How to set fixed clip length in Ableton Live


When using Ableton Live’s Session View and recording clips for live looping you want to be able to set a fixed clip length in Ableton and not have to press a second time on the currently recording clip. Set a predetermined clip length in Ableton without using a Push is now possible via my Max for Live devices.

set record length in Ableton Live

Individual vs. Global Fixed Clip Length in Ableton Live

You are able to record audio with quantised clip length when using an Ableton PUSH. Unfortunately you are only able to set a global clip length value here. This means EVERY live recorded audio or MIDI clip in Ableton Live’s Session View will be set to a preset value of X beats or bars.

With the my Fixed Clip Length Max for Live devices you are able to set length of x bars for each MIDI or audio track individually. You can predetermine clip length recordings for Ableton Live’s clip slots individually as well. This gives you full flexibility and control and you can focus on performing and making music.

Note: Ableton Live’s Transport needs to be running before you trigger/record a clip.

How to preset clip length recordings

First you will need to get my Max for Live devices. There are 4 devices for different use cases. Depending on your use case you want to use single or multiple devices in one Ableton Live set.

Fixed Clip Length TRACK

The “FIXED CLIP LENGTH TRACK” will effect all clips on an audio or MIDI track. Just drag and drop it onto the dedicated track. You are now able to select the clip length value. That’s it.

recording fixed length audio clips in Ableton

When moving a device to a different track please click on the “Refresh” button once.

Preset Recording Length: ONE + TEN

If you only want to select certain clips (slots) to you can use the ONE and TEN devices. You can place those on any tracks you like. Click on “OPEN” to open the Pop-Up windows. You now need to select the clip slot in want to to set to a quantised clip length. Now click on “S”/”Sync Clip Slot” in the pop up window to map this clip slot. You will now see the track and scene number (and the tracks name) for the selected clip slots. You can set all mapped clip slots to individual bar length. Click on the “X” next to the “S” to deselected mappings.

If tracks and scenes are being moved or new tracks are being created all mappings will be updated automatically. When you change track names and adding new tracks or scene please press “Refresh” once to update the numbers and names. If reloading the Ableton Live Set this will happen automatically.

how to preset recording length in Ableton

FixPreset Recording Length: 4 x 4 Grid

With this device you can define a 4 x 4 grid in which you can (de-)select clip slots to individual recording length. Just place the device on any track in Ableton Live and click on OPEN to view the pop up window. You can select the left top-most clip slot from where the grid would start. Select the track number (counted from the left) and scene number (counted from the top. You can now switch on/off the clip slots to set recording length for each clip slot individually.

Predetermine recording bars in Ableton

Global Launch Quantisation settings limitation

The default set “Launch Quantization” in Ableton Live is “1Bar”. Most people are using and leaving it this way. If you are as well the following doesn’t need to concern you.

The “Fixed Launch Quantization Values” will only work correctly when they are higher (or same) like the “Global Launch Quantisation Value”.

‘Odd signatures’ looping

If you want to use ‘ODD bar time’ signatures you are fine as long as you are doing something like 3/4 or 6/8.  When you are using more ‘odd’ signatures like 3/8 they will only work if the fixed length is set to  2/4/8 and not 1/3/5 bars. If your current selection wouldn’t work correctly you will get a notification in the “ONE” and “TEN” devices.

looping odd time signatures in Ableton Live

Other Options

Pre-set fixed clip length are available via Clyphx, Scene Follow Actions and using global fixed rec length via PUSH or a Launchpad Pro as well. You will find a list of some more options here.

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