Ableton has finally rolled out the anticipated update of Live 10, and for the fans there are a lot of things to get excited about. It’s been nearly five years since Ableton Live got a major update, with 2013’s Live 9. Live 10 introduces four new Devices, a completely re-designed sound library, workflow-accelerating refinements and more. Improvements to Push allow more of the music creation process to happen away from the computer and a fully-integrated Max for Live means unlimited potential comes built into Live.

To us the most significant change is that Max for Live is now fully integrated into Live. This toolkit for building synths, effects and more has been an add-on since it launched in 2009, but the integration means Max for Live devices will load faster and use less CPU power too.

Live 10 introduces four new Devices, a completely re-designed sound library, workflow-accelerating refinements and more. Improvements to Push allow more of the music creation process to happen away from the computer and a fully-integrated Max for Live means unlimited potential comes built into Live. Ableton Live has long been a different beast to other DAWs, not least because of its clip launcher (or Session) view that lets you remix your own tracks on the fly. With the release of Live 10, Ableton have aimed not to make Live more like any other DAW. Instead, they have worked with their existing user community to refine and streamline it and make it better at what it does best.

New Devices, new sounds

A new instrument and three new effects bring a broader, bolder palette of sound to Live.

  • Wavetable is Ableton’s new synth. Its vast sonic palette is created with a variety of waveforms derived from analog synths and a range of other instruments and sounds, as well as modeled analog filters, and deep, flexible modulation. Live’s Analog and Operator synths are fairly ancient now, but this looks like something that might be able to go up against relatively more modern instruments like NI’s Form and Xfer’s Serum.
  • Echo brings together the sound of classic analog and digital hardware delays in a single device—your new go-to delay. Drive and shape sounds with its analog-modeled filters, turn up the noise and wobble for vintage imperfections, or add modulation and reverb to create diffuse soundscapes, wailing feedback and more.

  • Drum Buss is a one-stop workstation for drums, capable of adding subtle character or bending and breaking drums to your will. Add warmth and distortion with drive and crunch, take control of dynamics with compression and transient shaping, dial in and tune boom and control bass decay with the dedicated low end section.

  • With separate circuit-level models of overdrive, distortion and fuzz guitar pedals, Pedal brings the character of analog stomp boxes to Live. The effect goes all the way from subtle to reckless—it excels at warming up vocals and other instruments, driving synth sounds or completely smashing drums. And of course, it sounds great with guitars.”

Below Ableton Certified Trainer Brian Funk, aka AfroDJMac, shared this hands-on demo of Wavetable, the new synthesizer in Ableton Live 10.

Faster music creation

Live 10 offers a multitude of workflow refinements and entirely new features that make working with ideas easier at every stage of the creative process.

Some of the improvements include:

  • Live’s interface has been updated to be cleaner and clearer with sharper graphics and refined colors. And a range of optimized themes improves visibility in all environments.
  • Capture recalls an idea after it has been played and turns it into a MIDI clip with feel and groove intact—a fast, intuitive way to turn spontaneous inspiration into music.
  • Multiple MIDI clip editing shows the content of two or more clips in one view for better control of the musical relationships in a song.
  • Arrangement View improvements such as nudging, time stretching, one-key zooming and drag-and-drop track duplication make editing faster and easier.
  • Browser Collections provide at-a-glance access to favorite or most-used musical elements.
  • Groups within groups improves Set organization even with lots of tracks and a detailed arrangement—multiple tracks and groups can be folded together for a simple overview.
  • Note chasing triggers MIDI notes even if playback starts in the middle—the note doesn’t need to be started from the beginning to hear pads or other sustained notes.
  • I/O Renaming lets producers easily select the right routing by labeling Live’s inputs and outputs to match the instruments and hardware in the studio.
  • Mixing improvements including improved gain range and Bass Mono feature in Utility, extended low frequency slopes on EQ Eight and Split Stereo Pan provide more detailed control when mixing.

New library of sound

With a re-designed Core Library and all-new Packs, Live 10 has more inspiring sounds that are ready for music making, right out of the box.

  • The Core Library gets a sonic upgrade with richer, more detailed sounds. It has also been reorganized to make those sounds easier to find.
  • Essential Instruments are four new Packs including synths, and multi-sampled electric keys and drums.
  • Curated Collections are carefully compiled Packs that capture the musical threads that tie together evolving styles and scenes—each containing instruments, clips and samples that share a common sonic theme.

More hands-on control with Push

Live 10 brings new functionality and new high-resolution visualizations to Push.

  • A new step sequencing layout allows simultaneous note sequencing and real time playing.
  • Notes in a clip are displayed directly on Push for easier navigation and refinement.
  • Detailed views show the interfaces of key Ableton Devices including Wavetable, Echo, EQ Eight and Compressor.
  • Workflow improvements to layouts, building and extending patterns, track arming and more give beat makers a more fluid experience while in the creative process.

Max for Live – no limits, built in

Max for Live is now built into Live 10, providing faster, more stable performance.

  • A fully integrated Max for Live means Max for Live devices now load faster, use less CPU and feel more like Live’s native Devices.
  • New audio routing capabilities enable multi-channel audio routing for performances, installations and theaters using multi-channel speaker setups.
  • Updated Devices include sonically upgraded Drum Synths, improved modulation and mapping Devices and more.
  • Advanced MIDI–hardware integration is possible now Max for Live devices can send and receive SysEx, allowing deeper access to synthesizers—including full preset backup dumps, parameter control and more. Max for Live can also create custom control surfaces for custom hardware integration.

Inside the Max for Live library, there’s been a whole lot of additional work cleaning up the devices themselves – new modules, new interfaces, and other enhancements. There are new modulation devices and drum synths built into the core library. There’s also the ability coming to “multi-map” Max for Live devices to up to eight parameters at once, visually. That means the new modulation Devices become very powerful.

The “DS” series of drum synths is a big leap over the ones already included in Max for Live – new sounds, new interfaces.

Ableton Live 10 will be available in the first quarter of 2018.

The pricing for Ableton Live 10 stays at the same level as Live 9. Download versions for Live 10 cost €79 /$99/£69 for Live Intro, €349/$449/£319 GBP for Live Standard and €599/$749/£539 for Live Suite.

If you’re one of the few people buying boxed software, those cost €99 /$99/£89 for Live Intro, €399/$499/£359 GBP for Live Standard and €649/$799/£579 for Live Suite. Existing users should check their Ableton accounts for individual upgrade prices.

All Live 9 editions are on sale at 20% off until the release of Live 10, with a free upgrade to its corresponding Live 10 edition upon release.
Existing Ableton Live owners should log into their accounts to check upgrade pricing.

More information: Ableton / Live 10