After some weird new features popping up in a few videos from artists using Ableton Live, the rumor mill was already in full swing about a possible release of Ableton Live 10 in the near future. We’ve put our bet on an announcement at Ableton’s Loop Conference Well kids, the day is already here! Ableton just announced what the new version has in store. Let’s have a look, shall we?
New Devices in Your Arsenal!
As a long time Ableton user I rarely find myself lusting after more devices. The current version of Live really offers everything I need. Having said that, three out of the four devices look like they will quickly find their way into my workflow.
Echo is a device which promises to combine the sound of classic analog and digital hardware delays. Analog-modeled filters and vintage wobble are definitely two things I dig a lot, but it remains to be seen how it fairs against my current go-to delay vst plugin Dub Machines.
Drum Buss is a pure workhorse for drum tracks. It seems to do heaps of things I’m currently using a rack of third-party plugins for. My current go-to plugins on drums are Native Instruments Transient Shaper, D16 Decimort, Waves RBass and the infamous Vulf Compressor. Count me a happy camper if the Drum Buss can add subtle character as well as real crush the drums like in the previews.
Pedal is another device I dig. I actually just ordered an analog guitar pedal recently to dirty up my sounds, so not sure if I should be happy or cry about this new device. Pedal offers overdrive, distortion and fuzz and promises to bring the character of analog stomp boxes to Live. In Logic Pro X I always like use the integrated pedal board for sound design.
Last but not least is Wavetable, a new synth which can shape, stretch and morph sounds using wavetables. These got plucked from analog synthesizers and seem like fun to play with. Anyway I’m not a big synth nerd, so while I like having more tools at my disposal I don’t see this one getting much use in my own personal process.
Fresh Sounds for Ableton Live 10
Devices are great when you’re inspired to write songs or can afford to spent hours to design sounds. If you’re feeling beat block or want to knock out two more bangers before work, then presets and sound libraries are your best friend. Worry not. Live 10 comes packed with some very cool new sound packs.
First there is a new type of packs called collections. These seem similar to Maschine Expansions as they provide a roundhouse kick of usable sounds to write tunes for a specific genre or group of genres. Use them as is or tweak them easily to your liking with the mapped macros.
- Build and Drop. aims at big tunes that run the dancefloor. Think big basses, ecstatic leads, huge drums and big some screeching sirens and sounds effects.
- Glitch and Wash focusses on organic textures and tight rhythms, some circuit bending and warm ambient pads
- Drive and Glow nods towrad indie rock with its overdriven guitars , synth textures and pounding drums.
- Punch and Tilt has drum machine rhythms, weighty bass and a rough sonic aesthetic.
- Skitter and Step is all about growling basses, broken beats as well as dubby basses & spaces
- Chop and Swing is loosely based on hip hop with its focus on sampling and choppy Dilla-style grooves.
I’m sure these will be a big hit and we’ll see more of these in the near future.
These are more like your traditional live packs. You’ll find four new packs in your library if you have Ableton Live 10 Suite.
- Drum Essentials includes a collection of classic electronic kits and hits.
- Drum Booth brings together a range of acoustic drum and percussion sounds.
- Synth Essentials offers expertly programmed presets for Live’s synths alongside multisampled racks of classic hardware.
- Electric Keyboards brings the lush sound of electric pianos and organs to Live. I already shelled out cash for Sonic Couture Electric Piano Live Pack, but hey, why not.
Improving the Flow
Ableton Live has always scored points over other DAWs when it came to workflow. The session view was always huge, but it seems like the focus of Live is heavily on knocking out ideas quickly and intuitively. it’s no surprise that Version 10 also introduces some sick new workflow improvements.
Ever drummed out a sick rhtyhm only to find that you cant quite get right when you hit record. Normally you hit record and then record. Ableton Live 10 turns this around. As long as the track is armed, you can jam and once you find something dope, you press record AFTER it. Capture listened to you already and can just add the previous performance to your track. Especially cool if you overdub into existing clips. Probably one of the most exciting features in Live 10 in my eyes.
Finally you can edit multiple MIDI clips in one view. If you have drums on seperate tracks or want to work on chords and melody in tandem, here’s the solution. This works in both session and arrangement view, so no matter your preference, you’ll be editing your MIDI smarter in the future and take control of your musical compositions.
I work for the longest time in Session View and only switch to Arrangement View once the track has been fleshed out. Others solely work in Arrangement View and will be happy to know that it has been massively optimized for creative editing and efficient song creation. You can now stretch a clip, slide contents and create simple audio fades. There’s also a range of keyboard shortcuts that will make working in arrangement mode a breeze.
And more workflow improvements
Browser Collections are your go-to devices, plug-ins and samples close at hand. Don’t confuse it with the existing User Library, because you can create color-coded collections which you can instantly call up. My guess is that they will also require a lot less menu diving on the Push 2. Bring it on!
I keep my songs quite simple with usually not more than 8-12 tracks, but I’m in the minority. That’s why a long awaited feature is to be able to create groups within groups. If you have been scrambling to organize complex sets to your liking, then Live 10 will bring salvation – you can now have nested groups.
Actually the first thing you will recognize is the improved look. I only mention it down here on the page, because it’s not a massive change to Live 9. Yes, everything cleaner and features sharper graphics and refined colors, but in the end Live still looks like Live and you’ll feel right at home. That’s a good thing!
Now Even More Out of the Box with Push
The beauty of Ableton is how tightly the software is integrated with its hardware controller Push. I’ve owned the Push 1 and upgrade to Push 2 as soon as it was released. While people are desperately waiting for the Push 3 controller, there’s some sick upgrades that get pushed to Push 2 with the introduction of Ableton Live 2.
The biggest thing for me is the advanced device visualization, which is straight up awesome! When I bought Push 2 I loved seeing the waveforms of samples on the builtin screen. It made sample based music production so fun, because you could finally stop looking at the laptop and see everything on the controller. Now Ableton Live 10 adds more visualisations and show rich details to new devices Wavetable and Echo, but also finally show the spectrum analysis on their EQ Eight and other classic devices. Have a look:
Another stand out feature is that you can see and refine the notes of your midi patterns directly on the Push display.
No More Limits with integrated Max for Live
Since Ableton bought Max for Live a couple months ago, it was only a matter of time before they integrated it completely into Live. Et Voila! No additional download or set up is required anymore.
I do find myself loading up Max For Live devices every now and then, so this one is welcome addition to Ableton Live 10. I expect that these device will load faster and be more reliable – especially in live performance situations.
They also rewrote some existing devices and added new ones, plus more advanced under the hood things, which I’m not really qualified to comment on to be honest. Anyway, good call on integrating Max For Live fully!
Discounted Upgrade on Ableton Live 10!
The upgrade is available with a 20% discount until the official release in January. I’ll definitely will cop it in the coming days, because full price for the upgrade from Live 9 Suite to Live Suite is a chunky xxx Euro, so I gladly take the 20% off now and sit on hot coals until I can finally play with Ableton Live 10.