Ableton 10 Details Leaked: Olfactory Synthesizer + Smell Racks

We’ve received leaked details of a brand new version of Ableton Live including what appears to be a completely new type of synthesis and a new associated piece of hardware that could be set to become motus operendi of the next generation of live performance. Read on for all of the distinct details on how Berlin is changing the game – again.

Olfactory Synthesis: Experience A New Sense In Live Performances

The new Live Device – the Stinker

There’s always been a distinct aroma to festivals and clubs since the beginning of modern nightlife, but until recently it hasn’t been a pleasant one – mainly because the scent of a dancefloor is driven by it’s participants. With Ableton’s new olfactory synthesis technology, producers and DJs will be the curators of not only the sound that an audience experiences, but also the smells.

In Ableton 10, there appear to be a whole host of new features that enable producers to craft unique scents, the central one of which is the new olfactory synthesizer, the Stinker. We’ve learned that the new synthesizer – like a traditional synth – starts out with a basic common smell profile (selectable, just like you might the shape of a sine wave in a synth) and manipulates it different ways in order to create new and unique smells.

Screenshot of the Stinker with a Smell Of Rain scent being synthesized

The potential workflow appears to be:

  • Select a common smell profile (eg: “baked goods”)
  • Adjust the key parameters of the smell (eg: “Chocolate”, “Flour”, “Raw / Burnt”)
  • Adjust the type of environment that the smell is coming from (think of this like reverb – options for the “Grilled Meat” profile include “Outdoor Grill”, “Industrial Grill”, “Stovetop”, “Smokehouse”, etc)

New Hardware: Ableton Sniff

One of the hardest parts about branching out into what is a completely new medium is content acquisition. While Ableton has been working with major artists and big names in the scent industry to develop unique content (see more on “Smell Racks” below), one of the key tools that producers have used for years in order to craft new content are samplers.

Ableton has partnered with a Minneapolis-based company St. Croix Sensory – who manufactured long-range scent detectors for police hoping to detect and bust excessively odorous marijuana growers in Denver, Colorado. Instead of simply enhancing and amplifying scent, the two companies have apparently successfully made strides in recording key scent parameters, allowing Ableton users to sample as MIDI and playback unique scents directly into and out of Live’s Stinker synthesizer.

The hardware in question – currently dubbed the Ableton Sniff – will work very similarly as the St. Croix’s original design for police:

  • Point the end of the Sniff towards the source of a smell you want to sample
  • Monitor the smell with your nose at the other end of the Sniff
  • Record the current scent with a trigger-mounted button
  • Plug your Sniff into your computer via USB later to upload all of the scent parameters directly to Live – either for further manipulation in Stinker or for immediate triggering and playback in a Smell Rack

Live Scent Triggering: Smell Racks + Sequencing

Ableton’s Smell Rack allows real time triggering of scents

One of the best parts about being able to digitally trigger smells is that we can use all of the same paradigms that have been built up for audio triggering over the last few decades of digital audio workstation development. One of Ableton’s greatest tools is the Drum Rack, and the team has seemingly ported that same interface to scents. Using iconography instead of text titles, it’s easy to see exactly what you’re triggering – and yes, this has been confirmed to be working with the Ableton Push’s rack sequencer, so you can quickly build a “beat” of smells on the fly.

Excitingly enough, Ableton has partnered with a number of famous smell companies, celebrity chefs, and producers for the launch of Ableton Smell, meaning that there will be loads of Smell Rack content ripe and ready for use when it launches next April 1st, 2016. So far confirmed are Smell Packs from:

  • Dada Life (expect lots of fatty sausage and banana scents – likely more than a few whiffs of champagne as well)
  • Bassnectar (he’s expected to finally have a specific nectar scent to go alongside his bassy tracks)
  • Flosstradamus (their packs will all likely be based on various strains of cannabis)
  • Chanel (top-selling perfumes and colognes – just wait until perfume companies start sponsoring DJs…)
  • Deep Dish (the duo is getting together for a Chicago pizza themed pack)
  • Eats Everything (a literal cornucopia of food-related scents)
  • Justin Martin (also confirmed to have a wide array of pizza-related scents)

How Will We Smell These Smells?

Could we see a co-branded Ableton scent speaker in the near future?

We’re still waiting on details on how exactly scent reproduction will work with Ableton Smell, but an inside source has hinted that fog and hazer machines will play a big role in scent reproduction. In addition to working alongside industry speaker giants like Funktion One, we also expect home studio speaker manufacturers like KRK to take on the challenge of scent reproduction.

The Future Scent Of DJing

We’re pretty sure we’ll see other companies taking on this new medium of scents in the near future, likely with Serato first out of the gate focusing on the Scratch-n-Sniff style of scent experience. Would it be that unlikely that Bitwig Studio might take on the task of bucking Ableton’s precedent and instead focusing on another sense, like Touch or Taste? Let us know your foolish thoughts in the comments below – and happy April, everyone.

Read about an actual new format for DJing announced this week – Native Instruments Stem files – here

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Comments (51)
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  • JJ ???

    the sad part is that this could actually be a thing one day

  • LJ

    Just think of the possibilities for expanding the current genres within Beatport. House Music smells like fresh linen and mom’s home cooking. Dubstep and Trap smells like pissed off adolescents. DNB smells like the London Underground late at night. Big Room smells like Horse Manure…

    • blackavenger

      “Big Room smells like Horse Manure…”


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  • Nakul Tiruviluamala

    Everytime I google ‘Ableton 10,’ this comes up. And although this is funny, I really wish Ableton 10 was out -_-

    • Valoe .

      Lol me too bro

  • Richard Garside

    hahah funny. I tell u what though I been using Bitwig for nearly six months and Ableton better pull something out the hat next time around or I will never use it again.

  • Mattia Cenna

    i was like no!impossible,what a joke nobody gonna believe this shit,and actually i was dreaming it,dancfloor changing flawour with the song,even crescendo of the intensity,and break and chourse and verse with different “tastes”,and dreaming of discoteque with enourmous aspiration ventole,continuing changing air,a lot of porfumed wind changing even speed with beat rate,now the irrational part of my mind it’s so upset.

  • N Taylor

    LOL a lot of music software already stinks…why not Live !

  • djzzzzzz

    This was legit a good one tho. I believed up until the Ableton Sniff lol. But the grilled, burnt sounded believable to me. I can totally see how even though you can’t smell something, you can imagine it smelling burnt or something. They should legit add that into Ableton 10.

  • Ezra

    hahaha good one djtt! almost got me there : )

  • CUSP

    While this is a joke right now, there are people working on discovering, mapping, charting, and generally understanding odors for use as entertainment. So, if it’s not really a joke, it’s more like saying something is done before it is… which sits slightly lower than a pun.

  • warpigeon

    Nice! Love the “Sniff”. Can’t wait to get one! Although I will have to make sure not to point it below the waist.

  • Ars ian

    when fruits or vegetables smell this smells they start to dance

  • Viciouss Hoffmann

    I can see a remix on Phoebe Buffay – Smelly Cat coming on soon at Warner Bros Records!

  • Daniel di Rossi

    i just like to see my face reading this…

  • noxxi

    a joke, but icons on the drum pads is certainly not a bad idea

    • Ztronical

      Of course frequency definition in waveforms, and maybe just bolder lines with a tad bit of shadow on some controls, just a tiny bit fresher, to inspire us all. Icons would be nice for categories of saved presets.
      I don’t think Ableton could ever stink.

    • Dan White

      Right? As I was photoshopping that I realized that it’s WAY easier to read/understand than a smattering of text.

      • noxxi

        maybe, just maybe they will integrate it one day, possibly in ableton 20 though!
        it would be sweet though, maybe chuck some colour codeable pads in there for good measure!

      • noxxi

        Plus you dont need the mute and solo buttons showing unless they are active, like they are not there, till you hover over them or something, and whn they are playing they could pulse green maybe. i sincerely hope they are reading this. haha!

  • Alan Stos

    Drop the smells

  • NYSM

    1st of April 🙂

  • Michael Victor

    I smell something fishy going on here

  • Jeff Ramos

    But no plugins by GLADE? Kinda missed a good joke there.

    • Dan White

      Wow that’s perfect. Hit me up in 364 days and we’ll work on next year’s article 😉

    • daysofdissent

      Plugins by GLADE? GENIUS!! 🙂

  • Lorenzo Bertolino

    ahahah!! 😀 good job

  • Choquel Fabien

    Good one guys,

    I was like “Yeaaah new version of Live ! Cool ! We’re gonna get new plugins and everything.”

    And then … well, I realized.
    Happy April fools !

  • joeShmoe

    Lol you guys really had me going , i was like -___-

  • Bryce Vercruysse

    Whoa! I was in disbelief and awe that this was actually going to be a thing. That almost worked. Touché DJTT.

  • In your best interests,

    Please end this yearly farce. Only idiots and bots find garbage articles like this funny.

  • seriously.


  • Sandeep

    I smell beats
    haha 🙂

  • Black_Rag

    😀 now this is worth while!
    I really needed a laugh xD

  • scamo

    hahahaha… first I was like, is this a joke? Then I read more, and I was saying, it must be a joke. Then I stopped reading thinking, it is a joke. Then I remembered it is the 1st of April. Good one DJTT!

    • Dan White

      Nah, Sniff is the sampler hardware – only producers would own that! 🙂

  • CUSP

    April Fools!

  • deejae snafu

    Can’t wait to smell this in action