Ableton Live Free Download
Ableton Live is a loop-based software music sequencer for Macintosh and Windows by Ableton. The latest major release of Live, Version 6, was released in September 2006. Relative to other software sequencers, Live is designed around the notion of being as much an instrument for live performances as a tool for composing and arranging.
Ableton Live History
Ableton Live is written in C++ with the first version released in 2001 as a commercial piece of software. As of April 2007, the current version is 6.0.7. Contrary to popular belief, Live was not prototyped in Max/MSP, although it was used to model some of the audio devices.
Ableton Live 6 Features
Much of Live's unique interface comes from being designed to use in live performance. As such the interface is more compact than most sequencers and clearly designed for use on a single screen. There are no pop up messages or dialogs at all, aside from an options dialog consisting of five tabs. Portions of the interface are hidden and shown based on arrows which may be clicked to show or hide a certain segment (e.g. to hide the instrument/effect list or to show or hide the help box). Additionally, because of the performance aspect of Live's design, all of the processing is done in real-time, rather than rendering effects prior to playback as is typical in many sequencers and sample editors. A freeze feature introduced in version 4 allows for some pre-rendering of effects to reduce CPU load and a deep-freeze feature introduced in version 6 allows for manipulation of effect parameters on pre-rendered clips.
Most of the effects are fairly familiar effects in the digital signal processing world which have been adapted to fit Live's interface. They are however fairly obviously tailored for the target audience of Live – electronic musicians and DJs – rather than, say, post processing a guitar rig.
The audio effects shipped with Live (version 6) are:
|Ping Pong Delay
Additionally there are a handful of MIDI-only effects including arpeggiator, chord, pitch, random, scale, and velocity. In more recent versions Live is also able to use VST and Audio Unit (AU) effects
The arrangement view in Ableton Live 6.
There are two views which are central to Live – the arrangement view and the session view. The session is primarily used to organize and trigger sets of sounds called clips. These clips may be arranged into scenes which may be triggered as a unit. For instance a drum, bass and guitar track might comprise a single scene. When moving on to another portion of the composition – a new scene – some or all of those parts might differ and could be triggered in parallel. In Live 6, there is also the addition of "racks" which allow the user to easily group instruments and effects.
The other view is the arrangement view, which is used for recording tracks from the session view and further manipulating their arrangement and effects. This view is fairly similar to a traditional software sequencer interface.
Clips may either be an audio sample or MIDI (triggering one of Live's built in instruments, third party VSTs instruments or external hardware). Live comes by default with three instruments – Impulse, Operator and Simpler.
Impulse is a more or less traditional drum sequencing instrument which allows for defining a kit of up to eight drum sounds. There are a number of options available for preprocessing these samples such as basic equalization, attack, delay, pitch shift, etc. Once the kit is defined these samples are arranged into groups of measures using a piano-roll interface.
Simpler is a relatively easy to use sampling instrument. It is based on working with a single sample, applying preprocessing and then arranging it in a piano roll interface. In this case, rather than the notes representing different samples as in Impulse, the samples are pitch shifted to the selected note.
Operator is an additional product which may be purchased in addition to Live. It is designed for synthesizing sounds via a wide range of controls, and implements FM Synthesis using various configurations of four FM operators (hence the name).
Sampler is the newest add-on product, which is an extension of Simpler that adds multisample support for 3rd party sound libraries such as SoundFont, as well as facilitating wavetable and granular synthesis.
Working with audio clips
Sasha performing using Ableton Live with Macintosh computers.
In addition to the instruments mentioned above, Live can work with samples. Live attempts to do beat analysis of the samples to find their meter, number of bars and the number of beats per minute. This makes it possible for Live to shift these samples to fit into loops that are tied into the piece's global tempo.
Additionally Live's Time Warp feature can be used to either correct or adjust beat positions in the sample. By setting warp markers to a specific point in the sample, arbitrary points in the sample can be pegged to positions in the measure. For instance a drum beat that fell 250 ms after the midpoint in measure may be adjusted so that it will be played back precisely at the midpoint.
Almost all of the parameters in Live are controlled by envelopes which may be drawn either on clips and will be used in every performance of that clip or into the arrangement so that they vary at different points in the playback of a composition. The most obvious examples are volume or track panning, but these are also used in Live to set things like the root note of a resonator (see screenshot) or the delay time or feedback amount for a delay effect. Essentially these map to most of what would be a knob on an effect in a traditional audio processing rack and in fact they may be mapped to knobs on MIDI controllers.
New features in Live 6
According to the Ableton Live 6 press release, Live 6 will include support for QuickTime video, which can be dropped directly into the arrangement view. It also provides Live 6 users with a large library of multisampled instruments such as strings, brass, and harp. Live 6 introduces the concept of instrument and effect racks, which are places where users can create, save, and group multiple instruments, effects, and plug-ins. It includes several prebuilt racks which include instruments and effects. There are more devices as well such as an increased range equalizer, waveshaper, and warm distortion. Another feature is the "Deep Freeze" feature, which keeps most editing functions available while a track is frozen. Live 6 also adds multicore and multiprocessor support for applicable machines. Live 6 distributes the computation load from virtual instruments and effects among all available processors, resulting in a significant increase in performance compared to earlier versions. There also are some MIDI remote enhancements, such as adaptive mappings for control surfaces, multi-destination MIDI and key mappings (which for example allows you to use a single knob to control multiple parameters) and a new soft takeover feature that allows you to avoid jumps when physical controls do not line up with software controls.