Your Questions: Is Ableton Live 9 Worth The Price Tag?


Ableton Live 9 is great software because of the ability to jam with clips and scenes, but this app - Bitwig Studio - is an alternative.

Over on the Digital DJ Tips forum, Sy Swint asks: "I want to learn how to produce but I'm not sure which digital audio workstation to buy? I'm leaning towards Ableton but it is twice the price of some other, seemingly professional, DAWs like Logic Pro. Is Ableton Live 9 worth the higher price tag?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

You could start with GarageBand, for free with OSX. Many top DJs and producers have used FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops) to have number one hit tunes. Logic, as you say, is incredible software. So no, you don't have to shell out for Ableton Live 9 Suite to start making music, not at all.

The reason many DJ/producers love Ableton Live is the way, in Clip view, you can sync items easily, matching their BPMs on the fly - a little like the "sync" button on a DJ controller, but across potentially hundreds of little snippets. Choosing from samples, one-shots, Midi clips, drum loops, rhythm-locked effects and much more, it is possible to endlessly "jam" variations of sounds in a way that just isn't possible with most music production software, that demands structure from the beginning.

Also, this - especially with Ableton Link, which can easily sync you up to your DJ software, for instance - is a great way of playing live, keeping things fluid rather than rigid, and blurring the lines between DJing and production.

No wonder most DJ/producers produce with Ableton Live, then, but there is an alternative, namely relative newcomer Bitwig Studio. It also has a clip view for the same type of jamming. In all honesty though, it doesn't work out an awful lot cheaper, and getting your software right at the beginning is, I'd suggest, more important than the price (which you'll have forgotten about a year into your production career).

I'd say do your research, then, but choose on what's right for you, not the initial outlay.

• Want to get started in music production? Our free Dance Music Formula video training is currently running, showing you how to make your first track in just a week.

What music production software do you use? Why? Any advice to offer to Si? Please feel free to add your voice in the comments.


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  1. Nik Howard says:

    You can get Live Lite, for free with a lot of hardware, but there is also Live Intro, Standard and Suite, so you can choose your level and how much to spend. The main difference is the amount of packs you get, which you can always add later and once or twice a year Ableton do discounted upgrades. There is also a 30 unlimited free trial. Main reason I chose it as my DAW was the support and tutorials available which aren't so much for other DAWs

  2. I used ableton since I started 5 years ago. Why? Because I downloaded a crack version (shame on me!). Then I bought the Push2 and therefore also Ableton Live suite 9 to keep the good update and create music "legaly".
    It's expensive but this software is just so awesome once you know a bit more than the basics! You can play with many many options within the effects etc...
    I don't know other software and I don't want to know other software! I'm a huge fan of Ableton!
    Keep Flex, Bleks!

  3. aldoboymusic says:

    I'm currently using Ableton live standard at the moment, and like what i've seen so far so will no doubt upgrade to suite sometime soon...

  4. Lorie Johnson says:

    I got Live Light with a micro Korg keyboard a few years ago, and got hooked. I upgraded to Standard, and learned that once you're in and registered with them, there are really great discounts for upgrades.

    What I like about Ableton Live is that there is a massive, and growing community of people who use it, so if you run into any problems with it, or need instruction or inspiration, someone is just a few clicks away. And the folks at Ableton are really quick on replying to questions or fixing problems. And, for performance sake, the fact that one license allows you to run it on a desktop and a laptop is bonus. Just make sure you deactivate the license on old machines before you move to a new one.

    Another thing is that Ableton is invested in playing well with others. I love playing with iOS music apps, and many of them use Ableton's new "Link" software, which allows you to jam together on different devices. That right there is worth the price of admission.

  5. Lehmen Terms says:

    IMO no, Abelton Live Suite is not worth the price, especially for a beginner or even intermediated producer. and I'd say that for most DAWs. More isn't necessarily better, in fact, I find that *limiting* yourself makes you more knowledgeable, more creative, and more productive. "Unlimited, hundreds, GBs" are words to stay away from initially. Trust me they'll eat up sooo much time. Keep in mind some of your favorite tracks/albums were made with *very* humble set-ups. You can easily make a hit single, or a platinum selling album with Abelton *Lite*. It's your knowledge and ideas that make the difference, not the hardware/software you use. That being said, it is important to pick something that makes sense to you early on. My advice is to try the demo versions of several DAWs, and which ever leads you to assemble something you like the *quickest*, go with that.

  6. Lehmen Terms says:

    Phil also mentioned another good point about Abelton in particular. Live (and other clip based DAWs) were *designed* with a "live" performance/dj based component in mind. What that means is that clip based DAWs handle time-stretching/syncing/warping more quickly and intuitively than other DAWs do (take Machine or MPC for instance), and these functions are essential for live/dj performance. Not knocking NI or MPC, just saying they are much more oriented to studio work.

  7. Amarjyoti Nath says:

    How to isolate only the vocal from a song?

  8. Samuel Agius says:

    Its better to start with fl studio, then once you had gained experience on music production, you can switch to Ableton. I call Abelton a modular software due that you can customize it according to you needs. You can use vsts or you can use built in plugins to build your own sounds like you would do in modular synths. To make automation envelopes and color coding easily, fl studio is better. Both are good software , some times I use Rewire in order to work with both of them which is an amazing feature because you are getting the best from both and have a very good result.

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