Ableton 10 – A First Impression

Owning a licence for Ableton Live 9 Standard , I was given the opportunity to try out Ableton Live 10 beta , below are some of my first impressions and some new features that are available in the upcoming music production software.

Interface Improvements

There are many interface improvements in Ableton Live 10 including

  • New font and icons
  • Dials and Sliders are rendered using vector graphics , these now look sharper and consistently so regardless of the zoom level.
  • Sample dots on visible on waveforms , allowing you to see where samples lay on the time ruler.
  • MIDI notes are drawn in their clip color in the note editor.
  • The clip/device drop area is now always displayed in Session View to enable dragging.
  • Introduced Pen Tablet Mode, which allows the use of graphic tablets to meaningfully control Live’s UI, and improves the experience with touch screens.
  • Ability to save favourite instruments, effects and plugins.
  • Introduced a set of five new themes which will replace the skins.
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Ableton Live 10 Dark Theme


On numerous occasions I might get an idea and either forget to press record or just forget what I just played before pressing record so one feature that I’m excited about is Capture , where Ableton 10 now listens to any MIDI input on a monitored track and by pressing Capture , the last phrase played will appear in the session clip.

New Devices

The beta contains one new instrument and three new audio effect devices, with the main addition being the new Wavetable Synthesizer.

  • Audio effect Echo is a modulation delay that is capable of a wide range of sounds, from tape-saturated, right through to modern, clean and digital delays.
  • Audio effect Pedal is a guitar distortion effect, with three different modes (Overdrive, Distortion and Fuzz) each with their own unique sounds ,that can be used on synths or drums.
  • Audio effect Drumbuss is an analog-style drum processor which adds body and character to drums.
  • Instrument Wavetable which is a dual oscillator wavetable synthesizer with flexible modulation.

Having spent a few hours with Abletons new instrument ,I was impressed by this dual oscillator wavetable synthesizer’s capabilities and its ability to select individual harmonics of a sound while shaping them with the envelope and filters, its when you view the instrument in full screen that you can view its full potential, screenshots and a  video on Abletons new instrument can be seen below.

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Max For Live Improvements

Max will now come pre installed with Ableton Live 10 and the beta is using a preliminary version of Max 8 which will be loaded at start up and Max for Live devices will now support multiple audio inputs and outputs. Its now possible to route devices and device chains to Max for Live devices, this will be interesting as from a audio visual point of view could enable a certain sound just going into an audio reactive device , like the kick drum and another element controlling something else.
I spent a while with a few max for live devices and they all ran smoothly , theres plenty of instruments with Ableton 10 and previous devices I have purchased worked also, only issue was that dragging in any Jitter devices caused the beta to crash , but I’m sure this will be fixed on release date which will be February 6th. A full list of improvements and additions to Ableton 10 can be read on the centercode page.

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Max For Live in Ableton 10

I’m looking forward to the release of Ableton 10 Live , impressed with the beta , I’ll be upgrading within the next few weeks , I also have Max 8 to look forward to , it will be interesting to see what changes and improvements will be made , especially to the video end of things.