Ableton promised they’d ship Live in September, but as the final days of the month waned, I’m sure at least some of you wondered if they’d make it. Just under the wire, the Berlin-based software maker made Live 6 and Sampler available online late in the day Friday, September 29 US time. That means you can also download a save-restricted, time-unlimited demo version of Live 6, the Operator FM/subtractive synth (featuring minor improvements from its last version), and the all-new Sampler instrument, complete with sample files, presets, and PDF documentation.

Ableton Live 6

Killer feature? Live 6’s ability to combine instruments and effects into racks could be the most important new feature.

If you’ve longed for Ableton’s take on a sampler, integrated with the Live interface and Live way of doing things, the presence of Sampler is self-explanatory.

As for Live 6, there are lots of new features above that we’ve discussed a bit here on CDM (see CDM tag: Ableton Live). If you need just one feature to make the upgrade worth a look, though, Instrument and Effects Racks is that feature: there are some truly deep possibilities for sound design and performance, combining instruments and effects chains and layers, and moving between them when playing. It has a lot of what I like about the Combinator in Reason 3, but it does quite a bit more.

There’s a lot more here to pull apart in the way of reviews and tutorials; stay tuned. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering why I wasn’t on top of this news yesterday, you can thank a day-long Time Warner cable Internet outage … they’re doing a lot of digging down here in lower Manhattan.)

Updated: If you’re wondering about the presence of various sample content and associated files for the upgrade:

Concerning the content, the download versions of Live 6 come with the Basic and the Lesson package. The additional Live 6 packages Impulse, Operator, Sampler & DemoSongs will be available via download within the next dew days.

Also the Live 6 Manuals will be available on the website as separate downloads within the next days.

This info and more details on the forums: Final Live 6 version is online!

  • TC

    Awesome! I love it!

  • thesimplicity

    wow, Live 6 does not like my computer. I tried to drag one of the demo racks to a track just to see what it was like… CPU shot up to 100%, then I had to force quit. I relaunched and tried again with another patch, same result. It only seems to happen with racks, not individual instruments… which is a shame because the rack would be my big reason for upgrading. Hopefully it's just one of those X.0.1 bugs that'll get hammered out in an update.

  • Definitely sounds like a bug to me. Be sure to send a bug report to them; racks are new. Have you tried disabling all plugins and retrying?

  • bliss

    Anybody know of any dual PPC benchmarks for Live 6? My repaired/refurbished dual PPC CPU that caught afire about 6 weeks ago is finally being returned to me sometime early next week. I was hoping it would be returned in time for me to test the Ableton beta that I downloaded a few days ago. Any links?

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  • "Anybody know of any dual PPC benchmarks for Live 6?"

    Yup, it screams on my dual AMD. I would have bought it for this feature alone! Now my processor doesn't freak out when I hit play. My current track would peak Ableton out at about 110% when it started out and then chill out to about 80%. Ableton 6 dual processor support reduced this to a start up of 55% and a run time of 40%.


  • Matt

    So does anyone know what the final word is on the MIDI sync performance of Live 6? Is it reliable this time around?

  • Depends on what you're referring to. My sense was that Live MIDI sync works about the same as anything that uses MIDI time code, which can cause issues syncing during tempo changes because of the way the messages are formatted … but what do you mean, Matt?

    Dual AMD performance is *great* news. I'll be firing this up on both my dual-G5 and AMD 3800 x2 so can't work.

  • Thomas

    @thesimplicity: It seems not to be a crash. Racks based on multisamples are needing a loooooong time to load. I hope the Abes will optimize the sample load performance before Live 7 😉

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