I use Ableton Live obviously. I use it because it's very quick, easy and creative. The main things that attracted me to it were the GUI, Session view, grouping, instrument racks, warping and others.
GUI. Live's interface just looks great. Very clean and minimal. Live's devices don't need separate windows. Here we see Live with everything folded. Sorry these pics haven't come out very sharp by the way. Also, this is a custom skin, MacAbleton style.
In 2 seconds, literally, I can show the clip view, the browser, the sends, returns, the mixer, and unfold all the tracks, not that you would want to do that all at the same time. And with one finger I can toggle the audio or midi and the devices. This pic just shows the clip view (showing the audio) and one track unfolded:
F12 toggles the clip view to show the audio devices, plugins etc, I'll show it for a different track:
What's that? I hear you ask. The Minimoog is represented by a simple box with 8 knobs? In fact the box, called a Rack, contains a whole load more than just a Minimoog...it contains as many effects as you want. You can map multiple parameters to those 8 knobs, and you can have one rack inside another.
Still no GUI? You don't need it, unless you want to do some complicated sound design. You have your hardware knobs instantly controlling the 8 most useful parameters in Minimoog from the second you load up that rack, which is of course a custom preset in your Minimoog folder. If you use Ableton's synths, you never need a separate GUI.
So, what is Session View? This is your non-linear version of the set. It's best demonstrated by a video I made showing it playing a full song (WIP actually) launching each horizontal row (called a scene) automatically.
So while you are constructing a song in the early stages, you can stay in this view. Any combination of clips can be captured as a scene. You can use Arrange and Session at the same time, as you can see from the video. You can rearrange the scenes and so you can build a song in Session or Arrange or both. You can finish a song in Arrange, render it to half a dozen audio tracks, import it, slice it up and stick in in Session for live gigs.
Then we have warping and slice to midi etc. I have a video in which I import a song, warp it (match the beats to tempo), and chop a loop out in under 2 minutes total:
Tracks can be grouped, folded, unfolded, dragged in and out of groups, rerouted to audio tracks and so on at will.
If you drag a sample from the browser into Live, it is automatically loaded into a sampler (Simpler) for you. That's how user-friendly Live is.
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