Best Way to Flatten Return Tracks

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penguinpajamas
Posts: 160
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:43 pm

Best Way to Flatten Return Tracks

Post by penguinpajamas » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:59 pm

Hey guys! Haven't been on the forums for a while, but I was hoping someone could share their insight with something I'm struggling with.

I've been using send and returns more and more with Ableton. I use a few hardware effects now and I'll normally just slap an external audio effect on the return so that I can use the same delay pedal with several different tracks, for instance.

The problem though, is when I want to commit this to recorded audio. Normally, working with some external gear, there comes a point to record what I've been working with such that I can have it ready to go without the external gear. Normally, say with an external instrument, I can just duplicate the track, freeze it, and flatten it so I can have all of the original midi information and a duplicate audio bounce of the same track.

With returns, however, you can't flatten those, so I'm not sure what the best approach should be. Should I have a track used to manually record the output of the returns as a temporary replacement to the return?

There's another issue I've been dealing with. Essentially, Ableton doesn't fully record the outputs of the returns until you either do so yourself with some workaround or export the audio. On in one song, however, as the song normally played, I would adjust a parameter on the delay pedal, but I can't do this when the song is rendering during export. Again, do I need to just create my own audio track to bounce the return audio to?

Any advice would really help, as this just seems to get pretty messy quickly with bouncing the audio.

Thanks,
Charlie

jestermgee
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Re: Best Way to Flatten Return Tracks

Post by jestermgee » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:13 pm

Again, do I need to just create my own audio track to bounce the return audio to?
with external hardware you will have to make some allowances in workflow and convenience.

I would setup a "master bus" that you can send your tracks to which you can set to record in real time as a render track so you can perform your adjustments. You could setup multiple bus tracks to render different instruments or groups of instruments and simply use that as your "flattened" track once completed, just disable the original track. Especially useful to do for any tracks that need the sound of the external gear. Once recorded you don't need to have the gear connected.

Stromkraft
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:34 am

Re: Best Way to Flatten Return Tracks

Post by Stromkraft » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:52 pm

penguinpajamas wrote:

Again, do I need to just create my own audio track to bounce the return audio to?

Any advice would really help, as this just seems to get pretty messy quickly with bouncing the audio.
I think the best solution is to simply use the returns as busses and route the sends they receive to audio tracks where you put your audio effects racks and record to clips, as you have realized already.

Recording in Arrangement is pretty straightforward, it's way more work to do it for every scene in Session, but if you make a habit of recording also the returns in your dedicated return audio clips in scenes while you build your track, then it's more a question of setup.

As jester suggests, a Main Buss is very useful as an alternative to a place where you could record the whole track instead of exporting it, even if I've been able to export also with external instruments (in real time).

I do use a "Main Buss" and I route all tracks, except those passing another buss, but including the returns to this.

This also allow for recording session jams. It's a good idea to turn off the stop buttons in this recording buss track and also look over the Launch preferences (All mine are set to "off"), so you don't inadvertently stop the recording of jams.

If this is a problem, you could use a plug-in recorder like Melda MRecorder.
Make some music!

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