Ableton Live has long been a different beast to other DAWs, not least because of its clip launcher (or Session) view that lets you remix your own tracks on the fly. With the release of Live 10, Ableton have aimed not to make Live more like any other DAW. Instead, they have worked with their existing user community to refine and streamline it and make it better at what it does best.
These refinements include scores of new workflow enhancements including a cleaner interface, multiple MIDI clip editing, one-key zooming, the ability to create groups within groups, MIDI note chasing, I/O renaming and loads of other little workflow tweaks that will save you time.
A far as new headline features go, there are four new devices: Wavetable, Echo, Drum Buss and Pedal. Wavetable is Ableton’s first new instrument since Operator is deceptively deep, sonically. It also features analogue modelled filters and a modulation matrix that keeps things very interesting. A fullscreen mode makes it easily navigable on stage. Echo is an audio effect that offers classic analogue-style and digital delay sounds, copious feedback and reverb. Drum Buss is a one-stop plug-in for sculpting your drum racks, with transient, and low-end punch controls. Finally, Pedal features three circuit-level models of overdrive, distortion and fuzz guitar pedals.
If you own a Push 2, the new update gives you even more control and visual feedback than ever before. As well as each of the above devices having their own, custom (and attractive) interfaces on Ableton’s hardware controller, EQ Eight and Compressor both get a visual overhaul. EQ Eight now displays live spectrum analysis and EQ curves, while Compressor visualises the effect of the dynamics processing. With Push 2, there’s also a new step sequencing layout that allows simultaneous sequencing and real-time playing, and the hi-spec OLED screen shows MIDI notes within clips using a piano roll interface.
Ableton have redesigned the Core Library in Live 10, added more sounds and reorganised things. Their new Essential Instruments are four new Packs that feature samples including electric keys, drums and synths. Curated Collections, meanwhile, are compiled Packs that draw together music threads around a specific sonic theme.
Max For Live has been a part of Live for some time, but with Live 10, it gets embedded in a deeper way. This means you can open a Max For Live device as you would any other regular device. These look more 'Live-like’ and it means quicker load times and lower CPU usage. In addition, Max For Live can now access hardware MIDI ports, something that was not possible before.
Ableton are promoting a special offer in the run-up to the release of Live 10 in early 2018. Users can save 20% on Live 9 and get a free upgrade to 10 when it’s released. Once released, Live 10 (downloads) will cost £69$99 for Intro, £319$499 for Standard and £579$799 for Suite. Boxed versions cost between £20 and £40 more.Boxed versions will cost up to $50 more. Upgrade pricing will also be available for existing users.
Keep an eye out for our full review coming soon!