Ableton promised they’d ship Live in September, but as the final days of the month waned, I’m sure at least some of you wondered if they’d make it. Just under the wire, the Berlin-based software maker made Live 6 and Sampler available online late in the day Friday, September 29 US time. That means you can also download a save-restricted, time-unlimited demo version of Live 6, the Operator FM/subtractive synth (featuring minor improvements from its last version), and the all-new Sampler instrument, complete with sample files, presets, and PDF documentation.

Ableton Live 6

Killer feature? Live 6’s ability to combine instruments and effects into racks could be the most important new feature.

If you’ve longed for Ableton’s take on a sampler, integrated with the Live interface and Live way of doing things, the presence of Sampler is self-explanatory.

As for Live 6, there are lots of new features above that we’ve discussed a bit here on CDM (see CDM tag: Ableton Live). If you need just one feature to make the upgrade worth a look, though, Instrument and Effects Racks is that feature: there are some truly deep possibilities for sound design and performance, combining instruments and effects chains and layers, and moving between them when playing. It has a lot of what I like about the Combinator in Reason 3, but it does quite a bit more.

There’s a lot more here to pull apart in the way of reviews and tutorials; stay tuned. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering why I wasn’t on top of this news yesterday, you can thank a day-long Time Warner cable Internet outage … they’re doing a lot of digging down here in lower Manhattan.)

Updated: If you’re wondering about the presence of various sample content and associated files for the upgrade:

Concerning the content, the download versions of Live 6 come with the Basic and the Lesson package. The additional Live 6 packages Impulse, Operator, Sampler & DemoSongs will be available via download within the next dew days.

Also the Live 6 Manuals will be available on the website as separate downloads within the next days.

This info and more details on the forums: Final Live 6 version is online!