Ableton Live 11 DAW comes with numerous improvements, new effects, and integration of MPE functions that have become a major topic already.
Ableton Live is an established DAW with a certain understatement. Live works very stable and has established itself as a solution for live acts. The central point of the workflow remains the change between a session view, in or with which you can improvise, and an arrangement view. It also impresses with many practice-oriented solutions and a special, unique sound. This is how Live 11 continues and how Live has gained a large and loyal fan community.
Ableton Live’s feature is a bit like a mix of comping and another feature known in Logic and Pro Tools as “track alternate” and “playlist” respectively. The aim is to be able to place several ideas in tracks at the bar position relevant to the arrangement without making the whole arrangement confusing. Live now also offers this with the help of the Take Lanes and is once again in a leading position in this respect, since the program with the session view was actually always the pioneer of such a concept, which allows the recording and management of ideas outside of the arrangement and the user-supported in spontaneous creative work.
It is now possible to “link” tracks for synchronous editing, which is useful when editing recordings with multiple microphones, for example. Linked tracks are marked with a small lock icon. This is Live 11’s simple twist on Mix and Edit Groups features. There can also be several linking groups, which, however, cannot be distinguished visually and are not numbered consecutively as elsewhere.
MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) controllers such as Roli’s Seaboard or Sensel Morph enable expressive performances that require suitable sound generators such as ROLI’s Equator, Softube Modular, UVI Falcon, NI Reaktor, or Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular and DCO-106. Also, some NI Kontakt Libraries and other popular plug-ins like u-he’s Repro 5 or Xfer Serum have MPE options. As a keyboard player, for example, you can play string or wind instruments authentically.
Live 11 now has many virtual nstruments and presets preconfigured to use such controllers. The Wavetable, Arpeggiator, Sampler, and Max4Live plug-ins have already been adjusted. In Wavetable, for example, you can see an MPE tab with a modulation matrix in which you can program which actions lead to which parameter changes. For MPE-capable plug-ins, you have to set “Enable MPE-Mode” in the context menu. Connected controllers are activated in the MIDI Prefs for MPE.
Notes that were recorded without an MPE controller can also be MPE edited in the new Note Expression Tab of the Clip Editor, for example, pitch bending for individual notes. You draw a line like an automation with support points on the desired tuning. In addition, Slide, Pressure, and Velocity as well as Release Velocity can be edited below.
There are numerous new plug-ins in Live 11, some as a normal part of Live, i.e. installed with the respective Live version, and others as Max4Live devices, which only run in the suite with integrated Max4Live and are typically installed separately.
The new algorithmic reverb (light blue controls on the right), sounds so good it might be a reason to upgrade, and has intuitive usability and routing options for both. The algorithmic reverb has a freeze function. Particularly interesting: the frozen reverb can be added to further reverb or the input signal. The reverb algorithms in the right section are called “Quartz”, “Dark Hall”, “Shimmer”, “Tides”, and “Prism” and sometimes sound incredibly good.
Spectral Resonator and Spectral Time provide a sort of real-time spectral resynthesis sonically similar to that found elsewhere, such as in Alchemy (formerly Camel Audio, now part of Logic), allowing for very versatile sounds. The two effects can be used and combined on a modular basis. Both show the audio result in real-time spectral analysis.
For example, Spectral Resonator can be applied to drum loops like a short, tonal delay. “Freq” determines the pitch in “Internal” mode. With the “MIDI” mode on, the pitch can be played by an incoming MIDI signal – so we’re not just dealing with an effect, but also with a synth that has a gate option, polyphony and unison settings owns. “Spectral Resonator” plug-in requires an input signal.
In Spectral Time it is possible to “freeze” the incoming audio material in different resolutions with the Freeze button – so it could also be a sound source for Spectral Resonator as an upstream effect. In Retrigger Mode, Freeze is triggered by the signal or a bar count itself – a kind of Sample & Hold with a crossfade option. Downstream there is a granular delay, as you may have seen before with more parameters in “Portal” by Output.
Two other new and good modulation effects in Live11 are Chorus Ensemble and Phaser Flanger.
It is also worth mentioning that several existing live tools have been improved and the basic sound library has been updated and expanded. The clip editing and CPU measurement areas have also been improved. You can now track the scales in the MIDI Live editor to see which notes “match” a certain key.
The Standard version includes a library of over 10 GB of audio tracks (over 1800), 36 audio effects, 6 virtual instruments, or 13 MIDI effects. For a full comparison of each version, please visit the developer’s website.
- Live 11 Intro: 79.00 euros
- Live 11 Standard: 349.00 euros
- Live 11 Suite: 599.00 euros