Ableton Live isn't the only music-making software out there, but it's the weapon of choice for legions of producers because it's so damn intuitive. Today, Ableton spilled the details on a new version, Live 9, and just as important, a homegrown hardware controller for the software, called Ableton Push.
There are already some 30 controllers designed specifically to work with Live, but Push is the first piece of hardware wholly designed by Ableton. If the company really nailed the integration between the hardware and software, the tool could be a game changer. And don't worry about the build quality or engineering, because Ableton turned that part over to Akai, the company that created the original MPC, along with the Ableton-friendly APC40.
Push is designed to be an all-in-one music production solution, which allows you to play and sequence your beats from start to finish. Playing and sequencing centres around 64 RGB-coloured, velocity and pressure sensitive pads. You can then use the controller's other tools to fine-tune the parameters of your sounds.
So far, this probably sounds familiar to people who've used controllers before. But Push has some additional features you won't find anywhere else. We're particularly excited about the special simplified workflow that's designed for improvising with song structure. More than just a controller, Ableton built Push to be an instrument as well. Using some clever design trickery, Ableton managed to "fold" the 88 keys of of a keyboard onto Push's 64 pads so that you can play chords and melodies. Push weighs just 6.6 pounds so it's light enough to throw in a backpack.
As for Live 9 it adds some granular editing features that will satisfy even the nerdiest beatsmiths. First up is more sophisticated MIDI tools. For example, Live 9 will now be able to transform audio clips into editable midi tracks. The new package also includes an improved graphic equaliser, as well as 3500 new sounds to build beats out of, because why the hell not? There are a ton of features here — check out Create Digital Music's overview for more details, if you're interested.
Ableton Live 9 will start beta testing next week, and it'll be available in Intro, Standard, and Suite versions for $US100/$US450/$US750 when it's done. Ableton Push will be bundled with the Live 9 Intro for $US600. All of the products will be released in early 2013, and we just can't wait. [Ableton via Create Digital Music]