Ableton Live is software for creating musical ideas, turning them into finished songs, and even taking them onto the stage. With two views which the classic Arrangement View, where musical ideas are laid out along a timeline, and the unique Session View, where you can improvise and quickly experiment with musical ideas like this audio software is a fast, fun, intuitive way to make music. Ableton Live comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. The editions share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, Instruments, Packs, and Effects.
Ableton Live is a professional audio application designed to help users create various musical compositions, record and edit audio files. This tool comes packed with a multitude of dedicated parameters, so the layout may seem a bit overwhelming at a first glance. However, the audio app allocates help manual and useful tutorials on how to get started working with this program. Ableton Live gives users the possibility to record and alter clips, manage the flow of signals, create new clips through recording, sound synthesis, effects processing and mixing options.
What’s more, you can use the warping feature for changing the speed of sample playback independently from the pitch, set the tempo, access and edit MIDI contents, as well as select from various built-in audio effects and instruments that can be added into the working environment using the “drag and drop” support.
Other important features worth mentioning enable users to create preset music compositions that become part of their library, choose a signal source and destination for each track and apply resampling, submixing, and layering of synths options, as well as use the automation feature for drawing, editing, and recording in real-time breakpoint envelopes.
Ableton Live allows users to automate devices and mixer controls, access the tool via an external MIDI controller, choose from various audio and MIDI effects, and extend the functionality of the app using the VST and AU plugins. Last but not least, you can adjust the volume for the start and end position of audio clips, perform basic editing operations (cut, copy, paste, duplicate, move, resize, split, crop), fix timing errors, and mix any number of tracks and loops.
All things considered, Ableton Live proves to be a fully-featured application that helps users perform various editing and mixing operations.
Ableton Live Features
Multitrack recording up to 32-bit/192 kHz
Nondestructive editing with unlimited undo
Powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
Supports AIFF, WAV, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC files
A comprehensive selection of built-in audio and MIDI effects
Built-in instruments: Simpler for sample-based synthesis, Impulse for sampled drums
Instrument, Drum and Effect Racks
New groove engine apply and extract grooves in real-time
VST and AU support automatic plug-in delay compensation
REX file support plus built-in audio to MIDI slicing
Video import and export for scoring, video warping
Simple MIDI mapping plus instant mapping for selected hardware
Full ReWire support runs as Slave or Master
Single-screen user interface for simple, creativity-focused operation
Multicore and multiprocessor support
Ableton Live Benefits
Sketch, tweak and experiment
In Live’s Session View you can freely mix and match musical ideas without the constraints of a timeline. Getting ideas down is lightning fast, and it’s the ideal place for improvisation. You can play MIDI and audio loops of different lengths in any combination, without ever stopping the music.
Get into the details
The Arrangement View is where you can organize music along a timeline. Put musical parts in place and build sections of your song. Get into the details without losing sight of your musical goals—whether you’re developing an initial idea or arranging a full track. Or you can record everything you do in the Session View into the Arrangement to improvise your way to a finished song.
Get your ideas into Live
Whatever shape inspiration takes, Live gives you the means to seize it. Record hardware synths, software plugins, drum machines, guitars or any audio from the real world. You can now use Capture MIDI to record notes after you’ve played them, turning your most spontaneous ideas (and accidents) into music. And there’s Live’s audio-to-MIDI feature, which lets you turn drum breaks, and melody or harmony parts into MIDI patterns that you can edit and reuse with your own sounds.
Use any sounds, at any tempo
One of the things that make creating with Live so fluid is the ability to change the tempo and timing of any audio, in real-time, without stopping the music. We call this warping. Use warping to mix and match loops from a variety of tempos, fix timing errors in recorded performances, or radically reshape any audio into new sound design directions.
Build your sound with Live’s instruments
Live’s native devices are the foundation of sound design in Live, including wavetable, FM and physical modeling synthesis. Flexible synthesis architectures with intuitive interfaces make deep programming more accessible. And you get more out of your samples with Live’s pair of sampling instruments, thanks to built-in slicing and warping capabilities, multi-sampled playback and much more.
A new synthesizer for stretching, morphing and shaping waveforms into a rich palette of sound.
A versatile synthesizer combining frequency modulation and subtractive synthesis.
An easy-to-use but powerful sampler with classic synthesis parameters.
Effects for shaping ideas, designing sounds and finishing music
Live comes with the devices you need for sparking ideas and shaping your sound. Use Live’s MIDI effects for creative manipulation of your compositions. Or use Live’s audio effects to get the sound you’re looking for: clean up your mix with precision tools, or make a creative mess with analog-modeled noise, distortion, and saturation.
Analog-modeled compressor based on the classic bus compressor from a famous 80s mixing console.
Emulates the sound and character of seven classic guitar amplifiers.
Records, loops, and overdubs audio, based on classic hardware looping pedals.
The sound of classic analog and digital hardware delays in a single device.
Simulates the acoustics of real or imaginary rooms.
Eight parametric filters with a variety of controls for shaping timbre.
Realtime analysis and visualization of incoming audio.
Remaps incoming MIDI notes to different outgoing MIDI notes.
Takes individual notes from a held chord and plays them as a rhythmical pattern.
The sounds for making any kind of music are part of Live. The Core Library—included with all editions of Life—comes with rich collections of vintage synths, analog drum machines, multi-sampled drums, electric pianos, and other acoustic instruments. Plus there are Curated Collections, toolkits of curated sounds from selected scenes—Instrument Racks, clips and samples, designed to be molded and shaped into something new.
Get hands-on using Push
Push is the best way to get hands-on with Live. Compose beats and melodies, slice samples and sculpt sounds. Mix your music and compose entire tracks, all without thinking about your computer. And each update to Live brings new features that mean ever closer integration with Push.
Turn your most spontaneous ideas into music
Arm a MIDI track and play. When you hear something you like, press Capture MIDI. Live matches your tempo and timing and plays your idea in a loop without having to press Record. It also works when adding new parts or overdubbing MIDI into existing clips.
Multiple MIDI clip editing
Edit smarter and take better control of the musical relationships in your song. Work with multiple MIDI clips across multiple tracks within a single view—in both Session and Arrangement.
Create and arrange more fluidly
Choose from a palette of automation shapes, stretch and skew automation and simplify complex curves into C- and S-shapes for easier editing – then easily hide automation when you don’t need to see it.
When working on the audio clips in Arrangement View, new editing features make detailed editing and broad adjustments faster and easier. New keyboard shortcuts give you immediate access to common production workflows such as zooming, soloing, and folding group and automation tracks.
Create groups within groups
Process individual group elements, a subgroup or an entire bus. Managing Sets with lots of tracks and a detailed arrangement gets easier, as well as multiple levels of groups let you fold tracks together for a simple overview.
Keep your go-to devices, plug-ins, and samples in color-coded collections and access them instantly in the browser.
Track freezing with sidechains
Freezing tracks that contain sidechain routing is now possible.
The utility has an improved gain range for volume automation. EQ Eight and Utility now have features that offer more precise control of bass frequencies. Split Stereo allows for flexible placement of individual channels in the stereo space.
Dedicated automation and modulation buttons in Clip Detail View
Toggle between automation and modulation in the Clip Detail View. All modulation now has its own distinctive color.
Instantly select the right routing by labeling Live’s inputs and outputs to match the instruments and hardware in your studio.
Export return and master effects
Musicians now have the option to export single tracks and groups with return and master effects applied.
All zoomable components, including devices, support pinch to zoom on a supported trackpad/touch screen.
Notes now trigger even if playback starts in the middle, so you don’t need to start the clip from the beginning.
Refined look and feel
Live’s interface has been updated to be cleaner and clearer with sharper graphics and refined colors. And a range of optimized themes improves visibility in all environments.
Resizable Arrangement Overview Window
Get a better overview of your arrangement with the resizable Arrangement Overview window.
Changes to breakpoint behavior
Snap your automation breakpoints to the grid. Adjust them to precise values using your numerical keyboard.
Ableton Live Pros And Cons
Encompasses all processes
Requires technical knowledge
Tutorials and guides
Ableton Live System Requirements
64-bit Intel® or AMD multi-core processor. Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster recommended.