Ableton Live 8 First Look

2009 NAMM Show: Ableton today introduced the latest version of Live – Ableton Live 8

Based on our very preliminary first impressions – Version 8 looks like it will be a solid evolutionary upgrade of the popular sequencing app. Cool new features include a looper, new effects (including a vocoder) and a more powerful Operator synth. 

Check out the details and let us know what you think!

Here’s a rundown of what’s new in Ableton Live 8.

  • New groove engine – Live 8’s new groove engine lets you apply groove patterns in real time, extract grooves from audio or MIDI sources, quantize audio and MIDI in real time. Live 8 also comes with a new groove library.
  • New warping engine – Live 8 introduces a new, more direct way of working with warping and Warp Mode enhancements. You can now warp audio events by adjusting the events themselves on the timeline. Beats Mode has been updated, and there’s a new Complex Warp Mode. Plus you can slice audio files to MIDI tracks based on transients.
  • Looper – The Ableton Looper effect offers you classic sound-on-sound looping, without the limitations of a hardware device. Looper is set up for remote operation, so you can record, overdub, undo and more without touching the computer.
  • New effects – Ableon Live 8 includes five new effects: Vocoder, Multiband Dynamics, Overdrive, Limiter and Frequency Shifter. These effects cover all the well-known aspects of these devices, but really shine due to some innovative features and enhancements from the Ableton labs.
  • Workflow enhancements – Version 8 makes Live easier with a number of requested enhancements and some usability work including real-time crossfades in the Arrangement View, enhanced MIDI editing, group tracks, a screen magnifier and more.

New in Ableton Suite 8

Suite 8 adds a powerful sampler, electric and acoustic drums, mallets, numerous sampled instruments: 10 instruments in all.

Here’s what’s new in Suite 8:

  • World-class sound library – Ableton has put together a comprehensive tool set and, above all, a wide-ranging set of sounds.
  • Collision – Collision is an instrument for creating mallet sounds and creative percussion. Co-developed with AAS, it uses physical modeling technology to reproduce real-world instruments such as xylophones, marimbas and glockenspiels, but also provides enough depth to create truly dramatic new instruments and sounds.
  • Latin Percussion – Latin Percussion is a collection of acoustic percussion instruments such as congas, bongos, timbales, claves, shakers, tambourines and bells from the worlds of Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and African music. It also comes with clips and grooves.
  • More Operator – Operator has been given a major overhaul. New filter types, more modulation routing options and additive wavetable synthesis with drawable partials make Operator more powerful and flexible than ever.


Ableton Live 8 and Suite 8 are expected to ship in the second quarter of 2009. Collision and Latin Percussion will be available with the Live 8 release.


  • Ableton Suite 8 will be available for EUR 549/USD 699 (download). The boxed version will be priced at EUR 699/USD 849. 
  • Ableton Live 8 will be EUR 349/USD 449 (download). The boxed version, including the Essential Instrument Collection 2, will sell at EUR 449/USD 549.
  • Upgrades to Live 8/Suite 8 vary in price, depending on the Ableton products you already own. 

Collision and Latin Percussion 

  • Collision will cost EUR 129/USD 159 and Latin Percussion will be EUR 79/USD 99.

3 thoughts on “Ableton Live 8 First Look

  1. What I really like about what’s coming in 8 is the focus on workflow without radically changing the interface. Plus they addressed little things like breaking the 128 variable barrier and crossfades. The way they handle crossfading looks really great.


  2. Mark

    The groove engine and the looper are big features, too.

    The bottom line, though, is if they can add the features without changing the apps’ traditional stability.

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