Our friend Jeane Poole, who hails from the island continent pictured in the screen grab, has a terrific overview review of Live 7 — the upgraded app and suite. And, bonus, there’s some good resources for plug-ins and learning, to boot. The verdict:

The Ableton Berlin kids are still slaying with this release. They’ve refined and extended the features of the application, integrated new instruments and processes, allowed ever more complex workflows and at the same time have managed to retain a smooth and consistent interface. When it comes to real-time audio – there’s really nothing else in town.

The “nothing else in town” bit is important — there are lots of other good apps for making music, but none quite as complete for, as the name implies, being Live — at least not without a lot of DIY work. Ableton co-founder Robert Henke once complained that reviewers were being so uncritical of Ableton, but I think the reason is that no one has really offered a strong competitor. In the meantime, we keep using and loving the tool.

But the best part of this review is a handy little set of links to tutorials, plug-ins, and (as Jeane Poole doubles as one of Oz’s leading VJs) commentary on live visual capabilities. And if CDM ever has a softball (Ultimate Frisbee?) team, it will be the Create Digital Mutants — thanks, Jeane.

The Sweet Ableton Live 7 Suite : Review [Skynoise]

  • Live is pretty awsome and unique, no doubt. That said, if live looping is all you need freewheeling will do the job and let you keep your $500

  • synthetic

    He's from Pork Chop?

  • richardl

    I love Live, but…

    "When it comes to real-time audio – there’s really nothing else in town."

    That's a pretty strong claim.

    What about Apple Logic's MainStage, NI Kore 2, Reason's Combinator, ART Teknika Console, Audiofile Engineering RAX, Brainspawn Forté…?

    Sure no one of those tools provides the same set of functions as Live, but Live has also gotten pretty spendy in both its basic and suite configurations.

  • I wouldn't have worded it that strongly, BUT …

    Combinator, Kore, and MainStage are all instrument/effect hosts — none has any significant playback capabilities for audio clips, MIDI patterns, and MIDI sequences. (I think that's true of Forte, too — not sure about Teknika Console.) Rax has MIDI sequence playback for backing tracks, but it's more limited than Live.

    Now, that is to say, Live has created its own category … and it leaves out some things these other tools do, as well. It kind of depends on your live performance approach. The ability to have an interactive arrangement *in the host* I think is unique. There are ways of accomplishing that with samplers/loopers of various sorts — and, really, Live *is* a kind of arrangement sampler — but I haven't seen other apps attempt this at the host level.

    The one app I would put in that category is Project5, but I think in its implementation it lost something … it has other strengths.

    This does beg for a round-up, though, Richard.

  • I'm curious about the pricing complaints, by the way. I keep hearing them.

    Live's list price is now $499. Updates run $159 – $219.

    That is indeed more than Live used to cost. Live 1 was $299, and Live 2 was $399 with an $89 update. But, still, that's not an enormous change — $100 more for a boxed copy — especially when you take into account download versions that are cheaper. The upgrade price is steeper, but Live 2.0 was not so huge an upgrade over 1.5, and involved lots of fixes, etc. Live 7 includes new instruments, effects, and major new functionality.

    Now, that's not to say there aren't cheaper options — there are quite a few, and I do wish they got more attention than they do. But Live itself isn't significantly more expensive now. It just isn't. And there's absolutely nothing stopping you from getting Live 7 without the full Suite, and picking your own instruments — it's something I'd strongly recommend considering based on your individual needs.

  • Richard Lawler

    I really do like Live. I've diligently paid my upgrade tax since 4.0, and I'm pretty satisfied with what I've gotten out of it. But I'm on the fence whether the basic upgrade from 6 to 7 is worth my while.

    I think part of what makes Live seem expensive is a combination of things like the new spoiler pricing of Logic Studio and some of the other fire sales that I get thrown at me like NI's Komplete upgrade. And then Live comes in with an upgrade to the Suite for $460.

  • Hmmm… Drum Racks? Time signatures in scenes?

    I can see that, though, for some Live 6 could make you pretty happy. Somewhere around 5/6 the app started to feel more complete, and that'll naturally let you put off upgrades so they're not quite as frequent — if you desire.

  • lematt

    sooperlooper is also a very nice live looping software

  • wes

    For Richard, about upgrading. I think i would wait till Live 8 or the long awaited Cycling74 & Live project, which will be nuts. I predict Live 8 will have alot more video features. I've got Live 7 suite now and it's awesome but i'd say for someone on 6 Live 8 is going to be triple the amount of features. just my 2c

  • it's all sweet…but you forget one little thing…

    Ablton 7 does not work !…it's full of glitches…cpu spikes even on quad processors…just go on the forum and see what is real life.

  • wes

    run ableton live 7 on a macbook intel core duo

    2 gigs ram/ 2ghz. and live is fine. hasn't really messed up. plus the 7.0.2 update was great. fixed tons of bugs. was the longest changelog ever, so obviously live 7 was rushed and released a little prematurely. but its going great now.

  • Micah

    Live 7 works.. they have a bug fix that fixes all major problems… It works flawless on my system. I have used Live and only Live for production since version 5 (I started making music about 2 years ago) and I can say..

    It is worth every single penny… The drum racks are fantastic… the slice to midi function amazing… Sampler is now available with the d/l… as well as their new instruments which are fantastic..

    Creating groups… kick sounds… layering sounds is soo easy and soo much fun..

    it is really great when linked to Novation with automapping.. I honestly know I should use other software… but to be quite frank… I am sticking with Live and Live only until they are out of biz!

    Live 7 is well worth the upgrade from … I would never go back.. and wouldn't question it..

    They improved the compresser.. now have sidechaining… It sounds better… which results with better sounding tracks…

    The thing about live is.. It can do anything.. you just have to figure out your own way to do it… and that takes work… I have dedicated my last two years to Live… and taken classes and turtorials… and very happy I have invested this much in this specific program.

  • @Richard Lawler: The biggest thing in the upgrade for me was the change in the audio engine – something that Micah only touched on here – Live 7 sounds *so* much better than Live 6, especially in the bass end, and the upgrade was worth it for that alone!