Here we’ll take you through how you can record a podcast with just one USB microphone in Ableton live. This technique will also work with an XLR microphone plugged into an audio interface or mixer.

You can also use this technique to record with multiple microphones at once. This will require an external audio interface or mixer.

Step 1: Plug in your microphone

The first step is to connect your microphone to your computer. If you’re using a USB microphone this is as simple as just plugging it into a USB port. If you are using a microphone or multiple microphones with an audio interface/mixer, plugin your microphone(s) into your mixer or interface, and then your interface/mixer into your computer.

If you don’t have a microphone you can also use your computer’s built in microphone.

Step 2: Set you microphone as your audio input

Go to Ableton Live’s audio preferences via Live > Preferences > Audio. From here select your microphone or mixer/interface from the Audio Input Device dropdown menu.

If you want to listen to what your microphone is recording via your microphone or mixer/interface, select your microphone/mixer/interface from the Audio Output Device dropdown menu.

It is good practice to listen to the audio being picked up by your microphone. This is referred to as ‘monitoring’. Monitoring is a good thing to do because you can pick up on any recording problems as you are recording. There’s nothing more annoying than finishing a recording, listening back, and realising you’re going to have to record again!

Step 3: Set up an audio channel

Make sure you are in Arrangement View rather than Session View. Session View is more useful for musicians, Arrangement View is better suited for recording and editing audio such as podcasts. To switch between the two views press Tab.

Once in Arrangement View create a new audio track and head over to the track header. You will see several dropdown menus. The first drop down menu allows you to select the audio input for that channel. Select Ext. In.

If you are using an interface or mixer with multiple inputs you can select which input to use from the second dropdown menu in the header. 

If you want to record multiple microphones at once running through the same mixer or interface repeat this process for each input you wish to record.

Step 4: Record!

Before you can record, you have to arm the tracks you want to record. This just means that when you press record only the tracks you have armed will record, and not every single track in the project. Each track has a little record symbol in its track header. Click on this to arm each track.

Now simply press record in the top panel of Ableton and start speaking. You’re recording your first podcast!