Integration with Ableton Live

Excuse me if this has been asked before. I have searched the internet and found a similar discussion and what appeared to be the correct answer but when I tried out their solution, it didn’t work, so I have come here direct to these forums instead. I have also searched the Audacity forums but to no avail.

I am using Ableton Live 7 and have set Audacity to be my sample editor. This works perfectly well up to a point. The sample loads up inside Audacity ready for editing but when I save (export) the sample, Ableton does not pick it up and I get the “Sample offline” message where the audio should be.

Am I doing something wrong, or do the two programs not work together as I am expecting them to?

I could have put this in the feature suggestions forum as it appears to be a feature many people would like but that would be like spamming, so I hope someone here can give me a happy answer.

what appeared to be the correct answer

What was the correct answer?

have set Audacity to be my sample editor.

It would take a week to dig through the Abelton promotional works. What does Abelton say it needs or is expecting?

It’s a fairly easy workaround, you just have to relocate the edited clip from Ableton and reload it to the correct place in your project, however, it’s a few more button clicks than is absolutely necessary.

Ableton has some excellent workflow features, so it would be great were Audacity to work with it in a similar fashion.

That wasn’t the question. What is Abelton expecting? My guess is Audacity is producing the wrong format and Abelton is using its import conversion process to convert it. But to what?


You will need to tell us about that. What are you trying to do with Audacity and what is the problem?

I am guessing you are trying to use Audacity as an external editor for Ableton, is that so?

When you try to export the sample from Audacity is the problem merely that the “Export File” dialogue opens somewhere else than where Audacity imported the file from - that is, if you change the export directory to where the file came from, does Ableton see the modified sample? Is the directory from which Audacity imports the Ableton file one of Ableton’s temp directories?

If Audacity already contains a track when you ask Ableton to use Audacity, does Audacity open a new project window?

We have a long outstanding feature request to have a preference to “export to the directory the file came from” but not implemented yet.

If the export directory is not the problem, what else goes wrong?


The export directory probably is the problem. There isn’t an export setting for WAV’s.

What settings do you need?

I need to write over the WAV’s i’m editing so that the edited file shows up in Ableton.

Please read my initial post. I believe i’ve explained everything in good, comprehensible English.

How doctored are these forums?

I spent a considerable time answering Gale Andrews on several points, cutting and pasting begin quotes and end quotes, so my answers would appear in between each issue he raised, yet all that’s been printed is my last answer and it really doesn’t do my entire post justice at all.

Why can’t we have multi quotes?

My apologies - that was my fault.
There was a problem with the forum permissions for your account, so BBCode was disabled, making it difficult for you to get the quote tags right. When I enabled BBCode for your post so that the quotes would show, there was just one block of quoted text, so it looked like you had just quoted the entire previous conversation with just one brief comment on the end.

I have manually upgraded your status so that you can now preview your posts, (with quotes enabled), before posting (click the “Preview” button to check that your post looks correct, then click the “Submit” button.

In the “File > Export” dialogue (, select the file that you are editing and overwrite it.

Thanks, although i’m a bit miffed as i’ve now forgotten how I said what I wanted to say but it goes along the lines of, please add the feature request to have a preference to “export to the directory the file came from”, so that you can easily overwrite the file being edited, then it should theoretically have seemless integration within Ableton Live and any other DAW that links to an external audio editor.

And lastly, may I tenderly kiss the developers’ buttocks by saying how much I love Audacity?

Your vote for that will be added.

Is the folder Audacity imports the Ableton sample from always different? Audacity’s Export File dialogue should remember the last directory you exported to.

Assuming Audacity opens the sample in a new project window, this should update the Audacity “DefaultOpenPath”, so doing FIle > Open after the sample opened in Audacity should show you where that sample imported from.


Hi Gale, for it to work properly, it’s more than just directing it to the correct directory but instead, it needs to overwrite the original file.

In other software this would be “Save” rather than “Save As”. Audacity doesn’t seem to have any kind of “Save”, just “Export”, which I suppose is the same as “Save As”, so perhaps an “Export And Overwrite Original File” would be the correct function necessary.

The logic of not having “Save” as the terminology for export is that Audacity is not opening and editing the file natively, but editing a lossless PCM copy of it (which for uncompressed files like WAV can at your option occur by directly reading the file from its disk location, rather than make a physical copy of it).

Audacity can of course overwrite the original imported file with the same format (once you have navigated to the directory and changed the format if needs be), but I assume you mean to overwrite with no prompt?

Then probably you want to vote for File > Overwrite: Just overwrite the imported file without any questions asked about name, format or options

A less often asked for variant is a Preference to overwrite imported files on exit. Quit Audacity and you get a prompt to overwrite and quit or not.

Which would you vote for? Both have questions around them as to how (if at all) to manage multiple tracks and multiple imported files. The second would still need to manage unsaved data that may not have come from files.


And there was I thinking it could be a simple answer but you’ve just shown me it isn’t.

Yes, I mean to overwrite without a prompt and surely the principle is the same whether you’re working on individual or multiple clips?

So I would vote for the former, more simply understood “Overwrite” but with “Multiple Overwrite” for multiple files and were there any sourced from a different directory, I would like to be given the option to “Save to New Location”, thereby placing the edits exactly where I want them.

Do you use Ableton Live or any type of DAW?

It would be very handy were you to give it a go (free month’s fully functioning trial off the Ableton Website), by setting Audacity (Options/Preferences/File Folder/Sample Editor) as the external sample editor and testing it for yourself, that way, you could formulate the best implementation for everyone.

You might need to spend an afternoon working through the relevant tutorials to understand its layout but there’s nothing like a bit of hands on to understand a situation.

I imagine the Ableton Developers would also be very open to ideas from you, seeing as they offer this external editing link, rather than having their own proprietary package.

Additionally, sample loop points that correlated with my DAW’s implementation would also be a welcome tool in the Audacity arsenal.

Anyway, many thanks for the package as it is, although I equally look forward to any improvements that aid its integration into other softwares.

Suppose you want to mix two samples (from different directories) into one and overwrite one of those samples.


See above. I can easily imagine us trying to force each imported file into its own project window (for example, by making you define the path an external editor was sending files from). Then it would be clear where the overwrite was going to.

I would assume if and when we implemented this, we would already have given Audacity an option to export automatically to the directory the file came from, wherever that was.

To be clear, this is just about counting votes. There are no intentions (or resources) to implement automatic overwriting in the near future :wink:

But I have tried using Audacity as an external editor with other programs before, so I know it doesn’t work seamlessly.

We would only share code with open source projects.

Please explain more. I cannot see any possibility of supporting closed standards.

There may be a weak case for Audacity to support OMF files at some stage, but Ableton does not support that.