Using Ableton Live without and audio interface is possible, and you can do a huge amount with your laptops built in inputs and outputs. But, if you are using Ableton with a laptop, it will become limiting, and you’ll be looking how to expand.
To really get the most out of Ableton, you’re going to need an audio interface. We won’t go into which to choose, but in general, just think about what you need in terms of ins and outs, and go for the interface you can afford. The quality of even low cost interfaces is very high these days, it’s difficult to go wrong (but certainly possible.)
Connecting the interface
First off, you need to physically connect the interface, this can either be a USB or firewire connection. Whatever card you have, it doesn’t alter the following 10 steps*:
- Connect the interface to your computer
- Open the computer audio system preferences (Apple -> System Preferences -> Sound)
- Make sure the interface is available and enabled
- Start up Ableton Live
- Click Live -> Preferences -> Audio (Shortcut: “cmd + ,” )
- In driver type choose “Core audio”
- Choose your interface for audio in
- Choose your interface for audio out (TIP: The audio in and out devices can be different)
- Click input configuration -> Select the inputs to use (Highlighted in yellow)
- Do the same with the output configuration
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.
*These steps for setting your interface up on a Mac