How to Use Ableton Live

How to Use Ableton Live
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Ableton Live is used by a wide range of musicians, entertainers, and mixed media artists to facilitate professional sounding presentations, whether for a public event or in a studio recording scenario. This multi-featured digital audio workstation (DAW) can assist you in creating audio tracks for almost any genre or purpose. If you are a sound artist who wants to take advantage of the complex features offered by the sound programme, here are some of the most basic steps to help you use Ableton Live effectively.


1. Check your computer specifications. Recording audio requires a lot of memory and processing power. The following computer specifications are required in order to use Ableton Live:

Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8 or Windows 10 (64-bit), macOS X 10.11.6 or later

64-bit Intel Core or AMD multi-core processor for PC, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor for Mac, Intel Core i5 processor or faster is recommended

4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

1366×768 minimum display resolution for PC, 1280×800 minimum display resolution for Mac

ASIO compatible audio hardware for Link support (also recommended for optimal audio performance) for PC, Core Audio compliant audio interface recommended for Mac

Internet access to authorize Ableton Live and download additional content.

Minimum 3 GB hard disk space (8 GB recommended).

76 GB disk space for additional sound content.

2. Download and install Ableton Live on your computer. Ableton Live is available in three editions: Intro for $99, Standard for $449, and Suite for $749. There is a free 90-day trial available. Ableton Live Lite is also available for download. If your version of Ableton Live came with an installation disc, insert it into your CD/DVD drive and run it. If you do not have a disc, you can download and install the Ableton Live trial version from the website using the steps below:


Go to in a web browser.

Click Download.

Open the Ableton Live Trial zip file.

Double click the “Setup.msi” file.

Click Next.

Check “I accept the terms in the license agreement” and click Next.

Click Change to select an install location and click Ok.

Click Next.

Click Install.

Click Yes.

Click Finish.


Go to in a web browser.

Click Download.

Open the Ableton Live trial DMG file when it’s finished downloading. |

Click Agree

Drag the Ableton Live app icon into the Applications folder.

3. Launch Ableton Live. It has a grey icon with the word “Live” on it. To open Ableton Live, click the icon in the Windows Start menu or the Applications folder on a Mac.

If you want to use the free trial, go to the centre of the page and click Start your Free Trial. This will take you to a web page where you can log in or create a new account.

4. Start a new project. When you open Ableton Live for the first time, it will have a demonstration project open. Use the following steps to create a new project:

Click File.

Click New Live Set.

5. Set up an audio interface. An audio interface is a device you used to plug a microphone or instrument into your computer. Use the following steps to set up your audio interface.

Plug your audio interface into an electrical outlet (if it needs to be plugged in).

Connect your audio interface to your computer using a USB cable.

Click Options on Windows or Live on Mac in the menu bar at the top.

Click Preferences.

Click Audio.

Select “ASIO” on Windows, or “CoreAudio” on Mac next to “Driver Type”.

Select your audio interface next to “Audio Input Device”

Select your audio interface next to “Audio Output device”.

6. Alter between arrangement and session modes. In Arrangement mode, each track is displayed in a vertical column. It shows which clip is currently playing in each track. Tracks are displayed horizontally with a timeline that moves from left to right in session mode. To enter session mode, click the three horizontal lines icon in the upper-right corner. To enter arrangement mode, click the icon with three vertical lines in the upper-right corner.

7. Make a track. Ableton Live supports three track types: MIDI, audio, and return tracks. MIDI tracks are used to process digital instruments like synthesisers and electric drum kits. Analog audio, such as that from a microphone or an electric guitar, is processed by audio tracks. Return tracks are used to process the sound from audio and MIDI tracks and to add effects. When you start a new project, it has two MIDI tracks, two audio tracks, an effects track, and a master return track. To make a new track, follow these steps:

Click Create in the menu bar at the top.

Click Insert Audio Track or Insert MIDI Track (You can also right-click and click Insert Audio Track or Insert MIDI Track).

8. Add a sound clip folder to Ableton Live. If you want to use sound samples or clips in a song or mix, you must first add the folder to Ableton Live. To add a folder in Ableton Live, follow these steps:

Click Add Folder in the left-hand panel (if you don’t see the left-hand panel, click the grey icon with the play triangle in the upper-left corner).

Navigate to a sound folder on your computer and double-click it to select it.

Click Select Folder.

9. Include sound clips. In Ableton Live, click the folder that contains the sound clip you want in the panel to the left to add it. Then, click and drag the audio clip you want to add to the track. Only MIDI clips (.mid files) and audio clips (.wav/.mp3 files) can be added to MIDI tracks and audio tracks, respectively.

In Ableton Live, you can access beats, loops, and other samples from available file folders. Knowing where to find sounds to populate your files is one of the first steps in creating a track.

Create the track by layering samples in accordance with rhythm and timing conventions. You should be able to learn how to effectively drag and drop samples into your track through some trial and error.

To move and arrange audio clips in the timeline, click and drag them.

To make a track loop, click and drag to highlight the section of the track you want to loop. Then, on the right, select Duplicate. Repeat as many times as you want the track to loop.

10. Click to play the tracks. It’s the button that resembles a triangle at the top of Ableton Live. This plays your tracks back.

11. Record sound on a track. Use the following steps to record audio on a track.

Connect an instrument or microphone to your audio interface.

Click the icon with a solid circle on the track you want to record on to arm the track.

Click Auto below “Monitor” to allow your recording to be heard in real-time.

Use the second drop-down menu on the track to select which input your instrument or microphone is connected to on your audio interface.

Click the icon with three horizontal lines to switch to the session view.

Click just before the location, you want to start recording in the timeline.

Click the solid circle button at the top to start recording.

Click the solid square button at the top to stop recording.

12. Effects can be added to a track. Ableton includes a plethora of built-in effects that can be used to alter the sound of a track. To create an echo effect, use delay or reverb. You can simulate a guitar amplifier by adding an amp. You can use an equaliser to adjust the track’s tone. Third-party VST Plug-ins can also be added. To add an effect to a track, follow these steps:

Click Audio Effects in the panel to the left.

Click the arrow icon next to an audio effect category to show all effects in that category.

Click and drag an audio effect to the track you want to apply it to.

Use the controls at the bottom of the screen to modify the effect settings.

13. Combine the tracks. When you have enough tracks to make a song or sound sample, you can mix them to achieve the desired sound balance. You can adjust the volume of individual tracks to mix them forward or backward. Certain tracks can also be panned to the left and right speakers. To mix your tracks, follow the steps below.

To enter arrangement mode, click the icon with three vertical lines.

To change the volume of a track, click and drag the arrow icon next to the sound metre at the bottom of the screen.

To pan the track from the left and right speakers, click and drag the icon that looks like a knob.

To adjust the volume of everything, click and drag the arrow icon next to the sound metre on the Master track.

14. Save your project. Use the following steps to save your project:

Click File in the menu bar at the top.

Click Save Live Set as.

Type a name for the session next to Filename.

Click Save.

15. Make an audio file of your project. When you’re finished with your session, you can save it as an audio file that can be played in other apps. To export your tracks as an audio file, follow these steps:

Click File in the menu bar at the top.

Click Export Audio/Video.

Select a file type using the drop-down menu next to “File Type”.

Click On next to “Encode MP3”.

Click Export.

Enter a name for the audio file next to “File Name”.

Click Save.

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