Ableton Live is a pretty marginalized DJ software compared to its widely used siblings Serato, Traktor and Rekordbox. And there is a good reason for that. Ableton Live is namely not primarily intended for DJs, but rather for “making music”. A feature that can be clearly seen by comparing screenshots of Ableton Live and other DJ software.

On the contrary, Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that is also designed for live performances. Ableton Live can be thus distinguished from other leading DAWs like FruityLoops, Pro Tools, or Logic in a way that it allows musicians to manipulate the song in real time. As a result and by using few additional tricks, such as running an EQ plugin on each track at a minimum and treating whole songs as sample clips, session view can be manipulated into Ableton Live functioning as a virtual DJ workstation.

Presented below are thus some of the best DJ controllers for Ableton Live and are able to provide you the best DJ experience possible.

Why should you use Ableton Live for DJing?

  • Easier to record live sets: one major advantage of Ableton Live is that it doesn’t record the audio going out of the program like with other DJ software. Instead, it records the audio when the clips have been triggered, the volume at which they were playing at the time, and any effects that had been on them. All this information is sent directly to the timeline view. As a result, if you make a mistake, you don’t need to start the set again and can simply move the track forward in the arrangement view to where it should have been. In addition, you canal so add multiple effects like panning, EQs to tweak the sound, and many more.
  • Warping engine: usually DJ mixes between tracks by beat matching – each song represents a reference tempo for the next one. Differently, Ableton Live lets you to set a master tempo and all tracks are consequently played at that tempo. Beat matching is, therefore,something that isn’t required anymore when using Ableton Live.
  • Create your own tracks: regular DJ software like Traktor or Serato don’t provide you an option to create your own tracks. Since Ableton Live is still in its core a DAW, you are perfectly capable of original song creation.

So without further ado, here are best DJ controllers for Ableton Live:

Akai Professional APC40 MKII

Best Dj controller for ABleton live

The APC40 MKII is a compact Ableton Live controller that helps you unleash live production and live performance.

Since the arrival of original Akai Professional APC40 in 2009, Akai has revolutionized hardware and software integration and set a new standard for Ableton Live performance tools. With APC40 MKII and based on five years of user feedback, almost every aspect of the original APC40 has been improved and reworked in order to increase its functionality to even further extent.

The APC40 MKII comes in package with 5GB of professional loops and samples that allow you to start creating music right away, as well as with two high-definition synthesizers and a version of Ableton Live.

APC40 MKII features a 5×8 RGB clip-launching grid with 40 responsive triggers. RGB lighting is great for visual feedback and enables you to perform without having to look at your computer as it displays three clips statuses: recording, playing and loaded. In addition, you can also color code your clips and manipulate the scope of the 5×8 grid.

APC MKII is equipped with a wide collection of knobs and assignable faders: eight-channel control knobs and nine reinforced faders. Eight device control knobs light up to provide visual feedback of each parameter and make it easy to tweak them. Some other features have been redesigned and improved, for instance, the A/B cross fader can now be assigned and re-assigned without even having to use the mouse.

All in all, APC MKII offers a powerful production suite that can be also used for live performance and real-time mixing. Seamless integration and over 200 sophisticated audio effects allow you to improvise, record, and compose your musical ideas in a fluid MIDI/audio environment.

  • Level: beginner/mid-level
  • Power: USB only
  • Supported DJ software: Ableton Live Lite 9



·         Intuitive layout

·         Variety of sophisticated sound effects

·         Knobs feel smooth and responsive

·         Pretty basic software

Novation Launch Control XL

The Launch Control XL is the ultimate controller for Ableton Live that provides total hands-on control and helps you put the focus on your music.

Launch Control XL has been designed with ultimate Ableton Live integration in mind. 8 faders, 24 knobs, and 16 buttons provide you total hands-on control and help you to focus more on your music and less on your laptop.The 24 knobs are arranged in three rows and are perfectly aligned with Ableton Live’s mixer. In addition, all knobs have multicolored LEDs to distinguish between certain features.

If you want, you can create your own control layouts and assign your faders, knobs,and buttons to any parameters. Furthermore, you can even customize your own colors and switch with ease between built-in functionality and your own mappings.

Launch Control XL now features HUI integration that allows you to use it also as a controller of Pro Tools, Logic, and Mixer in Cubase.

Launch Control XL provides an exceptional level of freedom of playing live by combining Launchpad S with Launch Control XL in order to control Ableton’s session view. Control your instruments and effects, play drum racks, and trigger clips, all at the same time.

To conclude, Launch Control XL is a controller that offers you an ultimate control over Ableton Live, can be connected to just about anything, can be easily carried around due to its slim and compact design. and most importantly, allows you to enhance your live performance.

  • Level: beginner/mid-level
  • Power: USB only
  • Supported DJ software: Ableton Live Lite 9



·         Well built and easy to use

·         Knobs feel smooth and responsive

·         Compact

·         Pads are not pressure sensitive


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