Ableton Live 5
Ableton Live 5

Live 5, General Sequencer from Ableton in the Live 5 series.

FP User 10/31/2008

Ableton Live 5 : FP User's user review


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Likely targeted as an intuitive sequencing instrument, Ableton does a great job of including many elements of standard DAW's into it's workspace. You get a fairly standard set of plugins. Delays, EQ's as well as Ableton's Operator synth and a new BeatRepeat tool all clad in Abletons skin color. I haven't used these much as I mainly use my own plugins in VST and VSTi format. There is an intuitive browser on the left hand side of the workspace that allows for organization of your projects, plugins, loops etc. It can be collapsed to expand your workspace. You get a fairly standard set of loops aimed towards the more hip hoppy/technoish/house side of things which I'm sure many will find useful. An excellent feature practically exclusive of Ableton's is its time stretching ability. You can easily drag a loop or recording into the session or clip view, trigger it and conform it to the current sessions tempo. The stretching algorithm is quite unique in that it allows you to choose a processing method to deliver the best sounding stretch. You can choose from beat, texture, tone, or complex modes. I find that most percussive loops sound best using the beat setting. and tone and complex modes work best with richer recordings or whole audio clips. Keep in mind that selecting complex will be more intensive on the cpu. Sound quality is great with the re-synced loops and recordings. On the right is an awesome tutorial browser allowing for quick and easy access to tutorials that can be read as you operate the software. It can be also collapsible to expand the workspace view. Ableton does a great job of making the tutorials thorough yet simple, another point that contributes to it's quick learning curve. You even get a little box on the lower left hand side that displays information on every aspect of ableton's mechanics as youplace your mouse cursor over it. For example, if you have no idea what "that little knob" does, simply place your cursor over it and Ableton tells you exactly what it does and how to do it. Something ableton lacks is a better method of organizing comps in the audio recording view. I personally would have liked to see some form of playlist system for managing takes since Ableton really is able to give you a thorough project oriented music production experience.

Price paid

281.00 USD (Ebay)

Extremely easy to use. Abletons workflow is highly streamlined. You have a unique clip session view where you can simply drag and drop premade or recorded loops into various arrangements and trigger or record them similtaneously or individually in real time. I find this intuitive system especially handy for creating loop based melodic segments (chorus, bridges, etc..) quickly and efficiently. You can record on the fly manually using raw data (line inputs) or midi data (vsti's, hardware modules etc). By the way, Abletons midi handling is simple and powerful. Routing is very flexible via midi channels and can handle just about anything from choosing hardware modules as source from the dropdown menus to running intensive vsti modules such as korg legacy cell which you simply drag and drop from the file browser to the midi strip. Every control aspect of ableton within the workspace is fully automatable and can be programmed to an external controller or the computer keyboard via a simple to use keymap feature. You can draw in automation within the session view. I drew a sine wave pattern onto a level automation and watched the faders on my mixer glide in unison.. fairly entertaining. Using Abletons track recording view, you can record easily and edit it all using the classic cut and paste, region seperation, conforming, slicing methods etc.. Ableton has straight forward and flexible quantizing features which I find to be adequate and fairly precise even with abusive cutting and pasting. This works especially well with midi track recordings. A great thing about ableton is it seems to have some kind of noise reduction algorithm working when making edits. As clicks and pops at the edit points are negligible. Ableton is extremely easy to use and you will find yourself with a creative mix within minutes using the supplied loops. I have to admit I had the thing belting out something that resembled pop in about half an hour without even reading the manual. Enabled the midi controller slaved to my triton, setup my midi and record channels, routed my audio and effects sends, recorded some piano melodies. Threw in an instance of amplitube onto a channel. Routed my guitar, recorded an accompaniment. did the same for my bass guitar, then finally setup another midi channel and dragged in an instance of LM-9 and recorded a hilarious percussion mid track. Highlighted all the recordings and mixed down to wav. Easier done than said.


Great, and definately very adequate, you have sample rates of 16 32 44 and 48 khz, bit depths of I believe 16 & 32. More than enough to achieve polished works. As expected, changing to higher sample rates and bit depths do increase strain on the hard drive and processor quite significantly. With my setup at 44khz 16bit I haven't had a single hiccup on a P4 3.2 HT notebook with 512 megs ram. With a good ASIO audio interface you can achieve very nice & stable low latencies. I am currently achieving 4 ms with an M-audio Mobilepre with samples set to 80 on the mobilepre control panel. Ableton delivers crystal clear audio period.

Rock Solid. Ableton is stable even with seriously high computer, ram and hardrive loads that would concern a machine pamperer. On one session I had 9 instances of amplitube on various guitar patches, 12 instances of compressors (CP2S and Rcomp), reverbs, limiters, an instance of quasistereo on every channel, Tracks suite, L2, Lexiverb on the master out ... all in all about 35-40 intensive plugins. All with no hiccups. i was even able to setup two new vocal channels each with its own compressor, de-esser,eq, c4, exciter and autotuner. I even recorded the vocals in real with little to no audible delay present in the headset monitors. I have yet to experience what it's like to really max out Abletons abilities on my P4 3.2 HT notebook.


Ableton is very unique and streamlined. It's design is very straightforward yet powerful and allows you to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. It's sequencing capabilites are it's strengths and it's recording and automation capabilities can hold their own against the better established names. Ableton is as much fun to use as it is simple and you'll find yourself making music more than grumbling over questions and dead ends. I frequently find myself sequencing t'ill the sun re-appears and it's clear Ableton's produced simple yet potent tool in the arsenal.

Originally posted on
Posted by: owendolmer ( 3-, 2006)