I’ve been an Ableton Live user for almost a decade now, and when I started there weren’t many tutorials or courses available.
Fortunately, Ableton is designed intuitively enough to be able to learn things through trial and error, but a course when starting out would’ve probably halved the time it would’ve taken me to get where I am today.
Noiselab is a relative newcomer as a provider of online music production courses, but one that caught my attention as their mission is to be the very best Ableton Live music production course out there.
As an Ableton user myself, this piqued my interest, but what also caught my attention was that they had courses offered by Grammy-winning producer, Stint (Sabrina Claudio, Gallant, MØ, Train, Carly Rae Jepsen).
Personally, I am not much of a pop music fan, but I am aware that the pop music scene has some of the best-kept music production secrets out there. So I signed up for an account and checked out the free course: “In The Studio With Stint” with the hope to discover some inspiration outside of my comfort zone.
It was a great introduction to Noiselab’s tutorials, and set a pretty high benchmark for the rest of the courses they have on offer. I particularly enjoyed the way he approached ‘humanizing’ beats to make them feel organic and interesting, despite them being completely ‘in-the-box’.
Here’s what Noiselab promises to deliver:
Ableton Certified Trainers
All instructors are either Ableton Certified Trainers or successful producers with impressive industry credentials. We believe in learning from the best, so that’s all we offer
New Courses Added Monthly
Stay on top of the latest trends with fresh, relevant content.
Noiselab Review: Best Ableton Live Course For Beginners?
Variety Of Courses: 8.5/10
What makes them unique is that instead of focusing on a variety of digital audio workstations (DAWs), they have set out to create the most comprehensive online tutorial platform specifically for Ableton Live users.
This does mean you get a fewer number of tutorials compared to other online courses, but it also means that all 300+ Noiselab tutorials you gain access to are lazer-focused on equipping you with the practical and theoretical skills in order to truly master Ableton Live.
And yeah, 300+ is still a pretty hefty amount of tutorials to get through.
The courses are designed in ‘Levels’, which means anyone from across all experience levels can jump in and start learning.
Overall though, the course is mostly geared towards those who are just starting out, or have limited experience with Ableton Live or music production in general.
Level One covers everything from the basics of the interface, to using clips, audio & MIDI.
Level Two covers drum composition techniques, groove/swing, and melodic techniques.
Level Three covers mixing, effects, sends/returns, grouping/routing,
The courses don’t stop there, though. There are also full, in-depth courses that cover the following:
- DJing with Ableton Live
- Synthesis (FM, Operator, Wavetable)
- Ableton customization and hidden features
- Music theory
- Ableton Push
- 808 techniques
- Effect racks
- Max for Live
For most producers, once you’ve found your DAW of choice, there is a pretty low chance of you going off to buy another one. However, some producers love to familiarize themselves with multiple DAWs, and Noiselab’s courses are a perfect option to get up to speed with how to use Ableton quickly.
Quality Of Content: 9.5/10
With an unlimited amount of Ableton Live tutorials available for free on Youtube, is it worth it to pay for music production courses?
This is a question we get a lot, and while we agree for the mostpart, there’s definitely something to be said about some of the paid courses out there.
The critical factor that determines whether a course is even worth doing in the first place is the quality of the instructors.
Don’t get me wrong — Youtube is a fantastic, free resource, but it can’t be overstated that the tutors at Noiselab are some of the most professional I’ve encountered in the online music production course world.
And honestly, that’s often where the distinction in value lies between paid and free.
With that being said, it pretty much boils down to the fact that the instructors are comprised of Ableton Live Certified Instructors or established producers.
Their tutors boast a wealth of accolades, and includes the likes of:
Thavius Beck (Nine Inch Nails, Skylar Grey, Saul Williams and more)
Patrick Collier (Carly Rae Jepsen, Far East Movement, Nicole Scherzinger and more)
Stint (Grammy-nominated artist, has worked with Sabrina Claudio, Gallant, MØ and more)
Accolades aside, the standard of training is certainly of a high level. The tutors are all incredibly easy to understand, are able to clearly vocalize and break down complex concepts into simple, digestible chunks.
Genre-wise, it’s pretty agnostic, in that they don’t tend to lean towards one genre or another. There are a good mix of hip-hop, pop, house and techno genres, though you may struggle to find more niche genres like hardcore, deep dubstep, or drum and bass. If that’s more your thing, you should check out our review of Education & Bass’s online course — which is built specifically for the underground bass heads.
Highlights of the course content for me included:
- Ableton Live ‘Hacks’ — a lot of ‘out of the box’ techniques like using multiband compression to open up space to a track. Had never thought to try this upwards compression technique!
- ‘Deconstructing Hit Songs’ was an insightful category of lessons where tutors would break down drum techniques and concepts used in popular songs by Skrillex, Kendrick Lamar, Carl Cox and a few others. These are goldmines of info!
- Learning how to finish songs. The breadth of information on how to effectively create, develop and finish songs was outstanding. This is an area I struggle with, and was very happy with the content in these modules.
Additionally, you’re also given access to a wide range of high-quality sample packs that you can use to either begin your music production quest, or for you veterans — expand your horizons with a new palette of sounds.
The Platform: 10/10
The platform is undoubtedly the best I’ve come across in terms of its layout and features.
It’s clean, simple to use, and with a ton of functionality.
It has smart user functions that indicate which courses you’ve completed, and there is also a ‘%’ completed for each course which is a nice touch.
Each tutorial is packaged up neatly into their own respective ‘subsections’, which makes the courses feel extremely organized. As a relatively unorganized person myself, it’s nice that the platform takes care of that side of things for me.
You can easily filter courses by tutor, and category, which is perfect if you know what you’re looking for.
It’s also nice to be able to view the community’s comments and discussions below each of the tutorials, and the tutors are also pretty active with their replies.
Price and Value: 9.5/10
So, how much does Noiselab’s course cost, and is it worth it?
At just $19 per month (save 20% using PRODUCERHIVE code at checkout), Noiselab’s fully-fledged Ableton Live online course is well worth the money. This, of course, is provided that you actually put in the time to watch the tutorials!
With over 300 lessons, there’s a lot to go through! But the way I like to think of it is this…
If you did just 3 tutorials per day, you could complete most of the course in about 3 months at $19 per month. That’s a grand total of $57.
That’s affordability you will never get at traditional music colleges or institutes.
It would be up to you to cancel after that, unless you want to stay on and enjoy the added bonuses of being a member (future course updates, new content, new sample libraries etc).
Fact of the matter is that you’d have pretty much learnt almost everything there is to know about Ableton for just $57, in 3 months.
But of course, we advise you take your time with it and enjoy the learning process instead of doing it all as quickly as you can!
And if money is truly too tight to afford a monthly subscription, you should definitely check out Stint’s course while it’s still being made available for free.
You can use our Noiselab discount code PRODUCERHIVE at checkout to receive 20% off your membership! Happy learning!