updated 12:00 pm EST, Thu November 29, 2007
Ableton Suite, Live 7
Ableton today released Ableton Live 7, several new add-on instruments, and Ableton Suite. Ableton Live 7 enhances the audio engine to improve fidelity with 64-bit mix summing, POW-r dithering, optimized sample-rate conversion, and more. A new compressor device integrates three compression models, one of which is based on a feedback design commonly found in the most most praised vintage compressors, according to Ableton. Ableton 7 is priced at $500, and new add-on instruments are available for $160 each. The Ableton Suite is priced at $800.
Fully integrated side-chaining capability is available for the new Compressor, as well as Gate and Auto Filter functionality. The update adds High-Quality modes to Operator, Dynamic Tube, and Saturator for anti-aliased processing as well as reducing typical 'digital' artifacts.
EQ Eight offers an improved user interface and a 64-bit mode for increased accuracy, and the new Spectrum analyzer provides visual feedback for any audio signals within Live. The MIDI engine is also reworked to minimize timing error (jitter) of recorded MIDI, while streamlined hardware integration allows users to insert hardware synthesizers and effects into device chains like software plug-ins.
New memory management technology allows users with large sample libraries, such as Ableton's new sampled instruments or third-party libraries imported via Sampler, to run an large number of instruments at the same time automatically without the need for setup changes.
New Audio and MIDI fact sheets explain exactly how signals are (or are not) modified when using specific features in Live, and provide tips for achieving the highest quality results.
Live 7 includes many user-requested features like time signature changes, exportable warped as well as unwarped video, multiple automation lanes per track, a new 'tempo nudge' function to ease the process of synchronizing to live musicians or DJs, REX files with drag-and-drop support, and numerous other small improvements.
A new 'Drum Rack' streamlines beat production in Live 7 via an simple drag-and-drop interface, while a familiar drum pad interface also supports drag-and-drop for samples, instruments, and effects. Each pad has its own ampler, Simpler, Operator, or any other virtual instrument or plug-in as well as its own individual effects chain, according to Ableton. A slicing feature fills a Drum Rack with individual hits from REX or audio loops, and the original sequence is represented as a MIDI clip. Each Drum Rack optional has its own sends, returns, and sub-mixes with every pad shown as a mixer channel in the Session View. Additionally, users can drag each drum out of its rack for isolated pattern control and editing.
New add-on instruments
"The new add-on instruments are the result of Ableton's collaboration with leading industry partners. The palette covers physical models of electric pianos, analog synthesizers and string instruments as well as multi-mic/multi-layer sampled acoustic drums, and drum machines," Ableton said. "The instruments integrate tightly with Live, both in terms of workflow and resource management."
Tension is a physical modeling string synthesizer based on technology found in String Studio from Applied Acoustics Systems (AAS). Through the use of mathematical models, Tension simulates each component of a stringed instrument. Users can tweak everything from how the string is played--with a pick, bow or hammer to the size and type of instrument body used.
Electric offers the sounds of classic electric pianos. Based on AAS' Lounge Lizard, Electric uses the same physical modeling synthesis technology and integrates perfectly into Live's workflow. Because Electric uses synthesis, users can play with the guts of the instrument -- including the hammers, tines, pickups, and more -- to achieve the right amount of melancholy or bark and bite.
Analog emulates the unique circuitry and customizable nature of vintage analog synthesizers, employing the physical modeling technology of AAS' Ultra Analog. Analog is a creative workhorse that features alias-free oscillators, multi-mode filters, syncable LFOs, and looping envelope generators.
Session Drums is a multisampled library of acoustic drums that reproduces the nuances of a recording session to put users in the engineer's seat. Session Drums gives users full control of the close mics for each drum as well as the overheads and room mics. Session Drums also includes stereo kits appropriate for various musical styles and a variety of MIDI grooves to speed up the production process.
Drum Machines offers a selection of classic drum machines, sampled and programmed by Ableton content developer PureMagnetik to reproduce the original sounds. Drum Machines is easily tweaked with mapped controls, allowing users to experiment with the inner workings of the instrument and adjust to taste.
Essential Instrument Collection 2 is a multi-gigabyte collection of sampled and selected instruments. The instrument provides a selection of acoustic as well as 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.
Ableton Suite is a combination of Live 7 with a selection of Ableton instruments. The package provides a comprehensive set of musical tools, all integrated into Live's workflow. The download version of Ableton Suite includes Live 7, Sampler, Operator, Electric, Analog, Tension, and Drum Machines. The boxed version of Ableton Suite additionally includes the Essential Instrument Collection 2 and Session Drums.