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Preparing to record

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Preparing to record

While Ableton Live includes a library full of useful audio and MIDI clips, as well as a collection of great virtual instruments, it's likely that at some point, you'll also want to record audio into an Ableton Live Set. In this video, we will discuss the signal path through a computer-based recording system, how to set the resolution for the audio you want to record, and the basic considerations in preparing to record. So the components of a recording system include the sound source which you are going to record, and then usually a microphone which converts a sound pressure wave to an electrical signal, then an audio interface whose primary components are audio converters: first, analog-to-digital converters which convert the audio from an electrical signal to a digital signal, and then so we can listen to the audio coming out of computer, digital-to-analog converters which convert the digital signal back to an electrical signal.

Preparing to record

While Ableton Live includes a library full of useful audio and MIDI clips, as well as a collection of great virtual instruments, it's likely that at some point, you'll also want to record audio into an Ableton Live Set. In this video, we will discuss the signal path through a computer-based recording system, how to set the resolution for the audio you want to record, and the basic considerations in preparing to record. So the components of a recording system include the sound source which you are going to record, and then usually a microphone which converts a sound pressure wave to an electrical signal, then an audio interface whose primary components are audio converters: first, analog-to-digital converters which convert the audio from an electrical signal to a digital signal, and then so we can listen to the audio coming out of computer, digital-to-analog converters which convert the digital signal back to an electrical signal.

Note that Ableton Live will run without an external audio interface, instead using the computer's built-in converters. However, these converters are not nearly as good as those found in an audio interface, and the resulting recordings will not be as good. The next component in your system would be a computer running Ableton Live. And lastly, you will you will need headphones or speakers which convert the electrical signal back to sound pressure waves, so you can actually hear the audio. In preparation for recording, check the connections for the components in your system and make sure that you've left enough room for the cables to firmly attach and avoid bending the cables where they attach.

When preparing to start a recording system, it's best to connect the audio interface to the computer before turning the computer on. Also, remember the rule of "last on" and "first off" in regards to your speakers. This will avert any damage to the speakers due to pops that might occur from turning any of the other components on or off. So I have got Ableton Live opened here, and when you open Ableton, it opens a default project. If we need to create a new project, or a new Set, you can just go up to the File menu and choose New Live Set, or use the key command Command+N on the Mac, or Ctrl+N on PC.

Next, you want to set the preferences that determine the audio file type and resolution. The Preferences are located under the Live menu, or you can use the key command Command+Comma, or on a PC, Ctrl+Comma. I am going to click the Audio tab, and we will begin there. First, let's look at the Sample Rate parameter. The options on Ableton Live are 44.1, 48, and 96 kHz, with 441 being the consumer audio CD standard. 48 and 96 are higher- resolution audio options.

I am going to go ahead and choose 44.1. And before we move on, I am also going to also take a look at the Latency and Buffer Size parameters. Now remember that larger buffer sizes allow the computer to operate more efficiently, and when you're mixing and editing that's okay. But when you are recording, you are going to want to use a lower buffer size. So, options usually are in presets of 64, 128, 256, or multiples. Note that Ableton Live will allow you to type any figure into this field, but that might cause a conflict with your converter, or your audio interface, so make sure you know what those options are.

In this case, I will go ahead with 128 samples. Okay. So the next thing you will probably do is connect a microphone. And if that microphone is a condenser-type microphone, then you want to locate the phantom power button on your interface, and that's normally labeled +48V. We are just about ready to record, but we will need a track for that. Now the default set has an audio track. Or, if we need one, we can go up to Create menu and choose Insert Audio Track, or use the key command Command+T on a Mac or Ctrl+T on a PC.

I will go ahead and use the default track. And before I record, I am going to want to name that track, because the audio files that are recorded to that track will be named based upon the track name. So in Ableton Live, we can rename a track by clicking on the track nameplate and using the key command Command+ R on the Mac or Ctrl+R on a PC. So, I will just call this "Voice Over." Okay, the next thing I want to do is address the input that my microphone is plugged into, so that Ableton Live can see that. And I do that by coming down here and choosing the Input type, which in the case of an audio interface would be external- in--I can click that and see the other options, but in this case, we are ready to go--and then choosing the input that that microphone is plugged into.

So this particular interface has two inputs, and I can either go stereo or mono 1 or 2. I would only use the stereo input if I have actually got two microphones or a stereo microphone plugged in. In this case, my microphone is plugged into channel 2, so I will choose that. And lastly, before we get ready record here, I am going to record-enable the track. But before I do that, let me add that if you've got speakers that are turned on in the room, this will cause a feedback loop. If you are on headphones, that's no problem. So I'll go ahead and record-enable this, and now we can see there's audio level on the track.

So now that we have discussed system setup, audio file parameters, and prepping to record, we are ready to begin recording audio into 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

 
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  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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