switching to Ableton Live (finally?)

Ableton LiveAfter asking Ableton Live – the ultimate creative production tool?somewhere in last year I’ve struggled for quite some time on whether to move or not.

Meanwhile some fresh air has been come into this and here is the brief interim status concerning my efforts on switching over to a new host software:

  • my copy for Ableton Live has arrived and is already properly installed
  • Phil from Heidelberg kindly gave me a comprehensive introduction into it
  • tweaked a very first session on sunday and that was a surprisingly smooth experience (however just some first steps)
  • hope that no major obstacles will arise during the further ramp up
  • looking for further online tutorial and website tips now


  1. My little bit of experience with Ableton Live (Lite) consisted of an aggravating three hours of crashes, downloading and installing huge “updates,” followed by, yes, more crashes. This was just before Ableton put the brakes on further development and went on their massive bug hunt, but for me the damage was done. Even looking past the bugs, I found the whole install process to be really tedious and frustrating–all I wanted to do was make music, guys! They should at least load up a goofy little step-sequencer/synth for you to diddle with while you wait for all those samples and flashy graphics to decompress and install. I suppose overall that shouldn’t be a showstopper, assuming you get a version that’s stable and just stick with it for awhile, but for me it set a bad tone for things to come. The little I actually was able to use it was interesting, I suppose–I got a little sense of its capabilities but probably couldn’t fairly assess at how useful it’d have been should I have been able to explore it further without pulling my hair out. One thing I really didn’t much care for though was how busy the interface was–I felt a bit claustrophobic working in it (i have a somewhat smaller monitor as it is) but even in a fresh project it seemed like the work area was cluttered and filled up even before I’d done anything. So in the end I just went back to Reaper–it has its own quirks and aggravations but it seems to fit me.

    But hopefully your experience goes better, Bootsy, and that it inspires lots of music-making!

  2. Gustavo Coco says:

    I used to work with live, the session view its great for composition.
    But now… Im completely sold to Reaper!!
    Yeah reaper rocks!!
    ( And runs all the bootsy plugs without any problem )

  3. I have played with both Live Light 7 and 8. No bugs what so ever. I also played around with the Suite. And I must say I is the absoulte most intuitive, flexible and powerful daw around. Ill buy it when I can afford it. For now I do fine with Cubase 5 Essential and Live Lite. I love Cubase, but it is more traditional.

    In short.
    For regular tracking Cubase is great and straight forward.
    For audio and midi mangling, automation, custumisation and diversity Live is somewhat more inspiring and powerful.

    The main differences in the full featured aplications I guess is the gui afecting the workflow.

    Good luck on you!

  4. Reaper guy here too. No experience with AL at all but have heard some good things about it. Happy music making, Bootsy. Goodness knows, your fine plug-ins have certainly made _my_ experiences happier!

  5. I love Ableton Live (7). Not as good for quick editing as Cubase which I also use a lot,not as good for making unexpected sounds for which I use Plogue Bidule, but for massing together clips and effects, it’s great.
    Didn’t strike me as any more confusing and confounding as any other. Good good response from ableton when i had a problem.

  6. I use Reaper too. Best DAW experience I’ve ever had.

  7. A lot of Reaper users here 🙂
    I use Ableton and I love it.
    What I love in Live is that it has totally different creative approach then other DAWs and it fits to my needs when I’m working on music.
    I am sure you will enjoy making music with Ableton!

  8. I love Ableton, use it for nearly every sound related project. For the past ~6 months, though, it crashes like crazy (version 8.1.1). This is both on my PC and macbook pro, so it’s definitely issues with Ableton itself, not drivers or my particular machine.

    It’s good at recovering when it crashes (restores from undo history). So far it has never failed to recover. So, if you plan to DJ live with it, careful! Otherwise, it’s annoying but in the end not a huge deal.

  9. Not my cup of coffee.
    I don’t do music as if I am making a shopping in a bazaar. I’m more into detail than zillions of possibilities and zillions of ideas rushing into and out of my brain. I need a calm interface, which doesn’t tire me easily.
    But I know that there are other people with a different approach and understanding – we don’t do things in the same way and our expectations can be pretty different.
    Have fun and good luck with Live.

  10. A-live is innovative and a real good tool….a friend of mine from the minimal scene is using it…for me Reaper is doing it perfect…best workflow I ever had !!

    Have fun with your new daw 😉

  11. So Bootsy, wha has happened to your multichannel outputs VSTi necessity? I remember when you asked about it last year we already discussed it and you seemed pretty interested on that. I tell you again..it sucks a bit on this department. If you are gonna work a lot with multioutput VSTi instances it might bother you. Just try it, its difficult to explain here.

    Same with MIDI recording. I am not a keyboard player and i always go back and record again, undo, etc. This is uttelry done on Live. There´s no real overdub in midi sequence (in arrange view), unless you put the locators (brackets, 1-2 on cubase) around the sequence you need to work and you let the playback complete the whole sequence. If you dont do that a new clip will be created and it will most surely cut your previous notes.

    You wont be able to see many different CC curves on the same MIDI clip, just one each time.

    These are the flaws of the program IMO. Everything else is just…perfect. Once you get used to the UI you´ll see everything is on its place, amazing workflow and unique non linear composing approach. Notice that if you dont do a lot of MIDI editing/recording and you work mostly with synths doing some form of electronic genre the program might be as wonderful as you might imagine. It really is THAT good.

    I was a hardcore Live defender, been teaching it for some years (if you need help or a little boost in your learning curve feel free to send me an email) and even convinced some of my Cubase-heads fellow which now are greateful to me. 🙂 But..in the process i just started to get more and more big symphonic projects and started to use samplers a lot so finally i could see that i just couldnt work with Live quickly to do certain things.

    But if your fav chain of plugins was sugar bytes and A-Ce synth…man…dont know what you are waiting for. Trust me, you are gonna feel like making music is fun again.

    • Hi Ed, is there a good tutorial about dealing with multichannel VSTi available?

      • Dont know about it. I can send you a template with a couple of kontakts with 16 individual outputs ready to go, so you can see for yourself and investigate how it works. I tried to make it as straightforward as I could, then i realized the way Live manages the monitoring on this multiple VSTis makes it a bit difficult to work.

  12. Don`t know, how often i got Ableton Live with new bought soundcards. Even took a look into it, but i grew up with the first Cubase-Versions and this relationship is very strong til today. My only alternative sequencer is Reaper, that i am using for Master recording and Mastering. I would completetly change over to Reaper, if it would have a score editor, and if there would not be so called “standards” in film business, deciding about, whether you are hired or not. Yes, its unbelivable, but even in 2010 there are still producers asking you the “Pro Tools Question” before talking about anything else.

  13. I did use Ableton Live Lite versions that came bundled with hardware and I thought it was very interesting to play around with samples and stuff. I did not enjoy using it when recording though. I guess it is better for mixing samples but not for musicians who record music. I started recording with Sequencer Plus a while back and used most sequencers since, now, I just like Reaper. It’s solid and clean.

  14. Live is my primary DAW. I love it. Arrangement view is tons of fun. Good luck. Thanks for all the great plugins.

  15. chronocepter says:

    I’m a REAPER now.
    the best DAW.

    like a steel bar hitting your head.
    “It’s solid and clean.”

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