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What's the deal with Ableton?

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What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby OneWorld » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:59 am

I am a committed Cubase user, I like the extensive and transparent MIDI aspects of Cubase, and as far as I can see, handling audio is equally convincing.

But I was talking to a colleague, who has quite an impressive c.v as regards production/writing the other day and he said Ableton is the way to go. He isn't the only person to rave about Ableton, but no one can tell me exactly why it is held in such high esteem. My friend for example said you can stretch and mangle the content on a whim. Well there is time stretching in Cubase too?

What if anything does Ableton have that Cubase doesn't? This isn't meant to be an Ableton vs Cubase question but more in the way of a comparison - what am I missing seeing as I don't have Ableton.

I use quite a lot of outboard hardware synths/samplers, but am trying to move over to software alternatives, eg have all but abandoned my Akai Z8 and gone over to Kontakt 5. I don't know if this has any impact on choosing Ableton over Cubase but do like the fact that Cubase has patchname scripts for my hardware synths so it is dead easy finding a synth patch from within Cubase.
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:54 am


I mostly build arrangements in Cubase from live recordings, whether audio or MIDI. Loops and "beats" don't come into it. But other people work in different ways, and Ableton certainly has a following. There's a functioning demo version. Give it a try.
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby Jack Ruston » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:58 am

It has a really seamless way of allowing you to arrange, automatically time stretching loops etc. The problem is that in order for that to work so fluidly it seems to do something a bit odd to audio...as you'd expect. So it's awesome for manipulating things but not the software for mixing recorded sources. It makes a great second DAW.

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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:13 am

As then name implies Live! is good for on the fly arrangements and performance. Lots of people use it because it is focussed on handling audio clips rather than MIDI sequences (it does that too, but most people seem to use it for the auido manipulation)and it is easy to drop any loop ion and it works to the BPM you are at. As ever it isn't what one person says, it is how you get on with a product that determines if it is right for you. I got Live! Intro this year and I've used it a couple of times but I would never consider using it instead of Cubase. My plan is to work my stuff into it so I can move forward with a live set up, but time conspires against me :x
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby johnny h » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:36 am

Jack Ruston wrote:It has a really seamless way of allowing you to arrange, automatically time stretching loops etc. The problem is that in order for that to work so fluidly it seems to do something a bit odd to audio...as you'd expect. So it's awesome for manipulating things but not the software for mixing recorded sources. It makes a great second DAW.

J
You have to be careful what time stretching algorithms you are using. The default setting (beats, transient) actually sounds really [ ****** ], especially on bass. You can use the pitch setting which doesn't timestretch the audio at all.

Overall Ableton is lightyears ahead of Cubase in speed of use and actually getting things done. Cubase seems completely archaic to me now I've got used to Ableton's workflow.
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby desmond » Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:08 am

Cubase is a traditional DAW.
Live isn't, really.

While Live can do DAW stuff, it's not really as good as a full-featured DAW for recording bands or composing film scores etc (though there are people that do use Live for those things).

The main advantage of Live is that it lets you work in a very different way to a traditional DAW, it's a great tool kit for improvising, jamming, and developing ideas while you can then move over to a DAW to finish off, or to take your DAW-recorded songs and move them into a live performance environment for playback, jamming etc.

It's either a workflow you will love, or not get on with. I remember I first demo'd Live back when it was a session-view audio playback tool only (no MIDI at all, I think maybe version 1 or 2), and while I thought it was cool for mashing up loops, it wasn't really how I made music and I thought it as a bit of a novelty, or a toy. Fun, but ultimately not that useful for me.

It wasn't until I re-demo'd it, I think Live 3 just before Live 4 was coming out, and it finally clicked for me. It's not a replacement for Logic for me, but it's a great supplement - it's really good at the things Logic is not great at, and correspondingly it's not great at some of the things Logic excels at.

It's particularly well adopted by makers of beat-based, electronic music, as it excels in that area, but as I said, any tool is down to the user to use. It might not be for you, so just because someone else loves it, doesn't mean it suits your workflow. If you want to try it out, give the demo a whirl, but don't be surprised if you don't get it, or see it's benefits - it just might not suit you. For me, it's a valuable extra toolkit and gives me an additional way of working which can be really beneficial - I come up with quite different forms of music when working in Live than I do in Logic, and it can be more fun (and sometimes, more painful ;)

Jack Ruston wrote:It makes a great second DAW.


What I'm saying. :)
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby chris... » Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:53 pm

desmond wrote:it's a great tool kit for improvising, jamming, and developing ideas

That ^

However, I have a feeling some of that sort of stuff has been finding its way into Cubase in recent years (tho' I could be wrong).
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby Exalted Wombat » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:11 pm

johnny h wrote:Overall Ableton is lightyears ahead of Cubase in speed of use and actually getting things done. Cubase seems completely archaic to me now I've got used to Ableton's workflow.

That depends enormously, of course, on what it IS you "want to get done". Suppose the job was to take an existing audio track, align the MIDI tempo map, add some instrumental parts played "live" from a MIDI keyboard, print out these parts as notation for real players, overdub an additional vocal track, apply some pitch correction to it...
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Re: What's the deal with Ableton?

Postby G-Doubleyou » Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:35 pm

Live is my secondary DAW, I use it for experimenting and quick arrangements using Loops.

It allows you trigger audio with a keystroke or controller.

Drag and drop plugs to you signal chain.

Interesting Live only instrument add-ons,and effects.

EDM artists love it.

On the downside first time you play an audio file it generates an overview file that contains warp and pitch data. Possible to generate thousands of files.

No notation,only way to view edit midi data is the piano roll.




8-)
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