Sunday, March 10, 2013

Learn to DJ with Ableton Live (live real-time performances)

About a year ago, I made three videos to teach people how to produce DJ mixes using Ableton. About 250,000 views later between the three videos (and many more since then), I decided it was time to make more. After all, the original intent was that these were going to be part of a bigger series about how DJ's can use Ableton. You can see those first three videos (and many more related videos) here:

Although those first three videos focused on studio-based aspects of DJ'ing and Ableton, I just finished up a second series which focuses specifically on live performance aspects of using Ableton. I hope that these are just as popular. Here are the links to those new videos. I

Live DJ'ing with Ableton, Part 1 of 4:

I start off with an overview of what you need to know about DJ'ing and what Ableton has to offer. We cover a review of beat-mixing and the need to understand "warping" in Ableton, a background on what you need to know/learn about audio mixers before you can go any further, and finally, a quick discussion of optional equipment and peripherals that can make your setup more powerful and flexible (ie. headphones, MIDI controllers, an audio mixer, and external soundcard).

Live DJ'ing with Ableton, Part 2 of 4:

This video covers basic navigation of the Ableton software, creating a project, importing tracks, adding effects, and doing simple DJ'ing without cue capabilities. If you know that your tracks are warped properly, and know your music well, the need to cue incoming tracks is minimized.

Live DJ'ing with Ableton, Part 3 of 4:

In this part of the series, we start getting into a proper setup. I cover external sound cards, audio mixers, and external MIDI controllers. I also start to talk about signal routing. Understanding proper signal routing is critical for using Ableton in a professional capacity.

Live DJ'ing with Ableton, Part 4 of 4:

This video covers advanced routing and signal flow ideas and examples, and also covers integrating Ableton with a professional piece of equipment, the Allen & Heath Xone 4D. I use the Xone 4D as an integrated component that contains an external sound card, an audio mixer, and a full-fledged MIDI controller all in one standalone unit.

Live DJ'ing with Ableton, Unofficial Part 5:

I really should have made the series a five-part series. Although technically speaking, I covered everything in the first four parts, this video definitely complements the rest of the series, especially the fourth part. In this video, I walk you through the steps of setting up a project with a slightly different approach than in part four, and then use that project to perform an hour-long set, which then became episode 155 of my weekly radio show, Subterranean Homesick Grooves. This video is produced completely from the DJ's perspective, ie. you'll hear the booth monitor output in your right channel, and the DJ's cue audio in your left channel, so you'll be able to understand exactly what I'm doing.

The Final Result, a Live Performance:

This is the companion video to the previous unofficial "part five" of the series. This shows the same view as the previous video, but this one only has audio for what the dance floor hears. So this is completely just an extra video that you can watch or listen to for fun. No learning here, this is just for relaxing after you've finished studying the other videos!

I have a lot more videos that help teach you about using Ableton Live for DJ'ing.  Find them at this link:

If you happen to enjoy techno tracks, most of my tracks are available as free downloads from this link:

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