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Different Ableton File Types

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At some point, you’re going to want to learn the different Ableton file types. The list below gives a brief explanation of the various file types used with Live.

Ableton File Types

.adg | Ableton Device Group
These files are made when combining a combination of devices together into one group on the insert of a track, including Instrument Racks, Drum Racks or Audio Effect Racks. To create a device group, highlight all the devices in a chain and click CMD + G (MAC) or CTRL + G (PC). Once a device group device is created, click the ‘Save’ button on the title bar to save the group as an .adg file in your User Library.

.adv | Ableton Device Preset
This commonly used file type contains preset information for individual Live devices. You can create custom presets for Instruments, Audio Effects, and MIDI Effects. Once you dial in your desired settings, you can save the device to recall another time by clicking the ‘Save’ button on the devices title bar to save it as an .adv file in your User Library.

.agr | Ableton Groove File
This groovy file captures the timing and ‘feel’ of each clip in your Set. Live comes stacked with a large selection of grooves that can be accessed through the browser. Grooves can be applied to both audio and MIDI clips.

You can extract grooves by right-clicking any clip and choosing ‘Extract Groove(s)’ from the context menu. Once a groove has been applied or extracted, you can modify its behavior by adjusting its parameters in the Groove Pool located at the bottom of Browser.

.alc | Ableton Live Clip
These extremely valuable files capture clip information such as envelope settings, clip automation, clip properties, warp settings, and devices. .alc files can be created from both audio and MIDI clips by simply dragging the clip to the User Library. While MIDI clips contain all the included data, audio clips will reference to samples on your drive rather than collecting the audio data itself to conserve disk space.

.alp | Ableton Live Pack
Ableton Live’s Pack is similar to compressing or creating a “zip” file on your computer.

Live Packs are the ideal way to package up your work to create backups, share projects with collaborators, or distribute content. Live Packs are exclusive to Ableton, and the included content should integrate seamlessly once unpacked.

Live Packs can be created using Live’s File Manager located under ‘View’ in the File menu.

.als | Ableton Live Set
We should all be familiar with this file type. .als files contain all the files included in a Live Set or template set. This includes the layout of a set, and all Clips, tracks, devices, samples, arrangements, and settings. Everything!

Tip: When saving your project, choose ‘Collect All and Save’ from the File menu to ensure everything in your set is included in the project folder.

.ams | Ableton Meta Sound
This file type deserves a tutorial all on its own. Live’s Operator Instrument allows you create custom waveforms using the built-in waveform editor and save them as .ams files. One of the advantages of this feature is that you can drag these .ams files into other Ableton devices such as Simpler or Sampler to use their modulation capabilities and other processing functions.

.amxd | Ableton Max for Live Device
Max for Live offers a massive collection of instruments, effects, and tools designed by an expanding community of artists and device builders. In addition, all Max for Live devices can be edited and modified with Max software that integrates with Live. You can download Max for Live devices from Ableton, maxforlive.com, and several third-party providers across the web.

.asd | Ableton Warp Analysis File
Live creates an analysis file when an audio file is brought into the program for the first time. The file contains specific information about the analyzed audio such as pitch, warp marker positions, and tempo to help optimize the stretching quality and speed up the loading time. An analysis file can also store default clip settings for the sample with the Save button located in the samples Clip View.

Tip: You can disable the creation of .asd files by turning off the Create Analysis Files option in the File/Folder Preferences.

.ask | Ableton Skin File
This lesser-known file type contains the colors of Live’s Graphical User Interface and is the file type used when creating custom Live GUI skins.