As one of the world’s favorite (including this author’s) DAWs, Ableton users are spoiled for choice when it comes to buying gear for their studios. Most keyboards and controllers will work spectacularly well with Ableton out of the box. Many are even designed specifically for Ableton, including much of Akai’s lineup. And if you can stretch the budget, you can even get a controller made exclusively for Ableton – the Ableton Push.
Outside of keyboards/controllers, Ableton also benefits from great integrations with everything from control surfaces to audio interfaces. There are few, if any, current gen offerings that don’t integrate well with Ableton. All its other (excellent) features notwithstanding, I suspect these great integrations are one reason for this DAW’s explosive success over the last decade.
We’ve compiled all our Ableton-related content on this page. Refer to our selections below to discover our recommended keyboards, controllers, audio interfaces, and other gear for Ableton.
1. Keyboards and Controllers
Our favorite Ableton controller is also everyone‘s favorite controller: Ableton Push 2. Because it was built from the ground-up to work with Ableton, Push opens up entirely new avenues for expression and control. Use it once and you’ll start seeing Ableton in new light altogether.
If you’re looking specifically for keyboard controllers, the Akai MPK249 is a great keyboard that works fantastically well with Ableton as well. You can see our MPK249 review here.
2. Audio Interfaces
An audio interface is one of the must-haves for any production studio. It’s also one of the more difficult pieces of gear to buy since there is a massive variance in prices. You can start off with something as cheap as $75 and go all the way up to $3,000+.
If you’re a beginner, I highly recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen). This fantastically well-priced interface is perfect for small studios. Unless you’re making studio-grade pro recordings, it will serve you well for years.
If sound quality and fidelity are bigger concerns, go with the RME Babyface Pro. It’s substantially more expensive but also substantially better at its job with pristine preamps and arguably the best audio quality in this range.
3. Control Surfaces
Control surfaces make controlling the DAW easier. From changing settings on the fly to managing levels, a control surface is essentially a hands-on, hardware controller for your DAW.
Normally, control surfaces are different from controllers. The latter are focused more on making music, not so much on controlling the DAW.
With Ableton, things are a little different. Our recommended controller, Push 2, integrates so well with Ableton and has so many control options that it also doubles up as our recommended control surface.
Try it out if you can only afford to buy (or for a lot of producers – keep on your desk) one controller. If you want a more traditional control surface, the ever-popular PreSonus FaderPort 8 is a fantastic all-around unit that works well with nearly every DAW.
You can see all our recommended control surfaces on this page.
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