Last week, Berlin was the location for an invitation only preview event (click to watch the extremely Apple-esque video) of what Ableton had in mind for the future. Given that they have but one full product in their repertoire, it wasn’t too hard to work out what it was going to be about. Sadly, I couldn’t make it, and just about nothing has leaked from that soiree, apart from a possibly accidental posting and subsequent taking down of a video all about Live 9. So it comes as no surprise to see that Live 9 is now official rather that much talked about vapourware.
First the official words from Berlin:
The upgrade to version 9 greatly expands the creative possibilities of Ableton’s popular Live software.
The most important new features at a glance:
Session automation: In Session View, automation can now be recorded in real time directly within clips. Automation can move together with clips between Arrangement and Session View.
Find sounds fast: Live’s new browser puts all instruments, effects, samples, and plug-ins in one easy-to-navigate view. Drag and drop folders from anywhere on your computer, search as you type and navigate from the keyboard to find everything quickly.
Discover new sounds: Live comes with a large selection (3,500 in the Suite edition) of production-ready sounds, which were carefully crafted with the help of over 40 artists, sound designers and engineers. All sounds feature Macro controls for fast access to their most meaningful, musical parameters.
Get your sound right: Live’s studio effects have all been reworked for even better sound and usability. The Glue Compressor is a new effect – an authentic model of a legendary 1980s console bus compressor. EQ Eight has an audition mode for isolating frequencies and an expandable spectrum display. The Gate and Compressor effects feature a Gain Reduction view which shows changes in signal level over time.
Extract music from samples: Live’s new Harmony, Melody and Drums to MIDI tools extract natural-feeling MIDI directly from the favorite parts of your music collection. You can also sing, tap a rhythm, play any solo instrument, then use Melody or Drums to MIDI to turn your recordings into MIDI clips that you can edit and reuse with any sound.
Edit the details: Transpose, reverse and stretch MIDI notes or warp clip automation and add curves to automation envelopes. New tools and an improved workflow allow fast and flexible editing of musical ideas.
Max for Live – now in Suite: The Suite edition of Live 9 comes with Max for Live and its many unique instruments, effects and tools. Max for Live itself includes 24 new devices such as a convolution reverb, new drum synthesizer instruments, MIDI echo as well as reworked versions of classics such as Step Sequencer and Buffer Shuffler 2.
Pricing and Availability
Prices start at USD 99 / EUR 79 (Live 9 Intro download version), USD 449 / EUR 349 (Live 9 Standard download version) and USD 749 / EUR 599 (Live 9 Suite download version).
Upgrades to Live 9 Standard / Live 9 Suite vary in price depending on the Ableton products you already own. More details at: www.ableton.com/shop
Ableton Live 9 will be available in the first quarter of 2013.
Beta testing will begin shortly.
Starting immediately, Ableton Live 8 is available for 25% off the regular price and includes a free upgrade to Live 9 as soon as it is released.
More information about Live 9 including video tutorials: www.ableton.com
Now I’d dearly love to be able to make intelligent comment about Live and how this update is amazing for reasons X, Y, and Z. But I still know almost nothing about Live. It’s not been quite DJ enough for me, but for people like Chris Cartledge, it’s right up their street. You can check what he thinks over at ohdratdigital. But the preview presentation really does explain a lot, and is well worth a watch:
Halfway through, it jumps to Ableton’s new Push hardware. More on that coming next.
The Bridge Too Far?
Clearly, Live is not DJ software, and Ableton have made no bones about not catering for DJs. And with a new version of Live appearing, I’m left wondering if this will either enhance Serato‘s partnership Bridge project, or maybe kill it dead completely. Given the starting complexity of Live, perhaps a better approach might be to enhance Serato’s core DJ features in a more production direction, rather than cram an entire application inside another.
But I’m really interested to know how you guys use it. Do you perform with it with DJ gear? Without DJ gear? Or are you more of a music maker and don’t perform with it at all? Or like me, does the interface scare the hell out of you because it doesn’t work like DJ software?
We’re going to have to wait a little while to get our hands on it. The beta starts soon, with a roll out Q1 2013. It looks like it could be worth the wait though.