The new Session View. Yes, it’s a different color. But mostly, look to the bottom of your screen: automation recording in clips, and curves in automation, at last.

Ableton today has revealed the details of Live 9, alongside new hardware called Push. The software update brings new ways of transforming sound into MIDI, new and improved devices for shaping sounds, tools for automation that work inside clips and with curved interpolation, a new Browser, and a number of interface and usability enhancements. There are also some features, conceived for Push, that could benefit people using any hardware controller they choose. And alongside these enhancements, you’ll also find a host of new sounds and preset content with which to work.

First, here’s a quick look at what’s new, before we go into more detail and consider this more musically:

  • Session automation – the “about freakin’ time” feature: Record automation into clips (no dummy clips), move clips between Session and Arrange, and use curved automation in Session and Arrange. Yes, they heard you.
  • Convert audio to MIDI – the “pretty freakin’ awesome” feature: Transform melodic (monophonic), harmonic (polyphonic), and percussion audio content into editable MIDI clips, transcribing pitches, drum parts, and rhythms. It’s not Melodyne, but it’s uniquely fun in the context of Live’s Session View.
  • A new Browser: The browser is now better organized, easier to customize, faster, now makes it possible to audition more presets instantly, and searches all devices and content from one place.
  • More sounds: 3500 sounds in Suite, and a surprising number in Standard, all with easy-to-control Macro controls.
  • Glue Compressor: from Cytomic, a new Compressor modeling a (cough) popular 80s compressor.
  • Improved EQ 8: The flagship included Ableton equalizer now includes more graphical feedback, and newly-modeled filters for better sound and more-precise isolation of frequencies.
  • More MIDI clip editing: Transpose, invert, and reverse MIDI notes inside clips.
  • Max for Live is faster and included in Suite: Max for Live will sync up with the newest version of Max/MSP, bringing reduced load times and other enhancements. It’s also, at last, included as part of Suite (though not Standard).
  • New Max for Live-based devices: A number of oft-requested Devices are now available implemented in Max for Live. The bad news: you need Suite, and they’re not “native” as such. The good news: they’re editable. You get an LFO you can assign to other devices, a whole host of drum synth instruments, MIDI echo, and improved Step Sequencer and Buffer Shuffler.

What it costs: For downloads, Intro is US$99/ 79 €, Standard is US$449/349€, and Suite is US$749/599€. Upgrade pricing is too complex to explain, so, uh, ask Ableton.

When you can get it: Beta testing will begin by next week, but the shipping version will arrive first quarter of 2013, says Ableton. If you buy Live 8 now, though, it’s 25% off and includes a free Live 9 upgrade, meaning the cheapest way to get Live 9 is actually to buy Live 8 before it’s out.

Live attracts a unique level of attention and anticipation because its way of working is different than other tools on the market. So let’s look at it that way: let’s look at what Live 9 means for making music, not just as a set of new features.

A number of partners, press, and artists were invited last week to Ableton’s headquarters for a day-long tour of the new products. I’ve had some opportunity to play around with Live 9 beta builds at Ableton’s offices, as well as talk to developers at Ableton about what they’ve built in Live and Push. In those conversations and some hands-on time, I’ve gotten a bit closer to the tool. There will be more to say over time, but here’s a look at the new software from how it might impact your creative musical process.

What’s new in Live 9, video – non-leaked.

Starting Musical Ideas

A number of new features focus on how to get new musical ideas going. It’s subtle, and involves some enhancements that might otherwise seem unrelated, but it’s enough that I’m looking forward to sketching new ideas in the beta.

Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis did a nice demonstration last week in Berlin to first present Live 9, and I think it was dead-on in refocusing this from features to music making. Using the built-in laptop mic, he sang in a melody, then converted it to MIDI and turned it into a clip with an instrument. He beat-boxed a drum loop, then turned that into a MIDI clip – complete with bass, snare, and hats correctly-identified by Ableton’s new algorithm. (Dennis is a classically-trained percussionist, not really a beat boxer, so that means you could do this, too.) He found sounds using the new Browser, auditioning them instantly, and transcribed a single chord from a Bill Evans solo for a harmonic stab, finishing things off with some of the new effects.

Converting audio to MIDI. When Live added MIDI, it was such a boon to the tool that it’s been hard for any upgrade to live up since. This isn’t adding MIDI again, but it might prove to be the next best thing. Ableton isn’t Celemony – you can’t convert audio to MIDI, then edit the MIDI, then change the pitch and rhythm of the original audio. (For that, you’ll still have to run Celemony as a plug-in, and I’m sure this will disappoint some users.) But what Live 9’s new “convert to MIDI” feature can do is “transcribe” melodic, polyphonic, and percussive content to an editable MIDI clip. Some content, of course, works better than others. Clear melodic content works better than polyphonic content. Dry drum loops work better than loops with effects. Kits work better than unusual percussion (because Live generally assumes it’s mapping to a kit, for convenience).

The way the feature works: you select a clip, right click (or control-click), and then choose harmonic, melodic, or drum content. Live spawns a new channel with either a default drum device or synth, and converts melodic/harmonic pitch information to MIDI notes and drums to kick, snare, and the like. (Ableton says they’re planning to eventually allow you to set your own default instruments; in fact, Live 9 includes enhancements to how defaults work in the program generally.) You can also drag audio to a new MIDI track, and a pop-up appears allowing you to select the kind of material you’re dragging. What you can’t do is alter any parameters for how the conversion works; you have to trust the algorithm.

So far, though, it looks like almost any result will be musically useful. In fact, even in early testing, I sometimes found the mistakes more interesting than the correct transcriptions. But whether it’s being precise or – uh, a bit more creative – I think the audio-to-MIDI technique is going to be the biggest draw of the new version, because it can break you out of creative ruts. It’s not so much about stealing ideas as it is generating new musical DNA with which to work.

New clip recording workflow. In previous versions of Live, it could require some extra steps to start a new clip, record into that clip, and then play back what you just recorded. Finding a way to streamline that is significant, because it means you can start ideas faster in production – or more confidently start laying down new clips live onstage as you perform. Now, Live 9 has a new record workflow that allows you to combine these steps, starting a fresh clip, selecting it, recording into it, and being able to quickly play it back once you’re done recording. It’s functionality designed for Push, but it can work with any controller (or keyboard shortcut) you like; we’ll look more in detail at this subtlety as I think it’s really important.

Finding and Designing Sounds

Browsing via search-as-you-type, browsing by type in the new Browser, showing off the newly-flexible, multi-pane interface.

It’s tough to overstate the importance of the new Browser. From the video over the weekend, you may have imagined this was mostly cosmetic, but seen in practice, it could be the Live 9 feature that would make it most painful to return to Live 8.

For one, you can now preview Devices nearly-instantly. Previously, Ableton would dutifully instantiate each Device chain in order to audition its sounds in the Browser. The result: it was painfully slow. Now, it instead plays an audio preview.

It’s also at last possible to add your own folders; gone are the absurd “1,” “2,” and “3” slots for finding files. You can easily find anything you need, including Max for Live patches, via a convenient multi-pane interface, and search across everything with a speedy “search-as-you-type” facility.

Ableton also emphasizes the amount of work they’ve done on the sound library. The Orchestral Library is improved. There are new hip-hop-themed sounds, and they’re available in Standard. Drums include new sounds from Sonic Couture, and kits played live by skilled session drummers. There are stranger additions, like Berlin-based artist Hecq (Ben Lukas Boysen) and his wild creations with coil pickups. (Hecq is someone I hope we speak to soon here on CDM, unrelated to his work on Live 9.)

It may be some of the bread-and-butter sounds that make the biggest difference for a wide audience, however. Ableton has worked on a new, reasonably compact grand piano that’s also included in Standard, along with new guitar and bass instruments.

With any of these sounds, of course, you can go inside and learn what the sound designer has done with Ableton’s tools, or use the samples as the basis of new sounds.

Finishing Tracks

Live’s Devices sound better, but also give more visual feedback. Note the oversized EQ Eight view, and live feedback on how dynamics effects are impacting sounds.

“Finishing tracks,” one Ableton rep told me last week, was one of the principle needs of users. (Fancy that. I certainly never have any problem finishing anyth…)

I do still routinely hear complaints about Ableton Live’s audio quality. I’m going to leave that discussion until we do a double-blind test. Maybe it’s time for me to go out on a limb here, though: I believe there is no difference between Ableton’s “mix engine” and other tools. From an engineering standpoint, in tests done with phase cancellation, it simply doesn’t matter. I also hear work like Monolake produced entirely in Live, and – whether you love or hate the music – I have to say, the level of audio clarity is beyond compare. I’ll use what he’s using; I’ll have what he’s having for breakfast.

That does raise the question of why people aren’t happy with this or any other tool, though. I think very often this comes down to the included effects, presets, and effect interface for finishing tracks – in any host, with even fairly advanced users.

Enhanced Devices, New Glue. Ableton has worked both on the sound of its effects (in some measurable, quantifiable, non-voodoo ways), and the way in which you visualize their results. In Gate and Compressor, you see live visual feedback that shows you what the effect is doing to the sound. In EQ Eight, there’s a new, expandable visualization that shows you the spectrum. Experienced engineers will tell you to make adjustments by sound, not sight, but I think these visualizations help reinforce what the ear is hearing. And there’s no question they’ll be a boon to those new to sound who are trying to understand what these controls do.

EQ Eight and Compressor sport improved audio operation. EQ Eight has a new filter model that Ableton says sounds better, and allows more precise selections. You can audition individual bands to hear the changes you’re making (back to that hearing, not looking thing). And Ableton says the improvements actually uses less CPU resources; EQ Eight now includes SSE optimizations. (SSE is a cool way of optimizing computation by parallelizing instructions; it’s been part of Intel chips for some time.) EQ Eight as a result now always operates in what had been called “Hi Quality” mode. You can enable or disable Oversampling, and you now get a linear phase oversampling filter in EQ Eight. (Ableton tells me that will be a big deal to some of you; I’m assume the “some of you” will be the people whose eyes don’t glaze over at the sight of the words “linear phase oversampling.”) Correction: An early draft of this story mistakenly said Compressor was the SSE-optimized Device; it was in fact EQ Eight.)

Compressor features a new alogrithmic slope, making it more precise – for digital-style compression. And Compressor can now act as an Expander – perhaps the least-visible, but most important (musically) of the new Device changes.

For analog-style compression, Ableton has turned to Cytomic to bundle an Ableton-native version of Glue, an already well-loved 80s compressor emulation in software. If you’ve used it before, you already know Glue. What’s new in the Ableton version is improved performance: you get 1 sample latency and less CPU utilization versus the original plug-in, says Ableton, now that it’s native in the host. Interestingly, you get fixed ratios on the Glue slope, to make it easier to use. (I tend to agree – a 2.358 compression ratio doesn’t really make any sense. Correction: I originally mistakenly said the default Compressor switched to these fixed ratios; it’s still continuous, as always. Apologies for the error.) Ableton has largely adopted Glue directly from Cytomic, with the addition of their own sidechain filter and Oversampling optimization.

The new Arrangement view, also showing off Devices. Note the curve in Automation – and you can drag Session Automation from Session View to Arrangement view. You’ll also see a tweaked Transport bar.

Session Automation, Curve. Here are the features a lot of you have been waiting for. At last, you can record Session Automation as easily as you do MIDI and audio information; a new toolbar and record workflow makes this quite accessible, and it goes nicely with the new Push controller (or, via mapping, any other controller, for that matter). This lets you create little automation clips for various forms of modulation.

You can also create curved automation in those clips and in the Arrange View, in a long, long-overdue feature. The curves are fairly intuitive; you first create a straight-line automation segment, then drag on it to produce a curve.

Extending Live

Some of the nicest add-ons in Live 9 come in the form of Max for Live plug-ins, including a convolution reverb, mappable LFO, and drum synth collection, seen here.

Max for Live, while a powerful way of extending what Live can do, could sometimes feel disconnected from Ableton. First, you basically needed to be a fan of Max before you got it, since it was a separate add-on. That also meant people who didn’t care much about Max were probably not going to be using the (often amazing) Max patches being produced by the Max for Live community. There were limited examples for what Max for Live might do in Live. And perhaps the biggest deal-killer was that Max for Live made you wait for a painful load time the first time you started it.

I think a lot of people probably won’t notice it about the announcement today, but Max for Live improvements are actually some of what I’m most excited about. Max for Live will now sync up with the newest Max/MSP from Cycling ’74. That brings various improvements, including the insanely-powerful gen, which basically lets you patch together your own high-performance DSP at a low level. Max for Live (and video support, by the way) should at last be 64-bit by ship date, clearing the way for 64-bit Live for everyone.

Load time is something I’ll be testing, but I’m told it’s an area of focus, and one demo I saw was blazingly fast to load Max. (It’s too early to say in beta, but — yes. Working on that is good.)

Then there are the devices: you get 35 new device, ranging from a beautiful-sounding convolution reverb with a lucid, easy-to-understand interface to a whole bunch of drum synths. Mmmmm… drum synths. (Sorry, I may have temporarily lost any sense of journalistic distance.) There are also those aforementioned improved sequencer and buffer shuffler.

Oh, and while you didn’t get the native LFO you’ve been asking for forever, you do get an LFO as a Max for Live device with a handy “map” button that lets you access any other parameter in Live. In fact, it might be better than the native device, because it should work perfectly as an example of how to navigate Max for Live’s API for controlling everything else in Live.

What’s Not in Live 9

This isn’t a review; the software isn’t out yet. But I might as well list some features that could be on your wish list that aren’t there:

Quantization and grids still lack anything beyond the most basic rhythmic units. I’m going to keep complaining about this; hey, they did eventually give us meter changes in Scenes. Until then, Ableton still isn’t going to be able to pass my Music Theory I course. (Whew, that does remind me that I’m glad I’m not teaching Music Theory I any more.) Speaking of Scenes…

Scenes aren’t any smarter. It still seems to me that this feature needs attention; Follow Actions in Scenes, for instance, seem a no brainer.

MIDI mapping could still benefit from some tweaks. (It seems it’s still impossible to enter in Control Changes manually, unless I’ve missed something. For controllers that send several messages at once, that makes MIDI mapping difficult. Maybe Ableton wants to sneak this in before Q1. I’ll buy champagne for the engineers, and we can map until dawn.)

The user interface has mostly subtle improvements, not a complete overhaul – if that’s something you wanted. Actually, I love the light gray theme and the fact that they’ve evened out some borders and made other improvements. I love that Live’s interface has stood the test of time; I still like seeing it on my screen. If they can include a “night vision,” onstage/club-friendly skin by the time they ship, I’m happy.

DJs have long asked for the ability to use cue points inside clips, and to see waveform displays of more than one playing clip; neither those features is available. In fact, there really hasn’t been anything arguably geared directly at DJs in Live other than the crossfader (and, separately, crossfader curves). That hasn’t stopped Live from becoming immensely popular among DJs, but it means Traktor and Serato and the like remain fairly safe. I’ll defend this as a feature request, though, beyond just niche appeal. I can imagine anyone playing live wants the ability to use mappable cues inside clips, and more waveform views would always be nice – particularly given that screens are generally higher-resolution than when Live first shipped.

For those of you buying high-end new Macs, there’s no Retina Display support. (I may have to cue up worldstiniestviolin.als to lament your pain. Okay, seriously, yes, this does make sense to support, and maybe eventually we’ll even be able to afford these machines. Ahem.)

But Yes, We’re Excited to Start Testing

The Futura of Live is coming. Yes, Ableton has changed their logo and switched to a Futura font for their branding typography. And that’s an awfully-nice box – though now the download version includes all the same content as the boxed version, even in Suite.

Because users have had some time to think about it, I expect that means there’s no way this release can please everyone. The “ah-hah, now it finally does this!” moment will invariably be followed by, “but it doesn’t do this thing from my wish list.”

And of course this update brought an unusual degree of impatience, because, following a brisk update pace for much of Live’s life, Ableton slowed down this release, focusing first on stability in the Live 8.x series before continuing on Live 9.

As a long-time Ableton user, though, I’m more excited about this release than I’ve been in a long while. Converting audio to MIDI promises some new creative ideas. Improving the Browser, Compressor, and EQ are important because these are things you tend to touch all the time. Better integrating Max for Live – as a product as well as technically – could finally deliver on some of the promise of that technology. Just being able to record into clips more easily could be a big boon. And all in all, while Live 9 lacks a single “banner” feature, the feeling I got looking at these beta builds was a sense of sophistication. After years of gradually adding the basics (MIDI!), it seems like Live is growing into something more mature. I’ll trade sophistication for getting everything I want. And I’m eager to sit down with the beta and make some music, which is surely what matters. Stay tuned for more details as we test, and a proper review once we have a final, shipping version.

Videos will be added to this story once we get them.

  • Giorgio Martini

    No Native LFOs ??? oh………………………….. damn it..

    • bendish

      Yea seriously. Envelope/signal followers. Just a basic lfo tool.

    • Leif Olson

      not sure what live you’re using, but m4l dude. LFOs and envelope followers are part of the default set of tools…

    • Giorgio Martini

      N a t i v e ? and .. i do own m4l…

    • Peter Kirn

      There’s a new LFO that’s built in Max for Live. I know – you want it to be “native.” But this means it’s now included by default in Suite, and there’s no longer going to be this delay as you load Max for Live. Also, what I saw of it, it works *really* well. There’s a “map” button that allows you to quickly assign it to whatever you like. It’s not quite as integrated as FL Studio, but it’s pretty nice to use. I’ll look more closely once I can test it.

      So, where this is nice is, you now have this LFO you can go in and change and modify so it works the way you want. That seems cool to me. (The only problem would be, unlike an open source-licensed Max for Live patch, I’m not sure you’ll be able to share your modifications.)

    • Øivind Idsø

      I’m really happy about this non-delay when launching M4L devices. I’ve actually caught myself using other, non-M4L devices at times because of the loading time (which is a bit scary in terms of my attention span, but … still.)

    • kleine

      modifications can and should be shared, that’s quite the point of m4l – you can compare the m4l content to samples ( which are royalty free of course) or device presets (or any other content stuff…)

    • David

      “no delay launching m4L.” Indeed. Now you get that delay at every startup instead, whether you use m4L or not. That was a very ‘Apple’ spin there, Peter. 😉

    • Seppe Santens

      Peter, I think this M4L LFO would be a good candidate to test the MAX6 timing in Live9. You could e.g. take a 1/16 rate with a square/rect wave LFO to create percussive sounds and listen whether their timing is tight or not. I would love to hear your experiences with this.

    • Seppe Santens

      Or better than listening: recording and checking how far off the audio is with respect to the time markers.

    • jonah

      Won’t automation clips and curves function as LFOs?

    • futz

      Haz scroll-wheel support?

  • Øivind Idsø

    Any idea if the beta will be public?

    • Molto Bene

      Wondering this too. Want!

    • rob

      download the newest update in downloads :) mine said 9 once it loaded up.

    • Øivind Idsø

      I just upgraded to 8 Suite, and the download says “8.3.4” – but perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying.

    • rob

      I downloaded and update in my account and once installed it showed LIVE 9 when loading – I assume I’m a beta tester already without knowing :)

  • Øivind Idsø

    … and you’re right about buying/upgrading to Live 8 (Suite) today is the cheapest way of getting Live 9.

    You see, I don’t have Live 8 Suite, just the standard Live 8. If I upgrade to Suite 8 today for $179, I will get Live 9 Suite for … FREE.
    If I don’t upgrade to Live 8 Suite now, and just want to go straight from Live 8 (non-suite) to Live 9 Suite, the upgrade price will be $334.
    Easy choice: I am upgrading to Live 8 Suite today!

    • deb

      good point—thanks for doing the math!

    • Øivind Idsø

      These prices actually show up automatically as long as you are logged into your account when visiting :)

    • tees

      Hard to say what’s going on with upgrade paths. Right now the Abe’s website is saying that it’s cheaper to go Ableton Live 8–>Suite 8–>free upgrade to 9… then it is for Suite 8—>suite 9. Fingers crossed something is going to change soon…

    • rob

      I wrote them a letter saying they might want to rethink this :)

    • nando

      I have ableton 8 suite bought 3 months a go. I will get free upgrade to ableton 9?

    • rob

      Yes, but they want you to pay $299.00 to get the SUITE part added on to the standard live 9 — I wrote them a letter, becuase I think this is wrong.

    • mrbook

      Rob, update us if you hear anything back from them. I too think is unfair that current Live8 Suite users are being punished with the upgrade path strategy to Live 9 Suite

    • rob

      They now need a downgrage path – live suite 8 to live 8 non suite = Free – then upgrade suite 8 to suite 9 for less than $299.00 :)

    • MadeInMachines

      Yes! We’re getting shafted for being good customers and owning suite 8!

  • cooptrol

    I am loving the new stuff, can’t wait to put my hands on it.. I have only one request though… SYSEX!!!!!!!!
    Hardware has become popular again, even more so than software and plugins. Ebay prices on the rise, and lots of old gear getting rescued from basements and attics. We desperately need a SYSEX implementation, please!!

    • Peter Kirn

      You should be able to send SysEx from Max for Live, FYI.

    • Peter Kirn

      I’d love to see SysEx, too. I mistakenly said that Max for Live can do this, but apparently not without some serious workaround — let me look into this.

    • cooptrol

      As i said in the FB thread, if Live could handle sysex, we would have people making a ton of hardware editors and finally appeal to the huge hardware-loving community. It would be a bombastic combination marketing-wise. Imagine not only being able to edit patches from Live, but also automate the parameters and store global configurations of your synths in your Live projects. I wonder how the guys at Ableton have missed this point so blatantly.

    • John-Paul McCarthy

      I don’t want to sound repetitive with my commentary but Bidule can handle Sysex messages quite well. Mapping and remapping is one of the major strengths of the program.

      I realise that having the featureset contained entirely within the Live environment is a first prize scenario. But if a feature doesn’t exist then user need to look for alternatives.

  • Psynapsurfa Technoshaman

    twin screen display is a must, or i buy witbig…..

    • Peter Kirn

      No changes to how this works on multiple monitors, sorry.

    • Scott Davis

      well, that’s a bummer – but with all the other improvements…I’m not complaining.

    • cooptrol

      Yeah i forgot that one too, it’s a must!

  • stevo83

    I am immediately sold by one feature: Audio to Midi.

    I’m more of a guitarist than keyboard player so I don’t think I can explain in words how awesome this feature will be (if it works of course 😉 ).

    No more goddamn Roland GK guitar synth for me!

    • Tony Scharf

      This features + my modular synth is why I already set the upgrade price aside. It will save me tons of time trying to figure out what blood key I am in..

  • bendish

    I would have liked a new mixer but this seems like a good start.
    The audio to midi means as long as you’re not tone deaf, you’ll be able to just sing a harmony or melody etc and wham is there to be used as a synth line….wow.
    Tiny question though: will consolidate just bounce rather than normalise? I hate how it does it now.

  • Dave Sierkowski

    The upgrade paths confuse me as well. I have Suite 8, so unless I upgrade to Suite 9, I lose Operator, Tension, Analog, etc?

    They also appeared to have ripped out the community forums and opted for some odd, anti-community “Answers” page:

    • dabravanel

      Hi Dave – the forum is still there; head to to access it

    • Dave Sierkowski

      ah! thanks! the new site design made me think it was gone forever

  • Tony Scharf

    One feature I *hope* they tweaked: Step note entry. They finally added it in Live8 and it was *abysmally* implemented. I am sure their answer will be that I need to buy push for this though (not going to happen, as I personally don’t like grid controllers).

  • Matt Verzola

    Any news on updates to automation delay compensation? Really big problem I have is my automation becoming delayed as the session grows. This is my number one feature/bug fix request! Also, any news on built-in mp3 export? Thanks, Peter!

    • Prince Khaled

      I have the same issue :(, also it delay the tracks sometime

  • Molto Bene

    “He beat-boxed a drum loop, then turned that into a MIDI clip – complete with bass, snare, and hats correctly-identified by Ableton’s new algorithm.”

    I’ve been dreaming about something like this for years. So beyond excited.

  • ImmIs

    So it’s black font on dark grey now. :-( Please donate money so the GUI devs can attend a workshop on UI accessibility. Special focus on contrast impaired vision, please. Doubleplusungood.

    • Peter Kirn

      On light gray, not dark gray. Anyway, if you use your operating system’s accessibility settings, Live will inherit those settings. And you can still use custom skins. Live has some accessibility limitations, but I don’t think this can be fairly called one of them.

  • Tormod Vold Mikkelsen

    I was hoping that this version would catch up on some basic DAW-functions. Maybe I missed something, but I thought I’d ask anyway…

    1. Are the any improvements regarding comping?
    2. What’s the workflow for recording automation in arrangement view?

    I’m writing a remote script for my Tascam Us-2400 and was dissapointed to find out that there were no automation modes or workaround/hack with this functionality in Live8. Hope this is do-able in version 9.

    • Peter Kirn

      1. comping, not as such, not that I can see, though we need to look at the new clip recording workflow – which could fit that comping need, actually, just in a succession of clips (which in Live-land might make more sense).
      2. automation recording workflow is completely different, and likely the subject of another article. But it certainly could fit your needs.

    • Tormod Vold Mikkelsen

      Wow, this is great news! :) Thanks for the prompt reply, you’re doing an awesome job with this site.

    • Doctor Rosen Rosen

      I was really hoping for some new comping features as well. I have been waiting for “playlists” or “takes” a la ProTools, Logic, and DP. I’m so surprised this hasn’t been addressed yet. Crossing fingers it may still appear…

  • a goddamn idm wizard

    ctrl+f pdc and nothing

    pretty entry level post peter

    peep game, real dudes talkin real things

    pity anyone spending $500 without knowing the built in fx will squash their kickdrums

    • Peter Kirn

      Well, you could read using your *eyes* rather than ctrl-f.

      There’s now sample-accurate compression even in the new Glue effect, and a linear phase oversampling filter in EQ Eight. (This impacts some of the symptoms people are describing on the page of the thread to which you link here.)

      I specifically mention this issue, partly because I’m in contact with the people responsible for addressing it.

    • a goddamn idm wizard

      oh well that’s it then, those were the issues that trashed my mixes

      im retired from hating on live then, though that piano roll is still kinda small i guess.. thats all i got

    • Peter Kirn

      As for automatic plug-in delay compensation, that’s something I’ll need to research more – because there’s more to the issue than simply listing an acronym. I also want to research some of the concerns people have about the interaction of delay compensation and automation. This is the first post on the topic.

  • John S

    I too am unclear on the upgrade path. It seems to cost 200 Euro to upgrade from Live 8 Suite to Live 9 Suite. If you choose the other option of upgrading to just Live 9. What happens to all of your instruments and samples? I was expecting something more apologetic and charitable for existing users who have put up with so many bugs and crashes the past year or so.

    • rob

      I agree with you, John. I wrote their marketing team a letter, because it’s just not right withi this Live 8 suite – 9 suite $299.00 when live 8 non suite owners can get it for HALF that LOL

  • Scott Davis


  • MadeInMachines

    Music Tags Show In New Browser? Step Sequence Melody In Key?

    Any ideas on these features? So far I’ve seen that it can write in key with push and step sequence drums. Would be amazing if this were possible too!

    I haven’t heard whether they’ve made live natively compatible with M4a, Mp3, FLAC – I don’t know if the new browser allows you to search your tracks by Key – BPM or Genre etc.


  • MadeInMachines

    Am I getting punished for already owning Suite 8?

    • John S

      Not really… but you’re not getting any love either :)

    • MadeInMachines

      Just a small bit…nice

    • Øivind Idsø

      Ableton has clarified this on there will be special offer for existing Live 8 Suite owners to upgrade to Live 9 Suite, but the offer isn’t public as of now, but will be as release of Live 9 approaches.

  • mosquito

    the Live 8 -> Live Suite 8 ($179) -> Live 9 Suite (free) vs the $334 for existing Live 8 Suite owner is a crime. its almost 2x the cost (extra $155). However it actually gets more insulting. i have a separate license that is still version 5. Cost to upgrade it to Live 8 Suite WITH a free upgrade to live 9? $284?!?!? Seriously? It also looks like they are pricing Push at $449 based on the difference between my upgrade to suite 9 without it ($783 to upgrade and get push).

  • Franz Schuier

    As lotsa others commented: Upgrade prices are a SHAME! Ableton behaves like they dont care about existing users as they will have to jump on the Update at somepoint.

  • dj mosquito

    So while the $334 upgrade cost for existing Live 9 suite owner cost is insulting, how about finding out that your liscence for live 5 to upgrade to suite 8 with a free upgrade to live 9 suite is $284. that pisses me off beyond words. however it appears they are valuing push at $449 based on the difference between my upgrade cost with vs without push.

  • Matt Leaf

    droool. bought!

  • Dave O Mahony

    HOPE they change the upgrade pricing or I can see myself getting of the Ableton train at this stop (Just like the N.I. Train!).

    I have a few partner instruments, Max4Live (& Max 6), bought The Glue from Cytomic and Suite 8… this upgrade REALLY wont add a metric tonne of additional stuff to what I already have and Im not sure if it takes away some if I dont upgrade to Suite9… head scratcher!

    Throw us all a bone please Ableton!
    MANY of us have been with you since v.1!
    I use Suite 8 every day for guitar tracking.
    for the price this upgrade looks seriously lacking.
    9 would be nice but not at this price!

  • Matt Verzola

    And btw, I, too, am amazed at how many ppl bounce their song and mix in another DAW. Mind-boggling. (I sincerely hope I haven’t just started something with this post, cuz it’s such a headache of a topic…)

  • itchy

    push looks pretty sweet , too bad they didn’t have a hub in the back for more usb controllers.
    either way looks dope.

  • djruv

    Ridiculous they don’t have multiple screen support!

    • Sacredgeometry

      Um there are tons of ways you can use ableton in multiscreen….I am not sure why you would want to anyway to anyway considering how live works? The whole point is so that it is optimised for a single screen this leaves you with one whole screen left to use how ever you want (vsts, browser Windows, other daws in rewire, scopes etc)

      If you are complaining because you want a to have a mixer up constantly then buy max4live and build one 😛 It isn’t difficult. it would take all of an hour with most of that time being spent connecting nodes. :)

    • Psynapsurfa Technoshaman

      it makes total sense to me to have multi screen support…. to have both session and arrange open at once is a no brainer to me… and yes, i have a max mixer, so it is more than that…. just the convenience of both open would be great… i would like true multi screen…not just dual screen…. to have three or more would rock… to have both main pages and then effects and instruments would be smooth….


    I’ll stick to Live 7. My songwriting won’t improve with v9. Buying an acoustic guitar and learning to play will.

    • Marco Raaphorst

      learning to play acoustic guitar is always a great idea!

    • meguy

      but now you can play your acoustic guitar licks into v9 and use the audio input as midi triggers.. whaaaaT?!

  • Six Fingered Deformity

    alright…quick question. what are the system requirements for 9??? i low end a machine can one use with 9??

  • squirrel squirrel squirrel

    Most important question IMO: is the undo history still cleared when you save? It’s hands down my biggest complaint in Live 8.

    • Matt Verzola

      whoa, I didn’t realize this happened. Wow, that sucks! haha

    • Listentojohan

      This I’d also like to know?

  • Andrey M Clis Ryzhkov

    the most funny thing – it took f&*king lot time to do this truly great thing, but all I see “oh, no two monitors” or “why no sysex”… WAKE UP, IT WILL BE 2013, WITH STUFF LIKE THIS – and all you want is f&*kin 2 monitors instead of, let’s say, polyphonic audio to midi conversion or envelope stretching?! In this case – go back in ’98, when 2 monitors was kinda cool…

    • BassTooth

      touchscreen DAW, looks amazing, looks like the future of Audio. looks expensive as hell! how accessible do you think this would be to average bedroom “producers”?

    • Andrey M Clis Ryzhkov

      bedroom “producers” need to maximize their output via inspiration and ideas. calvin harris or mr.oizo or arty or laidback luke – their gear lists were really funny at the beginning, but thoughts and approaches were inventive and now they could afford any device they wish. I think price of this MTM will be around 10k $, but it could be more.

  • Brendan

    Suite 8 owners concerned about the apparent pricing unfairness should be aware of what Ableton have just (officially) posted on the forum:

    Short version: Suite 8 owners who want to upgrade to Suite 9 will get a special discount of their own at release time. So you’re at absolutely no disadvantage compared to someone like me (a Live 8 owner who’s excitedly upgrading to Suite 8 *right now* for mere pennies) because you’ll get Suite 9 on the same day that everybody else gets Suite 9, and you might possibly pay even less than everybody else for it.

  • truman cage

    All these improvements look great. Two cents for a film composer, please let there be a midi time code (SMPTE) out so I can drive/sync my Pro Tools machine with picture… a midi processing plug in would be awesome too so I can convert program data to key switch data to control external computers hosting multipul libraries, something customizable (similar to logic environment but in plug in form?) with this tool, my articulations would match no matter what library I drop the midi on.
    Multiple surround bus outputs would be nice for creating multipul surround stems as well.

    • Chase Dobson

      print a track with SMPTE as an audio file? this has been my solution for syncing Lighting Desks in the “using Ableton Live in a live setting” concert sound/playback world. Perhaps you need something more sophisticated for film scoring… not sure, but I dedicate an audio out (sometimes 2 if we have a redundant console) for SMPTE.

  • please oh please

    is there at least better track comping now? and are there any improvements to the drum sampler?

  • jules

    What about native OSC support??

    • vanceg

      Seriously unlikely.

  • Derp

    Unless it has:

    – Global Automatic Delay Compensation
    – Native LFOs
    – Native OSC Support
    – Input and Output gain stages on all effects and maybe a way to see the input and output of sections when grouped
    – 32bit VSTs in a 64bit host w/o the need for an external bridge
    – Native Surround Support (bonus)


    If the Suite 8 to Suite 9 upgrade is cheap (Like $75 USD) AND **stable!**

    …I don’t feel the need to upgrade.

    • Derp

      $234 is the upgrade from Suite 8 to Suite 9, AND I even own MFL… D:

    • Brendan

      That’s not what it’ll cost at launch – see the link I posted elsewhere.

    • Derp

      Meant to say “Gotcha.” here… Silly comment system. 😐

      Hopefully It’s at least half that price.

    • griotspeak

      To be fair, we get a boatload of sample packs. the orchestral kits being the ones that sway me most.

    • Peter Kirn

      I’m still researching the delay compensation and 64-bit implementation. External bridge – I mean, you can use a plug-in that gives you exactly the same result as something you’d bundle with the host. As in, no functional difference.

      There’s no particular advantage I’d see to having the LFO be “native” rather than implemented as a Max for Live plug-in, other than splitting hairs. It looks perfectly usable as-is. And you’re already a Suite owner.

      OSC support – that’s another story, as there are various visual apps that do this in a way that’s integrated with the UI, and it can be useful. But if Live did it, it’d be the first music app, much as I’d welcome this.

      Surround: depends on what you mean by “surround” support. I again refer to you to Robert Henke, who’s done some pretty massive multichannel stuff with this.

    • Brendan

      Peter – first music app? Renoise has had solid full OSC integration for years. (And native, no-higher-price-bracket Global LFOs, signal followers and param modulation mappers…just by the by.)

    • Derp


    • Derp

      It’s a cost and convenience concern with bridgeless implementation.

      Native LFO, kind of moot, maybe, because of the MFL now being included in suite.

      Native OSC, maybe it’s moot as well, as they may want to just embrace direct to screen multi-touch in the future by means of powerful tablets, kicking out the middle man entirely. Not everyone will be using tablets or multi-touch desktop monitors, and having the native UI integration would just be a given…

      Native Surround, i.e., track joystick, multi-channel metering per track, and exporting individual outputs at once (*_FL.wav, *_FR.wav, *_C.wav, *_LFE.wav, *_SL.wav, *_SR.wav, etc.). I see there has been a lot of MAX/M4L advancements in this area, so it even might be moot as well, sans convenience. (e.g. “X Y Send Nodes” M4L plug and sends)

    • John-Paul McCarthy

      It takes some a bit of time and a bit of forethought to implement but MAX, OSCulator or Bidule can easily handle the re-mapping of MIDI note / CC commands into some usable OSC.

    • Derp

      I know we have things “easy” these days and all, but really it’s something that should have been native 2 versions ago…

    • griotspeak

      Doesn’t reaper have OSC?

    • Derp


  • dj mosquito

    has anyone else noticed that the prices for upgrades don’t appear to be the same price they where earlier? i swear the prices were different for me earlier today. however if you have 8 suite, the pricing for a new license when viewed in firefox is all kinds of jacked up: like for me it shows a new license is $97usd

  • artifact

    look great but gimme BITWIG ALREADY!!!

  • AzulRoi

    Any multiple screen support ?!

  • AzulRoi

    Multiple screen support ?!

  • discodalle

    new audio engine ???? would be nice

  • Martin Wheeler

    It seems more than a little odd to me that the new Ableton logo is an iconic graphical representation of _precisely_ what the program will not allow you to do.
    Why Ableton would choose to cripple Live like this is just incomprehensible.

    Not being able to have Session and Arrange view open side by side seems, at this point, just massively self-harming.
    I completely understand the attraction of theunified one-screen interface, espevially for live with laptop and of course we would not want to _have_ to have multiple monitors. But that is not he point. The two modes/views/pages already exist, so why in the name of god would you want to deny your users the _option_ of having them open side by side ?

    Quite apart from the extra clarity that this would bring to simply keeping track of what is going on (in what can be a fairly complex interaction between the two pages), the VERY BIG THING for me is that Copy-Pasting between these two pages is actually a fantastically powerful way of, on the one hand quickly building up Arrangements from material that was created in Session view, and on the other extracting Session view Clips from linear improvised jams in Arrangement view. Except that it is such an absolute pain in the ass to have to keep switching back and forth ( makes you feel like the toddler that just discoved the TV remote) that this unique and powerful feature is almost unuseable.

    • cymatics

      Just press Tab? It’s never bothered me, and I’ve been using Live since version 4. In session view, Select and hold a Clip (or bunch of clips), press Tab, release. Now they’re in arrangement view.

    • Will

      “Just press Tab?” Totally agree. This is actually faster to drag clips between views as you don’t have to move the mouse a whole extra screen distance. What exactly is the benefit of seeing both together?

    • Martin Wheeler

      The benefit of seeing both is that you can actually put what you want exactly where you want it.
      Examples :
      IArrange ->Session : Just yesterday I went through about two hours worth of Viola da Gamba improvisations recorded in Arrange, isolating and pulling out phrases with which I want to construct my piece in Session view.
      In Session view I have several vertical tracks for different things . Arpeggios, Hits, Motifs, different keys. different durations. I just want to isolate the parts that I want and drop them directly into the slot I want on the appropriate track in Session. Believe me, by far the quickest way to do this is to just drag and drop ( which is why pretty much every other program in the world allows you to open two windows that you might want to copy between simultaneously ) Why would you not want this ? If it isn’t appropriate for what you need to do, fine, don’t use it. But it IS appropriate for many very important tasks. Ableton not letting me do this probably cost le about five hours yesterday, no exaggeration. Why ? You tell me. What is the upside to not being able to do this ?

      In Session to Arrange. Sometimes ‘improvising’ up an arrangement is great, and Live is wonderful for this. But sometimes you ( or at least I, and many other people) want to build up the structure of an arrangement methodically, bit by bit. I want to have my Arrangement window open, and my Session view, which in this scenario is sort of a container full of organised phrases open next to it so as to directly create the arrangement from that material. Once again there is just NO advantage to not being able to do this, it just makes things so damn long to accomplish that you start looking for another way … or another program.

      Just for the record, I have been with Live since 1.0, and am very aware of the use of TAB, thank god 😉

      Live’s one window interface is fantastic for maybe 70% of what I need to do. It is pretty crap for the other 30%, and this is one of the principal reasons why. But it could be so easily great for 100%.
      If making it great for the 30% would negatively impact it for 70% then OK, there is a problem, but thta clearly isn’t the case. Just make it Session, Arrange, or Both. Everybody is happy. Sorted.

      Why wouldn’t you do that ?

    • cymatics

      This works in reverse too by the way.

    • Martin Wheeler

      What does ? Are they kicking themselves in the kalashnikoves too ?

      You mean you can select a bunch of clips and copy them to Arrange ? Fine. But seriously, if you are intensively copy / pasting between two windows in ANY application, why wouldn’t you want to have the _option_ of having both windows open ? Please … give me one good reason … or even one bad one … ????????

    • Martin Wheeler

      I just watched the video of the offiial Live 9 presentation event … the incredible thing is that the presenter himself specifically refers to how damn tedious it is to drag bits of audio from arrangement view into session view ! ( While presenting a new feature that makess this a little less tedious, but only in one particular specific scenario)
      So ( of course ) they realise the problem, the solution is already there ( i mean the interaction between the two views is already there and has been from Live 1.0 … just making it visible and useable is just a UI issue, right ? I mean how hard can that be ? And don’t tell me ‘ we keep it all in one window to keep it simple ‘ because 1. Live is NOT a simple program however you cripple the interface, 2. there are already VST and AU plugs on other screens anyway … and 3. it is clearly making it LESS simple to stop you seeing what is going on …

      Can anyone tell me what the downside would be to giving users what they want here ? As an _option_ !
      Damn, you could just have a third icon beneath the E and the III to turn on “both” and anyone who wanted a one screen alternating view would just NOT CLICK IT !!!

      This is so clearly a WIN WIN situation that refusing to do it does really seem like taking aim at your feet with a Kalashnikov and letting rip.

    • Daniel M. Ottini

      I must admit – coming to Ableton from a different DAW (Sonar) of late, my first Peeve was the lack of multiple monitor support – don’t get me wrong, I still would like it, but I find that it’s less of an issue because my 2nd monitor gets filled up with 3rd party plug-ins anyway. The switching between views is a drag, but not a deal breaker for me, compared to the workflow improvements I have realized with Live 8. Workflow, of course, is a very personal thing, so YMMV…

  • mdoubleu

    there will be a special price for suite 8 owners which will be available on the release date.


  • gesslr

    I thought I saw in one of the videos something I have been asking for since, well, forever: The ability to start something in session view, take it to arrange, tweak, modify, adjust, THEN SELECT A TIME SEGMENT AND TAKE IT BACK TO SESSION AS A NEW SCENE. For me and the way I work when in Ableton, that is HUGE. Or was that always there and I just missed it? 😀

    • griotspeak

      That is a thing. Around the 25 minute mark in the 50 minute presentation.

    • Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I want to cover the scene / clip workflows specifically, as they could wind up having the biggest impact.

  • Max

    Still no real time stretch sampling for Sampler. Is this technically not possible?

  • dj mosquito

    i feel much better now that i know i wasn’t hallucinating seeing different upgrade prices:

  • fruts

    Scroll-wheel support yet?

  • fruts

    scroll-wheel support yet?

  • Greg

    Before midnight (and it is 0:11 – Saturday) my upgrade price to Suite 8 + later Live 9 Suite was 164 EUR – so I started looking for some spare money resources to buy that thing. But now, after midnight the price has changed! And now it is 239 EUR. So I have to say – sorry Ableton Live, I really don’t need all your Suite instruments cause I really don’t use them, and base mostly on things recorded myself. Maybe the normal upgrade from Live 8 to Live 9 without all those Suite stuff will be cheaper later? Who knows? There is really no info about that! I completely don’t understand their pricing policy. Makes me a little nervous.

  • futz

    Haz scroll-wheel support?

    • sufte109


  • The DIY Recordist

    I may be in the minority here, but what I was really hoping for were features that could lure me away from Pro Tools land. I adore Ableton, and compose with it every chance I get, but a lot of what I do involves recording ye old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll bands—which just isn’t as easy as it should be in Live.

    At the top of my list was enhanced take management and track comping, better group editing functions, and an “all my inserts” view, which would make “serious” mixing possible given my preferred mixing workflow (I’d love to be able to hit a key, and make all of the clips slots magically show all my inserts instead, a la pretty much any other DAW).

    Which is all somewhat ironic given the picture they chose for the packaging.

    • vanceg

      That’s really the big rub with Ableton Live: It is so many DIFFERENT things to so many different people. There is an entire (quite large and vocal) segment of the Live user base that says “whatever you do, PLEASE don’t concentrate on DAW like features because we do not need another Protools, we need new ways to compose and DJ.” I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but it is a fact.

  • frankgask

    When you say “clips aren’t any smarter” – I take it they still haven’t included the ability to pre-set the length of an audio clip before recording into it?

    I only use Ableton for live performance with mainly acoustic instruments,and pre-setting the loop length of a clip is something that seems so obvious (and you’d think relatively simple to program) that it’s annoying if they haven’t got around to it – and I know I’m not alone in requesting it.

    Is this something that could be done with max for live?
    I’ve no scripting knowledge,so even if it could be done in max for live,I’d be waiting on someone else sharing it :-(

    Anyway,I’d like to have seen it as a feature – and afaik there’s a possibility it will be do-able in Bitwig (again via scripting) – that’s when and if Bitwig ever appears!

    Also,is deleting a clip on the fly something that can be done using max for live?
    I was really hoping these two things would be standard features in Ableton 9.
    Or am I crazy for thinking the “Live” in Ableton might apply to live musicians playing actual instruments during actual gigs? :-)

  • Sero Dontknow

    another important question, I reckon…if you own live 8 and max for live, how does it work if you upgrade to live 9 standard? will max for live still work for you or after spending money in version 8 you will need to give them more money to go with suite? No one, even ableton, mentioned this…ahi ahi ahi…

  • Frank1

    Dont get me wrong, I’m pleased with the announcement of these updates, but as a Live 7 user the majority of them seem to be more geared towards convenience rather than actual sound creation improvements. Better sound creation tools, synth/instruments/FX etc. would have been nice. I can do almost everything listed in Live 7, a little more tedious and time consuming sure, but after daily use for years it isnt a major issue for me. Workflow is of course very important, but is it worth the coin and frankly is this going to compete with what Bitwig offers? I’m not convinced.

  • Josh Lucas

    hmmm.. now that Ableton 8 is FINALLY kind of stable.. they come up with a “new” version.
    I won’t be suckered into paying a lot of money to be basically a beta tester.. no thanks.
    expect another bug ridden mess that will take a couple of years to fix with zillion minor releases.. much like Ableton 8

  • Guest

    here are some things that i believe would attract a large crowd to ableton:
    1. Multi-colored waveforms such as in traktor or serato

    2. Detachable arrangement view for users who use multiple screens such as in Reason. (effect rack, clip/pattern view in one window and arrangement/session view in the other. or vise versa)

    3. Layout rearranging capabilities. ex. Drag track title columb from the right side to the left (easier to transition between other DAW’s such as FL, Cubase, Protools, etc.)

    It’s all about the look/feel, it took me years to switch to ableton because of how different it looked from other DAW’s. everything else is ace though, especially from what I’ve seen in ableton 9.

  • BIll HIlly

    How about a damn channel mute button that doesnt interact with channel on/off automation when recording. My god that is such an obvious need.

  • Tim King

    here are some things that i believe would attract a large crowd to ableton:
    1. Multi-colored spectrum waveforms such as in traktor or serato

    2. Detachable arrangement view for users who use multiple screens such as in Reason. (effect rack, clip/pattern view in one window and arrangement/session view in the other. or vise versa)

    3. Layout rearranging capabilities. ex. Drag track title columb from the right side to the left (easier to transition between other DAW’s such as FL, Cubase, Protools, etc.)

    It’s all about the look/feel, it took me years to switch to ableton because of how different it looked from other DAW’s. everything else is ace though, especially from what I’ve seen in ableton 9.