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Since its release in late 2001, Ableton Live has become the preferred loop-based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) on the market, used by DJs and musicians worldwide to keep the beats moving, both on stage and in the studio. More than just a sequencer/recording software package, Ableton Live turns your interface into an instrument, allowing you to integrate audio and MIDI loops seamlessly and in perfect synch, in real time. You can add, remove or reconfigure devices, route multiple tracks, and, of course, beatmatch to your heart’s content, as well as access tons of cool audio and MIDI effects, from reverb and delay to phaser, flanger, overdrive, and pitch and arpeggiator tweaks. Because it is designed to be used in live settings as well as in the studio, Ableton Live is easy to learn, with an intuitive user interface which is designed around two screens, or Views. The Arrangement View sports the familiar timeline scheme seen in most other recording software platforms, with vertically stacked tracks where time moves from left to right. The Session View, however, is a unique innovation that acts as a musical sketchpad, allowing you to improvise in real time by starting and stopping audio or MIDI loops ranging from short sound effects to whole songs, quickly and easily, in perfect sync and without worrying about conventional timeline constraints. Both Views allow you to add sound clips, virtual instruments or even full tracks on the fly, without interrupting your creativity.
Live comes equipped with a huge variety of virtual instruments, including vintage synthesizers, acoustic instruments and hundreds of drum kit variations. You can also use your own outboard gear like synths or effects units like they were plug-ins, and, of course, record your own vocals and instruments conventionally. As far as hardware interfaces, Live will work with any MIDI controller, and is pre-mapped to be instantly compatible with the most popular, including Ableton’s own Push, of course, as well as the Akai Professional APC20 and APC40 units, Novation Launchpad, and numerous other controllers from major manufacturers like Alesis, Behringer, Korg, Mackie, M-Audio and Tascam; or you can control Live using your Android or iOS device using third-party software.
Live 9, Ableton’s latest version, is available in three editions - Intro, Standard and Suite, which all share basic functionality and common features, with Standard and Suite packing additional bells, whistles and other Instruments, Effects and Packs, as well as enhanced operating features. For instance, all editions feature multitrack recording up to 32-bit/192 kHz; unlimited Instruments and Audio and MIDI effects per project, and Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching, just for starters. The Intro edition has more than enough features and functionality to get you up and running, a library of over 700 Sounds, and three instruments - Impulse, Simpler and Drum Rack. Live 9 Standard includes all that plus a fully expanded feature set, over 1100 Sounds, and 37 Audio and MIDI effects, while Live 9 Suite includes over 3000 Sounds and additional Instruments and Effects, and Max for Live, which provides limitless capabilities for creating devices and customizing your software. If you’re interested in dedicated hardware, the Ableton Push controller requires Live 9 to work with your computer, so it comes with Live 9 Intro, but it is also available packaged with Live 9 Standard or Suite. If you have an older version of Live, there are lower-cost upgrade versions available, as well as Educational versions of Live 9 Standard and Suite, with proper student or teacher verification. Whether you’re an old hand at music production, or just getting your ears wet, Ableton Live has a time- and stage-tested platform that’s easy to learn, a breeze to use, and professional-sounding enough to be the DAW of choice for musicians and DJs like Skrillex, Dust Brothers, Crystal Method, and Living Color axmaster Vernon Reid. Order yours today!
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