EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2018, Ableton is releasing Ableton Live 10: the first large-scale update to their software franchise since 2013. We're excited to say the least, but among the most excited is our resident physicist/Ableton-Beta-Tester Cory Goldsmith. All of these topics are covered in the KMG Academy AMP Program so if you're enrolled, Cory would love to answer any questions you might have. We asked him to give us the rundown on his favorite new features. - Chase
1) Groups within Groups
I really can’t emphasize this one enough, which is why it’s my number one top feature in Live 10. It’s by far the one I’ve used the most, and the one I am most annoyed about losing when I revert back to live 9 to work on collaborations with others. Organization is probably one of the more underrated keys to becoming a great producer. Especially in the mixdown phase, it is extremely important. So whether it’s organizing your drums and percussion, separating your sub basses and mid basses, or just keeping all your synths together, but separating them in subgroups depending on the type of synth, this feature basically eliminates the need for using busses. Usually use a kick+bass bus? Group your kick and bass groups into one group, problem solved.
Didn’t know I needed this feature, but now I can’t live without it. Ever find yourself jamming along to your mix, trying to think up some parts? All of the sudden you played something that you love, but can’t remember how you played it. Well hitting the capture button will immediately lay out what you just played, so you can immediately integrate it into your track. It’s a huge time saver in writing your songs.
Ableton added a few new devices with Live 10, and I have to say they really outdid themselves with Echo. I have mainly used Native Instruments’ Replika in the past for my delay needs, but Echo really gives it a run for it’s money (actually, a combination of both gets some crazy cool results). Echo gives you an insane amount of freedom in controlling a wide delay, with filter curves, a noise generator, gate, reverb, and more. You just have to be careful, because you can go into an infinite feedback loop if you turn the feedback knob up too high.
4) Hide/Show Automations
I can’t think of a time where accidentally clicking an automation curve on a clip hasn’t been a problem. But now, it’s easy. One merely uses the ‘A’ key on their keyboard, and now all automation curves are hidden. So you can click and move clips around in arrangement view freely without having to worry about accidentally clicking on that red automation line that you want to keep the way it is.
5) Wavetable Synthesizer
Usually, I’m not a fan of Ableton’s stock synths other than Operator. However, Wavetable is a game changer. If you’re a user of Serum or other wavetable synthesizers, you’ll find yourself right at home. Despite offering a plethora of choices of wavetables, there isn’t a wavetable editor like in Serum. So if you’re trying to make something more customized, Serum might still be the better choice. But as far as having a solid wavetable synth without paying for a third-party plug-in, mission accomplished.