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Quick Tip: Bounce It, Edit It

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Today's tutorial is all about bouncing. Bouncing with a little creativity takes some pressure off your computer's CPU, and allows you to produce some nice effects.

Step 1. So, What Is Bouncing?

Bouncing is when you convert a MIDI channel into an audio sample. Why is it so important? Because it can save lots of CPU cycles.

This can be very handy if you are owner a slow computer. On the other hand, you can edit your bounced audio sample a way that you otherwise couldn't.

The side-effect of the bouncing is that your instrument customization will be limited. So always be careful which instrument you bounce, because most of the time the effect can't be undone.

You can easily bounce an instrument if you create an audio channel and choose the instrument channel from the I/O section, set the monitoring in, then hit the record button. If you have a low latency sound card the recording will be perfect. But if you have a less perfect audio card then you have to warp your audio after the recording.

But there is another way to save you CPU in Ableton Live, and keep your instruments. It gives you the best of both worlds. The technique is Freezing.

Step 2. Freeze the Audio

Freezing the MIDI channel means that you won’t be able to tweak any parameters on the channel, but you can keep all of the settings which you have made to the instrument before.

Warning: If the MIDI channel is routed to any other channel input, or it side chained by another instrument signal, you cannot freeze it until you have removed these connections.

To freeze a channel, simply right click on it and choose the Freeze command.

If you are freezing a channel, your audio signal won’t be delayed by your sound card. So if you don't have a low-latency sound card, the easiest way to avoid the signal delay is the Freeze function.

Once you have frozen the MIDI channel, create an audio channel. Select an area on the MIDI channel and hold the control key while you drag the selected area into the audio channel.

Now you can see your MIDI signal in audio.

Another process is to convert the complete MIDI channel into an audio channel. To do this, click on the frozen MIDI channel and select the Flatten command. Now the entire MIDI track has been converted into an audio track.

Step 3. Edit the Audio

Once you have converted your MIDI signal into an audio sample, you can cut or chop it into smaller audio samples.

The great thing about this is that you can create great sounding gate effect by only cutting some audio signal out of the sample. You can cut or reverse small portion of it.


Listen my audio sample with and without editing:

without editing

with editing

I recommend bouncing FX sounds because they use most of the CPU.

As you can see, with a little creativity you not just save CPU but create great effects. Happy music making, see you in next time.

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