Here’s the idea: a remix/mash-up artist collects a bunch of MP3s. (Hopefully Creative Commons for legal reasons, but I digress.) An app instantly locates all those files. She types the first few letters to find a file, drops the file into a program, and it instantly beat-matches the song. Only one app really fits that description: Ableton Live 5. (see my quick take on features, or go direct to the source) Three reasons this matters for mash-ups:

1. MP3 support: Mash-up artists want to be able to easily pull compressed audio from their hard drive, which was one of the reasons previous versions of Live didn’t catch on. (now, if only other formats worked, too . . .)

2. Files without hunting: One of the major problems with almost every DAW on the market has been how hard it is to navigate the tons of audio files we all have on our hard drive. By implementing a global search feature, Live 5 does away with that.

3. Real tempo matching: Oh, sure, Live 1-4 (and many other programs) worked seamlessly for regular audio — but any complexity required manual placement of warp markers and lots of tweaking. Other software works fine with prepped loops, but requires extra work for raw audio. You’ll still want to drive manual in some cases, but it looks like Live 5 could finally deliver on the ability to just drag and drop audio and manipulate beat and tempo “magically.”

And this isn’t just of interest if you’re making a mash-up — the raw audio could be your band, or another of your tunes, or whateer you want. But these are predictions, not a review. The real proof comes when we all get our hands on the public beta. (See CDM’s look at Live 5’s new features; the announcement is minutes old so expect more soon!)

  • cycle60

    …but i didn't see any mention of optimization for altivec. other than that, it's looking mighty fine.

  • admin

    I'll see if there's any word from the Abletons on this. But as has been discussed here before, it's not clear whether that's really the prime variable in Mac performance of Live. And, gee, maybe by July we'll have some new PowerBooks . . . wouldn't that be nice . . . a dude can dream, right? 8)

  • EricRichmond

    Ever since I saw an ad for Live 1.5 I knew this *could* be the app to take DJing to the next level, I think with 5 they're going to fulfill that promise.

    I've been an enthusiast of Live since 1.5, an owner since 4.0, so I'm happy to see whatever success they can get.

  • admin

    I'm with you, Eric — though I've got you beat, just slightly; I was on the press list with Ableton before Live shipped and have used the program since 1.0. Remember when you HAD to warp audio? I was so relieved when they gave us a switch. Now things continue to get better; 1.0 was a niche tool for sure, 4.x a platinum hit. 5 could be the one that goes multi-platinum. Now for us hard-core users who are likely to be more critical (and find lots to do with the power users), I'm anxious to put this under further scrutiny.