Ableton Live 12.1 now in public beta with new features, and more

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

Ableton has announced Live 12, a major upgrade for its DAW with all-new MIDI-transforming power, new devices, and more. 

Ableton Live 12 has been on the market for almost half a year now. I really like the new update. The new synth Meld and the new MIDI transformation tools are especially fun. 

Good news for Live 12 users today. Ableton has released the free Live 12.1 update with additional features that are now in beta. Push 3 users also benefit from new goodies.

Ableton Live 12.1

Ableton Live 12.1

Live 12.1 introduces auto-tagging, making finding the right sound in your user library easier. New tags are automatically assigned to all samples in the library less than a minute long. This also applies to VST3 and AU plugins. A nice extension for the new browser in Live 12.

The new update is very focused on devices. There are four devices news, two of them completely new and two redesigns. 

Auto Shift is Live’s new pitch correction and harmonization device. It lets you manipulate and extract harmonies from vocals in real-time. Choose a scale for Auto Shift to follow, and play and make harmonies from any monophonic signal with the dedicated sidechain.

The results can vary greatly, from little correction to extreme robotic effects like”Cher.” It’s a creative FX and up to you how you use it in your project.

Then, a little surprise: there is a new drum sampler in Live 12.1. It’s a new compact sample player device designed for tweaking and enhancing drum sounds on the fly. 

Live 12.1

It offers various parameters, including one-shot mode with start, length, and gain for the sample and attack, hold, and decay for the built-in envelope. It also includes a filter and a built-in effects processor—certainly not a game-changing device, but a useful one that speeds up the workflow with drum sounds.

Besides this, the Limiter and Saturator received new designs and improved specs (smoother release envelopes for the Limiter, hard clipping for the Saturator…). That’s not all. The MIDI editor now allows you to filter and select notes by time, pitch, or other criteria.

Also part of the new Live 12.1 update are Glissando and LFO, two new MPE-specific MIDI transformation tools. They let you create curves for the MPE parameters of selected notes. Not to forget, there are also many improvements:

  • chop MIDI in new ways: 
  • envelope follower now hosts a sidechain option
  • and more

Push 2+3 Computer/Push 3 Standalone & Live 12.1

Not only Live 12 but also the Push 2/3 have received new features. On Push 2 and 3, you can now map macros and experiment with macro variations. Further, you can organize sets more easily and take advantage of Live 12’s browser filters.

Another new feature for the Push 3 is the ability to add groove instantly to all the MIDI clips in your set with a single twist on an encoder. Lastly, Push 3 standalone adopts Live’s new sample auto-tagging feature.

 

An excellent update for Live 12.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Update From February 22, 2024

We have an official release date for Ableton Live 12. After a long beta test, the new version of the Berlin digital audio workstation will be released on March 5, 2024, to the public.

Until then, you can still benefit from a 20% OFF discount on a purchase of Live 11 with a free update to 12. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Article From November 14, 2023

I want to write: does Ableton now publish Live updates every year? Nope, Ableton Live 11 was announced in November 2020, released in February 2021. Ouch, how quickly time has passed. It felt like it was 2022. There is a reason why I introduce you this way in my article. 

Ableton announced Live 12 today, a new version of their popular DAW with major new features, improvements, content, and more. Here’s a detailed overview of what’s new. 

Ableton Live 12

Ableton Live 12

Live remains Live also in version 12. It’s not a revolution but an evolution of Ableton’s DAW. There are no new mega headlining features this time, like in Live 11 comping or MPE. This time is more about smaller features that turn Live into a more accessible, creative digital audio workstation.

When you open Live 12 for the first time, you see a new user interface. Still a familiar picture, though, but the team has created a cleaner and more modern look for it.

It removes visual complexity and keeps the focus on your music, says Ableton. For me, it seems more melted together, less in recognizable blocks like Live 10 or 11. 

An Endless Playground For Ideas

Audio manipulation using effects… is an absolute standard in every DAW. MIDI manipulation, on the other hand, is a topic that DAW developers have only been exploring in more depth for several years. For example, Ableton introduced probability (chance) to its sequencer in Live 11.

They continue this MIDI focus consistently in Live 12 with new MIDI transformation and generator tools. With these, you can turn any simple MIDI sequence into a deeper and more complex variation. 

You can add ornaments, connect successive notes and chords, and simulate guitar strums. Live 12 also hosts a set of inspiring, fully customizable generative algorithms that create melodies, rhythms, and chords. Often seen as a plugin or M4L device, now embedded in Live.

Ableton Live 12

Ableton also updated the MIDI editor with new functions and a better workflow, including the option to rearrange the order of a selection of notes by pitch, velocity, or duration. You can also stretch, split, chop, or join notes in new ways, shape the velocity of notes more easily, and more.

The team also found an answer to the question: “are my tracks in the right key?” Live 12 includes a new function allowing you to choose a key and scale in the control bar to stay in key across all devices.

A scale guide is built into the clip editor, allowing you to transform, sync, or generate new ideas. On top, it comes with new tuning systems for working outside the 12-tone equal temperament system, all accessible in the Live’s devices.

The first part of the Live 12 update is very MIDI-heavy and opens up many new possibilities for crafting ideas. Live 12 also has some new exciting devices.

MIDI

New Synths, Effects, and Content

Then, Live 12 introduces three new devices, one of which is almost legendary. 

The first new addition is Meld, a bi-timbral MicroFreak-like MPE Synthesizer powered by two easy-to-use macro multi-synthesis oscillators. It also has a noise generator, dual-mode filter section, various LFOs, envelopes, and more. Just like in wavetables, you can expand it and work with a deep modulation matrix. 

Let’s stay with instruments. Robert Henke’s almost legendary Granulator device has also received a major update. Now integrated into Live 12 as Granulator III with MPE support for expressive control over parameters. A big plus, you can now capture audio in real-time and are no longer forced to import it. 

Ableton Meld Roar

Another powerful new device is Roar. It’s a creative distortion device with various types. They range from more subtle ones like soft sine, diode clipper, or tube pre-amp for adding warmth, to crazy ones like noise injection, shards, or fractal. 

Roar consists of three saturation stages that can run in series or parallel. Do you need more control? No problem. You can also work in mid/side and multiband configurations, giving you full control over your distorted timbres. And you get to go even deeper using the built-in modulation matrix.

There is also a new performance pack featuring four new Max For Live devices from sound designer and developer Iftah (ex skinnerbox). Made for capturing snapshots of your sets, creating micro-performances with multi-layered automation, loops in arrangements, and more.

It also ships with a new Lost and Found collection with sound sounds created from unusual materials, percussive trinkets, and more.

Ableton Live 12

Workflow Improvements

Live 12 users can benefit from many workflow improvements. The Ableton developers have added a new stacked detail view. This gives you an overview of everything a track is doing at a glance. This is intended to avoid constantly switching between views and let you focus more on the track.

Further, Live’s built-in mixer is now also available in the arrangement view. Finally, it also comes with improvements, making it more accurate and easier to read and control.

Handy is the new tagging functionality in the browser. Use the included tags or custom ones to search for sounds without the constraints of the browser’s built-in categories. Very good if you are looking for a sound quickly. I’ve never been a big fan of the browser in Live, but this looks like a good upgrade.

Live 12

Also neat is the new sound similarity search. You can take a sample and tell Live’s browser to find comparable sounds and instrument presets related to timbre. This saves you a lot of time and I’m excited to see how well it works. 

Finally, Live 12 ships with accessibility and navigation improvements. Control core workflows in Live 12 using assistive technologies like screen readers, and use new keyboard shortcuts to navigate to nearly every part of Live.

First Impression

At first glance, a very exciting update. As said at the beginning: no revolution and no features that can now be used as headliners. The stars of the 12 update are the smaller add-ons that trigger inspiration or make the workflow smarter. Including the new MIDI manipulators or key and scale functionality.

I’m pleased about the update to Robert Henke’s Granulator device. I am a huge fan of this device and the new live sampling ability is a feature I’ve been waiting for a long time.

Availability 

Ableton Live 12 will be available in Q1 2024. It will cost $99/79€ for Live Intro, $439/279€ for Live Standard, and $749/599€ for Live Suite. A discount offer is running from now until the release of Live 12.

During the promotion, all new Live 11 editions are 20% off as well as the Push 3. Purchasing any new Live 11 edition automatically entitles customers to a free upgrade to its corresponding Live 12 edition upon release. 

Existing users can log in to their user account and check their upgrade price. From Live 11 Suite to Live 12 Suite, it’s currently 159€ instead of 199€. 

More information here: Ableton

Available at my partner

DAW News

10 Comments

    • There is a work-around for that – put an External Instrument on the MIDI track you want to send MIDI from and choose your destination in the ‘MIDI To’ dropdown. Add multiple ones by creating extra chains in a group.

      I do this to trigger sidechains from my kick drums.

      Hope that helps!

  1. Nice update but… Since Live 10 (2018), one of the most requested features on Ableton’s Centercode is ARA2 integration. 6 years later, still nothing… and still no bounce in place… WTF!?

  2. Hello

    At the moment, for existing users, the upgrade from Live 11 Suite to Live 12 Suite is 159 euros on Ableton site (not 149 euros as printed in the news).

    Regards

  3. I have Live 10.1 in Mac and I am thinking to downgrade to Live 8.
    Too much CPU consuming.
    Old Mac, you know.
    I think today in 2024 anyone can create absolute good music in 2016 software terms.
    Nowadays is crazy the rythm of new versions just to do aproximately the same.
    Opinion from someone who has not cash to keep up with companies.
    J.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*