To really get the most out of Ableton, you’re going to need a dedicated audio interface. Deciding which interface you need is going to depend on how you will use Ableton, how many inputs and outputs you need, midi connectivity etc. The process of connecting your interface to Ableton is largely the same irrespective of which interface you are using.
Connecting the interface (macOS)
- Connect the interface to your computer (USB3/USBC/FW/TB)
- Open the computer audio system preferences (Apple -> System Preferences -> Sound)
- Make sure the interface is available and enabled in both input and output
- Start up Ableton Live
- Click Live -> Preferences -> Audio (Shortcut: “cmd + ,” )
- In driver type choose “Core audio“
- Choose your interface in the dropdown list for audio in
- Do the same for audio out (TIP: The audio in and out devices can be different)
- Click input configuration -> Select the inputs to use (Highlighted in yellow). Depending on your input sources, choose either mono or stereo. Remember the more you select the more strain you put on your CPU.
- Do the same with the output configuration. You’ll likely only need 1/2 stereo for this, depending on your setup.
- In the sample rate settings, 44100 is CD quality, which suits most needs and higher values have no perceivable difference to the audio (arguably). However, 4800 provides more headroom and is increasingly considered standard. If you have a mastering engineer, or your music is being set to video, it’s best to get their input on what you are using here.
You have now set up your audio interface to be used by Ableton. There are far more options that we skipped past, and will be covered in later blogs. For now, connect your keyboard or microphone and headphones to your interface and get recording some music.