Now, if you make a lot of MIDI clips you could encounter short term and long term problems. Short term is that you have a lot of software synths operating, and even with today’s multi-core Intels, you could get into trouble, not to speak of older computer systems. Long term problems is that you might upgrade you computer to another setup (don’t we all get a new computer every three years and we think this will last for a decade). Then when you are running your new system, the plugin you used is no longer supported, or has strange problems the originator has low priority to fix.
Or, medium level problems is that you want to collaborate with someone else, but it’s not clear that they have the Ableton Live Operator license, for example.
This is where the freeze function makes sense. You could select a clip and from either the Edit or the right-mouse popup menu select Freeze. This will render the current MIDI clip into a 32-bit WAV file, it’s even stored in the project folder, under Samples/Processed/Freeze.
In my test, see image, I rendered a preset from an amazing but amazingly as well CPU-hungry software synth that starts with the word Massive. When playing this patch with a 2x 2.0Ghz G5 PowerMac, just that single clip took 75-80% CPU power, not that good. After freeze it was down to 2%.
There’s also the flatten command, this will really make it a true audio file, but then you loose the MIDI information. You could also just drag the clip into an audio track, and flatten will automatically happen! Anyway, I think it’s good to keep the MIDI information around, as you could unfreeze and edit the parameters.
Going back to projects with MIDI clips, I do think it’s good to remember to freeze MIDI clips, even if you have plenty of CPU power. This to avoid any issues long term if you are on another platform with the plugins not operating the same way any longer.