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Quick Tip: Organize Your Warped Playlists with Shortcuts in Ableton Live


Let's say you've warped a good amount of tracks that are scattered around in your hard drive. You've meticulously added your warp markers for each song and .asd files at the same directory where each track is located. It would be desirable for you to have access to those files from one place and not start looking for them around your hard drive. One way to achieve that could be to copy all warped files to a certain location along with the corresponding .asd extensions but that would require extra disk space. Let's see what we can do about it!

A Crash Course in Warping

When you drop a long track into Live warping is turned on automatically by default. That might be just what you want if the track's transient information is simple enough but a preferred way is to do the warping yourself. In Live's Preferences, under the Record Warp Launch tab, there's a button called Auto-Warp Long Samples which can be turned off. Any long sample you import into Live will, then, have Warp off by default. An .asd extension with the same name as your track will also be created on each import. You can, now, start warping your track by activating Warping.

Auto/Warp Short Samples button in Preferences.

A good way to go about is to find the first beat of the track and set a marker there. Then, knowing the original BPM of the track, you set Live's master tempo to the same value, then right click on the first marker and select Set 1.1.1 Here. Right click again and select Warp (selected BPM value) From Here, In my case 135BMP. If you don't know the exact BPM value, you can tap it by pressing the TAP button once in every beat while your track is playing unwarped. Another easy way to extract the BPM from tracks is to use a free software called BPM Analyzer which you can download here.

Warping in 2 easy steps.

After you are done warping your track, it's very important that you click the Save Default Clip button to save any current clip warp information so you can re-use it again. Very important: The same applies for renaming a clip. For instance if you rename a track's clip to a name better suited for you, you still need to click the Save button so that next time the track is re-used, the clip's name will be retained.

Save Default Clip button will save the clip's setting with its sample file. After this has been done, Live will restore the current setting whenever the sample is dropped into a Live set.

Obviously, the warp method described is indicative and a personal preference. You can construct your own method as you go along. For instance, another thing that I will sometimes do is to create another warp marker BEFORE the first marker that I created earlier, 4, 8, 12 or 16 bars earlier. Sometimes, you might have some percussive elements of the track before the actual main rhythmic elements kicks in(e.g. the main kick bass), so I would create warp markers there and set the start of the song accordingly to included that introductory rhythmic section.

Initial market set at the point where 17 beat starts, then moved back to where beat 1 is located.

Using Shortcuts

Your warped files that you want to be using for your live sets could be located all over your hard drive along with their corresponding .asd files. It would be good to organize them as such so that we have access to them without looking around in various folders in the hard drive. We are going to use shortcuts for that.

Create a hierarchy of folders in your hard drive that's convenient for you, let's say Audio->Dance->135BMP for our purposes. Now open the folder where your tracks are located with their corresponding .asd files. Right click one of the tracks or shift click all of them, then drag them to the folder you just created, let go and select Create shortcuts here to create shortcuts of those files.(For Mac users, a similar process should be followed)

Continue like that creating shortcuts to your existing file structure. When you are done, you will have a nice easy to navigate hierarchy of folders where only the necessary files are available. The warping and clip information will be retained since the tracks will still be in their original folder, only the reference to them changes.

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