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1. Welcome to Live

1.1 The Ableton Team Says: Thank You

Live is the result of musicians wanting a better way to create, produce and perform music using a computer. A great deal of effort has been put into making Live easy and fun to use, yet at the same time capable of helping you create music with unlimited depth and sophistication. This effort continues even as you read these lines... in fact, a new, improved Live version might already be available for download! Please check on our website now*, or choose the Check for Updates command from the Help menu.

We hope you enjoy using Live and that it enhances your creative process.

Your Ableton Team.

1.2 What’s New in Live 9?

1.2.1 Dual Monitor Support

Live can now be viewed on two monitors at the same time. This allows you to, for example, work with the Session/Arrangement and Clip/Device Views simultaneously, or dedicate a single monitor to detailed MIDI clip editing.

1.2.2 Session View Automation

  • Automation can now be recorded, drawn, and edited in Session View clips (see 19.2). Automation envelopes appear in a clip’s Device and Control Choosers, alongside modulation envelopes. Automation in Session clips becomes timeline automation when recording from the Session to the Arrangement, and vice versa when bringing Arrangement clips back to the Session.

1.2.3 Envelope Editing Improvements

  • Envelope breakpoints are now created by single-clicking on the envelope. When hovering over the envelope, a pseudo-breakpoint appears to show where the breakpoint will be placed after clicking. Hovering near the envelope or holding the Shift modifier while clicking on an envelope segment (a portion of the envelope between breakpoints) now selects the entire segment.
  • Clip Envelopes in Linked mode will now respond to changes in the clip’s Warp Markers (see 20.5.5).

1.2.4 Envelope Curves

It is now possible to create convex and concave curves in all breakpoint envelopes in both the Arrangement timeline and in clips. Curves are created and adjusted by holding the ALT(PC) / ALT(Mac) modifier while dragging an envelope segment. Double-clicking while holding ALT(PC) / ALT(Mac) returns the segment to a straight line.

1.2.5 MIDI Editing Improvements

  • A new set of transform tools (see 8.3.1) allows for fast manipulation of a MIDI clip’s contents. Transpose, reverse, invert, or apply legato in a single click.
  • MIDI notes can now be moved and resized freely without a modifier, even while off the grid is active. It is also possible to adjust note lengths while in Draw Mode (see 19.5.1).
  • MIDI Note Stretch (see 10.4.9) markers are now available whenever notes are selected in a MIDI clip.

1.2.6 Improved Keyboard Workflow

  • B toggles Draw Mode. Holding B while editing with the mouse toggles Draw Mode temporarily. Additionally, MIDI notes can now be resized while in Draw Mode.
  • The currently selected tracks, devices, notes or clips can be activated or deactivated with the 0 key.
  • The Enter key now toggles between time and note selection in MIDI clips. If the loop brace is selected, pressing Enter will switch the selection to the time within the loop brace.
  • Q toggles Hot-Swap mode (see “Hot-Swap Mode”).
  • D toggles the Hot-Swap selection between a Drum Rack and its last selected pad.

1.2.7 Redesigned Browser

  • Live’s new browser (see 5.1) features a two-pane view that shows all of Live’s devices and Packs clearly separated.
  • A search field in the browser filters results as you type. You can navigate between the search field and the filtered entries using your computer keyboard’s arrow keys.
  • The browser’s Preview Tab now previews Live’s instrument presets, by playing a short example sound when presets are selected.

1.2.8 Convert Harmony, Melody, or Drums to MIDI

Three new commands (see 11.2) allow you to extract the musical information from audio clips and place it into MIDI clips on new tracks:

  • Convert Harmony to MIDI extracts the notes from polyphonic audio and is designed for reimagining samples or loops.
  • Convert Melody to MIDI extracts the notes from monophonic audio.
  • Convert Drums to MIDI extracts the rhythms from unpitched, percussive audio. The new MIDI track will contain a Drum Rack with the kick, snare, and hihat notes from the original audio playing the appropriate instruments.

1.2.9 Consolidate Time to New Scene

The Consolidate Time to New Scene command consolidates the material within the selected time range in the Arrangement View to one new clip per track. The new clips are placed into a new Session View scene below the previously selected scene.

1.2.10 Default Presets for MIDI and Audio Tracks

Newly-created MIDI and Audio tracks can now come with devices already loaded (see “Default Presets”).

1.2.11 Default Presets for Plug-in Parameter Configurations

VST and Audio Units plug-ins can be loaded with a specific collection of parameters already configured in Live’s panel (see “Default Presets”).

1.2.12 Improved Waveforms

Live now has redesigned waveforms, meant to show more detail at all zoom levels and track heights. Additionally, the waveforms look smooth during zoom operations and during recording, so you can always see exactly what’s happening in your audio.

1.2.13 Improved Meters

The track volume meters in both the Session and Arrangement mixers now show both peak and RMS levels. Peak meters show sudden changes in level, while RMS meters give a better impression of perceived loudness.

1.2.14 Improved Coloring

Tracks are now automatically colored by default, and new clips take their track’s color. Auto-coloring can be toggled on or off via the Auto-Assign Track Colors option in the Look/Feel Preferences.

1.2.15 Device Improvements

  • Simpler (see 24.8) has been completely overhauled with a new interface, warping, slicing, and new analog-modeled filters built in conjunction with Cytomic.
  • New analog-modeled filters are available in Simpler, Sampler, Operator, and Auto Filter. These are based on classic vintage hardware models and will self-resonate, feedback, and distort beautifully. The filters were built in collaboration with Cytomic.
  • The Glue Compressor (see 22.18) is a new analog-modeled compressor based on the classic bus compressor from a famous ‘80s mixing console.
  • Tuner (see 22.32) analyzes and displays the incoming monophonic pitch as well as its distance from the nearest semitone.
  • EQ Eight (see 22.10) now has improved filters, a detachable display that shows the frequency spectrum of the output signal and allows multiple filter dots to be adjusted simultaneously, optional “Adaptive Q” and Audition modes, and a number of other improvements.
  • Compressor (see 22.7) now has an Auto Release mode, which automatically adjusts the release time based on the incoming audio. A Dry/Wet control allows for easy parallel compression. The Ratio can be set below 1:1, for upward expansion. The shape of the envelope follower can be switched between linear and logarithmic. Finally, a new display shows input and output levels, making it easier to adjust parameters.
  • Live’s Gate effect (see 22.17) now responds more accurately. There is also a new Return control (also known as “hysteresis”) to help reduce “chatter” when the level changes quickly near the threshold, as well as a sidechain EQ. Finally, a new display shows input and output levels, making it easier to adjust parameters.
  • The Multiband Dynamics device (see 22.22) now has a sidechain circuit, allowing it to be triggered based on the level of another signal.

1.2.16 Rendering Improvements

During export, sample-rate conversion is now done using the high-quality SoX Resampler Library, resulting in higher quality exports when rendering to a lower sample rate.

Additionally, an improved export dialog groups related controls together, making it easier to see and adjust your export settings.

1.2.17 Ableton Push and Push 2

  • Support for Ableton Push (see Chapter 27) and Push 2 (see Chapter 28): instruments for song creation that provide hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds, samples, and song structure.

Download Live 9 manual (PDF)

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