Ableton have announced Live 4, which will extend Live's real-time music-making approach to the complete range of today's music production techniques.

In Live 4, you will find a complete and inspiring approach to MIDI sequencing, pattern recording, drag-and-drop sampling, virtual instruments (!) and MIDI hardware support. They have also made substantial extensions and enhancements to existing functionality, including such features as swing/groove for audio and MIDI clips, a powerful new channel-routing scheme, simplified recording, sample reverse, and several exciting new creative options for the Session View.

MIDI Tracks, Effects, and Instruments

MIDI sequencing in Live has been designed to get the user started within seconds. Software instruments appear in Live's built-in browser. Dragging an instrument from the browser into the mixer creates a MIDI track with that instrument, ready to play and record. MIDI effects and audio effects can be instantly dragged into the same track, without dealing with menus or abstract routing concepts. The signal flow within the track is intuitively set up by drag-and-drop. The Track View provides instant access to all controls of the instrument and the effects in the track.

Live 4 also includes the 'Simpler' sampling instrument which allows for instant sampling, polyphonic playback and creative exploration of any sound dragged into its display. 'Impulse' is a polyphonic percussion sampler with drag-and-drop sample import and powerful and innovative sound-shaping controls. In addition, Live hosts any VSTi or Audio Units (Mac OS X only) plug-in instrument. MIDI tracks with no software instrument deliver MIDI to external hardware synthesizers, ReWire client programs, or other MIDI tracks in Live. Live 4 also comes with 5 MIDI effects. The 'Scale' effect, for instance, forces incoming notes onto a chosen musical scale and fits well with 'Random', which creates specified random pitch deviations.

MIDI Clips

MIDI clips are created by recording or by dragging in standard MIDI files from Live's browser. Notes can be viewed, created and edited in the Clip View's note editor. When draw mode is engaged, the note editor behaves like a drum pattern interface, where a pattern step is set or cleared by a single click, and flams are crated by dragging across multiple steps. Unlike static drum grid or step sequencer interfaces, Live's flexible grid allows the user to change the step resolution at any time, for instance from straight to triplet notes.

MIDI clips, as audio clips, have their own loop settings. MIDI controller movements are represented as clip envelopes, which can be unlocked from the notes for creating independent movement. The same real-time options apply to MIDI clips as to audio clips: one can launch MIDI clips at any time, with real-time quantization preventing rhythmical error. MIDI clips can be assigned to computer keys or MIDI note ranges for jamming with musical phrases. MIDI clips can also be exported from Live as Standard MIDI files.

MIDI Recording and Patterns

Patterns can be built-up on the fly by overdubbing MIDI onto clips while they play in a loop. In conjunction with the integrated new 'Impulse' percussion-sampling instrument, Live exhibits the spontaneous creation options that are normally associated with hardware groove boxes. One can in fact use the computer keyboard to play Impulse's percussions and create grooves from the laptop alone. Standard multitrack linear-Arrangement MIDI recording and overdubbing is available as well.

Flexible Routing

New monitoring, track routing, and view navigation avail non-disruptive track setup and recording. Any track can feed and tap other tracks for submixes or layering as well as be routed to eight auxiliary sends per Live Set.

More new Features

  • Swing and Groove: Audio and MIDI clips support variable real-time swing and individual groove parameters.
  • Automatic Jamming. Audio and MIDI clips can be set to produce customized or even random sequences of loops or samples in Live's Session View. Great for generating new ideas, beat making, or advance preparation of a DJ performance.
  • Sample Reverse: single button can reverse any audio clip in real-time.
  • Session View scenes can change the project tempo.
  • Session View scenes can be set to advance automatically.
  • Audio performance has been optimized for Macintosh computers.

Live 4's SRP will be EUR/USD 499 and upgrades from any full version of Live (Live 1, 2 or 3) will cost EUR/USD 119 (download) or EUR/USD 149 (boxed).

Live 4 is scheduled for release by the end of July but a public beta version will be available soon.



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