Ableton Live 12 is coming in 2024 – here’s what’s new

Arriving early next year, the next version of Ableton’s flagship DAW features usability and navigation enhancements and new devices such as Meld, Roar, and Granulator III.

Ableton Live 12

Credit: Ableton

Ableton has announced Ableton Live 12, the next edition of its hugely popular flagship DAW, that’s set to launch in 2024 with a beta version being made publicly available soon.

The DAW, arriving early next year, will see an array of improvements in its usability and accessibility. The release will also feature developments in its navigation functions to help streamline the production process, alongside the addition of new exciting composition tools, devices and more.

At a glance, Ableton Live 12 brings significant visual enhancements, aiding the visually impaired with screen reader support and extensive keyboard shortcuts for a more accessible music-making experience.

The update focuses on intuitive navigation, introducing tags and a sound similarity system to simplify finding sounds, effects, and plugins. It also has a keen focus on aiding song composition, with new MIDI Clip options expanding composition features, including automatic key alignment with diverse scale options.

New powerful devices such as Meld, Roar, and Granulator III offer experimental sonic capabilities and creative modulation options.

Let’s take a more detailed dive into what’s new and improved in Ableton Live 12:

MIDI Composition Tools

Ableton Live 12 is introducing MIDI Transformations and Generators that suggest connections between successive notes and chords, simulate guitar strums, can generate algorithms to create melodies, rhythms, and chords adhering to user-defined constraints. These suggestions are created within constraints set by you, the user.

The MIDI Editor now provides a range of improvements, letting you manipulate notes with more flexibility than before. You can rearrange selected notes by pitch, velocity, or duration. You can stretch, split, chop, or join notes in interesting ways, adjust note velocities more seamlessly, transpose notes into scales, or introduce intervals chromatically or in key.

Ableton Live 12
MIDI Editor
Credit: Ableton

Live’s Keys and Scales feature now lets you select a key in the Control Bar, which shows the corresponding notes in any created clip. Scale highlighting serves as a guiding tool for clip editing, aiding in the transformation and generation of musical ideas using the clip scale. Additionally, it enables syncing the scale of MIDI devices and instruments to the played clip, enhancing the overall musical cohesion.

Also, tuning capabilities have been expanded beyond Western 12-tone equal temperament system scales, allowing for alternative tunings such as Persian and Arabic scales within Live’s devices and MPE-capable plugins.

What is Meld in Ableton Live 12?

Meld is a new device in Ableton Live 12 that’s a bi-timbral and MPE-capable instrument offering extensive sound-shaping capabilities. It boasts two powerful macro oscillators that allow for diverse wave shaping. There’s also an advanced modulation matrix.

MusicTech sat down with Ableton earlier this year and was shown a demo of this awesome new instrument, and we saw how an artist used Meld to create an entire track, inclusive of drums, showcasing its versatility in generating experimental and textured sounds.

Ableton Live 12
Meld device
Credit: Ableton

What is Roar in Ableton Live 12?

Roar is a new, advanced saturation effect that offers various visualiser options and a fascinating feedback mode. This feature-rich tool allows users to craft anything from delicate subtle warmth to audacious sound alterations. With three saturation stages usable in different setups and an expansive modulation matrix, Roar provides versatility for creative audio processing.

What’s new in Granulator III?

Granulator III, Ableton Live’s co-creator Robert Henke’s updated granular instrument, introduces MPE functionality, granting nuanced control over note modulation aspects like bend, vibrato, and glissando.

Real-time audio capture allows immediate manipulation, ideal for live performance. Featuring three granulator types and comprehensive MPE support, it enriches expressive sound manipulation.

Ableton Live 12
Credit: Ableton

User Interface and Navigation Improvements

Ableton is also aiming to make its new DAW a more pleasant experience for the eye, with a range of new colour-coding options and new themes, such as night mode, to make for a clearer interface.

The mixer now boasts more detailed level meters, transitioning via green to orange gradients, so you can see when your sound is close to redlining with visual precision.

In Ableton Live 12, the Arrangement and Session View can now be viewed within a single window. There are also new zoom functions, so you can have one window zoomed in more than another, which is great if you work with two screens and want to adjust audio in detail and make big changes to the project at the same time.

The update introduces Stacked Detail Views, too, offering a comprehensive overview of a track’s elements simultaneously, streamlining workflow by presenting devices, Clip Editor, automation, and parameters within one view.

Browser Tagging and Sound Similarity

Another cool addition in Ableton Live 12 is improvements to the browser. There is set to be a new system for finding sounds or presets from plugins, so you can type in, say, ‘airy strings’ or ‘gritty bass’ and it will find results from sounds and even presets within plugins, both stock and third party.

The new Sound Similarity Search feature means you can find a sample and Ableton will find similar sounds and instrument presets based on timbre, making the sound selection process much more streamlined.

Ableton Live 12
Browser functions and Sound Similarity
Credit: Ableton

Live 12 also has a huge emphasis on accessibility, providing control through assistive technologies like screen readers and offering new keyboard shortcuts that navigate almost every part of the software, enhancing the user experience for a broader range of users.

Ableton Live 12 is set to launch early next year. A public beta version will soon be available although a launch date for this is unknown currently.

Find out more at Ableton.


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