Ableton Live Tutorial: How to Use an External Audio Editor to Tweak Samples Within a Clip

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to configure an external audio editor within Live, then invoke this editor to tweak audio within a clip.  In this case I’ll be using the external audio editor to a normalize the audio within a clip, but you can use the audio editor to make any edits you wish. This tutorial assumes you have some sort of audio editor application already installed on your system.

First you need to configure Live to specify the external audio editor you who want to use.  To do this, use the "Options-> Preferences…" menu, then click the "File Folder" tab. Click the "Browse" button in the Sample Editor section. You can now browse your system for the executable of the audio editor you want to use.  In the case of this example, I’ve selected Sound Forge.  Close the preferences dialog box.  The editor is now configured for use within Live.

Live_sample_editor_001a_1

Now, double-click on an audio clip you want to edit.  To invoke the editor, right-click the waveform in the "Sample Display/Note Editor" window then select the "Manage Sample File" menu option. 

Live_sample_editor_002a_1

This causes the select "Replace Sample Files" window to open.  Click the "Edit" button for the sample you want to edit. 

Live_sample_editor_edit

This launches the external audio editor and loads the sample into the editor.  Note that this also takes the sample off-line within Live. 

Live_edit_offline

You are now free to perform any edits you wish — and in this case I used Sound Forge to normalize the audio.  Once you’re done editing the audio save it using the appropriate commands from within the external audio editor.

Now return to Live (you can leave the audio editor open if you like). You’ll notice that in the "Replace Files Window", the "Edit" button is illuminated for the sample you’ve been working on. Click the "Edit" button to reload the sample into Live and bring it back online.

Live_edit_online_1

As you can see from the waveform display below, the sample has been normalized and has a much higher amplitude.

Live_edit_normalize

Happy external audio editor tweaking!

Copyright 2007, Mark Mosher

Ableton Live Tutorial

Mark Mosher: Multimedia Artist & Technologist View All →

Artist site: http://www.markmoshermusic.com
Host of Sonic Encounters Podcast: http://markmoshermusic.com/podcast/
Boulder Synthesizer Meetup founder and host: http://www.bouldersynth.com

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Is it possible to copy a section of a clip within Live and then paste that section into another track? Or does that use of the copy function apply only to the entire clip?

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  2. Yes it’s possible. How about I put together a tutorial on this in the next week or so. Make sure you check back or subscribe to get notified.

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  3. doesnt Ableton have a function to edit the samples?? I am surprised not to be able to find it? Can it only be done with an external audio program? I would like to take out certain parts within a looped sample…

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  4. Yes, with Ableton you can do a lot of audio editing right in the clip. Right-click on the clip to see some options. Some people still like to use external editor as they are used to the work flow and some have even more options.

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