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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.
The final step in producing a song is to convert the multi-track live set into a stereo audio file appropriate for burning to an audio CD. The audio export procedure is fairly simple, but there are a number of important decisions to make as part of the process. So audio can be exported from one or more tracks, in either Session or Arrangement views. Let's start by exporting the entire mix from Arrangement view. First, we need to set the export duration using the Arrangement view loop, move the cursor to the edges of the arrangement loop and then click and drag to set the loop's start and end points. So let me just make this just pass the end there.
Now I need to select the loop by either going into the Edit menu and choosing Select Loop or by clicking on the loop. But I need to make sure that that is selected. Then we can go to the File menu and choose Export Audio/Video. Or you can use the key command Shift+Command+R, or on a PC, Shift+Ctrl+R. Now, of our choices here, starting with Rendered Track, I can either export the entire mix by choosing Master.
If I choose All Tracks, Live will render a post-effects audio file for each track, including MIDI and return tracks. All the files will be the same length, so that the files are easy to sync in whatever program that I am going to move these to to do any further mixing and editing. Or I can choose a single track. In this case, let's do Master. The Normalize function will raise the level of the resulting audio file so that the highest peaks end up just below the clip point. If you enable Render as Loop, the track will include ambience that you want to include in the rendered audio file, such as the reverb or delay tails. And those will be wrapped to the beginning of the loop.
Under the Audio File type, your choices are Wave and AIF. And if you remember from earlier videos, those are both uncompressed audio file types, full bandwidth, and they're both Redbook CD standard. If you're going to be using the file back in another Live set, and you want it to be mono, then we will convert to mono by enabling the switch there. The Sample Rate and Bit Depth on an export are probably going to be set at the consumer standard for CDs, which is 44100, 16. If you're coming from a higher sample rate or bit rate, you will need to change those to get down, but we are already there.
Under Dither, we have several options. Now if you're not changing the bit depth you do not need to use Dither, but if you are moving from 24-bit down to 16- bit, or some other option like that, you're going to want to use Dither. Now the folks at Ableton suggest that Triangular is the best option; it's the most transparent. But you might also check out these power dither options. They use something called noise shaping that attempts to take any noise that's part of the file and move it out of our hearing range. But in any case, it's a good idea to do several bounces using different Dither options and then listen and choose the best one.
The Analysis File option here, you are going to want to turn that on if you're going to be bringing the audio back into Ableton Live. Remember that the analysis file is there so that Live knows how to warp the audio. So now I will click OK, and I'm going to put this out on the Desktop. Let's call this "Export Test," and I will click Save, and it will take just a minute here. Okay, let's hide Ableton, and now here on the Desktop, I'm going to right-click on this.
Let's open this up in iTunes and make sure that we got a good bounce. (Music playing.) So we can see that that worked. Let's go back to Ableton, and before we finish up, I want to show that you can also export out of Session view. So I am going to export this clip here from Session view, and first I need the clip to have focus. Now this has been recently played, so the green Play button is lit, and that shows me that that clip has focus. So I am going to use the key command, Command+Shift+R, or Ctrl+Shift+R on a PC.
When we come back into the Export dialog box, we will see that there is a new field here, and that gives me a length. So when I go to export this particular clip I can say, I want this to be 8 or 16 bars long, no matter what the actual clip is, whether it's two or four bars long. But it will actually loop it that many times to render whatever length that I choose. Now let's go ahead and I will choose 8 bars long in this case. The track that I want to render is going to be the Pad-eMotional, so I will choose that. I am going to normalize this, just to make sure that I don't have any overs, and yes, I am going to want to render this as a loop because I'm exporting this probably because I want to use an audio file instead of the MIDI track.
That might help me to alleviate some CPU resources. So I will turn that on. WAV file. I am going to reuse this as a stereo file in the session, so I don't want to convert it to Mono. I will leave the Sample Rate and Bit Depth settings where they are. I don't need to dither it because I'm already at 16-bit. But I am going to create an analysis file because I am going to bring this back into the session, and I will need Live to warp it if I change the tempo, so let me turn that on. I will click OK, and I'll call this "Export Test #2." Okay, we will hide that.
You will notice now that I do have the ASD file, which is the analysis file, and I've got the second audio file, and we can also go to iTunes and open that. (Music playing.) We will see that that's playing. Great! Okay, so you can see the number of options available when exporting audio from Live can seem daunting at first, but as you see, it's really a simple process.
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