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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Jan 18 > INSTRUMENT AND EFFECT DEVICESZ IN ABLETON LIVE 10


Ableton Live goes from strength to strength with each update. Martin Delaney explores the new and updated devices in Live 10 – download the beta version, or download the demo to follow along…

By now, we all know that Live 10 is on the way. Maybe by the time you read this, it’ll be in open public beta, or maybe – just maybe – in full release. Either way, we’re too excited to wait, so let’s jump in and explore the new and updated devices. In the walkthrough, I’ve focused on the Wavetable synth, which is an obvious one to talk about, being so fully-featured. Wavetable synths have a quite unique sound, so it’s a handy addition alongside the virtual analogue experience of, er, Analog, and the FM-based creative monster that is Operator. If you preview any single individual sound from Wavetable you could be underwhelmed, but as soon as you begin to use the Modulation Matrix, and manipulate the Osc positions, it becomes incredibly lively and organic. I’d encourage you to dig in and explore this instrument – go through the presets, understand what the controls do, how the Matrix works, and to build your own sounds. If you’re using a MIDI keyboard, or Push, velocity is a great way to let your playing dynamics affect the sound in real-time. The two filters, combined with the Matrix, are critical – they can be run in series, parallel, or split – one per oscillator.

If you’ve written off Live as a guitar tool, the organic sound of Pedal could make you think again

Wavetable is the only new instrument in Live 10, but there are other new devices. Echo is Live’s third delay effect, but one that’s intentionally more ‘characterful/ coloured/dirty’ than the others, aimed primarily at recreating tape delay type sounds, with all the sonic imperfections that are part of that. It has the distinctive ‘echo tunnel’ graphic (representing left/right delay times and feedback), a filter, and an LFO. There’s also a built-in reverb, but the most fun stuff resides in the Character tab, with the Gate, Ducking, Noise and Wobble controls. Gate basically determines whether Echo works or not – if an incoming signal doesn’t exceed the Threshold, it passes through without any effect being heard, so you can get some nice dynamic effect responses if using a MIDI keyboard or Push. Ducking works in a similar way, listening to and reacting to incoming audio – you can set the degree by which the processed version of the input ducks to make way for the original signal. The Noise control adds some noise/hiss to the output, and can even morph between different types of noise, which sounds pretty cool.

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About MusicTech

2017 has been an exciting, innovative year for new music-making technology, from machine-learning plug-ins to laser-guided microphones and from scientifically crafted, point-source monitors to boutique synthesisers, the past 12 months has offered up new variations on classic gear and inventive new creative tools for making and recording music. We pay tribute to the best gear of the year in our roundup, with our winners compiled by a fusion of reader votes and our expert panel. Elsewhere this issue, we have the second part of our new A-Z series with Gear4Music, chat to MPG Award-winning mastering engineer Mandy Parnell and Grammy-winning producer and engineer Mark Rankin, and cast of our eye to the future with tutorial content in the latest iterations of Live and Reason. Additionally, you’ll find all the latest reviews from the likes of Toontrack, Dynaudio, Sonokinetic and more.It's been an excellent year for the music-technology industry, and MusicTech as a magazine. Here’s hoping 2018 will be equally as fruitful… enjoy the issue.