A good three years passed since Ableton announced Live 10 back in November 2017. But progress is inevitable, and so is Live 11! Coming in early 2021, the next major update to Live is shaping up as a thoughtful and exciting offering with the introduction of comping, MPE support, new devices, and lots more to talk about. Here’s the gist of it, along with all the price and availability info you need…
Comping and Linked-track editing
Version 11 brings Ableton’s take on the track comping functionality present in competing DAWs like Logic Pro X. Multiple passes of your audio and MIDI performances will be recorded as individual takes to let you compile them into one successful take. It’s also a great approach to layering and distressing audio for sound design purposes. Additionally, two or more tracks can be linked for simultaneous editing. We’ll have to see how this plays out, but I assume Ableton will do it right and provide a meaningful upgrade to Live’s editing facilities.
MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) support
MPE support unlocks per-note parameter editing for even more powerful expression possibilities. The Wavetable, Sampler, and Arpeggiator devices are MPE-ready, and so is the new Expression View where you’ll be able to edit the pitch, slide, and pressure envelopes of each note.
Live 11 will introduce at least 5 new devices to play with. These are Hybrid Reverb, Spectral Resonator, Spectral Time, Inspired by Nature, and PitchLoop89. Their descriptions are very promising and these devices will surely help further Live’s tremendous out-of-the-box sound design potential. Hybrid Reverb, for example, combines convolution and algorithmic engines while the Spectral stuff breaks audio into partials to shift and shape them into oblivion.
Added to these are six new sound banks – Voice Box (playable vocal samples with effects racks), Mood Reel (synthetic textures), Drone Lab (probably goes BURRR), and three treats from Spitfire Audio – Upright Piano, Brass Quartet, and String Quartet.
Live 11 adds Live tempo following, Macro snapshots and racks of up to 16 macros each. Live tempo following employs Live’s trusty time-stretching to automatically match the project tempo to incoming audio in real time. This could very well liven up a backing track or accompaniment! Macro Snapshots, meanwhile, let you store the state of Macros for instant recall. I assume this works like the Scenes feature you may know from modern Elektron gear.
Live 11 is also getting a taste of the unknown with Note chance, Velocity chance, and improved Follow Actions. The option to set the probability of a note or drum hit playing will be great for randomizing or borking up a stale pattern while velocity probability could be big for humanising or creatively imperfecting drums. As for Follow Actions, they can be linked to clip length, be set to jump to specific clips, and follow Scenes to come up with evolving arrangements.
Core library and functionality improvements
For Live 11, Ableton has also updated and expanded the Core Library and select sample packs with more content focused on modern music production. In addition, all Live devices get a boost with expanded ranges and new modes. You will also catch the improved CPU metering with current and average CPU usage along with per-track CPU meters. Keys and scales have been added to the MIDI editor to be used as guides or reference. Finally, Clip editing and Clip Detail view improvements allow for simultaneous editing of multiple clips and a clearer overview of audio and MIDI clip properties.
Overall, that’s an appropriate amount of nips and tucks to warrant a major update. While it may be playing catch-up in certain aspects, Ableton has visibly taken care to ensure Live stays within the top 3 DAW choices for a good number of years to come.
First Ableton Live 11 screenshots
Click on each screenshot to zoom.
Price and availability
“Ableton Live 11 will be available in early 2021.” – is all the company is saying. To get some historical perspective, Live 10 was released on November 6, 2018 following its November 2, 2017 announcement. So, chances are ‘early’ really means ‘early’!
Note that a discount offer is running now until the release of Live 11. Throughout the promotion, all Live 10 editions are 20% off. Furthermore, the purchase of any Live
10 edition automatically entitles customers to a free upgrade to the corresponding Live 11 edition upon release.
As usual, Ableton Live 11 will be available for purchase from ableton.com, local retailers and dealers. Prices are up already:
- 79 EUR / 99 USD for Live Intro
- 349 EUR / 449 USD for Live Standard
- 599 EUR / 749 USD for Live Suite
Existing Ableton Live owners should log into their accounts to check upgrade pricing.
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