Live 10 adds a tasty new synth and delay effect, an updated look, and many more small details. We’ve had it now a few weeks; here’s a look at what’s new.

What’s the story behind 10?

It’s tough for updates of mature music production software to keep us happy. On one hand, we’ve all got a big list of stuff we want to see improved, fixed, added – and that list tends to get longer. On the other hand, we don’t want any major changes to disrupt how we work, break our existing projects, or lead the tool away from why we chose to use it in the first place.

What Live 10 does is to focus on making a lot of little changes that have a big impact on how you interact with the interface, in editing, arranging, and finishing tracks. There’s more and clearer visual feedback and editing behaviors, on screen and on Push.

In other words, imagine it’s a studio overhaul that did some cleaning, renovating, and reorganizing. And like a studio reorganization, you’ve also added some new gear – in the form of new devices called Echo, Wavetable, Drum Buss, and Pedal.

Photo courtesy Ableton.

An updated interface

Ableton has doggedly resisted messing much with its minimal interface. And sure enough, the biggest Live makeover yet is – actually pretty subtle. Those just get more useful as you dig.

So, on the surface, you can instantly see some new colors (now organized in “themes”), including some much more consistent darker themes. And there’s the new Ableton Sans font.

On high-density screens or as you scale, you’ll notice still more improvements – particularly around vectors like knobs. Windows users also get specialized HiDPI support – crucial since the PC platform otherwise doesn’t work as seamlessly as Retina displays on Mac. There’s also a Pen Tablet mode, which works with graphic tablets as well as tablet PCs, though I didn’t get to test it yet.

Scaled up, you can see the impact of that new font and lots of precise details (even a tiny notch indicator on the knobs).

Lots of little details like these add up to being able to more clearly see what you’re doing – sometimes even without noticing why you’re suddenly working faster. Ironically, this is probably the biggest UI overhaul Live has ever had – and yet you won’t really notice it, which is sort of the point.

Capture: Never miss an idea

The new transport – your challenge is to try to recognize it over someone’s shoulder in a club. That dotted rectangle icon on the right is significant.

So, there’s a funny mystery to the universe: the moment you hit the record button, all your creative ideas go away. Also, if you aren’t recording, you’ll suddenly play something ingenious – and then immediately forget it.

“Capture” is a way around this – it listens in on any connected MIDI input on armed/monitored tracks. Just played something on the keyboard you like? Hit the Capture button, and it turns instantly into a clip – no recording needed. (You can do this from Push, too; it seems inevitable that a Push 3 will have a dedicated button, but for now the Record and New buttons will do.)

Arrangement and Automation

The Arrangement View is the reason I think you’ll want to update to Live 10. It’s now finally easier to edit, arrange, and automate your projects. And here, it seems like they were watching over our shoulders, adding in features we had been looking for (shown with shortcuts):

  • Stretch Arrangement audio clips directly. (Shift-drag the border)
  • Slide the contents of an Arrangement clip directly, by dragging. (Alt-shift/Ctrl-Shift)
  • Reverse a selected bit of time, or part of a clip. (R)
  • Activate/deactivate just a portion of a clip, if you select only part of it.
  • Move clips by dragging the upper half of the clip.
  • Double-click on a MIDI track to create a MIDI clip.
  • Minimize all tracks at once, aka “Show All Tracks.” (S)
  • Zoom to and from a time selection. (Z/shift-Z)
  • Zoom tracks by scrolling with (alt), (cmd/ctrl) vertically

At last – view more than one MIDI clip at a time. Image courtesy Ableton.

The fact that a lot of this is true of other DAWs makes this even more welcome – both because it’s hard to re-train those habits, and because, well, this is a better way for this to work.

In addition to adjusting how you edit that content directly, Ableton has also made the whole view far more sensible by separating out automation – those “rubber-band” line segments that control changes to device parameters and mix settings. Now, you can hide or show all automation lanes via a global Automation button (or hit ‘A’).

This makes adding fades and cross-fades easier, too. You can always just drag from the corner of a clip to create fades.

Things you wished you could do previously suddenly magically start working: like you can double-click anywhere and make an automation breakpoint (not just on the envelope itself).

Oh yeah, and finally: “It is now possible to move automation segments horizontally.” (People who have been next to me in the studio while editing know that I tended to use … colorful language … in past versions over this.)

Many other DAWs work in similar ways to this already, but Ableton has managed to add these features without messing too much with its own distinctive interface. And that means you’ll adjust I think very quickly – ironically both if you were doing most of your editing in Live, and if you weren’t (because you found the absence of these things frustrating).

There are lots of other subtle helpers and visual feedback that make it easier to select, edit, and move breakpoints as you’re working. So there’s nothing new here in the sense of the addition of fade curves – just everything works better.

Small details abound – fades are always accessible at clip corners, cursors change more clearly so you’re aware of how you’re editing, and — even little stuff like this visual feedback on breakpoints can be a big help.

One thing that wasn’t changed here: you still can’t edit MIDI events directly in the Arrangement View lanes. But at last, you can edit multiple MIDI clips at the same time – both in Arrangement and Session. That’s beautifully implemented, and at last stops all this hunting in and out of clips when you’re editing. That may be a better solution, on balance.

Wavetable, the new Ableton synth. Looks impressive with everything expanded, but it retains a simple interface. Image courtesy Ableton.


Finally, Operator has a worthy sequel – a synth that feels truly native to Ableton Live.

And it’s about the most flexible synth you could wish for. It’s also more approachable than Operator’s FM (frequency modulation) synthesis – even though that design, conceived by Ableton co-founder Robert Henke, made FM easier to understand. By contrast, Wavetable is a synth that almost dares you to dive in without reading the manual.

Bride of Operator: classic Wavetable architecture, simple design, but with interesting twists. Note the Sub oscillator at left, Unison modes at right.

Wavetable synthesis is all about starting with an interesting waveform, then adding modulation and moving through that waveform. Animations show you how that works, even if you’ve never done it before. (Waldorf’s synths do that beautifully on the iPad, built by Wolfgang Palm, the man who perfected the technique. That seems to have influenced the design here, but — imagine it far simpler, more compact, flat, and Ableton-y.)

From there, you can add filters and modulation in a terrifically straightforward way. Filters look the way they do elsewhere in the software – you’ve got two multimode filters to apply as you like. Choosing some different filter models and adding drive will dirty up what is otherwise a very pristine-sounding instrument.

There’s also an easy modulation matrix, if a simple one. And you can pop out envelopes and LFOs (modulation sources) when you want more real estate.

The deal is sealed for me by the Unison modes – that Shimmer is lovely – which thicken up the sound of each note by using multiple oscillators. And there’s a sub oscillator, making this an excellent bass synth.

With the use of the various wavetables, different filters with drive, and unison modes, you can very quickly get away from sounds that are too clean or too clinical, which for me was always missing on Operator.

On paper, the whole thing honestly looks boring. But those filter models, the fact that you can route the two oscillators together or in parallel, those filter models (which you may already know from Live 9’s revamped Simpler), and those unison modes… oh, those unison modes… (Just trust me on that.)

It’s fun to design sounds on-screen, but even more fun with Ableton Push, as all those visualizations now map perfectly to the displays, and the encoders are ready for hands-on control.

In the end, it’s exactly what you want a built-in Ableton Live synth to me. It’s easy, it’s consistent – but it’s got personality, and it isn’t limiting.

Echo: a single device bringing together a lot of the digital and tape delay sounds you’d want, all in one consistent interface.


Wavetable is great, but … might not sway you if you’ve already got a stable of synths you love. Echo, on the other hand, is irresistible.

Echo almost made me forget everything else I planned to work on on this review, because suddenly I had a bunch of tracks just based on Echo.

We’re spoiled for choice now when it comes to delay effects. Native Instruments’ Replika XT is exceptional, just to name one. Universal Audio and the like have beautiful models of analog classics. Eventide have brought their whole arsenal of delays. Surreal Machines have some especially brilliant models.

I happen to use all of these. And even I have use for Echo.

The genius of Echo is really that it seems to merge a lot of different kinds of delays and echo effects into a single unit, and then let you morph between them relatively seamlessly.

You get two delay lines, which can run free or synced. These then operate in stereo, ping pong left to right, or mid/side. There’s also a reverb you can add pre or post delay.

The Modulation section is here things get interesting. You can modulate both delay times and filter frequencies, for some pretty far-out effects, and even morph between an envelope follower and modulation.

Modulation – route this to the delay itself as well as the filter.

That would already be enough, but there’s more. Using the “Character” modules, you can add Noise and Wobble effects – simulating tape – as well as dynamic controls (Gate, Ducking).

The “oh, maybe I’m a Space Echo, too” and “let’s change this around with dynamics” section. Or, uh, “Character.”

The upshot of all of this is, you get a uniquely Ableton-y delay with a character that ranges fully from subtle to out-the-starcraft-airlock, digital and clean to old and grimy. I happened to have some stems I’d made with a real Roland Space Echo, and I was able to produce some effects that were pretty close. This is … much lighter to carry around. But beyond that, I could morph the same sorts of effects back into software territory, and anywhere in between.

It’s terrific for any kind of sound design, as well as dubby and dance-y stuff. It’s about the most invaluable effect I could imagine them adding – and like Wavetable, it manages to root itself in classic gear without being overly nostalgic or overly complicated.

Don’t overlook the Drum Bass and Pedal effects. Pedal may not look like, well, anything – but it sounds amazing.

Drum Buss and Pedal

Echo isn’t the only effect – there are two more, Drum Buss (not a typo) and Pedal.

Drum Buss is a multi-effects processor with distortion, compressor, low-frequency “Boom,” transient shaping, and high frequency dampening. Now, the “Drum” part is meant to indicate that you can warm up, thicken, and compress/glue drum sounds together. But even though a lot of this was already available elsewhere in Live, the combination of these elements and new additions all in one device make it useful – and not just for drums.

Pedal is one you’ll probably overlook, but shouldn’t. It looks homely. It sounds… surprisingly amazing. That gnarly distortion, overdrive, and fuzz are actually more useful than all the previous Softube stuff combined, all with dangerous one-knob access. I’ve been destroying drum and synth sounds with them. Don’t be surprised if you start smearing on eyeshadow and sleeping in a coffin during the day. It’s worth it.

Oh yeah, and put Echo and Drum Buss and Pedal together… even with Wavetable? Indeed.

Visualizations now show up on Push. Image courtesy Ableton, because … I’m lazy and my desk is a mess?

What’s new for Push?

All these other changes should silence anyone who thinks Ableton are only making enhancements for their Push hardware customers.

But if you are an original Push hardware customer, you do get a lot, too. There are tons of little fixes and additions. Some standouts:

On Push 2, you can now visualize lots more stuff – EQ Eight filter bands, Compressor, envelopes, and more are all visible, plus notes in MIDI clips.

There’s now a note layout mode for Push, combining step sequencing and note access. On the top, you get a 32-step sequencer, on the bottom, 32 notes. This was a convenient feature on the (smaller) Novation Circuit; it works really beautifully on an 8×8 layout.

MIDI notes on Push 2. (Push 1 users get lots of little enhancements, too, though, so don’t feel left out.)

Max for Live refresh

Max for Live is still included only in the Suite edition of Ableton Live. In fact, it’s arguably the best justification for spending the extra money on the Suite version, as it gives you all of Max as part of your toolset, plus the ability to run what’s now an enormous library of Max for Live tools made by others. (Those of you staring at the upgrade price from Live 9 Standard, don’t forget that Max for Live is a big part of what you’re paying for. You can get synths and effects elsewhere, but there’s kind of only one Max.)

The change in Live 10 is, Max for Live is now bundled with Live. There’s one installer, and Max loads silently in the background when you start Live – no more waiting while that splash screen shows up.

Inside the Max for Live library, there’s been a whole lot of additional work cleaning up the devices themselves – new modules, new interfaces, and other enhancements. There are new modulation devices and drum synths built into the core library. There’s also the ability coming to “multi-map” Max for Live devices to up to eight parameters at once, visually. That means the new modulation Devices become very powerful.

The “DS” series of drum synths is a big leap over the ones already included in Max for Live – new sounds, new interfaces.

The new DS Drum Synth library.

But don’t miss the three new modulation devices, too. The LFO builds on what you may have seen in the Max for Live library, but with a bit more flexibility and polish – and now it’s a core device:

Envelope is a basic ADSR envelope that you can then route to anything:

Shaper is beautiful – capable of producing endless modulation shapes and then spitting them out, using either custom-drawn breakpoints or the shortcuts at the bottom:

You’ll find the Shaper and LFO in Max for Live Audio Effects, Envelope in Max for Live MIDI Effects, and the drum synths as a series of Devices starting with “DS” under Max for Live Instruments. Now’s the time to use that “collection” feature to get quick and easy access.

And these should cure some Bitwig Studio (modulation) and Maschine (drum synth) envy. The approach and sound, respectively, are unique, though – I’m a big fan of Maschine’s drum synths, and I still like the new ones in Ableton. I don’t really believe in too much as far as drum synths go.

If you really want a top-to-bottom modular environment, you should consider something like Usine Hollyhock (or Bitwig Studio, if you’re willing to wait – they’ve promised to open up this environment for some time). But even saying that, there’s nothing quite like Max/MSP, its profoundly deep range of objects (including Jitter with 3D and video), its unique way of working, or its existing library of powerful tools.

Since some of this functionality is still in development and we’ve got some time until Live 10 drops, we’ll follow up more on this in detail.

Everything else in a nutshell

Groups inside groups for better organization. Image courtesy Ableton.

Nest Groups inside other Groups. Useful for drums in particular, this is apparently an oft-requested featured. I agree that it’s cool, so I will resist the urge to make an Xzibit meme.

Install Packs inside Live. No more trips to the Website for sound packs – you can do it in the Browser. (note that this only works for Ableton-provided Packs; others install as before)

Better Browser organization. Color-code entries. Make your own Collections (really nice if you’re doing a lot of sound design).

You can export more easily. WAV, AIFF, FLAC, WavPack export, MP3 export, and – finally – you can export MP3 and WAV at the same time.

Saving doesn’t clear the Undo history. Good.

It’s faster. Two examples: large Live sets now close 5-10 times faster, and samples load a lot faster. All around, it definitely feels snappier.

Double-click to reset knobs and sliders. Another “finally.”

Split stereo option for pan. This is a fairly simple feature, but allows for separate left and right controls, like so:

Split Stereo in the Mixer, accessed by context menu.

More flexible audio routing. Drum Rack pads can be routed to the return of the parent. You can also support multiple audio inputs and outputs inside Max for Live, which opens up lots of new possibilities (including multichannel/surround applications), and route to arbitrary tracks via the Live API.

Zoom and scroll! More vertical zooming of tracks, but also horizontal scrolling on Windows (not just Mac), using your trackpad or mousewheel in Simpler and Sampler and Detail View and Arrangement… and Detail View now zooms as you expect.

MIDI chase. MIDI patterns follow up

Set names for inputs and outputs. Good lord, at last!

Updated metronome drop down.

Set metronome settings like sounds and interval and when to click, right from the context menu on the transport.

What isn’t in this update

Now, what isn’t happening.

Of course, for anyone who was predicting new hardware – perhaps some new controller, or Push 3 – that’s not happening. The focus is all about Ableton Live as software, and existing Push hardware.

Some “legacy” support is also dropped. The Bridge, the ambitious project to connect Live and Searto, is now gone. (Then again, Ableton Link replaces the most widely-used feature there, sync.) And 32-bit support has been dropped for Live 10, as previously reported.

There’s no new interface for comping, which is a shame – it would be a logical companion to Capture, being able to record multiple takes of the same bit once the transport is running. (Capture’s strength is quickly turning an idea into a clip without having to worry about recording, but once you are laying down tracks, comping is often useful.)

While I appreciate the focus on UI and Arrangement, there are areas Ableton could focus on in future. To me, Ableton Live still has two big weaknesses that could use addressing.

First Live just isn’t a terribly convenient scoring tool, because of a lack of convenient video display and management of markers. This might seem an odd thing to point out, but it’s something I hear with some frequency from users, and I find it’s a frequent reason people choose a different host. It’s also a major source of income for many producers. (Some features to do with markers and large project management are also relevant to gaming.)

Second, Ableton’s controller customization is still lacking. And whereas video or film/TV scoring aren’t necessarily a core Ableton Live use case, creative use of controller hardware has been something essential to the Live community since day one. Addressing those seems overdue, even if Push is really cool.

Even basic MIDI features implemented back in Live 1.5 haven’t gotten a look lately – it’s still really tough to edit MIDI CC assignments. (The inability to type in custom CC numbers, for instance, is … kind of weird.) And while the whole notion of unique controllers for Ableton Live came from DIY projects and the community, there’s still no open, accessible interface for making your own controller mappings. Ableton may point to Max for Live as the solution, but that’s actually even clunkier to use in practice than the Python API that predates it. A consistent API could greatly expand the range and imagination with which people use Live as an instrument – and “sequencing instrument,” the moniker used by Live 1.0, is somehow even more relevant today.

One good piece of MIDI news, though: Max for Live supports SysEx, at last, meaning much more powerful editor/librarian/controller devices in M4L. I’d view that as separate from my criticism above, but still welcome.

Ableton also continues to lag some industry trends. There’s no support for VST3. (I have many readers asking that, actually.) There’s also no support for MPE – again, meaning Ableton is failing to serve the very expressive performers who helped build it. MPE (aka “expressive” MIDI) is an edge case, used by devices like ROLI and Linnstrument. But it’s also a sign of things to come – and the edge case, people playing with expressive controllers, are often rabid fans of Ableton Live. It also seems the time is approaching soon when Live will want to be more agnostic about multichannel outputs and less stereo-centric.

But these are all worth mentioning as they’re areas for possible future growth. Focusing on particular areas has some real benefits, and the focus in Live 10 was clear. Also:

What isn’t changed doesn’t break. So far, all your existing controller scripts appear to work intact with the new version, from custom hacks to iPad controller tools to Max for Live. More in detail on this as it becomes available, particularly with anything to do with Link or Max for Live.

But it is worth noting that, while it doesn’t appear as a new feature, Max for Live bundling means that Max and Live releases are in sync, as we previously reported was in the works.


The real test of any upgrade is – once you’ve updated, would you be able to go back? I can say very precisely, no. Normally, I keep a beta running side-by-side with the stable release. With Live 10, for the first time, I just couldn’t bring myself to look backward, not once.

Plenty of DAW upgrades introduce splashy new features. Live 10 ought to be commended for focusing on the details of how you interact with the software, from recording and capturing ideas to arranging them, and all the visual feedback you get along the way – whether on Ableton’s own Push hardware or just on your screen. What’s really nice about a lot of this is, once you upgrade, you’ll stop noticing it’s there. You’ll just experience less resistance from the software as you work.

And the devices have a similar feel: Echo and Wavetable are two that you simply won’t want to give up. They feel totally native to Live and have a character all their own – a bit like you’ve added two nice pieces of hardware to your studio.

Live 10 isn’t likely to win over a lot of new converts, I think, but that isn’t the point. It’s an upgrade that should just make Live’s enormous user base happy. And if you’re behind in upgrading, now might be a great time.

I’ll say this: Live 10 on paper may look underwhelming. But all this refinement has made it my favorite Live upgrade in years – and I’ve used the program since Live 1.1. It’s simply more of a pleasure to work with the software than before, in the actual process of making and arranging your music. And that to me matters more than any big splashy feature.

Don’t change that channel. We’ll look more in detail in the coming days and weeks at how to make Live 10 as productive as possible in your music making. Let us know if you have any questions or interests.

Disclaimer: I’m working with a prerelease version of the software. This isn’t yet a comment on stability – though I didn’t have any issues with performance, reliability, or functionality. The only thing I found was, on Windows 10, I had to set the systemwide default scaling to 100% for some third-party plug-ins to work properly. Your mileage may vary; we’ll check in on the final release.

Availability, Requirements, Pricing

When can you get it? Early 2018. (First quarter, officially) No word on when a beta will be public; right now, it’s in the hands of early testers and certified trainers.

System requirements. Storage and the like depend on version, but here are the key requirements. Mac users are generally being required to upgrade more frequently across the industry; the PC is more gentle. (A lot of this is the result of how Apple is handling compatibility, not just its third parties.)

OS X 10.11.6 or later (Mac), 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (PC)
Intel® Core™2 Duo processor (Mac), 64-bit Intel® or AMD multi-core processor (PC). Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster recommended.
4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

What about buying Live now? Live 9 is now 20% off until Live 10’s release, with a free upgrade to 10 when it becomes available.

How much it costs: During the lead-up to release, reduced pricing is US$79 Intro, $359 Standard, and $599 Suite. After that, it’s US$99 Intro, $359 Standard, $749 for the Suite with everything (including Max for Live).

Upgrade pricing depends on your current license, but Live 9 Suite owners are reporting they’re seeing US$199 “preorder” pricing, with $249 from launch. (That does seem a little on the steep side for upgraders.)

Different editions: Max for Live, and the best new Devices (Wavetable, Echo, Pedal) both require Suite, the flagship edition. Drum Buss is also available in Standard.

What’s that preorder business about? Okay, some customers have expressed confusion about this – but bear with us.

If you buy Live 9 now – any edition – you get the Live 10 version of the same for free.

Most of you reading this, of course, are probably upgraders. So the 20% discount is taken from upgrade pricing for Live 9 Suite, too. (Not Standard, only Suite. The Standard-to-Suite crossgrade is in fact expensive – but remember you get Max for Live in that deal, plus a lot of new instruments.)

20% off may not sound that great, but the important bit here is that you aren’t charged until beginning of 2018 when Live 10 actually ships. (A beta may be available to you before that, too.) So that could make this worth doing. I certainly find a couple hundred bucks worth of new functionality going from Live 9 to Live 10, and I’ve been using this software as my main tool in the studio for the past weeks. (I’ll do some more coverage explaining why that is) And then you don’t actually have to pay that until next year, which seems a reasonable deal. More:

Live 10 Suite Pre-Order FAQ

Official Ableton Live page

Editions, comparison at the Live 10 Shop page

Tom Cosm special guest appearance

Tom Cosm, certified Ableton trainer, is broadcasting a livestream Q+A and feature walkthrough, so we’ve invited him to broadcast for us, too! “I’m going to systematically go through the list of new features and try them out, then do a Q&A where I’ll start writing an actual track,” Tom writes. And this is the same mad genius who’s managed to connect chat to control software and modulars before, so expect some surprises.

You can join us on our Facebook page – hit ‘like’ here:

Or via Tom’s YouTube channel:

We’re also pleased to share this quick reference to new features from Tom. Click through for the full version. [fixed]

  • Dubby Labby

    The transport recorder was written from the day max7 add it. This alone is an exciting addon that could bring new and interesting third party develops. I can’t tell more…

  • Gustavo Pipeta

    I was hoping for a decent midi framework.
    I think renoise has it where you can script midi events and manage midi devices with javascript.
    I just dont like push and prefer diy midi controllers.

    • Yeah, I’m impressed with the facilities in Renoise, Reaper, Bitwig Studio, and Usine Hollyhock.

      Controller integration is as I say in the review an area I hope they look at next. And it’s clearly something important to some of the most innovative people in the user community.

      • Gustavo Pipeta

        Could i program my own custom step sequencers in any of those? including keystrokes and such?

        I mean, i dont have time right now, but i have this idea in my find for a custom workflow for a sequencer but dont have all the time in the world to go through daws. So i was actually thinking of doing it in chrome since it does midi these days,

  • Giorgio Martini

    Meh.. most features are more like fixes to me… i think i might just switch to bitwig..

    • What are you missing, exactly?

      • Giorgio Martini

        modulator stuff ala bitwig without m4l… i do own m4l but it feels not native and patchy…

        other cool features like the thousand cool utilities flstudio has…(hundred and one piano roll helpers, enevelope folowers, cant think right now of others but they do have so many cool helpers… )

        Plus other than that.. something really cool.. like drumsynths ala native instruments maschine or something really new and fresh.. this update is more of the same.. noothing really innovative…

        • StanleyBrothers

          I really don’t like that mapping a modulator to a parameter greys out that parameter and makes it so you now have to use the weird interface of the modulator to automate any movements. It’s an interface that makes things difficult to use.

        • jhonlagos

          That is a defining Bitwig feature and it is less than a year old.

          No DAW company is going to copy a defining feature from another DAW, especially that soon.

          People who were expecting that from Ableton (hell not even Avid would pull that shit) are delusional.

          • jhonlagos

            Also saying a company is not “really innovative” because it DOESN’T COPY OTHERS is kinda… weird.

          • Whoa wait — let’s be clear on that.

            I think Bitwig’s *implementation* of MPE is a great model, and I’ve written that before. But Bitwig and MPE aren’t synonymous.

            (Dr.) Gerhard Lengeling at Apple is a contributor to MPE, too. MPE has been in Logic for some time. Steinberg’s expressive VST control actually predates MPE. Obviously ROLI and Roger Linn have been big proponents.

            There’s lots of reason for caution on MPE, and I can imagine it’s really hard to make a business case for it. But let’s at least recognize the parties involved. It’s more than just Bitwig, and it’s more than just Bitwig Studio.

            Also — ha: “No DAW company is going to copy a defining feature from another DAW, especially that soon.”

            The entire history of DAWs might beg to differ! I mean, the reality is, most of what goes into this software is there because users asked for it. Those users ask more than one developer, and it winds up in more than one place. If it is a defining feature of one DAW, they ask even more actively for it everywhere else – as we see here. I think that force, more than “copying,” is what’s going on.

          • Thanks for this but… was that comment really about MPE? Granted, Disqus makes things very difficult (and not just with the inappropriate ads). But, at least on the main site, it sounds like jhonlagos was replying to Giorgio Martini on Bitwig modulators…

            Makes for a neat reaction, though!

            As for MPE in Bitwig, it’d be hard to say that it’s a defining feature of that DAW. It’s what got me to crossgrade from Ableton Live Lite to Bitwig 8-Track, but they almost don’t advertise it. Neither do Apple and Tracktion.
            It’s funny that ROLI has started bundling Ableton Live Lite with Lightpad Blocks instead of Bitwig 8-Track (as they do for Seaboard Rise). Those ROLI controllers and synths are indeed defined by MPE. They tout the integration through use of the Lightpad Block as a control surface. It does make for yet another use case. But it’s not like you can use Equator to its fullest potential in Ableton Live Lite (especially since the kludgy workaround requires 16 tracks and Lite only has eight tracks).

          • Thanks for this but… was that comment really about MPE? Granted, Disqus makes things very difficult (and not just with the inappropriate ads). But, at least on the main site, it sounds like @jhonlagos:disqus was replying to @giorgiomartini:disqus on Bitwig modulators…

            Makes for a neat reaction, though!

            As for MPE in Bitwig, it’d be hard to say that it’s a defining feature of that DAW. It’s what got me to crossgrade from Ableton Live Lite to Bitwig 8-Track, but they almost don’t advertise it. Neither do Apple and Tracktion.

            It’s funny that ROLI has started bundling Ableton Live Lite with Lightpad Blocks instead of Bitwig 8-Track (as they do for Seaboard Rise). Those ROLI controllers and synths are indeed defined by MPE. They tout the integration through use of the Lightpad Block as a control surface. It does make for yet another use case. But it’s not like you can use Equator to its fullest potential in Ableton Live Lite (especially since the kludgy workaround requires 16 tracks and Lite only has eight tracks).


          • Jack Mazzotti

            Mono midi mode works great in the $30 Mainstage app. Why Ableton can’t do this is strange. I am very disappointed. Roli should buy them and make the next push like their blocks.

          • jhonlagos

            Sorry for being unclear, I was talking about the Bitwig modulators, which I think are a new unique Bitwig feature (though modulation itself is not)

      • MPE

        • MPE is fair; I’d like to see Ableton get behind this because, while it’s an edge case and hasn’t been formally adopted by MIDI groups, it is something at the heard of what Live seems to be about.

          I think there’s a case to be made for Ableton holding back, though, because manufacturers have blocked standardization…

          • Dubby Labby
          • Exactly.
            “Cycling 74: Max (and any MPE instruments created in Max)
            Version 7.2.0 adds Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression support”

            One would think that the Cycling ’74 acquisition would get some of that thinking into Ableton Live. But it’s likely too recent for the effect to be felt. And they’ve been on record that things wouldn’t change on the C’74 side, so maybe they didn’t do much more work together, besides the tighter M4L integration in Suite.
            The academic subscription for Max is quite reasonably priced. And it’s a very powerful tool, going way beyond M4L devices. Sure, it’s not a DAW. But some of us like to go DAWfree.

          • Dubby Labby
          • Yep. Noticed this today. The announcement is timed right, though low on details. Had just started on Matt Wright’s Kadenze course about Max.
            Sounds like investing my time (and a bit of money) on Max will be a fairly good idea. Sad that it doesn’t run on Linux. The Raspberry Pi is becoming an important part of my musicking projects. Would be especially interested in creating LV2 plugins for use in MODEP (MOD Emulator for pisound). But Max may still prove more useful to me than Ableton Live or even Bitwig Studio.
            (Will eventually need to learn JUCE, it feels like. Did learn some C and a bit of C++ back in the day.)

          • Dubby Labby

            Until they manage a way to embed their patches in IoT-like platform my advice is to buy the cheapest macmini can run your patch and use it with headless adaptor and vnc (splashtop2 if you ask me). Another option is go the libpd route…

          • Will probably end up in libpd (or Pd vanilla on Raspberry Pi). Do have a Mac mini and a dongle to ease the headless mode, but would rather use more portable devices, running on battery.
            In a way, learning Max does help me for these projects. At this point, it’s like a prototyping language, for me. Because of its wider support (including Raspberry Pi, Bela, iOS, and Android), Pd can be my production language.
            Was hoping that Gen would get me somewhere (it’s used to create MOD plugins), and it still might. But libpd is probably a better solution, especially given the 0.48 update:

            > But the biggest changes are under the hood. Pd now can manage more than one running instance, so that it is possible to make plug-ins of various sorts out of Pd and they can coexist with each other. This will allow people to write much better VST plug-ins in Pd. I’m grateful to Carlos Eduardo Batista for much help on this.


            Will probably give JUCE a go after that. It’s now free for personal use. Proper training material is needed, though.

          • Agreed. Support for mobile and DIY controllers are related. Niche projects lead to important opportunities.

            Sounds like Cycling ‘74 has been on the ball, at least on MPE and DIY. The acquisition is still too recent to have had that deep of an impact, but Max should eventually open up possibilities beyond M4L, for Ableton.

        • Jack Mazzotti

          Lack of MPE and VST3 is terrible. It’s the future. Roli should buy Ableton.

          • Dubby Labby

            Time ago Ableton tried to been attractive for Apple but it never happen. Instead of Garageband for iOS added Live Loops feature …and in the last update 24 bits. MPE…?

   (Check comments)

            It’s more probably Apple buys Roli than Roli buying Ableton. Ableton is too big to be profitable from investor inside a small niche shifting market (where the true innovation is coming from iOS from smaller dev teams)
            It can hurt someone but money is on mobile and Apple isn’t going backwards (they can apologize and make statements about recovering professional trust but these are lies to sell stock and focus in the next future where the market is from big to small like this)


            So if you can’t afford iMac pro 5k or MacPro (trash bin or new trash whatever) you are out of the professional segment for them (Apple).

            Ableton, NI, Serato doesn’t have updated apps for iOS meanwhile Steinberg, Korg, Novation and infinity indie devs are developing things first in iOS and later (maybe) going desktop (Korg Gadget, BM3…)
            We are living an stagnation where new versions seem minor updates for some users and prices/specs don’t match the expectatives. Logic X going less than 200€ draw a line…

            Nothing of this is new, these are the news. Even blogging is being ditched by Vlogging (youtubers) pointing the bigger gap between Pro and Con… sumers.

            Ableton needs a computer hardware partner to make Push truly standalone or start coding things with ARM in mind (almost the same) since they are too much Apple-dependent in a post-pc drive by Apple era. Obviously all of this is just my humble opinion and I can be wrong as other times but let’s take a sit and see what happens the next 12 months.

          • Dakota HD

            I agree with apple buy roli. As haunting and uncertain as that sounds, the quality control and design durability (Roli’s weakest factors. but hey, first gens) would be immaculate..

            I’m on my third seaboard block in two months, and am gonna have to bring this one in, for a number of annoyences. the biggest being the glue weakening on all the corners, opening the device. And many of my most used keys (like middle C) get indented and have to be pressed harder, which forces your brain to have to remember that that finger pushes harder than all other fingers by watever percent.

          • Dubby Labby

            Sorry to read that. I’m agreed to QC demands.

          • Dakota HD

            Roli doesn’t have any money….

      • OSC

        • Uh… I’m gonna stop you there. 🙂 And believe me, I’d love to be able to complain about this – but I think I can’t.

          I don’t see OSC as a workable format to implement at this point, unfortunately. There’s just no momentum behind making it more usable or easier to implement or encouraging adoption.

          What I *will* do is stand by the fact that they haven’t fixed MIDI assignment stuff that rolled out in Live 1.5. 😉

          • Agreed that OSC isn’t ready for adoption in DAWs. It’s being used in exactly the kinds of scenarios where things are moving forward, including DIY projects and integration with mobile devices. It’s a really neat protocol. But it’s not a MIDI replacement.

            A friend recently expressed disbelief that MIDI would still be a thing, after all these years. It’s really a thing of wonder, how resilient it’s been. And part of that is through adaptation. The Meeblip (!) is my only recent acquisition which uses the 5-pin DIN. But there many other variations and implementations of the MIDI standard including Bluetooth, USB, WiFi, and browser-based MIDI along with MPE and Firmata, There are even ways to bridge between OSC and MIDI. After 34 years, it’s one of those few technical specifications which remains relevant across major changes.
            It does remain a constraining factor, though, especially in terms of modulation. MPE has been a great workaround to get more expressiveness out of controllers. And MPE got pretty good traction, at this point, thanks in part to corporations like ROLI and Apple, along with individuals like Roger Linn and Geert Bevin. But one could imagine a DAW which could put OSC to good use.
            Given the fact that Ableton Live started out as a Max/MSP patch (and the fact that, as @dubbylabby:disqus points out, Max supports OSC), it’d be fun to have a new “paradigm” going beyond MIDI.
            Out of left field comes Sonic Pi, which actually uses OSC to communicate between its GUI and a Supercollider backend. Version 3 with full OSC and MIDI I/O came out last Summer. It’s quite distinctive from any DAW, but it doesn’t mean that people won’t build DAW-like applications from it.
            There’s also LNX_Studio, a DAW based on Supercollider. But it doesn’t sound like it got much activity in over a year.

          • PaulDavisTheFirst

            For the record, Ardour has very extensive OSC support. We continue to add more and more OSC-accessible functionality all the time, and certainly every operation accessible via the GUI can be driven via OSC.

            What remains true about OSC is that it is has no standard semantics. The specification only dictates syntax. This is quite unlike MIDI, where every message (well, excluding sysex) has clearly defined semantics (it is true that some systems override these semantics, such as Mackie Control Protocol and Ableton Push 2). OSC, by contrast only defines in the most general terms what a message looks like, but provides no specification at all on what messages exist or what they mean.

            This means that the idea of using OSC to define a more powerful “sequencing” protocol is currently doomed to be be a case-by-case task (defined by the sender and the receiver). Change either end, and things probably won’t work anymore, or won’t work the same.

        • Dubby Labby

          Max once again. Native will be great but first maybe they should get sysex :V

      • StanleyBrothers

        Saving controller mappings to VSTs so that when I load a vst the controller is already mapped the way that I saved it by default. Also the ability to edit push 2 vst templates and arrange parameters into custom named banks (instead of unlabeled pages of 8 parameters in sequential order… USELESS). There was a piece of software that a user implemented to allow you to do this via a homebrewed scripting language and it was basically the best thing ever, but it’s SO STUPID that I have to do this with 3rd party software and not something that is intuitively baked into live.

        Also, when you map a modulator to a live parameter it greys out that parameter. So you are no longer able to change the mapped parameter directly and have to use the weird interface on the modulator now?!? STUPID, CLUNKY, AND HARD TO USE!

      • StanleyBrothers

        Push 2 strip useable as a pitch bend / mod wheel while playing drums.

        Ability to set pitch bend ratio on simpler/sampler

      • Ilia Bis

        Tabbed projects.

  • Steve Hancock

    With this new integration of Max for Live, has system performance been improved when using M4L devices? Even simpler devices such as the LFO were quite hard on the CPU in Live 9.

    • Dubby Labby

      Since max7 can handle maxforlive patches on its own I bet the integration between them has gone a bit more solid. The transport thing also points in the same direction…

  • “Image courtesy Ableton, because … I’m lazy and my desk is a mess?”
    This brought a smile. The marketing shots are quite noticeable, so carefully set up. Will actually enjoy the shots coming from messy human beings.

  • This seems solid. I’ll definitely upgrade, but improvements to the native modulation capabilities are long overdue. MPE support would also be welcome.

    • Perhaps the increased integration with M4L will address some of the modulation issues in the future?

      • Dubby Labby

        Probably max will be deeply integrated adding more and more features.

  • TJ

    Has a specific release date been announced? The website just mentions a “pre-order”.

    • The press release says it will be available in the first quarter of 2018.

  • Ramon Macià

    still no love for sampler? :_(

    • lokey

      the lack of warping support in sampler is a real concern ;p

    • lokey

      the lack of warping support in sampler is a real concern ;p

  • “Live 10 isn’t likely to win over a lot of new converts, I think, but that isn’t the point.”
    That makes a lot of sense and really encapsulates what this update represents. For those of us who aren’t really Ableton Live users, it’s a signal that we can really dig elsewhere.

    So, good job on the in-depth first look, Peter. Though the thrust of your writeup is rather positive, we can also read it critically.

    Your interview at the time of the Cycling ’74 acquisition made it sound like there might be plans for the DAW to become a bit less laptop-centric. There hasn’t been much time for this to happen, of course. And maybe that’ll happen through separate products. Meanwhile, “AbleTen” is an offering to the current userbase. Fair enough.

  • Hope Ableton adds VST 3 support in this version.

    • Jack Mazzotti

      Nope. They don’t care about real innovation apparently.

  • Julia

    Great job! Finally, a company that instead of releasing a new hardware every two years, focuses on user requests. The most important thing for me its to show midi clip’s notes in push 2 display, making it more and more independent of the computer. Thank you

  • Any info on how much the upgrade will be for those of us who already have Live 9?

    • No … Ableton’s upgrade pricing is complex enough that they suggest you log into your account to find out.

      • Bugger me, it’s complex! So just logged in to have a look. I’m on Live 9 Standard. My options are:
        Upgrade to Suite 9 including free upgrade to 10, £191
        Update to 10 standard: £159
        Update to 10 Suite: £359,

        So they’re obviously pushing me to upgrade to suite before 10 comes out…

        I don’t use a lot of the suite stuff, but for 32 quid extra, it’s a no-brainer.

        Now I just have to find £191 quid before christmas… *groan*

    • onar3d

      199 euros, it says for me, a Live 9 Suite with M4L owner. That’s the pre-order, they’ll raise it to 249.

      I’ll wait till next years black friday when it’ll be 99…

    • Jeffry L

      If you go to pre-order you will see a pricing first but underneath this: Full and upgrade versions of Ableton Live 9 Standard and Suite include a free upgrade to their respective editions of Live 10 – to be issued upon its release. Those purchasing Live 9 Intro with or without Push will receive a new L10 Intro license upon its release.

      I guess it’s free then…

    • abluesky

      239USD. Live 9 Suite & M4L owner.

      That is much too expensive. Passing.

    • In my account it says that upgrading my Live 9 Standard to Live 10 Standard will cost € 179. Upgrading to Live 10 Suite (from Live 9 Standard) is € 399.

      That’s hard to justify.

      • JonHolstein

        There is a pre-order discount from standard to suite, that will get you a free upgrade to 10 when it comes out.
        Make sure to check the update site for Live 9, and not the one for live 10.

        But the upgrade prices are rather high. They usually have sales at least once a year, so if you don’t want to upgrade to suite, you should hold upp on the upgrade.

  • RA

    Any improvements on the cpu/multicore processor support ?

  • Perhaps an obvious thing but… feels like my own reactions would be different if this were a point release.

    • Daniel McKittrick Ramirez

      This would be an insane free point release. Groups within Groups is enough reason for me to upgrade. If it wasn’t for that, I might have skipped it.

      • Good point. My thought on the point release wasn’t really about the upgrade cost. More about something like “mid-cycle releases” à la Xbox One X which is a bit like a .5 version. (Since Live is already at 9.7.x, it couldn’t do 9.5 again. You probably get the idea.)
        You’re right, @danielmckittrickramirez:disqus, it’d sound too good to be true if it were a free update.
        What you say (and what @peterkirn:disqus said) really bring home the point: this is a release for current fans. They listened to their users and improved the existing product.
        My hope is that they’ll release other products, along with Link, Push, and Live. Maybe something which plays well with mobile devices. Maybe something meant for jamming with idiosyncratic controllers. With MPE support and OSC and a Raspberry Pi version and microtuning and video and crazy modulation schemes…
        But that’s not Ableton Live.

        • JonHolstein

          I don’t agree with the perspective that this is an update for owners only.
          They have improved the software, and that makes a difference for anyone looking for a DAW.

          Live 10 is still live. Latest Logic Pro is still Logic Pro. Latest Cubase is still Cubase. And so on.
          Sure Bitwig perhaps took a big step with their latest upgrade. But typically that is not how it goes.

          The points made about film and gaming producers are valid. There are some producers in those communities that would like to see Live work better for them.

          I would say that the feeling of Live beeing an upgrade for Live users, comes rather from those dissapointed that Live did not turn in to the DAW they were looking for. But then I would like to know, if they are looking to switch, or really want to keep using Live, why don’t they ask of other DAW makers to make their DAWs more like Live?

    • Daniel McKittrick Ramirez

      This would be an insane free point release. Groups within Groups is enough reason for me to upgrade. If it wasn’t for that, I might have skipped it.

  • JustThink

    Still no exporting as a multi-channel midi file? This is crazy, but I guess stems from Max’s weird behaviour of setting all channels to 0 and dealing in tracks. I had to build this weird max patch that writes a .csv midi file and then use GNMidi to convert it to a midi file with multiple channels. How can you make a software that mainly deals in midi, but not really support multiple channels properly!? Ableton support basically just shrugged their shoulders and told me ‘thats just the way it is (even though we know its not right)’.

  • It almost sounded like a throwaway line but did you say Max for live is now Bundled? (with Std Edition not Suite) I’ve never had any use for Suite but I get a little jelly at the cool M4L tools people come up with, but not enough to shell out the $$ for the rest of the crap I don’t use.

    • Sorry, as in — there’s not a separate installer. Pricing I believe is the same.

  • RichardL

    Hi Peter … thanks for this. Just to say the link to Tom Cosm’s cheat sheet doesn’t seem to work – doesn’t click through to anywhere.

    • Sorry, that’s now fixed!

      • RichardL

        Great tjhanks!

  • Linas Maknys

    heh, it looks like the update was made for me, now it is everything i wanted from push2, and there are a lot quality of life improvements, the only thing i’m missing is comping, there is a workaround, thou it is slightly slower and not as elegant.

  • I’ll admit I was hoping for audio editing features in clip view and pitch correction built it, but the automation and arrangment features look awesome. (as do the new instrument and effects, but ableton is always on point on the latter) Curious exactly when, and how much the upgrade will be.

  • I wonder if the Live 10 Library will succesfully integrate with L9’s library. I’m STILL maintining an old Live 8 Library because a lot of the older packs were actually better. The MultiMic kits were grouped better for example. The L9 process of “adding your L8 library” was abominable and only improved incrementally. It was a dark time for people’s libraries. I hope the L10 library install process is more fine grained and controllable

    I’m a bit dismayed by the lack of attention to the browser. “Collections” are nice enough, but not an essential tool (what you need as a group on late Friday night is not what you need on Wednesday morning) but we need taxonomic filtering. My quickest example: Where is the Convolution Reverb found? Surely in effects? No, it’s in Max Audio Devices. But the convolution reverb is BOTH of these things. That’s why a hierarchic (tree) UI for discovering multi-attribute resources is not a good strategy. users think of an single attribute (“I need reverb, so that will be an Effect”) and if they pick the “wrong” attribute they will not discover the resource in an heirarchic resource model..

    • Well, you can use Collections to make exactly what you’re describing, in exactly the way you want.

      I didn’t notice anything missing from my L9 library?

      • Collections: I have not explained clearly enough then.
        When a user “collects” they are making a decision to place a reference into a specific group based on context. That’s fine, but context changes, and a collection loses its utility. Hierarchic groups are not discovery methods. A brief, longer, example:

        We have two users Alice and Ben. Alice wants to find any sound which she conceptualises as “something fat and deep and evolving or ambient “. Meanwhile – Ben wants to find a SPECIFIC sound which he thinks of as “A thick bass pulsing metallic sound which Alice Made last year sometime”. Alice is looking for any sound, and her old sound matches but she doesn’t remember that yet. Ben is looking for that specific preset, he dimly remembers is but doesn’t remember where it might be.

        What folder might they find their potential target(s) in? Where do they start to look? What custom “group” should it be in?
        I say that folders are not the solution to find-ability Every object has multiple attributes and each user thinks of the potential resource contextually. And to be clear I am not talking about freely typed “tags” here, I am talking about properties and attributes. Just like a door can have properties of “wood, interior, unpainted, varnished” and attributes of “vintage style”, . I walk into a hardware store to find a door, not a specific door but one which matches my criteria. One matching my selected attributes. The door may have more properties than my selection criteria but I use my criteria to filter the door list.

        I wish I could explain it more simply. But in essence the Ableton database holds info about all resources in a non-hierarchic format and we need to query that more elegantly

      • L9 Library:
        Do you use multimic kits? In the initial L9 release they left out a few things, such as the “hi-hat pedal” articulations which switch between varying samples of openness of the hi-hat, and mapped to a macro. I contacted support and stated at length the requirement to the content team member and the pedal -open hat content and mapping was reinstated. Over the next 12 months various issues with bad waves were fixed, but L9 packs have no versioning, so users needed to manually go and blindly download them. Many users of L9 have outdated packs.

        Unfortunately the other problem was never fixed: the mappings and routings for L9 were altered to accommodate Push. In L8 the drums were grouped so that all the hats were in a group called “hats”, all the snare hits into “snares”, etc. and the overhead mics were their own channel (enabling nice processing of all that group).
        In the L9 version of the same presets every single drum has its own channel, each drum contains its overhead mics. So the overheads cannot be processed as a group. Of course – I could re-group all the drums, and route all the overheads back out to a channel each. But then I’d just have re-built the L8 library preset. Or to be be accurate … every single kit. And as this would then be a “user preset” I would lose the audio preview, the only benefit of a factory preset.

        I understand that this was done to benefit Push users, but it was done poorly. It was obvious that the person assigned this task did not understand how these packs were being used by customers.

      • why do my replies keep getting deleted as spam?
        I wrote two long explanations here. Both have been deleted. neither were spam, nor contained any links. simply explanations of the two issues.

        • uh, I got them on email, let me check… we’re trying to get off the disqus platform…

          • “we’re trying to get off the disqus platform…”
            Oh? Pray tell!
            Disqus has served a purpose but it has become rather annoying. Its ads are irrelevant to the point of being inappropriate and jarring. You obviously have quite a distinct readership and there’s an opportunity, here, for some neat dynamic.

  • Kung Schtefan

    How about sync? Do you still need to send midi signal triggering for VolumeShaper to have it synced with large amount of plugins on?

    • jhonlagos

      If it is a repeating modulation (must be otherwise MIDI trigger would be necessary anyway), then it is basically a out-of-phase problem no matter how long the latency, so have you tried just adjusting the “phase” inside Volumeshaper? “Move waveform” arrow buttons.

      • Kung Schtefan

        No I mean is PPQ position delay compensated in Ableton 10. It was not in ableton 9. All other DAWs hav delay compensated ppq position.

  • Benniy C Bascom

    for me one of the most essential features in this update is the support of sysex in m4l devices!! :>
    finally! – have been hoping for this since years and i’m excited to see what folks come up with using it.

  • No free unicorn?

    • Dubby Labby

      No sorry, opcode is still in the DNA and they are allergic… 😛

  • 239USD upgrade price.. ouch. 299 is normal price(!)

  • Sorry for the reductiveness, but Ableton is essentially asking me to shell out $229 for a synth, some effects and UI updates.

    While I agree that Ableton “ought to be commended for focusing on the details of how you interact with the software” I think the intent of this type of “tidying up” should really be to keep Live users from looking at the competition too closely.

    For $229 (and how I specifically use Live) eyes are starting to wander….

    • DPrty

      Agreed. This is a weak update. I mean Reaper puts out updates monthly that look like a whole year of work at Ableton.

      • Jakob Gille

        Just. Bitwig.

        • Maybe! Reaper sure looks like it’s got more bang for buck?

    • I think 200€ is a fair preorder price. There is a lot in this upgrade and I think it’s way better and bigger than Ableton Live 9 that didn’t bring much to my world.

      Although I always envy Reason owners for not having to pay that much for an upgrade, but for me Ableton is a better daw than Reason and cheaper than Pro Tools.

  • microgramma

    For me, the most basic weakness of Ableton is the inability to comp multiple audio takes, and simple things like “Rename Track by Clip Name.”

    I can’t believe audio take comping hasn’t been addressed – it’s one of the only reasons I *still* have to move projects between Ableton and Logic to get them properly recorded. It’s the biggest productivity drag in my workflow – costs me hours, days even.

    I know the software started out as “LIVE” and not “Ableton Record, Produce and Perform,” but that’s what it is now. I would sacrifice all the new devices for that one feature. I’d pay the $200 just for take comping, but I’m hesitant to pay it for all the features they DID include.

    • Raketemensch

      I’ve been begging for comping for over a decade now. Doing vocal takes in Live vs any other DAW out there is a horrible experience.

  • Roberto Burgos

    This is a pretty solid update, IMO. Big projects load up faster and don’t make Live’s UI sluggish (big projects in Live 9 can make the UI very sluggish, even with pretty conservative CPU percentages), but the biggest improvements for me are that automation points now snap to grid (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH FINALLY AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!) and nested groups.

    I have been bitching about automation points for years in the Ableton forum, perhaps over 10 years now, I don’t know. I am so, so glad it is finally here. I have been wanting the precision that other, or maybe most DAWs have, and before this update, my workaround was to start an automation “step” and then move the point vertically to create diagonal lane.

    Nested groups is super valuable because I don’t have to bother much with clunky Live style track routing to create mix busses; now I can group a bunch of track and group tracks into one group and turn that into a buss. It’s great for organizing sidechain routings too.

    Peter is right, Drum Buss and Pedal are great, and so is Echo, definitely the best new device in 10.

    The one crucial thing that is still missing is better audio and audio clip editing support. I’m talking about things like comp audio tracks, audio editing within a clip, etc. The new nested groups function is a workaround for this, but I think one can conclude that that approach is straight up clunky, even just thinking about it without hands-on experience.

    • Roberto Burgos

      Also, if I remember correctly, M4L devices can now have multiple inputs, and one can now render to MP3 and FLAC.

  • Love new features, love the overall approach and GUI. Pretty much every feature is a must for Ableton community member. I’m really excited about new synth, and I’m absolutely blown away with all the tiny bits and pieces (like new shortcuts and arrangement functions, and utility, and… everything, man) Ableton crew decided to put there. Two things people will be moaning about – VST3 and comping. I use AU mainly, and didn’t use takes in Logic either. Now I’m downloading beta 😀

  • Jamaster Flashcube

    Multi Clip Editing – Sweet Jesus!

  • Armando C

    I live for these days on your site man. Thanks for the in-depth info Peter!

  • StanleyBrothers

    My biggest complaint is that this feels like all the features that live should have had already, years ago, and not a true “upgrade”. I feel like I am paying $240 to fix the all the mistakes that the live gui has had and have been asking for over a decade.

    And seriously? They haven’t figured out a way to save your controller CC mappings to a vst yet, or for that matter a way to custom map your own push vst templates? This is so incredibly stupid. When I drop in a vst with 75 parameters and I want to control them with my 64 knob midi controller I don’t want to have to set them up again EVERY SINGLE TIME, and the stupid unlabeled banks on the push 2 controller set to 8 parameters in sequential order is NOT WORKING ABLETON. This has been a problem for seriously 10 years now, and you guys still can’t come up with something? Honestly guys it’s too little too late. I am really rooting for Bitwig to come up with a piece of hardware that replaces push and then I am done with you.

    • StanleyBrothers

      But I do appreciate that you FINALLY implemented breakpoint snap to grid. It’s has been seriously face palm frustrating for so many years without it.

    • StanleyBrothers

      But I do appreciate that they FINALLY implemented breakpoint snap to grid. It’s has been seriously face palm frustrating for so many years without it.

    • Samolo

      unlabeled banks
      This is highly needed and hopefully they did it..

      • StanleyBrothers

        They didn’t. They would have talked about it.

    • Olivier Arson

      yeah the midi mapping is just crazy, have you found any workaround?

      • StanleyBrothers

        There is no workaround for mapping VSTs. Ableton just doesn’t care. If you only have 8 parameters you can just rack a VST and map the 8 macro knobs and save that as a preset, but if you have more than 8 parameters Ableton doesn’t care in the slightest about you. They’ve proved that through over a decade of neglect.

        • Darren E Cowley

          Depends on the controller but this is possible now….

          Doesn’t require MaxforLive, runs in the trial of Max whilst you make your mappings, then they’re saved as the defaults for the VST & Controller…

          • StanleyBrothers

            It seems like PReditor is for remapping ableton live devices. It works for VSTs as well? I map it once (set up banks of vst parameters) using PReditor and from them on Push2 will show the custom named banks of vst params whenever I load that vst? Will it also work for the APC40?

          • Darren E Cowley

            It works for VST’s too… And yes the APC40 is compatible….

          • StanleyBrothers

            Nevermind, reading the manual. Looks like the answer is yes, but it’s still kind of wonky implementation. I wish that Ableton would just do something about this, but I guess this is the next best choice.

    • sacredgeometry

      They fixed that ages ago

      • StanleyBrothers

        fixed what?

  • Dave Senan

    has there been any changes at all to video file compatibility? .MOV still working with arrangement view etc? just hoping they havent thrown it out or anything in this latest version, otherwise everything looks great and 199 upgrade is what i paid for 8-9 which i certainly feel was more than my moneys worth, looking forward to the release now!

  • Olivier Arson

    Good review Peter. You’re spot on with the scoring users, and overall this really feels as a 9.x update rather than a new version. I wish they add a little bit of innovation or steal from bitwig. Imho I still don’t understand why we can’t sample directly into sampler/simpler.

    • JonHolstein

      The scoring aspect I agree with. But on the other hand, should not other DAW makers that makes DAW better suited for scoring have their share of critique for not taking inspiration from Live?

  • cooptrol

    Loved all the improvements! Some stuff I would have loved to see:
    _Assign multiple controllers to 1 parameter
    _NRPN mapping and I/O
    _The possibility of saving in previous versions files (this one is a must when collaborating, not everyone is up to date, and sometimes you have old 32bit pcs for some projects, for example).

    Other not so necessary but nice stuff: a step sequencer device (I have mine on M4L, but M4L libraries usually lack simple and adequate solutions for people who don’t Max), and a step-sequenced audio gate.

  • Doug

    Does the upgrade include that miniature Animal Chin deck in the top photo? I wish…

  • jhonlagos

    MPE was not added to the MIDI Standard yet, I bet Ableton will only add it after the MIDI Association announces some official standard agreed with all the companies involved (the MIDI Assoc. sent an email months ago saying they were working on it, but nothing yet).

    • You’re right on the standard, of course. And it’s possible that Ableton could add MPE to Live 10 at some point in the future. Wouldn’t bet on that, though. It’s the kind of feature which requires enough of an overhaul to be in a major release.
      To me, MPE’s an opportunity for developers to push new approaches. Not really because of the specification itself, which is a MIDI-based workaround to a shared problem. Not completely because of new devices supporting the de facto standard, including some mobile apps (thanks in part to Geert Bevin and Jordan Rudess). But because it can really shift things in the way a “note” is conceived. In other words, it’s not just a question of having pitchbend or modulation applied independently. Eventually, it can be about finding a new model beyond the piano roll.

      • JonHolstein

        The limitation in the midi specification is more than just the lack for Polyphonic expression beyond the rarely supported polyphonic aftertouch.
        The pitch is quantized, unlike with CV.
        The resolution is often limited so it can’t properly do modulations, unlike CV.
        And to be able to do midi guitars, violins, woodwinds and reeds, the whole idea probably has to be re-designed from scratch.

        Ableton could probably implement a template for the MPE enabling workaround, and visually group it. That doesnt feel like a complete overhaul of the midi specs.

        • “That doesnt feel like a complete overhaul of the midi specs.”
          Nope. It’s a simple workaround.

          The reason Ableton would need to do quite a bit of work to make MPE make sense in Live isn’t about the specs. It’s about the way you handle things in the overall workflow. Maybe this part isn’t too difficult to achieve with their codebase and maybe they planned it all along. But given the way they allow for editing multiple MIDI clips at once, it sounds like adding MPE wouldn’t come in a point release. You need people to adapt to a new UX.

          Overhauls of the MIDI specs are another issue altogether. An interesting one, but having less to do with Live than with other parts of the Ableton family, especially Max.

          Agreed on the differences between MIDI and CV. And, with the Eurorack moment, CV has a special place in some people’s work. But MIDI-based MPE is a pragmatic solution to a well-known issue. People have tried many other approaches (including CV and OSC). But musicking with MPE devices and tools is actually more satisfying than people might imagine from the specs. During the podcast series Darwin Grosse did with Synthopia on MPE, this point is made in diverse ways.

          Depending on what you’re doing, the bottleneck may not really be MIDI. In fact, that’s the “magic” of MPE: it demonstrates that an old standard can efficiently do neat tricks with relatively simple modifications while broader-reaching solutions have taken a long time to gain any traction.

          An interesting example is the Eigenharp line. Sounds like Lambert created these instruments to overcome MIDI’s limitations. It also sounds like support for MPE is very recent (previous version of the software needed to use an Eigenharp don’t show MPE as an option). Have yet to check the full timeline but it’s likely that MPE was scratched from Eigenharp plans because, at least on paper, it doesn’t sound very impressive. However, with the right setup, MPE does provide as much expressiveness as one would like. Including with an Eigenharp. In some ways, ROLI has paved the way. People love “hating on” Lamb’s company but that’s clearly part of their sphere of agency: getting people to give MPE a chance.

          Interesting that you should mention reed instruments. As a sax player who’s been musicking with a Yamaha WX-11, MPE is like a dream come true. But not because of the problems you cite with the MIDI specs. Using my wind controller with some LV2 plugins running on a Raspberry Pi, MIDI’s limitations really aren’t that obvious. They’re even less problematic with Sonic Pi, tweaking some smoothing to the parameters affected by breath control.

          In theory, CV would be much better than any MIDI-based implementation. One of my plans is to build something out of a “breath-to-CV” controller (got a Yamaha BC1 and some people use cheap pressure transducers in a similar way).
          In practice, there’s a lot of expression potential in MIDI.

  • squirrel squirrel squirrel

    I own L9 Suite but am seeing $239 upgrade price. Hmm.

  • DPrty

    This update is just weak sauce. It literally looks like less of an update then the almost weekly release’s of Reaper.

  • Jesse Smith

    Do any of the new features target live performance?

    It seems like updates have been aimed at producers more than performers. I know that’s a fuzzy line these days, but I would have liked to see something like scene follow actions or parameter morphing like on Maschine. Is Live less focused on live performers?

    • Jack Mazzotti

      Yes they are not interested in live performance anymore and speaking with techincal support has confirmed this.

      • Intriguing!
        Their core product may outlive its name. Push and Link are clearly meant for live performance. But it’s true that “Live” sounds more and more like something meant for lone producers working away from those pesky people who enjoy performances. Dunno if their product shots and videos had more to do with live performance in the past, but they clearly target something else, now.
        The optimistic version is that they could release a new product, really meant for live jamming and performance. They’d need to come up with a clever name but it could be really nice. (Was mentioning something like that in another comment. Full integration of mobile devices would make loads of sense, so would MPE and even OSC. Max could also help!) In that scenario, Live 10 is catering to its core userbase which, it sounds like, has a decreasing interest in live performance.
        The pessimistic version is that those who are passionate about live performance have less impact on the company. In this case, Push might become more studio-focused and Link was just a hobby.
        We’ll know more at some point. This announcement doesn’t give me much hope but it also doesn’t mean that the jig is up.

        • Dubby Labby

          Mmmm interesting POV. Let me contribute…

          Link was the result of failure Serato The Bridge plus the increased necessity to thight syncro with Traktor and iOS. It come first to the last to be exact.

          About new product meanwhile they offer producing to actual users maxforlive points opposite direction being the first tool of choice for interactive design and audiovisual live sets. Pioneer implementing showkontrol gets sense in the big picture.

          So if you want a mobile solution for Live gigging you can find some interesting in iOS from Launchpad App (better with Launch Controllers) going through GroupTheLoop or BM3 until Garageband iOS to name a few. The same goes for djing tools from Djplayer to Traktor, Cross, Rekordbox, Djay Pro… DVS is being adopted by some of them and available for Djplayer since iPad 1.

          The Cycling adquisition article seemed to point towards IoT or embedding solutions which makes sense and could pursue the path opened by others like Monome’s Aleph or even Teenage engineeren with opLab and Op1. Also Akai with the new “live” and “x” line.

          Also Pioneer entering the grid loop sampler arena with ToRaiz and recently with Djs1000 point against Ableton/Maschine and even Remix decks. All performing solutions.

          I doubt they want to deliver a product in that range. Their proposal (as NI) is going to Professionals (x86 machines people) due they haven’t the knowledge or technology for go mobile or standalone. Even maybe they are waiting Apple to release a new product between mac mini and Appletv which fit their strategy.

          As early adopter with prosumerist profile I don’t miss too much from desktop software. To enumerate the major features missing in iOS…

          Warping tool. Just warping, could be even offline.
          Mainstage environment with arranger tools.
          Remix decks with DVS support.

          All of them could be workaroundable and every update of BM3 and Garageband makes them less and less necessary. What I see is an opportunity for dedicated hardware. Something like update Roland Sp808 or even keyboard like (lately the line between them seem blurred with arrangers bringing djing tools). Even the Novation apps plus Launch Controllers make a mini Ableton itself being near to your description (produce inside BlocsWave/Groovbox; perform with Launchpad) and you can risk at home (producing) be rock solid at gigs (launchpad). Also these export to Ableton with the provided SDK…

          Maybe Ableton release a lite App. It will welcomed if brings warping tools for sure!

          • It’s kind of interesting that “export to Ableton Live project” has become a feature of some iOS apps. It’s aimed squarely at the “basement producer” market. The idea is, you jam on iOS and finish production on a laptop (or desktop).
            My first encounter with type of Ableton export was through Korg Gadget, which actually got me Ableton Live Lite (bundled license; sufficient for my needs). Since then, a few other apps have been adding this, including Ampify (Novation’s app shop with Blocs Wave, Launchpad, and Groovebox) and even ROLI (though it currently requires an upload to first).
            The Korg version is interesting for a few reasons. When they introduced Gadget for Mac, they added MIDI, VST, and AU to their export options. (Plugin versions of most of Gadget’s softsynths come with Gadget for Mac.) That can make for quite a different workflow from using audio tracks. Some could argue that Gadget isn’t a real DAW but it does play in the same overall field as most DAWs. Korg is still bundling free licenses of Ableton Live Lite in Gadget for iOS while pushing its own DAW.

            The reverse pattern could be very interesting: prepare material in Ableton Live and send it to an iOS device for use in performance. People are trying to get away from using laptops on stage. Comments by both Zicarelli and Behles in that famed interview @peterkirn:disqus conducted made me think that it must be on their minds.
            If Ableton were to add an iOS-savvy export format to Live, it would a surprisingly long way to make laptop-free musicking happen, for current Live musickers. Sure, you can make it work by hacking things together with Ampify apps. But it’s a very convoluted workflow.

            Agreed with you, @dubbylabby:disqus, about the potential for dedicated hardware. The current Push models may not be it, but that’s one part of Ableton in which live performance does matter. Control surfaces can be quite useful and it’s cute that ROLI has added that as a mode to its Lightpad Blocks. But control surfaces imply that you have a laptop nearby (at least within Bluetooth range). What could make a lot of sense is if the new Push could be standalone, à la Novation Circuit or Akai MPC Live. Using Ableton Live projects instead of samples and loops could make for something very useful indeed.

            As for Ableton Link, it’s almost taken a life of its own, at least on iOS. One could easily imagine how it’d work with standalone hardware devices. In live performance, it can become an actual “game changer”.

          • Dubby Labby

            Totally agree. I jump into iOS and ditched my old sample collection 99% (1% dropbox and NAS) to start buying sample packs in Blocs and fire my creativity than never was with Ableton. I must recognize I’m in Love with Ampify…
            About OSC Bomebox or even Raspi/teensy could bring it to live. To be fair I even asked Bome to implement OSC in the past due “the missing link” was killed time ago. ATM I’m out of all that madness (maxforlive and so) but I end thinking the best standalone OSC router could be an old iOS device (if I need it someday).
            My actual prosumer amateurish setup grows on making old iDevices standalone embed platforms for my necessities. As example I have to finish adding an old iPhone 4 (with Alchemy) to my diy keytar…

      • Dubby Labby


        • Pop


          • Dubby Labby


      • JonHolstein

        Or was it the live performers that keep refusing to use computers on stage, so that there isn’t any point of focusing on an audience that does not exist?

    • James

      I think that’s fair to say. Nonetheless I’ll reach. I’d say the overall snappiness of the sessions opening closing would be helpful to the performer. Particularly if this was accompanied with rock solid stability.

      I’d say the drum bus has the performer in mind, as well as the bass management in the new utility. Although I might add my custom drum bus is probably more suited for live performance. It’s more about tuning the room than tuning the kit.

      And assuming the new echo has a modest impact on CPU, I’d say that would be plenty fun in a live performance. The groupings and color scheme could help. The Loop toggle could help. Capture could help.

      The clap synth in m4l-any occasion I can get away from a sample library. The kick for bolstering a track, or for side-chaining.

      For the dj, the metronome divisions, even the triplets, could help with beat matching tempos between genres, although I personally have never sent a click track to my cue mix.

      The export to MP3 320 is not bad. Less to capture in a background app, like hijack. Might be nice if the clip launches could work as markers for metadata and exporting seamless track numbers.

  • Nate Reeves

    With M4L being integrated at startup how does that effect the Rewire slave behavior? Will Live be able to host M4L devices when slaved now? How about plugins?

    • Jae

      That is what I was wondering, too. In theory, if it is integrated in like a native Live instrument then it should. However, I’m thinking that Live just loads it automatically but it still will function as an external plug-in and therefore will not work with rewire…hoping I’m wrong though.

  • I hope they finished fixing their lame pdc, a near 10 years old request

  • Yoni Mazuz

    Are any of the other Ableton synths getting the expanded UI like Wavetable? It’s really impressive how much they cram into a small space for Analog and Operator, but it would also be great if you could see more controls simultaneously. Live 9 has a handful of devices with an expanded view, so hopefully Wavetable they’re willing to do that for instruments too.

  • I’ll pay 200€ just for the fact that you can now export MP3s simultaneously with wavs!

    Great upgrade. A LOT of great stuff.

  • Jack Mazzotti

    Oooh a wavetable synth that you can’t even import your own wavetables! Anyone heard of Serum? Let’s skip MPE and VST3 and make an inferior wavetable synth. WHO IS CHARGE OVER THERE!

    • JonHolstein

      Not all watetable synths support import of user wavetables, that is not synonymous with wavetable synths.
      And Ableton synths are not designed to be the most powerful in their category. That is true for every synth included in any DAW, I would say.

      • Fair. At the same time, some people praise the synths in Logic/Mainstage out of their own merit. Alchemy and Sculpture really hold their own, to my ears.
        Also, to follow the “in their category” logic (and possibly stretching the DAW concept a bit), some of Korg’s Gadgets were pretty powerful compared to other iOS synths. You may say that it’s a pseudo-DAW and argue that synth offerings have been improving. But in terms of pure “synth power” in a DAW-like offering, Korg did something interesting.

        To go back to @jackmazzotti:disqus’s point, though, this part of the update feels like it could have been solved by bundling a high-quality plugin. Some synths use wavetable techniques in a very restrictive way the same way “romplers” are a limiting implementation of sampling as a sound production method. And, sure, some of these restrictive plugins can sound pretty good. (ROLI’s Equator provides me a lot of satisfaction despite its strict limits.) It’s just that, as a headline feature, it’s really not meant for people outside of the Ableton Live bubble.

      • Fair. At the same time, some people praise the synths in Logic/Mainstage out of their own merit. Alchemy and Sculpture really hold their own, to my ears.
        Also, to follow the “in their category” logic (and possibly stretching the DAW concept a bit), some of Korg’s Gadgets were pretty powerful compared to other iOS synths. You may say that it’s a pseudo-DAW and argue that synth offerings have been improving. But in terms of pure “synth power” in a DAW-like offering, Korg did something interesting.

        To go back to @jackmazzotti:disqus’s point, though, this part of the update feels like it could have been solved by bundling a high-quality plugin. Some synths use wavetable techniques in a very restrictive way the same way “romplers” are a limiting implementation of sampling as a sound production method. And, sure, some of these restrictive plugins can sound pretty good. (ROLI’s Equator provides me a lot of satisfaction despite its strict limits.) It’s just that, as a headline feature, it’s really not meant for people outside of the Ableton Live bubble.

  • Olivier Arson

    Quick question for Peter or beta-testers: do you feel this new version requires a more powerful computer than before, or did they also refine the performance? Live 9 is pretty smooth on my 2012 macbook and I fear 10 could get clumsy if I don’t have a more recent laptop.

    • Bjorn

      Nah. I’m running it on a 2012 mini. You’ll be fine.

      • Olivier Arson


    • Manuel

      i’m running live10 on a 2010 imac and its running smoother and ways faster than live9

    • Manuel

      i’m running live10 on a 2010 imac and its running smoother and ways faster than live9

  • rob

    hey peter, thanks for the detailed review. do you know exactly what does support for graphic tablets mean? can’t find any info on that topic on ableton website. how does it differentiate to the current version? you can change the options.txt and then wacoms etc. will work, but scrolling with a mouse to zoom in/out is a pain then. did they improve that? would love to get my wacom work like in photoshop, that indeed would be worth 200,- € 🙂

  • metabeat

    I’m just wait for one thing: A better management of midi filters. It can’t be that still events like Poly Aftertouch are filtered out, because I need this special event for use my Roland E-drum -the “choke” function (stopping the crash cymbal with the hand).

  • Dubby Labby
  • geoff

    I like the update there’s lots of fun stuff but as a logic user bitwig is a better fit for me for clip launching stuff. Both still lack takes though and as someone who writes songs not instrumental music this means leaving Live/Bitwig to record vocals. Therefore both remain fun sketchpads in my world. Ironically if logic had link support that would make the biggest different to using Live for me.

  • itchy

    as the only effects i use are the ones in max for live and ableton , this update makes me happy that there cleaning it up and merging it into one thing. the mutlple mappings to the devices is very nice.
    the only wishlist i really want for ableton is audio editing inside clips and push 3 to have some kind of sound card to only have to bring push and a laptop . so far so good. tighten up the ship lets sail bitches

  • Frank

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned before, but it looks like some (or all?) of the colors in arrangement view now actually block the grid from view because they’re opaque. You can’t see the grid behind a colored clip anymore is what i’m saying.