Ableton 8- Almost perfect

By: Zett

Live 8 brought out a lot of amazing new tools and much needed improvements including the live looper, Max support and many others. Nonetheless, there are a few critical dj centered features that are still missing. When I first dove into Live circa 2005,  I was amazed by the possibilities of this remarkable new sequencer. Now after couple of years you can do almost anything imaginable in Live but it continues to lack features that most djs desperately need.

1 – Instant Reverse

As this is DJTechTools most of the readers are interested in using it for DJing or Controllerism.

When was the last time you were looking for an instant reverse effect in Live? Every few months I attempt to do this but it seems impossible with Live’s own capabilities. Instead you have to buy another piece of software which samples the input and reverses the playback. Providing a button which for “instant reverse” and a slider (MIDI mappable) to go from forward to reverse would really make my day.

2 – Native MP3 Support

Have you ever tried to put all of your MP3s into Live? Its simply not possible and takes up a huge amount of space because live creates full rendered WAV files on your HD of all your MP3s. In my case this leads to about 40GB of songs plus the original MP3 files.  The reason is because a MP3 file it has to be decoded while playing the wave files are much less CPU intensive.

While most of us have brand new powerful laptops many people are not so lucky. During normal live usage with loops and samples the CPU usage meter is about 10% to 20% . However, while DJing, it rises to about 50% or even more if you have an older machine.   If Live supported MP3’s,  RAM usage would also decrease. A 200 song live set consumes about 4GB of memory but mp3s would take up significantly less RAM and more songs could be loaded at one time.

3 – Advanced MIDI Mapping Features

A complex mapping Job that Traktor can easily handle is very difficult to manage in Live without midi translators. Simple changes like switching between Toggle or a Momentary Switch are quickly modified inside Traktor’s preferences but Live’s basic midi capability remains limited.

Another important thing that Traktor offers is the ability to control Parameters via Modifiers. To fully tap into Live’s massive potential we really must have more robust midi capability.

4- Beat Marker Bend

Live added the ability to pitch bend the master clock which is great for syncing to other djs. Its still has failed to address a critical reality for most djs- not all of your songs always sync up perfectly. Certain amounts of nudging and adjustments to the grid position are always required live and right now the only way to do that is with the mouse.


In the end Live still is my favorite software when it comes to music creation and djing, but there are some important features that need to be implemented. What’s your opinion? Which features are you still missing in Ableton Live 8?

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