Here are two tips to help you become an Ableton Live power user. These are simple things I do while making music with Live that cut down the time between inspiration and perspiration. The Ableton Live file browser is very friendly. You can preview audio clips at the same tempo of your project. You can double click or drag and drop effects from and to the browser. In fact, Live has three File Browsers which is a really nice touch. Here are two tips:
Tip 1. Double clicking the icons for the Live Device Browser, Plug-In Device Browser or File Browsers take you to the root of each folder. Here’s an example: Your deep in the middle of a long project and you have been pulling Audio Units and VSTs from the Plug-In Browser for a few hours. You know you want to use the Audio Units version of the TimewArp 2600 (it’s more stable than the VST) but when you glance at the File Browser it shows the inside of your VST Powercore folder. The quickest way to the AU version of the TimewARP is to double click the Plug-In Device Browser Icon and then you will see the Audio Units folder root. This is easier than backing your way out of the VST folder and then back into the AU folder. This may seem trivial but if you doing it 100 times a day…
Tip 2. You can bookmark folders inside the Ableton Live File Browsers. Click on any of the three File Browsers and look at the top bar to the left of the search icon. See a little down facing arrow? Click it and a drop down menu of preselected shortcuts appears. The most important one to me usually is “Current Project”. Why would I use it? Anything I already recorded even if it’s no longer in Session View or in the Arrangement will appear here. I also make a folder inside Current Project called Renders which I then fill with multiple takes of fills or ideas. From there I can drag out and test which one works the best. As far as bookmarks take a look at the screenshot above. I have my song folder and sounds folder bookmarked… cool no?
The Bookmark menu lists a number of preset bookmarks such as Desktop and Library. Selecting the latter will bring you to the Live Library. To bookmark the current Browser root, choose the Bookmark menu’s topmost item, the Bookmark Current Folder command. Note that if the current Browser root is already bookmarked, the topmost option in the Bookmark menu will remove the bookmark. All File Browsers share the same set of bookmarks; a bookmark stored in one Browser can be accessed from another. – Ableton Live User Manual
I find the faster I get to a finished arrangement the better the song usually is. It has to come from a inspired or “live” feeling. Each computer barrier you hit is a thought in your head other than the final piece of music your trying to create. Learning keyboard shortcuts and using tips like these helps avoid a folder of incomplete songs!