Ableton is 10. Does that make anyone feel old? Live in action; photo: Marco Raaphorst.

As the company turns 10, Ableton has introduced a set of discounts and giveaways, the most notable of which is a new entry-level edition of Live. Live Intro smooths out a lot of the wrinkles between different starter versions of Live, from LE to hardware bundles. At $99, “Intro” finally gets a logical feature set:

  • Full ReWire support, both as host and client (or “Slave” and “Master,” if you want to be all kinky about it)
  • Full MIDI support, including remote control, output, MIDI clock (though none of the nifty “external device” support for outboard gear)
  • Warping and time stretching, minus the “Complex” and “Complex Pro” modes
  • 4 VST/AU instruments, 4 VST/AU effects per project
  • Missing Vocoder, Looper, Multiband Dynamics, Overdrive, Frequency Shifter – but you do get SImpler and Impulse
  • 2 in, 2 out audio, though you can have up to 64 tracks and unlimited MIDI tracks
  • No track grouping
  • Full WAV, AIFF, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC support
  • New extras: 7 GB of audio content in the boxed version, 1 GB in the download version

In other words, you get a more-than-capable version of Live for a hundred bucks. It’s certainly enough for anyone who just wants to inject some Live functionality into their ReWire host of choice, and allows people interested in experimenting with Live a non-crippled version they can use. Mercifully, Ableton is offering a free upgrade to Intro from Live LE users — a good thing, because Intro includes some features and content LE lacks. (Okay, it’s still probably not great news if you spent $200 on LE, but at least you don’t miss out on the features.)

Live Intro product page
Live Intro comparison

Sound Packs, Discounts

Already a Live owner? Through January 10, Ableton has a number of deals for existing Live users:

Discounts on Live upgrades, up to 20%

Free artist packs — from some wonderful artists, too, including Apparat, Mum, Thavias Beck, and our friends at Covert Operators, among others.

The artist packs are especially nice. And Novation is shipping the Launchpad. Of course, the big news today is really Max for Live, so I’d better … keep typing. (Damn you, fingers!)

  • Joe

    They really should up the VST/AU limits for instruments and FX to 8. 4 is really limiting. I usually have at least 8 instruments and 16 fx per song, even if it's fairly minimal.

  • flonk

    There's another entry-level edition of Live hardly ever mentioned: Live Lite.

    It's really limited, but this can be quite joyfull.

    Free updates since Live 2 / Delta 😉

  • dyscode

    this is definately a counterstrike/-part to Pro Tools Essential.

    This Live Intro is looking nice enough I might even consider using it, just to learn the App.

    The former LE version was just not usable.

    (PS: this is with the background that my live needs have been met by Plogue Bidule perfectly and Live is usually used in such unimaginative Ways, that I loose interest as soon as Live is mentioned. Because Live makes live sets TOO EASY.

    I know this is stupid but it´s my Planet)

  • I think this a great deal. The only hinge is 8 scenes is pretty limited if Ableton is calling Live Lite a performance tool. In fact I would say it's next to impossible to perform a set with Live and only 8 scenes.

  • Jimi

    @ hclc: I don't think the post says anything about a scene limit.

    Do we know, is there an upgrade path / discount from Launchpad Edition?

  • I'm a Live Lite user (Focusrite / Novation edition). I'm glad they upped the scene limits from 4 to 6. Ableton audio FX limits from 4 to 6 too. I haven't been able to check yet but I hope it now allows for MIDI out too. then I would be happy 🙂

  • Sketch

    I just bought it and think its great for djing. 64 tracks is a good start. I do agree that 8 scenes is way too small for a piece of software that i paid for, give me 20 at least, 🙁

  • I really wish I could recommend Intro/LE to my friends who are just getting started with Live, but lack of Complex mode is an absolute deal-breaker. Most of the other limitations are understandable, but it would be a bit of a challenge for production work.

    However, consider someone who is considering switching to Live from another sequencer or more conventional type of DJ software, and then trying to convince them that all of their warped tracks will only sound like crap in this playskool-version, but they will sound much better once they upgrade to the full one. This makes the Intro/LE package essentially feel like a paid demo, since one gets the impression that you can't actually produce actual music on it or perform with it.

    If anything, I wish that the Abes only restricted Complex Pro to the full version, as it does sound a bit better than the regular Complex… but c'mon, Complex has been in Live since v5.

  • Nathan

    I always find that any "lite" versions of full software always manage to seem at least slightly crippled in a slightly annoying way – it appears you can't actually edit racks, which is one of the unique features of the program. Better to at least allow limited racks, surely?

    I think companies like Ableton need to go a bit further in providing a bit of software that isn't just an alternative build of the full-fat version with some artificial limits dropped into the code. Eventually the limits are likely to just be annoying enough to put you off using the software or make you fork out for the "real" program.

    Still, for the money this might be the least annoying introductory package for people who are unfamiliar with Live.

  • Jimi

    @ Nathan

    Agreed. And they need to be clear as to whether these "lite" products are usable in themselves, or whether they just serve as a paid demo. To be honest, even as a non-Live user, I can see that an 8-scene limit is going to be annoying. Likewise with the lack of Complex – why? This will just thwart people who want to use Live Intro for basic DJing (many people, I expect) and burden them with a lower sound quality.

    Anyway, as far as I can see, the features and restrictions of Intro are broadly similar to those of Launchpad Edition (free with a Launchpad, natch), with Intro having 64 audio tracks available to Launchpad Edition's 8. Both have scene limits and no Complex warping, and the same caps on plugins. Did I miss any other important differences?

  • S Ford

    Ableton are pretty ruthless when it comes to using the market position to do as well as they possibly can.

    The lack of a direct competitor, well no other progs seem to have the workflow of Ableton, has lead them to this position.

    Their benefits of innovation!

    Looking at the budget options of Logic, which for all purposes is basically the full version without a few plugins. The 'Lite' version of Ableton seems ridiculous in comparison. Almost akin to a sequencer given away with a magazine.

  • mao mao

    Hi all

    – Live Lite is a free product that comes in boxes of select hardware. don't expect a fully feature product there

    – there is no upgrade from Live 8 Launchpad edition to Live Intro, only to Live 8 and Suite 8

    – the best warp mode for DJing is Beats, set to "Transients", not Complex.

  • 8 scenes is way too small, the live set im working on has 40 scenes and it only lasts 20 minutes.

  • pietro

    any chance that lite intro work with max4live ?

  • Any word on how well this "Lite" version might run on a netbook/Atom processor?

  • I wonder if you could get around the vst limit by rewiring in REAPER or using EnergyXT as a VST…

  • Eric

    Hmm…. 99 dollars for crippleware?

  • empolo

    OK, so I held onto my discount coupon for Live LE from when I purchased a Korg Nano. I just went to the coupon URL to make sure that I can use it with Live Intro and it turns out that I can. Now, I use Traktor and Maschine and have been contemplating learning Ableton as well and making everything work together. For $49 ($99 MSRP minus my coupon discount), this seems like a steal. I don't plan to do any major compositions, just use my Maschine VST as a plugin and see what I can do with Traktor. I know quite a few people are calling Live Intro 'crippleware' but for $49, it just seems like a steal. Opinions welcome.

  • Sergio

    Ableton's marketing strategy for its "entry level" product is downright insulting when you compare it to what Apple does with Logic Express – core functionality is the same, except for a "few" features and a lot more bundled content.

    Cakewalk also changed their ways and Sonar Home Studio is still a great value compared to the full blown versions.


  • I'm just happy they enabled MIDI out, I can work with it. Also I can start figuring out the session view part without being overwhelmed. Limits are not necessarily bad things

  • If they had only upped the version of lite just a little bit more I might have been interested. Now, I have to think it over.

  • Joe

    @ Sergio – Good call on the logic express comparison. LE is amazingly full featured for a lite version. Most people who own licenses for many 3rd party instruments and effects probably don't need the few extras in LPro. Besides they can easily upgrade to Pro if they want by simply paying the balance. I just think the target market of new Live users who are either comng from another program or new to music production will look elsewhere when they compare the various lite versions of programs out there. It's a shame really, as I'd like more Live users out there. New users are honestly better off illegally downloading Live 6 as an introduction to Live, then realizing how great it is will look to get the full Live 8 in the future.

  • tyler

    I agree completely about the statements regarding logic express (which I own). I have a question… live intro states that it has "unlimited midi tracks" yet you can only have up to 12 devices running (4 vsts, and 8 ableton live devices)

    what's the deal with that? I emailed Ableton and they said that you can use the same instrument on multiple tracks? Can anyone explain how this is done?

    oh and yes, 8 scenes is waaaaay to limiting…

  • Julie

    I am completely new to this kind of software, but my teenage son is requesting the likes for Christmas. I started out looking at Ableton Live 8, but am a bit wary of the price. I've also looked at Reason and Apple's Logic Studio. The price is a bit of a deterent, (he's not an only child) and I have also looked at the Live Intro and Logic Express. I would love some advice on what to get. He is wanting something that will let him play around with the existing song library on his iPod (mixing songs together, making remixes of individual songs etc), as well as something he can create his own music with. He'd like to be able to save or record what he does. Eventually he might want to be able to plug in a guitar or mic and add his own playing/singing to what he has done on the computer. Any suggestions?

  • hey everyone can any1 tell me if i download ableton intro off for €99 can i upgrade to live 8 for €30?someone told me i could do that and i just wana b sure!

  • hey julie!!u cant make remixes on ableton!its only for producing music from scratch and djing live, building in 1 song after the next or mixing 2 or 3 or even 4 songs at a time but u vant load a song onto ableton and edit stores that sell ableton sell it for half price if your a student in college, well that what they do in Ireland.usualy it costs €540 in the shops here and if u just say ur son is in college u shud get it for 270 and thats not bad at all,