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Ableton Announces Live 4

Ableton's Live 4 (Mac OS 9/X and Windows) offers users MIDI sequencing, pattern recording, drag-and-drop sampling, virtual instruments and MIDI

Ableton’s Live 4 (Mac OS 9/X and Windows) offers users MIDI sequencing, pattern recording, drag-and-drop sampling, virtual instruments and MIDI hardware support, in addition to enhanced features such as swing/groove for audio and MIDI clips, a new channel-routing scheme, simplified recording, sample reverse and several new creative options for the Session view (pictured with MIDI clip).

For MIDI sequencing, software instruments appear in Live’s built-in browser. Dragging an instrument from the browser into the mixer creates a MIDI track containing that instrument, which is ready to play and record. MIDI and audio effects can instantly be inserted into the same track by dragging. The Track view provides instant access to all instrument and effects controls.

Live 4 also includes the Simpler sampling instrument, which allows for instant sampling and polyphonic playback, and Impulse is a polyphonic percussion sampler with drag-and-drop sample import and innovative sound-shaping controls. In addition, Live hosts any VST or AudioUnits (Mac OS X-only) plug-in instruments. MIDI tracks without a software instrument can deliver MIDI to external hardware synthesizers, ReWire client programs or other MIDI tracks in Live. Live 4 also includes five MIDI effects: The Scale effect, for instance, forces incoming notes onto a chosen musical scale and Random creates random deviations in note pitch.

MIDI clips are created by recording or dragging in standard MIDI files from Live’s browser. Notes can be viewed, created and edited in the Clip view’s Note Editor. When Draw mode is engaged, the Note Editor behaves like a drum pattern interface, where a pattern step is set or cleared by a single click, and flams are created by dragging across multiple steps. MIDI clips, like audio clips, have their own loop settings. MIDI-controller movements are represented as clip envelopes, which can be unlocked from the notes to create independent movements.

Patterns can be built up on the fly by overdubbing MIDI onto clips while they play in a loop. New monitoring, track routing and view navigation allow for nondisruptive track setup and recording. Any track can feed and tap other tracks for submixes or layering, and be routed to eight auxiliary sends per Live set.

Live 4 (SRP: $499) will be available by the end of July 2004; a public beta test will begin later this month. Upgrades from any full version of Live is $119 (download only) or $149 (boxed version). Customers who purchased Live 3 or an upgrade to Live 3 after May 15, 2004, will be eligible for a discounted upgrade to Live 4 for $49 (download) or $79 (boxed version).

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