Is Ableton for beginners?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
james_ukm
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Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by james_ukm » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:25 pm

Hey guys. I hope you dont mind me posting on here in amongst all your technical questions and such but i have a question that i was hoping i could get some feedback on. I want to start making music. I am an avid music fan and have been Djing (non professionally) for 10 years or so. I have no experience in using software like this at all. And now the questions Is Ableton live suitable for me? is this a program that complete novices can learn to make music with? what hardware do i really need to get going with, i have looked at into the world of midi controllers and it seems to be limitless to the amount of money that could be spent. The computer and sound system is not an issue. With regards to the software i have seen 3 ableton products lite, live and studio am i best starting with lite and seeing how i get on or am i best getting studio and having the works? or am I looking at the wrong bit of software? Feedback would be gratefull.

8O
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by 8O » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:32 pm

All of the Live versions can be tried out for free for 30 days - why not give that a go and see how you go? I highly recommend going through all the built-in lessons to quickly learn the basics. And you don't necessarily need to spend any money on additional equipment to play around with these basics...
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oddstep
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by oddstep » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:48 pm

yeah, try out the demo. a dj mate of mine just got live and an apc40; he really rates that combination.

james_ukm
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by james_ukm » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:50 pm

do the tutorials help with the basics or are they aimed more at the experianced users getting there heads round the new software?

H20nly
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by H20nly » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:02 pm

james_ukm wrote:do the tutorials help with the basics or are they aimed more at the experianced users getting there heads round the new software?
both.

no, it's not for beginners... or at least, not just for beginners.
LoopStationZebra wrote:it's like a hipster commie pinko manifesto. Rambling. Angry. Nearly divorced from all reality; yet strangely compelling with a ring of truth.

antarktika
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by antarktika » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:26 pm

H20nly wrote:
james_ukm wrote:no, it's not for beginners... or at least, not just for beginners.
I don't think the OP was suggesting it was a beginners program, more so they seemed to be concerned it might be too complex for a beginner.
Definitely if you're coming from a traditional DAW background, ableton takes some getting used to because of the session/arrangement configuration, but since they are coming at it with no previous experience in creating their own music, it should not be much more complicated than another DAW.

As to this:
james_ukm wrote:is this a program that complete novices can learn to make music with?
Everyone here was a complete novice once, and we've all, to varying degrees, learned to make music with it, as with all music software, you get out of it what you put into it.

Warrior Bob
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by Warrior Bob » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:14 am

james_ukm wrote:do the tutorials help with the basics or are they aimed more at the experianced users getting there heads round the new software?
I tried out the demo of Live 6 as a beginner and I found the tutorials to be really good. I presume they're still that way now. Live is a music tool that lots of people use for different purposes but there's no reason why a beginner couldn't get into it.

Whether it's the tool for the job for you is entirely up to you, of course! I agree, try the demo, see if you like it.

As for hardware, you don't strictly NEED anything besides a computer and some kind of audio interface. MIDI controllers are great fun and Live tends to work pretty well with them too, but add those after you have an idea what specifically you want to do with one.

Have fun with it :D

seattletruth
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by seattletruth » Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:58 am

Live was my first DAW and I learned it in about a month... Just watch lots and lots of tutorials and you will get it down pat within a week or two. There are countless tutorials on youtube and lots of professional ones you can purchase. I would recommend MacPro's tutorial series or Groove 3.

I would suggest it for beginners, any thing "easier" would be too limiting.

gjm
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by gjm » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:17 am

If you have had no experience in making music on a computer and software, then Live is not the place to start as a complete novice. You will get some results fairly quickly but it gets deep pretty quick. The manual is not a document to help you understand how to make computer based music, its an explanation of Lives features with very little application for music production in the bigger picture.

If you are novice and not on unemployment (or worse, have a serious relationship with another human being) then the 30 day free trial is pretty well useless. You pretty much have to commit to at least Intro and a 3rd party instructional video. Of course, depending on what you are trying to do musically, some sort of basic controller, head phones at least... maybe monitors, possibly a sound card and a myriad other bits and pieces will all need to be purchased as you build your setup. The cost of buying Intro compared to the rest of the gear you will educate yourself about and invariably lust after is nothing.

YMMV. :)
iMac - 10.10.3 - Live 9 Suite - APC40 - Axiom 61 - TX81z - Firestudio Mobile - Focal Alpha 80's - Godin Session - Home made foot controller

ShelLuser
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by ShelLuser » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:45 am

I think Live is an excellent way to start out.

There is a very good statement being made here; the demo only runs for 30 days. Sure.. But that is only useful if you want to save your work. If you want to simply give Live a good test run to see how stuff works then don't apply for a demo license but simply start using the program right away.

You won't be able to save your stuff, but you'll sure get a good idea as of how stuff works out!

Then when you're ready to take the next step you could consider applying for a demo license.


One word of caution here.. Be very mindful of the different versions. If you follow my example here then chances are high that you'll end up on a 'Suite' setup. In other words; one which has all the instruments and auch. Keep well in mind that 'Live 8' doesn't come with these instruments.


But apart from that... I'd definitely say that Live is a perfect DAW for a beginner. Simply because you can make it as easy or as difficult on yourself as you wish. Your milage may vary indeed; but in my opinion there's very little which beats Live's ease of use when it comes to workflow.

(referring to the option that you can simply use the session view as a 'sketch tool' and then simply 'sketch' your stuff together into an arrangement).

See here for a good example of that.
With kind regards,

Peter

Using the 'Power' Trio: Live 10 Suite (+ Push & Max 8 ), Reason 10 and Maschine Mk3 (+ the ultimate Komplete 12).
Blog: SynthFan (under heavy construction!)

Khazul
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by Khazul » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:46 am

@op: On the basis of the number of beginners who have started using live recently and joined these forums and in some cases dont even seem know how to plug something into a USB port, never mind read even bits of the Live manual, or viewed tutorials etc - I would say the answer is obviously Yes.

Also please take the time to learn the basics of production and mixing - if you know that - then thats 90% of problems taken care of immediately - doesnt matter whether DAW based mixing, or hardware based, just read up on it, get some books, some vids or even a course - it will make your life so much easier. Infact this is far more important than knowing live, as Live in the end is a multitrack recorder and mixer - pretty much like any other at the most basic level.

@gjm: yes - these days timed demos are truly f***ing useless - they should be hour timed or something to reflect the actual time a normal person gets to play. Ive lost count of the number of demo licenses for plugins have expired before Ive had a chance to run something more for 5mins for one reason or another and when the damn demo license is stored on a dongle - thats it - gone forever, no using another email address to get another demo.
Nothing to see here - move along!

Tone Deft
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:09 am

I was a noob on Cakewalk and Sonar before going to Live. I thought Live's Session view was incredibly easy for beginners. "I want this to play with that." click, click, done.


OP - leave the help box open, it's in the lower left corner of the screen. then hover the mouse over parts of the display to see what things mean.

short, concise, well worded questions will get answered.

go over to the tips n tricks forum and read the tips n tricks sticky, tons of info there.

also look for Ableton's youtube channel and the videos on this web site.

when in doubt, try a basic key stroke (ctrl-c, ctrl-v, shift select, ctrl select etc) and try dragging and dropping things around. Ableton did a pretty good job of making things consistent with common computer key strokes.

for when you get the full version, save your stuff often with Collect All And Save. when you save use revision control like mysong_1, mysong_2, mysong_3 etc so you can go back before you screwed things up.

mostly just have fun and PLAY with Live.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

crystalmsc
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by crystalmsc » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:22 am

imho, for newbie it may not be as easy as cakewalk, but the result can be more creative with more spontaneous workflow even for beginner. One thing for sure, it can grow as the user grow.
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H20nly
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by H20nly » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:12 am

gjm wrote:If you are novice and not on unemployment (or worse, have a serious relationship with another human being) then the 30 day free trial is pretty well useless. You pretty much have to commit to at least Intro and a 3rd party instructional video. Of course, depending on what you are trying to do musically, some sort of basic controller, head phones at least... maybe monitors, possibly a sound card and a myriad other bits and pieces will all need to be purchased as you build your setup. The cost of buying Intro compared to the rest of the gear you will educate yourself about and invariably lust after is nothing.

YMMV. :)
well put
LoopStationZebra wrote:it's like a hipster commie pinko manifesto. Rambling. Angry. Nearly divorced from all reality; yet strangely compelling with a ring of truth.

patrick.olson86
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Re: Is Ableton for beginners?

Post by patrick.olson86 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:40 am

When I first became interested in purchasing a DAW for my own music I bought an MBOX because I needed an interface and hey, it came with protools LE. After using protools for a few months I discovered Ableton Live. In my opinion, Ableton is WAY easier to accomplish the same results as protools. (Sure, protools is the "Industry Standard". But, keep in mind that the industry is practically dead... but then again, there is something to be said about using the industry standard)

Anyway, I find that ProTools is a pain in the butt to use and that Ableton can achieve the same results. Ableton has an improvement above ProTools also with the Session view (launching clips of music). For me, as a guitar player, it's great because I can record my parts in sections (so I can record separate clips for an Intro, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, etc.) and then I can launch them when I feel like it in real time. This makes it an awesome tool for demoing ideas. I can easily go back and rearrange the various parts to experiment with what works best! Once I'm happy with how I have the song arranged, I can go and re-record it straight through to give it a more real feel to it.

From a beat-making point of view it's great too! In my opinion it has the best drum sequencer of any DAW. The "Suite" version comes with some pretty solid drum samples, but even better, it comes with some grooves (basically swing templates) so that your drums won't sound so robotic. If you have some loops or audio clips you want to use, you can import them and Ableton will attempt to match the BPM of your audio clip with the BPM of the project you're working on. If the hits are not perfectly synced up, you can insert Warp Markers, which allow you to manipulate your audio wave to match it up perfectly to the beats.

I recommend Ableton over other DAWs. If you have a mac computer it probably has Garage Band on it already. So, if you're on the fence with DAWs to begin with, you might want to play around with that to get an idea of what's in store for you!

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