• Sam Ryan

Speeding up Ableton's workflow by committing(without committing)

I have had the problem over the years of waisting so much time being slowed down by having to much processing on my tracks and having my computer bag out. I have refused to commit my processing for fears of needing to alter the source afterwards. Finally after 20 years of fucking around I have figured out a fast workflow where I commit audio as soon as possible without fears of needing to change something afterwards.

I use Ableton Lives freeze and flatten function to render processing and thankfully in Live 10.1 you can now freeze tracks with side chain!!!

Here are the steps I take.

1. I have a buttload of heavy processing to render or simply want to bounce a midi track to audio.

2. Go to "Current Project" in the Browser which will bring you to your project folder and right click in the project window and create "New Folder"

3. Name the new folder "Archive" (command R) and create the following sub folders. Presets, Session Archive, & Track Archive

4. For file management purposes I add the following to my track name. Say the track is named 15 lead gtr, I will add my song version number after (1.1 in this case) and I will make a note if there is any side chain routing and what it is routed from. So the track name will be 15 lead gtr 1.1 SC kik. The reason for this is if you archive a track with Side chain and reimport the archived file later on back into the session the side chain routing is disconnected and you will need to reconnect it. And then I freeze the track.

5. Then once the track is frozen, I simply drag the track to my track archive folder.

6. Then I flatten the track to commit to the processing. Thats it!

If I want to go back to my original track all I have to do is drag it back into the session and if there is any side chains make sure to hook them back up because they disconnected. This process works very effectively for midi instruments also. I find getting tracks to audio as soon as possible speeds things up a lot and if I want to change a part or add something in I can always go back to the archived file. Most of the time I don't go back but I can move forward resampling to audio without fears of backing myself into a corner.

Session Management

Have you ever had something amazing and you come back to it the next day and it sucks? Well that has happened to me like a million times. I have figured out a strategic way of easily getting back to the point where it was good. As you can see below, I do a ton of "SAVE AS's" and my naming convention is the NAME_Version#_Short-Note. As I save multiple versions I drag the old version into my "session archive" folder. By the time I am done a song I am usually upwards of 70 save as's.

If I need to go back for some reason I can just boot up the archived session file or I can simply go grab 1 track or a group of tracks.

To grab individually track simply hit the triangle to open the folder and expose the groups and tracks in the .als file.


After each session I bounce out a working mix and label it the same name as my session file. I then import this working mix into my next save as so I can easily compare before and after. This technique alone has really helped my keep my production on the tracks and I don't throw out as much work because I can get more instant feedback from my working mix as to if what I am doing is worse or better.


Lastly if I have come up with good instrument and or procession chains I will group the processing into a rack by highlighting all of the devices and grouping the (Command G). I then simply drag this new rack into my presets folder I have made in the archive folder.

At the end of a production I harvest my presets and put them into my user library so I can get quick access to sounds that I know I like!

  • White Facebook Icon

© 2023 by Sam Ryan