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Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this video we'll learn to create sets and projects, and define the parameters for recording audio into a set. We'll also discuss how to create templates and how to open existing projects. In most audio applications, the essential working file is called the session. In Ableton Live, sessions are referred to as Live Sets, and can be identified by the .ALS file extension. Because audio applications work with a complex set of resources--audio files, virtual instruments, video presets, clips and samples to name a few--file management is critical. When you create a Live Set, Live will automatically save it in a project folder of the same name.
And as you continue to work with the set, Live will add subfolders to the project to organize audio files, video files, and other assets. The only exception is when saving a Live Set for the first time. You set the save location inside an existing Live project. In that case, Live will add the new set into the project and populate the existing folders with any assets that you use in that set. So when you open Live a new default set opens. The default set has one audio and one MIDI track. A new Live Set can be created by going File > New Live Set.
Now unlike most audio applications, you can work in Live without saving a new set. So I would recommend that as you begin working on a new song or project, that you define the important session parameters and save the set. So let's take a look at the audio parameters. I'm going to go into preferences, which is under the Live menu--or that would be under the Options menu on a PC. And I'll go to the Audio tab and down to Sample Rate, and I'll set the sample rate. Our options there are 44.1K, 48K and 96K.
I'll go ahead and choose 44.1. Then I'll go to the Record Warp Launch tab, and I'll set the File Type, either WAV or AIFF. They are both uncompressed and very similar, so I'm going to ahead and choose WAV. And the bit depth, our options are 16, 24 and 32, and I'm going to choose 24. You can close the Preferences window using your Escape key. So now I'm ready to save the set. So I'll go File > Save Live Set As, and now I'm inside another project.
So I'm going to click the desktop. I'm going to go ahead and give this a name. I'm going to make sure that I'm not in another Live Set, because you'll notice there's an existing set out here, and in the File Folder icon, we can see the little Ableton Live logo. So this New Live Set is going straight to the Desktop. Now as you continue to work in Live and you make changes, you're going to want update and save your set. And I can go back and go File > Save Live Set As again, and give that a different name.
If I want to track the changes, I might add something like a V2, for version 2, on there. If I just go Command+S to Save--or that would be Ctrl+S on a PC--it's going to save my changes to the existing set. In this case, I gave it an extension of that V2, and now I can track my progress as I continue working. Now you can also open existing sets straight from the File menu. I can do that by going Open Live Set and navigating to the location and choosing that set-- I am going to cancel out of there--or I can also open sets via the Open Recent Set.
I'll come down here, and I'll choose something that I've been working on, and I'll reopen that. So as you become more familiar with Live and you develop workflows, to save time and work more effectively, you may want to create a custom default set. First, I'm going to close this one, so I am back to the default set. But if I were to add tracks to this, and clips and other devices--some signal processing, reverb, and delay--I could save that as a new default set, and when I open Live, that would be the default.
We can do that by simply going up to the Live Preferences again, under the Live menu, or under the Options on a PC, choosing Preferences and going to the File Folder tab, and then clicking the Save Current Set as Default. And note: you don't get an option here to set the location. It's going to immediately save the new set as default in the current location. So you may want to know where that set is currently saved before you click the Save button. There is nothing more important than knowing how to save and create files.
Now you can work in Live, knowing that your music is going to be saved and organized.
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