Ableton Live 10 Tutorial: Exporting Audio

Since there are two views in Ableton Live, you can export audio from both the Session and Arrangement View, or even a combination of both. This is why it can be confusing at first and you might end up with unexpected results or even silence. The most important bit to remember is what you hear is what you get.

Exporting from Arrangement View:

  1. Most often you want to export the whole song you've created or its individual tracks. To do this, you need to have it recorded into Arrangement View first. If you don't know how, here's the tutorial for it.
  2. Drag the Loop Start and Loop End so the Loop covers the whole length of the song (or part you want to export) including all effect tails (reverb, delay) to be exported. Make sure the Loop is selected.
  3. Check that no tracks are muted that you want to include and no tracks are soloed, because what you hear is what will be exported. Also make sure that no clips in Session View are launched as they'd be rendered into it as well. You can listen to the song once more to ensure it's all good.
  4. Choose 'Export Audio/Video' from the File Menu or use the shortcut SHIFT + Ctrl + R (Windows) or SHIFT + Cmd + R (Mac). This will open the Export dialogue.
  5. Choose your preferred rendering options (details below), then click OK.
  6. You can now choose the location to which the audio file(s) will be saved. Click Save and the rendering process will start.

Exporting from Session View:

  1. When exporting Session View clips, only clips with activated clip launch buttons are rendered. Tracks that are still active in Arrangement View (not greyed out) will also be rendered in. So make sure that all clips you want to export are launched first as well as  mute unwanted tracks or press the clip stop button for these tracks.
  2. Choose 'Export Audio/Video' from the File Menu or use the shortcut SHIFT + Ctrl + R (Windows) or SHIFT + Cmd + R (Mac). This will open the Export dialog.
  3. When exporting from Session View you need to enter the desired Length in bars, beats and 16th as well as render start (the default is 1.1.1).
  4. Choose your preferred rendering options (details below), then click OK.
  5. You can now choose the location to which the audio file(s) will be saved. Click Save and the rendering process will start.

Audio Rendering Options:

'Rendered Track' options:

  • If you want to export the mixdown of the song, choose 'Master'.
  • 'All Individual Tracks' will render each single track to separate audio files. That includes all MIDI and audio tracks as well as return tracks.
  • 'Selected Tracks' only renders all tracks that were selected before opening the export dialogue.
  • Or you can choose a specific individual track or return track. You can easily find the one you want since the track numbers and names are listed.
  • All options will render the post-fader signals including insert effects.

  • 'Render as Loop' lets you render the file as a loop including any effect tails.
  • 'Convert to Mono' will render the file in mono. Live handles everything in stereo. This option is useful if you want mono files to be used in a different audio software or want to include mono files in your Live Set to keep it small.
  • Turn on Normalize if you want the file to be rendered with maximum volume (keep it turned off if the track is to be mastered).
  • You have the choice between Wav (Windows format) and Aiff (Mac format) under 'File Type'.
  • 'Create Analysis File': Turn it on if you want to import the rendered file back into a Live Set.
  • 'Sample Rate': To burn it to an audio CD, choose 44100. For mastering choose the 'sample rate you had used throughout your production or the mastering studio asked for.

PCM (pulse code modulation) options:

  • If you want to export an uncompressed file, make sure 'Encode PCM' is turned on.
  • You've got the choice between Wav, Aiff and Flac under 'File Type'. The first two are most commonly used if the audio is to be worked on further. Flac isn't technically a uncompressed format, but the compression is lossless, so better than MP3.
  • 'Bit Depth': To burn it to an audio CD, choose 16. For mastering choose the bit depth you had used in your Live Set or the mastering studio asked for.
  • Dither: Dithering introduces small noise, but helps avoid artefacts when reducing the bit depth. Live handles audio internally in 32-bit. Dithering should only be done at the end when you won't export the file again. This is generally after mastering the track or when you want to burn it on CD. If you choose to not export in 32-bit and want to keep working with the audio file, Triangular is the safest mode. Rectangular adds less noise, but can add artefacts once the audio file is processed further. The 3 POW-r options introduce even less noise pushed above the audible range. These should never be used when processing audio further.
  • If you want Live to export an MP3, turn on 'Encode MP3 (CBR 320)'. This will create an MP3 at 320 kbps.
  • If you'd like to upload the bounced file to Soundcloud, then turn on 'Upload Audio to Soundcloud'.

Do you have any questions or comments? Let me know.

There are plenty more Ableton Live tutorials where this one came from.

By | 2018-01-04T20:18:15+00:00 January 5th, 2018|Ableton Live Tutorials|4 Comments

About the Author:

Madeleine Bloom is a musician, producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer from Berlin. She studied Electroacoustic Music at the Franz Liszt Conservatory. In the last few years she's worked as a technical support for Ableton and has helped countless people with her in-depth knowledge of Ableton Live, various other music apps as well as audio engineering.

4 Comments

  1. Ashley Wessel January 5, 2018 at 21:43 - Reply

    Hi Madeline,
    Thank you for this article; regarding the Encode mp3 option: does this mean that I no longer need to use an external file converter to convert my exports from live in to mp3? Thank you

    • Madeleine Bloom January 6, 2018 at 11:29 - Reply

      Yes, if you’re fine with 320 kbps MP3 files (the compression level cannot be set), you no longer need any other software for decoding.

  2. Jonathan January 9, 2018 at 10:09 - Reply

    What about the dither options? If we are exporting the mp3 direct from Ableton, do we no longer need to dither the WAVs? Or would having dither disabled impact the mp3 creation?

    • Madeleine Bloom January 9, 2018 at 12:50 - Reply

      Uncompressed export (wav, aiff, flac) and MP3 are not connected in Live 10. Doesn’t make sense anyways, since MP3 is compressed and has its own way of minimising artefacts.

Leave A Comment