Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Browser overview, part of Ableton Live 10 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] The Live browser provides access to clips, presets, software instruments, and effect devices, and is the most efficient way to locate, audition, and load devices and clips into your live sets. Let's start by taking a look at how the browser is organized. So I've just opened a default set and I'll remind you that the browser is located over here on the left-hand side of both session and arrangement views. If you need to show or hide the browser, you can do that by clicking on this little arrow button up here in the upper left-hand corner of the browser, or you can do it by key command, and that would be Option + Command + B on a Mac, or Control + Alt + B on a PC.
Now it gets a little crowded here in the browser so if you need to increase the size of the browser you can do that by moving your cursor over to the right edge, and when you see that double arrow cursor shape appear, you can click and drag to the right or left to change the overall size of the browser area. So their browser is divided into two columns. The one on the left is referred to as the sidebar, and the one on the right the content area, and then the sidebar is divided into collections, categories, and places.
Now we'll talk about collections in an upcoming video but let's start with the categories area. So this particular area allows us access to virtual instrument and effect devices as well as presets for those devices, and audio clips and one shot samples, and loops. Now furthermore, some of these categories will give you access to Ableton manufactured and created content, and others will give you access to third-party content.
So starting at the top we have the sounds, drums, and instruments categories. These will all give us access to Ableton Live virtual instrument devices and presets. In the Sounds category, we can look by the type of sound, and in the Instruments category we can look by the instrument device that would make that sound. So, here you can see that I'm in Ableton Live Suite because we see all of the virtual instruments that are included with purchase of Ableton Live Suite 10, including the new virtual instrument wave table.
If I go into the Drums category, this gives me access to drum content only, and again this would be all Ableton Live manufactured or created. So, here I see a bunch of AIF files because I'm already down in a subcategory, and I should point out that you can show or hide a second column in the browser, and I've got the Type subcolumn up here so that I can see what kind of content that I'm looking at. Now you can add or get rid of that second column by right-clicking up in the title bar area, and choosing one of the five options here.
Now I like the Type or Place subcolumns, depending upon where I'm working. So, within this Drum area I'm looking in this Drum hits folder, and that's giving me access to like one shot samples, loops, and audio clips, and I can see here in the Shaker subcategory, these look like mostly audio files and I can tell that by the AIFF, but if I drag down far enough I think, yeah, we can see that there's also some device presets, and rack presets.
So a device preset would be a single device, in this case some kind of a virtual instrument, and the rack presets would contain multiple devices, most likely a virtual instrument preset, and then one or more audio effect devices. Let's just check one of them out to see what it is. So, here we can see that there is a rack and it looks like it's got a sampler in it, and then over here on the edge I can see that there is one additional device, and if I double-click on that it will expand it out and I can see that it's an EQ eight.
If you double-click on the top of it it will minimize that again, and we can do that so that we can minimize devices when we get like tons and tons of devices that you've put together in a device chain. Let's see. Let's close some of this, and I can do that by clicking on this triangle in the browser. And then below that I can see that there are just a bunch of different drum presets, and these look like they're all rack presets, so again that's most likely a virtual instrument, and at least one effects device.
It could be also two or more effects devices that have already been kind of put into a rack because you want to be able to EQ and compress a drum sound. So, below the Sounds, Drums, and Instruments category, we have an Audio Effects category, and that's similar in that this is all Ableton Live content. Either created or manufactured by Ableton Live. And in this case it's all audio effect devices. So if I wanted to add reverb onto this drum track that I've got going, I could go into the browser and find a reverb, and then open up the reverb and go into one of the subcategories and find a preset that fits the particular context.
So I might find some kind of a drum room here in the Room category, and I can drag and drop and put that on the track after those other devices. Below the Audio Effects category we see the MIDI Effects category, and that is all Ableton Live MIDI devices. So here you can select arpeggiators and chord devices, and pitch devices and scale devices. In general, these would go before your virtual instruments, and they will process the MIDI signal in some way before it's passed to the virtual instrument.
Below that we see Max for Live which gives us access to all of those Max devices that people are building. And the awesome connection between Ableton Live and Max allows us to use all of these devices within Ableton Live. So you can see that this is divided into audio, instrument, and MIDI effects categories, and if we click on the triangle we can go in and we can pick one of those devices or device presets, and drag and drop that onto a track.
So, up until now we've been looking at only Ableton created or manufactured content. When you get to the Plugins category, this is where you can get access to all of your third-party virtual instruments and effect devices that you've purchased. So you can see in my collection here I've got something from Celemony, and if I go in there, yeah you would expect to see Melodyne. And down in the Native Instruments area, if I click that you can see that we've got access to all of the devices included in Native Instruments Komplete, and then below that if we go down you'll find Waves, and we have access to all of the waves audio effects plugins that I've purchased.
The last two areas of the categories section give us access to different kinds of audio or MIDI clips, and samples and one shots. So for example, I could look in the Samples area and probably would be easier if I did some kind of search to narrow what I'm looking at. So I could go up here and click in the search area and type kick, and then I can look either through the samples area, or you can look in the All Results area, which will show me not only samples, but possibly also device presets.
All that contain the word kick within them. I'm going to clear that by clicking on the little X button. And let's talk now about the Places area of the browser. So, the Places area gives us access to your user library and folders on your hard drive, and it's great because you can access them from within Live without having to leave and go out to the Finder window or the Explorer window. So, let's say for example that I've loaded a virtual instrument onto a track.
Let's go into the Instruments area and let's say I had grabbed Analog and I dragged it onto a MIDI track and I created a sound that I really love. Let's say I made a couple changes here, added a little detuning, and changed the filter setting a little bit, and now I want to save that for later. Well if I click the little Save button in the upper right-hand corner of that device, it jumps me right into the user library area, into a instruments category, and a subcategory for Analog, and allows me to go ahead and give that a name.
So I can call this Analog Pad, hit my Return key. It's named it here in my device out in the set, and it's also now saved into my user library. So the user library gives you access to all of the things that you create and want to save from within Live. The current project option here in the Places area will let us see everything that's part of this particular project.
In fact let's go up and let's open up the last thing that we had open. So if I open up 07_06, and I'll say Don't Save on what we've got going. Now within the current project, I can see that I've got access to the Backups folder and the various presets and samples that are saved within this live set. You could also add a folder that you want to have access to from within Ableton Live.
And frequently I find it useful to have access to the desktop. So if I click the Add Folder button and navigate on my hard drive to a specific place, I can add it by simply selecting it. In this case I'll select the Desktop and click Open, and now that Desktop folder is there, and if I want to access the Exercise Files, I can do that. So, one last thing I want to point out while we're here is that you can navigate the browser using your arrow keys.
So let's go back to that Instruments category and click to select that, and by the way, I could have done that by using my up and down arrow keys to select the category. Then I can use my right arrow key to move over into the content area, and if I want to go into analog, I can use my right arrow to open up that category, and now that I'm within the category I can go down to these subfolders or categories by hitting my down arrow. Let's go into, let's say Pad, and then I'll hit my right arrow to go into that subfolder, and now my down arrow key will take me to these presets.
Now if I want to audition something, you can either have your audition or preview button enabled, or once you find something that you're looking for, you can hit your right arrow key to audition it. (synthesizer buzzing) To go backwards, you can hit your left arrow key to go back up to the top of the subfolder, and then your left arrow key to close it again. Left arrow key to go up to the now device and left arrow key again to close that. Left arrow key to take you back over to the categories area of the browser.
So now that you understand how Live's browser works, you can use it to organize your library, audio files, loops, and live projects effectively. Please check out the next video where we'll take a look at how you can customize the browser to fit your needs.
- Choosing the right gear for a home recording studio
- Setting audio and MIDI preferences
- Optimizing performance
- Loading, playing, and moving clips
- Working with Live sets
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Using groove quantization
- Editing pitch, velocity, and duration
- Looping audio
- Working with locators
- Creating beats with Impulse
- Building instrument racks and drum racks
- Recording and editing automation
- Creating sounds with Wavetable
- Using Max for Live devices