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Mastering Ableton: Top 10 Ableton Tips and Tricks to Supercharge your Workflow

Mastering Ableton: Top 10 Ableton Tips and Tricks to Supercharge your Workflow

Getting your way around in Ableton can be a real pain, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s have a look at some of my top secret tips and tricks that you can start using to make your experience in Ableton much smoother.

Tip #1: Insert Time

Insert Time. Ableton Live

I have this track intro and I feel like it is locking about 8 more bars to get people dancing just for a little bit longer. 

 

All I need to do is to click on the grid just where I want to add additional 8 bars and hit Command + I or Contro +l I on PC or just go to create and insert silence.

 

Type in the number of bars you need and hit okay. Now you have extra room for your buildup without losing any automations.

Insert Time Ableton Live

Alternatively, you can highlight the exact amount of space you want to add. And again, press  Command + I for Mac or Control + I on PC or just go to create an insert silence and now you’re good to go.

Tip #2: Delete Time

Delete time feature in Ableton Live.

This one in particular works the opposite way and is perfect if you want to remove specific sections of your track without messing anything up in the rest of your track. 

 

In Ableton, all you need to do is:

 

✔  Highlight the part you want to get rid of and 

 

✔ ️ Go to edit 

 

✔ And click  delete time.



Just like that, you save enormous amounts of time that normally could have taken hours to do or worse, mess up everything else in your track. 

Tip #3: Copy Paste Section

Copy Paste Section in Ableton Live.

This trick is perfect for situations where, for example, you’re in a hurry because you need to finish your new track to play it at a gig in a few hours.

 

In this particular situation, to quickly finish your idea, just  copy the whole intro and use it as an. outro and then quickly modify so you have at least something for your show. 



To do that, Ableton makes it insanely easy. 

 

All you need to do is…

 

✔ Highlight the part of the track you want to copy.

 

 ✔ Click on the top bar, so you can see the whole loop light up. 

 

✔  And Hit Command or Control + C on your keyboard.



Once you’ve done that,

Delete Time in Ableton Live

All you need to do is…



✔ Move to where you want that particular part of your track  to show up. 

✔ Click on the top channel in your arrangement 

✔ And hit command or Control + V or wait, you 



Copy Paste Section

*** BONUS TIP *** 

 

Let’s say you forgot to unlock the automation before pasting the section.. What do you do to undo that error? 



Easy fix. All you need to do is just undo it by hitting  Command or Control + Z on your keyboard. 

 

Then , unlock the automation and paste it again. 



Tip #4: Create Your Own Ableton Experience

Tip #4: Create Your Own Ableton Experience

Each of us likes to have things down our way, things that make a reproduction easier, faster and smoother, and enabling this couldn’t be

any easier.

 

Let’s say you like to have an EQ set up with low cut and high cut each time you drag it on the audio or MIDI track, it’s super easy to set up your EQ to your own preference.

 

Just right click on the top bar of the effect and pick safe as default preset. This works virtually for any Ableton audio or MIDI effect. 

 

This way in the future you don’t need to recreate everything again from scratch. You can just easily pull it up again in the future from your saved presets folder. . 

 

I personally love doing this for my instrument racks. There is no faster way for picking a good baseline than loading the one you saved that you know worked perfectly in your last track.

Tip #5: Linked Tracks

Tip #5: Linked Tracks

This one I figured out recently and it is absolutely mind blowing. 

 

Imagine you have a bunch of tracks that you want to be able to modify all at once, like turning the volume down or adding send effects etc.. Ableton has a brilliant feature that makes doing that so easy! 

 

Simply:

 

✔ Highlight the tracks you want using command and control and clicking. 

 

✔ Right click on any of the tracks 

 

✔ And select “Link Tracks” 

 

Now whatever you do on one channel will instantly happen on the others. – The values, for example, for volume will  adjust accordingly in respect to the previous setting, even when you reach the lowest or highest value. 

Tip #6: Save File Settings

Tip #6: Save File Settings

Are there any files you use often, like effect snares or anything else? Ableton is great in saving the settings of your samples. 

 

For example, after importing a sample, let’s say you warp it to its original BPM, set the volume to your preference or anything else, click on the save button.

 

Your settings will be saved when you start up a new project in the future . This becomes very convenient since you don’t have to go through this lengthy process again. All your settings are saved, and you’re good to go.

Tip #7: Consolidate and Freeze

Tip #7: Consolidate and Freeze

Now you have just spent time working on a sample. You added your delay, your reverb, any Q, and maybe a plug in it eats up a load of CPU.

 

Best thing you can do at this point is to freeze and flatten the whole channel with your sample in it. 

 

Now you can freely copy and paste it around to project, or save it to your own sample folder in case you want to use it again in the future.

 

I personally do this very often for loops. I just freeze and flatten and voila! I have a brand new loop as a clean audio file to use in my track. 

Tip #8: Collaboration

Tip #8: Collaboration

Are you working on a track together with someone else and you need to send them the full track, making sure everything will work at their end?

The best way to get this done is as follows: save your project to a brand new folder. This way you are getting a fresh file with no samples inside.

Tip #8: Collaboration

During the production process, you might have created frozen files or consolidated files you might have deleted or changed, so this will make sure your project is free of clutter.  After that, go to file again and select collect all and save.

Tip #8: Collaboration

Most of the time you won’t need the factory effects , but if you want to be sure absolutely everything was posted you can check that box too. n take that option too. 

 

When you’re done, just upload the project to Dropbox or wetransfer and send it to the person you’re collaborating with ensuring they get it in the exact same state as you left it. 

Tip #9: Sample Hot Swap 

Tip #9: Sample Hot Swap

Let’s say half way through your track you decide to change your kick because the current one isn’t punchy enough.



But you used a wave sample instead of MIDI. So how do you change the kick out without having to individually replace each wav file one at a time? 

 

Ableton has a LIFESAVING feature that allows you to do that very easily. 

 

All you need to do is..

 

  1. Double click on a sample

 

  1.  Right click inside, 

 

  1. Choose Manage Sample File. 
Tip #9: Sample Hot Swap

This will open a file manager where you’ll see your  sample highlighted. Just click on the drop down arrow, and drag and drop your new sample.

 

Now just a little note to this. All samples will always be replaced from the start of the sample, in case you picked, let’s say a high hat from a loop, and you hot swap it for a high hat one short sample.

 

You might end up with a strangely cut sample in the same place as the previous one, so use it with care.

Tip #10: Quickest Chords Ever!

Tip #10: Quickest Chords Ever!

This is by far one of my favorite tricks/features of  Ableton 12.  This one is an amazing helper and shortcut when working with chord progressions in your track. Insert a new midi track, click on the Midi Generative Tool. 

Tip #10: Quickest Chords Ever!

And at the drop down menu, select stacks. Add in 4 stacks on the first one. Our loot will be a C note. Next one, let’s go for a flat.

Tip #10: Quickest Chords Ever!

On each chord, you can choose the variation and inversion for more maturity and professionality.Just click on the little arrow on your selected chord and set your variation.

Tip #10: Quickest Chords Ever!

This tool is truly a superpower, especially for people who don’t really understand music theory. This way, you not only create amazing chords for your tracks, but you also learn the chord names which will come in handy in future. 

 

So these were my top 10 tools in Ableton 12 that save me heaps of time and make my music production way smoother. 

 

Let me know in the comments are yours and if there is anything you want to learn next.

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