25, 49 or 61 synth-style, velocity-sensitive keys for easily creating performances with feeling.
16 RGB velocity-sensitive pads for both colour-matched feedback when launching clips and creating expressive drum beats. Nine faders (49 and 61-note versions) and eight knobs for easy control over mixer, instruments and effects. USB bus-powered and totally class-compliant, so it works straight away without any drivers on Mac or PC. Includes Ableton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station and V-Station virtual instruments and 1 GB of Loopmasters samples.
Of course, if you don’t use Ableton, it’ll automatically map to other major music software too.
The less time you spend messing with your mouse, the more time you have for making music. Sixteen RGB pads provide clip colour-matched feedback to enhance your workflow, letting you create and launch clips, trigger samples, control FX and loads more; all whilst playing your keys. Launchkey is fully USB bus-powered and class compliant, so it works straight away without power supplies or drivers on Mac or PC. Please select a QTY from above, your Country and Postcode (if you live in AUSTRALIA) or just your Country if outside of AUSTRALIA and click apply to receive a shipping quote in the table below. Power Tools for Studio One 2 and Studio One for Engineers & Producers from Hal Leonard Publishing House. Welcome to SoundBytes Magazine, a free online magazine devoted to the subject of computer sound and music production. If you share these interests, you’ve come to the right place for gear reviews, developer interviews, tips and techniques and other music related articles. Ableton Live can’t be compared with any other DAWs that are on the market at the moment. This review could be done in just one sentence: “Trentemoller” uses Live as his main DAW, so if it is good for him, then it should also be good for us. I presume that some of you haven’t heard of the musician and producer performing under his real name “Trentemoller,” so we should do it in a bit more proper, profound way. I got Ableton Live 9 Suite, which is a bit pricey, but when you sum up all the things that you get along with main software, you will soon figure out that it is very fairly priced. After watching all those tutorial video clips, I made my first composition in a less than half an hour.
You could even try to make a song without touching the keyboard: Convert one orchestral loop to a MIDI clip, taking the lower part for the bass in combination with Live arpeggiator and taking the mids and highs for the lead line Operator.
The most interesting thing with most of the Ableton Live effects is that all of them give great results even with the default setup. The next extraordinary and unique feature is the way you can manipulate audio or MIDI sounds. In the past, I was never to keen to program synths, but after I saw a few video clips about Operator, I changed my mind and started tweaking various things inside this simple-looking, ultra-powerful synth. Sampler looks simple (not so simple as Simpler) but please don’t be fooled with your first impression. The next thing that is very user-friendly (after you get used to it) is the browser where you get all your sounds, internal tools, external tools, or whatever you define, ranked in a very tidy way. Yesterday I tried to make a mastering rack out of Ableton Live’s included effects and ended up very close to the results that I got with Izotope Ozone. Obviously Ableton Live 9 is a tool that invites you to start your traveling without any idea what you will do during the flight, lending with a mastered masterpiece two hours later at some other destination. Ableton developed Push, a good-looking, handy pad controller for Ableton Live which could possibly be the only controller that you will ever need.
It looks very impressive and as soon as my bank account shall recover, I promise that you will get a detailed review.
At the Ableton site you can find the Packs directory where you can hear demo clips for more than one hundred packs. The truth should be told, that there are many more additional Ableton Packs which are not presented directly on that subsite, but you can find trails through the Ableton blog. Upon installing the program and copying two files into your Max directory, you get a new powerful tool integrated directly into the sequencer. The only thing I miss in this Liquid Notes for Live version is the ability to define the number of bars for unchanged harmony, but knowing the team, I’m sure it will be in a future version. This one is not strictly made for Ableton Live, but Ableton Live is just the most perfect match for this piece of software.
It’s pretty much the quickest and easiest way to produce and perform electronic music, especially in Ableton Live because we designed it specifically for the purpose. The Launchkey synth-style keyboard is lightweight, fast and very easy to play, but also velocity-sensitive so you can create truly expressive performances. If you want immediate hands-on control of your session grid, instruments and effects, you should use a MIDI keyboard controller that integrates immediately and automatically with Ableton Live. Although we designed Launchkey for Ableton Live, its pads, buttons, faders and knobs take control of all other major music software too using InControl.

We recommend that you update to the latest version as previous versions of Ableton Live do not include the Launchkey integration for InControl.
But first and foremost, SoundBytes is about “gear” in the form of music and audio processing software. After spending a month with Ableton Live, watching almost a zillion tutorials which I found on YouTube, I became a bit addicted and have already made a few songs. If you intend to record a country band or a symphonic orchestra, then choose Cubase, Logic or Pro Tools.
Cubase, Logic and Pro Tools are the most advanced recording studios that money can buy, and they offer everything you need to start and finish your song on a highest possible level, but for all sorts of modern mixture of electro genres (Hip hop, IDM, Electro, Dance, Trance, Chill, Dubstep etc.) Ableton Live is unbeatable. Ableton packed all things that you will ever need in Suite, a whole symphonic orchestra that doesn’t sound cheap at all along with all sorts of live and dead drum packs, a zillion loops, various retro and contemporary instruments, and Max for Live with an impressive arsenal of tools along with two convolution reverbs. It is the perfect tool for live playing; also, it is unbeatable for trying different combinations, but the main strength lies in the arrangement window which at first sight looks similar to the other arrangement windows in other sequencers.
I browsed through my base of free drum loops that I have compiled over the years, and after finding the right one, dragged it to the MIDI track.
Spice it up with one drum loop, also converted to a MIDI clip (till now, it is a two minute business and the background is almost done), then add a few appropriate additional chords.
You can simply select any part of a loop or phrase, then delete or just copy and paste it anywhere else in project.
Ping-pong delay is already filtered properly, so in the most cases you just need to set up the amount of the effect, and the same goes for all other effects. Doing a standard pop production, your vocalist can save the day, but when you try to make some instrumental stuff, you suddenly find how some static background can sound so uninspiring and dead. Creating crazy, Skrilex-like pulsating, evolving, wobbling basses is shamefully easy with Operator. It is a fully featured sampler where you can go mad multi-layering various sounds, just to get more buffed sound or to rank them through various velocity ranges.
All loops can be previewed at the host tempo, and all sounds can be previewed before you drag them in, the same for drum kits where you can even hear some basic drum loop to listen to the various elements in the kit as you audition it.
I use compressor (Mix gel preset), EQ Eight which has a very nice mono – stereo option where you can fine-tune separately the mono and stereo signals using up to eight bands for every one (preset that I’ve downloaded for free), Multi-dynamic compressor, where you can easily see what it is doing so fine-tuning is a piece of cake, along with Limiter. It has a bunch of small pads and various menu buttons aside which allow you to attach various functions to those pads, like choosing a tonal scale, so you can even play keyboard solos with it. Some are free, other are cheap, a few are more expensive, but all in all there is a bunch of a good choices for every taste. Some of them are really adorable, so it is not such a bad idea to spend some additional time searching around the site. Following the instructions from the video tutorial, I got my first results after a few minutes of suspense (did I set everything right or not?). You just plug in via USB and the keys, faders, knobs and pads immediately spring into life, giving you hands-on control of your grid, instruments, effects and mixer.
You can choose between 25, 49 and 61-note versions, depending on whether you want portability or practicality.
After all that quality time, I figured out one thing – Ableton Live can’t be compared with any other DAWs that are on the market at the moment.
Also the Suite version brings us some additional Live instruments that really make a difference – Operator and Sampler. I’ve collected so many different pro reverbs during the years and ended up with the Ableton one.
With Ableton Live you can go absolutely crazy filtering, automating, changing and evolving sounds from second to second. Also, I found some unique functions like reverse all MIDI notes in a clip, allowing me to record a MIDI loop, reverse the loop with one click, render as audio, then reverse the audio back to normal getting sucking sounds where attack is at the end of the note. Making all sorts of gymnastics with samples is pretty easy, selecting the loop range or toying with start, decay, release or anything else sample-related.
The only other function that I miss is a “comp” function for choosing the best take out from your recordings, but the truth is that Ableton Live has such a powerful warp function implemented automatically in every audio clip that you can make your best take even out of your worst take. It is a full-featured DAW which brings a total different approach to the world of music making, a tool which can inspire you even when you don’t have any inspiration. Programing new drum patterns is a piece of cake, the same for adding new scenes or tracks, recording and manipulating clips, and adding or even deleting notes. From orchestral through the exotic ethno ones, then on to drums and ambient sounds, real instruments, fake instruments – it is almost like being in a supermarket.
The 49 and 61-note versions give you hands-on control of your mixer too, with nine dedicated faders.
If you want to write a whole song on a plane, from a sketch to the finished product – the professionally produced, up-to-date modern song – then Ableton Live is your tool. All in all you’ve got 54 GB of included material and 3000 sounds instead of 4 GB and 700 sounds in the standard version. After I selected the “drum” option, Live converted the loop into a MIDI file adding a TR 606 drum rack as a starting point. This method allows you to fine-tune any loop, combining various parts together on different lanes.

Everything can be linked to almost anything, and if you are too lazy to do some automation, just insert an LFO Filter effect as an insert effect, set the treshold frequency and rate. I nailed my bass and guitar take with Complex Pro warp algorithm so heavily that my sloppy playing skills ended like a Van Halen line in a Michael Jackson’s album. With Ableton Live you can do literary everything, but not in the same way as you are used to doing. There are even packs from well-known sample companies like Project SAM, Soundiron, Soniccouture and few others. Play four long chords, add four legato notes for bass, open an additional MIDI track, add an instrument of your choice and then connect it with Catanya 2. During all those years of making music, I came to the conclusion that the work-flow has the biggest influence on the end result. You can produce anything you want with it, the sky is the limit; it just offers a different working approach and different tools and a very adorable, handy work flow that will bring fresh air into your production, where everything can be done more intuitively, without breaking your creative process. After browsing through those packs, I’ve noticed that you actually get everything you need to start production.
I dragged the same loop to an additional audio track (all loops are automatically stretched to the sequencers speed), pressing the button for converting the speed to half time, then cut some low ends with Live EQ, making a nice background rhythmical noise out of a normal rock loop. If you use a drum rack, then you can just select the appropriate pad and add any effect you want to just that pad. Ableton Live 9 brings one additional compressor, Glue Compressor, which I initially thought is just another toy with a fancy name, but after seeing it in action (video tutorial) and trying it inside my arrangement, I figured out that it can really add a pro-sounding touch on a drum group channel (yes, you can group tracks in Ableton) or on a buss channel, the same as on the main channel. Your basses, pads or whatever will go crazy, rhythmically filtering to create a desired sound.
Record some simple bass line, and then just start moving the level knobs that are nearest to the main window.
Liquid Notes is a harmony assistant which can analyze your file, implementing harmonic changes on the fly following your commands while you tweak using two sliders and pressing two knobs. Open Catanya 2, browse through the impressive number of presets, and ten minutes later you will have your first Trance, Dance, Rave, Pop hit.
So, if Ableton Live Suite is the first thing that you have ever bought, it could easily became also the last one, not to mention all those free packs that comes almost daily on Ableton blog site. Reverb and compressor to snare, EQ to hi-hats, EQ and bass buster to kick, along with shaping every separate hit in very tiny detail with the included controllers inside the drum rack. Drawing one note over another automatically deletes overlapped notes (very handy for making pads out of some syncopated notes).
All you need to do is to create some simple phrase using a chord or two, and then add a bass line along with any other instrument. Catanya 2 brings patterns for bass (from Blues, pop till techno, dance trance), drums (a bunch of nice hi-hat grooves among other ones), Piano, Strings (very good ones, specially staccato phrases), Synth (various phrases and lead lines for many genres), Pads, Brass and Guitar patterns. Contemporary music is all about the beat, but this is not big news; that is the case with all music for the last 50 years.
You don’t need to move the one which is at the bottom, as this is the main, first oscillator. You can modify those patterns, adding new ones and then saving them in the User directory of the browser or just abusing them, using them for some other instruments. All included tools, effects and instruments are high-quality enough so that you don’t need any third-party things to achieve professional results. In the end, I spiced up the arrangement with a few additional sound effects, put a few effects on the main output, added a ping-pong delay to the default reverb and delay send section, and that’s it. At first glance, you’ll get the impression that there are too many parameters in every tool that Live offers, but soon you will realize how handy are all those knobs. There is an Invert function and various others like selecting a range and changing it with one move. I’ve recorded a few of my manipulations, and after few trials and errors, I got some very interesting results that exceeded my average knowledge of harmony. The most used ones are always close to the main graphical window, while lesser used and additional ones are in a rank after the most used, so if you just grab the first one near the main window, you will do the job, at least in most cases.
So, it is an ideal tool which can help you to develop your few-bar loop into a full composition. It is also a perfect tool for adding some patterns to your existing song, finding a solution that you would never think of yourself. So, all in all, not your everyday beggary of MIDI tools you are used to, but pretty different ones that you need some time to learn. As I told in the first part of this review, you simply can’t compare Ableton Live with other DAWs.

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