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23 September 2005

Ableton Live 5 review — Harmony Central

Filed under: Music software at 5:35 pm Comments Off on Ableton Live 5 review — Harmony Central

Harmony Central has a very, very long and episodic review of Ableton Live 5. It’s quite thorough — they even look at a very useful feature that doesn’t get enough attention — the tutorials. “Turns out they’re actually pretty useful and quite well done. The “Tour” loads an example file, then takes you through all the main operations: clips, scenes, mixing, and the like. If you’re new to Live, this would be extremely helpful. The Tour tutorial has 27 pages and includes a fair amount of material, but not so much as to be overwhelming.”

The whole thing is in the form of a forum thread. The reviewer posted every so often on a specific aspect of Live — the Track Freeze function, for example, and the Locators: “Launching with Locators lets you set locate points at any time in the Arrange view, and freely go to any locate point whenever you like — with the usual quantization option where the switch to the next locator occurs on the next measure boundary, next beat, etc. But you can also trigger these from keyboard or QWERTY keys (or by double-clicking on a locator), which is a blast: instant rearrangement.”

The best thing about this review is the interactivity — there are posts replying to the reviewer and disagreeing with some of the points made. If you have the time to read it all, you’ll get a very good view of the issues surrounding Live 5 and Ableton Live in general.

At the end of a very extended interactive review, the ask whether it’s worth upgrading from Live 4. The answer is a definite yes. “All the improvements add up to a smoother workflow and enhanced user experience. That’s important to me — far more important than, say, adding video support (which I presume most Live users don’t find all that vital anyway). If you know your way around Live 4 and you’re totally happy with it, I suppose you can always wait until Live 6 comes along. But if you’re a Live aficionado, it’s hard to imagine not being able to appreciate the plethora of talents that Live 5 brings to the table.”

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