After months of anticipation, Ableton 10 has finally been released! Once you pop the hood, you’ll see that the improved interior means it has never been easier to navigate and use Ableton and it’s not just a simple update to the GUI in this latest incarnation of one of the world’s best DAWs…
There’s a whole new host of plugins, features and improvements and, with the manual running into 737 pages, it’s clear that a lot of time and effort has gone into this update. To save you the time of ploughing through all those pages, we’ve gone through and extracted the new features and improvements we feel you need to know most about Ableton 10.
So, without further ado, here are the new features and improvements you can expect from the most anticipated software release so far this year…
Wavetable (Advanced Version of Ableton Only)
Wavetable is a synthesiser that combines two wavetable-based oscillators, two analogue-modelled filters, and a powerful but intuitive modulation system. It’s designed to be usable by all musicians and sound designers regardless of the amount of synthesis experience they have. It’s simple enough to yield excellent results with a minimum amount of effort, but it offers a nearly limitless range of possibilities as you go deeper. The more you get to know it, the better results you’re going to get out of it. It’s perfect for those of you new who are new to synthesis but don’t want to miss out on the fun of creating searing dance leads.
Echo (Advanced Version of Ableton Only)
Echo is a modulation delay effect that lets you set the delay time on two independent delay lines while also giving you control over the envelope and filter modulation. Although it is not the most complex of effects plugins it has a job, and it does it commendably.
Drum Buss (Standard and Advanced Versions of Ableton Only)
Drum Buss is an analogue-style drum processor that is designed to add body and character to a group of drums while glueing them together in a tight mix. This is a great effect plugin to bring out when you’re in a hurry and just want to give your drums a shot of character. Although to be fair I was pleasantly surprised with the balanced sound that you get out of it. With just a couple of clicks, you can really notice the difference it makes to your tracks. A great quick, and easy to use effects plugin, I can see myself using it relentlessly in the #RPM2018 Challenge.
Pedal (Advanced Version of Ableton Only)
Pedal is another new effect, inspired by three classic guitar distortion pedals. It’s capable of a range of distortion sounds from warm overdrive to aggressive distortion to heavy and broken fuzz tones. Although Pedal may come across as the younger underachieving sibling of Drum Buss, it still has its uses. For me, that included adding a charming vintage guitar sound to my backing guitars. Pair this with an effective lo-fi effects plugin such as iZotope Vinyl, and you can create a genuinely authentic sounding vintage guitar sound in a surprising amount of time.
Have you ever been sketching out ideas on your keyboard, find an awesome melody, but then realise you forgot to hit record, and then you can’t seem to recreate it? The traditional answer to this problem was to record your sketching sessions to make sure you don’t miss any moments of creative genius. However, Ableton 10 has introduced a new feature which fans have been unintentionally crying out for ages. The new ‘Capture’ feature means that Ableton is effectively listening to your MIDI input on armed or input-monitored tracks. All you have to do is press the ‘Capture’ button after you’ve played to create a new clip containing your music. If you thought that was impressive enough, then you’ll be pleased to hear there’s more. Ableton will also automatically try to find the tempo and set appropriate loop boundaries for the new clip. Pretty cool right?
With new and improved multi-clip editing you can simultaneously view up to eight MIDI clips in the Detail View. When you’re within the multi-clip view, all you have to do is click a clip’s notes or its loop bar, and it’s now selected for editing. If you have multiple clips of different lengths, the editor will show as many loop iterations as are necessary for the clips to realign. Therefore if you want to edit multiple layers all at once, all it takes now is a couple of clicks.
Nested Group Tracks
Although it may not be the most glamorous addition, it will be one of the most appreciated. Group Tracks can now be created or moved within other Group Tracks. Therefore if you want to create a group for ‘Guitars’, you can also create new group tracks within that group such as ‘Bass Guitars’ and ‘Lead Guitars’. You also have no limit on the number of nested Group Tracks you can create. If you like your tracks to be neatly filed and organised this update is for you.
Ableton 10 also features 100s of new improvements to its interface and ease of use. In fact, there are so many improvements that Ableton 11 may be released by the time you’ve finished reading them! Here are some of the more noticeable improvements to the Interface and usability of Ableton 10.
Improvements to Plugins
Gain control can now be adjusted from -infinity dB to +35 dB. Also, The Left/Right Phase buttons now invert the signal at Utility’s input rather than at its output. And finally, a Bass Mono section allows you to convert frequencies below an adjustable point to mono, with an adjustable crossover control.
Improvements to Interface
- The appearance of clips has been updated.
- Sample dots on waveforms have been enabled. Now when zooming in, it’s easier to see where samples are on the beat time ruler.
- MIDI notes are now drawn in their clip’s colour in the Note Editor.
- Assign Track Color to Clips menu item to the context menu of track headers has been added. The command applies the track colour only to clips in the currently active view (Session or Arrangement).
- A new font has been incorporated throughout the interface.
- Live’s dials and sliders now look sharp at any zoom level.
- A set of five new Themes (page 32) has been added in place of the previously available Live “Skins”.
- The clip/device drop area is now always displayed in Session View to enable dragging.
- Pen Tablet Mode has been added to Ableton’s Look/Feel Preferences. Pen Tablet Mode allows you to control Ableton with graphics tablets and touchscreens. This replaces the “AbsoluteMouseMode” options.
- Live now supports HiDPI monitors on Windows 10.
What new features are you most excited about? Are there any new features that you wanted that weren’t added? Let us know in the comment section down below.
Those of you who own the standard or advanced version of Ableton 9 will be entitled to a free upgrade from the Ableton website. Just log in to your user account on Ableton, and it will be available as a free download.