|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, macOS|
|Type||Digital Audio Workstation|
Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation developed by Ableton for macOS and Windows. In contrast to many other software sequencers, Ableton Live is designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as a tool for composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering. It is also used by DJs, as it offers a suite of controls for beatmatching, crossfading, and other different effects used by turntablists, and was one of the first music applications to automatically beatmatch songs. Live is available in three editions: Intro (with limited key features), Standard, and Suite.
Discover the Power of Ableton Live. Get into music production and computer-based live performance with Ableton Live 11 Intro. This streamlined version of Ableton Live 11 is an excellent and affordable option for electronic musicians, songwriters, and creative recording engineers. Once the installation is completed, open Live by clicking the Ableton Live icon in the Windows start menu (PC), or double-clicking the application in Finder (Mac). On Mac, it may ask if you want to launch an application downloaded from the internet.
Ableton co-founders Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf developed Live from homemade software that Behles and Henke had created to facilitate their live music performances as Monolake. They released the first version of Live in 2001 as commercial software. Ableton Live is written in C++. Live itself was not prototyped in Max, although most of the audio devices were.
Live's user interface is composed of two 'Views' – the Arrangement View and the Session View. Live utilizes audio sample or MIDI sequences, referred to as Clips, which are arranged to be played live (i.e. triggered) or played back in a pre-arranged order. MIDI triggers notes on Live's built in instruments, as well as third party VST instruments or external hardware.
The Session View offers a grid-based representation of all of the Clips in a Live Set. These clips can be arranged into scenes which can then be triggered as a unit. For instance a drum, bass and guitar track might comprise a single scene. When moving on to the next scene, which may feature a synth bassline, the artist will trigger the scene, activating the clips for that scene.
The Arrangement View offers a horizontal music production timeline of Clips that is more similar to a traditional software sequencer interface. The Arrangement View is used for recording tracks from the session view and further manipulating their arrangement and effects. It is also used for manual MIDI sequencing.
The Intro version of Live includes four instruments (Impulse, Simpler, Instrument Rack, and Drum Rack) and the Standard version of Live additionally includes External Instrument, with users having the option to purchase additional instruments. By contrast, Live Suite includes all available instruments.
- Impulse - a traditional drum triggering instrument which allows the user to define a kit of up to eight drum sounds, each based on a single sample. There are a number of effects available such as basic equalization, attack, decay, pitch shift, etc. Once the kit is defined, rhythms and beats are created through Live's MIDI sequencer.
- Simpler - a basic sampling instrument. It functions using a single audio sample, applying simple effects, and envelopes, finally applying pitch transformations in the form of Granular synthesis. In this case, incoming MIDI does not trigger drums as it does in Impulse, but selects the final pitch of the sample, with C3 playing the sample at its original pitch.
- Drum Rack - a sampler for drums. MIDI notes trigger individual 'Simplers' so rather than triggering one sample at multiple pitches, individual samples are triggered at predefined pitches, as is suitable for MIDI drum programming. As is usual with Ableton almost anything can be drag dropped to or from the drum racks; for example, one can drop an audio clip or any MIDI device onto a drum rack note.
- Instrument Rack - allows the user to combine multiple instruments and effects into a single device, allowing for split and layered sounds with customized macro controls.
- Analog - simulates an analog synthesizer.
- Bass - a monophonic virtual analog bass synthesizer.
- Collision - a mallet percussionphysical modelling synthesizer.
- Drum Synths - 8 devices for creating drum and percussion sounds via synthesis.
- Electric - an electric piano instrument.
- Operator - an FM synthesizer.
- Poli - a virtual analog synthesizer that combines subtractive and FM synthesis
- Sampler - an enhanced sampler.
- Tension - a string physical modelling synthesizer.
- Wavetable - a wavetable synthesizer featuring two oscillators and re-mappable modulation sources.
Ableton also has available a massive selection of Add-on Sample Packs with which a user can expand the sound libraries for their instruments.
- Session Drums - a collection of sampled drum kits.
- Latin Percussion - a collection of sampled latin percussion hits and loops.
- Essential Instruments Collection - a large collection of acoustic and electric instrument samples.
- Orchestral Instrument Collection - a collection of four different orchestral libraries, which can be purchased individually or as a bundle: Orchestral Strings, Orchestral Brass, Orchestral Woodwinds and Orchestral Percussion. The Orchestral Instrument Collection is included upon purchase of Live Suite but must be downloaded separately.
Dedicated hardware instruments
Akai Professional makes the APC40 mk II, a MIDI controller designed to work solely with Ableton Live. A smaller version, the APC20, was released in 2010. Though there are many MIDI controllers compatible with Ableton, these Akai units try to closely map the actual Ableton Live layout onto physical space. Novation Digital Music Systems has created the 'Launchpad' which is a pad device that has been designed for use with Ableton. There are currently four different Launchpad models: Launchpad Mini, Launchpad X, Launchpad Pro, and Launchpad Control. Ableton has also released their own MIDI controller, the Push, which is the first pad-based controller that embraces scales and melody. In November 2015, Ableton released an updated MIDI controller, the Push 2, along with Live 9.5. Push 2, in terms of its design, features a new colorful display, improved buttons and pads, and a lighter frame.
Most of Live's effects are already common effects in the digital signal processing world which have been adapted to fit Live's interface. They are tailored to suit Live's target audience – electronic musicians and DJs - but may also be used for other recording tasks such as processing a guitar rig. The effects featured in Ableton Live are grouped into two categories - MIDI effects and audio effects.
|Audio Effects||MIDI Effects|
Live is also able to host VST plugins and, on the macOS version, Audio Unitplug-ins as well as Max for Live devices since Live 9.
Working with audio clips
In addition to the instruments mentioned above, Live can work with samples. Live attempts to do beat analysis of the samples to find their meter, number of bars and the number of beats per minute. This makes it possible for Live to shift these samples to fit into loops that are tied into the piece's global tempo.
Additionally, Live's Time Warp feature can be used to either correct or adjust beat positions in the sample. By setting warp markers to a specific point in the sample, arbitrary points in the sample can be pegged to positions in the measure. For instance a drum beat that fell 250 ms after the midpoint in measure may be adjusted so that it will be played back precisely at the midpoint.
Some artists and online stores, such as The Covert Operators and Puremagnetik, now make available sample packs that are pre-adjusted, with tempo information and warp markers added. The audio files are accompanied with an 'analysis file' in Live's native format (.asd files).
Ableton Live also supports Audio To MIDI, which converts audio samples into a sequence of MIDI notes using three different conversion methods including conversion to Melody, Harmony, or Rhythm. Once finished, Live will create a new MIDI track containing the fresh MIDI notes along with an instrument to play back the notes. Audio to midi conversion is not always 100% accurate and may require the artist or producer to manually adjust some notes. See Fourier transform.
Almost all of the parameters in Live can be automated by envelopes which may be drawn either on clips, in which case they will be used in every performance of that clip, or on the entire arrangement. The most obvious examples are volume and track panning, but envelopes are also used in Live to control parameters of audio devices such as the root note of a resonator or a filter's cutoff frequency. Clip envelopes may also be mapped to MIDI controls, which can also control parameters in real-time using sliders, faders and such. Using the global transport record function will also record changes made to these parameters, creating an envelope for them.
Much of Live's interface comes from being designed for use in live performance, as well as for production. There are few pop up messages or dialogs. Portions of the interface are hidden and shown based on arrows which may be clicked to show or hide a certain segment (e.g. to hide the instrument/effect list or to show or hide the help box).
Live now supports latency compensation for plug-in and mixer automation.
- ^'Ableton Live End Use License Agreement'. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- ^'Live comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. They share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, instruments, effects, and Packs'. Ableton. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
- ^Battino, David; Richards, Kelli (2005). The Art of Digital Music. San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books. p. 3. ISBN0-87930-830-3.
- ^Slater, Maya-Roisin. 'The Untold Story of Ableton Live—the Program That Transformed Electronic Music Performance Forever'. Vice.com. Vice Media LLC. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- ^'Prototyping explained by Live co-creator Robert Henke'. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-11-18.
- ^'A brief history of Ableton Live'. Future Music. Future Music Publishing Quay House. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
- ^'Live 10 comes in three editions: Intro, Standard and Suite. They share common features, but Standard and Suite have additional features, instruments, effects, and Packs'. Ableton.com. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
- ^'Using Push — Ableton Reference Manual Version 10 - Ableton'. www.ableton.com. Archived from the original on 2014-11-10.
- ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2017-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Resident Advisor News: Ableton unveils Push 2 and Live 9.5
- ^'Create music with Ableton Push Ableton'. www.ableton.com. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
- ^'The Covert Operators - Ableton Live Packs'. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- ^'Puremagnetik'. Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- ^'Hands-on with Ableton Live 9: Audio to MIDI'. MusicRadar. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
- ^Tusa, Scott. 'Getting Started with Ableton Live'. O'Reilly Digital Media. Archived from the original on 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
This user-friendly program was designed for live performances by musicians who wanted to use the recording studio like a musical instrument. As performers and recording engineers, they felt stymied by the non-real-time nature of typical audio programs, so they wrote their own.
Please make sure you have a Live Lite serial. Need help getting started?
Please note: Live 11 Lite will be released later in 2021.
End User License Agreement
Included with a number of apps and hardware products, Live 10 Lite is a lightweight version of Ableton Live 10. It comes with all of Live’s essential workflows, instruments and effects – everything you need to record songs, create hands-on with your controller, take music made in your apps further and so much more.
Both for writing solo or recording a band, Live Lite is fast and flexible software. It has all of Live’s intuitive features and workflows for recording audio and improvising with ideas. And all the instruments, sounds and effects you need are there to start songs, shape your sound and finish off your music.
Produce music hands-on
We create bespoke, intuitive integration for your favorite controllers – so Live’s devices, sounds and creative features are at your fingertips for hands-on production and performance.
Take your app ideas further
Take your sketches from music-making apps further in Live Lite. Save your project as a Live Set, then transfer onto your laptop and arrange and mix your songs. Or change your idea’s MIDI parts, slice up the audio, and remix and reinvent your track in any way you want.
1. Make sure you have a Live Lite serial
Live Lite serial numbers are included with various hardware devices and apps – find out more here.
2. Download Live Lite
Please note: Live 11 Lite will be released later in 2021.
3. Install and register
Check out this article if you need help with installing Live. Once installed, you need to authorize your Live Lite copy using a valid serial and an Ableton account. You can create an account during the registration process if you don’t have one.
4. Start making music
Check out our online help resources including FAQs, the Live 10 manual, and our Learn Live video series.
- Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8 or Windows 10 (64-bit)
- 64-bit Intel® Core™ or AMD multi-core processor (Intel® Core™ processor or faster recommended)
- 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
- OS X 10.11.6 or later
- Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor (Intel® Core™ i5 processor or faster recommended)
- 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
Ableton Live Live
Note: Live 10 is 64-bit only and is not supported on Linux.