My usual workflow with Ableton Live

During the lifetime of a track I usually work with three different Ableton LIVE sets.

Each LIVE set is used in a different manner an represents a certain stage of my production.

  1. I ususally start with a template set using the Session View for sound design, clip sketches
    and raw arrangements. Arrangement view is used for…… You´re right: arrangement!
    During phase one I usually move a lot between session view and arrangement view
  2. Phase 2 is my mixing phase. Back in the days I arranged and mixed in one go. Now if feel more comfortable
    to split it into two phases. Leveling, panning etc. is done here. The biggest advantage for me is, that I have
    a clear cut between arrangement and mixing. I´m not so tempted to move between arrangement and mixing
    back  and forth and it simply feels good to move officially from one phase to another.
  3. Phase 3 and Ableton set 3 ist just for Mastering. Again: Don´t move back, if it isn´t absolutely necessary.

If I want to perform a track live with some Hardwarecontrollers I often use a copy of my raw arrangement
in set 1 and replace the Clips in session view with the final stems.

Final note:
Because music production is always a very personal thing and I guess there are several
million ways to produce a track, just keep in mind that this approach MIGHT fit to You as
well, maybe not.

This is just my way. And besides the fact that I often tend to work with Ableton LIVE as descibed
there are lots of exceptions where I do it completely different…… 😉

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6 Responses

  1. vido says:

    Found this because of the shortcut-sheats. Downloaded: thanks!

    I kind of expected something more advanced here. but why not just keep it simple?

    Just wondered for potential readers to come: how you specifically move between projects. Do you bounce all tracks to audio and then make a new set and mix? Or do you just delete whatever clips in session-view and “save as”? Or…

  2. admin says:

    Hi Vido,

    thanks for Your comment. As I said in my original post, there are round about a million ways to do this…. 😉
    I mainly stick to these three phases to force myself to get things DONE and NOT to be tempted to overdo things.

    I keep all three phases of a track in the same project folder.
    For different arrangements (if there are any) use some kind of versioning. (like this one:

    Yes, before I start mixing I bouce all tracks to separate audiofiles with hot levels.
    Then I save the set under a new name. And yes, I delete all MIDI/audio tracks and clips in session view.
    So at the beginning of the mixings phase I have a very clean arrangement view with 5-20 audio clips.
    And, when I decide to move from sound design to arrangement there has to be a clear cut. It really should “heart” me to move back. So it´s really like asking myself: “Am I ready for the mixdown? Yes I´m ready! Let´s delete the things I don´t need anymore…. Yes, that feels good……” 😉

    I still make a clear cut between phase 2 and phase 3. After mixing – if a final touch is still needed – You COULD bounce it to a stereo file and use a new LIVE set for mastering. Most of the time I just save the final mix under a new name, leave the arrangement as it is and do the final tweaks in the master track of that file. So final my and
    final master are just different in the master track.

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