What’s Coming in Ableton Live 9
It’s been a loooong time since Ableton Live 8 was released – 2 years, 4 months and 9 days to be exact. There was a lot of speculation that Live 9 would be released at this year’s NAMM show, featuring 64 bit support and a range of other new features. Still, there’s been no whisper from Ableton as of yet. So: when is Live 9 really coming, and what can you expect from Live 9?
Bear in mind that the following is purely speculation – although, as a software developer myself, I’m prepared to say that it’s fairly confident speculation.
What We Know
- Before Live 8, Ableton was reasonably efficient at updating Live, almost on a yearly basis. Now it’s getting closer to 3 years without an announcement from Ableton.
- Ableton 8.2 was released however, and while it was a great update, it probably wasn’t the update a lot of people were hoping for. Aside from this, Ableton is only updating Live on a regular basis for bug fixes and small feature additions.
- Ableton Live is missing some great features that it would really benefit from – 64 bit support is the main contender here.
- Ableton’s software team isn’t getting any smaller. While updates and bug fixes do take a massive amount of development time, a couple of updates over 3 years doesn’t match up. Unless the developers are all busy shooting bubbles, that is.
- Ableton said that they’re working on Ableton Live 9.
What Does this Indicate?
Looking at the facts above, I’d say they conform pretty well to the idea that Ableton Live 9 is not just an update – rather, it’s being completely rewritten. Re-writes most definitely take longer than an upgrade does to develop – hence the long wait until Live 9, and continued support/updates for Live 8.
Why would Ableton re-write Live? For a start, additional features may require re-writing large portions of Live anyway. Live 8 also has a bad reputation for crashing at times – something that only a major software restructure may fix. Finally, a re-write would give Ableton the chance to re-imagine what Live could be: how it works, what platforms it’s made for, a complete interface overhaul etc. This isn’t too dissimilar to what’s been done by Apple with the new Final Cut Pro X – a complete retake on how video editing software should work.
Ableton wouldn’t be the only company of late to re-write software from scratch. As mentioned before, Apple just released Final Cut Pro X – a re-write of Final Cut Pro. They’re also rumored to be working on a re-write of Logic Pro and iWork. Looking at Final Cut Pro X, we can speculate on what may be in Ableton Live 9. Unfortunately, complete re-writes don’t always mean perfect software, especially at first. Take Final Cut Pro X for example:
What can we Expect?
- A complete re-write of Live, or at least a re-write of many major components.
- Any major, currently lacking features such as 64 bit support will be included.
- Live wouldn’t be re-written without the future in mind. Whether that means cloud storage/sharing support, a touch interface, Windows 8 or iOS support, we don’t know.
- Final Cut Pro X was not received very well by many critics, mainly due to bugs, speed and lack of support for old features. This may be the case with Ableton Live 9 – hopefully not – however, a complete re-write is not likely to be perfect straight of the bag.
So: a complete re-write of Live, with at least some big changes is on the table. How drastic these changes are is yet to be seen. Personally, I’m hoping for a complete redesign of how audio software should work – even if this makes for a buggy and feature lacking initial release, as per Final Cut Pro X.
Of course, all the above is pure speculation – so if you don’t agree, then say so! That’s what the comments below are for.