updated 05:25 pm EDT, Thu October 4, 2007
Ableton Live 7 debuts
Ableton today debuted a range of new software scheduled for release before the end of the year that includes Ableton Live 7, several new add-on instruments, and Ableton Suite combining Live 7 with a selection of instruments in one discounted bundle. Ableton Live 7 features an enhanced audio engine for improved fidelity with 64-bit mix summing, POW-r dithering, optimized sample-rate conversion, and other advances. The update also includes a new compressor that integrates three compression models, one of which is based on a feedback design commonly found in most vintage compressors. Fully integrated side-chaining capability is available for the new compressor, according to Ableton, as well as for Gate and Auto Filter. Ableton Live 7 will be available as a free upgrade to Live 6 users who unlock the software between October 1st of 2007 and January 31st of 2008, with new licenses priced at $500 after that time. Ableton's new instruments be priced at $160 each.
More on Ableton Live 7
Live 7 adds high-quality modes to Operator, Dynamic Tube, and Saturator for anti-aliased processing as well as reduced typical "digital" artifacts. EQ Eight offers an improved user interface with a 64-bit mode for increased accuracy, while the new Spectrum analyzer provides visual feedback for any audio signals within Live.
The MIDI engine is reworked to minimize timing error -- or jitter -- of recorded MIDI, and hardware integration is streamlined which allows users to insert hardware synthesizers and effects into device chains like software plug-ins. New memory management technology allows users of large sample libraries like Ableton's new sampled instruments or third-party libraries imported via Sampler to run a vast number of instruments at the same time, according to the company.
New Audio and MIDI fact sheets contained in the latest release of Ableton Live 7 explain exactly how signals are or are not being modified when using specific features in Live, and provide tips for achieving the highest quality results. Users can also insert time signature changes into the Arrangement timeline or tie them to Session scenes, export warped as well as unwarped video to files, and display as well as edit multiple automation lanes per track at the same time.
The update includes a new "tempo nudge" function to ease the process of synchronizing to live musicians or DJs, and users can drag-and-drop REX files to play just like WAV or AIFF files. Live, Operator, and Sampler also boast many small improvements and additions based on user requests.
The new "Drum Rack" aims to streamline beat production via a familiar drum pad interface with support for dragging-and-dropping samples, instruments, and effects. Each pad can have its own Sampler, Simpler, Operator, or any other virtual instrument or plug-in as well as its own individual effects chain, according to Ableton. The slicing feature fills a Drum Rack with the individual hits from REX or audio loops, while the original sequence is represented as a MIDI clip to ease the process of replacing, reshuffling, or re-recording the events for individual processing. Each Drum Rack can also have its own sends, returns, and sub-mixes while every pad is displayed as a mixer channel in the Session View and each drum is draggable out of its rack for isolated pattern control and editing.
New Ableton instruments
Ableton's new add-on instruments cover physical models of electric pianos, analog synthesizers, and string instruments as well as multi-mic/multi-layer sampled acoustic drums, drum machines, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. The instruments integrate with Live, both in terms of workflow and resource management, according to the company.
"TENSION is a physical modeling string synthesizer based on the advanced technology found in String Studio from Applied Acoustics Systems. Through the use of mathematical models, Tension simulates each component of a stringed instrument. Tweak everything from how the string is played—with a pick, bow or hammer—to the size and type of instrument body used. Create incredibly accurate reproductions of real instruments or design otherworldly hybrids, all within Live’s familiar working environment."
"ELECTRIC offers the much sought-after sounds of classic electric pianos. Based on AAS’ acclaimed Lounge Lizard, Electric uses the same advanced physical modeling synthesis technology and integrates perfectly into Live’s workflow. Because Electric uses synthesis, users can dive inside and play with the guts of the instrument—the hammers, tines, pickups and more—to achieve just that right amount of melancholy or bark and bite."
"ANALOG emulates the unique circuitry and irresistible tweakability of vintage analog synthesizers, employing the renowned physical modeling technology of AAS’ Ultra Analog. Analog is a creative workhorse that features versatile alias-free oscillators, multi-mode filters, syncable LFOs, looping envelope generators and much more. Able to produce everything from silky pad sweeps to earth-shaking bass, Analog is also completely integrated in Live’s familiar interface."
"SESSION DRUMS is a meticulously multisampled library of acoustic drums that reproduces the nuances of a recording session and puts you in the engineer’s seat. Session Drums gives you full control of the close mics for each drum as well as the overheads and room mics, so you can craft the perfect drum mix for your songs. Session Drums also includes stereo kits appropriate for various musical styles and a variety of MIDI grooves to speed up the production process. Session Drums was created in collaboration with ChocolateAudio, makers of the critically acclaimed 'Imperial Drums.'"
"DRUM MACHINES offers a choice selection of classic drum machines, meticulously sampled and programmed by Ableton content developer PureMagnetik, to faithfully reproduce the original sounds. Drum Machines is easily tweaked with cleverly mapped controls, allowing users to experiment with the inner workings of the instrument and adjust to taste."
ORCHESTRAL STRINGS, BRASS, WOODWINDS, PERCUSSION
"ORCHESTRAL STRINGS, BRASS, WOODWINDS, PERCUSSION—four collections of sampled orchestral instruments featuring a number of variations and articulations, created in partnership with SONiVOX, a leading provider of premium sampled instruments. Recorded with the expertise of world-class musicians, engineers and producers, these collections put a world of authentic symphonic possibilities at the composer’s fingertips. The Orchestral Strings, Brass, Woodwinds and Percussion collections take advantage of complete integration with Live and its new resource-efficient sample engine, allowing users to work with an impressive number of instruments in their compositions."
ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTION 2
"ESSENTIAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTION 2—a multi-gigabyte collection of meticulously sampled and selected instruments, offering a choice selection of acoustic and electric pianos, guitars, bass, drums, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds and more. Version 2 adds acoustic and electronic drums as well as presets optimized for better sound quality and faster loading."