Edit: Updated. Valid for Live 8 to 11.

The audio set up on Windows computers is a bit trickier than on Macs and has a few stumbling blocks in store. This tutorial takes you step by step through the setup process. Let's dive right in, shall we?

Looking for the tutorial how to set up audio on a Mac?

  1. If you have an audio interface check the manufacturer's website for the latest ASIO driver (some offer none though) and possibly a control software. Download and install if available.
  2. If there's no driver available or you want to use the built-in sound card of your computer, you need to install the ASIO4ALL driver from:

  3. Connect your audio interface to your PC (via USB or Firewire most likely) and to a power source if needed (most do). Then switch it on. Check the manual if there are any other setup steps necessary.
  4. Start Live and go to the Preferences > Audio. The shortcut for it is Ctrl + ,.
  5. Choose ASIO as the Driver Type. MME/DirectX is not suited for audio software and would give you high latencies.
  6. Choose either the ASIO4ALL v2 as the Audio Device or the one of your audio interface.
  7. If there's Hardware Setup button, click on it. It will open the control panel of the driver. There you should be able to set your active input and output.

    Click on the wrench icon on the bottom right to enable making changes. If the Sample Rate is greyed out in the Live Preferences, then you need to set it up in the control panel as well.

  8. Back in the Live Preferences you can activate the needed mono and/or stereo in- and outputs under Input and Output Config respectively. (Note: Since Live 10 it's possible to label them for convenience.)
  9. Choose the Sample Rate as needed. It's not saved with the Live Set, but is set universally so beware if you tend to switch, e.g. between live and studio. You can set the Bit Depth in Preferences > Record/Warp/Launch.
  10. A Buffer Size of 512 seems to work for most. Or you can try to find a setting that gives you low latency without audio drop outs. This should always be a power of 2 (64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 and so on) to avoid issues with the driver of the interface.
  11. Now you should be all set. If you're using an audio interface, don't forget to plug in headphones or connect it to speakers.

One last tip:

If your audio interface is off, Live will show Audio Engine as off. You need to change it back manually in the Preferences after turning it back on.

Any questions or comments? Let me know. Happy noise making!

There are plenty more Ableton Live tutorials where this one came from.