Live 5 is here, with a huge list of new features. If MIDI made a big splash with Live 4, Live 5 could be even bigger. Aside from two things you begged them to add (MP3 support and an Arpeggiator, there’s plenty you probably didn’t expect.

The short list: pro DAW features like freeze and Mackie Control support, totally automatic tempo-matching and warping, and finally a better file browser, preset management with folders, instant file searching, vastly-expanded handling of clips, and a mess of new audio effects for starters. (More after the jump / hit ‘read more.’)

Pro DAW features: Clip freeze, plug-in delay compensation, marker-style “locators” in your arrangement, and support for Mackie Control. Logic? SONAR? Nope, Live.

Automatic Tempo-Matching and New Warping Features Drop in audio, and Live automatically syncs it to project tempo with automatic Warp Markers (that’s new, folks). No more rigid warping — even irregular audio like voice now automatically syncs. There’s also a new “Complex” warp mode for higher-quality warping of frequency-dense material. And new Clip view lets you set the beginning point of a loop with a mouse or controller, which I think allows on-the-fly scratching and the like. (got to clarify that one)

New preset management: The good news? New preset management, with folders, FINALLY. The bad news? All those third-party libraries that will probably break.

Instant file browsing: Search your entire hard drive at once, a la Apple’s Spotlight / search functions. You can even drag tracks and clips out of other sessions.

Live Clips: MIDI, regions, audio, variations, all can combined into a Live Clip with all the settings intact. Insane. Oh, and those LiveFills from TrackTeam are sadly, again, now totally outdated.

New instruments: Guess what? There are none, perhaps meaning we’ll still see instruments a la carte, a la Operator. There is one major improvement to an instrument: Simpler (Live’s ultra-basic sampler) is still simple, but it now has independent envelopes, glide, and a better LFO.

New effects:Beat Repeat lets you reorganize beats on the fly for re-grooving and stuttering. Simple, elegant, very Ableton-like — though no substitute for plasq’s free (Mac-only) Musolomo. This will be better for straightforward “shredding” of beats. But check this out: a new Phaser, Flanger, Auto Pan and (for distortion/warmth, presumably a wave shaper) Saturator.

Select multiple clips at once and edit properties for all of them

Right-click context menus (woo-hoo!)

VST MIDI effect support

Count-in for recording (I’ll resist the temptation to make a snarky comment about how this was lost in the first place, but thank God it’s here now!)

Public beta starts soon, with a release in July. Upgrades are EUR/US$ 119 for a download; if you bought after May 1, they’re EUR/US$ 49, and anyone who unlocks Live 4 after June 1 gets the upgrade for free.