- When you need to quickly reset a knob or value to zero or default position, you simply select it and push delete. You can also use the little orange arrow that sits at the default position. This is great for when you need to audition settings and then quickly reset the parameters to default.
- Shifting notes up or down with the arrow keys after you’ve selected them is easy. Moving them up or down an octave at a time seems much harder. Simply hold down the shift key and press the arrow up or down to move an octave at a time. Often sounds will sound better in a higher or lower octave and this is a quick way to check.
- If you’re recording a band and would like to record a whole lot of tracks at the same time, simply shift select all of the tracks and then click one of the record buttons while holding down the shift key. Alternatively you could go into your preferences, choose record/warp/launch and switch off the exclusive arm and solo buttons.
- If you’ve changed some features on a synth, rack or effect setting and would like to save it in Live for future use, drag it back into your browser. It’ll save it and allow you to rename the saved version. This also works for whole channels and groups of channels. If you want to save the settings and effects from an entire channel or group, drag the channel/group into the browser and rename it accordingly. This makes life a lot easier when setting up tracks for a session or a specific work-flow.
- If you select a few notes in your midi editor and would like to create a build-up up via the velocities, i.e. create a slope, simply hold down the cmd or ctrl key, click and drag your mouse to the selected slope point and your velocities will follow your slope. This is a great way to play with dynamics in your music.
- You can group any tracks together by selecting them, right clicking and selecting group tracks. This allows for great control over groups of say, drum tracks or other large groups of tracks that you’d like to drop the level of in a mix at the same time. Grouping tracks in this way makes life far easier when doing complex mix downs and you need to adjust all of the drums or keys, etc.
- When you’re automating a track’s volume, it makes it difficult to change the volume level at a later stage because you have to move the automated points. By using Live’s utility plug-in, you can automate the gain of the track but still leave the volume fader free to adjust the level of the track easily. This saves a whole lot of time when you’re mixing down at a later stage and quickly need to adjust volume levels.
- Learn your key commands! Learning all of the keyboard short cuts is one of the quickest ways to speed up your workflow. Some of the best ones for me are: Shift-Spacebar – Lets you restart from where you stopped instead of starting from the beginning of your clip or track. Ctrl/Cmd 1,2,3,4 – These let you shorten or widen your grid, change the grid to triplets or take the grid off, either in your arrangement page or piano-roll editor. Ctrl/Cmd E – Slices your clip. Ctrl/Cmd J – Consolidates a selection of clips that you’ve selected.
- When warping long tracks to DJ with, a simplified way to do this is to only adjust the first and one other warp point near the end of the track. If the track is programmed in a digital workstation/sequencer, as most DJ tracks are, it will be exactly in time. Select your first beat, right click and select start 188.8.131.52 here. Then go to the end of the track, select a beat marker and adjust it to the nearest beat. Your track will now be correctly warped, without having to go through any more of the track.
- If you play live and use Ableton at your gigs as your sequencer, the best advice I’ve ever been given is to have a back up CD or iPod to use if your computer crashes. You won’t be able to hold a crowd while you wait for your computer to re-boot. Having a backup of your show/set will allow you to switch over, just in case.
I hope these will help you speed up your work-flow and increase your performance. They’ve definitely helped me to get quicker in my production on Ableton Live.
Keep working hard on your music, it’s only a matter of time before you get where you want.
Written By : Chris Palmer