365 Ableton Live Tips?

Hey everyone! Welcome to 2010, and this crazy project I’ve started: 365 Ableton Live Tips. Here you’ll be finding a new tip, every day, all year. The majority will be written by me, but I’ve also got some very talented friends and colleagues chipping in as well. Follow @jonmargulies on Twitter if you would like […]

Sets and Projects

Most folks know that an Ableton Live file (.als) is called a Set, but many seem foggy on what exactly a Project is and why they should care. There are two main reasons for the project folder: 1) .als files do not contain the audio files they use. In other words, whether you record new […]

Back to arrangement, pt. 1

Day three… for those of you who are just tuning in, this week’s focus is on Essential Knowledge. While this is geared towards newer users, it’s also intended to help more experienced users round out their understanding of the basics. I know this is a topic that’s been covered a fair amount, but I seem […]


Hey folks – welcome to day 4 of my Week of Essential Knowlege… As I mentioned yesterday, the use of Back to Arrangement can get a little trickier when your Sets get more complex. This is because Back to Arrangement doesn’t just pertain to clips; it pertains to automation as well. Unlike some other popular […]


The fifth in this week of Essential But Decidedly Un-Sexy tips has to do with Live’s somewhat homely but extremely important Browser. If you’re not speedy at working with the Browser, it’s hard to be speedy with Live. Set aside some time to explore it and make sure you’re totally clear on how it works. […]


Another bit from the Slightly Dull but Incredibly Important category is knowing how to set the audio buffer properly. Take a look in the Audio tab of Live’s Preferences screen: Here are a few things you’ve got to know: The bigger your buffer, the more latency you’ll experience when using MIDI controllers with Live. It’s […]


Made it through the first week! Thanks everyone for spreading the word and for all the great feedback…and if you’re in New York, stop by on Saturday night for the Hobotech 1yr Anniversary party and say hello! If you’re using MIDI controllers with Live, you’ve got to be a Master of the MIDI preference screen. […]


Believe it or not, this is not just a tip for beginners… The Info View is a criminally underused feature in Ableton Live. I have used it many, many times while learning new versions of Live and still use it when I need to double-check something. In fact, I just learned a keyboard shortcut for […]


Today, ask yourself a question: How improvisational is your live set? How much do you plan out in advance, and how much is decided on the spot? The answer often lies somewhere on a continuum – some things have to happen as planned, some have a great degree of latitude. Even within the areas of […]


I’m spending today working with my friend Haj (of Sub Swara) on his new Ableton Live setup, and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly you run out of knobs on even the most well equipped controller. One of the advantages of old fashioned hardware mixers and synthesizers is that the interface is already […]