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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 the production of a song progresses, the number of tracks and devices being used can reach a point where they choke the audio program in use, due to the overconsumption of CPU resources. Ableton Live offers several options to alleviate this problem. So one old-school method that you can use to help is to bounce existing tracks to new audio tracks. And this might help by converting a MIDI track to an audio track or rendering audio effects or even rendering warped audio files to a new tempo. So I am in Arrangement view, and I'm going to record the audio from the Synth Brass track to this Audio track here. And to set that up I am going to set the Synth track output to the Audio track, and then on the Audio track, I'll set the Input to the Synth =rack.
I am going to put the track in Record, I am going to put the system in Record, and I'm also going to enable the punch-in and punch-out points. So I've got the punch-in point set at bar one, beat one, and the punch-out point set at bar 21, beat one. Now I have done that because I wanted to define the length of the recording I am going to make, and even though the MIDI that I have here that I want to render to audio is only 16 bars long, I want to make sure that catch any reverb tails or delay tails as part of that recording. Now all I need to do to record this is to press my Spacebar.
(Music playing.) And you can see it stopped recording there at the end of my selection.
Another way I can bounce this track is to use the File > Export option. So let's do the Synth track here again, and I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Export Audio/Video. You can use the key command Shift+ Command+R, or on a Pc that would be Shift+Ctrl+R. And now I am going to set the rendered track that I want from the Master down to that Synth track, and then I'll make the decisions here. Normalize, remember, will set it so that there will be no overs. Render as Loop will wrap around any reverb tails or delay to the front end of the file, so that if you use that as a loop you also get any of your reverb tails.
Under my Audio options, I am going to leave that at the current options that are in use in the session, which are Wav 441 16. I am not going to render this to a mono file because I actually have a stereo part that I want to keep stereo. If you have a bass track or something like that, you might actually want to convert that to mono. Under Dither, I am not going to use any dither because I'm already at 16 bit, and I'm not changing the bit rate, so no dither necessary. I am to going to create an analysis file here because that'll help Live warp this if I'd decide to change the tempo at a later time. I'll click OK.
I'll give that a name. We'll call that "Export Test." And I am going to drop that on the Desktop. Click the Save button, and it takes just a second. Okay, it's done. Now, there's yet a third way to do this in Live that's really, really handy. I'm going to deactivate these two tracks, and then I am going to click and select the track title bar here on the third track. And I am going to the right-click on that, and I am going to choose the Freeze option. Now, what's happening right now is that Live is creating a temporary audio file for the track. Now, if that was a MIDI track I'll an audio file, but I'll also do the same thing for a warped audio track, so that relieves Live from having to warp the track in real time.
It also includes any automation or effects. Now at this point, if I need to make changes to this track, I can't do it. If I were to try and transpose this, or if I was going to change the tempo in the session, this track would not react to that. But if I do need to make changes, I can just right-click on the track title bar and choose Unfreeze Track, and I'm back to where I was before. And then when I've made the necessary changes, I can then right- click on that, choose Freeze Track again, and I've just relieved the session from the CPU resources required to play this MIDI file and any effects that are on there.
Now, if I'm all done with this and I really like the way this is working, I can also change this to an audio file by simply right-clicking on the title bar again and now choosing Flatten. By flattening the track, Live takes the frozen track and replaces it with a bounced audio track, and it renders any of the MIDI or warped audio or effects. So it's really handy, very quick. So now that you know how to freeze and flatten tracks in Live, you'll be able to manage those times when your Live sets get large enough to cause CPU problems.
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