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6313 posts since 3 Jul, 2012, from Canada

Postby V0RT3X; Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:31 pm My Beginners guide to getting Ableton Live cheaper

OK i wrote this guide for a friend, I need some KVR input. I imagine i could recommend the cheaper Live Lite but the person interested said they are serious on committing to learning it.

Anyhow here is my short guide which I am working on. Feel free to point out things I should, poor grammar etc if you want to help me out!

(Edited the title to reflect the document a bit better)



Make sure you have a semi-decent laptop or computer to run the software on before buying stuff.

DEMO the heck out of the program to make sure it runs on your computer properly.

Also make sure to pick up a good pair of studio grade headphones from either AKG, Sennheiser or KRK since most consumer grade stuff is not meant for professional audio stuff.

OK I'll be up front but if your serious about buying into Live or any other pro grade DAW you'll have to part with a fair amount of money.

TONS of people will be saying go get "Insert cheaper DAW here" but so far nothing else is quite like Live except Bitwig which is not even released yet. My suggestion is somewhat biased since im a big live user myself, but it really is a easy system to learn.

The total cost of Ableton Live if you buy it direct from them : $450.00

*However you can find these cheaper check bottom of page for info*

Read on if you are still interested.

Ok so your probably thinking "wow! $450 for software? No thanks" Well if i was new to this trust me I would too cause that is a LOT of money!

If you are as serious about this as I am then you'll probably want to keep reading as I will help you find a way to find these programs cheaper LEGALLY on a well known music production forum. Also this is fairly common price range because what you are buying are powerful tools for professionals.

I have had plenty of experience in dealing with the electronic music scene for a while now to have a good idea on what's good and what's bad when first starting out. It is so easy to get sidetracked and overwhelmed because of the huge amount of information out there available to us now. I have always been looking for a easy to learn solution myself so what I am telling you is basically what I would have told myself to save myself the headaches of trying to learn a ton of different programs.

When I first started out in this I had no idea where to start, or what I would need and little did I know that I could have really saved a lot of money and time if I ended up sticking to Ableton.

You will see hundreds and hundred of different music making programs out there all offering tons of complicated features when I imagine you just want to learn a system quickly and start making music!

Well this is exactly why I wrote this, to basically save you the grief of slowly finding your own path because it can be frustrating and expensive. This particular setup I will share with you is mostly aimed at the electronic music producer however you can also use this setup to produce other genres.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a real-time music production system that lets you create loop based music using Midi or audio files. Part of Lives strength lies in it clip launcher system which allows a user to create and play back loops in real-time allowing the user to build a song quickly and effectively.

Once you understand the clip launcher system it will make sense how easy it is to make a track. Lots of programs do not work like Live and instead use a very old school style which goes from left to right like most software editors. The real power behind lives system is the ability to remix your songs "live"!

Ableton live is a very easy to use music production system and is pretty much a common preference for electronic music production because of its easy to use approach to making music.

Don't be fooled though, just cause its easy to learn does not mean it is cheap! It does come at a cost however it is well worth the price of $450.00 as it offers TONS of features.

When you first purchase a download licence for Live standard you are not given very much in terms of virtual instruments however you are given a big selection of high quality studio effects that you can use to shape your sound however you see fit. It does come with a few sampled instruments and HQ drum kits which you can use right away, but if you want a synthesizer or multi-sampler instant gratification you will need to buy the upgraded suite version.

Live still has tons of options though if you don't want to rely on a built-in instruments you can always buy a recording system and record your instruments into live directly with a audio interface OR use tons of free plugins. (more on this below)

A little about Live

Ableton Live standard ships with 11Gb of sounds, 37 FX devices, 7 Midi devices and 3 virtual instruments built into it.

Some of the features of Live are here

- Unique Session View for quick, intuitive composition, flexible performance and improvisation "This is lives main selling point and what separates it from other programs"

- REX Support "REX loops are very common in sample libraries so having REX support is a very good thing when you buy loop libraries"

- External gear support "You can use live to control external instruments like hardware synthesizers"

- Nondestructive editing with unlimited undo "Super important feature when you start editing lots of stuff and trust me you will"

- 32 Bit 192khz Audio multi-track recording "Record at the best sample rates for super high quality mixes, even though most users are happy with 48khz"

- Unlimited Instruments, Audio effects and MIDI effects per project

- Time signature changes

- Multiple automation lanes with curved automation

- Track Freeze (CPU Saving option when you run short of CPU power during busy sessions)

- Automatic plug-in delay compensation

- MIDI remote control instant mapping

- MIDI output to hardware synths

- MIDI Clock/sync

- Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching "Great options for warping audio or stretching it out! This is a very powerful sound shaping tool as well"

- VST/AU support "This is a important one since it allows you to host complicated 3rd party instruments if you want them such as stuff from Native Instruments"

- 64 bit processing "Live 9 is 64bit which means that it takes advantage of large amounts of memory on board the computer for a speedier workflow"

- Plug and play midi controller support "Live has a lot of built in drivers for most midi controllers leaving you the hassle of setting up that new midi keyboard if you decided to get one"

- Built in audio slicer instrument "This lets you take a loop and chop it up within live and turn it into a drum sampler with each of the slices from the loop"

- HQ export and built in dither "when you need to go from a higher sample rate to a lower sample rate this comes in handy"

- Clip based automation system "This is for complex and easy to use automation of external instruments or plugins"

https://www.ableton.com/en/live/feature-comparison/ <-- More info on Live

Anyhow this is just scratching the surface of what live can do! So as you can see after you buy live you still get a lot but you still are lacking tons of instant gratification of having built-in synthesizers and stuff since the standard edition does not ship with stuff like that.

Well this is not a big deal as you can now access TONS of free plugins all across the internet and use them for nothing. This is great considering you just spent around $450.00 on a big music program and are most likely broke for a while.

So while you wait to save up and buy another commercial music product I will give you a list of all the great free instrument plugins that you can use within live.

- Synth1 is a freebie legend because it is very CPU friendly and has a great sound engine that rivals the sound of many commercial plugins.


Synth1 is modelled after the Clavia Nord synthesizer which was a hardware synth in the late 90s.

- U-he Tyrell N6

Tyrell is a analog modelling synthesizer and offers those vintage synthesizer tones from the past in a plugin form. It is a bit CPU hungry but it does offer a very convincing emulation of a vintage analog synthesizer.

http://www.amazona.de/amazona-de-freewa ... l-n6-v3/3/

(Scroll down to see the download links)

- Togu Audio Line

There are lots of great freebies in this line up of virtual gear. Two of them are payware but the rest are free and are very good!


These are just a few great free tools to start out with and offer the beginner plenty to work with. Once you learn with these and make a few tracks you'll be ready to move on to others. Don't devalue them because they are free, they are very powerful and when used together with lives powerful effects and automation you will be able to make some very great sounding stuff!

IF you got about 10-20 bucks burning a hole in your pocket you can go to a big book store and buy a music production magazine. If you do make sure you pick up a copy of Computer music as it also ships with a entire suite of awesome free software that is exclusive for computer music readers.

They offer a ridiculous amount of free plugins in their suite and it will be more than enough to keep you busy until you get money for a commercial plugin.

What is required for this to work : A Paypal account

So when you buy a second hand copy of a program it is not less valuable in most cases. It is still just the same program and in most cases the developers offer the new owner the same ownership benefits that you would get if you bought it brand new.

In order to even consider getting into this you will need a paypal account as it is the most secure way to pay people over the internet in these types of transactions.

Unless you DO not want to go through the somewhat lengthy process of setting up a paypal account to save up to $150-180 on a copy of Live then just skip this and go buy it brand new from your local music store or direct from ableton.

Ok I won't go over how to create a paypal account as you can head over to paypal and do it with their step by step guides.

Once you are finished and you get some money deposited you will need to head over to the online music production community called KVR.

A direct link to it is here. http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/

Once you are there you will need to sign up for an account and post a bit in order to earn marketplace usage rights.

NOW what you will see are a bunch of ads for peoples second hand licenses but WAIT don't go all crazy until you FIRST read this very important post there. This is pretty much common sense in the post but still heed the warnings as you can get scammed easily if you don't.


MY list for safety while on the KVR marketplace.

- Make sure they type English properly so there is NO language barrier as sometimes people from non-English speaking countries go there to sell stuff.

- DO NOT pay the person as a paypal gift option even if they want you to. Make sure you are upfront with them that you will not pay as a gift option. The reason people who want to use the gift option is to avoid the fees that paypal charges for each transaction. The downside is that you will not be protected in case the person decides to rip you off and make for the hills after you pay them.

- Click on the users profile and see how many posts they have, the more the better usually! This means they are a regular face on the forum. Also make sure you check the feedback thread by searching past transactions they have done. IF the feedback history with that person is NOT a positive experience then do NOT do business with the person.

- Depending on what you want to buy some developers have transfer fees which can range from 5$ to 50$ so make sure you know if there is a fee that is included in your payment.

- Depending on the product but some products DO not have public downloads available so you will have to make sure that the person selling the products provides you a download for the product so you can download it. This is usually the case with Native Instruments products so ask how you will get the product BEFORE buying.

- Make sure that you know the product will not become NFR after the seller sells it. NFR means not for resale and it means if you buy it from that person then you cannot re-sell it again if you want to. This is not a big deal if you know your gonna be keeping it. Also if it is going to be NFR then try and get the seller to go lower on the price if its fairly high.

- If the seller sells in Euros or British pounds then use http://www.xe.com/ to get the latest exchange rate.

- CHECK PRICES FROM RETAILERS! Don't expect the prices you see to be the lowest as some sellers have no idea that they are selling a product too high when you can get it cheaper brand new at a licensed retailer! This requires a bit of homework on your part, but I'll help save you time and money by knowing what to look for.

Here are three of the big resellers that sell with good prices.

You will need to sign up to their site *Use a fake email if you want* to see the prices. Quite often the prices are well below the manufacturer prices. They are all legal and I have done business with all the sites here.


- Above all be patient and really try not to get addicted to scoring deals on the KVR market place..
Last edited by V0RT3X on Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
707 posts since 24 Mar, 2013, from Amsterdam

Postby Spiritos; Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:30 am

I find the title of the topic a bit misleading. I was expecting an introduction to work with Live :)

It is however an introduction to buying Live, assembling some gear and joining KVR. All the same I think it has some nice suggestions and it is written with enthousiasm.

I do feel it takes some criss-cross 7-mile bootsteps from describing Live to suggesting some free synths and explaining about PayPal and buying on KVR. I don't know the level and focus of your friend so I can't really judge the match but I think it is very nice of you to write such a comprehensive guide!
Win8.1 64x/Live 9/Steinberg UR44/Roland HP 235/Edirol PCR-800/Eastman AC222/Washburn D12/Ch. Les Paul/Behringer BCF2000 & BCR2000/Korg Nanopad 2/Focusrite VRM Box/AT 2020/2xB5/E825s/Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250/Tannoy 502
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6313 posts since 3 Jul, 2012, from Canada

Postby V0RT3X; Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:40 am

Spiritos wrote:I find the title of the topic a bit misleading. I was expecting an introduction to work with Live :)

It is however an introduction to buying Live, assembling some gear and joining KVR. All the same I think it has some nice suggestions and it is written with enthousiasm.

I do feel it takes some criss-cross 7-mile bootsteps from describing Live to suggesting some free synths and explaining about PayPal and buying on KVR. I don't know the level and focus of your friend so I can't really judge the match but I think it is very nice of you to write such a comprehensive guide!

Hey thanks I figured writing a introduction on the basics of composing in live would be quite the undertaking. I wanted to more or less cover the very FIRST steps a person would take in getting into it.

This of course is buying live so i guess this is more of a buyers guide.
3081 posts since 29 Sep, 2005

Postby dsan@mail.com; Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:37 am

My compliments to you VORT3X for taking the time to put this together for those wanting to get into making music. Commendable!

But I will warn any that have interest should be very aware the spending never ends! :hihi:

Happy Musiking!
17 posts since 3 May, 2011

Postby Fixation; Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:50 pm

Excellent work, answers many of the questions i had before i got Live 9.
5 posts since 27 Sep, 2013, from Yorkshire

Postby fletchflash; Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:14 am

music production is a serious cycle of spending!

then when you think you've spent enough new things and tempting upgrades come out!

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