I started using Live with version 1, and since that version, Live users have longed for an easy way to customize the color scheme in Ableton Live. It’s a no-brainer: two-dimensional interface, high-contrast UI elements, basic graphics — why not be able to choose the color scheme you want? Ableton’s own themes let you abandon the gunmetal battleship colors, but generally for garish nightmare schemes that seem to have escaped from the Windows 3.0 themes from Hell.

SonicTransfer, a site that’s become an increasingly nice resource for tutorials and other info, took matters into their own hands: Matt built his own custom editor from scratch. It works on Windows, Mac, and even Linux, and lets you create custom schemes for Live 6. (Matt also has some of the nicest schemes for six I’ve seen yet — recall that many other custom schemes designed for previous versions don’t yet work in the latest release.) The interface is great, as you can see in the video here; you can quickly highlight what you want to change and tweak as much as you like. There was a brief scare a few weeks ago when Matt posted that he might not be able to release the software without the permission of Ableton. Then, today, Berlin came through and Ableton CEO Gerhard gave the go-ahead. Betas are available now (10/23) and a full release may be up by the time you read this.

Ableton Live Skin Editor [SonicTransfer]

This isn’t just cosmetic: the right scheme can be easy on your eyes in performance and studio situations.

Use at your own risk, as future upgrades are likely to break the editor — but it’s nice that we now have a standard from the always-vigilant Ableton community.

Now, you can make your Live interface match the woodgrain you added to your keyboard.