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Choosing the right gear and setting up a system

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Choosing the right gear and setting up a system

Correctly configuring and connecting the equipment in your home studio is essential to working effectively, and enjoying making music using a computer. Let's talk about setting up your system, and the best way to power your system on and off. If you're setting up your home studio for the first time, you want to start by installing Ableton Live on your computer. You also want to check the Downloads pages at ableton.com to make sure that you have the latest version of the program. The first time you start Live, you'll be asked to authorize the program through Ableton's web site, where you can create an account and register your serial number.

Choosing the right gear and setting up a system

Correctly configuring and connecting the equipment in your home studio is essential to working effectively, and enjoying making music using a computer. Let's talk about setting up your system, and the best way to power your system on and off. If you're setting up your home studio for the first time, you want to start by installing Ableton Live on your computer. You also want to check the Downloads pages at ableton.com to make sure that you have the latest version of the program. The first time you start Live, you'll be asked to authorize the program through Ableton's web site, where you can create an account and register your serial number.

In addition to program updates, you should also check the Downloads page for free Live packs, which include device presets, samples, and clips. After turning your computer off, you can begin connecting the various devices in your system. If you're using an audio interface, connect the device to the computer. Most interfaces connect via a USB or FireWire cable. If available, use the cable that came with the interface. You may need to power the interface by plugging it into the wall, using an AC adapter. But in many cases, the interface will draw the necessary power from the computer via the USB or FireWire cable.

Next, connect any external hard drives you're using to the computer. Check your drive to see whether it connects to the computer via a USB or FireWire cable. If you've purchased a FireWire 800 drive, it uses a different cable than the older FireWire 400 drives. You may need to use an adapter cable that will allow you to connect a FireWire 800 drive to a computer that only has FireWire 400 connections. Note that some computers only have one FireWire connection. If you're using both a FireWire drive and a FireWire interface, connect the drive to the computer, and then connect the interface to the second FireWire port on the drive.

Today, most MIDI controllers connect to a computer using a USB cable. If you're using an older MIDI keyboard that only has MIDI ports, check to see if your audio interface has an integrated MIDI interface. If it does, connect the MIDI out port on the keyboard to the MIDI in port on the interface. If the interface doesn't have an integrated MIDI interface, you'll need to purchase a stand-alone USB MIDI interface. If you're going to record vocals or instruments into Live, you'll need to connect a microphone to one of the inputs on your audio interface.

You'll need a microphone or XLR cable, and I'd suggest that mic cables are an item where you don't want to economize. Properly cared for, a good mic cable will last a long time, and will noticeably improve your recordings. Mogami or Canare cables both offer excellent products. Plug the female end of the mic cable into the microphone, being careful not to squeeze the grill on the mic. Plug the male end of the cable into the preamp input on the interface. If you're using a condenser microphone, remember that you'll need to power the microphone.

Find the Power button on the interface, usually labeled + 48V, and enable it. You can record live instruments by connecting them directly to the audio interface. Connect guitars or basses to the instrument input using a quarter-inch cable. If you have an external synthesizer or drum machine that you want to use as a sound source, plug them into a line input on the interface using a quarter-inch cable. If the device has a balanced output, use a quarter-inch TRS cable. Last, connect your headphones to the headphone output on the interface, and connect your speakers to the monitor outputs on the back of the interface.

If you're using power speakers, you can connect the speakers using balanced cables--depending upon the available connections, either a TRS quarter-inch or XLR. If you have passive speakers, you need to first route the audio outputs on the interface to a power amp, and then to the speakers. Now that you have everything connected, you're ready to boot your system. In order that your computer recognizes your devices, and that you don't damage a device, it's recommended that you turn things on in the following order. First, boot your external hard drive, turn on your audio interface if necessary, turn on your MIDI controllers, turn on your computer, and last, turn on your speakers.

Shut down your system in the opposite order: speakers first, computer, controllers, interface if necessary, then hard drives. If you need to remove a hard drive from your computer while it's still running, first eject the drive, turn it off, then unplug the drive from your computer. Now that you have your system connected and powered up, you're ready to start making music using Ableton Live.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 17055 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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