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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.
Editing audio can often result in unwanted pops and clicks at the start and end points of audio clips. Let's take a look at how you use fades in Ableton Live to mask or mute those problems. So in Live, fades are created using automation envelopes. So if we take a look at the bass audio track I have here in the Arrangement window, I will click on the automation device chooser, and I will see that in addition to the mixer, I also have the choice of making fades. Now in this case, I have kind of set this so there aren't any fades at all in this session, and we'll talk about that as we move forward.
But I can add a fade at the end of a phrase or the beginning of a clip to mask any of those unwanted pops or clicks. And by the way, those occur because of imprecise audio editing. And down below here in the Clip Overview window, I have actually zoomed in a little bit. And I just want to show you that the waveform that we see when we are really zoomed in centers around this line that goes through the middle, and that's called the zero line. And that represents no amplitude. When you make a cut to an audio file, you will always want to do that right at a zero crossing-- and a zero crossings is where the actual waveform crosses the zero line-- because at that point there's no amplitude.
If you don't do that, that's when we end up with these clicks or pops. And when you're editing in a hurry, that's often the result. But as we said, we can get rid of that in Live by using fades. So I am going to click up here at the end of this particular clip. I am going to use my Plus button to zoom in a little bit. That's Plus over on the num pad. And now to add a fade to the end of this clip, all I need to do is drag across the end of the clip. Please notice that I have actually temporarily disabled the grid. And that's Command+4 on a Mac or Ctrl+4 on a PC to do that.
So I'll make a selection across there. And then I'm going to add a fade using the command Option+Command+F on a Mac or Alt+Ctrl+F on a PC. And that adds the shape to the automation envelope here. At the top, we have the main handle that allows us to select that fade, and then we have a second handle down here that allows us to change the slope of that fade. So if I want the volume to fade down more quickly, I can change that. I can also change the length of the fade by grabbing the upper handle and dragging them more into the file or towards the end of the clip.
Let me zoom back out. Let's find a place where two clips come together. So I will zoom in there. Same thing, Plus button. Now if make a selection across where two clips join and use the same command-- Option+Command+F on a Mac or Alt+Ctrl+ F on a PC--I have added a crossfade. And again, we have now two handles to adjust the lengths of those and the slopes. So it's a smart tool, in effect, that if I make that selection across the beginning of a clip, I will get a fade- in, and if I make that selection across or two clips join a crossfade and again across the end of the clip, a fade-out.
Now most of the time, you will actually come into your audio, and you'll have fades automatically added. And that's through your preference selections. So I am going to open my preferences, going Command+Comma on a Mac--that would be Ctrl+Comma on a PC. And you will notice that we have an option here on the Record Warp Launch tab that says Create Fades on Clip Edges. So if I turn that on, that will automatically add fades on any clips that are on your tracks. And by the way, those are audio clips only.
Don't need fades on your MIDI clips. Now if you want to delete a clip, we actually need to turn that preference off. So I am going to go back in there temporarily, and I will disable that preference. Let me zoom back out for a second. I am going to go end of that region. Let me zoom back in. Now to delete a fade, all I need to do is select that upper handle and hit my Delete key, and it's gone. In some cases, reduced audio quality is a desired effect. But with today's audio editing tools, pops and clicks that are a result from poor or hurried audio editing are inexcusable.
So don't forget to add fades to your audio clips.
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