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Ableton Live 7

New audio composing and editing version adds multiple features By Ko Maruyama
I'm sitting in a studio with Metier Music musician Josh Falcon getting the walkthrough of Ableton Live 7 on a Mac.  Now I know how all of those graphic producers feel when they say they want to try lean over and draw with the stylus.  Ableton has added features to Live 7 that make it fit just as easily into the video studio as it does on stage.

The new Ableton Live has started shipping, and rather than trying to figure out what it means to me, a video head - - I brought it to a Ableton user to walk me through the finer points of the upgrade.  For the uninitiated: imagine asking someone about how you might construct a sentence, and they reply by opening an unabridged dictionary and start spitting poetry..... with 100s of heads popping out of their neck.

Even in the Essential Instruments Collection, there are deep wells of music that will suck you and your listening audience in.  I am getting sidetracked by talking about all of the samples... any discussion about these would distract even the most focused from an overview of the new features.

REX files provide the ability to make subtle tweaks that let you remap midi to match video or performance.  It can save you hours in the studio, or let you use those hours for something else.   Alternatively, while right clicking on a sample, you can slice to new midi tracks - - you almost don't need REX files.  Another deep feature to fall into.  Josh is inextricably in its gravitational pull.

Another new feature is the ability to make changes made to video projects and export those modifications.  This helps editors see where changes have been made to accommodate the audio soundtrack.  I'll put Josh to this.  Importing video and exporting it will be a major feature in my questions for review.

There are several other utilitarian features, including time signature changes, tempo "nudging" - great for easy synchronization, a new compressor which emulates the top ranked vintage compressors, and a better memory management.  

Memory management is very important.  There are about 8GB of music in the EIC that start you off, even before you begin to record your own samples.  Ableton Live 7 features something they call "SmartPriming" which allocates necessary resources to you on the fly... well, Live.   As you use it, Live creates a record of what you need to play that sample.  It's invisible to you - and you might not give it the appreciation it deserves until you start using Live 7. Throwing multiple tracks and effects at it won't even make it blink.

Josh will have more to say in the coming weeks about Ableton Live 7 - - if I can just get him to stop playing for  a few minutes.  Ableton Live 7 is now shipping, and you can find the download of the demo lite version on their website at  You can get Ableton Live 7 (physical shipping) for $599 - comes with the EIC2 samples.  The download version of Ableton Live 7 without the EIC is available for under $

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
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