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Ableton Live 9 Features Revealed

While we first saw hints of Live 9’s new update over the weekend, Ableton has finally dropped the goods with the full announcement and feature list in the new version. From automation curves, a new Drums/Melody-to-MIDI feature, to a brand new browser and collection of  devices and instrument racks – the new Live 9 looks like it will be a heavy hitter for existing users and new users alike. Read on for the full details and official Ableton videos!


In Ableton 9, two much-requested automation features are finally here, as outlined in the above video (props to Ableton on making short, crisp videos covering all of their new features!). First, the ability to record automation into clips in real time – allowing you to tweak your controller’s knobs and record that automation for continued playback. This will be awesome for live looping and performance- and is something that a lot of producers have loved about the Korg KP3 Kaoss Pads for a few years now.

The second upgrade is the ability to draw in curves in the automation for a clip. This might seem basic – but not having to use stepped or linear automation anymore will absolutely be a major improvement for many.


The Live browser has always been a bit of a pain – but in Live 9, the entire browsing interface has had serious attention given to it, making it way easier to find what you’re looking for. Aside from it using a more sensible two columned layout, with the left hand one divided into “Browse” (separated out categories of Sounds, Drums, Effects, Instruments, etc) and “Places” (traditional library view of packs, user content, etc). They’ve also made a cleaner search that indexes all of your content, allowing you to start typing and for the search to be updated in real time – again, this is simple but will save users a lot of time overall.


As revealed this past weekend in the initial leaked video, Ableton Live 9 will include a brand new compressor, the Glue Compressor, that was created in collaboration with Cytomic. The Glue rocks a simple interface but promises to deliver great results. Ableton’s other studio effects haven’t been ignored in the update either. EQ Eight is sporting a breakout display, an Audition mode for soloing frequencies, an analog-style adaptive Q option, and improved filters. The classic Compressor and Gate effects also have new displays to help visualize the effects and how the controls are changing what’s going on.


Ever heard the story of how Michael Jackson wrote songs? Apparently, he was known to sing melodies, breakdowns, and other elements of his songs into a tape recorder, and then get his production team to help him turn his ideas into actual instrumentation. Live 9 is rocking a new feature which won’t turn you into Michael Jackson, but it  does seem to be able to take recordings you’ve made of yourself singing, beatboxing, or rocking out on an instrument and turn it into MIDI clips that correspond.

While we’re not sure exactly how well it works in reality, the feature is sure to be a great way to get ideas out of your head and into the software just that much faster  – or simply allow you to use an instrument that you’re comfortable with to sketch out new ideas. We’re especially excited that with the new Drums-to-MIDI feature, we’ll finally be able to put our sweet beatboxing skills to use for something other than annoying other passengers around us on the train.


There have been a number of tweaks to make clip editing way more streamlined in the new Live 9 update – here’s the top features and tweaks related to editing, straight from Ableton themselves:

Transform MIDI notes: New controls in the MIDI editor let you quickly invert, reverse, transpose and speed up or slow down selected MIDI notes with a single click.
Move notes on and off the grid: Beats are easier to see when editing, and editing grids are now “sticky,” allowing notes to be freely moved and resized while still snapping when close to grid lines.
Stretch MIDI notes: MIDI Note Stretch markers let you speed up, slow down – or even reverse – selected MIDI notes.
Warp clip automation: Audio clip automation is warped alongside the audio itself. Envelopes in MIDI clips can be stretched using MIDI stretch markers.
Edit automation more easily: Add or remove breakpoints with a single click. Hover the mouse near envelope segments to select and drag them without using a modifier.
Add curves to automation: Hold a modifier while dragging to create and edit curves in automation envelopes.


As with past releases of Live, Ableton is splitting up the software into three distinct levels of offerings – Intro, Standard, and Suite. Each tier includes progressively more features and instruments than the last, and they’re available as the same prices as Ableton 8 – €79 for Intro, €349 for Standard, and €599 for the Suite. That being said, Ableton has discounted the current versions of Ableton 8 by 25%  – and is including a free upgrade to Live 9 on both the Standard and Suite editions.

The Live 9 Suite edition will include over 3000 sounds in included packs – Instrument Racks and sounds – that makes for a good jumping-off point for new projects. It also includes Max For Live, which itself now includes 24 new powerful devices. Check out a full comparison of the three editions of Live 9.

Beta testing is set to begin shortly – but users can expect the full release of Live 9 in the first quarter of 2013. The new software will also be fully integrated with Ableton’s new controller, Push, also announced today. Read more about Push here!

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  • Robin

    I can not understand the hype about Live 9. To be true to ourselves, what features are really new? A bunch of new designed plugins? That can’t be the big deal, really not. There are a lot of vsti’s out there that do a great job too. Automation recording??? I can remember I just did this a while ago with Live 8, or do I misunderstand something here? A few performance and comfortability upgrades are no argument to bring them out as new features. The new browser seems just not much better than the old one, if you have a strict order in your vst folder and sample librarys. The only two things that seeem very interesting are the adio to MIDI features and the new MIDI editing possibilities. On the other side, I can not understand why they don’t seperate the different workspaces for better usage on to screens. These are just my first impressions/opinions.

  • Rick

    So excited for this. Amazing improvements. Only want one more. Please add time-stretching to sampler/simpler. Ableton is so good at time stretching everywhere else, except in their samplers. We want constant duration over the whole keyboard please!

  • Natufian

    A lot of folks are mentioning that they upgraded from Live 8 Standard to Live 8 Suite for $200, but when I log in to Ableton’s site the upgrade is offered to me at $284, anybody got any clue as to why? Also I have already purchased SAMPLER. Might this be the cause for Ableton charging me an extra $84 for the upgrade?

  • Mike Kim


  • Most of this stuff is already available in Studio one and has been for a long while (and probably has been in other DAWs too). Now studio one needs to get Abletons clip set up.

  • Did they add anything to make Ableton more live performance friendly??

  • hedghy

    awesome ! that audio to midi feature will pretty much blow melodyne out of the water.. they charge over 300 buck for their polyphonic plug in.. so glad i didnt buy it now

  • Rename

    Live 9 will not initially support VST3 but will still upgrade though and hope that they are working to get that sorted out asap.

  • When will Live be able to play directly with MP3s, AAC or FLAC without needing to create massive files? When it does maybe then it’ll be really useable for DJing.

  • Controllero

    Does the box version also come with the free upgrade to 9?

    • live 8 suite box edition will get free upgrade.

  • for got sakes, i was so excited about this new update until i realised they haven’t implimented dual screen support!!! argghh.. i would gladdly swap all the other updates just for dual screen support!

  • Destiny

    We totally need that automation update

  • in other news….traktor 2.6 update is out.

  • Wow. Now that Ableton’s sequencer doesn’t suck giant balls, maybe I’ll actually start using it.

  • Paul


    • Steve Francesco

      In my thoughts as well, but without the playlists its still going to be a nightmare to find anything IMHO, I for one NEVER remember the name of tracks, only where I’ve put them in my playlist.

      • so make a playlist in the browser tree. solved.

        • Steve Francesco

          I’ll Rephrase. A playlist which connects to my central music/sample library that I can use with all my other software without re-creating / creating copies of stuff everywhere.

  • Descahzo Donaby


    • That’s the feature you ask for, of all things?

      • Steve Francesco

        I for one use itunes as a library for all my samples, and pretty sure im not the only one, it makes its so freaking easy to find what I need at a glance espessially when not playing a pre-planned set (which I don’t). The current method of dragging stuff from itunes (this was itunes integration?) is just plain stupid.

        IMHO should not NEED another software open to browse my Audio library and I should not NEED to touch the keyboard whatsoever in a live situation – midi control should be included for these basic functions (as well as things like Global Quantize which is currently only keystroke)

        I don’ think its idiocy to really want this feature, espessially those of us who use live as a DJ’ing tool and need to pull individual tracks into a set at a moments notice.

        No Midi control over browsing, and no browing of the itunes library has been just one of the many peeves I’ve had on Ableton since I started using it, kinda very pissed if thats not included now 🙁

        The very least they could have done was to allow the import of itunes playlists to simplify everything, even if it was a manual function

        • To be honest – Having iTunes sort out your actual samples seems a bit weird to me. Why would you do that? When I slice up a track or have some samples to play with I usually store them as their own project. I put them in a folder which I can quickly find via the browser than just drag the wanted project in 😡 I also always save with all the samples copied to go with the project. This way u also have sort of a back-up?
          Importing a playlist into live also seems weird as Live’s approach is more modular right?

          Midi for the browser would be really awesome though.

          • rsntr

            I’d use itunes not for sorting samples but MP3s for DJing

          • Steve Francesco

            I DJ with live and regularly need to pull samples and full mp3 tracks into my sets on the fly.

            Being able to import a playlist as an audio library source would be amazing – everything I have is sorted out into playlists – I don’t work well with names of samples or tracks

          • make a playlist in the browser tree. problem solved.

          • Steve Francesco

            Thats not a solution its a workaround – my tracks and samples (along with many other peeps I’m sure) are organized in itunes, not just for Ableton DJ’ing but with using multiple softwares e.g. Traktor – making multiple copies of tracks makes no sense to me. Rename the software”Ableton prepared” rather than “Ableton Live” 😛

          • no. it’s a solution. you just don’t like it.

          • Steve Francesco

            Sry, I’ll agree to disagree then, thats like saying antivirus on a windows computer is the solution to not getting viruses, when in reality the software has been made with more holes than swiss cheese in allowing viruses to infect the system in the first place IMHO of course.

            Ableton Its been touted as a Live DJ application for long enough that such a basic function like integrated sample/track management should be in place. meh lets see what happens.. its apparently not out of Dev yet so who knows what else may be added.

          • yeah i thought it was interesting that they did so much device redesign but seem to not be touting a lot of the most often voiced concerns that have to do with performance as opposed to production.

            if there is an eq3 without 64 being the center in live 9 then i am convinced they just don’t give a fuck.

        • the only point that you raise as a gripe with ableton that can’t be accomplished right this second with live 8 and no 3rd party software is midi control of browser functions.

          • Steve Francesco

            Point me in the right direction as to how I can select 1/16 1/32 1/4 in global quantize without utilizing a keyboard ? .. .its a function I always use and have needed to map it via midi stroke as a workaround.

            There are plenty of other useful features that also IMHO need to be midi mappable e.g. Transpose to cent rather than semitone.

          • you didn’t state that you wanted that as a feature in the post i was responding to so i’m sort of confused, but here you go.

            #1 i would ask why you need to change the global quantize for any reason during a live set instead of just setting it at a clip level.

            #2 i would say that if you do want to change the global quantize with midi controls for whatever reason then use clyphx.

          • Steve Francesco

            #1 i would ask why you need to change the global quantize for any reason during a live set instead of just setting it at a clip level.

            Becuase I

            a) Use pitch Bend on full length tracks if for any reason they they go slightly off if I decide to drop a track thats not pre-warped.

            b) I use global qualtize for llve loop points on tracks,

            #2 i would say that if you do want to change the global quantize with midi controls for whatever reason then use clyphx.

            I really would prefer to just stay away from third party software, midi stroke works, but its a function that should be midi mappable, as should any current keyboard shortcut IMHO in this day and age natively.

          • clyphx isn’t software it’s a remote script.

            also what is this “pitch bend” you’re talking about?

          • Steve Francesco

            Sry Its called “Nudge” in the clip and used along with Global Quanitze (as long as your clip is set to global) can act as either pitch bend or beat jump.

            Looking into clyphx .. I thought the only way to do it was via midi > keystoke or Max device so cheers 😉

  • Nat601

    Does that first video show nested track groups? If so awesome!

  • Yarik

    Ableton Team add Multi Monitors function, or split every windows ???

    • Daco

      I think no, I dont know why they dont do that a lot of people waiting for this option

  • Clip automation.. this changes everything!! No more dummy clips. I’m a bit scepticl of the audio-to-midi features until I see it in action. But if the harmonic mode works, this could really be a dealbreaker for people who’re into sampledigging or using recorded instruments.

    • clip automation is going to be awesome, but your post leads me to believe you are not using dummy clips in any sort of meaningful way.

      you can draw automation into clips right now. the utility of dummy clips was that you could draw in automation and then apply that automation to any clip in your session without have to re-draw it.

      the new features involve clips retaining automation when dragged from arrangement to session view and being able to record automation into clips with knobs in real time whereas you could only do that in arrange view before.

  • JTHO277

    First of all……ABLETON you are amazing. Will current Live8 owners get the free upgrade to Live9 {SUITE= Live9 with Operator, Sampler, Analog, +more*(M4L)}= AMAZING

    • Hell no lol.. There is discounted update pricing though.

    • you’re a funny guy

    • i just signed on to get live 8 suite until 9 is available and then when it is i get live 9 for free plus max for live all for under $200. so glad i didn’t upgrade to suite lol.

      • ozkrow

        do they give u a redeem code or something for live 9? going to upgrade too. glad i waited. i knew something like this was coming.

        • everything you buy from the ableton website comes with a license that’s associated with the email address that you provide. once you confirm that email address then every time you sign into the ableton store from then on it will know everything you have bought and the deals will be automatically available you don’t even need a code.

          • ozkrow

            thanks for the reply. my brother upgraded yesterday and told me how it works. i was trying to talk him into upgrading to suite a few months ago. he wanted to wait to see what happens with live 9. good thing he did. like you said getting live suite 9 for under 200 is a deal.

      • Natufian

        I would like to use this option too, but it shows me an upgrade price (from Live 8 Standard, to Live 8 Suite) for $ 284 what gives? Did you have a coupon code or something? Somebody please get back to me, I’d like to take advantage of this awesome deal!

    • I think that Live 8 users DO get a free upgrade to Live 9, but you only get Live 9 Suite if you have Live 8 Suite. If you don’t have Suite then you don’t get Live 9 Suite. You get standard or Intro. Depends on what you have.

      • I think that is just fair. You can’t expect to pay for Ableton Live 8 standard and then get Live 9 Suite for free IMHO.

        • True, but in my case I feel pretty jipped. I purchased the upgrade from live 8 to suite 8 last september and now Ableton just quoted me at $299 to upgrade to suite 9. I understand it comes with MAX now but that’s still quite a bit of money I could have saved if I waited two more months for this :/

          • Scratch that, I contacted them they quoted me on the wrong license it’ll be cheaper than that for owners of suite.

      • that’s not correct. you only get a free upgrade from 8 to 9 if you buy suite 8 starting yesterday. otherwise, there is a price to upgrade which differs based on what license you already own. it’s most expensive to go from 8 intro to suite 9, middle expensive to go from like 8 to suite 9 and the cheapest to go from suite 8 to suite 9.

        what’s pretty hilarious though is that if you currently own live 8 and upgrade to live 8 suite right now then you get live 9 and max for live for free when live 9 is released for $194 which is less than it costs to go from suite 8 to suite 9 without the discounted upgrade that started yesterday.