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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.
As you work with Live, it's likely that you'll want to save changes that you've made to clips for use in other projects. In this video, we'll learn how to export clips to Live's library so that you can access the new or changed content from the Live browsers. So exporting clips to the library is very, very easy. All we need to do is select a clip on a track and drag it into the Library--any folder. I like to keep things organized, so I'm going to select my Clips folder, and I'm going to right-click on that and choose Create Folder from the submenu. That way I can have a folder for my clips.
Now, all I need to do is select a clip and drag it into that folder. Now, when you do that, this dialog pops up and asks you, what do you actually want to move? Is it just the clip itself, or is it the samples that are being referenced by that clip? I can go ahead and hit Copy or Don't Copy. Now, if you're going to be using this clip on another system, you're going to want to copy this content, because otherwise, you might end up with some broken links to that, and missing files. So I'll go ahead and click Copy. Now, that behavior can be set in Preferences-- that would be under the Live menu on a Mac, or the Options menu on a PC.
In the File Folder tab, under Browser Behavior, this Collect Files on Export is currently set to Ask. If you always want to do this, you can go ahead and put that on Always, and then you won't have to go through this dialog box in the future. Let me escape out of there. So that was a single clip. I can also export multiple clips. So I'm going to click the first one, and then Shift+Click the last one, so I've got all four of them selected. I'm going to drag those into My Clips folder. Again, the dialog box comes up, and asks me what I want.
I'll go ahead and click Copy. Notice it's a little bit different this time. It looks like I've got a subfolder with the Ableton logo on it, and the Type over here is telling me that it's a Live Set. Let me give that a name. I'll just call this "My Backbeat." Notice that it adds that .ALS extension that tells me it's a Live Set. Let me click that disclosure triangle. There is a subfolder in there. Then I can see that I have my four MIDI clips.
Now, I can also export the devices that are being used to play these clips, separately. Let me close that up, and I'm going to go down to the Device browser. And notice that I've got the devices that are being used to play this clip down here in Device view. If I simply click on the title bar of the device, I can drag and drop that into one of the folders that I can use at a later time. Since this is an Impulse-related device, I'm going to grab this and drag that up into my Acoustic folder, inside the Instruments and Impulse folder.
Again, it's going to ask me, "Hey! There are some clips that are being accessed by this particular device, and there are samples with that. Do you want to copy those?" In this case, because I know the device is here on my system and the samples, there are there as well, so I'm going to click Don't Copy, and it pops up, and it asks me, "Hey! What do you want to name that?" I'll call that "Backbeat New." That way, when I come in here, I'll see that I've got both the original and the one that I've made changes to.
Now this particular device is a rack preset. When I look in Device view, there are actually several devices there. If I pull over here, I can see that I've got a couple of signal processors, including a reverb, that are part of that particular preset. Now that is also indicated up here under Type, by the place where it says Rack Preset. It's telling me that this is a group and there are multiple devices there. Now right under that, I've got a Ballad Device preset. Let me pull that into the session. If I made changes to that by clicking on one of the parts--I'll change the Decay here, and maybe I'll change the level on that, and I'll go over to the hi-hats, and I'll change the level, and I'll move the Pan--and now I want to save that as my Ballad preset, once again, I'll go up to the Acoustic folder, my Impulse device, and I'll drop that.
I'll go ahead and click Don't Copy. In this case, I didn't really need to worry about that because there actually isn't a clip or samples associated with that. But regardless, I'll do the same thing here. I'm going to call this one "Ballad New." Now that preset is saved for later use. Now, I can tell that this is not a Rack Device, because of the icon that's next to this is only a square, and over here under Type, it says Device Preset rather than Rack Preset. Now, I can also export my entire project into the library.
We do that by locating the project on your hard drive, through the browser. So I'm going to go to the Desktop and to the Exercise Files folder and down here to 04_03. I'll right-click on that, and I'll choose Manage Project from the contextual menu. That opens up this Manage Files area over here in the Help view. Now I can go down to the bottom here and choose Export to Library. Now before I do that, let me just tell you that it's going to export the contents of this current project.
If the current project is just a collection of the clips and device presets, that's what you'll get. If there aren't any samples that are referenced by those clips included, they won't be there. So if you want those, you'll actually want to go up to your File menu and choose Collect All and Save, so that any audio files and samples that are being referenced are included as part of this export. Then all you've got to do is click the Export button, and it's done. Before we finish, let's also talk about importing and exporting MIDI files.
So, importing MIDI files is also very easy. All I need to do is locate one, and I've got one here on the Desktop, and that's this MIDI Import.mid file. If I click the disclosure triangle, I'll see that I've got actually two MIDI clips here. I can bring those into the session and assign some devices to that, and I'll get playback. Now I've got two MIDI clips with this .mid file, because this is a standard one type MIDI file. Now, what that means is that when you export MIDI from a program like Finale, Sibelius, Logic, Pro Tools, you have the choice of exporting as a Type 0 or a Type 1 file.
A Type 0.mid file will take all of your staves, or all of your tracks, and combine them down into a single stave or track, so that when you import them into next program, you'll get one MIDI clip. A Type 1 file will keep all that information separate, so that you'll get one track per part, or one stave per part, and when you import that, you'll get multiple clips, as I did here. So this was a standard MIDI file Type 1. Now if I want to export these MIDI files from Ableton, I'll select one, then I'll go up to the File menu and choose Export MIDI Clip.
But if I choose both of these--again, I'll Shift+Click to select both of them-- and go File > Export MIDI Clip, that option is not available. So Ableton does not support standard MIDI file Type 1 export: only a single clip or a single MIDI file at a time. So Live contains a number of very useful utilities to manage your library content and really makes it easy to import and export clips.
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