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Creating tracks that loop smoothly

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Creating tracks that loop smoothly

Audio warping is a tool that seems to magically allow us to change the tempo of an audio clip. But sometimes it's necessary to edit our audio files in order for warping to work the way we expect. Let's take a look at how you can edit transient markers and create warp markers in order to create clips that smoothly loop. So Live analyzes all audio files and clips to determine where the transients and attacks are. Now in Live, we can see evidence of that when we zoom in. Now, notice I am looking at this click here in the Sample Editor, and I can see these little lines that are appearing just above each attack, or transient.

Creating tracks that loop smoothly

Audio warping is a tool that seems to magically allow us to change the tempo of an audio clip. But sometimes it's necessary to edit our audio files in order for warping to work the way we expect. Let's take a look at how you can edit transient markers and create warp markers in order to create clips that smoothly loop. So Live analyzes all audio files and clips to determine where the transients and attacks are. Now in Live, we can see evidence of that when we zoom in. Now, notice I am looking at this click here in the Sample Editor, and I can see these little lines that are appearing just above each attack, or transient.

And if I zoom in a little bit, we will that those convert into these little triangles. Those are transient markers, and that's where Live sees all the attacks in this particular clip. Now, those are only visible and only active when the warp button is enabled in the Sample Box. If I click that, they go away. So I need to re-enable that, and I'm also going to turn on the Loop function to make sure that this loops. Then I am going to close that, so that we have a little more room to operate. So I've chosen to work with a four-bar section of this drum clip, and I've done that because I need a nice little loop to work with. But the overall file has a symbol head at the beginning that I don't want as part of this particular loop.

So I have found a nice four-bar section, and I looked for one also that has a little bit of a fill at the end, so this is going to work great for me. As I zoom in though, on the beginning of bar five here, I'll notice that this kick hit is in front of the beat, and I want that to line up right on the beat. So in order for me to manually change the way Live is going to warp this audio, I need to convert that transient marker into a warp marker. With the warp marker, I can actually move the actual placement of that particular transient.

So as I mouse over the transient, you'll see this little other gray box appear, and that's called the pseudo-warp marker. I can't move that, but if I double- click on it, I will convert it into a warp marker, and that I can move by simply clicking and dragging. Let me undo that. I will turn on the grid: Command+4 on a Mac or Ctrl+4 on a PC. And now that will snap right onto the grid. Okay, so let me zoom back out, and I am going to zoom in over here on the end of the loop.

Again, I have got a transient marker here that defines the end of the loop, and I'm going to convert that into a warp marker. I am double-clicking it and snapping that onto the grid. Okay, now as you notice, as I move those, it was actually telescoping the audio in between and on either side. That's significant, and we'll talk about that in a little more detail here in a second. So now I've got the outside edges of my loop pin, and I will listen to it to make sure the loop smoothly across the end. (Music playing.) Okay, so for the most part it sounds like it's grooving, but there is a little bit of a double-hit there at the end that I want to avoid.

So if I zoom in on the end of that clip, I will notice that the beginning of that transient is out in front of bar nine, and that's not going to work. So I'm going to select that warp marker, delete it, and then I'm going to zoom in on that transient marker. And I will notice that it's actually into the attack, and I actually need that to be over there at the beginning. So I can move that transient marker by hovering my mouse over it and then holding my Shift key down and dragging that to the new place. I am going to drag that over here, and I want to make sure that that starts right before the transient beginning. And I want to make sure that's at a zero crossing, so there's no audio at that point.

Now once I've found that, I can then hover my mouse back over that, convert that into a warp marker by double- clicking, and then snap that on to the grid. And we will zoom back out and let's give that another listen. (Drums playing.) Okay, so that's a lot better. Another thing that you are going to want to notice as you're working with your clips is the location of all of the transient markers.

So as I look through here, they look to be fairly regular, and they look to be associated with transients, but in this one little spot it looks like I don't have one, and then that looks like there's two right there. And that's a good example of a couple things that can happen when you're working with clips. So let me zoom in on that spot. So it looks like it's added a second transient marker here in what's actually decay. There might be a little bit of a spike there that the analysis says, "Hey that looks like a transient marker," but it really isn't.

So I am going to get rid of that one by simply clicking on the triangle, and when that turns black, it's selected, and now I can at hit my Delete key and get rid of it. Now if I move my cursor away from that point, you'll see that the transient marker isn't there anymore. If I move over to this one, I can see where there's not one. But that looks like that's what the hi-hat chip, or there is actually something there that I want to be able to warp to the tempo. So I am going to add one there. And to place it correctly, I am going to get rid of the grid temporarily by pressing Command+4 on a Mac or Ctrl+4 on a PC.

Now I can click right there near the beginning of that. I can zoom in if I need--and I am hitting the Plus key on my Num Pad to do that. And I will place that very carefully. And now I can turn that into a transient marker with the command Command+Shift+I--that would be on the Mac--or Ctrl+Shift+I on a PC. I've got that, and now we are ready to go. So if I need to change the tempo of this file, those should warp correctly. Now at other times, you may take a look at one or more location of transients and say, "You know that's a little bit too far off the beat to make me feel comfortable so I want to actually adjust that." So if I move this particular transient location, it's actually going to move the ones around it. And if those are actually located in good spots, I want to make sure that when I move this one, it doesn't move those two.

In effect, what I need to do is pin this one in place and pin that were in place so that I can move this one. And there's a nice function in Live to allow us to do that by simply holding down your Command key as you hover over a transient, and you'll notice that I see pseudo- warp markers at all three locations. Now I can simply double-click, convert all three of them into warp markers, and now when I move this one in the middle, these two over here actually won't move. So I can grab that and click and snap that onto the grid.

So after you've gone through and carefully edited your loop, you may want to save your changes for use in later session. We can do that by going to the sample box and simply clicking on the Save button. Another thing that I might want to do is crop this particular sample so that I have it without all the additional audio. Before I do that, I would probably Option+Click and drag a copy of that to another spot, so that I can select that one, and then right-click on the area that I am working with, and choose Crop Sample.

So if I go back to the original you can see that I have got the whole file, and then if I go down to this one, I have only got that piece that forms the four-bar loop that I am trying to work with. So while there is no substitute for a good performance, warping is a great way to fix rhythmic errors and create clips that smoothly loop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 16988 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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