Ableton announces Live 11, an update for their popular pattern-based DAW with new inspiring features for composing, sound design and live performances, MPE support, new devices & more.
Big Ableton Live updates are not so fast, as users are used to. You can say we have been pampered by Ableton with many nice free updates over the past few years. Today, quite surprisingly, the Berlin-based company introduced Ableton Live 11 which will be released in 2021.
The new version will ship with MPE support, inspiring new functions, new devices and more.
A new feature in Live 11 is called comping (not camping). It allows you to organize multiple passes of an audio or MIDI performance into individual takes. You can then take the best and stitch them together for the desired final result. Musicians can also use comping to explore sound design in a new way. Since the beginning, making music from loops, audio snippets, etc. has been the basic idea of Ableton Live. Experimental or beat-oriented musicians in particular often only work with small loops or field recordings and create entire tracks from them. The comping function perfects this in my opinion.
Linked-track editing is a second new feature in Live 11 that allows you to link two or more tacks to edit their content simultaneously. A function that saves a lot of time.
Live 11 will also support MPE, one of the long-awaited features. Personally, I guess it would come as a free update for Live 10, but no. It will be an exclusive feature for the L11 community. This function introduces a new way of composing by allowing musicians to add bends, slides, and pressure to their notes. This not only makes music more versatile but also upgrades the sound design process in Live to the next level.
The MPE data will be available in a new expression view section where you can edit the pitch, slide, and pressure envelopes independently per note. Advanced variations of polyphonic sequences make this possible. Ableton is also extending the MPE function to in-house devices like the Wavetable Synthesizer, sampler, and arpeggiator. Of course, L11 supports third-party plugins with MPE as well.
Since we’re already talking about updated devices, there are also exciting new instruments and effect devices in Live 11. The new version comes with a new hybrid reverb that fuses convolution and algorithmic reverbs together. It makes it possible to create any space you want, from accurate real-life environments to those that defy physical reality. New reverbs are always welcome.
Ableton is also expanding Live in the spectral area with two new experimental effects. Spectral resonator breaks the spectrum of an incoming audio signal into partials, then stretches, shifts, and blurs the result by a frequency or a note in subtle or radical ways. The MIDI sidechain input also allows musicians to process material in key and even play the device as if it were a polyphonic instrument.
Spectral time transforms sound into partials and feeds them into a frequency-based delay, resulting in metallic echoes, frequency-shifted, and reverb-like effects. The Freeze function captures and holds a slice of audio – either free-running or in time with the beat – for stuttered, glitched, and washed-out effects. Exciting, that’s exactly why I’m staying with Ableton Live. The experimental sound design that no other DAW offers.
Inspired by Nature is a collection of 6 playful instruments and effects that brings organic sounds to Ableton Live. Dillon Bastan, developer of the fantastic M4L granular looper IOTA has created these new tools that use nature and physics as their inspiration.
Robert Henke, experimental musician and founder of Ableton also contributed something for L11. PitchLoop89 is another effect that creates jittery glitch effects, delayed digital shimmers, and outlandish vibrato. Wow. This list of new instruments and effects sounds promising. Exactly the way I expect from the Ableton developers. No old-fashioned but innovative effects with a wild touch.
Features For The Stage
Live 11 is not only a composing and sound design update but also one for musicians who are often on stage. It introduces the live tempo following function. Live listens to and adjusts its tempo based on incoming audio in real-time, making it a dynamic part of the band instead of the tempo source that everyone has to follow. That sounds innovative. So Live is no longer the clock, but the musician himself. Further, it features new macro snapshots with recall ability, rack improvements with configurations up to 16 macros, and an inspiring randomization function.
Tools To Add Chance
That’s not all. Ableton Live 11 also brings new tools that add chance that opens again new composing and sound design worlds. With the new note chance, you can set the probability that a note or drum hit will occur and let Live generate surprising variations to your patterns that change over time. Velocity chance define ranges for velocity probability or subtle, humanized variations in the dynamics of your patterns.
Follow Actions can now be linked to the clip length, be set to jump to specific clips, and be enabled and disabled globally. Scene Follow Actions make evolving arrangements possible.
In addition to new instruments and effects, L11 also comes with numerous new sounds. Voice Box, Mood Reel, Drone Lab… to name a few. The highlight here is a new collaboration with the sample library specialist of Spitfire Audio. They contribute three new libraries including Upright Piano, Brass Quartet, and String Quartet.
More Additions & Updates
- refined clip editing (edit loops of multiple clips simultaneously)
- CPU metering (Live now shows current and average CPU usage)
- key and scales
- clip detail view improvements
- many devices got updates including Redux, Phaser-Flanger, and Chorus-Ensemble. They now have an expanded range and new modes, adding more sound and making each device more musical and usable in every session they’re used in.
- Updated Core Library
- Updated Packs – Selected Packs from Live’s current library now include new MIDI drum grooves, MIDI chords, licks and basslines played by professional keyboard players, mix-ready presets, and more.
All in all, an extremely exciting update. There is something worthwhile in every area. Especially the new devices and composing possibilities are very tempting. Looking forward to check out Live 11. Ok, that’s normal anyway, I’ve been a Live user for years.
Ableton Live 11 will be available in early 2021 and will be available in three versions:
- 79 EUR / 99 USD for Live Intro
- 349 EUR / 449 USD for Live Standard
- 599 EUR / 749 USD for Live Suite
Last but not least, they also announced a special 20% OFF discount on Live 10 plus a free upgrade to the corresponding Live 11 edition upon release.
More information here: Ableton
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