Ableton Live: too good to be ignored
Much of the attention in recent memory has focused on Ableton’s Push controller, their first hardware product that can make a song from scratch. Resultantly, Ableton’s Live software has perhaps become overshadowed by its brilliant younger sibling.
Despite this, Ableton Live sits beside Apple’s Logic Pro as the leading music producing software in the world. Since it was launched in 2001, Ableton’s Live software has been changing the way people make music. Now in the ninth version, the software has come a long way in functionality and eradicated many of the problems that plagued the earlier version.
Over the last few years, many of the leading EDM DJ’s have been making the switch to Ableton Live. There are several reasons for this but the main reason for switching is down to the ease of composing. There is an array of customisable features which make using the software an enjoyable and straightforward experience.
Many users of Ableton laud the intuitive nature of the software. Tasks on other software could take double the time just because of the usability. The latest interface ensures you spend less time searching for what you need and more time actually making the music.
DJ legend Jazzy Jeff described the software as ‘limitless’. To give some idea about the extent of the software’s capability, Live 9 Suite has five synths and three samplers, nearly 400 drum kits, over 3000 different sounds and 4000 loops. The choice is vast; it is no wonder that the face of music has changed so much since 2001.
The software is broken down into two ‘views’ – the arrangement view and the session view. Without getting too technical, these two views essentially mean that now you can make live changes to the music. This makes the software as good for performing as it is for composing.
For those serious about making music, another advantage of Ableton is its popularity within the business. As more people within the industry use the software, synchronisation between DJs/Producers/ Musicians becomes simpler when everyone is using the same software. The same is also true with competitor Logic Pro. UK label Shogun, who specialise in Drum & Bass, essentially require their new artists to use Logic Pro software to co-ordinate with the other DJ’s.
Of course, the Push controller is completely synchronised with the Live software and is the ideal complement. The technology becomes, as hugely popular DJ Nicolas Jaar says, your instrument on stage. Jaar is an artist enabled by the capability of the software and his performance with live musicians is fantastic to see.
Ultimately, which software you opt for depends on you. They offer three different packages depending on your need: Intro, Standard and Suite. The prices differ massively. The Intro package is a very reasonable $99 and the Suite is $749.
If you’re merely curious or contemplating making the switch from another software, Ableton are offering a 30 day free trial to get you started. The world of drum beats and modular synthesisers is ready at your fingertips!