The original Compressor and Gate have also been given a few minor tweaks. The Gate adds new sidechain EQ options and a Return control (effectively a hysteresis option, adding an independent gate close threshold).
Both the Gate and Compressor also now include real-time waveform displays which show the amount of gain reduction being applied, similar to the display found in FL Studio effects such as the Fruity Limiter. It’s a great tool for helping to understand exactly what the devices are doing and it’s a shame that the Glue Compressor doesn’t feature something similar.
The Compressor’s algorithms have also been updated, meaning that it no longer features the selectable FF1, FF2 and FB models, or the Opto setting. Loading Live 8 sets will launch the Compressor device in Legacy Mode, which uses the older algorithms but features the new GUI updates. The Upgrade button allows the device to be switched to the new algorithm, retaining the same settings (Opto mode reverts to the Peak setting).
Live’s flagship parametric EQ device, EQ Eight, also highlights more of Live 9’s new workflow features. New additions include adaptive Q (in which the frequency band narrows as more boost or cut is applied), an audition mode to solo individual frequency bands, and the ability to toggle the main display out of the device itself and into the session/arrangement window. It’s become a much more versatile tool, with the enlarged view and integrated spectrum analyser particularly useful. Again, it’s a shame other devices don’t offer the expanded view.
A neat touch in EQ Eight is the inclusion of a small text box in the bottom left-hand corner of the frequency display pane which relays the cursor’s position as frequency, note and level. In combination with the built-in spectrum analyser it’s a powerful addition to the EQ device. However, there are a couple of weaknesses; there’s no way of adjusting the scale of the display, and the analyser doesn’t show the absolute levels of each frequency (there’s not even a line to indicate 0dB, which would be particularly useful).
EQ Eight has also apparently been fully rewritten to sound smoother. It’s now always in the Hi-Quality mode, with the addition of an oversampling option for even better high frequency performance at the expense of CPU usage.
The lack of new devices is undeniably underwhelming, but it’s bolstered by the inclusion of Max For Live as standard in the Suite package (previously a paid option, and still available as an add-on if you elect to purchase the Standard version rather than the full Suite – Max For Live isn’t compatible with the Intro version). As previously, three versions of Live are available, each with quite different feature sets. For the first time, though, Suite is a long way ahead of Standard. The inclusion of Max For Live, numerous additional loops and samples, plus Live mainstays such as Sampler, Operator and Analog makes Suite worth the extra £210.
The 29 devices included in the Max For Live Essentials pack offer a range of instruments, audio effects and MIDI effects (which include two sequencers):