Recording Audio

In Ableton Live, you can record audio in Session view or Arrangement view. Press [TAB] to toggle between these views. Follow the tips in this guide to set up your hardware and preferences for recording. 

Setting up to Record
Monitoring and Latency
Recorded Audio Files
Tips and Troubleshooting
Related Articles

Setting up to Record 

To record an instrument or microphone into Live, first set up an Audio Interface to route sound into your computer. Install and update any software needed to use your device. Then, connect an instrument or microphone to the interface and check the audio signal level.

Select or create an audio track for recording. In the track's mixer panel, use the Audio From section to choose the relevant input channel of your audio interface. For example, to record a guitar sending a mono signal into channel 1 of your interface, under Audio From, choose “Ext. In,” then select channel 1 in the dropdown menu below.

The list of available inputs and outputs depends on what was enabled in Live's Audio Preferences when setting up your interface. For more on Live’s track mixer and selecting audio inputs, see the Live Manual section 15.2 External Audio In/Out.


To prepare a track for recording, click the arm button at the bottom of the track mixer in Session view, or the top right corner of the track mixer in Arrangement view. Set the track’s monitor switch to Auto so the track’s input plays through Live’s output. Adjust the input gain on your audio interface so that the level is adequate (green) and does not overload the track (red).

AudioMeter.png ArrangementRecord.png

To hear Live's metronome while you record, enable the metronome button near the top left of Live’s window. 

To isolate the metronome signal (Cue Output) on a dedicated output channel separate from the Master track (such as a headphone mix) your audio interface must have at least 3 output channels. For more information on metronome and count-in options, visit section 17.4.1 Metronome Settings in the Live Manual

Tip: To help keep recorded audio files organized, rename each Audio track before recording. To rename a track, right-click on the track header and select Rename, or select the track header and press [CMD/CTRL + R] on your computer keyboard. Recorded clips and their respective audio files will then be saved using the track’s title, for example "Guitar 0001.aif." Make sure your hard drive has plenty of free space for saving recorded audio.

To begin recording into a Session View clip, press the slot record button.

To record into the timeline in Arrangement view, press the Arrangement record button. Press the button again to stop recording.


Monitoring and Latency

When recording through an audio interface, you can choose either to listen to incoming audio via the interface’s software, called direct monitoring, or monitor through Live

The simplest option is to monitor through Live while recording. To do this, set the Monitor switch in Live’s Track Mixer to Auto. You'll hear the signal after it has been processed by Live. To avoid hearing a doubled signal, turn monitoring off in the software for your audio interface.

In some cases, you may notice a short delay between when you create a sound and when you hear it through Live. This delay is called latency, and there are several ways to correct it.

While recording, to hear your audio signal before latency is added, use direct monitoring. To do this, set monitoring in the software for your audio interface to On. In Live’s track mixer, set the track monitor switch to Off.

Sometimes, you may need to hear the signal with Live’s processing, for example to hear effects while performing or recording. In this case, make sure Live’s audio preferences are optimized to reduce latency, using the steps in these guides:

Recorded Audio Files

When you save a Set for the first time, Live creates a new Project folder to contain the Set and related media files. To make sure the Project folder is not "nested" inside another one, save the new Set to a location outside any existing Live Project folders. The Project folder contains the following folders:

  • Ableton Project Info
  • Backup
  • Samples
    • Processed
      • Consolidate
      • Crop
    • Recorded

Newly recorded audio files will be saved to the subfolder Recorded. To check where a recorded audio file has been saved, right-click on the audio clip in Live and choose “Show in Finder.”

Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Plug in your computer to a power source before recording. Recorded audio may be lost if the computer shuts down during recording.
  • Create a dedicated folder for Live Projects, and save each Set to a unique Project folder. More info: Saving Projects, External Storage and Backup
  • Make sure your hard drive has plenty of free space for recorded audio files. 
  • Check that all software and drivers for your audio interface are up to date and supported for your version of Live and operating system.
  • For issues with latency, refer to this guide: How to Reduce Latency.
  • To send the metronome signal (click track) to a dedicated output, choose an audio interface with at least 3 output channels.

Related Articles

Setting up an Audio Interface

Monitoring in Live

Saving Projects

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