What Are Ableton ASD Files? Everything You Need To Know


Some Ableton users (including seasoned users) are often confused by the ASD files that appear in their projects directories – they’re not sure what these ASD files are, how they are created, and if it’s okay to delete them.  

ASD Files are audio analysis files that are auto-created by Ableton each time you use an audio clip in a project for the first time. It stores data on the audio file such as tempo, warp marks, pitch, etc. so the software will not need to re-analyze the audio clip the next time it’s being used.

Can I Delete ASD File?

There is no prevention from deleting ASD files. You can do so the same way you would delete any other type of files. Having said that, there is not an actual reason to delete them. They take almost no storage (their average size is around 20kb) and they help Ableton increase its performance and save resources because it doesn’t need to allocate resources to re-analyze audio clips from scratch every time they’re being used.

How To Prevent Ableton From Making ASD files?

You can easily prevent Ableton from creating ASD files by going to the Preference menu, selecting the File Folder tab, and turn off the Create Analysis Files option.

How To Open An ASD File?

ASD files are merely metadata files which stores information on audio clips. You are not supposed to open them on their own. They come into place when you open Ableton with previously analyzed audio clip so Ableton can use this metadata to read the audio clip without analyzing it all over again.

How To Hide An ASD File?

Even though ASD are useful, it doesn’t mean we want to see them around. They usually clutter our samples folders. The solution to this is to let them be without deleting them but to make sure you hide them so they’re not visible.

On Mac OS

  1. Search *.asd on your hard drive to find all the ASD files.
  2. Open Terminal and type chflags hidden
  3. Drag and drop all the .asd files that Finder found onto the Terminal window
  4. Hit Enter

On Windows 10

  1. Click win+r, type CMD and hit enter to bring Windows console.
  2. C:\Users\mori>cd .. (mori will be replaced by your username
  3. C:\Users>cd ..
  4. C:\ attrib.exe +h /s *.asd

Where ASD Files Are Stored?

ASD files are stored in the same folder in which the audio clip is stored. It would be perfect if Ableton was creating and storing all the ASD files into a dedicated folder so it won’t mess the regular samples folders but unfortunately it’s not possible. In order that an ASD file to work, it has to be stored under the same folder with its corresponded audio file.

Can You Have More Than One ASD File Per Audio Clip?

First, the reason you might want to have multiple ASD files for one audio clip is in case you want to play with your warping, trying to optimize it while you want to save a version of the warping you already made, just in case. Unfortunately, Ableton does not let you to have more than one ASD file per audio clip.

Luckily, there’s a simple workaround you can set up with a few clicks.

  1. Right-click on the sample that you want to create multiple ASD files for.
  2. Click Show in Finder.

3. In the Finder window, create a copy of the ASD file.
4. Rename the copy filed and add the word “OLD”.
5. Now you have a backup of the ASD file. If you want to use it, make sure you delete the original one and rename the copy to have the exact name as the audio clip.

Mori B

I'm a music producer, a dj and a blogger.

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