Ableton Live 11 has its final release on Tuesday, 23 February. Near-release beta is available, too. Here’s a refresher on what’s new – and an open thread on what you might like to know.

Okay, let’s put this all in one place:

Live 11 final releases on 23 February.

You can try the beta now. You need to own Live 10 Standard or Suite, but then you can go ahead with the beta. Your mileage may vary, but many of us have – as usual – been on the beta in advance, and been pretty happy.

If you’re thinking of buying, now is probably the time. So, here’s the deal – Ableton doesn’t discount their software very often. Live 10 licenses are now 20% off, and then you get Live 11 automatically. This reverts to the full price after release day.

If you’re on Live 9, I think this is a really compelling time to upgrade. A lot of the work done on workflow really combines well across Live 10 + 11.

Live 10 users, of course, there’s no rush, and we get into a somewhat complex personalized system by which Ableton prices their upgrades. You’ll see that pricing when you log in.

No announcement has been made about M1 support on Apple Silicon. But… it does run; we’ve tested it. It even runs competitively – I was happy relative to my older Intel Mac. More likely compatibility issues will come from plug-ins, not Live itself.

What’s new – at a glance:

  • Takes and comping
  • Tempo following
  • Macro snapshots
  • Edit more than one track at once (with linking)
  • MPE support and expressive editing (including expressive editing with Push)
  • A reorganized Clips view (which, weirdly, has kind of turned out to be about my favorite feature)
  • Note and velocity chance (essential!)
  • Follow Actions based on clip length
  • Follow Actions for Scenes
  • Loop non-warped clips (it’s a bit of a hack, but also thanks to the Follow Action changes)
  • Hybrid Reverb (a cross between convolution and algorithmic reverbs)
  • Spectral Resonator effect
  • Spectral Time (my other favorite feature – it just … is this amazing delay freeze partial … thing … )
  • PitchLoop89 – Robert Henke’s latest baby, a pitch shifting / delay Max for Live invention based on classic hardware
  • Inspired by Nature – organic Max for Live devices
  • New sounds and collections

There are also enhancements to Max for Live which we should talk about separately.

For more details, see the original guide I wrote in fall:

And even Push 1 and 2 benefit from expression editing, even though they’re not MPE controllers:

But here’s the deal – as is often the case with Ableton Live, it’s some of the smallest stuff that makes the biggest difference.

Reorganizing the Clips editing view and adjusting how Follow Actions work, plus adding these probability functions, is a massive improvement. Because it doesn’t disrupt what’s already there, too, it’s easy to work with straight away. So even though it’s one of the smallest changes, it may be the one that means I can’t go back to Live 10.

MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) I know is still not something that makes sense to a lot of people, but I can tell you if you do plug in something like a Sensel Morph or a Polyend Medusa or a ROLI Seaboard (for the three I’ve tried), it’s wonderful to get your hands on stuff. And the expressive editing also makes working with Push richer.

What do you want to know? What are you curious to learn more about in Live 11? Where would you want to go deeper? How would you want to do that? (Twitch broadcast? Discord chat? Interpretive dance? Cyberpunk 2077 in-game battle?)

Shout out in comments or hit me on Twitter.

Live 11 – coming February 23, 2021

Now, excuse me, what I think is the release candidate just downloaded. Excellent.