Getting Audio into Ableton Live

Topic Progress:

If you want to record sound into Live using a microphone, guitar, or any real-instrument, you’ll want to eventually purchase an audio interface. An interface converts audio signals into a language the computer can understand.

As explained in this video, I recommend going into Ableton’s Preferences –> Audio tab –> Buffer Size:

  • Set your buffer to 128 samples when recording audio
  • Set your buffer to 512 or 1024 samples whenever you’re not recording audio.

(click video gear icon to adjust playback speed)


Choosing the right audio interface for your needs depend on 3 main things:

  • Speed. There are different connection speeds with interfaces today that determine the time between playing your live instrument and the playback of what you’re hearing inside Live. Three common interfaces you’ll find today in terms of speed are (from fastest to slowest):
    • Thunderbolt
    • FireWire
    • USB
  • Preamp Quality. The purpose of a preamp is to boost low level signals to the “standard” loudness of your recording gear. Audio interfaces already come with built-in preamps. And usually, they’re good enough to get you started.
  • Number of Input Channels. Think about what you’re going to use the interface for. If you’re only wanting to track vocals or guitar, a 2-channel interface is all you need. If you’re wanting to eventually track live drums or a full band, you’ll want to consider at least 8 inputs, or purchase a mixing board.


CLICK HERE to read an article with audio interface recommendations, I personally enjoy Focusrite Scarlett Interfaces, (check out the Scarlett series) they’re known for a very clean sound and don’t require you to install extra software (drivers)