Using Mixtape

Mixtape allows users to record a multi-channel mix in Scratch Live. You can then open this Mixtape project up in Ableton Live allowing you to edit the recording with far more precision and detail than editing a simple stereo recording.

Mixtape records each channel of audio and depending on the hardware used, records automation such as fader or EQ movements. This allows you to fix mistakes, or to edit separate parts of the project without affecting the entire mix.

You can do small edits, or great sweeping changes. For instance you could change channel levels or EQs, cut and edit audio sections of one track in case of mistakes, move the timing around, re-arrange sections of the mix, or even add in entirely new audio tracks or effects to the mix.

This article explains how to use Mixtape, and how to edit Mixtape projects using Ableton Live.

Recording Your Mixtape

You don’t need to have Ableton Live open to begin a Mixtape recording (as long as The Bridge is authorized on your computer).

  1. Launch Serato Scratch Live.
  2. Choose the  “.als” option from the recording drop down menu.
  3. Press the record icon to start recording. (The record icon flashes while recording and the display will show the elapsed recording time.)
  4. Press the record button again to stop the recording.
  5. To save the Mixtape recoding, type in a name for the recording and click the save icon.

The recording will be saved as an Ableton .als file in a project folder in the following location:

  • Mac:                Music > ScratchLive > Recording
  • Windows:        My Music > ScratchLive > Recording

NOTE: If you wish to move this project, make sure you move the entire folder, not just the .als file.

 

Editing Your Mixtape Project

Once you have recorded an Ableton Live set, you can now open the Mixtape recording '.als' file in Ableton Live.

NOTE: The following screen shots are looking at the Arrangement view.Press TAB to switch between Session and Arrangement Views.

Mixtape Project

Mixtape Project

You can now edit your Ableton Live Set.

Group Channels

Once you have opened a Mixtape project in Ableton Live, you can see that each Virtual Deck from Scratch Live will be displayed as an Ableton Live Group Channel. These are named PGM1PGM2PGM3, etc.

These Group channels contain the audio and parameter automation for everything being routed through this channel (Track).

For example, you might be playing an MP3 tack on Virtual Deck 1 in Scratch Live, and playing samples from the SP-6 Sample Player from Sample slot 1 through thePGM1 channel group. These will be displayed as PGM 1 Pre and SP6 1 Pre as follows:

Editing Mixtape Projects

There are three general types of editing you can do:

Edit Audio

Audio Tracks

PGM 1 Pre (Deck 1 from Scratch Live)

PGM 1 Pre (Deck 1 from Scratch Live)

Each song you played form Scratch Live (or sample) will be displayed as different colored audio clips in the sequence as you recorded them on the Track.

If you were using Rane hardware such as the TTM 57SL or Sixty-Eight, then Ableton will have recorded the 'automation' of the fader or EQ movements (see here: Edit Automation).

You can edit mistakes with your mixtape's audio. This is handy for when you make mistakes, your timing was off, or you need to repeat or remove sections of audio.

Delete Audio

Select the region of the audio you want to remove using your mouse pointer, then press the Delete key.

TIP: Press Ctrl+Z to undo actions.

Move Audio

Select the region of the audio you want to move using your mouse pointer (making the region highlighted yellow), then click on this section and drag the audio to a new location.

TIP: You can move this to another Track.

Copy Audio

Select the region of audio you wish to copy so it is highlighted yellow, then hold down Ctrl, and drag the audio copy to anther location. You can do this as many times as you want.

TIP: You can get creative by copying this audio to a new audio channel (Press Ctrl+T to create a new Audio Channel).

Add In Audio Or Loops

You can also add in other audio clips by using Ableton Live's library browser. Search for the audio then simply copy the file onto any Track in your Ableton Project.

 

Edit Automation

In Ableton Live, when you do something such as change volume, manipulate the EQ, or change effects, this is displayed as control 'automation' and you can edit this using the Control Lane.

Automation is displayed as red lines and red circles (called 'Breakpoints'). Breakpoints are when the automation changes, and as such are the perfect part of the automation to change.

You can select the specific automation you want by using the dropdown menu in the channel's device:

In this example you can see there is recorded automation for Track Volume and Track Panning (the red box will notify you have automation present). There are 2 other parameters that are shown in this list that aren't automated - the Speaker On and the X-Fade Assign.

TIP: If you want to automate a parameter that doesn't have a red box, simply select this and then edit the values as below.

Draw Mode

The following automation editing is done when Draw Mode is off. Click on the pen icon to deactivate this.

NOTE: If you activate Draw Mode, you will have slightly different editing functions. See Draw Effect Automation for more information.

Move Automation

Click on the Breakpoint and simply use the mouse to move the automation.

TIP: Highlight a group of Breakpoints to move them all (click any of the Breakpoints and the whole group will move)

TIP: You can also hover over red lines to make them blue to move up or down.

Add Automation

Double click on the red like to add another Breakpoint:

Delete Automation

Double click on the Breakpoint you wish to delete:

Audio Effects or Processing

In Ableton Live, each item such as an EQ, filter or effects unit is called a Device.

You can add multiple devices on Audio Tracks - each of these will feed into another. This means if you place a filter before a delay unit, anything you change to the filter will feed the output into the delay unit so you will hear the audio being processed by both the units at once.

You can also re-arrange the order of these devices by simply clicking and dragging each device left or right. Experiment as you can find some orders sound better than others.

Display Existing Audio Effects or Processing

Double click on a PGM to bring up the effects or processing for each channel.

In this case, the channel has a basic EQ and Channel Gain:

Add An Audio Effect

You can add an effect by using Ableton Live's Device Browser. Simply find the device you want then you can drag this to the Device bar.

Draw Effect Automation

Once you have a new effect, you can also draw in automation.

  1. Click the Draw Mode icon.
  2. Select a parameter you want to automate in the Effect. You will notice the parameter will be displayed in the channel group.
  3. Use the pen pointer to draw in automation.
  4. You will notice the parameter now has a red box indicating this now has automation.
  5. Now when you press Play in Ableton Live the value of the parameter will change to reflect the automation changes.

TIP: You can add in automation for all parameters, and edit these as much as you wish.

Export Your Mix As Audio

Once you have finished editing your Mixtape, you are now ready to export the mixdown.

Volume Levels

First make sure that none of your channel volumes or the Master Volume is going into the red. Keep all your levels green to  give you the best quality sound. Digital distortion created by redlining any of these channels will sound bad.

If you need to adjust volumes, you can enter Session View by pressing the TAB key (press this again to move back to Arrangement View).

Exporting Audio

To do so you will need to set the Loop brace to contain all your mix:

Then you should click on File, and select 'Export Audio/Video':

And make sure your Export options look like this:

Ready To Go

Once you have exported your mix, you are now ready to spread it around!!

If feel your mix isn't as loud or punchy or clean as you want, you may want to Master your Mix to get a full, dynamic and professional sound, you may want to read this article on Mastering.