Archiving your work

In ableton, daw on March 31, 2011 at 14:59

I have worked on my songs over a long time. So I would be very sad, if I lose them. Of course the easiest way is to store your finished song at a save place. Would it be nice, to archive the whole project? Yes, this is also my opinion. In order for that some people store all project files. The clever ones uses Abletons “File/Collect all and save” option.

Collect all and save

Collect all and save dialog

And here comes my point. We are not talking about just another backup strategy. A backup protects you, losing your data while you are currently working on a project. Archiving is something different. Store your project for future use. It has been my experience that you can’t open very old project files like a “Ableton Live Set” (als). There are some reasons: Meanwhile, you use a different DAW or you have updated your plugins and so their named changed. That’s why I’ve decided to export each track in a different audio file. And this is how it works for me:

  • Make sure your song is in “arrange mode”.
  • You may turn off any effects that are unnecessary (reverbs, compression, especially on the vocals), because someone else would like to remaster your work.
  • You should disable the compressor or limiter for any track, unless they are part of your sound design.
  • By the way the return tracks are rendered in seperate files. Don’t be surprised that a further file will be created. That’s the export of the master track. Keep in mind, that the master effects don’t influence the other tracks. You will recognize that the master track has the shortest filename and the other will get their filename from the corresponding track name.

From the “File” menu, select “Export Audio/Video” and select this options

  • Rendered track: All Tracks
  • Normalize: OFF
  • Render As Loop: OFF
  • File Type: AIFF
  • Convert to Mono: OFF
  • Sample Rate: 48000
  • Bit Depth: 24
  • Dither Options: NO DITHERING
  • Create Analysis file: ON
Export audio from ableton

Export audio dialag

Click “OK” und choose the storage location. I personally like to use a folder name, which contains the tempo (in BPM) of the song. Keep in mind that tracks without audio signal could be exported, too. Those files are large although they contain no audio data. Finally I open all files in my audio edtor, to find the empty once and shorten unnecessary long files.

In order to test your export, open a new Ableton Live project, change the tempo and just drop all files without the master track into it. You should hear the original song without master effects.

That’s all for today. Let me know what do you think about my approach.



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