Live 10 Notes

My favorite music software is about to get a major update. Ableton Live version 9 and the Ableton Push 1 released on March 5, 2013. Later that year, Ableton came to Hong Kong and did their first certified trainer intake in Asia and I promptly joined in. That was almost 5 years ago and even though version 9.5 was a huge overhaul, this is a new day. This is Ableton Live 10. 

Even though I've only had access to the beta up to now, this newest version has felt stable and I can already see several things that are going to add a ton to my workflow and performance. Today, I'm going to list my five favorite new things about Ableton Live 10.


A couple months ago I opened Ableton 10 and pulled up an instance of Wavetable. I was instantly inspired and I put down a few chord changes. I was about to tap in a tempo and set up a track to record when I remembered hearing about this new feature that records midi in the background. I clicked an unfamiliar button in the transport and wondered if that was it. Sure enough. The past 2 minutes of noodling came up. It wasn't quantized but it was lined up in bars of 4 with the tempo already set. I don't know how they did it, but it works as advertised. I've heard Capture remembers up to 10 minutes of whatever you've just played via midi. It's not available for audio, but most of my ideas start in midi so Capture has to be at the top of my new favorite features list. 


This seems ridiculous to have in a top 5 list but I can't deny it. I have used this feature more than any other new feature and it's just perfect. In Live 9 or earlier, you had to select a knob or slider or dial and either manually reset it to 0 or use your delete key to reset the unity gain or default value. In Live 10, to reset a parameter, you simply double-click it. Boom. It's simple. It's straight-forward. It's intuitive and it becomes a habit almost immediately.


Drum Buss is a new audio effect that comes with Ableton Live Standard and Suite. This one will take the place of about 2 or 3 other plug-ins currently on my drum channels. It's one of those plug-ins that just makes everything sound better. It's a compressor. It's a transient shaper. It's a rumble-maker. It's a very easy to use but powerful one-stop shop for quickly getting some great sounding drums. Or bass. Or ... Here's a more in-depth walk-thru of the Drum Buss audio effect that comes with Ableton Live 10. 


I know this one has been held up because of licensing issues but it's still a great add-on for the export menu. I've tried Audacity. I've tried iTunes. I've even tried web sites that convert audio into mp3s for you. All of them are a pain when the only reason you have to open them is because you had to export a WAV or AIF to begin with. Having a way to export a client-ready, email-able audio file is a big productivity plus.


Finally, there's Wavetable.

I'm going to get this out of the way first: this is not a Serum killer. If you use Xfer Records Serum today, you'll still fire it up tomorrow. However, I love a lot of things about Wavetable even more than Serum. The envelopes and LFOs make a lot more sense to me and the modulation matrix is amazing.

In fact, I like Wavetable so much I decided to make a video about it. Towards the end there's a short sound design tutorial but I also explain what wavetable or transitional synthesis is and I also explain a bit of the history behind this unique approach to audio synthesis.

If you would like to download the patch I made for this video along with 7 other presets for Wavetable, sign up for my newsletter below and you'll get the link in the welcome email. Learn more about the WaveTable WorkBook here. 

If you are already an owner of Ableton Live 9, you can join in the public beta for Live 10 here or you can just keep refreshing this page until Feb 6!

Jeff CaylorComment