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Understanding clip properties

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Understanding clip properties

As we've been discussing, audio and MIDI clips are an integral part of using Ableton Live. In this video we'll discuss the differences between audio and MIDI clips, and see how those differences are reflected in the clip properties. We'll also learn how to adjust the properties that affect how a clip plays back. So there are differences in audio and MIDI clips worth noting. Audio clips are short audio recordings, and if we double-click on a clip on the audio track, notice that the clip opens in Detail view at the bottom of the session window. In the Sample Editor area if we can see the audio waveform.

Understanding clip properties

As we've been discussing, audio and MIDI clips are an integral part of using Ableton Live. In this video we'll discuss the differences between audio and MIDI clips, and see how those differences are reflected in the clip properties. We'll also learn how to adjust the properties that affect how a clip plays back. So there are differences in audio and MIDI clips worth noting. Audio clips are short audio recordings, and if we double-click on a clip on the audio track, notice that the clip opens in Detail view at the bottom of the session window. In the Sample Editor area if we can see the audio waveform.

If I select a clip on the MIDI track, we'll see that the Sample Editor changes to the MIDI Note Editor, and here I am seeing the note blobs representing notes. I can also click the Track View Selector and see the device chain that's being used with this MIDI instrument and to convert that MIDI data into sound. That's something that's not necessary on an audio track. Now audio and MIDI clips share some properties. Let me reselect the audio clip, and I'm going to go back into the Clip Overview. And over here on the left-hand side of the details view I see the Clips box.

This is actually the same for both audio and MIDI clips. In the upper left-hand corner, I see the Clip Activator button, and if I disable that, the clip won't play. That also frees up system resources. Under that field I see the clip name. If you want to change that, you can always click in there, and this time I'll rename it "Bass." Underneath that field I see the clip color. And if I want to change that, I can go ahead and bring up this drop up menu and click a different color.

Now you can see that it's assigned here. I see the color at the top of the box here and then also on the clip up here on the track. Underneath that I see the default time signature for the clip, and below that I see the Groove area. That's something that we're going to talk about in an upcoming video. Now on audio clips only, I get the Sample box, and at the top I see some properties about that. I actually see the name of the source WAV; in this case, it's 0001 Bass.wav. And then I see the sample rate, which is 44.1 kilohertz, the bit rate--16-bit--and 2 channels indicates that this is a stereo file.

Now underneath that I see the Edit button, and if I click the Edit button this will actually open up this file in another program for further audio editing. And you can indicate that program by going into your Live Preferences--which on a Mac is under your Live menu, or on a PC under the Options menu--and going to the File Folder tab, and then under Sample Editor, you can browse your hard drive and choose another program. In this case, I have got it set to Pro Tools. I'm going to close that by hitting my Escape key. Now, if I make changes in the clip properties, I can save them by clicking the Save button here. And that won't affect other Live sets that use this particular clip that we created earlier, but what I recall this clip later for use in other sets I'll get the settings that I use here.

The next button is kind of a fun one. If I click that, it's actually going to reverse the clip itself and will play the samples in reverse, so that I will hear decay first and then the attack. Let's check that out. (Music playing.) Pretty cool! I'm going to undo that for right now. Two other buttons that you might use for effect as well are the Half Tempo and Double Tempo. So if I click to Half Tempo button it will actually play the clip back at twice the rate.

(Music playing.) And if I click the Double Tempo button, I can take it back to the original tempo, and then again I'll actually hear it play at half the rate. This time it's going to pretty slow. (Music playing.) So that might not be the thing to do in this particular set, but at times those can be very, very useful buttons. Now under the Edit button, over here I have the Hi-Q button, or High-Quality button. This uses a process that requires more processing power, but results in a higher quality playback, and allows for greater transposition range.

Next to that, I have the Fade button, and when this is enabled Live automatically drops a very, very short fade on the beginning and ending of a clip. This ensures that there are no clips or pops that are heard because of poor editing. Next to the Fade I have got the RAM Mode button, and when this is enabled Live will actually load this particular clip into RAM and access it from RAM rather than streaming it from the hard disk. This is helpful if the track kind of high and your experiencing dropouts or other problems. But the recommendation here is use this carefully and as a last alternative.

Below that I have the Transpose area and the Clip Volume setting, and I can change those by simply dialing these two knobs. So if I need to play this back at a different pitch, I can click and drag on this, and I'll transpose this up, and I'll click again. (Music playing.) And we are hearing some artifacts there. It depends upon the particular clip on how successful Live is going to be able to play that back at a different pitch. In this case, I've gone 12 steps, which is an octave, and it's struggling a little bit. But from my personal experience I can tell you that going about a minor third you can do pretty well.

Above that, it's just really is the luck of the draw. So let me put that back at 0. I can also fine-tune this by dialing in the sense field down here and the sense divides a half step into 100. I can also affect the clip playback volume by grabbing this slider and moving that. So let's check out what that does. (Music Playing) This is useful when you run out of headroom on your fader, like you can't turn up a clip loud enough actually using the volume slider on the track.

In the next column we've got the Warp button, and when that is enabled Live will actually cause the clip to play back at the same tempo as the session, regardless of the tempo that the clip was actually recorded at. So this is really handy, and it will allow us to sync this clip with other clips, no matter what the tempo is. Over on the far right-hand side we see settings for how the clip is going to loop back and forth. I can set the start and the ending of this clip, and in this case if I play it, since the Loop button is not enabled, it'll only play one time.

So I'm going to enable that. Now I've found that it's a lot easier to set the clip beginning and ending over here in the sample editor than actually dialing in and by typing in these boxes. So if I just click on the edge of the clip here and drag, I can set the clip's start point to later. I can do the same thing over here on the end. So it's going to play these two bars instead so the 4-bar length of this clip. (Music playing.) Now, notice that it looped back on itself.

Let's take a look at the MIDI clip and see how that's different. Now the Clip box shows the same properties. So I have got the clip name, and I have got the Clip Activator button. Again, I can change the clip color and a time signature and the groove; those are all the same. But instead of getting a sample box, I get the Notes box. Again, there are a couple of things that are the same. For instance, see the Original BPM, and I can use the half and double the original tempo buttons. But where it's a little bit different here this in this area. So if I'm using external MIDI device, I can actually send bank and program change messages to that.

So simply click the dropdown menu and select a number here, and it will send that bank change number, or I can go down do the same thing with the program change. But the clip start points and end points and looping are exactly the same. So understanding the differences between audio and MIDI clips will help you when you need to adjust their properties.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

69 video lessons · 16906 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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