Exporting from Pro Tools 11, Cubase Pro 8 and Ableton Live 9 – by Scott Chapman


“I’ve finished my recording / mix… how do I export it?

It’s a common question I am frequently asked by new users of DAW software and it can be the last thing you might think about especially when you’re trying to get your head around the process of learning new software, let alone the recording or mixing processes themselves.

In this article I’ll take you through the process of getting your final mix out from three popular DAW platforms;
Pro Tools 11, Cubase Pro 8 and Ableton Live 9


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It’s Mix-Down Time!

Mixing down or “Bouncing” as it is sometimes called (from the days of using multitrack tape machines) is the process of combining the multiple audio, midi, virtual instrument tracks and any possible external equipment used within your DAW arrangement and combining then to give you a stereo audio file of the multitrack mix. This file can then be used for CD burning, mastering or further conversion to a lower resolution file eg: MP3 for use online or to put on a personal audio playback device.


The process to get to this final mix output point in most popular DAW programs is quite similar but each DAW does have it’s own quirks.


The following instructions will be for a “stereo WAV mixdown”.


Cubase Pro 8:


Cubase calls the mix-down process “Exporting Audio”.

Cubase Mixdown


1.Set up the left and right locators to encompass the complete song including any FX tails that may hang or sustain after the song ends.
2.Set up your tracks so that they play back the way you want.
This includes muting unwanted tracks or parts, making manual MixConsole settings and/or activating the R (Read) automation buttons for some        or all MixConsole channels.
3.Open the File menu and select “Audio Mixdown…” from the Export submenu.
The Export Audio Mixdown dialog opens.
4. In the left hand column tick the “Stereo Out”
5. Give your Stereo Mix a name by clicking and typing in the name box or overwriting what is already there.
6. Click Path to select an output path to save your final mix to. It could be a folder you create named “Mixes” for example.
7. Select file format eg : WAV and then select the sample rate & bit depth. CD burning compatibility is 44.1 kHz sample rate & 16 bit depth
8. If you wish to import the mix back into your current project tick the Pool & Audio track boxes, otherwise leave unchecked.
9. Click on export to complete the final mixdown output.
10. Navigate to the output folder and play stereo mix to check everything sounds as it should.


Pro Tools 11:


Pro Tools mixdown process is called “Bounce To Disc”

Protools Mixdown


1. Make sure only the files you want in your final mix are enabled and you are happy with all levels and fx’s etc.
2. Make a Timeline selection to define the range to be bounced. If no timeline selection is made, pro tools will mix down from the start to the end of the longest file.
3. Choose File > Bounce to > Disk dialogue.
4. Select Bounce source as main (Stereo)
5. Choose a file type from Menu – WAV
6. Select “Interleaved” from format menu
7. Select Sample rate & Bit Depth ie. 44.1Khz/16bit
8.Name or rename mix file
9. Choose a location on your hard drive for the final mix.
10. Make sure you select “Offline” at bottom of bounce window.
11. Click “ Bounce” button to complete.


Ableton Live 9:


In Ableton the mixdown process is called “RENDERING”.

Ableton Mixdown


Mixdowns can be performed in the arrangement or the session window.

1. Make sure your track is playing as you want to hear it including muting or deleting unwanted tracks or parts.
2. Make sure the loop brace is covering the section of the track you want to mixdown. In this case we want it from Bar 1 to bar 77.
3. Click File/Export Audio-Video to open Export window.
4. Select MASTER as the rendered track.
5. Make sure Render Start and length match your loop brace selection in your arrangement.
6. Select Audio file type eg : WAV
7. Set sample rate & bit rate. 44.khz/16 bit for CD
8. If mixing down from 32 or 24 bit files to a lower bit rate leave dithering set to Triangular other wise select no dithering.
9. If you are not intending to use the mix file back in Ableton you can turn off “ Create Analysis file”
10. Leave normalise & Convert to Mono off
11. Click on Export


Scott Chapman is the Chief engineer and Head of Technical Support and Sales at 90º Studio @ Musos Corner.