Home Recording: Budget Audio Recording on a Laptop

Using pro-studio techniques on a small budget in a laptop recording setting to make awesome audio recordings!
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Instructed by Jason Allen Music / Production
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  • Lectures 15
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2015 English

Course Description

For years I've been teaching Ableton Live in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Audio Recording can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn't be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I've used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.

This is a segment of Ultimate Ableton Live, Part 2: Recording and Warping.

In this segment I'll be focusing on how to record on a budget, on a laptop. This class will be taught using Ableton Live, but if you use another piece of software as your main tool (Pro Tools, GarageBand, Cubase, etc.) you will be just fine. The concepts here are universal, and can be applied to any audio software.

If you like this course, please consider signing up for some of my other Ultimate Ableton Live courses! And of course, once you sign up for Part 1 - The Interface and The Basics, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts (the next 5!) of this class.

You will not have another opportunity to learn Ableton Live in a more comprehensive way that this. Start here.

J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.

He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.

Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:

  • "Dr Allen does it again with his music theory for electronic musicians series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn't aware of."

  • "The Best Teacher ever, who makes you understand the ins & outs of Music Theory by all mean without giving what you don't want to know."
  • "I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going thru this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me."

What are the requirements?

  • This is an introductory level course, so no prior understanding of recording is required.
  • This course will use Ableton Live as the main software, but the concepts can be applied to any recording software.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Set up, configure, and record using your home studio and laptop computer.
  • Make good (smart) gear purchases.
  • Place microphones correctly for optimal quality

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone interested in recording using their laptop computer, and avoid an expensive recording studio.
  • Anyone working on location: trying to record a rehearsal, in a garage, or just a demo using their computer.
  • Students looking to take the first step in understanding how audio recording works.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

This class will use Ableton Live, but the concepts can be applied to any DAW. (Whats a DAW? - read this lesson.)

Section 2: Hardware Needs

Hardware that we need, and some buying advice for selecting the right gear on a budget.


Now that we know the basic hardware, in this section we will look at how to hook it up.


One of the most important elements in the studio is the Microphone. Again, I'll talk about buying advice, and the different kinds of Mics to consider.

Section 3: Setting Up Your Mics and Monitoring

Tips for microphone placement, and some inexpensive tricks for getting the best sounds.


Feedback is painful to your ears, and dangerous to your speakers. In this section I'll explain what it is and how to avoid it.


Monitor Modes work differently for different software. In this section I'll walk through how to set it up in Ableton Live. The software might be different than yours, but the same concept will work in all DAW software.

Section 4: Tracking

There is one thing Ableton does different than most DAWs, and it is worth explaining here.

Tracking in Arrangement View
Multi-tracking in Arrangement View
Tracking & Multi-tracking in Session View
Section 5: Wrap Up
Overdubbing & Punching In/Out
Section 6: Bonus Videos

When it comes to microphones, you need the right tool for the job. In this video I'll show you a case for when a nicer dynamic mic is not the right choice.


Don't have Live? There are some cheap and free software alternatives. Audacity is a fantastic program for recording on a budget. This bonus video is an excerpt from my Audacity class, but it gives a nice overview of what you can do with the software.


There is so much more to learn!

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Instructor Biography

Jason Allen, Ph.D / Ableton Certified Trainer

J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

J. Anthony Allen teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN., and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He is a co-founder and owner of Slam Academy, a multimedia educational space in downtown Minneapolis. Recently, Allen founded Hackademica – an innovative net-label for new music.

J. has a PhD in music composition, 2 Master’s degrees in music composition and electronic music, and a bachelors degree in guitar performance. Through his academic travels, Dr. Allen has received numerous awards along the way.

If you run into him on the street, he prefers to be addressed as J. (as in, Jay.)

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