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The 5 new features in Ableton Live that should excite you!


Keys and Scales

Clips can be set to have a particular scale chosen from 35 preset scale types. When a scale has been selected, the clip will highlight all the notes in the scale with the route note indicated on the piano roll, which allows producers with limited knowledge of music theory to eradicate the guesswork when writing musical parts. By default, the notes that are not in the scale are visible in the clip (greyed out) and you can get rid of these by toggling the ‘fold to scale’’ button. Keys and scales make the process of programming melodies infinitely easier. Once you have set a scale to a clip, each additional midi clip you create will set to this scale as default, which helps speed up workflow. Don’t worry though, if required, you can change the scale on a per clip basis.

Chance and Probability

A new probability editor for midi clips is present in Ableton Live 11. In addition to the velocity editor, new buttons can be toggled at the bottom of the clip view. Here, you can set the likely hood that a particular note will trigger. For example, if you set it to 33%, the notes will only play randomly one-third of the time throughout the clip. The velocity handles have also changed slightly, you can now set a ‘range’ for the velocity that your midi notes will trigger within. This will make midi patterns sound human and dynamic. You can also randomize the velocity of the whole clip via the new randomize button in the clip view which creates a quick way of adding dynamics to a programmed midi clip. Super cool! The new features will help you easily create more interesting midi patterns with relatively no effort.

Macro & Rack Improvements

You can now have up to 16 macros on any single rack. This opens up a whole new world of sound design opportunities. It’s also worth noting that you can now hide macros that you aren't using - down to just a single macro. This feature makes racks with less than 8 macros much easier to work with. There is a new randomize button at the top of the rack, which, when toggled, completely randomizes all the macros. Super cool for getting interesting results. You can save each random variation, which will table up at the side of the rack, allowing you to switch between multiple different variations of macro randomization. Very intuitive for adding extra flavour, for example, transitions or one bar clips.

Midi Polyphonic Expression

Ableton Live 11 now supports MPE. MPE is a new technology that allows the recording of more expressive midi data, which brings electronic instruments much closer to the expressiveness of real-world instruments. You can edit things like pitch, slide, pressure, velocity, and release velocity. You can record and program data for each separate midi note, allowing per note pitch bends and add in the extra slide and pressure automation for a real humanized feel. The sound design possibilities with these features are pretty immense.

Improved CPU metering

A new toggle in session view, lets you show or hide CPU meters that indicate how much CPU usage is coming from each track. This makes it super easy to pinpoint tracks that are using the most CPU, which could be causing computer problems or glitches. You can then freeze/flatten the track to get some processing juice back or toggle off any processing/VSTs on the track that you might not need - a brilliant new feature for anyone using an older computer. The CPU usage meter in the top left of Ableton’s UI has also been updated with extra metering and features.


We are sure you agree that the new features in Live 11 will greatly aid songwriting and workflow. For a closer look at Ableton Live and how you can learn more about using Ableton Live for music production, check out the links below.

✔ You can sign up for the Ableton Live 11 BETA program here

✔Get a more detailed look at the new features here

✔Are you a music producer looking to enhance your skills using Ableton Live? Check out our monthly membership here

We can also help you get up to 40% off Ableton Live by becoming a SKapade member!

Scottish Dance music legend David Forbes is delivering an exclusive members-only production masterclass this Thursday (12/11/20). Get involved here

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