Ableton Live Clip Process for DJ Usage

Here’s the workflow I’m using with Ableton Live 6.0 for taking any audio tracks, music, and chopping it into useable clips that I could mix and match later in a DJ-live session. The idea is very similar to what Sasha is doing, in other words make new productions live.

a) Open a new Live Window/project

b) Drag in the WAV/AIFF/MP3/AAC file into the one and only audio track as the first clip

c) Autowarp, adjust markers from beginning to end, make sure it all works out, set proper 1.1.1 point and so on.

d) Set a default beginning loop that sounds OK, 8 or 16 bars.

  • As this is the whole song, you could use this for the whole playback, and just start it, and remove the loop point so it continues, and place starting points on this clip, in case you don’t want to use the additional clips created.

e) Clone this clip (command-D), rename it to INTRO – JUST DRUMS or something meaningful.ableon_clip_view.png

  • I use upper-case as it’s easier to see the text string.

f) Clone this again, adjust the loop point to the next natural loop, maybe more intro, or the first part.

  • I have trigger as the default clip start, set this in your preferences, or in case you want to have some other starting option, change those per each clip.

g) Continue such cloning (don’t forget to move to the next cloned clip), until you have the song chopped o N parts (I could go up to 20 and beyond…).

  • The key is to make loops that sound good when you combine them in any possible ways!
  • I’m also using color coding to separate the intro loops, main loops, end ending loops.

h) When happy, rename the first clip so it has a good title, my style is:

  • <> means that you place your own string in there, 128 D# TEC for example
  • As a bonus, you could even colorize the clips, intros have one
  • color, main part another, ending a third color
  • Or color clips with drums only, or any other things you want to
  • quickly see using a coloring scheme
  • I use a cheapo plastic synth to find the main key of the song
  • The is an internal running number I use as an index to make each song unique.
  • The whole reason for all this is that I could on the first clip always see the main info about the song.

ableton_browser_view.png

i) Save this whole thing as a project (.als folder), name it -){}[

  • This so in your file browser you could quickly find certain styles, or BPM values, or keys.
  • Put this in your main archive folder

j) Run collect and Save so that any audio files you used will be copied into this new .als project file, as well.

  • Important, we want these to be self-contained, so they could be moved from location to location, from computer to computer.

k) Quit, test, make sure things look OK. Put a note into your log about this new song, in case you want to keep track of these.

In use, drag in the .als project into any audio window, or copy/paste it in, all your clips, including ordering and coloring, is preserved.

Yep, a lot of work. Then again, I’m mostly interested in Ableton Live as a producer/DJ tool, combining two-three songs to see what happens, similar to what Sasha has done for a while. For that you need to do all this pre-work, but the fun part then is that you could combine, mix and match, and do all kinds of interesting mixes from then forward. The best part – in a live situation!

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