Work in progress
 

Live is an open-minded software. It will flawlessly play and record in tune with most software based on the ReWire protocol, for example Propellerheads' virtual studio Reason. Many (though not all) third-party effects and virtual instruments can be used. It is also possible to control Live's functions via MIDI, thus eliminating the need to use the computer keyboard and mouse - after all, computer input devices were surely never meant to control music software. Apart from that, Live is easily integrated in an existing hardware setup, due to its advanced input-/output section.

When Live first came out in 2001, it was capable of recording, mixing and editing audio material only. Since the introduction of revision 4, the software can handle MIDI data as well, which makes it a complete and very comfortable recording and editing solution. In practice, Live proves to be reliable and very easy to handle - it's simply fun to work with. Mind you, it goes way beyond a simple "sample playback" toolbox, it also opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for musicians with a leaning towards experimental sounds and compositions. Though Live makes music production very easy, at the end of the day it is still a matter of how you use the tools you have. However, Ableton have achieved their goal to make Live a serious software tool that is almost as intuitive to handle as a real instrument.

Of course, the Ableton research team are always on the lookout for ways to improve Live and de-bug minor flaws to keep demand for their products up. Looking at the rich feature list of Live 4, it feels hard to think of any future improvement, but Ableton have shown in the past that they are always good for a surprise. The major challenge for future revisions will be to retain the elegance and simplicity that have earned Live so much critical acclaim in the past.

Live's session view main window, with window extensions maximized

 

(rh 05/MMI, update 05/MMV, pictures rh)

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A MIDI- and an audio-track in Live's session view
 
 

ABLETON LIVE
< While my notebook gently bleeps
< Have laptop, will travel
= Work in progress