What's New in Live 11, Part 1
Ableton Live 11 is here!
If you’re a Max for Live user, you may have noticed a number of useful upgrades available to Live 10 users over the past year (some of which you may not know about yet). Live 11 has continued and expanded those changes considerably by adding a number of requested features and some entirely new features:
- A live.scope~ UI object
- Better/tighter integration of Live 11 with Max for Live
- New features for developers of Max for Live devices
- New additions to the Live API
In this series of two articles, we’re going to run through those new features. In addition, the downloadable file includes some example Live devices that demonstrate the features described in this article, along with some example Live sets that demonstrate their use.
A New UI Object and New Features for live.* Objects
We’ll begin with the Max external objects created to work in the Live application environment
Let's start off with a brand new object that was recently added to Max. With live.scope~, you get a performant and accurate oscilloscope, tuned to match Live's visual style by default and ready for your own customizing touches.
We’ve worked to make the overall experience of working with Max for Live devices feel more fluid in Live 11: Device interface rendering has been overhauled, which prevents unwanted visual artifacts caused by zooming the Live interface or scrolling the Device view.
There have been numerous updates to Max for Live objects to support better interface integration:
- The live.comment object now works seamlessly with the Live interface colors
- The live.arrows object is now parameter-enabled (This is set to off by default)
- The live.text object has a new @blinktime
- The live.toggle and live.text objects now respond to the Return key, allowing you to use your keyboard to toggle both objects.
- The live.dial and live.slider objects now mimic the behavior of native Live UI objects — the shift+arrow keys now change the dial/slider value by 12 steps.
- The live.colors object now includes more native Live colors (e.g, histogram and spectrum).
- When you right-click the patcher background in Max, you will now find a Max for Live category that provides you with direct access to essential building blocks. Here’s an example that shows one of the new snippets: Global.dB2Value. This snippet shows how to convert a value in dBs to a value that you can send to live.object in order to get the correct amount of dBs on a gain or volume control in Live.
- A thispatcher object in your Max for Live device can now get and return the file path of the device it is located in.
Usability and development updates
Live 11 includes some new features that enhance the overall experience of working with Max in Live when developing new devices:
- When there is a warning or error associated with a Max object in the Max for Live window, you will now see which specific external object caused it. Double-clicking on the error line in the Max window will take you to this device. Right-clicking a message will show how the operations (such as filtering per object) have been extended to the device. You can now copy text directly from the Max for Live window, too.
- As a developer, you now get tools to limit your device to the Live and Max release versions and the platform in which it functions optimally. There’s a new Max for Live section in the Patcher Inspector that you can use to set those limits. In addition, you can also access these attributes via the live.thisdevice Max for Live object.
- The Parameters (menu > View > Parameters) and Banks (double-click live.banks) windows have received some love, too — you can now edit the Info Title and Info Text for all your objects in one place in the Parameters window and it is easier to edit banks in the Banks window.
MIDI in Live 11 supports MPE, and a new feature for Max for Live users reflects the embrace of MPE. In the new Max for Live category in the Patcher Inspector you can use an attribute (@is_mpe) to specify whether your MIDI Effect or Instrument is an MPE device. Setting the @is_mpe attribute enables your device to modify and generate MPE data.
If you’re interested in how you can change MPE data for notes, we’ve provided a sample device in the download for this article that demonstrates how it’s done — the example device adds a pitch slide for every note that passes through:
MIDI channel routings
One new bit of support will be exciting for lots of you out there: just as is the case for VST devices, Max for Live Audio effects can now route MIDI to anywhere within Live and accept MIDI from anywhere in Live. Instruments can also accept MIDI from anywhere within Live.
You’ll find demonstration devices in the download for this article that demonstrate how that’s done, too:
Live 11 includes some exciting new features for the Live API for Max for Live users, as well.
The biggest single addition is an entirely new way to interact with MIDI clips. Those changes are so new and so extensive that we’re going to dedicate the second article in this series entirely to exploring them — so stay tuned!
But that’s not the only stuff that’s new in the Live API. This time out, we’ve picked out some other highlights to share, and included example devices that show them in action in the download example folder.
You can now query the slices in Simpler. Matching this with incoming MIDI notes and another new property in the Simpler (sample_rate) will let you know exactly what position in your sample will be triggered.
You can now access the clips in Arrangement View with arrangement_clips. Most of the things you have done with clips in Session View are now applicable to the Arrangement View as well.
Warp markers are no longer a mystery for Max for Live device creators — you’ve got access to them through the Live API. Querying warp_markers gives you a single dictionary with all the information you need to know where and how fast a clip will play back at any time in beats. This enables you to determine the current playback position in warped seconds, as well as a warped clip's current playback rate:
More: Clip Launch Properties, Macros and Grooves
And just in case that’s not enough, we’ve got a few more tricks up our API sleeve:
- Clips now give you access to their launch properties: Legato, Launch mode, Launch quantization and Velocity amount.
- The new Macro Variations can be fully controlled with Max.
- Macro knobs can be added, removed, or randomized using Max.
- The Groove pool and all of a Groove's properties are now accessible from Max.
The features we’ve described here really don’t cover the full list of small improvements to Max for Live added recently, along with the new Live 11 features. For the full lists, see the change logs for Live 11 and Max 8.
For example, did you know that freezing now works for Max for Live, even propagating to the editor?
With the arrival of MPE support and features such as velocity deviation, probability and release velocity, the concept of a note in Live 11 is a new and different beast compared to Live 10. We’ve added a completely new way to interact with MIDI clips in Live 11. Those new features are so extensive that we wanted to dedicate a separate article to cover them, and that’s what you’ll be seeing in Part 2 of this series. See you next time!
- In a previous version, the text stated that all devices can send and receive MIDI to and from anywhere in Live. However only Audio effects can route MIDI inputs and outputs, and Instruments can only route MIDI output. MIDI effects' inputs and outputs and Instruments' MIDI inputs are necessarily fixed to their device chain.
- The MIDI Routing Output device did not correctly contain its Routing and Colors abstractions. This should be fixed in the current download.