10 Ableton Live Tips to Start Music Production
10 simple steps and tips to guide you on the already user-friendly interface of Ableton Live. A DAW landmark in the electronic music production scene.
There is a big debate on whether or not Ableton Live is the best music production software (DAW) for electronic music producers. Even if there are some amazing software out there such as Cubase, Pro Tools, Logic and more, the latest version of Live (Ableton 10) fulfill the expectations of professional audio engineers. For more info about the best DAW software on the market check here.
Ableton Live 10 is an amazingly powerful tool that every professional producer out there has tried it, used it or still works with it. We collect and present to you useful tips to help and guide you into an easier and proper use of the software.
10 ABLETON LIVE TIPS
1. Add quality music libraries
The best DJs and music producers in the world use samples, loops and pre-recorded hits in most of their tracks. Music libraries that are created by your favorite producer or record label are highly recommended. Loopmasters offer a huge variety of free and premium libraries. Including the biggest and most popular labels and categorized by genre and formats. Only by registering to their website you will get 1GB free samples and loops. Prime Loops is also a superb website that presents a well-categorized menu to find anything you want. From music libraries and samples to DAW and plug-in presets as well as FREE music production tutorials and tips.
2. Take it easy with downloading
One thing you don’t want is a library with a thousand music packs, effects, plug-ins and digital instruments. Pick the best music libraries, exceptional plug-ins that overcome Ableton’s tools and a few instruments such as Massive by NI, Sylenth, Absynth and couple more. You don’t want to end up with TB of hard disc captured space by tools you never use.
“First 2 tips apply before you enter Ableton Live and for all DAW’s”
3. Use both GUI views of Ableton Live
One of the reasons of Ableton’s success is the existence of 2 GUI views. The traditional arrangement view with vertical-track display and time moving is ideal for mixing and mastering. However, the session view gives us the opportunity to improvise, record and perform our musical ideas extremely easy by creating short clips. You will discover it’s advantages during time and experience. Session view is perfect for djing and lives performances as well.
4. Create and edit MIDI
Ableton Live offers a big variety of devices such as Analog, Drum Rack, Impulse, Operator and more. After you add the instrument to your MIDI channel you create the clips. MIDI clips are created with the help of your computer keyboard. However, if you want a more natural way to produce music check the best MIDI keyboards and the best cheap MIDIs for limited budgets. Change NOTE position, velocity, quantization and overdubbing are standard procedures of all productions.
5. Recording audio
You can record audio with a built-in microphone. For better quality recordings use the inputs of an audio interface. Check the best audio interfaces that you can buy for under $200. You can record audio or MIDI clips on both Live’s session. I personally prefer session view but it’s all up to you.
6. Processing audio
Two of the most significant production tools of all DAWs are the Compressor and Auto Filter.
- The compressor is probably the most important device of music production. This is the way to control the dynamics of a signal as well as add sidechain mode that is essential for kicks and other drum sounds.
- If you perform mixing by using the filter FX then you will feel familiar with the Auto Filter. It is another very important device that allows you to isolate parts of a frequency range.
In total the library of Ableton Live 10 offers over 30 audio effects such as Reverb, Auto Pan, Ping Pong Delay and Filter Delay.
If you do not understand how a filter or device works don’t randomly adjust its knobs. Learn and study well the purpose behind an effect and how you can adjust it to match the results you desire. It is time saving to sit and study than just experiment and hope for the best. Thankfully there are limitless of free tutorials on the web to guide you.
7. Mixing your tracks
After you arrange and edit your musical ideas it is essential to properly adjust the sound level of each track. It might be personal preference, but don’t over do it and turn up the level of all channels. That’s because first with equalization and second with the mastering you will achieve great results. EQ8 is the tools we use for equalization. It is an effect to shape the frequency content of a sound and change its tone characteristics.
The last process before you make your track available to the crowd is the mastering. Ableton Live offers four extraordinary effects to master your audio file before export. Multi-band Dynamics, EQ, Compressor, and Limiter must always appear in your Master channel. Mastering is the action that will give boost your track and add color.
9. Save CPU
When you start mixing and mastering your final track with more than 30 channels you might want to reduce the CPU. “Freeze” your channels is one way that you will save CPU. You can also deactivate the effects that you do not use.
10. Djing with Live
It is not easy to find a music production software with which you will be able to perform live and DJ as well. Ableton has no competitors as it is perfect for both uses. The session view works not only to easily record your ideas but add tracks and create a perfect layout for djing.
Techniques and effect devices suited for djing
- Warping your tracks will make sure that your tunes have their beats laid out correctly. In addition, you have a crossfader which allows you to blend between two or more tracks. Live’s cueing system gives you the ability to listen to one track on headphones as another song is playing.
- EQ3 simulates the 3 band EQ of a DJ mixer with low, middle and high frequencies with “full kill”. Simple Delay, Reverb, Filter and many more effects to add on each channel and perform a smooth mixing set.
In the market, there are amazing performance tools that offer perfect compatibility with Ableton. Likely you can get some of the best Ableton controllers for a very good price.
BONUS TIP: Be patience
Electronic music production is an art that requires practice, hard work, experiment, inspiration, and talent. If you are not patience you will never succeed to go from a bedroom producer to a pro. Don’t worry, you will get there…