songboy 12/30/2009

Ableton Live 8 : songboy's user review

5

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There were no compatibility issues running Ableton 8 on my Macbook. 
I have browsed the manual here and there, but it is rather long and with the Ableton forums, great tutorials and google, you really don't need it at all. 
If you have used a DAW software before, then the "arrangement" section shouldn't be to hard to figure out.  I also have Logic 9 and I prefer to use that.  I feel that Ableton's interface is a little inferior compared to Logic 9.  In Logic, the separation of the clips or tracks is very easy to see and therefore manipulate.  In Ableton, the background bleeds into every clip, making it a little hard to use.  When it comes to the "Session" view, things are very simple and extremely useful.  The only complaint I have is the lack of a "Floating Window" feature.  When all of the windows are opened up, you run out of screen space really quick. 
The typical functions are easy enough to access.  Ableton is really special because of its arrangement view which is really original.  The functions of that aspect are also easy to access.


SUITABILITY/PERFORMANCE

The software works great on my man with one exception, it seems that one of my favorite plugins (GSi's Mr. Ray 73) occasionally generates severe latency.  It happens all of a sudden and I cannot figure out what causes it either.  The big problem is that after I close/remove the plugin, the latency still persists.  Even if I close that session and open up a new one, it is still there.  The only remedy is to shut ableton down entirely and relaunch it.  This is a big problem for me because I really need a good Rhodes plugin and the GSi is the best I have ever had.  I have contacted Ableton about this but have not had a reply yet.  If only they had a Midi reset feature, like Logic 9/Mainstage 2 has, it would not be an issue.  Hopefully they will fix this in an update.  I also notice that Ableton 8 crashes on me once in a great while when I am changing my Audio output preferences (built in output changed to Presonus Firebox).  It has only happened 3 times over the past 2 months, and it only happens when I first open up the project.  Besides those two hiccups, ableton functions fine. 
With those two problems in the mix, I can only give ableton an 8 out of 10. 
I have been using Ableton 8 for 2 months.

OVERALL OPINION

What I like the most is the amazing abilities Live can give a performing musician.  First off, they have added a looping device plugin which is absolutely spectacular.  I used to own a RC 50, but I sold it when I found out what ableton was capable of.  Due to the fact that it is computer based, there is a extremely small amount of latency, but other than that, it kills!!!!! the RC 50 in every aspect.  Of course, I should mention the sheer value of the "session view" which for me is priceless.  I can do the "one man band" thing with great ease due to this software.
The only fallbacks for me are the ones I mentioned earlier.
There really is nothing else out there that can give you this much bang for your buck.  I paid $229 with an artist account and upgrade discount.  It is worth every single penny. 
Besides the little bit of latency that happens when running analog instruments (guitar and bass), the precision is great and the sound quality is just as good as Logic/mainstage or any other DAW I have used. 
I have used Logic, Cakewalk Sonar and Cubase.  I prefer Logic for Recording/writing but Ableton is the only choice when it comes to playing Live.
Yes, I would happily buy this again if I had to.