In addition to passing MPE information to third-party plugins, several Ableton’s native tools have been updated with support. Most notably, Sampler and Wavetable, which should cover a lot of ground — especially multi-sampled acoustic instruments. And you can even draw in pitch, slide and pressure envelopes for each note in the new expression view.
Another major addition to Live is comping, which groups multiple passes of an audio or MIDI into individual takes so you can stitch together just the best parts. You could have always done something similar manually in Live before, but this greatly simplifies the process. It can even be a tool for sound design where you combine dramatically different sounding takes of the same melody or riff to create jarring juxtapositions, for instance.
Of course, there’s also a number of new instruments and effects. There’s a new Hybrid Reverb that combines Ableton’s physical modeling convolution engine with its algorithmic one, plus a Spectral Resonator and Spectral time which blur incoming audio in different ways allowing you to turn almost anything into a playable instrument or ambient texture. There’s also new soundpacks, including Inspired by Nature which, as the name implies, features six instruments and effects drawn from nature and PitchLoop89, which is all about digital glitches and shimmering delays.
There’s also a few new tools for adding a bit of unpredictability, like note and velocity chance. And a slew of smaller updates to clip editing, core sounds and scales mode. In short, Ableton Live 11 is as much about playing catch up, as it is about looking forward.
Perhaps the best part of the release of Live 11 is that from now, until that day (whenever it might be), Live 10 is available for 20-percent off and includes a free upgrade to Live 11 when it lands.