How to Record in Ableton?

Recording Connection student Miley Knox making beats on Ableton which she placed with Wu-Tang affiliate Christ Bearer | How to Record in AbletonThe rise of digital audio workstations (DAWs) has given anyone who wants to learn how to produce their own music, beats, samples, and more an outlet for their creativity. And although there are many free, demo, and enterprise options, there are a few DAWs that stand head and shoulders above the rest.

A staple in Electronic Dance Music (EDM), hip hop, and just about every other genre, Ableton Live is used throughout the world by artists, audio engineers, music producers, and others. With session and arrangement views, the ability to work with hundreds of tracks and a mountain of instruments, Ableton has distilled nearly an entire recording studio into one easy-to-use interface.

How to Record a Track in Ableton Live?

One of Ableton’s most basic functions is one of its most important. While you can create wholly original work using beats, bass, drums, and other pre-loaded instruments and samples, the ability to record gives you another layer of creativity.

1. Set Up Ableton

Once you’ve hooked up your external audio input interface, you’re ready to start recording. An audio interface allows you to bring sound in from a mic or instrument and record it as digital data that your computer can understand. This isn’t necessarily needed if you’re working with beats, samples, or instruments already loaded on software.

After opening a new session or arrangement view, you’ll select “New Live Set” under the File menu or open a live set you’ve already been working on. Next, you’ll connect your instrument (or microphone for vocals) to the audio interface. Side note: better cables make for better recording.

If you’re recording a single source, you’ll choose “1” in the Audio Form, Ext. in option on the left-hand side of the session view. When you’re ready to record, click the On button in the lower left-hand corner, and choose “Auto” under Monitor. Play a note, and you should see it registering on the view.

You can alter the gain via the audio interface (usually a dial). You’ll probably notice a lag between the time a note is played and when it’s heard through Ableton–this is known as latency. This is the time it takes the audio interface to change from analog to digital (instrument to DAW) and back again (DAW to monitor or headphones).

Latency will always be present, but you can change the buffer time under the Preferences menu in the latency section. In the beginning, we recommend using the default values until you get a better understanding of what latency is and how it affects the recording.

2. Record Your Track

After enabling the metronome at the top of the view and choosing a time signature, click the clip slot record button (it’s under the Audio track column above the main view window). Choose a track for recording, hit the record button, and play your instrument. When finished, hit the clip record button again to stop.

And that’s it! Following these step-by-step instructions, you should have a short bit of recorded instrumental to loop, manipulate, or edit. Of course, there are a variety of audio preferences that you can tweak to affect the recording, but those require more of a deep dive, hands-on conversation.

If you want to become a master at recording in Ableton, as well as delve into learning the other features of the DAW, Recording Connection has just the program for you. In less time than it takes to complete one year of university or trade school courses, you’ll already have months of experience working in a professional studio.

Learn How to Record in Ableton with a Pro

The Ableton Electronic Music Production Program through Recording Connection pairs you with a mentor to learn Ableton and more. This six to nine-month program gives veterans and beginners alike a complete overview of the software in a professional recording studio. You’ll earn alongside an industry professional and get an immersive, one-on-one experience.

While our Ableton Electronic Music Production Program does follow a set curriculum, we can use your experience to help shape it. Already have a firm grasp of the basics? You, your mentor, and your Academic Facilitator can adjust lesson plans to concentrate on more advanced topics.

Gaining hands-on experience, working towards your strengths, and even collaborating on a schedule is what sets Recording Connection apart from more traditional educational models. We just don’t feel it’s necessary to sit in a classroom for four years when you could be sitting in a real recording studio, learning how to be a music creator in Ableton, in the real world.

We save you time and money and give you something even more invaluable: experience and opportunity. You’re working in a professional environment, meeting artists, audio engineers, and music producers in their arena. Prove yourself here and you’re proving yourself to potential employers or clients.

Learning how to record and create music in Ableton is one of the important first steps to building a foundation that leads to a career in the music industry. If you’re ready to learn from a professional inside of a fully immersive environment and get started on building the future you want, apply today.

Get your music production certification and build your music production and audio engineering skills by learning with an industry professional near you.