Ableton Live 8 review

Price when reviewed

Suite 8 is a big application, consuming 45GB disk space and taking hours to install. This procedure really should be more automatic than it is; we found some components were still missing after we’d manually worked through scores of installation files. At around £550, it’s also more expensive than the flagship versions of Cubase 5 and Sonar 8, but the quality of its virtual instruments means it’s not overpriced. The cost of Live by itself continues to creep up, though, as does its upgrade price.


And for all its strengths, Live isn’t yet ready to dislodge Cubase for conventional multi-track studio recording. Despite the new ability to crossfade audio clips, our attempts to edit a multitrack drum session or to combine multiple vocal takes into a single best-of performance revealed that Live still lacks many of the subtle niceties that make these tasks so much easier in Cubase.

There are many tasks, and people, for whom Ableton Live 8 is perfect, however. Its aptitude for live performance remains peerless, and online videos of the new Akai APC40, a hardware controller designed specifically for Live, look fantastic. Live isn’t just a niche performance tool, though. Its aptitude for loop manipulation and the Suite’s fantastic instrument bundle make it the best choice for electronic music production. Meanwhile, the Session View’s non-linear approach to arrangement means it’s a superb choice for anyone who composes as they record, regardless of the genre they’re working in.


Software subcategory Audio production software


Processor requirement N/A

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes

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