Cheat Sheet delivers concise, explicit information on how to do specific recording/audio-related tasks. This installment describes the most common operations for Ableton Live 6. Note that for the Mac, use Ctrl-click instead of right-click.
CREATE AN AUDIO TRACK: Drag an audio file into the Clip/Device Drop Area, or right-click in the Clip/Device Drop Area and choose “Insert Audio Track,” or type Ctrl-T.
CREATE A MIDI TRACK: Drag a MIDI file or virtual instrument into the Clip/Device Drop Area, or right-click in the Clip/Device Drop Area and choose “Insert MIDI Track,” or type Ctrl-Shift-T.
CREATE A RETURN TRACK: Right-click in the Clip/Device Drop Area and choose “Insert Return Track,” or type Ctrl-Alt-T.
DELETE A TRACK: Click on the track name and hit the Del key, or right-click on the track name and select “Delete,” or type Ctrl-X.
IMPORT AN AUDIO OR MIDI FILE: Drag into the Clip/Device Drop area if you want to create a new track, or drag into an existing track clip slot.
REWIRE A CLIENT INTO LIVE: Open Live. Open the ReWire client. Select the client from the “MIDI To” drop-down menu so it can receive MIDI data. Monitor the client audio from a Live audio track by selecting the client from the “Audio From” drop-down menu.
REWIRE LIVE INTO A REWIRE HOST: Open the ReWire master program first. Open Live. Refer to the host’s Help on how to set parameters for rewired client programs.
USE YOUR QWERTY KEYBOARD TO PLAY MIDI NOTES: Go Options > Computer MIDI Keyboard, or type Ctrl+Shift+K.
CONTROL A PARAMETER WITH A QWERTY KEYBOARD KEY: Click on the “Key” button in the upper right of the screen to enable assign mode. Click on the parameter you want to control. Type the desired key. Click on “Key” again to return to normal operation. Note: If you’re using the QWERTY keyboard as a MIDI controller, it will have priority.
ASSIGN A MIDI CONTROLLER AS A CONTROL SURFACE: Go Options > Preferences. If your control surface is supported under the “Control Surface” field, use that. Otherwise, under the “MIDI Ports” section, for the Input parameter associated with the controller, click on the box under “Remote” to turn this functionality On or Off.
CONTROL A PARAMETER WITH A MIDI CONTROLLER: Click on the “MIDI” button in the screen’s upper right to enable assign mode. Click on the parameter you want to control. Move the desired MIDI controller. Click on “MIDI” again to return to normal operation.
EDIT LOOP SOUND QUALITY: Click on the Clip you want to edit. Click on the “Clip Overview” tab toward the lower right (the tab showing a waveform). In the Sample section under “Warp,” experiment with different algorithms accessed via the drop-down menu. Also experiment with the options under the selected algorithm (transient, grain size, flux). Under Sample, click on “Hi-Q” to invoke a higher-performance transposition algorithm if you’re willing to trade off CPU power.
CONVERT A CLIP INTO A RAM CLIP: This prevents stressing out your hard disk if you have lots of clips loaded, or are using a laptop with a slower drive. Click on the clip you want to convert. Click on the Clip Overview tab. Under Sample, click on “RAM.” If multiple clips are selected, they all will be converted.
QUANTIZE CLIP LAUNCH (GLOBAL): Clip launch will be quantized to the value selected in the Quantize value in the control bar (to the right of the Transport controls).
QUANTIZE CLIP LAUNCH (PER CLIP): Click on the Clip you want to edit. Click on the “Clip Overview” tab. Under the Clip section, click on the small circled “L” to reveal the Launch Editor. Choose the desired Clip Launch Quantize value from the Quantization drop-down menu.
CHANGE ARRANGEMENT POSITION FROM SESSION VIEW: Click on the transport’s numerical for number of bars, and drag up or down. For more precise adjustments, click on the beats or sixteenths numerical.
ZOOM IN AND OUT ON A MIDI/AUDIO CLIP: Click on the Clip Overview tab, then click the cursor in the Clip Overview tab, or in the timeline above the Clip. Drag up to zoom out, drag down to zoom in.
DRAW MIDI OR AUDIO ENVELOPES: Click on the Pencil tool in the control bar. Click on the “Clip Overview” tab. Under the Clip section, click on the small circled “E” to reveal the Envelope Editor. Under “Envelopes,” choose the type of envelope you want to draw, and draw it with the Pencil tool.
CHANGE ENVELOPE RESOLUTION
WHEN DRAWING: Envelope resolution is tied to the visible grid. Go Options > Narrow Grid or Options > Widen Grid.
CREATE AND EDIT BREAKPOINT ENVELOPES: Proceed as if drawing an envelope. Turn off the Pencil tool. Double-click on the envelope line to create a breakpoint, and drag as desired. Double-click on an existing breakpoint to delete it.
COMBINE STEPPED AND BREAKPOINT ENVELOPES: Enable the Pencil tool when you want to draw stepped envelopes, disable to convert a stepped envelope to breakpoints.
RENAME A SCENE, CLIP, OR TRACK: Right-click on the name and choose “Rename,” or type Ctrl-R.
CHANGE CLIP COLOR: Right-click on the Clip and select the desired color from the pop-up menu.
CHANGE SKINS, DEFAULT CLIP COLORS, AND LANGUAGE: Go Options > Preferences > Look Feel tab.
CHANGE MIXER CHANNEL WIDTH: Click on the right side of the Track Title Bar and drag right or left.
CHANGE MIXER FADER HEIGHT: Click on the horizontal line above the fader and drag up or down.
SHOW/HIDE VARIOUS MIXER ELEMENTS: Click on the show/hide buttons toward the lower right corner of the mixer window.
GO TO FULL SCREEN VIEW: Type F11. Type F11 again to return to the previous screen size.
SHOW/HIDE INFO WINDOW: The Info Window is extremely helpful, as it describes whatever function the cursor points to. Use the “?” key to show/hide this window.