Friday, 16 January 2009

Ableton Live 8:

Ableton have announced Live 8 - expected sometime around 2nd Qtr, 2009. This is a major upgrade and finally reveals the fruits of Ableton's collaboration with the Cycling74 team. 

Basic feature upgrades include the wonderfully named 'Groove Pool', for detailed groove template manipulation and creation.

Importantly for DJing are new, improved warping algorhythms including 'enhanced beats mode' and an 'elastique pro' algorhythm for an 'enhanced complex mode'.

Similar to Pro Tools Elastic Audio Warp view mode, Live 8 adds handles to transients that can now be moved around in the timeline - as an alternative to warp markers being assigned to static transients.

Add in a dedicated 'Looper', some new effects including a vocoder, limiter and multi-band dynamics, Operator 8 (including custom drawable waveforms), etc - and you can see this is probably the most exciting Live upgrade for sometime.

DAW collaboration between artists over the Internet has been tried several times - none of the solutions have become industry-standard, and in most cases artists are still tied into sending large audio files via FTP from server to server to import as wav's or aiff's into various platforms. Rarely are effects, tempo maps, software synth patches tied into the raw audio files so collaboration is still frustrating.

Live 8's SHARE feature finally looks like the elegant solution we've all been waiting for - at least for those who use Live as their main DAW. Not only can Live sessions be shared privately, but similar to SoundCloud - the uploader can choose to allow public access to Live sessions and post them on the web. 

I will certainly be looking into the legal possibilities of uploading some of my classic tracks in Live session format for public usage in the future.

MaxforLive is the result of two years collaboration between Ableton and Cycling74. This enables the building of custom effects, instruments, sequencers, etc for usage within Live. The process looks similar to the way instruments and effects are built in Reaktor. 

Although I find programming too time-consuming for my workload, I have sometimes needed to tweak various Reaktor ensembles and look forward to doing the same with MaxforLive. No doubt a healthy User Library of MaxforLive instruments will also spring to life.

The final exciting announcement from Ableton is the forthcoming dedicated Live hardware controller from Akai - the APC40. My initial thoughts are that it looks promising for my Live DJ sets as it is setup extremely similar to my existing Live+UC33 combination. 

I need to get hands-on experience before passing final judgment - I'm not sure if its possible to change effects on more than a single track at once, and the faders are quite short - but, if the price is right, and its not too fragile and bulky for touring gigs then it looks like a winner.

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