updated 03:22 pm EST, Tue March 5, 2013
Push first Ableton-branded hardware
Ableton has launched Live 9, a major update of its flagship music production software. Among changes in the suite are Session automation -- the ability to record automation in real-time within a clip -- and a overhauled browser, which locates instruments, effects, samples, and plugins within a single view, and supports dragging and dropping folders from anywhere on a computer. Audio can now be converted to MIDI through Drums-to-MIDI, Harmony-to-MIDI, and Melody-to-MIDI options.
Some other editing improvements include tools for transposing, reversing, and stretching MIDI notes, warping clip automation, and adding curves to automation envelopes. Ableton has meanwhile reworked the software's built-in studio effects, improving sound quality and options. One new effect is the Glue Compressor, which models a 1980s console bus compressor.
Ableton is selling the Standard version of Live 9 for $449, and the Suite edition for $749. The latter includes over 3,000 sounds, and now also bundles in Max for Live, an assortment of extra effects, instruments, and tools. Max has gained 25 more such add-ons, such as a convolution reverb, drum synth instruments, and MIDI echo. Cheaper upgrade prices are available, but can vary widely based on what a person already owns. A special $99 Intro version strips the software down to basics.
Also new is the Push, Ableton's first self-branded controller, developed by Akai. The device features 64 multi-color, velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads, and 11 touch-sensitive endless encoders. The color-coding can be used to relate pads by key. Separate buttons meanwhile let musicians play clips, overdub notes, or shift between song materials; a touch strip can be used for pitch bending or navigating through drum racks.
A $599 version of the Push includes Live 9 Intro. $849 upgrades Live to Standard, while getting Suite included costs $1,099. As with Live 9 on its own, discounts are available for owners of earlier software.