There are simpler, more minimal interfaces, and more tangible interfaces for Ableton Live. But when it comes to all-stops-pulled, touch-everything control of the full depth of Ableton Live, it was already hard to beat TouchAble for iPad. Now, with an update, that app closes even more of the gap between what you can do on the iPad and what you can do through the standard Live UI.

The standard computer model – mouse, keyboard, display – places some distance between you and a graphical user interface (even if that mouse is quite precise). The advantage of something like an iPad is, you can touch that interface directly. Part of the reason I’ve criticized that interface is, you’re still short of true tangible control with feedback – and there’s a great “rant,” far more articulate than I have been, on the topic, one that deserves further discussion soon.

But, as a middle ground, TouchAble is impressive. It’s very effective as a kind of “cockpit” for most of Live’s functionality.

New in this release, in brief:

  • On-the-fly looping
  • Beatjump / loopjump from a clip, among other shortcuts
  • New mixer, with crossfader
  • Velocity-sensitive drums
  • Control Impulse, Auto Filter, Pingpong Delay
  • Lots of other enhancements; see the full update list

In fact, with the new Devices, velocity-sensitive Drums, and Looping, TouchAble goes further toward making an iPad-centric “instrument” out of Live.

Odds are, you own just one iPad. But if you’ve got more – or some friends – the new version also supports up to four iPads at once. The video’s shaky, but we get to see that feature in action.

Sylvain Garcia, aka “Le K”, of TouchAble played with all four iPads at Wild Renate here in Berlin last weekend, and sends us documentation. The TouchAble crew also tell us there’s more to come, particularly with artists.

For more in-action videos — proof that this can work in practice, there are two YouTube playlists:
TouchAble Featured Artists
TouchAble Artists

TouchAble @ App Store; via DE:BUG [in German]