DJ with Ableton: 4 Key Tools & Tutorial

How To DJ With Ableton


Ableton Live 9 


The first time we discovered Ableton Live 9, a very prominent DJ on the scene suggested we give it a try on a house mix. After a few hours pointing and clicking with my mouse. I walked to the corner of my room and pulled out a box marked “House”. I walked over to my Technics and quickly had put a mix. It took less than thirty seconds to take a record from the box and make noise come out of my speakers..Ableton is primo and we will offer a briefing on how to DJ with it.


It took us another three years before I came back to Ableton. Consequently, we regret my three years away from the software. I often think of the amazing things I could have done in those three years. Ableton Live 9 is amazing, it is the best music software in the world. With Ableton Live 9 you can go from superstar DJ to superstar producer.

There are no turntables here, only your imagination…


With Ableton Live you can mix as many tracks as you like and use unlimited effects and plugins. The first thing you will notice about the Ableton Live 9 interface is the absence of virtual decks….


Don’t expect to find any record library or handy playlist system waiting for you. Also, with Ableton, you will need to get  your creative juices flowing and start thinking about how you create a mix from the ground up. Add to that, with ALive9, you start with a blank canvas. Once you begin to understand the software you will understand there are no limitations. You can take your next DJ set as far as your imagination will take you. If you have ever dreamed of taking 80 bpm hip hop and mixing it with 180 bpm jungle then Ableton Live 9 is everything you have been waiting for. You can take entire tracks apart and re-build them in your own image.

Ableton Live 9 Intro- Lite Software


This happens to be the lighter version of the suite and is a wonderful introduction to the software. If you are expecting to passively learn from time to time then this is the version of the software I reccomend for you.


  • Includes a Free Upgrade to Live 10 Intro!
  • Multi-track audio recording at up to 32-bit/192 kHz
  • Powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
  • Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
  • Up to 16 tracks and 8 scenes per track
  • Includes 3 software instruments, 26 effects and 4 sound libraries (Packs)


It is important to fully understand ALive9. Unlike Traktor, Ableton was not developed to be used as DJ software. Ableton was developed to bring all of the functionality and tricks that you find in the studio, to the live stage. Thousands of big-name touring bands use Ableton as part of their live shows. Numerous DJs and EDM producers use Ableton. With Live 9, you can achieve studio quality in the live environment.



Home Of The Mash Up Ableton Live


I understand Ableton looks nothing like your standard DJ software, in fact, it looks more like the software you see in the studio but don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. With ALive9, you can bring every studio trick you can think of to your DJ mix. If you have never seen a DJ destroy the dance floor using Ableton, I suggest you take some time out and get down a little as you are in for a major treat.

Other key featuresFree Upgrade to Live 10 Suite and upgrades thereafter!, multi-track audio recording at up to 32-bit/192 kH, powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software & hardware instruments. Most noteworthy, it also includes 10 software instruments, 41 effects and Max for Live, advanced warping and real-time time-stretching,Unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks per song.Includes 23 sound libraries (Packs) with over 50GB of original sounds.

Ableton Mix



Ableton Warping lets you time stretch tracks for sampling, mixing and creating mashups. Unlike Traktor where you are limited to beat matching and performing limited time stretching. Ableton will let you Warp your tracks to mix with pretty much anything.


If you are a fan of the mashup, you will find AL9 to be the perfect DJ software for creating that Michael Jackson versus Run the Jewels mix you’ve had on your mind, you will be happy to know that the the technology behind Ableton makes the mash-up simple. Furthermore, you can even import the tracks directly from iTunes before warping and mashing the ocean of music that iTunes has to offer. If you want to mix Jungle, Rock, House or 1950’s folk music. You can mix it with Ableton. If you want to mix jungle house and 1950s folk together, you can with Ableton.  With Ableton, you can mix pretty much anything your imagination can think of.

If you have the time you can do pretty much anything you can think of with Ableton Live. The big word is time. If you do not have a lot of time on your hands perhaps you should stay away from Ableton.With other DJ software, you can be up and in the mix. In just a few minutes. With Ableton, you need time to plan and build your live set. Once you have a base to work from. You can be as creative and spontaneous as you like. The important thing is, building the base to work from.


Warp Speed with Ableton Live 9

With time and patience, you can Warp any track. If you have the time and you want Elvis Presley to meet Daft Punk at a dubstep rave, then you can. Live 9 lets you import tracks straight from iTunes and automatically Warp tracks as you mix.

If you have ever listened to a mush up mix you have probably been listening to a track produced using Live 9. Normal DJ software relies on beat matching. It also lets you time stretch a track to fit any beat you choose.  This means the standard DJ rules or limitations, no longer apply

If you don’t know how to beat mix and have a big interest in creating your own unique sound.   Live 9 is the DJ Software you have been looking for. If you have become frustrated in your efforts to mix live recorded music with electronic dance music. Ableton Live will let you Warp each track. Allowing them to seamlessly sit side by side in the mix.

Once you have Warped the tracks you want to use. You can build your clips and assign the effects you will use.



Novation Launch Pad 



Iconic and seamless, the Novation Live controller will seamlessly integrate with Ableton Live. With no MIDI mapping or setup. With LaunchPad you can start building scenes and creating your Ableton Live DJ set straight out of the box.The LaunchPad is iconic, it remains one of, if not the best Ableton controller on the market. It is small and light, so you can fire up and get a beat rocking any time any place. Of course, the Launch Pad is USB powered.


The 64 RGB pads change color according to the grids and clips you are using. It is amazing when you fully understand Ableton. You will discover just how powerful the Novation LaunchPad is. Considering its toy-like appearance. The LaunchPad is incredibly powerful and capable of very big things.


Key Features: Ableton Live ready, 64 RGB pads serve as LEDs that match the color of your clips with ALive 9 so you can focus on the music easily, Control by launching multiple clips at once, trigger scenes, and navigating your Ableton Live session, 8 vertical rows of pads double up as stepped faders to start and stop lops, arm tracks, and control volumes, pans and sends.Includes  all of the following: Novation Bass & V Station VST , 1GB of Loopmasters Sounds & Samples.


Novation Launch Control XL 


Ableton takes being a DJ to the next stage. The possibilities with AL9 are pretty much endless. If you ever fall down the “Ableton live mix” rabbit hole on YouTube you will understand. The Novation LaunchControl is the bigger brother of the LaunchPad. If you consider the LaunchPad as the performance aspect then the LaunchControl is the mixer. If you put the LaunchPad and LaunchControl together you have more power than the dance floor can handle.

The Novation LaunchControl gives you complete ALive9 control over 8 faders and 24 rotary knobs. Also, you will find 24 backlit buttons that can all be toggled across the various clips in Ableton. The Novation LaunchControl comes Ableton ready.  Furthermore, you will have full mapping control in Ableton. There are also MIDI maps available for Traktor and Serato


  • Assign buttons, knobs and faders to any parameters  to make your own layouts; customize knobs with your own colors; switch between your own mappings and Live’s functionality
  • Plug Straight In – Bus powered and no drivers needed.. 16 Multi-colour Buttons – 16 multi-colour buttons for immediate Track Focus and key mixer controls.. Get Started Immediately – Make music out of the box with included Ableton Live Lite software and Loopmasters sample collection
  • 24 rotary pots with 300 degree motion. 24 multi-colour indicator LEDs – one for each pot. Eight 60mm Faders. 16 assignable multi-colour backlit buttons. Additional 8 assignable backlit buttons. 2 backlit template select buttons. USB socket. Kensington Security Slot. Software Compatibility:. Ableton Live Lite 9 is included. If you already have Ableton Live it must be version 9 or greater to work with Launch Control.
  • We recommend that you update to the latest version as previous versions of Ableton Live do not include the Launch Control integration. Launch Control will also work as a standard MIDI controller.. Stand-alone template editor for control assignment.
  • HUI compatibility for mixer control in DAWs including Cubase, Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
  • 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects


Akai LPD 8


I love the term party in your pocket. If you remember the days of dragging heavy boxes from one place to another. You begin to appreciate the smaller things in life. The Akai LPD will not fit in your pocket. Also, as far as size goes the LPD 8 is getting there. It is less than 12 inches long and weighs 11 ounces. The Akai LPD 8 drops out as a plug and play, ready to be mapped in Ableton. It will not fit in your pocket. But it will sit alongside your laptop and weigh next to nothing in your rucksack.


The Akai LPD 8 is a great little Ableton controller. Furthermore, you can drop tracks straight into ALive9 and start looping and sampling to make use of the 8 backlit drum pads and 8 Q Link rotary knobs. If you want to strip you set bear and play the music raw. You can easily trigger your tracks, time stretch and EQ from the tiny but powerful controller.


When it comes to making drum machines Akai knows a thing or two during this evolution of electronic music.


Akai Professional MPC Studio 




Speaking of the MPC, Akai introduces the Ableton powered Akai MPC Studio. Let’s get to the point. Furthermore, You can use the Akai MPC with any MIDI software. You can also use the MPC as a stand-alone drum machine. but the Akai MPC works best with Ableton.The MPC drum machine is original. If you have ever listened to a Hip Hop track produced in the late 80’s or early 90’s. The chances are there has been an Akai MPC drum machine. Used at some point during the production process…


Technics turntables are regarded as the best DJ turntable in the world just as the MPC drum machine is regarded as the king of drum machines. Also, the drum pads used on the original MPC drum machines are legendary and highly sort after. The new Ableton Akai MPC MIDI controller. Uses the original drum pads from the original MPC drum machines.

There are 15 of the original drum pads and over 7GB of sounds and samples. We love the fact  samples come  included with the product. Some of them are very good and others are excellent.  With no computer,  rather you can get a beat rocking and start building your first tracks using your inner musical genius you know is there and is looking to come out and play…


The on board Akai software is excellent, meaning this drum machine is excellent on its own. As a result, When you begin to utilize MIDI and hook up to Ableton you can easily add the power of the studio to your production. When you start pushing forward, your DJ set will evolve beyond your wildest dreams.

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