I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
mekanism1200
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I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by mekanism1200 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:45 pm

It's super annoying that "Save As" does not copy all of your files into that project. Most other software does it this way. Even "Collect All and Save" fails to work unless you remember to move the project out of the original project's folder and into it own project. I just lost some really important audio files because I was cleaning out a template project's recorded folder and I forgot that those other projects were using those files. Why does Ableton make file management so difficult?

mekanism1200
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by mekanism1200 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:20 am

I have been messing around with this for a bit and Collect All is simply not working. It doesnt take the files originally recorded in a different project and copy them into the new project. Do I have to manually fucking drag in files into the new project??? So pissed about the way this works, this may have cost my wife a paying podcast sponsor and made us both look like idiots. Seriously considering switching programs at this point!!!

mekanism1200
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by mekanism1200 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:31 am

Ok, so here's what I HAVE to do in order to make projects self contained. Record into my template, "Save AS" but make sure the file path is NOT in the same project folder, then do "Collect All and Save". I can then delete the original files in the template project so as not to keep duplicate recordings in a project only used as a template. This is absurd! We should have the option to self contain projects when using Save As.

Sorry for rants, its been a long day of saying sorry to my wife for deleting an hour long podcast which is supposed to publish on Monday.

Stromkraft
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by Stromkraft » Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:05 pm

mekanism1200 wrote:Ok, so here's what I HAVE to do in order to make projects self contained. Record into my template, "Save AS" but make sure the file path is NOT in the same project folder, then do "Collect All and Save". I can then delete the original files in the template project so as not to keep duplicate recordings in a project only used as a template. This is absurd! We should have the option to self contain projects when using Save As.

Sorry for rants, its been a long day of saying sorry to my wife for deleting an hour long podcast which is supposed to publish on Monday.
I agree this could be handled better. A way without any of those issues:
  • First time you're going to save a new project make sure you're in the folder containing your Ableton Project folders, and not inside an existing project folder. Then Save As with a unique name. A new folder is created with a new set file inside. Separated from other projects, which is what you want most of the time.
  • If you need something from another project folder, like if you're doing a remix, either add this project — or even better the Ableton Live Projects folder (if you don't have one it's convenient to have all your projects in one place in subfolders as you wish) —  to the Live browser, then select and copy the resources you need in the Live browser - by holding down the option key — to the new project or reference them where they are.
  • When you need to share this with someone else or when archiving, then do a Collect all and save.
  • Optionally add folders like Presets and others to contain important resources in one single place. Some plug-ins need absolute paths for some daft reason, so you might need to re-point them to the proper place if the project is moved when finished. I do the latter all the time.
I do this and when do miss files? Never, actually. I don't think you should have to work this way intentionally. For one thing, when you do a save as with a hitherto unsaved new set, then Live should create that new project folder automatically in the right place, one step up in the folder hierarchy (if you were inside an existing one when saving). I think that was what you suggested?
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mekanism1200
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by mekanism1200 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:16 pm

I just want the option to have Save As essentially do a Collect ALL and Save. I realize that the folder has to be different since the path on the drive has to be different in order to distinguish between the same file names.

Another thing that drives me nuts is that when re-naming audio files in Ableton (on the audio section itself) it doesnt actually rename the file on the hard drive.

Do other DAW's work like Ableton in their file management?

locojohn
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by locojohn » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:46 am

Hi,

mekanism1200 wrote:Another thing that drives me nuts is that when re-naming audio files in Ableton (on the audio section itself) it doesnt actually rename the file on the hard drive.
Do other DAW's work like Ableton in their file management?
You are actually renaming a clip in the audio section, not the file name. Once you drag a file into your audio section, it becomes a clip.

You can rename a file using the file browser before you drag it into audio section.

Andrejs
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Stromkraft
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:27 pm

locojohn wrote:
You can rename a file using the file browser before you drag it into audio section.
It would be nice though if there was an option to automatically rename audio files when you rename the clips.
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Angstrom
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by Angstrom » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:30 pm

Stromkraft wrote: It would be nice though if there was an option to automatically rename audio files when you rename the clips.
As an option... possibly. But it's rare I want my audio files renaming when I rename a clip. That's how we break references.

lets say I have a vocal take, "audio/vocals/Karen's vocals 2017-5-take7.wav"
I'm editing it as clips, [Bay] | [Beee] | [gasp] | [IIIiiiiiii] | [looo] | [ve] | [yoioou] | [uuu!] |
So I rename the first clip as "Bay"

If we auto-renamed the source wave : The wave file on disk is now called "bay.wav"

Outcome: Any other set/ project which referenced "audio/vocals/Karen's vocals 2017-5-take7.wav" is now broken
nasty.

jestermgee
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by jestermgee » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:44 pm

Yeah I don't think renaming the source files (even as an option) is a good idea at all. The OP is complaining about having files not save with a project to start with. Imagin if you had the option in Prefs (that you forgot you selected) then start renaming clips in a project and having that break reference to all your other tracks. No thanks.

I think the OP has now figured out and Stromkraft has explained it in detail (to summarise):
When you wish to make a completely self contained project from a template you need to first do a "Save AS" then save the project to a completely new folder (not within the template folder or it will simply create a new ALS file within the same project folder) Then a "Collect All and Save" once the project is in it's own folder.

Once you know how it works it does make sense and isn't an issue. I don't believe saving all your samples together in a new project folder on Save AS for a new project is a good idea since most people will have a well maintained library they are happy to read their samples from instead of having hundreds of copies taking up space.

A couple of tips though learned over the years from similar situations, if you are relying on this kind of stuff to make a living:
- Maintain backups... constant, incremental and automated if possible. I have a server that backups my machine automatically every hour and when it is first switched on to incremental packages. I can go back in time about 2 years to any point to find files even if they were deleted. Has saved me a few times!
- If you have to delete content from your HDD try and move it to a temp folder first and leave it there for a few weeks OR first empty your recycle bin then delete everything you need but don't empty the bin until you HAVE to. That will keep your samples in case you need them again.

Stromkraft
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:14 am

Angstrom wrote:
Stromkraft wrote: It would be nice though if there was an option to automatically rename audio files when you rename the clips.
As an option... possibly. But it's rare I want my audio files renaming when I rename a clip. That's how we break references.
I was more imagining more useful naming than anonymous "Audio20000200101.wav".
Relying on external projects is not a good habit. Maybe necessary sometimes, but copying works.
jestermgee wrote:Yeah I don't think renaming the source files (even as an option) is a good idea at all.
I disagree this would be more risky than anonymously named audio files. See above,
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jestermgee
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by jestermgee » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:14 pm

Well I certainly don't agree with your logic either. It's simple to rename any file within the Live browser/system browser at any time. Cases where someone wishes to have a better named file they can easily do that whenever they like.

I'd say there is way more of a chance that a single file would be linked to more than one project which would be completely lost if it was renamed automatically from another project. Also think when you have multiple versions of a project within a single folder all referencing the same target material. Make a change in one of those clips it will break all other ones. That's my thought anyway.

Stromkraft
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by Stromkraft » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:28 pm

jestermgee wrote: Also think when you have multiple versions of a project within a single folder all referencing the same target material. Make a change in one of those clips it will break all other ones. That's my thought anyway.
This is not true actually, the other set file will reference the same renamed file. This is likely because, with modern development practices and the current slice of Oses you don't have to reference files with absolute paths, but with system wide file Ids where the name is nothing more than an attribute (Did you get that, Native Instruments?).

I don't see a valid use case where you must reference another project. I think it's bad practice. Maybe if you're really short on disk space and it's a motherload of an project that need reworking. I can see that, but I prefer to keep variations of the same project in the same folder in different set files. I do try to keep them to a minimum though.

Anyway, I was suggesting optional renaming, not that it should be default behaviour. To imply that being dangerous feels a bit too strong to me considering more serious issues with file management in Live. Maybe I'm not understanding your criteria here.
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bosonHavoc
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by bosonHavoc » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:17 pm

The best thing to do when working with saved Templates
is to immediately do a save as to the desired location before you start working.

all files created will then be within that project
this will save some steps and keep the template project clear

for important projects and for file cleanup after a recording and editing session
go to File/manage files and then select managed project

in the manage project, you can "show unused files"
this will show them in the live browser where you can select them all and delete them.

You can also review and collect external files as well as a few other file management tasks.

Live will never destroy anything, even the "destructive" edits like delete, crop, and Consolidate.
Live will keep the old files and you have to manually delete them to free up hard drive space.
this seems to be a pain but that one time you make a mistake and can dig up the file it is worth it.

also, Cropping and Consolidating creates new files with the file name of the clip.

jestermgee
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by jestermgee » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:43 pm

Stromkraft wrote:This is not true actually, the other set file will reference the same renamed file. This is likely because, with modern development practices and the current slice of Oses you don't have to reference files with absolute paths, but with system wide file Ids where the name is nothing more than an attribute (Did you get that, Native Instruments?).
Are you sure about this Stromkraft???

From my experience (and confirmed just now with an actual test) live does NOT reference files based on "File ID" but by file name.

Simple test you can do: Create a new project, load in a single sample into a clip, Save Set, do "Collect ALL & Save" then go into the project and simply rename the file to a new name. Open set and what do you see? "Missing Sample" at the bottom of your screen. Try and resolve the missing sample by scanning for files within the project only and it does not find any candidates in the project folder at all.

This is why I am saying (in my opinion) having live actually rename the source files when you just make name changes within a set is not good, even as an option. Think if you have the same sound file loaded in multiple clips in a project for different reasons and wanted different names for the clips. How would that work? Or if you reference samples from multiple programs (such as when doing video production work) and having your edits break links with another program?
Stromkraft wrote: I don't see a valid use case where you must reference another project. I think it's bad practice. Maybe if you're really short on disk space and it's a motherload of an project that need reworking. I can see that, but I prefer to keep variations of the same project in the same folder in different set files. I do try to keep them to a minimum though.
I'm not talking of referencing another project specifically, I would always avoid referencing samples in a project from another, that is certainly where you would make a copy. I'm thinking in terms of having a maintained sample library where you have multiple projects referencing the same material. There are many cases where you don't wish to copy the samples to every project folder when you have a well maintained library designed for source referencing.

fishmonkey
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Re: I really hate the way Ableton handles file management!

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:52 pm

jestermgee wrote:
Stromkraft wrote:This is not true actually, the other set file will reference the same renamed file. This is likely because, with modern development practices and the current slice of Oses you don't have to reference files with absolute paths, but with system wide file Ids where the name is nothing more than an attribute (Did you get that, Native Instruments?).
Are you sure about this Stromkraft???

From my experience (and confirmed just now with an actual test) live does NOT reference files based on "File ID" but by file name.
that behaviour is operating system and application dependent. with most applications on OS X you can rename a file and it does not break the reference to the file...
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