Ableton Live – What is it?

October 23, 2008

Ableton has been allowing musicians to develop their sequenced music and transfer it to the live environment for years, going from being a simple loop based piece of software to becoming the extremely powerful and intuitive program that we know today.

One of its main strengths lies in its dual view ability, “Session View” and the “Arrangement View”. This means the user can define the most appropriate view for the application intended. Be that running like a standard audio sequencer program or powerful real time audio manipulation program.

The program is now that comprehensive that there are even courses designed solely for the Ableton user to learn the full capabilities of the program

The Live Concept

Live offers two main views—the Session View and the Arrangement View—that interact in a powerful and unique way, allowing you to create, produce and perform your music all in a single application. Here is the principle behind each view:

Session View


Live’s unique Session View acts as a powerful musical sketch and launch pad, allowing you to try out new ideas easily and improvise freely. Each cell in the Session View grid can hold a recording, MIDI file, or any other musical idea. These ideas can be recorded on the fly or dragged in from the Browser and played in any order and at any time you wish.
Arrangement View


The Arrangement View offers a timeline-based approach for traditional multitrack recording, MIDI sequencing and other music production tasks. You can even improvise in the Session View, and all of your actions will be recorded into the Arrangement View, where they can be edited whenever you like.

Live Showcase


Elastic Audio Manipulate the tempo and feel of your music as it plays.

Uninterrupted Creative Flow Record, mix, match and add effects without ever stopping the music.

For Studios Bring the creative power of Live to your studio environment.

For Beat Creators Streamline your beat production and gain endless creative possibilities.


For DJs Elevate your DJ sets. Remix, mash up and produce your music.

No Idea Lost Effortlessly build and browse your library of musical ideas.



Defy the Timeline Freely improvise musical structure instead of constructing it.

Hands On Control Express yourself with your hands (or your feet!)

For Sound Designers Create radical variations of your samples in real time.

Live 7 Features

  • Multitrack recording up to 32-bit/192kHz
  • Complete nondestructive editing with unlimited undo
  • Powerful and creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
  • Real-time time-stretching and warping of AIFF, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and MP3 files, for improvisation and instant remixing
  • A comprehensive selection of built-in audio effects, including a host of creative delays, filters, distortions, studio compressors and EQs
  • Built-in software instruments: Simpler for creative sample-based synthesis, Impulse for sampled drums
  • Instrument-, Drum-, Effect Racks for creating and managing complex performance setups, drum kits and multi-effects
  • VST and AU effects and instruments support; automatic plug-in delay compensation
  • REX file support and native sliced audio file creation
  • Video import and export for scoring to picture or warping picture to music
  • Real-time control of parameters with any MIDI controller—just MIDI-map it or choose from a list of popular supported controllers for instant mapping
  • Full ReWire support
  • Single-screen user interface for simple, creativity-focused operation
  • Multicore and multiprocessor support

Essential Instrument Collection 2

The boxed version* of Ableton Live 7 includes the Essential Instrument Collection 2, a multi-gigabyte library of meticulously sampled instruments providing a choice selection of acoustic and electric pianos, guitars, bass, drums, orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds and more.

* Not included with boxed upgrades.

The Live Set: Part 4 from Bjorn Vayner on Vimeo.


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