If you’re looking for a creative DAW program that you can use for mixing, recording and composition but also perform with live, then Ableton Live 8 is for you…
Forgive us for stating the obvious but the clue is in the name: that word ‘Live’ is the absolute key to Ableton Live 8 and its bigger brother Ableton Live Suite, but if only it were that easy and quick to sum up. To get to the bottom of what Ableton Live is all about, we’re going to need to delve a little bit deeper…
ABLETON LIVE 8 - THERE’S A DIFFERENCE
Say the word ‘DAW’ and most of us will imagine those traditional sequence-based, serious music tools, bringing together all your composition, recording, production and mixing tools under one GUI. Trouble is, when you want to take that step from studio to stage and take your DAW with you, not every program is up to the job.
And that’s where Ableton Live 8 steps in. Ever since it was introduced way back in the mists of… well, 2001 actually, its loop-based concept combined with add-on features like beatmatching, crossfading and on-the-fly arranging made it a massive hit with DJs, remixers and home studio producers. Now on version 8, Ableton Live has a cleaner-than-ever interface, a reinvented MIDI editor and oh-so much more.
ABLETON LIVE 8 - SESSION IMPRESSIONS
Unique to Ableton is its Session View, a grid where you can record and play musical ideas and phrases. Unlike other DAW sequencer windows, Session View is non-linear so you can record and play ideas in any order you like, giving you total flexibility. Think of it as a more-than intuitive sketchpad for your musical ideas and experiments.
For something a little more traditional, the Arrangement View is where you’ll find all the elements of your track lined up and ready to record, arrange, edit and mix. Here you can also, as you’d expect, chop up your audio, apply affects, add or remove tracks and more.
ABLETON LIVE 8 - GO WITH THE FLOW
The thing we love more than anything with Ableton Live 8 is that you can do everything on the fly, whether you’re in the studio or in the midst of a performance. Chop up loops with total precision, re-record them, mix and match audio of any tempo, add effects… all while the music is still playing.
The Live concept even extends to drag-and-dropping effects and instruments in real time, whether they’re Ableton’s integrated ones or your own VST or AU plug-ins. If you’re into your loops, then the Random Access Loop Record function is perfect. Press a button and you go instantly from recording into looped playback with no editing required. Simple!
ABLETON LIVE 8 - ALL ABOUT THE BEATS
The beat creation Drum Rack is where it gets exciting. Each of the 128 drum pads can be assigned its own instrument, sample or effect and these then appear in the Session mixer for easy mixing. Each pad also has its own device chain for deeper editing. And if you’ve got a drum loop that needs chopping up and splitting between pads, do it in an instant using the Live Slicing feature for REX files or audio loops.
ABLETON LIVE 8 - HEAR THE DIFFERENCE
Flexible, creative, clever, feature-packed, hands-on… these are all the things you’d want from the perfect live-friendly DAW and with Ableton Live 8 you’ve got all of that in spades. This is one of the most fun, intuitive bits of software you’ll ever get your hands on.
ABLETON LIVE 8 - SOUNDS SUITE
If you want all the live playability of Ableton Live 8 but you need more sounds, Ableton Suite 8 is perfect as its Library is packed with 11 Ableton instruments and effects including synths, sampler and drums. If you want to spend a little less, try Ableton Live Intro!
ABLETON LIVE 8 - SPECS
• Price: £299*
• Audio resolution: 32-bit/192kHz
• Instruments: Simpler (sample-based synth), Impulse (for drums)
• Plug-in support: VST and AU
• File support: AIFF, WAV, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files (can handle REX files and runs as a ReWire master or slave)
• Bundled with: Essential Instrument Collection plug-in library
* Prices from 1st March 2011 - please note that prices are subject to change in the future.