important parameters are the typical synth controls Frequency and Resonance. Frequency determines where in the harmonic spectrum the lter is applied; Resonance boosts frequencies near that point.

The best way to understand the effects of these controls is simply to play with them!

The Frequency parameter can be modulated by an LFO, note velocity and an envelope each of which have an amount control in the Filter section. The Key (tracking) control allows for shifting the lter's frequency according to note pitch.



The LFO (low-frequency oscillator) section offers sine, square, triangle, sawtooth down, sawtooth up and random waveforms. The LFO run freely at frequencies between 0.01 and

30 Hz, or sync to divisions of the Set's tempo. LFOs are applied individually to each voice, or played note, in Simpler.


The Key parameter scales each LFO's Rate in proportion to the pitch of incoming notes. A high Key setting assigns higher notes a higher LFO rate. If Key is set to zero, all voices'

LFOs have the same rate and may just differ in their phase.

The LFO will modulate the lter, pitch, panorama and volume according to the setting of the LFO amount controls in each of these sections.

The time required for the LFO to reach full intensity is determined by the Attack control.


Glide and Spread

Simpler includes a glide function. When this function is activated, new notes will start from the pitch of the last note played and then slide gradually to their own pitch. Two glide modes are available: Glide, which works monophonically, and Portamento, which works polyphonically. Glide is also adjusted with the Glide Time control.

Simpler also offers a special Spread parameter that creates a rich stereo chorus by using two voices per note and panning one to the left and one to the right. The two voices are detuned, and the amount of detuning can be adjusted with the Spread control.

Tip: Whether or not spread is applied to a particular note depends upon the setting of the Spread parameter during the note-on event. To achieve special effects, you could, for instance, create a sequence where Spread is zero most of the time and turned on only for some notes. These notes will then play in stereo, while the others will play mono.


Pitch, Pan, Volume and Voices

Simpler plays back a sample at its original pitch if the incoming MIDI note is C3, however the

Transpose control allows transposing this by +/- 48 semitones. Pitch can also be modulated by an LFO or pitch envelope using the amount controls in this section. The pitch envelope is especially helpful in creating percussive sounds. Simpler reacts to MIDI Pitch Bend messages with a sensitivity of +/- 5 semitones. You can also modulate the Transpose parameter with clip envelopes and external controllers.

The Voices parameter sets the maximum number of voices that Simpler can play simultaneously. If more voices are needed than have been allocated by the Voices chooser, voice

CHAPTER 22. LIVE INSTRUMENT REFERENCE 324 stealing will take place, in which the oldest voice(s) will be dropped in favor of those that are new. For example, if your Voices parameter is set to 8, and ten voices are all vying to be played, the two oldest voices will be dropped. (Simpler does try to make voice stealing as subtle as possible.) A small LED near the Voices control ashes when a voice has been stolen.

Panorama is de ned by the Pan control, but can be further swayed by randomness or modulated by the LFO.

Finally, the output volume of Simpler is controlled by the Volume control, which can also be dependent upon note velocity, as adjusted by the Velocity control. Tremolo effects can be achieved by allowing the LFO to modulate the Volume parameter.


Strategies for Saving CPU Power

Real-time synthesis needs lots of computing power. However, there are strategies for reducing CPU load. Save the CPU spent on Simpler by doing some of the following:

ˆ Turn off the Filter if it is not needed.

ˆ Use lter types that are less expensive when possible. A lter's cost correlates with the steepness of its slope LP24 is more expensive than LP12.

ˆ Turn off the LFO for a slightly positive in uence on CPU.

ˆ Stereo samples need signi cantly more CPU than mono samples, as they require twice the processing.

ˆ Decrease the number of simultaneously allowed voices with the Voice control.


The Essential Instrument Collection

The boxed version of Live 6 ships with the Essential Instrument Collection, a multi-gigabyte library of meticulously sampled and selected instruments from the SONiVOX (formerly Sonic

Implants) premium collections.


Note The Essential Instrument Collection is not included with downloadable purchases.

Download customers can choose, however, to have the Live 6 box including the Essential

Instrument Collection shipped to them later for an additional fee 3 .


EIC Installation

The Essential Instrument Collection is installed separately from the main Live installation.

The various instruments on the EIC DVD are grouped into separate Live Packs that can be installed as needed. To install a Live Pack, double-click the Live Pack le (.alp), drag it into the Live main window, or locate it via the File menu's Install Live Pack command.

After you have installed the EIC Live Packs, you will need to unlock them using the unlock code provided in your Live 6 box. To do this, open Live's Preferences with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl , (PC) / , (Mac), and then select the Products tab, where you'll nd the Essential Instrument Collection listed amongst any other Ableton products that you own. Further details can be found in the

Unlocking Live



Accessing The EIC Multisamples

After installation, the instruments are accessed through Live's Device Browser. You will nd them as Instrument Rack presets located in the Instruments folder. Many of the orchestral instruments are also available in Lite variations, with lower memory and CPU requirements.

All of the EIC presets come conveniently mapped to

Macro Controls

for greater expression.


The Included Instruments

The following multisampled instruments are included:

ˆ Acoustic Keyboards Grand Piano, Harpsichord, Celesta

ˆ Electric Keyboards E-Piano MK 1, B3 Jazz Organ, B3 Rock Organ



ˆ Orchestral Strings Solo Strings (legato): Double Bass, Cello, Viola, Violin; Ensemble

Strings (legato, pizzicato)

ˆ Orchestral Brass Solo Brass (legato): French Horn, Bass Trombone, Tuba (Eb),

Trumpet; Ensemble Brass (legato, staccato)

ˆ Orchestral Woodwinds Solo Woodwinds (legato, legato vibrato): English Horn, Bas- soon, Clarinet, French Oboe, Concert Flute, Alto Sax; Ensemble Woodwinds (legato)

ˆ Plucked Instruments Harp ( ngers), Jazz Upright Bass, P-Bass ( ngers, picks), Six-

String Nylon Guitar (tones, chords), Strat Clean (tones, chords)

ˆ Mallets Glockenspiel (hard mallets), Xylophone (hard mallets)

ˆ Voice Mixed Choir (ahh, ohh)

Special Features of the Guitar and Bass Banks

The EIC's guitar instruments have additional banks for single-key chords with strumming, and the PBass instrument has a similar bank for down- and up- strokes played with a pick.

In all cases, lower octaves play down strums, while upper octaves play up strums.


Chapter 23

MIDI and Key Remote Control

To liberate the musician from the mouse, most of Live's controls can be remote-controlled with an external MIDI controller and the computer keyboard. This chapter describes the details of mapping to the following speci c types of controls in Live's user interface:

1. Session View slots Note that MIDI and computer key assignments are bound to the slots, not to the clips they contain.

2. Switches and buttons among them the Track and Device Activator switches, the Control Bar's tap tempo, metronome and transport controls.

3. Radio buttons A radio button selects from among a number of options. One instance of a radio button is the

crossfader assignment section

in each track, which offers three options: The track is assigned to the crossfader's A position, the track is unaffected by the crossfader, or the track is affected by the crossfader's

B position.

4. Continuous controls like the mixer's volume, pan and sends.

5. The crossfader, the behavior of which is described in detail in the

respective section

of the Mixing chapter.



MIDI Remote Control


Live can be controlled remotely by external MIDI control surfaces, such as MIDI keyboards or controller boxes. Live also supports the Mackie Control, a topic that is covered

in its own section , for completely mouse-free program operation.

Before we explain how remote control assignments are made and implemented, let's rst make the distinction between MIDI remote control and a separate use of MIDI in Live: as the input for our MIDI tracks. Let's suppose that you are using a MIDI keyboard to

play an instrument

in one of Live's MIDI tracks. If you assign C-1 on your MIDI keyboard to a Session

View Clip Launch button, that key will cease play C-1 of your MIDI track's instrument, as it now belongs solely to the Clip Launch button.

MIDI keys that become part of remote control assignments can no longer be used as input

for MIDI tracks. This is a common cause of confusion that can be easily resolved by observing the Control Bar's

MIDI indicators .

Before making any MIDI assignments, you will need to set up Live to recognize your control surfaces. This is done in the MIDI/Sync tab of Live's Preferences, which can be opened with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl ,

(PC) /




Natively Supported Control Surfaces

Control Surfaces are de ned in the table at the top of the MIDI/Sync tab. Up to six supported control surfaces can be used simultaneously in Live.

Open the rst chooser in the Control Surface column to see whether your control surface is supported natively by Live; if it is listed here, you can select it by name, and then de ne its MIDI input and output ports using the two columns to the right. If your controller is not

Setting Up Control


CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL 329 listed here, don't fret it can still be enabled manually in the next section,

Manual Control

Surface Support .

Depending on the controller, Live may need to perform a preset dump to complete the setup. If this is the case, the Dump button to the right of your control surface's choosers in the Live Preferences will become enabled. Before pressing it, verify that your control surface is ready to receive preset dumps. The method for enabling this varies for each manufacturer and product, so consult your hardware's documentation if you are unsure. Finally, press the

Dump button; Live will then set up your hardware automatically.

Instant Mappings

In most cases, Live uses a standard method for mapping its functions and parameters to physical controls. This varies, of course, depending upon the con guration of knobs, sliders and buttons on the control surface. These feature-dependent con gurations are known as instant mappings.

Within Live's built-in lessons, you will nd a Control Surface Reference that lists all currently supported hardware, complete with the details of their instant mappings. The Lessons View can be accessed at any time by selecting the Lessons option from the View menu.

Note: You can always manually override any instant mappings with your own assignments.

In this case, you will also want to enable the Remote switches for the MIDI ports that your control surface is using. This is done in the MIDI Ports section of the MIDI/Sync Preferences tab, and is described in the

next section .

Instant mappings are advantageous because the control surface's controllers will automatically reassign themselves in order to control the currently selected device in Live.


In addition to following device selection, natively supported control surfaces can be locked to speci c devices, guaranteeing hands-on access no matter where the current focus is in your Live Set. To enable or disable locking, (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on a device's title bar, and then select your preferred controller from the Lock to...

context menu. You'll recognize the same list of control surfaces that you de ned in the MIDI/Sync Preferences.

Control Surfaces Can

Follow Device Selection.

A hand icon in the title bar of locked devices serves as a handy reminder of their status.

Note: Some control surfaces do not support locking to devices. This capability is indicated for individual controllers in the Control Surface Reference lesson. Select the Lessons option from the View menu to access Live's built-in lessons.

Getting Hands-On:

Control Surfaces Can Be

Locked to Devices.



Manual Control Surface Setup

If your MIDI control surface is not listed in the MIDI/Sync Preferences' Control Surface chooser, it can still be enabled for manual mapping in the MIDI Ports section of this tab.

The MIDI Ports table lists all available MIDI input and output ports. To use an input port for remote control of Live, make sure the corresponding switch in its Remote column is set to On. You can use any number of MIDI ports for remote mapping; Live will merge their incoming MIDI signals.

When working with a control surface that provides physical or visual feedback, you will also need to enable the Remote switch for its output port. Live needs to be able to communicate with such control surfaces when a value has changed so that they can update the positions of their motorized faders or the status of their LEDs to match.

To test your setup, try sending some MIDI data to Live from your control surface. The Control


MIDI indicators

will ash whenever Live recognizes an incoming MIDI message.

Once your controller is recognized by Live, you have completed the setup phase (but we recommend that you take the time to select a

Take-Over Mode

before you leave the

Preferences behind). Your next step will be

creating MIDI mappings

between your control surface and Live. Luckily, this is a simple task, and you only need to do it for one parameter at a time.

De ning Control

Surfaces Manually.



Take-Over Mode


When MIDI controls that send absolute values (such as faders) are used in a bank-switching setup, where they address a different destination parameter with each controller bank, you will need to decide how Live should handle the sudden jumps in values that will occur when moving a control for the rst time after switching the bank. Three Take-Over modes are available:

None As soon as the physical control is moved, its new value is sent immediately to its destination parameter, usually resulting in abrupt value changes.

Pick-Up Moving the physical control has no effect until it reaches the value of its destination parameter. As soon as they are equal, the destination value tracks the control's value 1:1.

This option can provide smooth value changes, but it can be dif cult to estimate exactly where the pick-up will take place.

Value Scaling This option ensures smooth value transitions. It compares the physical control's value to the destination parameter's value and calculates a smooth convergence of the two as the control is moved. As soon as they are equal, the destination value tracks the control's value 1:1.

MIDI Controller

Take-Over Mode.



The Mapping Browser


All manual MIDI,

computer keyboard


Macro Control

mappings are managed by the

Mapping Browser. The Mapping Browser is hidden until one of the three mapping modes is enabled. It will then display all mappings for the current mode. For each mapping, it lists the control element, the path to the mapped parameter, the parameter's name, and the mapping's Min and Max value ranges. The assigned Min and Max ranges can be edited at any time, and can be quickly inverted with a (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu command. Delete mappings using your computer's or Delete key.

Note that

Instant Mappings

are context based and are not displayed in the Mapping Browser.

Their mapping structure can be displayed while working in Live by choosing the Lessons option from the View menu and then opening the Control Surface Reference lesson.

The Mapping Browser and Selector.



Assigning MIDI Remote Control


Once your remote control setup has been de ned in the MIDI/Sync Preferences, giving MIDI controllers and notes remote control assignments is simple:

1. Enter MIDI Map Mode by pressing the MIDI switch in Live's upper right-hand corner. Notice that assignable elements of the interface become highlighted in blue, and that the Mapping Browser becomes available. If your Browser is closed, Ctrl Alt B (PC) / Alt B (Mac) will open it for you.

2. Click on the Live parameter that you'd like to control via MIDI.

3. Send a MIDI message by pressing a keyboard key, turning a knob, etc., on your

MIDI controller. You will see that this new MIDI mapping is now listed in the

Mapping Browser.

4. Exit MIDI Map Mode by pressing the MIDI switch once again. The Mapping

Browser will disappear, but you can always review your mappings by entering

MIDI Map Mode again.

The MIDI Map Mode



Mapping to MIDI Notes

MIDI notes send simple Note On and Note Off messages to Live's interface elements. These messages can produce the following effects on controls in Live:

ˆ Session View Slots Note On and Note Off messages affect clips in the slot according to their

Launch Mode settings .

ˆ Switches A Note On message toggles the switch's state.

ˆ Radio Buttons Note On messages toggle through the available options.

ˆ Variable Parameters When assigned to a single note, Note On messages toggle the parameter between its Min and Max values. When assigned to a range of notes, each

CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL 335 note is assigned a discrete value, equally spaced over the parameter's range of values.

Hint: Session View slots can be assigned to a MIDI note range for chromatic playing: First play the root key (this is the key that will play the clip at its default transposition), and then,

while holding down the root key, hold one key below the root and one above it to de ne the limits of the range.


Mapping to Absolute MIDI Controllers

Absolute MIDI controllers send messages to Live in the form of absolute values ranging from 0 to 127. These values lead to different results depending on the type of Live control to which they are assigned. A value message of 127, for example, might turn the Volume control on a Live track all the way up or play a Session View clip. Speci cally, MIDI controller messages from 0 to 127 can produce the following effects on controls in Live:

ˆ Session View Slots Controller values 64 and above are treated like Note On messages.

Controller values 63 and below are treated like Note Off messages.

ˆ Switches Controller values 64 and above turn the switch on. Controller values below

64 turn it off.

ˆ Radio Buttons The controller's 0...127 value range is mapped onto the range of available options.

ˆ Continuous Controls The controller's 0...127 value range is mapped onto the parameter's range of values.

Live also supports pitch bend messages and high-precision ( 14-bit Absolute ) controller messages with a 0...16383 value range. The above speci cations apply to these as well, except that the value range's center is at 8191/8192.


Mapping to Relative MIDI Controllers

Some MIDI controllers can send value increment and value decrement messages instead of absolute values. These controls prevent parameter jumps when the state of a control in

Live and the corresponding control on the hardware MIDI controller differ. For example,

CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL 336 imagine that you have assigned the pan knob on your control surface to the pan parameter of a track in Live. If the hardware control is panned hard right, and the Live control is panned hard left, a slight movement in a hardware pan knob that sends absolute values would tell

Live to pan right, causing an abrupt jump in the track's panning. A pan knob sending relative messages would prevent this, since its incremental message to Live would simply say, Pan slightly to the left of your current position.

There are four types of relative controllers: Signed Bit, Signed Bit 2, Bin Offset and Twos


Convention (Mode)

Relative (Signed Bit)

Relative (Signed Bit 2)

Relative (Bin Offset)

Relative (2's Comp.)


001 064

065 127

065 127

001 064


065 127

001 064

063 001

127 065

Each of these are also available in a linear mode; Some MIDI encoders use acceleration internally, generating larger changes in value when they are turned quickly. For control surfaces that are not natively supported, Live tries to detect the controller type and whether acceleration is being used or not.

You can improve the detection process by moving the relative controller slowly to the left when you make an assignment. Live will offer its suggestion in the Status Bar's mode chooser, but if you happen to know the relative controller type, you can manually select it.

Live will do the following with relative MIDI controller messages:

ˆ Session View Slots Value increment messages are treated like Note On messages.

Value decrement messages are treated like Note Off messages.

ˆ Switches Increment messages turn the switch on. Decrement messages turn it off.

ˆ Radio Buttons Increment messages make the radio button jump forward to the next available option. Decrement messages make it jump backward.

ˆ Continuous Controls Each type of relative MIDI controller uses a different interpretation of the 0...127 MIDI controller value range to identify value increments and decrements:


Please consult the documentation that came with your MIDI controller if you need further information on relative MIDI controllers.

Relative Session View Navigation

Notice that you can make not only absolute mappings to individual slots and scenes, but also relative mappings to move the highlighted scene and operate on the highlighted clips.

In both MIDI Map Mode and

Key Map Mode , a strip of assignable controls appears below

the Session grid:

4 3 1 2

1. Assign these buttons to keys, notes or controllers to move the highlighted scene up and down.

2. Assign this scene number value box to a MIDI controller preferably an endless encoder to scroll through the scenes. For details, see the previous section on

Relative Map Modes .

3. Assign this button to launch the highlighted scene. If the Record/Warp/Launch

Preferences' Select Next Scene on Launch option is checked, you can move successively (and hopefully successfully!) through the scenes.

4. Assign these buttons to launch the clip at the highlighted scene, in the respective track.

Relative Session mapping is useful for navigating a large Live Set, as Live always keeps the highlighted scene at the Session View's center.

The Relative Session

Mapping Strip.


Mapping to Clip View Controls


Clip View

displays the settings for whichever clip happens to be currently selected, but it will also display the settings of multi-selected clips. To avoid unpleasant musical surprises, it is important to remember that creating remote control mappings for any control in the

Clip View interface could potentially affect any clip in the Live Set. For this reason, we recommend mapping Clip View controls to

relative MIDI controllers

to prevent undesirable jumps in parameter values.


Computer Keyboard Remote Control

Creating control surface assignments for your computer keyboard is straightforward:

1. Enter Key Map Mode by pressing the KEY switch in the upper right-hand corner of the Live screen. Notice that the assignable elements of the interface become highlighted in red when you enter Key Map Mode. The Mapping Browser will also become available. If the Browser is hidden, you will want to show it at this point using the appropriate View menu command.

2. Click on the Live parameter that you wish to assign to a key. Remember that only the controls that are shown with a red overlay are available for mapping.

3. Press the computer key to which you wish to assign the control. The details of your new mapping will be displayed in the Mapping Browser.

4. Leave Key Map Mode by pressing Live's KEY switch once again. The Mapping

Browser will disappear, but your mappings can be reviewed at any time simply by entering Key Map Mode again.

Keyboard assignments can produce the following effects in Live:

ˆ Clips in Session View slots will be affected by mapped keys according to their


Mode settings .

The Key Map Mode



ˆ Keys assigned to switches will toggle switch states.

ˆ Keys assigned to radio buttons will toggle through the available options.

Please be sure not to confuse this remote control functionality with Live's ability to use the computer keyboard as a

pseudo-MIDI keyboard

that can generate MIDI notes from computer keystrokes for use with instruments.


Mackie Control

The comprehensive Mackie Control mixing surface puts all of Live's real-time creative power at your ngertips.

The Mackie Control allows for mouse-free program operation and navigation. Through the bi-directional connection between Live and the Mackie Control, any changes made in the program are re ected in the mixing surface, and vice versa. To establish this connection, open Live's MIDI/Sync Preferences. At the bottom of the window, you will nd the Remote

Control Surfaces options. Selecting Mackie Control from the Control Surface chooser, and then setting the necessary input and output, will establish the connection between Live and the control surface.

It is possible to expand the number of Mackie Control channel strips available using a hardware extension. This extension is separately set up in Live's Preferences (signi ed by

MackieControlXT in the Control Surface chooser). If the Mackie Control extension is selected from the topmost chooser, it will control the Live tracks beginning at the left-hand side of the program, and should therefore be placed to the left of the Mackie Control mixing surface. If selected from the lower chooser, the Mackie Control extension should be placed to the right of the main Mackie Control.

The following sections will describe how to operate the Mackie Control with Live. You may nd the

Mixing chapter

to be particularly useful in locating and understanding Live's track controls.



Channel Strips


The Mackie Control's eight channel strips and master strip are automatically assigned to tracks in Live. Each of these strips has a set of track controls, including a motorized fader and a V-Pot, for controlling any number of track parameters. The Mackie Control's

bank/channel controls

allow reassigning the channel strips to access an unlimited number of Live tracks.

The Eight Channel Strips and the Master Strip.


1. Arm By default, this arms the track for recording in exclusion of all other tracks.

To arm the track nonexclusively (i.e., in addition to other tracks), hold down the

Mackie Control's

Control button

while pressing this. Note that a Misc Preference setting in Live allows deactivating exclusive track arming. When this setting is deactivated, the behavior of this knob with respect to exclusive and nonexclusive arming is reversed.

2. Signal LED Shows an armed track's input signal level from MIDI or audio; shows an unarmed track's output signal level.

3. Solo Activates/deactivates soloing for the track in exclusion of all other tracks.

To solo the track nonexclusively (i.e., in addition to other tracks), hold down the

Mackie Control's

Control button

while pressing this. Note that a Misc Preference setting in Live allows deactivating exclusive track soloing. When this setting is deactivated, the behavior of this knob with respect to exclusive and nonexclusive soloing is reversed.

4. Mute Mutes/unmutes the track nonexclusively.

5. Select Selects the track, both in Live and on the Mackie Control, for various functions.

6. V-Pot/Fader The fader controls track volume by default but can be


to control track panning. Please see the

next section

for the details on V-Pots.




V-Pots and Assignment Switches


The Mackie Control's V-Pots have dual functionality in many cases, as they can be both rotated and pressed. When being used to adjust single parameters (those belonging to track devices, for example), pressing a V-Pot returns a control to its default value. Pressing a

V-Pot when dealing with a control that has various options ( lter type choosers, for example), selects the options in sequence. With controls having only two options (e.g., an on/off

The V-Pots and

Assignment Switches.

CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL 343 switch) pressing a V-Pot toggles the options.

There are six assignment switches to the right of the channel strips on the Mackie Control.

These select which parameters are displayed in the main display, and set these parameters to be available for control with the V-Pots. The two-character display above the assignment switches shows the currently selected assignment mode.

1. I/O Switches the V-Pot and main display to I/O mode. This allows Live's track

inputs and outputs

to be set with the V-Pots.

ˆ Click once to select the track's Input Type chooser.

ˆ Click twice to select the track's Input Channel chooser.

ˆ Click three times to select the Output Type chooser.

ˆ Click four times to select the Output Channel chooser.

2. Send Switches the V-Pot to control the levels of all available Send controls for the currently selected track. If more than eight sends are available, you can navigate through them using the previous and next buttons (see item 5, below).

3. Pan Assigns the V-Pot and main display to the track's Pan control.

4. Devices Pressed once, this will bring up all available devices for the currently selected track in the main display. Using the page buttons (see item 5, below), you can then scroll through the available devices and choose a particular device to edit by pressing the V-Pot. When you are done editing device settings, you can change the selected track or press the device assignment switch again to return to scrolling and selecting devices.

When device settings are being changed, the name and settings of the selected device are shown in the main display. You can use the V-Pot to change parameter values as described in the introduction to this section.

5. Previous/Next If, in any of the above assignment modes (especially with devices), more than one page of parameters is available, these buttons will scroll through the pages. LEDs above these switches illuminate when more pages are available before or after the current one.



Bank/Channel and Flip/Return


1. Bank If more than eight tracks are being used in Live, these buttons can be used to page through the additional tracks and set them to the Mackie Control's eight channel strips. The bank + and - buttons page the channel strips in increments of eight (or more, if a fader extension is installed) to the right or left, respectively. To go to the rst/last page, hold down the Mackie Control's


Bank, Channel, Flip and

Return Buttons.

CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL button while pressing these.

2. Channel You can use the channel + and - buttons to scroll through the additional tracks singly, setting them to the Mackie Control's eight channel strips.

To go to the rst/last track, hold down the Mackie Control's

Shift button

while pressing these.

3. Flip When ip mode is enabled (as shown by the illuminated LED above the button), the functionality of the V-Pots and faders is switched. This is the case in all available assignment modes.

4. Return By default, the channel strips display only those tracks in Live that contain clips. When return mode is enabled (as shown by the illuminated LED above the button), the channel strip will show and control the return tracks. All assignments and modes will function otherwise identically.






1. Previous/Next Locator Using these buttons, you can skip forward or backward through the Arrangement from

locator to locator . Note that the Arrangement

start and end are also marked with invisible locators to which you can navigate using these buttons. The LEDs above these buttons are illuminated when a previous/next locator is available in the respective direction.

The Transport Controls.


2. Loop On/Off Toggles the Arrangement Loop switch on/off.

3. Punch-In/Punch-Out Toggles Live's Punch-In/Punch-Out switches on/off.

4. Home Jumps to the Arrangement start, 1.1.1.

5. End Jumps to the Arrangement end.

6. Rew/Forw When pressed once, these buttons will move the play position one beat backward/forward. When held down, the buttons move forward/backward in increments of one bar during Arrangement playback, one beat if the Arrangement is stopped. Holding down the Mackie Control's

Alt button

when the

Arrangement is playing will also move in one-beat increments forward/backward.

7. Stop Stops Arrangement playback.

8. Play Plays the Arrangement from the song start or insert marker.

9. Record Toggles the Record button on/off.

10. Arrows

ˆ In the Session View, the arrows navigate through the Session View grid.

Pressing the zoom button in the middle of the arrows will re the currently selected clip, or stop another playing clip in the same track if the currently selected slot is empty. To stop playing the selected clip, hold down the

Mackie Control's

Options button

while pressing zoom, and use the

Alt button

to add/remove the selected slot's Clip Stop button.

Note that the LEDs associated with the zoom buttons will display the play status of a clip: an illuminated LED signi es a playing clip; a blinking LED signi es a clip that has been triggered but is not yet playing; and an unilluminated LED signi es a stopped clip or empty slot.

ˆ In the Arrangement View, with the zoom button enabled (i.e., its LED illuminated), you can use the arrow buttons for zooming and scrolling in the currently selected track. When zoom is not enabled, the arrow buttons can be used to select tracks.

11. Scrub This res the currently selected scene in the Session View and has no effect in the Arrangement View. To stop all running clips, hold down the Mackie




Options button

while pressing this.

12. Jog Wheel In the Session View, the jog wheel scrolls through the scenes. In the Arrangement View, the jog wheel moves the play position. To change global quantization, hold down the Mackie Control's

Control button

while turning the jog wheel. You can also use the Mackie Control's

Alt button

in the Arrangement

View to move the play position in smaller increments.




Software-Speci c Controls


1. Shift, Option, Control, Alt Used to access additional Mackie Control options.

2. SMPTE/Beats Toggles between displaying beats/bars and SMPTE in the time display.

3. Name/Value Switches the meters in the main display on/off. Note that these

The Software-Speci c


CHAPTER 23. MIDI AND KEY REMOTE CONTROL meters appear only when

pan assignment mode

is active.

4. F-Keys These keys can be

mapped freely to controls in Live .

5. ViewArr (On) Toggles Arrangement View and Session View. When the Mackie

Control's Shift key is held down, this sets the program focus to the Arrangement

View or Session View, whichever is currently on screen.

6. ToggleDetail (Rec/Rdy) Toggles Clip View and Track View. When the Mackie

Control's Shift key is held down, this sets the program focus to the Clip View or

Track View, whichever is currently on screen.

7. ViewBrowser (SnapShot) Shows/hides the Browser. When the Mackie Control's

Shift key is held down, this sets the program focus to the Browser.

8. ViewDetail (Touch) Shows/Hides the Clip/Track View. When the Mackie Control's Shift key is held down, this sets the program focus to the Clip View or Track

View, whichever is currently on screen.

9. Undo and Redo Undoes/redoes the last change made to the Live Set. The LED will illuminate if there is an available action to undo/redo.

10. BTA (Cancel) Stops clips in the Session View from playing differently than how they were recorded into the Arrangement, and returns to playing the Arrangement. The LED will illuminate if there is an Arrangement state available to which to return.

11. Locator (Marker) Deletes a


when a locator is currently selected and the song is stopped. Otherwise, it creates a new locator at the current play position.

12. DrawMode (Enter) Enables/disables Draw Mode, for drawing notes and envelopes.

13. Follow (Mixer) Toggles Follow Mode, which scrolls Live's display to follow playback.



Chapter 24

Synchronization and ReWire


Synchronizing via MIDI

The MIDI protocol de nes two ways to synchronize sequencers, both of which are supported by Live. Both protocols work with the notion of a sync master, which delivers a sync signal that is tracked by the sync slave(s).

ˆ MIDI Clock. MIDI Clock works like a metronome ticking at a fast rate. The rate of the incoming ticks is tempo-dependent: Changing the tempo at the sync master (e.g., a drum machine) will cause the slave to follow the change. The MIDI Clock protocol also provides messages that indicate the song position. With respect to MIDI Clock, Live can act as both a MIDI sync master and slave.

ˆ MIDI Timecode. MIDI Timecode is the MIDI version of the SMPTE protocol, the standard means of synchronizing tape machines and computers in the audio and lm industry. A MIDI Timecode message speci es a time in seconds and frames

(subdivisions of a second). Live will interpret a Timecode message as a position in the

Arrangement. Timecode messages carry no meter-related information; when slaving

Live to another sequencer using MIDI Timecode, you will have to adjust the tempo manually. Tempo changes cannot be tracked. Detailed MIDI Timecode preferences


later in this chapter . With respect to MIDI Timecode, Live can only act

as a MIDI sync slave, not a master.


Synchronizing External MIDI Devices to Live

Live can send MIDI Clock messages to an external MIDI sequencer (or drum machine). After connecting the sequencer to Live and setting it up to receive MIDI sync, turn the device on as a sync destination in Live's MIDI/Sync Preferences.

The lower indicator LED next to the Control Bar's EXT button will ash when Live is sending sync messages to external sequencers.

Choosing a MIDI Slave for Live.


Synchronizing Live to External MIDI Devices

Live can be synchronized via MIDI to an external sequencer. After connecting the sequencer to Live and setting it up to send sync, use Live's MIDI/Sync Preferences to tell Live about the connection.

Then, activate external sync either by switching on the EXT button in the Control Bar or using the External Sync command in the Options menu. The upper indicator LED next to the EXT button will ash if Live receives useable sync messages.

Setting up Live as a MIDI



When Live is synced to an external MIDI device, it can accept song position pointers from this device, syncing it not only in terms of tempo but in terms of its position in the song. If the master jumps to a new position within the song, Live will do the same. However, if the

Control Bar's Loop switch is activated, playback will be looped, and song position pointers will simply be wrapped into the length of the loop.

The External Sync



MIDI Timecode Options

Timecode options can be set up per MIDI device. Select a MIDI device from the MIDI/Sync

Preferences' MIDI Ports list to access the settings.

The MIDI Timecode Frame Rate setting is relevant only if MIDI Timecode is chosen from the MIDI Sync Type menu. The MIDI Timecode Rate chooser selects the type of Timecode to which Live will synchronize. All of the usual SMPTE frame rates are available. When the

Rate is set to SMPTE All, Live will auto-detect the Timecode format of incoming sync messages and interpret the messages accordingly. Note that you can adjust the Timecode format that is used for display in the Arrangement View: Go to the Options menu, and then access the Time Ruler Format sub-menu.

The MIDI Timecode Offset setting is also only relevant if MIDI Timecode is chosen from the Sync Type menu. You can specify a SMPTE time offset using this control. Live will interpret this value as the Arrangement's start time.


Sync Delay

The Sync Delay controls, which are separately available for each MIDI device, allow you to delay Live's internal time base against the sync signal. This can be useful in compensating for delays incurred by the signal transmission. The Sync Delay for a speci c MIDI device appears as you select the MIDI device from the MIDI/Sync Preferences' MIDI Ports list. To adjust the delay, have both Live and the other sequencer play a rhythmical pattern with

CHAPTER 24. SYNCHRONIZATION AND REWIRE 354 pronounced percussive sounds. While listening to the output from both, adjust the Sync

Delay control until both sounds are in perfect sync.


Connecting via ReWire

Live supports the ReWire interface for connecting with another ReWire-compatible audio program running on the same computer.

The ReWire technology, developed by Propellerhead Software, provides ReWire-compatible programs with:

ˆ common access to the audio hardware;

ˆ shared transport functionality;

ˆ synchronization to audio word clock and song positioning;

ˆ exchange of audio streams.

The programs in a ReWire connection play distinct roles: The ReWire master accesses the audio hardware and provides mixing facilities; the ReWire slave(s) have no direct link to the audio hardware, but instead send their audio output into the Master's mixer.

Common ReWire master applications are Digidesign Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase and

Nuendo, Emagic Logic Audio, MOTU Digital Performer, Cakewalk Sonar and Cycling 74

Max/MSP. Common ReWire slave applications are Propellerheads Rebirth, Propellerheads

Reason, Arturia Storm, Cakewalk Project 5 and Cycling 74 Max/MSP. Live can act as both a

ReWire master and slave.

Note that the ReWire protocol itself does not consume much CPU power. However, as expected, running two audio-intensive programs on the same computer requires more

Adjusting Sync Delay.

CHAPTER 24. SYNCHRONIZATION AND REWIRE resources than running a single program.



Running Live in ReWire Master Mode

The step-by-step procedure for sending MIDI to and receiving audio from a ReWire slave program is presented in the

routing chapter .


Running Live in ReWire Slave Mode

In ReWire slave mode, Live can both receive MIDI from, but also send audio to the master application. All of Live's MIDI tracks are accessible to the master application as destinations for MIDI signals, and all of its audio tracks and MIDI tracks containing instruments are accessible as audio sources.

If you have not used Live yet, please launch Live so that it can install its ReWire engine in your system.

Live will run in ReWire slave mode if it detects a running ReWire master application upon startup. Therefore, always start the ReWire master application rst, and then start Live.

Likewise, you will rst have to quit Live, then the ReWire master application.

Live's operation in ReWire slave mode differs from the usual operation in some regards:

ˆ Live will not have direct access to the audio interfaces; audio input/output is handled by the ReWire master application. No audio input will be available to Live.

ˆ The sample rate is determined by the host application rather than by Live.

ˆ External synchronization will be disabled (synchronize to the ReWire master application instead). Live will not send sync or controller messages to the MIDI output. Controlling

Live via MIDI is still possible.

ˆ Live will not act as a ReWire master application. For instance, you cannot run Rebirth as a ReWire slave of Live while Live is running as a ReWire slave of Cubase. You can, however, run both Live and Rebirth as ReWire slaves of Cubase at the same time.



More on ReWire

You can nd tutorials on connecting Live to speci c ReWire master programs at the Ableton tutorial website 1 .

The Ableton FAQ website 2 is the rst place to go if you encounter ReWire-related problems.

If you cannot seem to nd an answer there, please contact the Ableton support team 3 .





Chapter 25

Computer Audio Resources and


Real-time audio processing is a demanding task for general-purpose computers, which are usually designed to run spreadsheets and surf the Internet. An application like Live requires a powerful CPU and a fast hard disk. This section will provide some insight on these issues, and should help you avoid and solve problems with running audio on a computer.


Managing the CPU Load

To output a continuous stream of sound through the audio hardware, Live has to perform a huge number of calculations every second. If the processor can't keep up with what needs to be calculated, the audio will have gaps or clicks. Factors that affect computational speed include processor clock rates (e.g., speed in MHz or GHz), architecture, memory cache performance (how ef ciently a processor can grab data from memory) and system bus bandwidth the computer's pipeline through which all data must pass. For this reason, many people involved with pro audio use computers that are optimized for musical applications.


Fortunately, Live supports multicore and multiprocessor systems, allowing the processing load from things like instruments, effects and I/O to be distributed among the available resources. Depending on the machine and the Live Set, the available processing power can be several times that of older systems.

If you are working on a multicore or multiprocessor system, you will want to enable support for it in the CPU tab of Live's Preferences.

The Control Bar's CPU meter displays how much of the computer's computational potential is currently being used. For example, if the displayed percentage is 10 percent, the computer is just coasting along. If the percentage is 100 percent, the processing is being maxed out it's likely that you will hear gaps, clicks or other audio problems. Note that the CPU meter takes into account only the load from processing audio, not other tasks the computer performs (e.g., managing Live's user interface).

Audio calculations have the highest priority in Live. Therefore, even if the CPU shows a high percentage of processor usage, the audio stream should remain uninterrupted. However, non-critical functions (such as screen redraws) might slow down because these tasks are handled only when the audio processing lightens up a bit.

The CPU Load Meter.


CPU Load from Multichannel Audio

One source of constant CPU drain is the process of moving data to and from the audio hardware. This drain can be minimized by disabling any inputs and outputs that are not required in a project. There are two buttons in the Audio Preferences to access the Input and Output Con guration dialogs, which allow activating or deactivating individual ins and outs.

Live does not automatically disable unused channels, because the audio hardware drivers usually produce an audible hiccup when there is a request for an audio con guration change.



CPU Load from Tracks and Devices

Generally, every track and device being used in Live incurs some amount of CPU load.

However, Live is smart and avoids wasting CPU cycles on tracks and devices that do not contribute anything useful.

For example, dragging devices into a Live Set that is not running does not signi cantly increase the CPU load. The load increases only as you start playing clips or feed audio into the effects. When there is no incoming audio, the effects are deactivated until they are needed again. (If the effect produces a tail, like reverbs and delays, deactivation occurs only after all calculations are complete.)

While this scheme is very effective at reducing the average CPU load of a Live Set, it cannot reduce the peak load. To make sure your Live Set plays back continuously, even under the most intense conditions, play back a clip in every track simultaneously, with all devices enabled.


Track Freeze

Live's Freeze Track command can greatly help in managing the CPU load incurred by devices and clip settings. When you select a track and execute the Freeze Track command, Live will create a sample le for each Session clip in the track, plus one for the Arrangement.

Thereafter, clips in the track will simply play back their freeze les rather than repeatedly calculating processor-intensive device and clip settings in real time. The Freeze Track command is available from Live's Edit menu and from the (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) context menu of tracks and clips.

Once any processing demands have been addressed (or you have upgraded your machine!), you can always select a frozen track and choose Unfreeze Track from the Edit menu to change device or clip settings. On slower machines, you can unfreeze processor-intensive tracks one at a time to make edits, freezing them again when you are done.

Many editing functions remain available to tracks that are frozen. Launching clips can still be done freely, and mixer controls such as volume, pan and the sends are still available. Other possibilities include:

ˆ Edit, cut, copy, paste, duplicate and trim clips;


ˆ Draw and edit mixer automation and mixer clip envelopes;

ˆ Consolidate;

ˆ Record Session View clip launches into the Arrangement View;

ˆ Create, move and duplicate Session View scenes;

ˆ Drag frozen MIDI clips into audio tracks.

When performing edits on frozen tracks that contain time-based effects such as reverb, you should note that the audible result may be different once the track is again unfrozen, depending on the situation. This is because, if a track is frozen, the applied effects are not being calculated at all, and therefore cannot change their response to re ect edited input material. When the track is again unfrozen, all effects will be recalculated in real time.

Frozen Arrangement View tracks will play back any relevant material extending beyond the lengths of their clips (e.g., the tails of Reverb effects). These frozen tails will appear in the Arrangement as crosshatched regions located adjacent to their corresponding clips.

They are treated by Live as separate, temporary clips that disappear when unfrozen, since the effect is then calculated in real time. Therefore, when moving a frozen clip in the

Arrangement, you will usually want to select the second, frozen tail clip as well, so that the two remain together.

For frozen Session clips, only two loop cycles are included in the frozen clip, which means that clips with

unlinked clip envelopes

may play back differently after two loop cycles when frozen.

The samples generated by the Freeze Track command are stored in your temporary recording folder until you save your Live Set, at which point they are moved to the following

project folder

sub-directory: Samples/Processed/Freeze.

A Frozen Arrangement

Track with a Reverb Tail.


You can also decide to atten frozen tracks, which completely replaces the original clips and devices with their audible result. The Flatten command is available from the Edit menu.

Besides providing an opportunity to conserve CPU resources on tracks containing a large number of devices, the Track Freeze command simpli es sharing projects between computers. Computers that are a bit low on processing power can be used to run large Live Sets as long as any CPU-intensive tracks are frozen. This also means that computers lacking certain devices used in one Live Set can still play the Set when the relevant device tracks are frozen.


Managing the Disk Load

A hard drive's access speed (which is related to, but not the same thing as rotational speed) can limit Live's performance. Most audio-optimized computers use 7200 RPM or faster drives. Laptops, to save power, often use 5400 RPM or slower drives, which is why projects on laptops usually have lower track counts. The amount of disk traf c Live generates is roughly proportional to the number of audio channels being written or read simultaneously.

A track playing a stereo sample causes more disk traf c than a track playing a mono sample.

The Disk Overload indicator ashes when the disk was unable to read or write audio quickly enough. When recording audio, this condition causes a gap in the recorded sample; when playing back, you will hear dropouts.

Do the following to avoid disk overload:

ˆ Reduce the amount of audio channels being written by choosing mono inputs instead of stereo inputs in the Audio Preferences' Channel Con guration dialog.

ˆ Use

RAM Mode

for selected clips.

ˆ Reduce the number of audio channels playing by using mono samples instead of stereo samples when possible. You can convert stereo samples to mono using any standard digital audio editing program, which can be called up from

within Live .

The Disk Overload


Chapter 26

Live Keyboard Shortcuts


Showing and Hiding Views


F11 Toggle Full Screen Mode

Toggle Session/Arrangement View

Toggle Track/Clip View

Hide/Show Track/Clip View

Hide/Show Info View

Hide/Show Browser

Hide/Show Overview

Hide/Show In/Out

Hide/Show Sends

Hide/Show Mixer

Hide/Show Crossfader


Ctrl F11

Ctrl Alt L Double-Click Clip/Track




















Alt L Double-Click Clip/Track
















Open the Preferences

Close Window/Dialog


Ctrl ,






Accessing Menus

Under Windows, you can access each menu by pressing Alt menu ( Alt F and the rst letter of the for File, for instance). While a menu is open, you can use:


ˆ to navigate the menu items; to open the neighboring menu;


Return to choose a menu item.


Adjusting Values


Large Increment/Decrement

Return to Default

Type in Value

Go to Next Field (Bar.beat.16th)

Abort Value Entry

Con rm Value Entry


Page Page


0 ..







Page Page

0 ..










In addition to the shortcuts shown here,

editing shortcuts

can also be used in the Browser.

Windows Macintosh

Scroll Up/Down

Open/Close Folders

Set Selected Folder as Browser Root

Load Selected Item from Browser

Preview Selected File

Activate Browser Search Mode

Jump to Search Results




Ctrl or Double-





Click or Double-





Play from Start Marker/Stop

Continue Play from Stop Point

Play Arrangement View Selection


Back to Arrangement

Activate/Deactivate Track 1..8




Space Ctrl



F1 ..





Space Alt



F1 ..














Select All


Ctrl X








Z Ctrl
















By holding down an additional modi er key, some of the above commands can also be applied to:

Windows Macintosh

Clips and Slots Across all Tracks

Time Across all Tracks

The Selected Part of the Envelope Alt Alt can be used to move from one track or scene to another while renaming.



Loop Brace and Start/End Markers


The loop brace and start/end markers must rst be selected before any of the following commands will apply to them.




Click Move Start Marker to Position

Nudge Loop Left/Right

Move Loop By Loop Length

Double/Halve Loop Length

Shorten/Lengthen Loop

Select Material in Loop



Click Loop Brace or

Ctrl L

Click Loop Brace or



Session View Commands

See also the

editing commands .

Launch Selected Clip/Slot

Select Neighbouring Clip/Slot

Select all Clips/Slots

Copy Clips

Add/Remove Stop Button

Insert MIDI clip

Insert Scene

Insert Captured Scene

Drop Browser Clips as a Scene



Arrow Keys

Ctrl A





Ctrl M

Double-Click Slot

Ctrl I

Ctrl I

Ctrl or



Arrow Keys


Alt Drag



Double-Click Slot


I or



Arrangement View Commands


The shortcuts for

zooming ,



loop/region settings

also work in the

Arrangement View. See also the

editing commands .

Split Clip at Selection

Consolidate Selection into Clip

Loop Selection

Insert Silence

Pan Left/Right of Selection

Unfold all Tracks

Scroll Display to Follow Playback


Ctrl E













Unfold button Alt






Unfold button



Commands for Tracks

See also the

editing commands .

Insert Audio Track

Insert MIDI Track

Insert Return Track

Rename Selected Track

While Renaming, Go to next Track

Arm/Solo Multiple Tracks

Add Device from Browser


Ctrl T




Ctrl R



Ctrl Click












Commands for Breakpoint Envelopes


The shortcuts for

zooming ,



loop/region settings

also work in the

Envelope Editor and Arrangement View. See also the

editing commands .

Finer Resolution for Dragging

Enable Dragging Over Breakpoints





Key/MIDI Map Mode and the Computer MIDI Keyboard

Toggle MIDI Map Mode

Toggle Key Map Mode

Computer MIDI Keyboard


Ctrl M











Zooming, Display and Selections

Zoom In

Zoom Out

Drag/Click to Append to a Selection

Click to Add Adjacent Clips to


Click to Add Nonadjacent Clips to a


Follow (Auto-Scroll)

Pan Left/Right of Selection















Clip View Sample Display

The shortcuts for



loop/region settings

also work in the Sample Display.

Windows Macintosh

Move Selected Warp Marker

Select Warp Marker

Scroll Display to Follow Playback

Move Clip Region with Start Marker


Ctrl F F




Clip View MIDI Editor


The shortcuts for

zooming ,



loop/region settings

also work in the

MIDI Editor.


Scroll Editor Vertically

Scroll Editor Horizontally

Copy Note

Change Velocity From Note Editor

Add/Delete Note in Edit Mode

Scroll Display to Follow Playback

Move Clip Region with Start Marker


Ctrl U

Page Page

Ctrl Page Page






Ctrl F



Page Page

Page Page

Alt Drag





Grid Snapping and Drawing

Toggle Draw Mode

Narrow Grid

Widen Grid

Triplet Grid

Snap to Grid

Fixed/Zoom-Adaptive Grid

Bypass Snapping While Dragging


Ctrl B





















Global Quantization

Sixteenth-Note Quantization

Eighth-Note Quantization

Quarter-Note Quantization

1-Bar Quantization

Quantization Off


Ctrl 6










Working with Sets and the Program







New Live Set

Open Live Set

Close Live Set

Save Live Set

Save Live Set As...

Quit Live

Hide Live

Render to Disk

Export MIDI le


Ctrl N








Ctrl Q



















Working with Plug-Ins and Devices


Show/Hide Plug-In Windows

Open Second/Multiple Windows with

Plug-In Edit Button

Open Mac Keystroke Plug-In Window with Plug-In Edit Button

Group/Ungroup Devices

Activate/Deactivate All Devices in


Click to Append Devices to a Selected


Load Selected Device From Browser





Alt tor





Device Activa-


Alt tor or DoubleReturn




Device Activaor Double-


Using the Context Menu

A context menu is available in Live for quick access to many commonly used menu items.

To access the context menu, (PC) / Ctrl (Mac) on the part of the interface where you would like to execute a particular command. It is worth noting that Live's context menu may sometimes contain applicable settings from the Preferences. You should change these options with care, as they will affect not only the currently selected item but the general settings of the program.

Some commands only appear in the context menu. Among these are: the Create Folder,

Analyze Audio, Search In Folder, Close All Folders and Refresh commands from the

Browser ;

the special grid marker commands for directing

Auto-Warp ; detailed options for zoom-

adaptive and xed

grid line width ; and copying and pasting for


envelopes and oscillators.

Chapter 27






Ableton e-mail addresses

sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


technical support . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


web addresses

FAQs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tutorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


unlocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


webshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Adaptive Grid options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Add/Remove Stop Button command .


analysis les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


storing clip settings in . . . . . . . . . .


analysis of les batch processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Analyze Audio command . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Arm Recording button . . . . . . . . .

169 ,


Arpeggiator effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Arrangement . . . . see Arrangement View

Arrangement Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Arrangement Position elds . . . . . . . . . .


Arrangement View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and copying to Session . . . . . . . . . .


and Session View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


grid snapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


insert marker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


looping in the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


navigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


recording new clips in the . . . . . .


scrub area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Arrangement Viewselector . . . . . . . . . . .


asd les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see analysis les audio clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see clips audio effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see devices audio les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see samples audio interface setup . . . . . . . . . see Audio

Preferences, see routing

Audio Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


audio tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see tracks

Audio Units Plug-ins, using . . see devices authorization . . . . . . . see copy protection

Auto Filter effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Auto Pan effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Auto Select . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Auto-Hide Plug-In Windows preference


Auto-Open Plug-In Windows preference


Auto-Warp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Auto-Warp Long Samples preference


Automatic Rescan on Each Search . . . .


INDEX automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

30 ,


and grid lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


drawing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


overriding/reactivating . . . . . . . . .


recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Automation Control chooser . . . . . . . .


Automation Device chooser . . . . . . . . .



Back to Arrangement button

21 ,

90 ,


Beat Repeat effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


beat-time ruler and Arrangement editing . . . . . . . .


and editing envelopes . . . . . . . . . .


and editing MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in the MIDI Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Beats Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Bit Depth preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


bookmarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


breakpoint envelopes . . see automation,

see clip envelopes

Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . see File Browser, see

Live Device Browser, see Plug-In

Device Browser browsing les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Capture and Insert Scene command . .


challenge code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Check for Updates command . . . . . . . . . .


Chord effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Chorus effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Activator switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Clip box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Color chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Envelope Control chooser . . . . . .


Clip Envelope Device chooser . . . . . . .


clip envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

31 ,


and changing note pitch . . . . . . . .


and changing note volume . . . . .


as LFOs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


changing clips for . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


creating long loops with . . . . . . . .


for MIDI controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


general editing of . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


imposing rhythm with . . . . . . . . . . .


loop/region settings for . . . . . . . . .


mixer control modulation with . .


scrambling beats with . . . . . . . . . .


unlinking from clips . . . . . . . . . . . . .


using for fade-outs . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Fade switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Gain slider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Groove chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Launch button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Name eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Nudge buttons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


for zooming/scrolling . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Quantization chooser . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Record button . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

29 ,


Clip Signature elds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Stop button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


adding/removing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip Update Rate preference . . . . . . . .


Clip View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and playing the Arrangement . . . .


and remote control mapping . . .


INDEX scrub area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Clip View boxes selector . . .

95 ,

127 ,

138 ,


clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


adding fades to . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


arranging/editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


as templates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


audio clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


clip multi-selections . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


deactivating/muting . . . . . . . . . . . . .


editing MIDI notes/velocities . . .


importing from les . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in Arrangement View . . . . . . . . . . . .


in audio/MIDI tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in Session View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


managing meter offset . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


renaming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


reversing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


saving settings for . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


setting properties of . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Close All Folders command . . . . . . . . . .


color scheme . . . . . . . see Skin preference

Complex Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


compressed audio les . . . . . see samples

Compressor I effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Compressor II effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Computer MIDI Keyboard button . . .


Computer MIDI Keyboard option . . .


Consolidate command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


context menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Control chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see

Automation Control chooser, see

Clip Envelope Control chooser

376 control surfaces and take-over mode . . . . . . . . . . . .


instant mappings for . . . . . . . . . . . .


locking to devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


manual setup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


natively supported . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Copy Envelope command . . . . . . . . . . .


copy protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


count-in for recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Count-In preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


CPU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


CPU Load meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


CPU Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Create Analysis Files preference . . . . . .


Create Folder command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


crossfader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

27 ,


and remote control . . . . . . . . . . . . .


automating the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Cue Out chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


cue points . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see locators cueing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Cut Envelope command . . . . . . . . . . . .


Cut Scenes command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Cut Time command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Decoding Cache preferences . . . . . . . . .


Delay Compensation option . . . . . . . .


Delete Automation command . . . . . . .


Delete command and devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in the Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Delete Locator button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Delete Locator command . . . . . . . . . . . .


Delete Scenes command . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Delete Time command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Demo Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


turning off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Demo Sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Detune eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Device Activator switch . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Device chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see

Automation Device chooser, see

Clip Envelope Device chooser

devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


compensating for delays . . . . . . . .


presets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


the Live audio effects . . . . . . . . . . .


the Live instruments . . . . . . . . . . . .


the Live MIDI effects . . . . . . . . . . . .


using Audio Units Plug-ins . . . . . .


using Live devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


using plug-in devices . . . . . . . . . . .


using VST Plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Double/Halve Original BPM buttons

110 ,


Draw Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and drawing MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with clip envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Draw Mode command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Duplicate Envelope command . . . . . .


Duplicate Scenes command . . . . . . . . . .


Duplicate Time command . . . . . . . . . . . .


Dynamic Tube effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Edit menu commands and automation . . . . . . . . . . .

220 ,


377 and MIDI notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and rendering to disk . . . . . . . . . . . .


and return tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in the Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with Clip Stop buttons . . . . . . . . . . .


with clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see devices

Envelope Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

94 ,


envelopes . . . . . . see automation, see clip envelopes

Envelopes box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

94 ,


EQ Eight effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


EQ Three effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Erosion effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Essential Instrument Collection . . . . . .


Exclusive Arm/Solo preference . . . . . .


Export MIDI Clip command . . . . . . . . . . .


exporting audio . . . . . .see Render to Disk external sync . . see MIDI synchronization


FAQs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Ableton

File Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


opening Sets with the . . . . . . . . . . . .


le management . . . . . . see Manage Files command

File Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


File Type preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


File/Folder Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and VST Plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Filter Delay effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Fixed Grid command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Fixed Grid options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


FLAC les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see samples

Flanger effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Fold button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Follow Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Follow command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

72 ,


Follow switch . . . . . . . . . .

72 ,

101 ,

116 ,


Freeze Track command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Full Screen Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Gate effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Gate Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Global Quantization chooser . . . . . . . . .


and Session recording . . . . . . . . . .


Grain Delay effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Grain Flux eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Grain Size eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Grain Size knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


grid and Arrangement editing . . . . . . . .


and envelope drawing . . . . . . . . . .


and MIDI editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in editing clip envelopes . . . . . . . .


working with the . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


groove feature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


H hard disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see CPU

Hard Disk Overload indicator . . . . . . . .


hiding products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


High Quality switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


hot-swapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and device presets . . . . . . . . . . . . .


378 and Impulse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and Simpler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



I/O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see routing

importing les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


importing projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Impulse instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and individual outputs . . . . . . . . . .


and MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


lter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


global controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Link button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


pan and volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


sample slots and controls . . . . . . .


saturator and envelope . . . . . . . . .


Start, Tune and Stretch . . . . . . . . .


Info View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


insert effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Insert Audio Track command . . . . . . . .


insert marker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Insert MIDI Clip command . . . . . . . . . .


Insert MIDI Track command . . . . . . . . .


Insert Return Track command . . . . . . .


Insert Scene command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Insert Silence command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see devices


Keep Offset button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Key Map Mode switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Key/MIDI In Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Key/MIDI Out Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . .


keyboard shortcuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Language preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


latency . . . . . . . see Sync Delay preference

Launch box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

94 ,


Launch Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Legato Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


lessons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

33 ,


migrating from Live 5 . . . . . . . . . . . .


Library Path preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Link/Unlink Envelope switch . . . . . . . . .


Live Clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Device Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Pack Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Packs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and device presets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and Live Sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


packing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live Sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

18 ,


changing sample references . . . . .


exporting and importing . . . . . . . . .


saving a template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


locators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Lock Envelopes command . . . . . . . . . .


Lock Envelopes switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Look/Feel Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


loop brace in the Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Loop Selection command . . . . . . . . . . . .


Loop Start/Punch-In Position elds . . .


Loop switch

Clip View . . . . . . . . . . . . .

103 ,

236 ,


Control Bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with MIDI clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Loop To Next Locator command . . . . .


Loop/Punch Region Length elds . . . . .


Loop/Region controls . . . . . . . . . .

102 ,


and clip envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with MIDI clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Loop/Warp Short Samples preference



Mackie Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Macro Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Macro Map Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Manage Files command and changing sample references .


and collecting external samples .

65 ,


and nding unused samples . . . . .


and importing projects . . . . . . . . . . .


and locating missing samples . . . .


and packing Live Projects . . . . . . . .


and project management . . . . . . . .


managing les . . . . . . . . .see File Manager

Mapping Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


mapping to MIDI/keys . . . . . . . . . . .

31 ,


and recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Master Out chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Master track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Maximum Cache Size preference . . . . .


Metronome switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



INDEX exporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


quantizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

133 ,


sending bank/program changes


MIDI clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see clips

MIDI controllers . . . . . see control surfaces

MIDI Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

94 ,


and drawing MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and drawing velocities . . . . . . . . . .


and grid lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

132 ,


and recording MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . .


creating and editing notes . . . . . .


editing velocities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


loop/region settings for . . . . . . . . .


MIDI note stretch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


navigation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


rearranging notes in . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see devices

MIDI les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI interface setup . . . . . . . . . see routing

MIDI Map Mode switch . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI Ports list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI synchronization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI Timecode Frame Rate preference


MIDI Timecode Start Offset preference


MIDI Track In Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI Track Out Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see tracks

Minimum Free Space preference . . . . .


mixer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,


Mixer Section selector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


modulation . . . . . . . . . . see clip envelopes monitor mix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


monitoring through Live . . . . . . see Audio



MP3 les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see samples

Multicore/Multiprocessor Support . . .


Multiple Plug-In Windows preference


Multisampling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


muting . . . . . . . . see Track Activator switch clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Narrow Grid command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


New command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Next Locator button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


normalizing rendered audio . . . . . . . . . .


Note Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Note Length effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Notes box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Nudge buttons . see Clip Nudge buttons

O of ine clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Ogg les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see samples

Open/Open Recent command . . . . . . .


Operator instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


algorithms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


aliasing and Tone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and CPU resources . . . . . . . . . . . . .


envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


lter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Glide and Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


global controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


LFO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


oscillators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


parameter list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


INDEX purchasing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


unlocking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Original BPM eld . . . . . . . . . . . . .

110 ,


Overdub Switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

181 ,


Overdubbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


P packs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Live Packs

Pan control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Pan quick-chooser button . . . . . . . . . . . see quick-chooser buttons

Parent Folder item . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Paste Scenes command . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Paste Time command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


pencil tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Draw Mode

Phaser effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Ping Pong Delay effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Pitch Bend quick-chooser button . . . . see quick-chooser buttons

Pitch effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Play button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


plug-ins, using . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see devices

Plug-In Buffer Size preference . . . . . . .


Plug-In Device Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Plug-In Device Browserselector . . . . . .


Plug-In Edit button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Plug-In Unfold button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


pre-listening samples . . . . see previewing

Pre/Post switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and recording clips . . . . . . . . . . . . .


presets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


for speci c Live Projects . . . . . . . . .


Preview switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

41 ,


Preview Volume knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


381 previewing in the Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in the MIDI Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Previous Locator button . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


processor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see CPU

Product Preferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

6 ,


projects/project management . . .see Live


Punch-In/Out switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Q quantization command for selected MIDI notes


for clip launching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


for MIDI notes during recording


Quantize menu command . . . . . . . . . . .


quick-chooser buttons . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Racks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Auto Select option . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Chain List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


creating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Macro Controls . . . . . . . . . . . .

206 ,


routing tap points . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


within Racks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


zones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


RAM Mode switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Random effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Re-Pitch Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Record button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Record Quantization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Record/Warp/Launch Preferences . . . . . .


INDEX recording and remote control . . . . . . . . . . . . .


audio and MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


overdubbing . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

180 ,


punch-in/punch-out . . . . . . . . . . . .


resampling the Master output . .


with count-in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


recording an Arrangement . . . . . . . . . . .


recording automation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Redux effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


registration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Ableton remote control . . . . . . . . . . see mapping to


Remote Control Surfaces settings . . .


Rename command in the Browser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with locators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Render to Disk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Repeat Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


resampling . . . . . . . . . . .

155 , see recording

Rescan Plug-Ins preference . . . . . . . . . .


Resonators effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


return tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,


Reverb effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Diffusion Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Early Re ections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Global Settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Input Processing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Output . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Reverse button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Revert Offset button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


ReWire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Live as master . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Live as slave . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . see recording tutorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Ableton routing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

28 ,


and computer keys . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and external audio in/out . . . . . . .


and external MIDI in/out . . . . . . . .


and instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and layering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and post-effects recording . . . . . .

159 and recording MIDI as audio . . . .


and ReWire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and sidechain inputs . . . . . . . . . . . .


between tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


for creating submixes . . . . . . . . . . .


with external synthesizers . . . . . . .


S sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Ableton

Sample box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


sample collections . . . . . . . . . see Essential

Instrument Collection

Sample Display . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

94 ,


Sample Editor preference . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sampler instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Filter/Global tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


importing samples . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Modulation tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Pitch/Osc Tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


purchasing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sample tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Zone tab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


samples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


INDEX collecting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


destructive editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


nding unused . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


high-quality interpolation . . . . . . .


of ine/missing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


played from RAM Mode . . . . . . . .


replacing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


reversing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


saving with clip settings . . . . . . . .


time-warping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


working with . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Saturator effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Save a Copy command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Save As command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Save command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Save Default Clip button . . . . . . . .

46 ,


Scale effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Scene Launch button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Scene Select eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Scene Up/Down buttons . . . . . . .

186 ,


scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

20 ,


and MIDI/key mapping . . . . . . . . .


editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


recording . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


scrubbing playback

in the Arrangement View . . . . . . . . .


in the Clip View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Search button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Search In Folder command . . . . . . . . . . .


Search In Metadata option . . . . . . . . . . .


Search In Path option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


searching in the File Browser . . . . . . . . .


rescan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Select Loop command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and clip envelopes . . . . . . . . . . . . .


383 and editing MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and rendering to disk . . . . . . . . . . . .


Select Next Scene on Launch option .


Select Next Scene on Launch preference


Select on Launch preference . . . . . . . . .


Send controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,


serial number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Session View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and Arrangement View . . . . . . . . . .


clip grid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


copying to Arrangement . . . . . . . . .


recording an Arrangement . . . . . . .


recording audio in . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Session Viewselector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Set 1.1.1 Here command . . . . . . . . . . . .


Set Locator button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Set Locator command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Set Song Start Time Here command . .


sets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Live Sets shortcuts . . . . . . . . see keyboard shortcuts

Show/Hide Plug-In Windows command


shuf e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see groove feature

Simple Delay effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Simpler instrument . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and CPU resources . . . . . . . . . . . . .


envelope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


lter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Glide and Spread . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


LFO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Pan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


sample controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sample View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Transpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Voices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Volume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Zoom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


site or secondary licenses . . . . . . . . . . . .


Skin preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Snap to Grid command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Solo switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Solo/Cue Mode switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


sound les . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .see samples

Split button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Split command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Start Recording on Scene Launch . . .


start/end markers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Stop All Clips button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Stop button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


swing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see groove feature

Sync Delay preference . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sync In Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sync Out Indicator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


synthesizer MIDI setup . . . . . . see routing


Take-Over Mode preference . . . . . . . .


Tap Tempo button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


with warping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


technical support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Template Save button . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tempo automating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


MIDI mapping ranges . . . . . . . . . .


setting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Tempo eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

100 ,


Temporary Folder preference . . . . . . . .


Texture Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Time Ruler Format option . . . . . . . . . . .



Toggle Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Tones Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track Activator switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track Delay control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track Delays selector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


track meter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track Status eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track title bar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Track View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


activating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


audio and MIDI in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


automation in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


compensating for device delays


devices in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


in Arrangement View . . . . . . . . . . . .


in Session View . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


inserting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


mixer controls in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


muting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


resizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


return tracks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


returns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


the Master track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


unfolding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

77 ,


Transient Resolution chooser . . . . . . . .


transport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Transpose quick-chooser button . . . . . see quick-chooser buttons

Transposition knob . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Trigger Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Triplet Grid command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tutorials . . . . . . . . see Ableton, see lessons



Undo command and Arrangement editing . . . . . . .


and automation editing . . . . . . . . .


and recorded clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


and recording MIDI . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Unfold Track button . . . . . . . . . . . . .

77 ,


Unfreeze Track command . . . . . . . . . . .


unlock key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


unlocking Live . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


more than once . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


of ine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

12 online . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


unlocking the program . . . . . . . . . see copy protection updates . . . . . . . . . . see Check for Updates command

Use Audio Units preference . . . . . . . . .


Use Plug-In Custom Folder . . . . . . . . . .


Use VST Plug-In System Folders . . . . .


Utility effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Variable Bit Rate les . . . . . . . see samples

Velocity Amount eld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Velocity Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Velocity effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


View menu commands

Crossfader option . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


In/Out option . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,

147 ,


Mixer option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,


Returns option . . . . . . . . .

26 ,

168 ,


Sends option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

26 ,


Track Delays option . . . . . . . . . . . . .


385 view selector buttons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


views, working with . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see

View menu commands, see view selector buttons

Vinyl Distortion effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Volume control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Volume quick-chooser button . . . . . . . see quick-chooser buttons

VST Plug-ins, using . . . . . . . . . . see devices

VST Plug-In Custom Folder button . .



Warp ... BPM From Here command .


Warp As ...-Bar Loop command . . . . .


Warp From Here (Start At ...) command


Warp From Here (Straight) command


Warp From Here command . . . . . . . . .


Warp Markers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


copying . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


saving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


saving settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Warp Mode chooser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Warp Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Warp switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


warping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


longer pieces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


manipulating grooves . . . . . . . . . .


multiple clips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


odd-length loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


straight loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


tempo master/slave . . . . . . . . . . . .


uncut loops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


webshop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . see Ableton

Widen Grid command . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



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