Behind The Scenes With Developers At Ableton

This video, via Ableton, is a behind-the-scenes look at the developers at Ableton

The video is less a look at the musical side of Live than a look at the process and people behind the app’s creation.

Here’s what they have to say about the video:

We made a short film to show – instead of just describe – what it’s like to work as a developer at Ableton.

Here’s your chance to meet the people who make the tools you use, see how their work is evolving, and find out what inspires them.

28 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes With Developers At Ableton

  1. One bad thing in ableton is the cancel function.
    When you clik with the right button on the mouse you don’t find in the menu “cancel”.
    Another bad thing is the view of plug-in: you can’t look a spectrum on the master, in the same
    time when you are on another channel.
    Another very bad thing, is that LIVE don’t support midi system exclusive message.
    I hope the ableton team improove their software.
    Good Work,
    Best Regards

    1. Ableton may have its problem, it’s still cool to see how it goes from the inside. As a developer I admire the whole scrum and agile organisation !

      1. I strongly agree! As I live nearby I visited the place for some reasons, nice and friendly atmosphere!

        And with the afore-mentioned ‘problems’.. well, which software hasn’t any!?
        I’m happy it runs very stable on my system (unlike the 7 Verson), but there’s always room for some improvement.

        1. some improvement? with all my ableton fanboi’ness intact, underneath this is a litany of needed items they need to address to be taken seriously. I don’t care if they enjoy drinking coffee together and have great intents…. Progress must be made, and a year ago they made a similar video with what’s his name sporting platitudes before he got off in his private jet. It’s getting to be a joke. It could be the best daw on the planet if they really buckled down, or paid the people that deserve it. It runs “stable”, but with issues that defy a modern definition of workable daw. I am getting sick of going easy on them, despite my wish for them to to succeed. and with all due respect. I love the whole concept of ableton, but these champagne sippers are making a mockery of our desire for “them” to succeed….

          1. Yup, I hear you! My comment may have sounded a bit more fanboyish.
            Bottom line is, for me, Live (9) works pretty well without the need of workarounds.
            As usual, what works for me doesn’t mean to work right for you.

            1. Oh, I wasn’t calling YOU a fanboi Tobi, I was calling MYSELF one, as I am. I love Ableton. I use it every day, And it does work pretty well, there are just some mind numbing problems I feel they have to overcome, which I personally feel are far more important then some of the add-ons they devote lots of r&d to….. I apologize if I came off as insulting to you, not my intention at all!

              1. Mate! 😀
                Wasn’t insulting at all! Just wanted to clarify my point as it may have been kinda loose.. Fanboyism isn’t always bad! 😉
                Best wishes from Berlin!

          2. That’s funny, because I’m knocking out track after track with no crashes and an unrivaled, fluid workflow. I made the switch from Logic a year ago and couldn’t be happier. I rarely open Logic anymore, unless I just want want to use one of it’s native plug-ins for some sound design. I also take the program onstage and perform flawlessly with it. A seamless integration of studio and live applications which is what the platform was intended for and does exceedingly well. I fail to see how this is a mockery of anything.

      2. I am wondering what the heck they are supposed to do with Haskell in the context of Live. Maybe write some small tools that one or two developers use in house. But I guess this was more of a ploy to show that they are not working at a code sweatshop but a company that at least tolerates very lateral thinking in terms of tools which is rare enough. Also good to hear that they are using git and some kind of continuous integration solution. If you are stuck with one large SVN repository for a group of, say, 20 people and nightly builds and no automated test suite, you will appreciate the difference. Overall, I must say that I am very impressed with the makers of this video because they seemed to show all the right kinds of information and triggers that will make people who are passionate about software want to work there or at least visit the place. Ah, and great to see a healthy mix of different age groups, not just young, naive hipsters but also older folks. I just wish they would have at least hinted at the usual weekly hours and perhaps about benefits of working there versus some dull, faceless shop.

  2. Ableton realllyyyyy need to improve is midi implementation… ALWAYS stuck notes… Moved over to bitwig recently to tryand they have midi issues quite well solved, but no AU’s… I guess life is never perfect :'(

  3. Now I know how many hipsters are needed to code a very good software 🙂 jokes apart, very cool video and such a cool company!

  4. great video keep up the good work .
    on a side note

    for me there are really only a few things i would like to see in new versions.
    tighter max integration
    editing within clips
    sharper editing and audio processing in arrangement view
    muliple scrub types

    and as stated in the vid to keep refining the code for a better quicker experience.

    loving live

  5. Oh I can think of few things far more important then “multiple” scrub types”, with all due respect itchy….:):

    1. PDC that works (the new beta is all over the place)
    2. an audio engine that is up to snuff in terms of latency and cpu efficiency compared to other daws like Logic, Reaper, etc.
    3. Takes?
    4. Real comping type function rather then the workarounds
    5. Notes (rather then the workarounds)
    6. Not having to edit the .txt options so I can quickly see what plugins are on what track
    7. Redesigned or rethought of “mix” window of sorts.
    8. better implementation with external midi etc.
    9. List editor?
    10. even something so small as the ability to “type” in numerical values at breakpoints etc…nothing like trying to get something to zero and just under or overshooting it with no easy ability to just type it in etc..

    I love ableton. and I know it was initially assigned as a “live” tool, thus making certain priorities within it’s code to accommodate having things ready to go etc, but as they are selling it now as much or more then ever as a full featured DAW, and the experience should demonstratively show that…. It would be nice if at least there was a way to have an option to let it know what you are doing. (placing importance on things like clips vs daw type performance)…. I am not worried about quickly triggering clips in session view. It seems that works great. But I find it almost untenable to record vocals or guitars into it without latency issues on any medium sized session without scratching my head as to why they cannot implement certain things…(And I have a fairly powerful cpu with loads of ram). But everything else in Live can be mind-blowing amazing,. and it is my favorite “friend” to work with… Perhaps they are just throwing in new features to sell to new users (Glue etc), but there is something wrong in denmark under the hood they realize internally needs fixing, seems like they are starting to, but should go to the top of their list.

  6. Push adds a great workflow to live. I’m able to capture audioclips from my hardware in no Time and get an arrangement going in minutes, beautiful. I’d love to see an official push developement kit that makes it easy to grab various parts of push from within maxforlive without too much of an effort. It’s doable now but feels clumsy and you have to dig deep into the LOM.
    Would be cool if ableton would release experimental builds from time to time, where we could try out the stuff that doesnt make it into the official builds, all the things the devs came up with, experimental devices and so on …

  7. what kind of digital audio workstation is this supposed to be?
    It can’t export to mp3. Whats the year again 1995? D´OH.

    1. that would definitely speed up the workflow! I am always sending reference tracks to people, and having to convert using a third party piece of software is definitely a pita…. the LAME encoder is free, they should toss that in, or the ability for us to do so… at least it isn’t as bad as digidesign, not sure if they still do it, but I remember back in 2007ish or something being shocked and amazed that they had the gall to charge like 50 dollars for that “function”…..

        1. Sure, I know that, but it would be pretty easy to implement it as an export option with instructions or a link for the end user to download,…. right? I can’t imagine any additional cost (beyond the small dev time to add another option in the export drop down menu)…. unless I am wrong on that…

  8. one thing I found interesting about this video is that this is a German-based company, working out of Berlin, yet the language spoken is English. Is this the case?

  9. I guess if we ask 100 Ableton users what needs addressing then we would get almost as many different responses – so, 90%+ are always going to be upset with progress. I am one of them, and I need to try and understand that it isn’t Ableton’s fault that it fails me in a few areas, when I use the software because it doesn’t fail me in every other area. But you get to a stage with software, too much time and skills acquired in one DAW – it becomes ridiculous to consider moving, so you just hold in there hoping that the next round will serve you better. One thing I did learn from that video, is they are still doing heavy work on Push, I was thinking of getting one, but then thinking maybe a new version is coming soon – seems to have answered that for me – unless the intention of this video was to make me think just that, so the like-minded buy up the surplus of stock just before the new Push comes – call me paranoid, but I do it every time.

    1. Push is great!
      Well sure, at some point, there might come out a new one. Though I think it is quite perfect as is.
      I only could imagine getting some more advanced displays in it..
      Besides that it’s wonderful to work with it.

  10. it’s funny how towards they end they talk about how its great how multicultural ableton is so they show a black guy and a woman. the video is a little propagandistic but otherwise its always interesting to learn about the people who make the software i use

  11. Great team. A great push amongst them to move forward! And some great development through the years. I do think there is a limitation to this technology. It is a square beat, Teutonic-Masonic cult. Not in an evil way 😎 Very much a piece of beautiful white man creation. Yet, that limitation as with many DAWs, will not reflect all of the possibilities out there in our multi rhythmic, tribal & expressionistic world. Basically, my question is how good is Ableton at making music beyond the 4/4 loop? Probably a lot better than is being shown by many of the users we see in the media. But, then that is the less enlightening & reoccurring problem, with many current interpretations of electronic dance music, worldwide!

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