The only real news we can see about Live 8 is through their video presentations, which are actually quite good. They go on to talk about their latest and greatest improvements with the application, new partnerships and new specifically-made devices.
I’m just having a hard time really hearing the thunder of the improvements. The upgrade from 6 to 7 was huge, enabling multi-core support, not to mention adding a slew of new add-on instruments for sound design and just plain fun. The new improvements, although great, really, just don’t feel as crazy awesome as the last upgrade.
Some standout improvements for me so far are the ones that just plain make sense, being the visual improvements of the application. For instance, you can resize your work area regardless of your monitor’s resolution, you can group tracks together to enable an exclusive send bus for that group and you can preview files and clips in a scrub bar for easy previewing.
Other benefits I can see being useful for the all-around user are the upgrades to Operator including a waveform editor, the new Vocoder effect, Multiband Dynamics, Overdrive and Limiter. But all of these new effects seem like requirements to me that should have been in place from the get go.
I remember a lot of griping from users of other DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) that Ableton was trying to move away from the traditional DAW pack and go into a ProTools-esque mastering and professional audio direction. I had a hard time figuring out why these people were trying to drag Ableton through the mud on this. Was it brand loyalty either because of years of dedication to one DAW or just because they just dropped an ass load of money into a new program that they weren’t happy with? Probably.
I think the thing to keep in mind with Ableton is that they’re not perfect- but they’re different. They’re joining up with the right people (Cycling74, Akai) to release the most user-friendly DAW in the market. Their new approach has gained a lot of notoriety in the field of audio production and performance, and not just from noobs either. Their Artist Roster is pretty impressive, and I’m sure that anyone who’s reading this blog has seen the benefits of working with Live’s software.
This is all reminding me of a fantastic illustrator that I just discovered the name to the work. His name is Bob Staake, and his work is fantastic. Albeit his work is created to look a certain way and you could argue that he doesn’t need to upgrade because he gets the job done with the version he’s kept for 10+ years, but I think you’d be missing the point. The point I’m trying to illustrate (sorry, just had to) is that it really doesn’t matter what program you use or what version you have- it all matters in how you utilize that instrument to wield the greatest results. So if you’re freaking out about Ableton’s latest edition and that you have to have it, I won’t say I blame you. But just remember Bob Staake and know that it’s not the tool you use, it’s how you use the tool.
PS- for those of you who think I’m an idiot and want Ableton Live 8 anyway, the beta-version for testing will be available before the end of January here.