Electronic musicians have been living with the idea of Live 10 for a while. Now, the actual software is available in a public beta. Here’s how it works.

Who can join the public beta?

You need a registered copy of Ableton Live 9 Standard or Live 9 Suite. Earlier versions and entry level/bundled versions of the software don’t qualify.

How do I join in?

Ableton uses bug tracker Centercode to share current in-development testing builds of their software, and to collect data on how you’re using it. If you have one of those Live 9 serials, you can sign up directly:

https://ableton.centercode.com/

Why is it a public beta?

Ableton say they use this stage of the process to collect data on how you’re using the software and how stable it is. So, they are actively looking for bugs.

Back in the day, that meant you had to write extensive reports for developers to know what wasn’t working in the software. Now, a lot of that process is automated (though if you encounter some very specific bug, for instance with a particular third-party setup, you may want to write some report to Ableton).

Is it stable?

Okay, officially, it’s beta software, so strictly speaking it isn’t as stable as a finished release.

But Ableton betas are unique, in that certified trainers, some members of the press (hi there), Ableton employees, and some artists have been using Live 10 since the fall. I’ve probably opened Live 9 only a couple of times since September, and have played with Live 10 onstage and finished tracks in it.

Just be advised that any really essential files you’ll want to keep in Live 9; once you save as a Live 10 file, you can’t go back. And you can keep Live 9 and Live 10 installed side-by-side on the same machine. I’ve done that on both my Mac and PC and intend to leave it that way until Live 10 ships (and maybe a few months after).

Where can I find out what’s new?

Our monster guide covers pretty much everything:

Ableton Live 10 in depth: hands-on impressions, what’s new

Plus Tom Cosm has an extensive video walkthrough at the bottom of that post, and a handy, printable quick reference guide to shortcuts and new features – which is great for getting more productive in the refreshed Arrange view!

I’ll do an updated round-up of videos next week, and you can expect more guides in words (because reading is cool) around the release.

What’s up with Max?

Live 10 also includes the new version of Cycling ’74 Max/MSP, Max 8. Cycling haven’t revealed all of the new features in Max 8, and in particular what hard-core Max users will get from the authoring tool, but a pre-release version of Max 8 is shipping with Live 10 – meaning Ableton and Cycling ’74 are testing the new generation of each of their products at the same time.

That’s one small step in the direction we confirmed Ableton and Cycling intended to take as the two companies merged efforts:

Exclusive: Ableton acquires Max maker Cycling ’74; what you need to know

A conversation with David Zicarelli and Gerhard Behles

What’s the best feature that no one would immediately imagine is the best feature?

Drum Buss. (Search your feelings: you know it to be true.)

Enjoy the beta.

  • Live, arguably one of the finest DAW’s ever created, finally broke this musicians back with its v10 offering. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I found the bang for buck (via an update that feels like a maintenance cycle) to be terribly unexciting and unworthy of my credit card love. And I’ve been a licensed user since v1.

    I just sold my Push 2 and am now looking to the future with Reaper.

    Live users. Good luck. God speed!

    • Eetu Mikkola

      I am doing almost the opposite. The plentiful and awesome little workflow enhancements in Live 10 mean that Live is finally not annoyingly slow to use when compared to Reaper. I think I will be doing my music with Live 10 from now on, since it’s a lot better to use with external hardware synths and effects. I used to use Reaper for everything, but from now on, it will be Live for music, and Reaper for my sound design work. Reaper works almost perfectly with vst-instruments for me, and the audio editing is still a lot better than in Live, but Reaper just isn’t stable, easy or fast to use with lots of hardware synths, for me at least. There have been too many little bugs and annoyances with Reaper’s handling of both USB-midi and traditional midi.

      • “There have been too many little bugs and annoyances with Reaper’s handling of both USB-midi and traditional midi.”

        Hmm..I’ve found it pretty robust on those fronts?

        How is Live better for external hardware? How it works with clocks and CV etc?

    • wetterberg

      How long did you spend with it? There’s got to be dozens(hundreds?) of new major tweaks for Push2 in there, it’s really changed how I feel about that integration for the better.

      Maybe you’ve just changed as a musician?

      The multichannel max integration is worth the price of admission alone.

      And yes, Peter, if you’re reading, that’s my “best feature of L10”, absolutely.

      • Live is an amazing app but I still maintain this update wasn’t enough for me to justify the price.

        “Maybe you’ve just changed as a musician?”

        I hope so.

        • mr. wonderful

          tbh if reaper is what you need then you dont need ablieton,.. just a completely different application, like comparing a saxophone and a set of drums.

          • ‘ like comparing a saxophone and a set of drums.”

            It’s really not.

    • tladb

      I thought the update price was a bit excessive but I preordered because I find Live to be my most productive DAW. It is not just price per feature but also productivity for the price.

      My feature I am looking forward to is the improvements in arrangement view.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      I am always puzzled when people compare Reaper and Live. The two continue to appear to be fundamentally different tools from my perspective (as a DAW developer). I can’t see why or how anyone would drop one for the other, unless the one that is being dropped is being used in a much more focused and narrow way than its makers intended.

      • “The two continue to appear to be fundamentally different tools ”

        Hmmm..Im not sure that’s totally true. I was pretty happy using Live in a convential way (less loop based) and it worked nicely. But, when compared on that level, I think Reaper is a better solve.

        And I was always kinda proud that I made my traditional pop music (Beatles, Kinks etc) in the Live environment , as I was sick of people saying Live is not meant for that kind of thing.

        But, it’s certainly true that Ableton promotes a culture (dance, experimental, hi hop etc) that never seemed to include me.

        None the less, I do agree, one doesn’t “need” to negate the other.

        It just does for me.

        • Mr. Wonderful

          no disrespect intended but honestly that paragraph is almost a direct admission of purchasing a very expensive piece of software for the wrong reason. (of course I know it’s your right to purchase for whatever reason you want under the sun please don’t mistake me)….. but for someone who clearly understands as you do that it is not the best choice for your intended purpose you bought it anyway and are actually proud of that, again absolutely your choice and you need no validation from anyone especially me but in the context of this thread, where comparisons are being made and the discussion is centered around what’s appropriate for the job you literally went against your own common sense and then replaced it with reaper with accolades for reaper following the switch. It’s just comes off as very oxymoronic because you’re obviously not one of those people who didn’t know better.

          • I like Live. It worked great for my intended use.

            Reaper works better.

    • Clums Clom

      Reaper is the tits.

    • Giorgio Martini

      switch to bitwig.. u can use push2 with full control..

    • Jeffry L

      Was not too happy with the improvements on paper either, but have to admit… after fooling around for 2-3 months now with the beta I never go back to 9 and use a lot of the features on the flow… whether that justifies the pricing… Well still very happy with Live, but sometimes in doubt about a change to Bitwig, Logic X or Reaper but do love the new Push features.

      And then again… DAW’s don’t make music and a change would bring my speed down and if there’s one thing that’s changed with 10 it is my speed in getting things down mainly because of capture. Love improvising and ‘getting my ideas back’.

    • griotspeak

      The responses to this are funny. Yours was a reasonable comment about a personal evaluation of tools.

    • I agree. Although I find Live really great I can get the Live upgrade at the moment for a price I can get the full package of Logic X. Not upgrading I think. I like the workflow of 9 and the additional effects and wavetable sampler is not so interesting.

  • Nice touch to give Live 9 users this opportunity. Plenty of time to evaluate whether or not I can justify the upgrade investment.

  • chaircrusher

    I anticipate in 6 months A) learning to recognize the sound of Drum Buss and B) hearing it all over everyone’s tracks.

  • Baron Von Creepz

    Quoted from your linked article –

    “Of course, for anyone who was predicting new hardware – perhaps some new controller, or Push 3 – that’s not happening.”

    Now, I was putting off a purchase of a Push 2 to see what was on the horizon with the release of Live 10 – but you’ve said this with such utter confidence that perhaps I should go ahead and grab a 2 after all. So, how sure are you, really?

  • Lionel Regis-Constant

    Although my initial reaction was the same (“not too many new toys”), after using L10 for a while I find it a little shortsighted that some users find Live 10 an unworthy upgrade. Live 9 life cycle has been exceptionally long with big updates : dual screen, countless push optimisation, new filters, creative sampling modes, Ableton Link… I think that Live 10 by focusing on user experience and under the hood refactoring like the integration of Max in the core is by far the smartest update I’ve seen, it doesn’t not only help my workflow but it gives me confidence that 10.X versions could be really interesting. Call me a fanboy, I use live since version 2 but in the end, at at a time where users have multiple VSTs it’s nice to see a company that doesn’t offer 15 new synths and plugins that users already have and prefer to focus on UI, refinements and preparing the future of the platform.

  • Giorgio Martini

    For me most new features arent worth a 4 year long update… only the new synth( wich we dont really need with all the awesome cool synths out) and capture are worth an update like this…

    the other features are….mmm.. ok? but not worth an update this long in the making…

    I decided to instead of updating to live 10 , swtich to bitwig…

    And dont regret it… the complex stuff u can do with modulators is amazing
    plus all the really cool workflow stufff
    and many cool features live will never have… eg sidechain anything… add custom envelope to anything… randomize stuff…

    i think ill stick to bitwig…

    • fuji_x

      I have to agree. Also I can already do capture with this amazing software from audiocr.com and it’s already better than Live 10 has implemented and it works with any DAW on Mac.

    • Mr. Wonderful

      How is the stability of bitwig at this time, and how compatible with push2 is it, also could you recommend any video links in particular as I’m very interested in checking out some really good impressions?

      • Giorgio Martini

        push works perfeclty…

        stability is ok.. some crashes here and there… but i guess they will fix them…

  • Jim Jones

    I have to give a thumbs up for (Presonus) Studio One. Honestly, I didn’t even know what Studio One was. Yes, Ableton has that ‘hip, coolness factor’. But I tried the Studio One demo and was blown away. I tried Reaper, briefly, because I needed a better Audio Editor than what Ableton has in-the-box. But I found the Reaper Interface lacking (for me) when it comes to the VSTs and VST management/presets, workflow, etc. While Studio One may not be for everyone, I now see the benefits of being in Arrangement view versus being in (Ableton) Session mode and tweaking things forever. Anyway, for those looking for another angle on DAW, try the Studio One Pro demo. I purchased it for half price during one of their sales. I own a Push 2 and been with Live since v5. I’m done with it. For my workflow, Studio One Pro rocks, plus the program uses very little memory.

    • Klemen Kotar

      I use both for different things. It would probably be wiser to be a master-ninja-yoda in one of them and do it all in-there (that would be StudioOne in my case) but there are things in Live that make me think and work in a different way. Both are fine and getting better with each release.

    • Verklige Eamduden

      I also discovered Studio One Pro a while ago. Live is a very good composers tool but I dont like the way it meddles with how I work and sort of makes mixing harder. So personally I just love the freedom and good mixing environment I get with Studio One.

    • Elekb

      Like other posters here, I’m surprised by this sort of comment.
      This has nothing to do with “hip, coolness factor”. Studio One and Ableton Live are two completely different programs. Sure, you can do production and arrangements with Live, but its main use is *live performance*. Studio One is aimed at people who compose, produce and master.

  • itchy

    enjoying ableton