It's always exciting when your DAW drops an update. Sometimes we get a tonne of new features, other times it's quality of life improvements, and sometimes a bit of both.
This month, Ableton has dropped its 11.2 update for Live, with some exciting new improvements including a refreshed Reverb plugin, new Max for Live and more.
So let's have a look at what's bundled in the 11.2 update for Live!
Quality of Life improvements
Before we move on to the couple of exciting points, it's worth touching on the general improvements 11.2 brings.
We have a range of plug-in support, fixing consistency and parameter label issues, and focusing on ensuring that a lot of Live's devices are a little lighter on your CPU.
Delay has a new Hi-Quality context menu, which allows you to toggle the Hi-Quality mode. This can be especially useful for saving CPU use.
We will also be seeing errors now shown in the Status Bar with a linked detailed error report, which is potentially useful.
As always, there are a host of Control Surface fixes, ensuring smoother integration with various devices.
Capture MIDI has some improvements too. Your results are no longer influenced by the song tempo set by the target track's previous Capture attempts, and when Live's transport is running, Capture MIDI will keep longer phrases in captured clips.
A few more notable changes are;
Tuner now supports enharmonic spelling, while there are also Channel EQ & Saturator preset CPU improvements.
Redux has a Hi-Quality option.
Map/Unmap labels now work properly in Macros.
Metal rendering enabled on macOS by default for better UI performance.
There are a much broader range of improvements, and you can find a full rundown of the points in the update notes on Ableton's website here.
The bigger improvements.
The most noticeable improvement is the changes made to the UI of Live's Reverb plugin. Which you can see pictured below.
The changes are subtle, sure, but they're improvements which bring the UI up to the same feel of the other more modern Live devices.
But the UI isn't the only change, we have a new Sparse mode, which is in the Density dropdown menu. This allows for lower CPU usage, in line with the rest of the update's focus on improving CPU.
There's also the new Smooth setting dropdown menu. The options are None, Slow & Fast, and these control what happens when you change the size parameter.
What this does in practice is prevents that often annoying sound that results from changing the size while you're sending signal into the reverb. We're all familiar with it; it temporarily sounds like you're doing sound FX for a sci-fi movie.
We also have new options for the filter type for the Diffusion Network, giving you a one-pole lowpass or a low-shelf filter to choose from.
There's also general CPU improvements.
Reverb isn't the only exciting new feature with Live 11.2.
If you're a Mac user, you'll be seeing the biggest benefit in the update.
Have you ever opened up Live on your Mac and had the 'previous audio interface unavailable' option? Happens to me pretty much every time I open Live.
But no longer!
Audio preferences now finally follow the system sound settings, so you'll be able to jump right in without that annoying notice.
The other big new consideration is if you have an M1 Mac. Native AUv3 support means that you can now use a wide range of compatible new plugins, including iOS ones.
Max for Live
Those nerds among us who love Max for Live will be happy to see the inclusion of version 8.3.1 as well as enhancements to the Live API.
The changes included are;
A new property in the Max for Live API allows users to observe the number of visible Macro Controls for a RackDevice.
Audio driver input and output latencies are now taken into account for Max for Live devices that contain audio routings to external targets. If needed, users can revert to the previous behavior by using the -DisableM4LRoutingCompensation debug option in an Options.txt file.
The time_signature_numerator, time_signature_denominator, time_signature_enabled and tempo_enabled properties are now available in the Max for Live API. Corrected descriptions for the properties have also been added.
Improved and updated the scale_name and scale_intervals descriptions in the Max for Live API.
So, there's a rundown of the newest features in Live 11.2. As we said earlier, the biggest one is probably the new UI for Reverb, as well some fun new features in Max for Live.
In general, you should see CPU improvements across the board, and you Mac users will be able to get some new creative juices flowing using AUv3 plugins.
Thanks for checking in with us here at Top Music Arts, and be sure to check out our deals on Ableton Live Project Templates, which are a great way to see how a professional-grade track is put together in Live. Dig in and discover some new tips and tricks for your next tune.