Hot on the heels of that Live 9 video leak comes news from Ableton outlining the features to be found in the new version. The company also announces a brand new hardware controller for Live.

Ableton has announced details of the forthcoming major update to Live. In summary, the key features are as follows:

  • session automation
  • a new browser for devices, plugins and samples
  • new bundled sounds
  • reworked effects including the new Glue Compressor and updated EQ Eight
  • the ability to convert audio to MIDI data
  • new MIDI and automation editing tools

It’s a bit of a mixed result for Live users, who’ve been bombarding Ableton with feature requests since the last major Live update all the way back in January 2009. The improvements to Live’s automation capabilities are the biggest news as far as we’re concerned. We also assume that Live 9 will introduce 64-bit support as standard.

If the Glue Compressor and EQ Eight are the biggest updates to the effects we’ll be a bit disappointed. The audio-to-MIDI feature sounds interesting in theory but it’ll need to work well to be useful. Converting audio to MIDI has always been patchy at best when we’ve tried it in other software (particularly when trying to process full tracks or complex polyphonic material).

There are big areas where we thought Ableton would step up their game and they don’t seem to have been addressed. There’s no word on updates to the mixer or improved time-stretching algorithms. More importantly, it doesn’t look like there are many attempts to compete with the promises of Bitwig Studio, the eagerly anticipated DAW in development by former Ableton staff.

We’ll reserve judgement until we’ve had a proper opportunity to test it, but we can already sense disappointment from Live users who were hoping for something a little more substantial.

Ableton Live 9 will be available early next year with prices starting at $99/€79 for Live 9 Intro, $449/€349 for Live 9 Standard and $749/€599 for Live 9 Suite. As a way to sweeten the deal for new Live users and maintain sales over the next few months, Live 8 is now discounted by 25% across the board and includes a free upgrade to Live 9 as soon as it’s released.

Further details can be found here.

Ableton has also announced the release of a new hardware controller for Live. The Ableton Push, a collaborative effort with Akai, features 64 velocity- and -pressure-sensitive pads and 11 touch-sensitive rotary encoders. Priced at $599/€499, it’ll be bundled with a copy of Live 9 Intro and available early next year. The unit, pictured below, also features a ribbon controller. More info here.

25th October, 2012

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