Ableton announced the release date for Live 10, the promised and awaited update to their tremendously popular DAW. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a ton of chatter amongst the Live user community about the February 6, 2018 date and whether or not upgrading is warranted.
It’s been about two years since I transitioned away from Logic Pro X as my primary DAW of choice and to Ableton Live, and yes I did sign up for the 20% discount on the Ableton Live 10 "preorder.” I’ve also downloaded the Live 10 Beta to test a couple of new features and improvements.
For jamstik+ users Live 10 promises to be a solid, if not necessary, upgrade to Live 9.
Before I go over my experience with the Live 10 Beta, I’ll bring you up to speed on some of the new features.
There are four new devices:
The Wavetable synth
The Echo delay effect
The Drum Buss multiprocessor (super hard to describe in brief)
The Pedal effect (think "all things distortion related.”)
Workflow improvements include Capture (the ability to perform MIDI outside of recording and still “capture” it,) edit multiple MIDI Clips simultaneously, and added editing features to the Arrangement View. Other improvements include Browser Collections, Note Chasing, I/O Renaming, mixing improvements, nested groupings, UI tweaks, and Push integrations.
In detail, you can go to Ableton’s Live 10 page, but the best video walkthrough I’ve seen comes courtesy of producer Slink. Take a peek at both of those links and you’ll be fully versed on the update.
Overall, as someone with a lot of time invested in Logic Pro X, I’m really happy to see Ableton Live 10’s improvements include some workflow tweaks that have been Logic mainstays for a while now. My current workflow integrates both DAWs; nothing beats Ableton for raw creative power, but Logic Pro X includes a couple of “engineer-centric” features I need for tasks like tracking vocals (I tune and tweak with SynchroArts Revoice Pro which requires timestamped audio) and I work with collaborators whose work comes to me in Logic Pro X. We’ll see if the new file handling features get scooped into other software developers’ integrations— fingers crossed.
Okay truth in disclosure, my experience with the Ableton Live 10 beta was motivated by my interest in seeing if Live 10 has some efficiency improvements with CPU and RAM handling. I have a 12-core Mac Pro 5,1 with 48 GB of RAM and my larger creative projects still require me to set the audio buffer size higher than I’d like to use. (Multiple instances of SERUM & Spire VI's, and iZotope, Slate Digital, Eventide, and Waves plugins get used in my sessions.)
The new devices deliver as promised. Wavetable is a powerful synth that’s going to be heard on lots of new projects this year for sure, and the other new devices and feature improvements do not disappoint. The UI tweaks include a new font and in general, the UI feels even flatter than Live 9 does (didn’t think that was possible…)
While it’s impossible to really assess technical specifics like CPU performance in a beta (often times there’s still extra or temporary code in beta releases) I did measure a 5-10% improvement in CPU efficiency measuring with iStat Menus with a heavily loaded session. (Other “average” sessions maintained the same CPU efficiency fine even when I adjusted the audio buffer lower by 50% - not bad!)
If you decide to download the Live 10 beta, I did run into two issues before I could even launch the application (and my experience here might have just been coincidence on the first:
The beta took longer to download than anticipated - like considerably longer than I’d expect
If you’re on MacOS you might want to turn off FileVault in System Preferences > Security & Privacy because the verification process also took a while to complete before I could install.
Overall, I'm pretty excited about using Live 10 and I believe it's going to continue to be a major tool in my creative process.