Starting as a tool used exclusively for electronic live performances, Ableton Live is now the DAW of choice for many songwriters and producers. In this article, we’re going to look into the pros of cons of this most popular software and break down who should opt for it and who should not.
So let’s answer:
Is Ableton difficult to learn?
Starting with Ableton couldn’t be easier thanks to its clean and no-nonsense design, making it a perfect DAW for beginners and experts alike. Getting the basics of Ableton doesn’t take long, thanks to its linear layout and the abundance of content online.
The flexibility and fast workflow of Ableton make it the ideal tool for electronic music production and live performances, regardless of the user’s level. It’s the perfect DAW for capturing and editing audio in seconds, as well as for MIDI and loop-based compositions.
Ableton offers two approaches to music composition: the Session View and Arrangement View. The former allows arranging clips vertically and playing them in any order, which is ideal when you’re performing live or want to rearrange existing tracks in different ways. The latter is for a more linear and traditional approach to songwriting.
In the Session View, you’ll also have access to Ableton’s Browser, which includes all instruments and effects you’ve got available. On the left side, the browser is in two parts, with the right-hand column showing the content of the folder selected from the main categories on the left.
Always in the Session View, at the bottom left, you’ll find an Info View. This window will give you information about all available tools and instruments on Ableton as you hover over them.
Finally, you can also activate the Help View. If it’s not already on when you opened Ableton for the first time, go to the menu on the top, open View, and tick the Help View option.
All information provided in the Help section is clear and devised with the novice in mind. If you go through “A Tour of Live” and “Recording Audio” before you get started and then use the Info View as a source of information as you go along, you’ll be making music in no time.
In the next paragraphs, we’ll dive into the more technical features Ableton Live offers:
How do I use instruments in Ableton Live 10?
The built-in plugins’ instruments are on the left side menu. Expand the library and find the instrument you’re looking for. Once you found it, drag and drop it into a MIDI track or an empty area of the workstation, or click on the track and then double-click on the instrument. You can personalize each instrument using the device editor at the bottom.
Each version of Ableton comes with a package of sounds. The Live Essential package will be enough to get you started, but if you’re looking for a more unique sound, you can always upgrade your package, buy sound packs from Ableton or set up VST Plugins.
How do I route a channel in Ableton?
The section “Audio/Midi to” allows us to select where we want the audio signal to be routed to. By default, it’ll go to Master, but you can choose to redirect it to the external output of the audio interface you’re using.
The section “Audio/MIDI From“ allows you to choose the track’s input.
As for monitoring, the default is Auto, which means it’s on when the track is ready to record and disabled while playing clips.
If the monitor is set to in, the channel will receive inputs from the Audio/Midi device it’s connected to; it won’t, however, play any pre-recorded sounds.
How do I organize plugins in Ableton?
Live 10 introduced new plugins’ “collection” feature, which simplifies many producers’ lives out there working with tons of different VSTs. You can use this tool to categorize your effects so that they’ll be easier to find whenever you need them.
Adding an effect to a collection couldn’t be easier: just drag and drop it in the folder you’d like to find it next time!
You could even create a “favorite” folder to store in one place all the plugins you use the most, as I did. Even though most of us have plenty of plugins, we know we’re using only a small portion of them regularly: if this sounds familiar to you, then go and discover this new function that comes with Live 10 to speed up your workflow dramatically.
How do you automate effects in Ableton?
On Ableton, automation is available for both audio and MIDI tracks. In the Arrangement View, you’ll be able to see all automation developing by merely pressing A on your keyboard. From Live 10 onward, you can right-click or control-click on automation points, select Enter Value, and type in your desired value.
This is a massive improvement compared to the previous versions, where you had to use your mouse to get to the sound you were after painstakingly.
What can Ableton do that logic Cannot?
The majority of producers agree that Ableton’s layout provides a better and faster workflow. Sampling is also much easier with Ableton as it makes it easy to edit and build upon them quickly. Finally, if you’re also performing live, then Ableton is just the best DAW for you.
At first glance, it may seem like Logic has a better range of musical instruments in its library. However, if you consider Ableton’s integration with the object-oriented programming language MAX/MSP (which allows users to create endless plugins on their own), it becomes clear which gives you more options.
The possibility to use it in a live context makes Ableton an ideal workstation for DJs and producers who are often on the go. Also, making beats with Ableton is super simple: just drag and drop beats to build your track. You see where I’m going here: if you’re into EDM, I’d recommend Ableton, hands down.
What makes Ableton unique?
Live’s intuitive design enhances productivity thanks to the horizontal/vertical layout that optimizes workflow and simplifies the creative process. With Live, you can also build your own instrument from scratch with Max For Live. Its hybrid approach suitable for music production and live performance is something no other DAW can offer.
Possibilities are endless with Ableton, thanks to an extensive library of sounds, instruments, and external plugins you can connect it with. Should Ableton’s library not be enough for you, the integration with MAX/MSP will also give you the chance to create your only plugins.
The layout and design of Ableton hasn’t changed much over the years, and for a good reason: it works. Its minimalist appearance has influenced other workstations, too: the latest version of Logic has a similar-looking interface that makes it extremely easy to trigger and perform MIDI sequences and audio loops.
Is Ableton worth the money?
Ableton is definitely worth the money if you’re making electronic music, performing live regularly, making music with midi and loops, or doing sound design. It’s the DAW of choice of many producers worldwide because it’s intuitive, lean and makes it very easy to recreate whichever sound you have in your mind.
The Lite version of the software comes free of charge with specific hardware, which is really cool and allows you to start composing as soon as you get your MIDI interface.
You can get the Live Essential package for €79, and it’ll be more than enough to get you started. Live 11 Suite will cost you €599 and will feel like having infinite possibilities to experiment with your creative side for the rest of your life!
At the time of writing this article, the latest, complete version of Logic Pro X is available for Mac for $79, with the regular price being $199, which means you can get it for a fraction of the cost of the latest Ableton Live version. As we discussed before, these two DAWs can be comparable in terms of qualitative results, especially for newbies looking for their first audio software.
First, you’ll need to identify what kind of use you’ll make of it. Are you playing live? Do you like recording tracks on the go using a DAW with a simple and intuitive environment? If your answers to both questions are yes, then you found the right tool for you. If your answers are no, Ableton may still be the right workstation for you, but I’d recommend you look around before you make a final decision.
Readings You May Like:
Can I Put Nylon Strings on a Steel-string Guitar?
Do Electric Guitars Sound Good Unplugged?
Buying Your First Guitar: 2 Things To Know
Are Tube Amps Worth It? (Tube vs Solid-State Amps)
How Often Does A Guitar Need a Setup?
Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?
How often guitar necks need reset?
Can You Play Two Guitars Through One Amp?
Can a 6 String Bass Be Tuned Like A Guitar?
Can I leave My Guitar Tuned Down a Step? Yes, But Is It Safe?
Should I Learn 4, 5 Or 6 String Bass Guitar & Why?
How To Know If your Guitar Amp Is Broken?
How To Fix Distorted Bass Guitar Sound?
Do Fender Guitars Appreciate In Value?
Should You Put Stickers On A Bass Guitar?
How Acoustic And Electric Guitars Are Made?
Is Electric Guitar Too Loud for an Apartment?
Does a Preamp Improve Sound Quality?
If I Learn Acoustic Guitar Can I Play Electric Guitar?
How Many Hours A Day Should You Practice Bass Guitar?
Do I need an AMP/DAC To Run Bookshelf Speakers?
How to Record Electric Guitar Into Logic Pro X?
Do headphones get worse with age?
Headphones & Studio Monitors:
Do headphones get worse with age?
Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering
Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022
Does Heat Damage Headphones?
Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Good For Music Production?
Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?
Why do headphones & cables get sticky?
Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?
How Do I know If My Studio Monitor Is Blown?
Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On
Do You Need Music Amplifier For Studio Monitors or Studio Headphones?
Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?
Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?
FarField, MidField & NearField Monitors – Their Uses, Pros & Cons
MIDI & Synths:
Should I Buy A MIDI Keyboard Or Synth? (Are Synths Worth It Anymore?)
Why Is Audio Gear So Expensive? (Especially Synths)
Top 12 Synth Brands 2022 – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers
11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 2022
Should I Buy MIDI Controller Or Keyboard? Cons, Pros & Tips
Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors 2022 On Any Budget
Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors 2022 For Home Recording
Best Biggest Studio Monitors 2022 (FarField Monitors)
Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 2022
Top 10 Analog Compressors For Mixing & Mastering (On Any Budget)
Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Under 150$, 200$, 300$ 400$ (Any Budget)
Top 12 Hardware Equalizers 2022 (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)
Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 2022
Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps 2022 (On Any Budget)
Top 6 Ribbon Mics 2022 On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)
Top 6 Cheap Dynamic Mics For Vocals Under 50$, 100$, 200$ & 300$
Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals 2022 (On Any Budget)
6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)
9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$ (2022)
Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards 2022 (On Any Budget)
Top 12 Acoustic Drums 2022 (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)
Top 10 EDM Plugins 2022 (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)
Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)
20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2022 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)
Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)
Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins 2022 (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)
Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep 2022 (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)
Top 20 Synthwave Plugins 2022 (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)
Top 15 Plugins 2022 For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage
Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music 2022 (And 4 FREE Tools)
Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop 2022 (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)
Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring 2022 (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)
Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 2022
30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 2022
Top 12 Free EQ Plugins 2022 For Precise Mixing & Mastering
Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)
Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins 2022 (With 3 Best Free EQs)
Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In 2022 | And Best FREE Mastering EQs
Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins 2022 (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)
Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal 2022 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)
Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins 2022 (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)
Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 4 FREE Plugins)
Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 2022
Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 2022
Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022
The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)
Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 FREE Plugins)
Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins 2022 For Transparent Sound
The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best FREE Tools)
Reverb & Delay Plugins:
Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)
Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)
The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins 2022 | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide
Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)
The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 2022
Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins 2022 (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)
Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins Of 2022 – Spectral Analysis Tools
Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins 2022 To See The Waveforms
Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software 2022 (+ Best FREE App)
Amps & Preamp Plugins:
Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)
Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best Free Simulators)
Top 9 Preamp Plugins 2022 (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps
20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories 2022 (Synths, Drums, Vocals)
Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT 2022 (And 4 Freebies)
Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries 2022 (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)
Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries 2022 (Best Guitars & Drums)
Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt 2022 (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)
Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022
20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries 2022 For Various Instruments
Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries 2022 (And 5 Best Free Pianos)
Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries 2022 (And 3 Freebies)
Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring 2022 (No VSTs)
Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility Plugins:
Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Tools)
6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 2022
Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins 2022 To Fix Your Bass & Drums
Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 2022
Top 6 Vocoder Plugins 2022 (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)
Top 12 Randomizer Plugins 2022 Including FREE Plugins
Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins 2022 (Best Kick Designer Tools)
Top 12 Woodwind Plugins 2022 (And KONTAKT Libraries)
Top 10 Double Bass Plugins 2022 (Best Upright Basses)
Top 5 Strings VST Plugins 2022 (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)
Top 6 Sampler Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)
Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)
Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 2022
Top 12 Sub Plugins 2022 (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)
Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique 2022 (And 7 Best Free Plugins)
Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 2022
Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)
9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Freebies)
Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins 2022 (Best PAID & FREE Picks)
Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins 2022 (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)
Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)
Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)
11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins In 2022 (And FREE Plugins)
Top 8 Piano Plugins 2022 (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)
Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made 2022 (And 3 Best Free Organs)
Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners 2022 (And 9 FREE Plugins)
Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins 2022 (And Groovebox Plugins)
4 Best Banjo Plugins 2022 (Best Banjo Instruments)
The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 2022
Top 13 Synth Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)
Top 13 Sequencer Plugins 2022 (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)
The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)
Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians 2022 (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)
Processing & Sound Design Plugins:
8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins 2022 (PAID & FREE)
Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)
Top 12 Saturation Plugins In 2022 (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)
Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)
Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins 2022 For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)
Top 6 Limiter Plugins 2022 For Precise Mastering & Mixing
The 8 Best Filter Plugins 2022 For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)
6 Best Autotune Plugins 2022 To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals
Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX)
Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)
Top 6 Flanger Plugins 2022 (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)
Top 7 Phaser Plugins 2022 (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)
Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums 2022 (And 3 Best Free Plugins)
Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins 2022 (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)
Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning 2022 (Post Production)
Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins 2022 (Best Old & Modern Picks)
Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 2022
Top 7 De-Esser Plugins In 2022 For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)
Top 7 Clipper Plugins 2022 (Best Limiter Alternatives)
Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins 2022 That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)
7 Best Exciter Plugins 2022 For Mixing & Mastering
Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins 2022 (And 2 Best Free Plugins)
Top 11 Distortion Plugins 2022 (And 4 Top Free Plugins)
Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins 2022 | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik
The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins of 2022 | Audec, Audiority, Melda
The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…
The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins 2022 | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music
7 Best Sidechain Plugins 2022 (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..
Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins 2022 (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)
The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins in 2022 | KiloHearts, Melda
7 Best Autopan VST Plugins 2022 | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys
The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins Of 2022
Top 11 Granulizer Plugins 2022 For Future Sound Design
29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins In 2022
Recording, Mixing, Mastering & Restoration
Complete Guide To Limiter: How To Use It (+ Best Plugins & Analog Limiters)
How To Use Auto-tune & Pitch Correction In Cubase?
Full Guide To Comb Filtering & Resonator – What Is It & How It works?
How Loud Should Subbass Be?
Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?
How to Fix It & Avoid Phase Cancellation In Music?
Should Drums Be in Mono or Stereo? (Kick, Snare, Clap and Percussions)
Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters
4 Ways To Remove Noise From Your Recordings (+ How To Prevent It)
How Loud Should a Mix Be Before Mastering? Recording, Mixing & Levels
6 Unique Tips How To Improve Your Vocal Recordings
How And When To Use Algorithmic And Convolution Reverb In Your Mix?
Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes
5 Quick Ways To Make Vocals Sound Better (Mixing Guide)
How To Use Upward & Downward Compression in Your Mix?
What PC, RAM & CPU Do I Need For Music Production In 2022?
Marco Sebastiano Alessi is an Italian music producer, composer, and writer. He’s the founder of Naviar Records, a music community and record label exploring the connection between experimental electronic music and traditional Japanese poetry.