Following its introduction 12 years ago, Ableton Live quickly developed a cult following because it was the first DAW that let musicians improvise their productions. Not to be confused with improvising on your instrument—we all do that—Live let you overdub, loop, edit, produce, and perform as you composed, without ever hitting the stop button. After a three-year hiatus, Ableton has returned with the latest incarnation, in which they’ve delivered a slew of new features that you won’t want to live without but never realized you needed.
PROS: Flexible audio-to-MIDI conversion. Improved integration of Session and Arrangement views. Upgrades to compressor, gate, and EQ. Automation now includes curves. Huge sample and preset libraries. Max For Live now in Suite. Dual display support in Live 9.1.
CONS: Converting audio files to MIDI requires extremely clean material.
Bottom Line: An absolute must-have upgrade for Live fans and an addictive gateway drug for newcomers.