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Ableton Live 8 Review (Bonus Material)

June 3, 2009
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FIG. A: Click-dragging a transient marker makes it a Warp marker and slides the audio relative to the time ruler.

FIG. A: Click-dragging a transient marker makes it a Warp marker and slides the audio relative to the time ruler.

WARP SPEED

Warping in Live has been completely redesigned and greatly improved with automatic transient detection and Warp markers now attached to the waveform rather than Live's time ruler. When you add an audio clip to a Live song, Live marks audio transients with little wedges below the time ruler. These guide but don't restrict you in creating Warp markers.

If you double-click or drag a transient marker, it is converted to a Warp marker. If you hold Shift while dragging, you can move it without converting it, and transient markers do sometimes need adjusting. Once you attach a Warp marker to an audio event, you can move that event along the time ruler, and the surrounding audio expands and shrinks accordingly (see Fig. A).

The new system adds transient slicing to Live's previous time grid and Warp-marker slicing, which lets you implement ReCycle-style loop slicing and slice sequencing directly within Live. And you can quantize audio to the time grid or to the groove of any other audio or MIDI file using the new Groove Pool. To quantize audio, you first add, delete and move transient markers to suit, and then choose Quantize or Quantize Settings from the note editor's Context menu, and Live will convert them to Warp markers and quantize those (see Fig. B).

FIG. B: Quantizing audio turns all transient markers to Warp markers and moves them to the quantize grid.

FIG. B: Quantizing audio turns all transient markers to Warp markers and moves them to the quantize grid.

The Groove Pool is a repository within each song for timing templates you extract from other audio or MIDI clips by dragging those clips to the pool. You can also select from Live's library of factory grooves. All grooves in your song are available to instantly quantize any audio or MIDI clip. (As in quantizing, Live instantly conforms all transient markers to the groove and you can change grooves at will.) Groove Pool parameters give you considerable leeway to adjust groove amount, randomness, pre-quantizing and the influence of note velocity.

FIG. C: You use the clips in the Groove Pool for groove quantizing. You can use a note-grid-based clip, as shown at the bottom, for non-destructive quantizing by setting its Timing, Random and Velocity parameters to zero percent.

FIG. C: You use the clips in the Groove Pool for groove quantizing. You can use a note-grid-based clip, as shown at the bottom, for non-destructive quantizing by setting its Timing, Random and Velocity parameters to zero percent.

You apply a groove by selecting it from a drop-down menu in the Clip view; the groove applies immediately and persists until you make a different selection. Clicking the Commit button locks the clip to the groove, letting you change or delete the groove file without affecting the clip.

You can use a note grid–based groove for non-destructive quantizing by setting the Timing, Random and Velocity parameters to zero percent, and then using the Quantize parameter to dial in the degree of quantization (see Fig. C). Unfortunately, you must click the Commit button to get visual feedback, and that makes the quantizing destructive.

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