Although we are not personally Live users, it’s always appeared to us that the DAW is a boon for experimenting and creating even in a live and performance environment (which I suppose isn’t surprising given the name itself). Ableton looks to be taking this further with new and enhanced tools for working with MIDI and working with and discovering audio.
Its teaser features page splits things into three major areas — play freely with ideas, surprise yourself with sounds, and work more intuitively.
To “play freely with ideas” Ableton introduces a host of enhanced MIDI capabilities, including working with MPE-capable plugins, applying both simple and complex variations to MIDI clips with new transformations, locking in scales and using MIDI generators to automate the creation of original ideas for chords, melodies and rhythms. Editing MIDI data is now easier, and there’s greater flexibility in handling modulation parameters.
“Surprise yourself with the sounds you create” introduces us to the likes of Meld, a new MPE-capable synth designed for sound variety, playfulness and character. It’s equipped with twin oscillators and an extensive modulation matrix, and is said to excel at textural soundscapes, harmonic and atonal sounds, and rhythmic drones.
Also up is Roar, which is a “colouring and saturation device” to aid in new ways of shaping and manipulating sounds. And there’s granular synthesis capabilities with Granulator III, the latest version of Robert Henke’s synth. This introduces expressive control that lets you bend notes and add vibrato and glissando. Plus, you can now capture audio in real time and start manipulating it immediately.
“Working more intuitively” is something we all crave from our DAW tools, and Ableton Live 12 will supply new ways of doing just that. This includes using the mixer in arrangement view to get more information and control without moving to session view, a new Stacked Detail Views to see more of what a track is doing at a glance, tag searching, and a new sound similarity search which utilises a neural network to find sounds with similar characteristics to what you’re currently working with.
Personally I think it’s a shame Ableton continues to split its software into three pricing and feature levels (Intro, Standard and Suite) but I guess it works. This looks to be no different for Live 12, with more advanced features only available in the deluxe edition.
There are various ways to save money on Live 12. Users can buy Live 11 (saving 20% at present) and upgrade for free when version 12 launches. Alternatively, users can pre-order Live 12 for a discount. Existing users can log in to see their upgrade prices.