Ableton Live How To: Re-clocking tracks

Someone asked me this on twitter: “Is it possible to fix a tracks tempo in Ableton and then export it for use elsewhere?”

The answer won’t fit in a tweet, so I’m posting here.

It’s not a big deal but it’s not 100% obvious how to do this. If you only ever deal with Live, once you warp a track, you don’t need to have the track at a different tempo — you can just use it warped. Of course there’s a whole world outside Ableton Live so…

  1. Warp the track as you would usually.  If you have Live 8 by all means set the warping mode to “Complex Pro” — this will give you the best possible sound quality, and since you’re rendering it to a new audio file, there’s no CPU usage penalty.
  2. Drag the clip for the track from session view onto an audio track in the arrangement view. The keyboard shortcut for this is to click and hold the mouse on the clip and hit the tab key, and then drop the clip on the timeline at 1.1.0.
  3. At the top of the arrangement view, drag the loop region to the complete length of the track.
  4. Set the project tempo to the desired tempo.
  5. Click on the loop region at the top of the arrangement view.  This will make sure that when you render, the entire loop region will be rendered.
  6. In the file menu, choose ‘Export Audio/Video’ and save to a wav or aiff file.

This is how you’d, for example, take an 118 BPM disco track, correct any tempo fluctuations, and make a new digital copy at 125BPM.  Of cource, once you have the track in arrangement view, you can edit the track to create a new arrangement.  Helpful here are Ctrl+E to cut a track at a certain point, and Shift+mouse drag to duplicate a region.  Also, you can select a track region, and then use the ‘Duplicate time’ command in the editor.

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