What way did you approach learning how to use Ableton live?

Hi all!

 

Just about to buy the suite (have Ableton live, but I want operator and sampler) and am starting to get my feet wet with the software. It can be a bit daunting though, especially for me who has never used a DAW, so I just wanted to ask, how did you approach learning how to use Ableton live? My goal is to produce french house type tracks with Ableton!

 

Note: This is independent of what you wanted to use live for, I am just trying to get a handle on different ways of learning such an advanced program.

 

Thanks!

sun

 

 

16 answers

  • danger
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    Reading the manual, searching on tutorial videos on youtube, Sonic Academy videos ( http://www.sonicacademy.com/Training+Videos/ ), ableton forum.

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • grooverb
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    There's a load of tutorials built in to live to get you started, and then it was making music, Computer Music Magazine(lots of tutorials), The Dance Music Manual and I just got Ableton Live 8 Power, plus lots of experimentation, but you will probably never stop learning. If you feel you are not learning anything in music production and just going through the motions, it is probably because you are and you need to go and find something new to learn.

     

    The only course I've done related to Ableton was the Ableton Advanced course at City Lit and I got tons out of that. TO be honest I'm not sure the Berklee courses are a good place to start simply cos of the the price. You can learn lots just by working out how to make your music and then experimenting with how to change it. But that's only my opinion. They do occasionaly do freeby stuff, which is always useful to get in on, so add Computer Music, Ableton etc as likes on FB

     

    I will say the good thing with suite is its got all the instruments which have different ways of working so you can really get some good sound design experience, even if its just from adapting presets.

     

    Best of luck :D

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • ShelLuser
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    Dive in head first, ignore any comments telling you that "you're doing it all wrong" and keep the manual handy (also easily read from within the program: "Help -> Read Live manual".

    There is no "right" or "wrong" way to work this out.

    Still; whatever you do, do not think that just because something "looks easy" it probably also is "easy" :-)

     

    5 years ago | 1 comment
  • jezjonson
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    Best thing I found was to listen to the following 3 tutors:

    - Craig Mcculloch (http://www.groove3.com)

    - Timothy Allen (http://www.groove3.com

    - Tom Cosm (New Zealand Certifed Ableton Trainer)

    Worth noting that all of the above are Ableton Certified Trainers.

    Their Tutorial videos are amazing !!!

    You are wasting time looking at other stuff IMO if you don't check out these guys!!

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • Joghurt
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    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • jufe
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    There are a lot of ways of different methods of accomplishing your musical goals with ableton. How deep do you want to go? I don't consider myself a pro but i have learned a lot from reading. the ableton manual is good but can get a bit dry at times. if you want to learn about Operator i recommend getting into the fundamentals of sound synthesis because it will let you understand how synthesisers work and you can apply it to any program, such things as ADSR envelopes. If you don't want to dig that deep you can stick with youtube tutorials, ableton's built in lessons and use a lot of loops and presets.

    I also recommend books such as Live 8 POWER by Course PTR. It provides the same info as the ableton manual but with a little bit more insight and easier to read.

    My advise is; there is no wrong way....experiment,have fun and stay motivated. if you get frustrated.....take a break, go back and try it again.

    Good luck

    5 years ago | 0 comments
  • cygnal
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    Learn how to setup MIDI and audio routing - check out some mixing console manuals, and their features, and read some early publications on MIDI systems. Getting the right startup project setup will jumpstart your creative workflow. Just general studio recording techniques, and you'll know where to go from there...

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • mclifton
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    I just checked out Groove3 and Tom Cosm, thanks for sharing that. The vids are outstanding for even seasoned veterans like myself ;)

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • Huntman
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    I've hit the same wall with Ableton and I completely recommend Tom Cosm.

    Watched all of his videos that I can for free and plan on paying to see the rest.

    Can't deal with Groove3 though, although the tutorials are amazing, they tend to shove religious stuff at your face and well... i'm not about that, but if you don't care definitely check them out! Good luck all on your journeys!

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • Neodeadhead
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    I cant say enough about Tom Cosm and Mr. Bill. Check out their Youtube channels and subscribe to their Sound Cloud accounts.

    I have been playing music for a very long time so the theory is no problem for me, however, they have given me some great tips on editing techniques, sound design, routing, mixing, you name it. All of the things you can't learn in music school.

    I have also read the manual cover to cover and I am going to read it again. Cheers! Have fun.

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • jordannatan
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    Lot's of great feedback here already, and I'll join the chorus that the Live documentation is actually really good! If you're interested in learning in a more structure way, Ableton’s co-creator Robert Henke (aka Monolake) guest lectures on our free Kadenze course, Sound Production in Ableton Live for Musicians and Artists. https://www.kadenze.com/courses/sound-production-in-ableton-live-for-musicians-and-artists

    It’s based on the curriculum I’ve developed over 5 years at CalArts, and it’s an application-led course that teaches you the fundamentals of mixing and sound design, that you can apply inside and outside of Live. We also try to provide a good balance of context and theory, e.g. when you learn about sampling in Live you also learn about the historical context around sampling, from early Musique Concrète, through the birth of hip-hop, etc. Furthermore, even with core mixing concepts, we try to show you interesting creative ways to use those techniques for sound design, composition, and more.
     
    There are a lot of amazing resources for learning Live online, and on Kadenze, we’re lucky to have a vibrant community on the course forums, and on the course gallery where you can hear and discuss the music people are submitting for homework and really engage with one another. We’ve put a lot of thought into designing coursework that allow you to both hone in the specific topics/skills learned in that session, while also giving space for you to explore your creativity.
     
    Here’s an example (taken from Session 7) of one of the extended sound design lessons from the course, where Robert Henke teaches you how to synthesize TR-808 style drums from scratch in Operator, or check out the syllabus below.
     
     
    Course Information:
     
    This course provides hands-on experience in producing, mixing, and sound design with a digital audio workstation. Students will learn the fundamentals (physics) of sound and digital audio, proper gain staging, where and how distortion enters recordings and mixes, how to set levels and panning, effective sub group mixing, and an introduction to signal processing such as equalization, compression, delay, and reverb. In addition to core audio and mixing concepts, students will learn various production techniques, such as sequencing, arranging, automation, using virtual instruments (e.g. synths, samplers, and drum machine plugins), working with MIDI, plugin formats such as VST/Audio-Units, and mapping digital USB controllers for the studio and live performance.
     
    The material covered in this course will range from the foundations of producing music and sound design, to more advanced topics such as Ableton "racks" (Audio Effect Racks, MIDI Effect Racks, Instrument Racks, and Drum Racks), multi-band effects processing, advanced modulation, warping, time-stretching, and mangling audio, as well as taking advantage of Live's audio analysis tools for extracting grooves, melody, harmony, and drums from recorded sound.
     
    SCHEDULE:
     
    Session 1: Introduction To Ableton Live 
    This session will cover the fundamentals of Ableton Live, including Live Sets and Projects, tracks, clips, the Session View, the Arrangement View, exporting audio, and more.
     
    Session 2: The Nature Of Sound 
    This session will cover the basic properties (physics) of sound, an introduction to digital audio theory, and gain staging.
     
    Session 3: Levels And Panning 
    This session will cover the fundamentals of setting up a basic mix, including balancing levels, placing sounds in the stereo field, and mixing into pink noise.
     
    Session 4: Sculpting Frequencies: Equalization 
    This session will cover using EQ to shape your sounds and mixes. Learn about the different types of EQs (3-band, Graphic, and Parametric) and how to use them on different sounds, using EQs for dramatic effect, as well as creating dynamic EQs.
     
    Session 5: Reverb And Space 
    Learn about natural and analog reverb, sound reflections and absorption, and how to use Live's powerful digital 'verb to bring a sense of space and depth to your tracks. Additional lessons in using reverb for sound design and FX will be covered.
     
    Session 6: Compression And Dynamics 
    This session will cover everything you need to know about dynamics processing and using compression to produce punchy mixes. Topics include an overview of how compression works using Ableton's "Compressor", buss compression with the "Glue" compressor, Parallel/NY compression, multiband compression with the "Multiband Dynamics" compressor, and Side-chain compression.
     
    Session 7: Slicing And Dicing: Sampling In Live 
    This session will cover the foundations of sampling from a historical perspective (Musique Concrete to Hip Hop), and practical use of samplers and sampling including using Live's Simpler and Sampler devices for synthesis and sound design, chopping up drum breaks, etc.
     
    Session 8: Parallel Signal Processing: Ableton Racks 
    This session will cover using Audio Effect Racks, MIDI Effect Racks, Instrument Racks, and advanced Drum Rack configuration for a wide range of applications including: dynamic audio effects, custom arpeggiators, multiband effect processing, and more.
     
    Session 9: Inside/Outside: Advanced MIDI, Syncing Laptops, Mapping Strategies, And Audio Analysis 
    This session will cover a wide range of advanced production techniques including a deeper understanding of the MIDI protocol, syncing multiple Live sessions on different computers via a standard computer network (WIFI/Ethernet), mapping strategies for live performance, as well as advanced audio analysis in Live (extracting "grooves" from audio, and converting melody, harmony, and drums from audio-to-MIDI).

     

    2 months ago | 0 comments
  • dezynix
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    There is a 'mastering ableton live' series on youtube where the chick is going through the whole ableton live manual and making videos of it.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfDf4J2pE_lraLtIsO9asAqCTuKppOmyq

    1 month ago | 0 comments
  • cainoh
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    The manual, Live 9 Power Guide (PDF of the book floating around), YouTube.  Lynda.com (I'm a member for their graphic design and animation tutorials) has a 9 hour video course that I've yet to look at, and much shorter courses on using Live with NI Maschine, using Push 2, and Ableton Link.  But, you know, Lynda is not free unfortunately.

     

    Hahahaha.....just now noticed this question was asked 5 years ago...OP is probably a Live wizard by now (or moved on entirely) 

    1 month ago | 0 comments
  • El Visitor!
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    Depending on your' background/experience I wouldn't rush to recomend any paid courses. I learned by firstly getting stuck in and seeing what everything does (sometimes switching on the info window which helps a lot when experimenting with devices or parameters you're not familiar with), reverse engineering some preset racks/instruments etc and finally diving into the manual where I couldn't find my own way.
    The fm synthesis was a bit of a challenge initially as i only worked with some additive and subtractive hardware synths and reason before using live but there are some great youtube tutorials available for filling knowledge gaps and inspiring new working methods.
    Personally I think live works well with a "jump in and see what happens" mentality because it quickly becomes intuitive but maybe not for every one. I'd defo recommend trying that before splashing out on lessons though.

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • dravis14
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    I found myself struggling to learn this software until I picked up a Push. This piece of HARDware is extremely helpful in learning the SOFTware of Live 9. While I've still got lots to learn, Push really helps to flatten out the learning curve. Granted, a $500. investment sounds steep...but considering how much it increased my understanding of Ableton as well as how much fun they are....it's worth every penny.

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • Happy Tony
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    -2 votes

    Hi Sun.  Glad I might partake in answering your question.  It is really, for myself as well, the first or one of the first questions I asked myself.  How do I myself partake in learning ABleton Live?  And, what is the learning curve?  Until you learn grace, the learning curve might seem incredibly steep.  By grace I mean forgiveness and the like.

    So?  I decided through at fist th grace I had from down under, that I would try and learn Live all by myself.  Self teaching, experimenting and the like.  What I soon realized is that was a near impossible path and endeavor.  I was witless almost seemingly and brainless.  Now through reliance on my master of grace and forgiveness I learn seemingly by myself in grace but am substantiated and sure in the knowledge of truth.

    Also along the way of not just being able to find what I could find in such places as free tutorials I looked to youtube and e-zines.  Although I hav no watchedit much, CSI tutorial CD has been the mot quick and informative way to applying Ableton Live so far that I have seen.  It is fast paced and easy if you are intelligent.  BUt when I first triedto watch it, I was highly incpompitent and lacked patience to watch it it thouroughly as I was unable to identify what he was talking about.  Although I dd not understand him, it was because I was inflicted with lies and distress.  Now I do realize patience I a virtue, I must work for it.  As well as grace.

     

    Blessings, Anthony Lowery.  Certified trainer.

    3 years ago | 0 comments

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