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Tech review: Ableton Live 10 digital audio workstation


How Buzz.ie fared running the new Live 10 suite from Ableton

In recent years, advances in music production technology and the affordability of recording equipment have made the art of making tunes much more accessible to all.

It’s getting harder to tell the difference between tunes concocted in a bedroom and those crafted in plush recording studios using hundreds of thousands of euro worth of top-end recording equipment. 

If you fancy yourself as a budding songsmith or DJ producer, one essential tool you will need is a digital audio workstation (DAW).

Your DAW is the program application you need for recording, editing and producing audio files.

Live 10

As well as making banging tunes, it can be used to produce podcasts, radio jingles, TV shows, radio programmes, sound effects and soundtracks.

One of the most popular DAWs is Ableton, and the latest version Live 10 was released earlier this year.

It was originally designed for live performance, so it’s got a visual interface that fits snugly on a single laptop screen.

And there are many third-party hardware controllers designed specifically to use in the live arena with the software.

But it has evolved into a complete recording package and Ableton Live 10 Suite is a significant overhaul of the entire system.

Live 10

But it refines what regular users will already know. So anyone who is upgrading can continue as before without any major shocks to their user experience and technique.

Among its headline features are brilliant visual improvements, a new synth and new effects.

The visual boost looks fantastic on a hi-res or Retina Display screen. Everything looks neater, tidier and more readable.

The new Collections feature on Live’s browser will impact your workflow in a positive manner. You can use up to seven colour-coded labels that aid simpler navigation and filing.

Another nice feature is the ability to edit eight Midi clips at once. Automation editing has also been improved.

Live 10

The new ‘capture’ option will automatically save musical ideas even before you decide to record.

And Live 10 will back up the 10 most recent saved versions of your set.

The new Wavetable synth features a couple of oscillators with a vast range of controls and filters. It delivers clean and rich sounds and is easy to get to grips with.

An awesome new effect unit called Echo features two delay lines. It has lots of controls to help you mimic classic tape delays and dubby fx.

It’s also got a nifty echo tunnel that shows you on screen how long a delay effect is likely to last.

Another new effect unit Pedal allows you to add effects akin to classic guitar distortion pedals: overdrive, distortion and fuzz.

Live 10

While Drum Bass is a toolbox of analogue-styled processors to give your percussion tracks more depth and punch.

There are six new content packs that group together instruments, clips and samples that the curators think will work together.

The idea is for creatives to explore sounds they might not normally use.

And for anyone buying Ableton for live performance, Max For Live is now bundled within the Suite edition.

Owners of Ableton’s own Push 1 and Push 2 controllers will also benefit from new improvements.

Ableton Live 10 Suite is well worth investing in if you are serious about recording, as it’s a fully integrated studio with so many great instruments, plug ins, effects units and packs.

If you want to try out the system without having to shell out for the Suite, you can try the Intro edition for €99 and upgrade if you like it.

Ableton Live 10 Suite costs €599 from ableton.com

 





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