New, Handy Browser Features in Ableton Live 9

"New browser features" may not sound as exciting a "new synth" or "effect". G. W. Childs explains why this new addition to Live 9 is important, and how'll prove popular with Live users.  

As I write this, I'm clumsily typing, due to a small accident with a skateboard. My arms mobility is not well. But, there's a shining start to the situation, I'm writing about the new Ableton Live, version 9. And, I'm happy to report that there are new features that are severely helpful to someone in my situation with limited mobility in my hands. To sum up what this feature is, it would be the new Live 9 browser. But, since we're summing, now let's break down the features in Live 9s new browser that can irrevocably speed things up for you. 

Feature 1 - Places


Places are a new location within the Ableton Live browser. Rather than having three files browsers that you can use to quickly locate certain directories on your hard drive, you now have unlimited access to any place you set up within Places. Let me show you how it works!

If I click the Add Folder button, a browser appears that allows me to select any directory on my internal, or external hard drives.


Once selected, the folder will always appear within the Places area of my browser. This means I've got quick access, rather than having to dig around through the Ableton browser the way I once had to, everything (as long as I'm in the habit of adding my frequented directories) will always be right there. 

You'll also be happy to know that there's an even easier way to do this! You can also drag files from Finder windows, and the desktop, directly in to the Places section...


Feature 2 - MIDI Clip Preview

I'd like to double up on a few features here, starting with what, at first, seems like a throw away feature- MIDI Clip Preview. Live 9 will now preview a clip whether it be MIDI, or Audio. Where things get really interesting is that Ableton now remembers the devices and patches you used to create the MIDI clip, originally. This even includes plug-ins and effects. This makes an even greater case to start using the User Library area within, now within Places, to store clips that you see yourself using again, or clips that encapsulate a distinct style and have a kick ass sound, through the use of plug-ins, Live Instruments and effects. Let me show you what I mean...

MIDI Clip Preview, 1

I currently have a very quaint lead sequence going, that I've named Cute Melody. This clip is using Rob Papen's Predator and Ableton's own Chorus effect.

MIDI Clip Preview,2

I'll drag the Cute Melody clip over in to a the Clips sub-directory of the User Library. Now, this clip will remain here, and will be available for every new Live project I start. 

MIDI Clip Preview,3

Now, let's see what happens when I start a new Live Project and drag in Cute Melody. I'll drag it in, now...

MIDI Clip Preview,4

And, look! Ableton set up the Chorus and Rob Papen's Predator for me! It sounds just like it did in my other project!

MIDI Clip Preview, 5

I can also preview Cute Melody, and Ableton will configure both plug-ins in the background and let me hear it the way it's supposed to be heard!

MIDI Clipe Preview, 6


These are only two of the amazing features within Ableton Live 9's browser, but hopefully it gives you some ideas for speeding up your own workflow. As I'm someone who can't even really play a keyboard right now, it's nice having my riffs available, and in an organized fashion, along with all of my sub-directories. Keeps me from having to experience any additional pain when I move my arms. Damn that skateboard.

Learn more about Ableton Live 9's browser features in this free video course:

Live 9 100 - What's New In Live 9

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More


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