Software improvements don’t always fit well into marketing materials. Hype aside, music software is both musical tool and instrument, so for those of us who use apps daily, it’s the little stuff that often matters. Live 6 is full of those kind of improvements, having been working with the beta lately.

Dave Hill from Ableton has been collecting new features and tips in the Live 6 beta as they appear. Last week, without even mentioning the feature in the beta changelog, Ableton quietly added curves to its crossfader. That’s huge news for DJs, and even to those of us non-DJs who love the cross-fader. That’s just the beginning of the action on the Live 6 forums.

Be sure to visit:

Cool yet subtle changes in Live 6 [main discussion thread for new features, Ableton beta forum]

And, for your information and amusement, here’s an interesting discussion of exporting Live tracks. (In short, anything you’ve heard about Live failing to export quality audio is myth. Thanks, Jesse!)

Perfect cancellation of audio tracks exported from Cubase SX and Live 5 [Ableton beta forum]

Now, our running list of cool, overheard Live 6 features and tips:

Crossfader curves


  • channel swap mode
  • DC offset filter
  • Saturator:

  • waveshaper with six user defined parameters
  • second optional output saturator / soft clipper
  • Session:

  • multiple selection of scenes and tracks for copy/past/duplicate
  • follow action “other”
  • Mixer:

  • improved metering and clipping info
  • Arranger:

  • ability to shorten multiple clips at once
  • ability to warp multiple clips at once
  • ability to define a locator as Start mark, allows to start a song from there using space, and not from insert mark
  • Clip view:

  • warp options context menu accessible not only from beat ruler but also from wavefrom view
  • Velocity Device:

  • allows to control release velocity also
  • Scale Device:

  • Fold mode for simplified creation of scales.
  • Device Chain:

  • racks can be used to minimize size of effects you do not need to see.
  • Holding down the [Ctrl] key while moving volume sliders in Session and Arrangement, gives you smooth/fine adjustments. (Same with sends, pan, etc)

    Now here’s a cool one:

    I was editing the key zones for a device rack and I right clicked on the instrument name at the left and see “show names in midi editor”

    I was actually making a drum synth so you can imagine my delight when I discovered that, lo and behold, press “fold” in the piano roll of a clip on that track and the names are indeed available to the left of the relevant keys like they are for impulse!!!!!!

    I should say that you can move midi notes around in L5 while the grid is active, click and then hold on the note – then use the alt key and you can drag freely.

    In the velocity editor of a midi clip, select some velocity markers you want to edit.

    Then Command + drag (on windows ctrl + drag I guess) and you will not get a rectangular selection but you’ll get a line. Give the line a little slope and bam, you get a linear velocity curve.

  • Now there are way more tones and colors to chose from for our clips
  • A blinking clip in the session view blinks from green to black, not from green to white as before, which looks much cooler.
  • Arrangement: Option to show only the automated parameters in the automation drop-down menus
  • Arrangement: the little orange triangular marker appears not only at the top but at the bottom of the timeline.
  • The boxed values are now much more visual (with this orange zone showing the value).
  • show/hide buttons for mixer, i/o, etc now available for arrangement view as well…
  • when writing automation if you click and then hold cmd you can free draw then release apple and you go back to grid draw.
  • discovered 2 nice things:
    first: in 5.2 when dragging a clip from session to arrangement, you needed to move slightly the clip before pressing the Tab key. 6 is back to normal: click on the clip, hit Tab, you’re in arrangement with the clip attached to your mouse.

    now another one: select a zone in sampler’s zone editor, play a note on your keyboard, double click the brown bar => your zone gets reduced to the note you where playing
    and this also works on the “key” chain editor in a rack….

    • Marco Raaphorst

      Very cool article. I need to dig into Live6 one day I guess!

      I must say I can still remember those pre-digital years. Phase-canceling didn't exist, MIDI-channel 10 (for drums) being slower than MIDI-channel 1 and tape-machines causing SMPTE to drop out of sync because of one single drop out… :)

    • Angstrom

      and in Beta 10 :

      Midi warping of selected notes

      By that I mean, select a grouping of notes and use the context menu, it will bring up some all-new warp markers for midi. You can use these to scale time, or reverse notes.

    • Peter Kirn

      Wow, Angstrom; thanks for the tip! I hadn't yet checked the b10 changelog. That's brilliant. :)

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