Those of you who’ve gotten your hands on Live 6 may have stumbled upon a nasty bug that makes Live lose track of some third-party samples and even some of the factory Simpler presets. The problem can be fixed, and should be addressed by a forthcoming update to the included sound library, but the easiest way to avoid it is to back up your Live library before you upgrade. What? You ignored that dialog box and dove right in anyway? Yeah, me, too. (Hey, I don’t always behave myself.)

Here’s the Cliff Notes version of the story, followed by more resources and (for a much more enjoyable Live 6 tip) some tricks with drums and racks:

  1. Updating the Live 6 library can delete some Live 5 factory samples. The presets will still be there, but some point to missing samples. In my tests, some but not all Simpler presets seem to exhibit the problem. There are two basic workarounds: the easy one is to backup before you update, then copy over the missing samples, either by manually dragging them into the correct folder or using Live’s facility for locating orphaned samples. If you’ve failed to backup, I’d suggest either finding a machine that has only Live 5 on it, or reinstalling Live 5, backing up, then reinstalling Live 6. In the next few days, Ableton says they’ll release an update with the missing files, so once that happens you won’t have to bother with any workaround.
  2. Live 5 and Live 6 can run in parallel, but only with separate libraries: Live 6 changes the library structure for the better, but that makes backwards-compatibility a little more complex. Live 6 won’t run Live 5 libraries, and visa versa. If you want to keep both side by side (always a good idea when first upgrading), you can either select a different library folder when you install Live 6, or try upgrading the Live 5 library in-place but keep a backup of your Live 5 folder.
  3. Backup and copy: The best strategy is to backup and copy your old Live 5 presets; see Covert Operators’ link below.
  4. Presets outside of the library: The good news is that you don’t have to use Live 6’s library folder to store your presets; you can add your own custom folder and put it wherever you want, as long as you bookmark it in the Browser.

That’s the overview, but for more detailed instructions, here are the details:

Live 6 Upgrade and Missing Presets [Ableton forum; official word from Ableton plus discussion]

Making your Live 5 library compatible with Live 6 [The Covert Operators; superb Live preset makers and forum regulars — thanks, Ash!]

Live 6 packs download [Official Ableton sound downloads]

The extra work here is something of a pain for those of us who upgraded without backing up despite the warnings, but the damage is only temporary and I have to say this is the only issue I’ve had with Live 6.01.

Drum Tricks and Rack Insanity

Enough of the bug workarounds; let’s have some fun now. The Covert Operators have two great drum tricks for Live:

Rolling drums via MIDI effects [Live 5 and later, I think]

128 drum slots in a rack, thanks to putting 16 Impulse drum instruments into a single Live 6 rack! See also 8 Operators in one rack, though I haven’t found a good use for that yet. [Live 6 only]

Expect some ongoing Live 6 coverage this week; I’m pretty deep into it at the moment — apologies to all other major music software. I’ll be back to you shortly.