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Ableton Live Suite

Ableton Live Suite 9 – Review

Ableton Live Overview

Ableton Live is a professional music sequencer software (Digital Audio Workstation) for OS X and Windows launched in 1999. Ableton Live is a tool for composition and arrangement, but its design and its ergonomics are mostly intended for live use.

Ableton Live Specifications

Ableton Live RackAbleton Live Rack

Ableton Live has two workspaces:

  • First of all  there is the “arrangement view ” used for recording tracks from the session view and manipulating their arrangement and effects. It is also used for manual MIDI sequencing, something for which an academic producer would have a higher affinity. This view is somewhat comparable to a traditional software sequencer interface.
  • In addition, there is the “session view” where you can add, organize and triggers sets of  MIDI and audio clips.  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. As of Live 6, “device racks” have been implemented which allow the user to easily group instruments and effects, as well as map their controls to a set of ‘macro’ controls.

You can switch from one screen to another to add new instruments to tracks, make your mixes, apply your effects, etc. In addition to offering a new working interface, this new version  has a navigator on the left of the screen, which shows you all the samples and instruments, divided into different categories, as well as effects and your own folders containing your own samples, extracts, mixes, etc.

Ableton Live / session and arrangment views
From Session To Arrangement

For mixes and live arrangements, Ableton Live has a session recorder, which keeps the various operations performed to replicate them at the right time.



  • Multi-track audio recording at up to 32-bit/192 kH
  • Powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments. Includes 10 software instruments, 41 effects and Max for Live
  • Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
  • Unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks per song
  • Includes 23 sound libraries (Packs) with over 50GB of original sounds

Your First 30 Minutes In Ableton Live 9

Awesome video made by SadowickProduction – Introduction !

Basic Instruments

  • Impulse is a sampler to make beats. It can contain 8 samples in which different treatments can be applied: Simple equalizer, sound envelope, pitch, etc.
  • Simpler is a sampler containing a single sound. The sample is played at different heights according to the note played.
  • Operator, which can be purchased separately if the core modules are not enough, is an FM synthesizer with many parameters. It has 4 oscillators that can be used in frequency modulation (FM), or not, depending on the chosen algorithm.
  • Sampler is, as its name suggests, a sampler that allows to import several formats, such as Akai kits or the Soundfonts. The modulation possibilities are quite broad. It is not included in the basic offer Live.
  • Analog, which can be purchased separately if the core modules are not enough, is also a modular synthesizer, an instrument for subtractive synthesis (the most common sound synthesis instrument “vintage” as the old and very famous Minimoog, ARP Odyssey, Korg MS-20, Roland Jupiter-8, SCI Prophet 5, etc.). Sound sources of the synthesizer are two oscillators (VCO) and a noise generator. These sources can be independently directed to two filters (VCF) multimode different, each connected to an amplifier (VCA). In addition the signal can pass through filters in series or in parallel. Analog also features two LFOs (low-frequency oscillator, or LFO) that can modulate the oscillators, filters and amplifiers. In addition, each filter and amplifier has its own envelope generator (ADSR).
  • Electric is a virtual electric piano. Each component of these instruments has been modeled using a physical modeling technology advanced to produce realistic sounds and alive. Physical modeling uses the laws of physics to reproduce the behavior of an object. In other words, Electric solves real-time mathematical equations describing how its components work. No sampling or wavetable is used in Electric; the sound is simply calculated in real time by the processor depending on the value of each parameter.
  • Tension is a synthesizer for emulation of string instruments. Electric as above, it is entirely based on physical modeling technology and uses no sampling or wavetable. Instead, it produces sound by solving mathematical equations that model the different components of string instruments and how they interact. This elaborate synthesis engine responds dynamically to the control signals it receives when playing, therefore reproducing the richness and responsiveness of real string instruments. Tension features four types of excitatory (two types of hammer, a pick and a bow) thus reproducing the attack type of a piano (string struck by a hammer), guitar (enabled by a pick or pinched by the fingers of the musician), violin (vibration initiated then maintained by a bow), with an accurate model of rope, an interaction model fret / finger, a mute model, different types of soundboards .. . the combination of these different elements to suit the imagination and allows the reproduction of a wide range of stringed instruments, classical, traditional, Asian, fantasies, etc. Tension is also equipped with filters, LFO and envelope parameters (ADSR) that expand the possibilities of sound sculpture beyond what would be possible with instruments from the real world. Finally, Tension offers a wide range of interpretation functions, including keyboard modes, portamento of functions, vibrato and legato.

In addition, various  VSTi plug-ins from various manufacturers can be added to the library of Ableton instruments.


Most effects are fairly standard, but the interface was adapted to the Live screen. Here is the list of effects that is in version 9:

  • Auto Filter
  • Auto Pan
  • Beat Repeat
  • Chorus
  • Compressor
  • Corpus
  • Dynamic Tube
  • EQ Eight
  • EQ Three
  • Erosion
  • Filter Delay
  • Flanger
  • Gate
  • Glue Compressor
  • Grain Delay
  • Multiband dynamics
  • Limiter
  • Looper
  • Phaser
  • Ping Pong Delay
  • Saturator
  • Simple Delay
  • Spectrum
  • Redux
  • Resonators
  • Reverb

There are three versions of AbletonLive

The number of instruments included in Live depends on the version purchased. You could a comparison table of the three versions of Live here :


Ableton Live 9 - Intro Standard Suite price table
Ableton Live 9 – Intro | Standard | Suite


To go further

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Author Rating
Aggregate Rating
5 based on 4 votes
Software Name
Ableton Live Suite 9
Operating System
Software Category
Digital Audio Workstation
$ 599.00
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