Great starter pack
I was new to Ableton when I bought Intro. It didn't take long to get in and figure out the workflow. It does have two main recording "areas" and this part took me a minute to figure out. The session view holds all the colored blocks or clips. Each block or clip is what you record into your computer,this could be virtual instrument midi or audio sources. You have your "rack" at the bottom portion of the screen. This is blank and it's where you drag and drop instrument racks(pre built live sets of sounds like synths and drums kits)you can also drop your effects in here as well. Once you build a few parts and have them ready to go in the session view you can then hit the record button for a global record. This means that from the time you hit record everything you do in your "session" be it knob turns,clip launching,all gets recorded and sent to the second recording view that is the more common view timeline like most other DAWs.
When I first started up intro I wasn't sure how the whole thing worked. I had to watch a few YouTube videos to see this workflow and to fully understand how powerful this makes Live. You can,if you like,start recording directly into the arrangement view if you prefer but if you pass up Live's clip launching you are missing out. Clips turn everything you record into them into almost like an individual instrument. It's hard to think about but imagine if you recorded five guitar parts. You can now fire off those parts in any order at any speed to arrange the song however you'd like. Turning a basic recording more into a playable instrument. It's very cool.
That's the basics of Live. The program itself is VERY deep and has so many tools and options as you'd expect from any other DAW like logic and cubase with all the bus options and channels. One thing I love about Live is how easy it is to set up external devices,controllers,interfaces,and even use your iPad as a dedicated controller with native apps that mimic the full interface. Doing things in Live that might take a while to figure out in other DAWs are front and center and open with no confusing menus or hidden routing speak.
Now that I've used Intro for a while I have to warn you that you WILL want to upgrade. Watching 100's of tutorials on tips and tricks on YouTube has brought a very clear problem to surface. Intro,while a VERY good price and VERY powerful and stocked with tons of useful features. It lacks the BIG features that everyone in the tutorials use. You will quickly have to resort to "work arounds" due to the limitations imposed by the "lite-ness" of the beginner Live. Things like grouping tracks,chains,and other Major selling points that make Ableton Live such a great and powerful tool are disabled in the intro version. While you get 64 audio tracks you are limited to only 8 midi/virtual instrument/VSTi or AU tracks at a time. This limitation can be reached very quickly if you are a producer making your own music. There are work arounds,like you can freeze/flatten any midi track turning it into audio but you lose your midi flexibility and lock the track to waveform. The next limitation that I run into EVERY session is you are ONLY allowed to use 12 effects TOTAL in the whole project. If you put a reverb,eq,and compressor on every track you can only have effects on 4 tracks! This is a severe limitation that makes mastering and return tracks difficult to juggle(you are also limited to maximum of 2 sends/returns for effects routing).
Some of these effects limitations can be avoided due to the clever use of instrument racks Intro comes preinstalled with. Think of racks as a base instrument(piano,synth,drums)with effects and "special" tweaks added and then Ableton pre-groups these things into what they call, a rack instrument. They are very high quality instruments with ample amounts of effects added. The downside is those effects and tweaks are locked into each on. Granted you get 500 to choose from. The real power of Ableton comes from grouping with macro controls to create your own instrument/drum racks but alas,this is disabled.
There is so much here and there is so much more to get into. I am just starting out so this is just what I've learned so far. Also,I am a music "producer",meaning I don't use loops and other peoples "clips" for remixes and DJing. I write all my own music,play all my own synth parts,and program all my own drum tracks. The software is really designed as a tool for this kind of work but I'm here to tell you thar traditional musician types can find powerful resources in Live Intro and it's not just a cool DJ tool to play the latest loop packs you bought for $30 to create "instant producers". This is a real tool for real musicians. If you do like to play around with loops and dj stuff then this should work pro. I just can't attest to that portion. For $69 you would be hard pressed to find a more powerful toolset for modern dance music and traditional music creation. If you have $69 and want to get Live well now you can. This is Live albeit with some disabilities thrown in to bait you into expanding your horizons. I give this a 4.5.