Ableton Live 12 Unveils Revolutionary Synths and Saturation Effects

Ableton has recently released a significant update to Live, its premier digital audio workstation. Live 12 introduces an array of fresh features, MIDI enhancements, and workflow improvements, all aimed at fostering musical innovation.

The update’s standout features are two new devices, Meld and Roar. Meld, a bi-timbral, MPE-compatible synth, integrates seamlessly with modern MIDI controllers, including Push 3. It’s ideal for those interested in expressive live performance. Meld’s unique dual architecture allows for creating innovative sounds by combining two timbres. It includes two oscillators with a range of waveforms, particularly complex ones for textured sound production. Additionally, each oscillator has two macros for quick adjustments, and the synth offers extensive modulation and routing capabilities for more in-depth sound design.

Roar is another new addition, a saturation and coloration effect that promises to be a staple in Ableton’s plugin collection. It’s versatile, capable of adding subtle warmth or achieving intense sonic distortion. Roar features three saturation stages with options for series, parallel, mid/side, or multiband configurations. Its modulation matrix and feedback routing contribute to its powerful effects processing capabilities.

Also notable in Live 12 is the upgraded Granulator, a granular sampler created by Ableton’s co-founder Robert Henke. Granulator III comes with a redesigned interface, real-time audio recording capabilities, and MPE control over various parameters like vibrato and note bend.

Live 12 offers a range of new MIDI tools designed to simplify the generation of melodies, rhythms, and chord sequences. Some of these tools are generative, automatically creating music based on user-defined musical rules. The MIDI Editor has also seen improvements, making it easier to manipulate notes and rework melodies and rhythms.

The user interface of Live 12 has been enhanced for better usability. A revamped browser and tagging system simplify sound discovery and organization. The Stacked Detail Views feature allows viewing the Clip Editor above the Device View for a comprehensive overview of a track’s activities. Additionally, the Mixer can now be accessed in Arrangement View, a long-awaited modification.

A unique feature in Live 12 is the Sound Similarity Search, which assists in locating samples and presets that match a chosen sound. This function can scan the entire library and suggest similar sounds. It also allows for easy swapping of samples in devices like Drum Rack.

Live 12 is a substantial upgrade, bringing exciting innovations to this feature-rich DAW. This overview touches on the major updates, with more detailed coverage to follow in the coming days.

Ableton Live 12 is set for an early 2024 release, but current owners of Live 9, 10, and 11 Standard and Suite can access the public Live 12 Beta now. Pricing for Live 12 is set at €79/$99 for Live Intro, €279/$439 for Live Standard, and €599/$749 for Live Suite, with discounts available for existing users.

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