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#Ableton Q: Start a track before 1.1.0?

Notice my clever hash mark — because my posts get forwarded to Twitter … I’m becoming a blog/facebook/twitter whore.

 My friend Dylan wrote “Here’s a problem I’ve been trying to figure out for a while now: say you want to drop a track in from the very start instead of fading it in  slowly, but it starts before the first downbeat. (This usually comes up when I’m messing with acapellas, but can apply to a full song as well I suppose.) Is there a clever work-around to drag 1.1 back beyond the start  of the audio file so it drops on 4.2, for example? Then I could trigger  it however many bars earlier as appropriate to let it come in synced.”

1.1 is a convenience point so you can drag the ‘start’ marker before 1.1.   That’s a time saving trick when you’re warping a track — find the first solid, unambiguous downbeat, and then set that as 1.1, warp from there (automatically or manually) and then drag the start point to the actual track start.

BUT — if you set the start marker NOT on a downbeat, you’re not going to get things the way you’d like.  What that seems to mean is ‘the downbeat is offset from what Live thinks is the downbeat.   This lets you play tricks like drag the loop to the middle of a measure, and then set the start on the downbeat, if you want to loop a measure, but combining the first half of one measure with the last half of the previous measure.

The only way I know how to do what Dylan wants is to always keep the start marker on a downbeat.  In Live 8 you can drag the start and end markers before and after the actual clip’s start and end. So you can warp the track starting at a logical place, and then drag the start marker to the downbeat before where you’d like the clip to come in.  In Live 7, you can’t go before or after the clip’s actual beginning or end, unfortunately.

Then, if there’s audio before the beat you want to come in on, use a volume envelope to mute it.  And you have to trigger the clip a measure before where you want the downbeat to fall.

Ideally there’d be a second type of start marker, that would mean ‘start here, but keep the downbeats in sync’ — but there isn’t.