What is Ableton Live?

If you’re a worship leader or tech director reading this, you’re likely familiar with Ableton Live. You probably already use if for tracks, or you know someone that does, or you’re fighting to the death to not have to use tracks. But Ableton Live does far more than run tracks. It’s a tool for leading worship.

In this article I want to present a few uses for Ableton Live, that might not immediately come to mind when you think of the software.

Ableton Live is an excellent solution for recording. Capturing demos in Session View in a very non-linear way (think a scratchpad for song writers) to capture a full band in the studio. It’s recording capabilities are excellent. Connect your audio interface and a few mics, and you’ve got a powerful mobile rig. Connect to your soundboard and multitrack record your service. Record a Podcast for your church. If you need to record audio, Ableton Live is an incredible, affordable solution.

Editing Audio.
Need to transform Sunday’s sermon into a Podcast episode? Open Ableton Live! You can quickly edit audio with shortcuts, add some compression and EQ using great sounding built in effects and even record Vox over bumpers (see previous section). I even edit audio for video in Ableton Live.

Producing Music.
Want to take your scratch recordings and turn them into something more? Open Ableton Live! With incredible presets, and powerful instruments (especially in Live 10 suite), you can create great sounding tracks directly in Ableton Live without any plugins or additional sounds. Need a music bed for a testimonial video, Ableton Live. Need an upbeat, high energy track for a walk in? Use Ableton Live.

Keyboard Host.
Want to start using additional, computer based, virtual keys sounds on stage? Use Ableton Live! It’s PC or Mac, so no matter what flavor of Computer OS you choose you’ve got a stable keys host. You can use built-in Ableton Live sounds, or add plugins like Omnisphere and Kontakt. You can create presets in Live that you can quickly transition between, or even pre-program your transitions to happen based on what section of the song you’re in.

Production Automation.
Imagine if you could sit down during the week with your tech director and program lights, lyrics and video, and know that on Sunday, everything would be perfectly in sync-even if you repeat a section, or jump ahead? All of that and more is possible if you use Ableton Live. Playing with at least a click track, you can automate your lyrics in ProPresenter, control your video in Resolume, and control your lights in Vista. Once you do the work, it’s saved, and you never have to do it again. Think High Quality Production with a high level of freedom!

It’s appropriate to end this run down of Ableton Live, with the thing it’s most known for in the church world-playback. Playback is the idea of using Ableton to playback Multitracks, stems , or backing tracks, with your band. Even just simply using a click track with your band, is an example of playback. Using Ableton Live, allows you to quickly edit your tracks, gives you flexibility to jump around, and stability that you don’t get with anything else. The ability to manage files easily, and keep track of edits in your songs, means you can quickly create setlists each week in Ableton Live without spending hours doing it.

If you’re looking for an incredible tool for leading worship, consider purchasing a copy of Ableton Live this year! Remember, it’s available in three versions (all with varying features) and available for PC or Mac, so you’ll be able to find a solution that fits your needs.