In The Future, Will Every DAW Turn Into Ableton Live?

Image Line just posted this demo video of the new FL Studio ‘Performance Mode‘ – a live performance interface for triggering Audio, Automation and Pattern clips.

And last month, developers at Bitwig introduced Bitwig Studio, below, a new live performance and production DAW that looks sort of like a bunch of Ableton Live developers split off to come up with their own app:

Cakewalk Sonar has added its take on Live’s Session View, too, the Matrix View:

In the future, will every DAW turn into Ableton Live? And why do you think developers are suddenly looking to Live for inspiration?

32 thoughts on “In The Future, Will Every DAW Turn Into Ableton Live?

  1. “Bitwig … looks sort of like a bunch of Ableton Live developers split off to come up with their own app”
    Thats exactly what happened. No ‘sort of’ about it! Pleased to see these features trickle down to other DAWs. Ableton have to step it up now.

  2. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for other DAW’s to take this idea seeing as how old Live is. This type of clip triggering is not only good for live performances, it’s also good for composition.Not everyone likes to compose linearly like most arrangers are designed. It’s good to take a bunch of audio clips and sequences and then experiment with them in different orders in order to build up a track.

    1. Actually, Live was not the first to do it. Opcode Vision was able to sync and trigger clips (AKA Subsequences) that were tied to the letters on your keyboard. You could’nt layer them, but they could be queued up and triggered while staying in sync with the clock. Subsequences could be set to start on the next beat or the next measure downbeat.

      Hopefully they won’t all go to being like Ableton. I compose linearly, and not in small clips, so that wouldn’t suit my compositional style at all.

  3. The FL Studio vid takes more from the MLR/monome approach than anything else. At this point I’ll be sticking with Live. It works for me and is tried and tested.

  4. I hope not for my sake. I’ve never gotten along with Ableton Live; I just don’t dig the workflow and find the software complicated. That’s just me, however. If we’re just talking clip based sequencing, it’s probably here to stay though. It’s useful to a lot of people on many fronts and I can’t think of a similar, yet superior paradigm.

  5. There is a force in marketing that is generated by success. There more widespread something becomes the more the competition will try and emulate it. It’s sad really. Are we really going to get unique results in our music if everyone uses the same tools? I think the answer is no.

    But I suppose that in this day and age unique is not what most people are hoping to accomplish.

    I spent quite a while building up an assortment of unusual hardware in order to get the sounds that I hear in my head out and on to a CD. I am not recording in a DAW, but a digital multitrack unit. I do use the laptop for some editing and processing duties. But I want to stay outside the box as much as possible. I think the MuLab 4 has some great, creative possibilities and I have used GleetchLabs Berna to great effect. But both of these products are not trying to be more like Live.

    Now if you will excuse me I have some recording heads to clean and de-magnetize on an RT-707 deck that was just donated to my lab.

    1. Excellent points!

      It seems like a lot of peole’s music is defined by their tools. There’s a sameness to the music a lot of peole create with Ableton Live. It’s probably not the tool so much as people’s laziness, sticking with what’s easy in Live.

  6. I don’t want to hijack these comments, but I want to ask a question. A week or two ago there were comments about “What’s the best DAW?” and everyone chimed in. I don’t want to know what’s “best” (whatever that is) but does anyone have a recommendation for what is the most SIMPLE and WELL-WRITTEN and MACHINE EFFICIENT and EASY TO UNDERSTAND/USE music production program that still does everything it needs to do? That is, not the biggest program that does everything and tries to be the “best,” but what little program tries to do enough, very very well? Are there any programs like that these days?

    1. It’s hard to answer your question without knowing your needs regarding a DAW. To me Presonus Studio One 2 Pro is easy to use (never got into a DAW faster) and has all the tools I need since v2. But you will only find out, what fits your way of working by trying different programs.

  7. It’s (finally!) a move away from emulating linear tape based systems. This sort of thinking is showing up everywhere. The “magnetic timeline” in video editors is based on the same approach.

  8. I think a lot of musicians weren’t attracted to the Ableton “clip launch” style of interface because it’s so limiting to someone who thinks and composes beyond loops, but as the format matures it becomes much more compelling. Ultimately we will end up with something much more robust than Ableton. It’s cool to see the experiments in Final Cut X, iPad GarageBand (with the smart instruments), and apps like the new Stochastic drum machine. I’m sure a lot of inspiration can also be gained from animation timelines and retargeting in 3D programs like Maya. Some very cool ways to work with data out there beyond “press to play”.

  9. will every daw turn into ableton? an odd question to which the answer is clearly and pretty emphatically no. in fact, most of the serious ones aren’t even attempting to (logic, cubase / nuendo, dp, protools, etc), and why on earth would they want to?

    i mean, whatever works for you, but fruity loops, ableton and bitwig aren’t really in the same league as protools / nuendo / logic etc, in fact they’re barely even playing the same sport.

    ableton’s great for some things (quick composition, processing, djing, live performance, osc and max integration), but if you want to multitrack a band or an orchestra, with multiple playlists / takes and zero (or sub-ms) latency, multiple headphone feeds, proper synchronisation ( i mean things like sample accurate video ref) you pretty much have to use protools HD/X.

    trust me, if you go to skywalker or abbey road, or todd a/o, or ocean way, you’re about as likely to see ableton or fruity loops as you are to see the engineer’s iPhone running garageband plugged into the board.

    1. “if you want to multitrack a band or an orchestra, with multiple playlists / takes and zero (or sub-ms) latency, multiple headphone feeds, proper synchronisation ( i mean things like sample accurate video ref) you pretty much have to use protools HD/X.”

      Yes – but that’s not how most people make music anymore.

      Thus, everybody’s trying to copy Live.

      1. i understand what you’re saying, of course, but it’s not really relevant

        the thing is, “most people” who are making music are not doing it for a living. the ones who are doing it for a living are mostly using protools, cubase, logic, dp, etc. don’t misunderstand me, i know several producers who use ableton and even reason as their main DAW for writing, albeit rewired into logic or protools for overdubbing and mixing, but they are in a minority. and fruity loops is, y’know, well, ahem, windows only, and we kind of all know what that means. let the flame war commence…..

        just as “most people” take pictures with camera phones, and you don’t see canon or nikon or leica or hasselblad rushing to make their cameras more like camera phones, i doubt that avid, steinberg and apple are about to alter the mostly linear way of doing things much, and alienating all their professional users.

        1. >the thing is, “most people” who are making music are not doing it for a living. the ones
          >who are doing it for a living are mostly using protools, cubase, logic, dp, etc.

          Completely irrelevant. “Most people” who buy software are not recording orchestras. Therefore, “most software” will be sold to people who do not make a living by using it. Pro Tools can safely remain the expensive market niche. “Professional” has a whole different meaning now.

  10. An improved live mode for FL is perfect for them. Rather than try to compete with recording studio DAWs which will probably never take FL seriously they can capitalize on their strength which is intuitive and fast interface. Looks pretty good. Hopefully some day they’ll just put Gol as some kind of “Sr. Software Architect” and have him command a small army of C++ grunts for a rewrite so it can run on OSX and maybe Linux but that’s another story. I was thinking of nuking my Windows box and replace it with FreeBSD but now maybe I’ll keep it around a little longer…

  11. I’m probably mistaken, but I was under the impression from a friend of mine that are very dedicated Logic users that Logic had begun to emulate Live. This conversation dates back a couple of years, and we’ve both moved on to different studios. I don’t understand the need for some to trash different DAWs. Of course, a lot of DAWs will adopt Live’s greatest strength, and that it being able to creatively sketch out ideas.

    A somewhat related talk on the importance of immediate feedback for the artist can be found in the following link. Granted, it’s about coding, and not music production, but the global idea is the same.

  12. ps~ hard are english doing when is 2 things same time.

    sorry for the typos… thoughts are somewhere in there.

  13. Not everyone needs to record in a linear fashion, if you work in electronic music or hip hop it’s usually the case that you jam ideas in short sections, so the ability to reorder a song on the fly is paramount. Good to see other apps trying this out, however, they all suffer from the same stupid flaw that would be a piece of utter piss for them to fix: Clip launching is truncated with the launch of a new clip. What happened to tails for f*ck’s sake? Just because half of europe is making banging idiot ibiza-trance-step-eiffel-guetta-tiesto-skrillexfail from premade loops all at -1dB RMS, no-one seems to have noticed that all these Ablegangers including Live are turning music into a permanently cropped 4/4 headache loop of doom.

  14. reminds me of the bloggers fantasies about “will every computer turn into an ipad??”

    no, but it might look that way to people with incredibly myopic perspectives

  15. If Image-Line really cares with Live Performance they should make some sort of midi implementation over the steps from FL Studio’s Step Sequencer many moons ago, so you cold have a real powerfull and unique drum machine on the PC which you could program and sequence your stuff freely and live. But they think program step sequencer only with a computer mice is very natural and ergonomic. Or they just prefer charge you with Groove Machine, no?

  16. Simplest dead easy DAW is Tracktion, which hasn’t been updated in years. But there’s no built in support for system exclusive strings, which forces me to use Performer, with its loathsome learning curve. So I default to playing synths by hand into ProTools, with its fixed hardware latency. I will never tolerate latency. I was spoiled by the sync head on the tape decks, which I don’t miss slaving computers to.

    In the end, I have to use all the DAWs, for each one has a feature i cant live without, or a learning curve i can live without. A swiss army knife tool will never do the job as well as a specialized one, and yet, time saving devices are really helpful. i think technology is moving in a good direction (toward giving users exactly what they request), but its distracting us from making music at the same time.

  17. These discussions about DAWs always sound like everybody is talking about something different.
    I mean, we really should differentiate a bit. It’s like talking about a sports car being better than a van, a sports car is better at being a sports car, but try to move your furniture with it, or try to get 10 people in it. We currently have a very wide spectrum of DAWs because they all serve a different sector of the market and have different focuses.
    Still, if you’re a classic composer you won’t use the same software as a recording engineer, or an electronic music producer. You have different workflows and different needs.
    So please stop comparing apples with pears.

    I think we tend to mix them all together because software houses have been trying very hard to create the one-size-fits-all solution. That’s probably the reason why so many developers add “live” functionality to their software, to reach more customers
    I think this has made the software more complicated and confusing.

  18. I find this question stupid. It’s like saying Ableton Live equals clip view.
    Clip view is just a part of the Ableton and it’s suited really well for well live performances.
    It’s really great this part of UI is adopted by other packages but for example it would be awful if Renoise’s pattern editor is replaced with ableton’s piano roll.

  19. man Brian Wilson would have absolutely loved a working, solid, finished version of Bitwig integrated into his studio in late ’66/early ’67.

  20. its great, so finally daw makers found out that a lot of guys work with loops and samples…

    some people that complain about daws getting more complicated with a clip view, sound like leica photographers that hate that the new M can shoot video:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *