Ableton has dropped a 9.5 update for Live. There’s a lot here: new Cytomic-modeled analogue-style filters; a redesigned Simpler; a completely new cross-app wireless sync protocol called Link; GUI enhancements like better waveform accuracy and scrolling, updated meters that show both Peak and RMS at once; and clip colours automatically taking on the hue of their parent track. It’s a lot to unpack, so let’s start with those filters.
Cytomic is actually West-Australian developer Andy Simper, who you can read more about in our profile here. He’s the guy behind The Glue, Live’s neat SSL bus compressor emulation, and developed the ultra-clean ‘what-you-put-in-is-what-you-get-out’ linear state variable filter (SVF) for Live’s native EQ Eight. That SVF was actually a model of Urei’s 545 analogue EQ. Filter styles are a big deal for synth nuts, and when Ableton was looking to update its filters, it had a look at what was in Simper’s bag first. Luckily he’d already recreated a handful of analogue filters for Cytomic’s The Drop. There are five new filter types in Live 9.5: Clean, the same ultra-clean filter as the EQ Eight; OSR, which is another SVF with a unique hard-clipping diode modelled after the OSCar; MS2, a Sallen-Key design taken from Korg’s MS-20 Mark 2; SMP, which is a custom design pitched between the OSR and MS2; and the PRD, which uses a ladder design like the Prodigy. The filters are available in Simpler, Sampler, Operator and Auto Filter. Check out Ableton Liveschool trainer Thomas McAlister using one of the new filters to create a kick drum from silence.
Simpler’s redesign adds a couple of new modes. You now have Classic, One Shot and Slicing. Classic works like a classic sampler; play, hold and pitch at will. One Shot does what it says on the box; play a key/pad and it will play out the entire sample without holding the trigger down, of course, you can tailor the playback portion of the sample. Slicing automatically warps and slices your sample on import, allowing you plenty of flexibility to play beats with slices, including adjustable polyphony.
Link is perhaps the coolest update of all, because it’s not sand-boxed to Live. Link is a wireless way of keeping multiple Live sessions in sync as well as a host of iOS apps. You can also leave the ‘jam’ without disrupting the flow of other participants. Ableton is giving away the SDK so anyone can develop their apps with this protocol.
The update is free to all Live 9 users, so make sure you jump onto your Ableton account and download the update if you haven’t already.
The Push 2 also made its debut, which you can check out here.