PROS / The session view sets Ableton apart from other DAWs with a unique way to create music.
CONS / Live 9 Intro limits you to recording four mono audio tracks simultaneously.
VERDICT / This is a powerful program, but the intro version is much more limited than other intro DAWs we reviewed.
Ableton Live 9 Intro has become one of the most popular DAW systems in the recording industry. This audio production software has a unique feature set that comes in quite handy during live performances. This studio production software also boasts a user-friendly interface that can get even the most novice DAW user recording music quickly with little direction.
Ableton Live 9 Intro teaches you how to use the software at the same time you explore. There is a helpful tutorial window located on the right side of the interface that explains what all of the buttons do and gives you helpful hints and shortcuts when you're beginning with Ableton. This tutorial window can help you learn this music production software quickly.
Although the program is easy to use, it is a bit short-handed when it comes to recording capabilities. It offers 16 audio and MIDI tracks per recording session, but you can only record four mono tracks simultaneously. Recording a live band requires more than four audio tracks.
Out of the box, this introductory software has over 700 sounds you can use to produce music, beats or even perform live. Intro also features three virtual instruments and 26 plugin effects you can apply to your recordings or send to your external MIDI keyboard or controller to use for live applications.
The thing that sets this electronic music production software apart is the session or clip view. This view is made up of columns, similar to channel strips on a mixer. You can insert audio clips into each channel, and the audio plays when you click on it. You can choose to loop the audio or just play it once. The session view works in conjunction with the arrangement view. While the music in the arrangement view is playing you can improvise by adding audio clips from the session view. This allows you to experiment, improvise and create music in a whole new way. You don't have to worry about clicking the clip at the exact right time either. The audio automatically synchs with the tempo so it will play on beat and in time. Many other programs are starting to implement features similar to Ableton's session view. This part of the electronic music making software allows you to take the program from the studio and onto the stage.
With this software, you can manipulate your MIDI tracks in a number of different ways. At the bottom of the interface is a text box (or piano roll) that shows you exactly where your notes are being placed within your recording arrangement. Using the text box, you can time-stretch your notes, reverse certain notes and even change the pitch of notes. These processes make it easy for beginning users to get familiar with MIDI music production.
Live 9 Intro is a powerful and inexpensive DAW that only takes up 6GB of space on your hard drive. Though the standard and suite editions of Live 9 offer more sounds and audio tracking potential, they can take up a whopping 55GB of space on your hard drive. Live 9 Intro is a good place to get your feet wet within the Live 9 software line.
Ableton Live 9 Intro contains powerful and intuitive MIDI editing tools as well as plenty of sounds and effects to apply to your music production. When it comes to recording capabilities, Ableton isn’t as comprehensive as other software that we reviewed, especially in its lack of multi-track recording. The introductory version of Ableton is only a snippet of what the suite edition can achieve and is a great place to start with Ableton Live 9 software.