Sets and Projects

Most folks know that an Ableton Live file (.als) is called a Set, but many seem foggy on what exactly a Project is and why they should care.

There are two main reasons for the project folder:

1) .als files do not contain the audio files they use. In other words, whether you record new audio or import samples, they remain as separate files on your hard drive. The Project folder gives you one place to make sure you keep your Live Set and the audio files that it uses in one place.

2) The Project folder also is used to save multiple versions of the same song or live performance. It’s very common to have multiple .als files in a single project folder. This is an important practice which I will devote an entire tip to.

OK, that’s the Why. Here’s a little How:

  • When you first save a Set, a Project folder is automatically created
  • When you record new audio into your Set, or perform any action that causes new audio files to be created (such as Freeze), the audio files are automatically stored in the Project folder
  • When you add loops to your live set, or drop samples into Impulse, Simpler, Sampler or Drum Racks the files are NOT automatically copied into the project folder.
  • If you want to copy all of your loops and samples into the Project folder, use the Collect All and Save command from the File menu.
  • You can use Collect All and Save as many times as you want. Every time you use it, Live will collect any files that have been added since the last time you collected files.
  • The Samples folder will not appear in your Project folder until you have created new audio files or copied some in with Collect All and Save.
  • MIDI clips are stored in the .als file. They can’t get lost from the Set the way audio files can.
  • When moving a Live Set from one hard drive to another, always copy the entire project folder – not just the .als file.