In this article we will discuss the top 10 best features that come with the new update to Ableton: Live 12. The improvements are significant, from the UI, browser, effects and synths, up to the enormous update to the Piano Roll. Let’s get started!
1. Simultaneous view of various sections
No longer do you need to switch over to Session View in order to view the mixer. In Ableton Live 12, you have the option to include parts of Session View inside the Arrangement. You can also display MIDI patterns, and even device chains on the same view as the timeline.
2. Updated Browser with Filters and Labels
Live 12 makes it much easier to search for great sounds in the Browser. You are able to search using various filters - similarly to Arturia synth plugins. While the Core Library and Ableton Packs should come labeled, you will also be able to label your own packs to utilize this feature with your entire collection of sounds.
3. “Show Similar Files” features in the Browser and Drum Rack
Ableton now allows you to search for similar samples. This function significantly reduces the time needed to search for alternative sounds. The usual approach - searching by sample name - works only if your library of sounds uses the same naming conventions. The new browser scans through your entire sound collection, and “Show Similar Files” allows you to search by similarity. The feature is reminiscent of sample browsers like the Atlas 2 plugin, as well as the “show similar patches” feature found in Omnisphere 2.
4. New effect: Roar (multiband saturator)
Roar is a great saturation and distortion effect. It includes three stages which can be combined in innovative ways. Its expandable window makes the interface easy to navigate, while the modulation matrix and feedback routing features are quite innovative and offer very inspiring results.
5. Project scale selection
In Live 12 you are able to use a global scale for the entire project file. Then you have the option to “lock” certain MIDI clips. It also applies to MIDI devices like Chord or Arpeggiator, to make sure the generated notes always stay in key. This feature makes it faster to write patterns in the correct key, and to transpose entire tracks.
6. Updated Chord device with Strum function
Not only can you now lock the Chord MIDI device to the scale - it has a new addition called Strum. You are now able to play the notes in sequence according to the strum time, Tension and Crescendo parameters. This is not only useful for mimicking guitar strum effects, but also for getting more natural sounding piano and synth chords. By the way, the strum functionality is now also present in the updated MIDI editor.
7. New synthesizer: Meld
This synth consists of two separate paths for each of the two oscillators (A and B). There’s a plethora of unique oscillator types (or wavetables) available, which makes it a unique sounding device. Another advantage is its big expandable mod matrix, which allows for extensive modulation across a big range of parameters. On top of that, it features cross-modulation, which allows you to create new types of sounds. For example, you can use the mod source (such as an LFO) from Oscillator B to modulate filter parameters in Oscillator A, and vice versa - essentially modulating your modulators.
8. Updated Piano Roll: “Rhythm” & “Seed” MIDI Generators
Live 12 absolutely revolutionized its piano roll with various different new features, which makes it just as good as FL Studio’s piano roll, or even better. Some of the top new features include special tools for generating rhythmic and harmonic MIDI patterns. Examples include the “Rhythm” mode, in which you are able to create rhythm patterns you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of, as well as “Seed”, which allows you to create interesting melodic patterns.
9. Piano Roll: New velocity features
Another great part of the upgrades to the Piano Roll are smart velocity editing features. You can now use an envelope to edit a selection of MIDI note velocities. There’s also a very handy “ramp”, which you can use to add gradually increasing velocities, instead of having to edit each note manually.
10. Piano Roll: New scale features
In the new Piano Roll, great new scale features have been added. When any melody is created, you have a “fit to scale” option, which will transpose your MIDI to the selected scale. There are new options for adding specific intervals, useful with creating chords. You can now also easily choose the “global” project scale.