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Ableton Live 9 Explained

Presented by Ableton Certified Trainer Scottie Dugan, this collection of videos will show you what you need to know to hit the ground running with Live 9 and then elevate you to 'power user' status.

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Getting Started


Introduction 0m:47s

Scottie welcomes you to Ableton Live 9 Explained and gives a quick rundown of what you will learn.


Install & Unlock 3m:44s

Learn how to download, install and unlock via Ableton's website. This also includes any additional Ableton or third party Live Packs.


Software Setup 4m:50s

See how to choose and setup the correct audio drivers for Mac & PC as well as configure routing. Scottie also shows how to make sure connected MIDI controllers are working and how to correctly setup and turn Instant Mapping on if supported.


Optimizing Audio 4m:23s

Learn all about latency and how to reduce it, as well as how to find how low your buffer size can go safely with the built-in test.

The Basics


Starting a New Project & Saving 3m:01s

Learn to create a new set and explore the files and folders created within the Project Folder.


The Browser 3m:16s

Discover the Categories and Places in the browser and learn how to add folders from the hard drive. See how to use search and preview to find inspiration quickly.


Audio & MIDI Tracks 2m:28s

Get a detailed intro to Tracks and how to organize them with Colors and Groups.


Routing & Monitoring 8m:56s

Scottie demonstrates basic signal flow and goes over Live 9's Monitor section.


Clips 8m:17s

Get a solid introduction to clips and how to launch and stop them individually within a Scene. See how the Global Quantize setting effects Clips and learn the difference between looping and one shot clips. You will also explore how clips in the same track interact.


Session & Arrangement Views 7m:53s

Learn the difference between the two views and how they interact. Scottie also explores the Back to Arrangement button and when to use it.


The Mixer 4m:36s

Explore all the options in the mixer section such as Fader, Mute, Solo and Arm.


Intro to Devices 6m:53s

Learn what a Device is and where to locate them. Also see how to activate and locate third party plug-ins.


Views 7m:25s

Discover the main work areas, what they're for and how to show/hide them to make more space. Discover Clip View, Device View, Groove Pool, Overview and Show/Hide Buttons.



The Transport 3m:18s

Learn how to ready Live to capture ideas with Tap Tempo, Time Signature, the Metronome and more.


Recording MIDI Clips 6m:21s

Discover how to record a MIDI Clip with a MIDI controller. You will also see how to correctly set routing for the recording and learn how to Overdub and choose a Record Quantization. Scottie demonstrates how to create a default MIDI Track and gives an intro to the idea of creating multiple takes on the fly.


Convert Audio to MIDI 3m:14s

Learn how Ableton extracts notes from Audio Clips and creates MIDI clips for Harmony, Melody and Drums. Scottie also explores activating this feature with the drag and drop method.


Recording Audio Clips 4m:05s

Scottie shows how to create a default Audio Track and record an Audio Clip with an external sound source. You will also see how to correctly set routing for the recording and learn about simple gain structure.


Key & MIDI Map Mode 7m:17s

Learn how to control almost any parameter with your computer keyboard or a MIDI controller including 3rd party plug-ins.


Recording Session View Automation 4m:57s

Explore how to prepare session view to record parameter automation as well as how to override recorded automation and re-enable the automation.


External Sources 4m:16s

Scottie shows how Live can interact with external hardware and software using ReWire and the External Instruments/Effects Devices.


Freeze & Resample 5m:45s

Discover how to freeze a track and why we would want to. Also explore resampling and its usefulness.


Managing Sets 5m:12s

Now it's time to save. Learn the many ways to manage sets, projects and presets. See how to use the built-in Browser to recall previous ideas and projects.



MIDI Clips 11m:53s

Learn how to tweak and edit MIDI Clips to perfection with Quantizing, Draw Mode and MIDI Editing features including Transform, Note Stretch and Legato.


Audio Clips 4m:02s

See how to tweak and edit Audio Clips with features like Transpose, Clip Gain, Clip Fade and Reverse.


Working in Clip View 13m:09s

Learn how to adjust universal Clip attributes including length, loop/one shot, Launch Mode, Launch Quantization and Follow Actions.


Warping 12m:58s

Discover how Live can warp Audio Clips in real-time. This includes everything from simple Quantization to recreating a completely new idea. Explore the different Warp Modes and how different types of Audio Clips sound.


Automation 7m:53s

Learn to Edit or create Clip Automation with breakpoints and curves or by drawing them in with the pencil tool. Scottie shows the power of Modulation and unlinked Envelopes that can be longer or shorter than the clip.


Grooves & the Groove Pool 9m:57s

Scottie show you ways to add a human element to clips by assigning universal swings or grooves. Also see how to extract grooves from existing clips to lock the timing of multiple clips together.



Instruments 3m:36s

Discover the built-in instruments, what they do and their factory presets.


Effects 6m:41s

Explore the built-in Audio and MIDI Effects, what they do and their factory presets.


Racks 4m:49s

Learn about the three different types of Racks: Instrument, Drum and Effect. Also discover how to create them, why we would use them and how to save them.

Create an Arrangement


Recording into Arrangement View 4m:36s

Discover how to capture a Session View performance in Arrangement View and explore recording and dropping Clips directly into Arrangement View.


Editing 2m:46s

Learn how to set Locators and Time Signature changes as well as Loop time and perform Punch In/ Out recordings. Then explore Clip and Arrangement editing which includes Splitting, Drag & Drop, Copy & Paste, Deactivate and Consolidate.


Sends, Returns & Busses 4m:12s

Scottie shows you how to use Sends and Returns, as well as how to create a standard mix Bus.


Arrangement Automation Editing 3m:06s

Learn how to use, record and edit automation with Lanes, Draw Mode, Break Points and Curves. Then discover how to Automate the Song Tempo.


Exporting 3m:35s

See how to Export audio when your arrangement is finished and how to easily create stems or upload directly to SoundCloud.

9.2 Update


New Stuff 4m:11s

With the 9.2 update there are a few brand new things. The Tuner device is much needed and anticipated. It's a great utility and an ease to use. There are a lot of updates to presets and factory samples and then a new option for exporting.


Workflow 4m:24s

There's a cool new way to grab ideas of any length and use them immediately. There has also been a major overhaul with plugin latency. Now all automation and modulation is latency compensated.

Scottie Dugan

1. When did you start dabbling in music?

I grew up taking classical piano lessons, so music has always been a part of my life. It started out as a daily chore and eventually evolved into a passion. Now I am very lucky to call it my profession.

2. What training have you had?

After thirteen years of private piano lessons I decided to pursue a formal degree. Two years in and I realized it wasn't for me. From that point on a began teaching myself and taking various online courses that offered subjects that excited me. I've gotten to learn and sit under individuals who are way better than I am.

3. When did you get into recording?

Ableton Live and the ability to make music with a computer were the two biggest reasons I didn't continue pursue a formal degree. I was in a band, we cut a DIY "garage album" and that started the obsession. The once obscured world of synths, hardware and software was now overwhealming as I transitioned away from a piano only mindset.

4. People you have worked with/for?

I have the great privilege to be working with Ableton as one of their Ableton Certified Trainers. Being a part of that community has been really amazing and life changing. I have yet to work with anyone rich and famous... but I have a feeling one day some of these crazy talented people will be. I get to work with students and artists who are chasing their musical dreams. I like the purity and passion that comes with that.

5. Why are you so good at training people?

Well, I've always been told that I'm a good teacher but I hated talking to people I didn't know. It took a while to get over those introvert tendencies and fear of public speaking and now I can't get enough. Watching a student get that lightbulb breakthrough or seeing an ignition of passion after the transfer of knowledge creates such a sense of fulfillment for me. I can't not teach.

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