The team at Ableton has been honing Live, its DAW, carefully and skilfully since 2001, creating a massive cult following in the meantime, and with the announcement of Live 11 - coming in the first quarter of 2021 - newcomers and veterans alike are equally excited, and for good reason.
Live 11 is impressive for many reasons, as it adds workflow tweaks that are both large and small. It finally adds a few improvements that long-time users have been requesting for years, including the ability to comp audio and MIDI tracks into take folders, and the ability to link tracks together and edit them all together.
MIDI editing has been drastically overhauled, as there is now probability, velocity ranges, and a new Scale mode that can be enabled on a per-clip basis.
Several flagship Ableton Live devices are also seeing drastic overhauls, increasing their functionality in the meanwhile. The Chorus and Ensemble effects are now grouped together in a new plugin that allows the user to select between the two effects and a vibrato setting. A Dry/Wet control and the addition of a Warmth knob, which adds some vintage character, greatly increase the usefulness compared to Live 10’s Chorus effect. The Phaser and Flanger have seen similar upgrades.
Ableton also added a few new things that are totally new to Live 11. These include three new effects - a Hybrid Reverb that allows the user to blend convolution and algorithm-based reverbs, a Spectral Resonator plugin with a unique audio Freeze function, and a Spectral Time plugin that is as trippy as it sounds.
Live 11’s overall look will be quite familiar to long-time users, though there are a few new browser improvements that show the team behind Live 11 isn’t content to rest on its laurels.
Now, plugins are grouped together by category instead of by name, and Max for Live effects are integrated with the stock Ableton plugins. Furthermore, templates are now in their own category in the left browser window, making it easier to refer to and pull up more than just one template.