Ableton Live @ Dubspot: Video Tutorial Series Pt 1 – Production Tips from Professor Nalepa

“Working together with Dubspot, we have created a deep year-long Ableton Live curriculum designed to take you through the complete process of finding your own unique style and creating a body of work – learning Live inside and out! The goal: to become a well rounded producer. - Professor Nalepa

Professor Steve Nalepa has worked with a diverse and talented group of musicians, each with their own unique sound and approach to composing and performing. He’s worked with artists such as Photek, Nosaj Thing, The Glitch Mob, the L.A. Philharmonic and Adam Freeland to help them actualize ideas in Ableton Live. We are proud to have Professor Nalepa on staff as Curriculum Designer of our Ableton Live program at Dubspot. Below we revisit a series of video tutorials he created to provide tips and tricks to our readers and students. In parts one through six of this series you can learn more about Slice To Midi, setting up return bus effects, Beat Repeat, Locator Points and much more. Read on to expand your knowledge of Ableton Live’s capabilities and check the links below to learn more about Dubspot’s in-depth programs in Ableton Live.

“So far the experience through Dubspot is incredible I can’t wait to go through the next levels it’s just getting better each week and I can not wait to start putting my EP together in addition to creating a successful track!” – Dubspot Online Student

In the first installment of Live Production Tips with Professor Nalepa, Professor Nalepa shows you how to improve the quality of your production and avoid clutter from the get go. He demonstrates a simple technique that can take a bland pad sound and transform it into a more interesting and lush mixture of moving sounds. By adding audio effects such as Reverb and Auto Pan to a series of Return tracks, the pad will begin to come to life and demand a little attention.

In the second installment of Live Production Tips with Professor Nalepa, Professor Nalepa investigates the Slice to MIDI function in Ableton Live in a two-part video tutorial. Slice to MIDI is ideal for isolating individual sounds out of a drum loop, and it is also a powerful tool for live performance, remixes, and experimenting in the studio. Nalepa shows you how to utilize the various features of the Slice to MIDI option, as he chops up a couple of drum loops (a basic house loop and the jungle/drum n bass staple, the “Amen break”) using Transient Markers in Part 1. In part 2, Nalepa shares some cool tips and tricks for working with full tracks, and shows you how Slice to MIDI allows you to play the individual parts and elements, and how you can recompose or program your own beat.

In the third edition of Ableton Live Production Tips with Professor Nalepa, Professor Nalepa shares mixing techniques using one of his current works in progress as the example. Ableton’s built-in Utility plug-in has a width setting that adjusts how wide that track stretches across the panoramic spectrum. Setting different width values for different tracks helps give differentiation and separation to the individual elements of your song, and it helps each part cut through so it can be heard clearly in the mix.

In this week’s ,  Nalepa shares some tips on using the built-in Beat Repeat effect. Beat Repeat is great in the studio for creating interesting drum fills. Using a simple drum loop, Nalepa demonstrates how Beat Repeat works, re-sampling the effected audio with all of its random variations, then mining those parts to give new life to your drum arrangements. He also shares a live performance technique using MIDI Mapping and the Beat Repeat’s Pitch Decay control.

Inspired by a recent studio session with the legendary producer Photek, Dubspot Instructor and electronic music produce Nalepa shares some techniques for preparing your live set for DJing, live performance and DJ mixes in this week’s Ableton Live tutorial. In particular, using remixes of his own tracks by Salva and St Andrew, he shares some useful advice on warping your tracks properly, a few tricks for setting up your live performance document, and some ideas to incorporate when making a DJ mix.

In his week 6 Ableton Live tutorial tutorial, Nalepa gets inspired by a wedding present from Aunt Jade, a set of rainbow butterfly windchimes. Using the Repitch Warp Mode, he explores how you can take a recording and play it back at 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 speed to get interesting variations of the original recording.  He also explains how you can set Locator Points in the Arrangement View and then map them to keys on the typing keyboard or keys/pads on a MIDI controller, giving you the ability to trigger video in live. By setting the video window full screen out on a second monitor, this allows you to use Ableton for dynamic live audiovisual performances.

Steve Nalepa is an LA-based producer, professor, Dubspot Instructor and Ableton Live expert. He’s produced tracks and collaborated with everyone from legends like Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders to rising electronic music artists Nosaj Thing and The Glitch Mob.

Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

See dates and register for NYC and online classes!

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with 4 completed tracks (EP), a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Shake Hands with Live
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Completing Your First Track
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Production Essentials
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Sound Design & Instrumentation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Composition & Production
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Taking Your EP Global

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full length songs – one per level. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.


  • Ableton Live Core & Advanced: 6 levels
  • Dubspot’s complete Ableton course load
  • 132 hours of hands-on instruction
  • Additional instructor-supervised lab hours


  • Ableton Live Core & Advanced: 6 levels
  • Dubspot’s complete Ableton course load
  • 60-80 hours of high quality videos
  • 3 hours of instructor-led chat sessions per week
  • Direct video & audio feedback from instructors

For more start dates and information about payment plans, please call 212.242.2100 or 1.877.DUBSPOT (1.877.382.7768) or send us a message.

  • Ableton Live @ Dubspot: Video Tutorial Series Pt 1 – Production Tips from Professor Nalepa « Music Lessons « MUSIC LESSONS
  • 7/27/2011

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