Expand Audio and MIDI With Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Working with Live browsers
Live's virtual instruments, effects, and clips are most easily accessed through Live's browsers. In this video, we'll take a first look at the different browsers and how to preview clips. And the browser is located up in the upper left-hand corner of the Live Session View window. If you don't see the browser in your window, click the Show/Hide button-- it's on the left-hand side--and reopen that. You can also open and close the browser by using the keyboard shortcut command Command+Option+B, or if you are on a PC, Ctrl+Alt+B. You can choose one of Live's browsers by clicking one of the browser buttons. So I am in the Live devices and plug-ins devices and file browser and so on.
You can navigate through the folders and subfolders by clicking on the little triangle, until you get down to one of the files, and then also close by clicking on the triangle. Now the main browsers in Live are first the Live Device browser, which is used to access Live's virtual instruments and presets or Live's MIDI Effects and Audio Effects, the Plug-in browser, which is similar to Device browser except this is where you'll find any third-party virtual instruments or audio effects that you've purchased.
Now, currently we don't have any loaded in the system here. If I did, I could click the Activate button, and Live would go out and find them and install them for use here in Live. Then the next three buttons are called the File browsers, and these can be used to access folders and files on any available drive through presets or user-defined locations. So I can see all volumes here, or I can see here that I'm in the Library. In a different one I can have a different look, although I'm still in the Library here.
So let's take a look at a couple of examples. So I am going to into the Samples area and find this Loopmasters folder. Now, note that these loopmaster loops are from solid sounds, and this is Live pack that's available by download from the Ableton web site. So, I'm going to go into the Loopmasters folder and then the Drum Loops folder, and then let's check out what's in the Deep folder. Now, I am going to widen the browser by clicking and dragging there, so I can see more. So I can see that I have some WAV files here. And if I click on them-- (Drums playing.) I'll actually hear the preview because the Preview button was selected. And because that's an audio file, I actually see the waveform displayed down here in the Preview tab area.
So, if I click on another one of these, it will automatically play. (Drums playing.) I can stop playback by either clicking the Spacebar or by choosing another file. (Music playing.) Now, let's check out a MIDI clip. So I am going to go into Clips, and let's go into the Drums subfolder and into Electronic, and I am going to go down to Echoes.
Now again, these sounds are available from a Live pack that you can download from the Ableton web site, and this one is called the Drum Machines Live Pack. So, I'll go into Echoes, and I'll see that there are several files here. And if I widen this again I can see a little more information, and I can see that I'm now looking at a MIDI clip. Notice when I click on the MIDI clip, it didn't immediately start playing. That's because there's a device that is associated with that MIDI clip, and it takes a minute to load that. But now I should be able to click on the Preview button-- (Music playing.) and hear that clip play back.
Now, if preview is too soft or too loud, you can adjust the playback level by coming over here to Preview volume knob and clicking and dragging and setting the level on that. Last, let's go up to the Device browser, and let's take a look at a virtual instrument in a virtual instrument preset. So I am going to go into the Instrument folder, and now I see a list of Live's virtual instruments, and I am going to go into the Impulse folder--that's a drum machine--and into the Electronics folder, and I'll choose one of the presets, and I'll select that.
Now, I want you to notice that down at the bottom here, there isn't a Preview tab this time. That's because this is a preset, and presets contain settings of all the parameters of virtual instrument effect, but don't include a clip. So, instead what I am going to do here is I am going to load this by hitting my Return key, and notice the Live created a track, and it put that clip on the track, and it record-enabled the track. Now, I can audition this by simply pressing the keys on my MIDI controller, or in this case because I've got the computer MIDI keyboard enabled, I can again press the letter A to trigger that kick, and the other sounds on that Drum Machine.
In this video, we learned about the various Live browsers, where to find audio and MIDI devices and how to find in preview clips. This will be something that you will use every time you use Ableton Live to make music.
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