Ableton Live 9.7 – the final stable download – is available today. (A public beta was released over the summer.) It’s got a host of improvements for the latest Push hardware, but there are advantages for everyone.

We did a preview of the slicing and beatmaking features in Live 9.7 previously:
Ableton Live 9.7 in beta, with slicing and beatmaking news

But let’s quickly run down what’s in 9.7 depending on which hardware you’re using (or not).

Ableton-Live-9_7-Release_2_web

For everybody

Actually, I think this is the most important. You can now slice in different ways:
By beat division
By region
By transient
Manually

All of this works in Simpler. So yes, it’s mapped to Push 1 and Push 2. But you can also use it if you’re on easyJet working on a laptop, with your trackpad. Or you can map it to custom controllers. Or if you’re McRorie, you could set up a custom workflow mapped to your pants. (Slap those Lederhosen, slice that track!)

Also, this is actually huge for people doing serious live performance – Link support is significantly enhanced if you use Tap Tempo or set tempo with the Looper. Quoting the release notes:

The beat time of connected apps in a Link session will be aligned when starting Live’s playback with Tap Tempo or via Looper.

Since the point of Link synchronization is jamming, that’s a big deal.

Everyone also gets a long, long list of tweaks and fixes – see the release notes for full details.

If you’ve got Push 2

Push 2 is mapped to that slicing, but you also get:
A new drum layout with 16 pre-defined velocity levels:

Select and arm audio and MIDI inputs from the hardware:

Visual feedback with clip phase and count-in so you can see where you are without looking at the screen:

Plus:

Color pads, tracks, and clips via Push (and not only with the mouse)

Pad sensitivity tweaks based on context to “improve playability” (this is actually pretty subtle, but … well, if it works you won’t notice it, you’ll just be happier)

Also, there are numerous improvements to the display, including color matching.

If you’ve got Push 2 or Push 1…

Push 1 also works with slicing mapped.

Also, both devices have a more sensible way to treat Fixed Length recordings – that’s when you set the length of a recording in advance, then play:

By default, Fixed Length now respects the Launch Quantization setting. Its previous behavior can be toggled on via the ‘Phrase Sync’ option in the Fixed Length menu. This works with Push 1 and 2.

So, have at it:

https://www.ableton.com/en/help/article/live-9-release-notes/

Live 9.7 will download automatically, or if you’re set to manual updates, you can grab it on your account page.

Photos courtesy Ableton.

  • 4ormal

    I only have Live Lite, but the new slicing features for simpler make very happy. Not all updates need to be groundbreaking to be good.

  • FS

    wonderful. now is Ableton gonna help us clear all those samples! 😉

    • kuehnl

      Agreed. I find the emphasis on a sample-based workflow questionable. Does the average Ableton user even understand the legal ramifications?

      • nothingnatural

        Good point re: sampling other works, but there are additional ways to use it that could be interesting.

        For example, I could do (and have done) this: Take a series of samples- let’s say a 909 kit- and put a chain of fx on it. So I throw in some compression and overdrive to make it nice and beefed up. I then make a clip that puts in each drum hit with enough space for the tail of the decay (BD…. SN…. CLP…. etc) and freeze/flatten that clip. Drag the resulting sample to a Simpler instance, set slices to Transients, and save as “Beefy 909” or whatever. Now I have a drum kit for easy programming and low CPU consumption that I can drop in whenever. (I long for the day I can make preview clips for personal instrument racks…)

        I’ve taken old stems and given them new life with Simpler as well. Chopping and rearranging an old set of chords or a bassline can be a zesty, fun enterprise.

        • Brent Williams

          I sample and resequence myself playing live. Not knocking sampling, but nobody said you need someone else’s creativity to make good use of it. Oops. Replied to wrong poster.

      • John Howard

        Just because the example videos show one method or process it doesn’t mean you can’t use the tools in other ways. You could uhh I dunno, use these tools with your own sounds? What a shortsighted way of looking at musical equipment that demonstrates a real lack of creative thought and process.

      • itchy

        i have been sampling for years. i never use anyone elses material. so sampling doesn’t mean taking beats off someone elses record. i make my own samples. think outside the box.

      • As others wrote, it is only an example. Create your own beats and melodies with e.g. iPad or iPhone apps, make field recordings with whatever tool, sample your girlfriend when she’s brushing her teeth – or whatever happens around you. I once made a track based on the beat of an egg timer’s ticking sound, so nothing’s going to stop you from taking it anywhere you want. But you have to come up with your own ideas, that’s for sure.

  • robleks

    I’d really like to see a re-review of Push 2 from a long term user, now that it has matured (?). I really want to like it, but I suspect that it would just end up in the attic, like my Maschine, Launchpad etc. Is it really that much more than a glorified clip-launcher? Can it truly be a real “instrument”, like Ableton says it is?

    • Ben Hovey

      It’s absolutely an instrument… The pads are extremely expressive.

    • FS

      I have Push 2 and don’t use it very often but it’s because for some reason i am still in love with my stand alone MPC’s. i love flipping on the switch and having a self contained eco system to work within, that also integrates with my larger system if i want it to.

      that being said, i have a friend who is truly mastering Push 2 and does unbelievable things with it in the studio and on stage. so i think it comes down to deciding to commit to it, and if you do commit to a controller i think Push should be the one. IMO it is the only product in it’s category that if you give the time to it will allow you to express your self in the direction of an organic instrument. again this is IMO.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwMoPG5RrxI
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOx2rbcfTMs

      • joseph guisti

        Damn Stro killing it again!
        I have a similar approach, check that video I posted above

        • FS

          dude insane!! really dope man…

    • joseph guisti

      Here’s a quick iPhone vid of me making electronic music with zero loops on the Push 1 running a custom script. I have my left hand running scales on a Moog, while right hand triggers chords I programmed before hand on a polysynth with my right thumb as my four right fingers play drums. The whole setup is scripted with macros, so I can change presets on all instruments, use the slider to transpose the whole setup +/- 12 semitones, use buttons to move the whole thing +/- octaves, and pick from 16 minor or major chord sets with varying degrees of chord complexity. I also have knobs and foot pedals controlling things like filter cutoff on the synths. So I’d say yes. This is an instrument!

      https://youtu.be/3cfwFSAnNJY

    • hmidirix

      i tried push 2 and didn’t notice any improvement vs. push 1 pads at -16 threshold. the screen is more or less pointless for my use. really, ableton needs to fully utilize the polyphonic aftertouch capability that already exists in push 1 and 2 by implementing MPE.

      i literally see no point in buying push 2 except for the possibility that push 1 will won’t see new features (such as 16 pad velocity). after all, ableton (and everybody else) profits through planned obsolescence. we live in an age where being a digital musician is a rental plan that sells itself through hype machines such as this website.

      • hmidirix

        p.s. imo the pads on push 1 are better and more robust/stiff feeling. the pads on push 2 are wobbly which would potentially be nice if the wobbling actually had a function like vibrato. but it doesn’t do that.

      • robleks

        Yes, a shame. Ableton Live is still pretty weak when it comes to midi. I think they added midi in version 4(?), but it still feels tacked on.

    • I had Push 1… sold it and went back to Maschine MK2
      I had Push 2… same.
      After they launched the beta for 9.7 I’ve sold Maschine and rebought a Push 2.

      Honestly… it’s THE BEST I’ve had and trust me I’ve had them all: Akai MPC Ren, MPC Studio, MPC Touch, Maschine…

      Push 2 is the most playable thing I had. I create some clips, record a basic arrangement and then I click record a long clip and jam my ass off. After I’m content, I crop to the sections I like and that’s it. The arrangement sounds organic because it’s arranged live.

      Here’s a rock solo https://soundcloud.com/alexbuga/ableton-push-2-rock-solo

  • geoff

    Nice update, however on the theme of visual feedback I still have to look at the application all the time just to see the play head position. This is the only hardware device I own where I can’t see/manipulate the Bars Beats and Pulses position this still seems like a massive oversight to me unless I am missing the way to view this. The record enable indication is also too subtle I preferred Push1 for that.

  • Jonny Freesh

    “Its previous behavior can be toggled on via the ‘Phrase Sync’ option in the Fixed Length menu”

    I can’t seem to find this option – can someone please point me in the right direction?

    • Chris Langill

      Push and hold the ‘Fixed Length’ button on your Push controller to pull up related settings. I assume it’s in there. (still in bed and not in front of my Push 2)

      • Jonny Freesh

        Did that but it’s not in there and not sure where else it could be. Is it possible that I need to update firmware on Push or something?

        • Adam

          It is on the top right when you hold down the Fixed Length, but it is not the previous behavior of how it would record clips which wasn’t to respect the fixed length values (which I think was very confusing since it worked different if you were starting from a stop point and didn’t have a clip selected). This is the same as Legato option in previous version they just renamed it.
          The ‘Legato’ option (in the Fixed Length menu) was renamed to ‘Phrase Sync’.
          https://www.ableton.com/en/help/article/live-9-beta-release-notes/

  • Found out that when running The Legend by Synapse, Live 9.7 performed worse than 9.6. And 9.7.1b1 is performing like 9.7 Very nerdy of course but it’s a bit of a bummer.