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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This program has already transformed my work. Tape is really brilliant for rehearsed bands, but Live is the way to go for composing. I have a Nord Lead 2 but still ended up buying Operator - great sounds, especially with the new midi effects like Arpegiator. Simpler has cool sounds, as does Impulse, plus the effects are a blast to work with. I can't say anything is really missing when I now have so much to work with. Also, I did own an MPC1000 for a brief time, and it was like doing your taxes with a calculator watch compared to working with samples in Live. Warping is absolutley awesome, as is the whole clip editor.

Price paid

$399 USD

The reason I bought Live was many reviews lauded the interface as user friendly and intuitive and the program itself easy to learn. I was not dissapointed and kudos to Abelton for a very well composed user manual. Also: brilliant idea by Ableton was to allow download of the full version for demo (just can't save anything). Second was the fact that it works on Macs and PC's. So, I learned the program on my PC on lunch at work, then, when the decision was made to buy, I could immediately start working. Brilliant. Also, my brother in law jazz drummer can get Live for his PC and we can work seamlessly through mail with .als file extensions. Brilliant squared.


I am fresh off the boat from analog, and the proverbial fog has lifted. I was working with a Tascam 488 8 track tape studio, mostly through headphones. I also colaborated with a guy who has a 24 track 2" studio, which was great but very time consuming and hard to manage. For instance, reversing tape direction for efects like pre-verb is cool, maybe we felt like the Beatles or something, but time consuming and may be unusable. It's funny, Trent Reznor talks about all the hassle he went through to do what Live does in a half minute - it's somewhat sad but he's glad he went through the experience. I think the sound quality will be better simply because I won't be "experiencing" every single cable that needs pluged in to add some delay to this track, or a bass line that has to be played for all five minutes instead of being able to loop it and focus on the song itself.

It seems very well built - the navigating section is very intuitive, the layout of tracks and sections for adding effects, the slip view and clip editing, all very intuitive. I actually did have a problem with instalation, where I had to download the entire program on a dial up connection. The version that shipped on the disk did not contain a fix for OSX Tiger. I was grumpy about that, but quickly forgave them for their lightening fast response and subsequent opening of the program and the obvious myriad solutions for my prior recording woes.


I read a lot about other programs, but have no experience with any other DAW or software package for recording. Going digital was based solely on playing instruments rather than playing with equipment, and harness some of the fantastic technology to improve my finsihed product. AND not cost a ridiculous price. My situation is obviously what cumputer based packages like Live are marketed towards, so,in hindsight, if I had picked Cubase or Sonar I might be just as enamored with their programs. Live just appealed to me in that it was created by musicians and was described as revolutionary - good vibe for a complete studio overhaul.

Originally posted on
Posted by: Hybrid (January 2-, 2005)