Tinkering with new Ableton Live 9 features

Here's to hoping the new year is off to a great start and treating you all well!

I decided to take the plunge and upgraded my Live 8 standard install to Live 9 Suite last month, and I'm just now going over the new feature set they've added to the Live 9 roll-out. I'll likely delve more into the 9 Suite goodies at a later date, but I wanted to touch on some of these new features that are very welcome additions that could very well sway my "ableton-only-as-a-performance-tool" stance.

While I do still strongly believe that Ableton's Live has a long way to go on the arrangement view side of things in terms of interface and tools available, some of these new features definitely make the overall experience of production pretty slick, streamlining some of the more mundane sides of production work.

One thing that stands out right away are the new MIDI editing shortcuts. I love that you can double/half the speed of selected MIDI notes with a click of a button, transpose quickly, and have access to reverse/inverse functionality that takes a split second to run.

Logic Studio has a lot of this functionality built in, but it usually takes about two to three steps to execute, so the streamlined buttons are definitely welcome.


Some of the other features like Consolidate Time to New Scene are pretty great time savers, instantly taking a section you've selected on the Arrangement view and dropping it into a new clip. Audio to MIDI goes without saying, for doing quick sketches where you don't have access to an instrument. I thought Audio to MIDI was particularly interesting where Ableton demos a beatbox scenario—to actually see it parse the different drum sounds directly into a viable drum sequence is crazy!

There's a ton of other improvements that are about equally important, but for some reason it's the EQ Eight improvements that really stand out to me. The fact that the EQ can now both give you a output frequency spectrum to give you a better idea of what's going on is a huge step to me. It also seems kind of trivial but I love how the EQ expands into the main window, giving you control over all the filters in the EQ at the same time. It speeds things up a lot. Overall it just seems a lot more slick, probably in part due to the new Adaptive Q mode that automatically changes the bandwidth of the frequency depending on how much you're cutting or boosting. Makes things sound a lot smoother, much more early on.


In any event, there are quite a few things that have been on a lot of folks' wish lists for a long time that finally have seen the light. I'm enjoying having a more stable 64-bit build for live performance, but I'm looking forward to giving things a whirl in the studio as well in the coming weeks.