Ableton Live 10.1 is here, a free update to Live 10.1 with some new devices, streamlined automation and editing, and new sound features. So what should dig into after the download? Here’s a place to start.
There’s no surprise reveal here since 10.1 has been in public beta and was announced in the winter. Here’s the full run-down of what’s in the release from February (still accurate):
I’ve been working with the beta for some time, to the point of not wanting to go back even to 10.0 (or even getting a bit confused when switching to a friend’s machine that didn’t have 10.1).
So let’s skip ahead to stuff you should check out right away when you download:
Refresh a track in Arrangement View
I will shortly do a separate story just on getting around Arrangement View quickly, but — there’s a lot of fun to be had. (Yes, fun, not just screaming at the screen as you painstakingly move envelopes around.)
Ableton have accordingly updated their Arrangement View tutorials:
(More on those soon, including a quick reference if you prefer to work that way.)
Here are some quick things to try:
Resize the Arrangement Overview (that’s the bit at the top of Arrangement View)
Draw some shapes! Right click, pick some shapes, and you can draw in envelopes. Try this actually two ways: first, select some time and draw in shapes. Next, deselect time, and try drawing with different grid values – you’ll get different corresponding quantization.
Get at fades directly. Press the F key.
Clean up envelopes. Right click on a time selection and choose Simplify Envelope.
Stretch and scale! Select some time in automation, and you’ll see handles so you can move both horizontally (amount/scale) and vertically (in time).
Enter some specific values. Right click, choose Edit value, type in a number, and hit enter.
There’s a lot more. But all of this is an opportunity to duplicate one of your projects and give it a refresh by going nuts with some modulation because – why not.
You know, conventional wisdom says, don’t mess with your existing tracks too much. The hell with that. If I were a painter, I would definitely be the kind constantly scraping away and painting over canvases. You can always save a backup. Sometimes it’s fun to mess around and take something somewhere else entirely.
Go ahead and freeze whatever you want! Track has a sidechain? It’ll freeze. It’ll even still be a source for other sidechains. (There are actually a bunch of things that had to happen for this to work – check Arrangement Editing in release notes if you’re curious. But the beauty is you don’t really have to think about it.)
Here’s a new explanation of how it works:
Try your own wavetables
User wavetables make the Live 10 Wavetable synth far more interesting.
Like arrangement, this probably deserves it’s own story, but here’s a place to get started:
And for extra help exploiting that feature, there are some useful utilities that will assist you in creating wavetables:
While you’re in there, Ableton quietly added a very powerful randomization feature inside Wavetable for glitching out still more:
Added a new “Rand” modulation source to Wavetable’s MIDI tab, which generates a random value when a note starts.
Pinch and zoom
Trackpads and touchscreens (most of them, anyway) now support pinch gestures in Arrangement View, so try that out. It works for me both on a Razer and (of course) Apple laptop; lots of other hardware will work, too. It’s a little thing, but zooming is a big part of getting around an arrangement.
Try Channel EQ as a creative tool or live
There are already a lot of EQs out there. The Channel EQ however has some draw as a potential equivalent for live PA / experimental sets of what the EQ Three has been for DJ sets.
Stop futzing around with sends when you export stems
Okay, see if this is familiar:
You output stems – say for a remix artist or to mix in a different tool – and suddenly everything sounds completely differently than you expected because you used sends and returns and/or master effects.
That’s no longer an issue in 10.1, as there’s now a new export option that addresses this.
So, time to go make some stems, right?
Make some new sounds with Delay
Okay, Delay at first glance may seem like a step backward from the excitement of Space Echo-ish Echo in Live 10. Isn’t it just a combination of Simple Delay and Ping Pong Delay into one Device?
Well, it is that, but it also has an LFO built in that can modulate both delay time and filter frequency.
These modes were there before, but you now surface Repitch, Fade, and Jump modes as buttons.
So put all of this together, and the combination of things that were there that you didn’t notice, with new things that are simple but very powerful, all together in one unit becomes very powerful indeed.
That is, if you’re modulating something like delay time, then changing between Repitch, Fade, and Jump actually gives you a lot of different sonic possibilities. And yes, this is the sort of thing people with modular rigs like to do with wires but… if you’re a Live 10 owner, it’ll cost you nothing to check out right now.
Specifically, maxforcats pointed us to some cool granular-ish sounds when you choose Fade mode and start modulating delay time.
And keep using Echo. The big challenge with an effect like Echo is balancing loudness. As it happens, there’s a little right-click option that solves this for you in Echo:
In the Echo device, the Dry/Wet knob now features a context menu to switch to “Equal-Loudness”. When enabled, a 50/50 mix will sound equally loud for most signals, instead of being attenuated. In the Delay device, the maximum delay time offset is now consistent with the Simple Delay and Ping Pong Delay devices.
Discover Simpler, again
Simpler is weirdly a lot of the time a reason to use Ableton Live for its absurd combination of directness and power – in contrast to mostly over-complicated software (and hardware, for that matter).
Now you can mess around with volume envelopes (even synced ones) and loop time, previously only in Sampler – for both powerful sound design and beat-synced ideas:
Added a Loop Mode chooser, Loop Time slider and Beat Sync/Rate slider to the Volume Envelope in Simpler’s Classic Playback Mode. Previously, these controls were exclusively available in Sampler.
Oh, and go map some macros
You’d probably easily miss this, too – it means that now mapping macros works the way you’d expect, in fewer steps:
When mapping a parameter to an empty macro, the macro assumes the full range of the target parameter, and will be set to the current value of the target parameter.
— and while using mice for everything is no fun, macros are also a great intermediary between what you’re doing onscreen and twisting knobs on controller hardware (Push, certainly, but lots of other gear, too).
Speaking of which, that nice compact NI keyboard controller works thanks to this update, too, making it an ideal thing to throw in your bag with a laptop for a mobile Ableton Live work rig.
Where to find more on 10.1
Detailed ongoing release notes on Live 10 are here:
Live 10 Release Notes
Ableton’s overview of what’s new:
Live 10.1 is here
And to download the update, either enable auto-update or check your account: