Ableton Live 5 review
Plug-in delay compensation is also now available to address the problem of plug-ins introducing small amounts of delay to sounds passing through them. The upshot of this is tighter timing, which everyone will appreciate, but it also means that mixing multimicrophone recordings such as live drums or acoustic instrument ensembles is now viable – previously, even the tiniest timing discrepancies would cause problems when the same instrument was captured on more than one microphone. There’s no way for the software to compensate for software instruments played live – after all, the software can’t predict a note before it’s been played – but it’s disappointing that insert effects that are applied to a software instrument must be deleted rather than just disabled to temporarily reduce latency for a quick MIDI overdub.
Ultimately, though, these criticisms are insignificant against the overriding feeling of power, precision and flexibility this software exudes. Although many of the new features in version 5 aim to bring it into line with the more established studio recording software, Ableton hasn’t lost its knack for finding fresh approaches to music production. It’s also satisfying to see Live’s strength as a performance tool continue to grow.