Discussion: Ableton 11 - What do you think about it?


Ableton 11 was just published, and it looks to me like a very complete DAW. They basically added MPE support, but in a very detailed way, comping, and a lot of nice details. So there now are 16 macro parameters (is it possible that this will have an influence on Renoise, too?), harmonical stuff, the gui on 4k macos is fast as never before even with uneven scaling factors, and there are really good new dsp devices, for example a superb sounding reverb.

My 2 cents here: For me, these additions seem to make Ableton very complete. I already have Bitwig, but I was not so satisfied about the feature direction it went, not focussing on these general DAW features. Seems to me that Ableton does listen to the requests. Also the bundled Ableton dsp is extremely high quality. Bitwig, too, but still lacking of some elemental stuff (while the grid is a superb niche synth system of course).

The only thing I would miss in Ableton is the super fancy modulation system like in Bitwig. But with a bunch of workarounds and post-installation, you also can add meta signal LFOs to parameters and so on. Though the whole concept of Bitwig of course is way more smart and comfortable, focussing on a receiver-concept instead sender-concept. I barely have any long time experience with Ableton, so I don’t know about limitations.

What do you think about it? And if you already have Bitwig, is it still attractive to you?

I already have bitwig, I played with demo versions of ableton in the past.
Ableton has its drawbacks too : old / buggy codebase, “legacy” instruments, bad browser, old interface etc.
I think it does not really matter which daw you use, if it has the basics (automation, plug in support etc) you are basically good to go… If you already have and know bitwig really well, it’s better to stick to bitwig than re-learn everything for a daw which has almost the same feature set.

Nice that they added some effects, but come on, we are not choosing a daw for it’s integrated reverb effects, if you are serious about it, just use a good VST.

I’d personally use the native effects in Ableton a lot if they were CPU efficient. I have a lot of VST’s that I use with Renoise but they are CPU intensive even though my computer can handle it. But Renoise’s native effects are far less so, so I often opt to use them to keep things from getting to demanding. If Ableton was the same I’d for sure use them. I know a lot of people that use Ableton with little to no vst’s and the stuff they can make with just the native effects is awesome.

Woulg for instance often uses just the native stuff for sound design

Jim also uses pretty much all Ableton native effects as far as I know, he might be using more VSTs these days though I’m not sure


Legit points. But I like the integration in Ableton more, for example all harmonical stuff appears in the pianoroll, and not simply as a midi fx device only. Then the MPE stuff seems to go beyond the current state in Bitwig. Overall the plain editors seem to be more comfortable and capable in Ableton to me than in Bitwig. For me at least, workflow is the most important criteria. Yes, surely not internal dsp. I also could completely go without a lot of native dsp stuff, I even think it is mostly a waste of development time, except for really required dsp devices like tools, chains, containers, spreaders, splitters and maybe eq/compression basics etc. But since they are added, I wanted to mention that the Ableton EQ8 and the reverb are to very high quality, so you might not even require any VST here anymore.

I like the “integration” part in the recent Ableton version and they stilla re improving the workflow. Exactly that’s what I am missing with Bitwig: They seem to focus on a lot special or even niche interests, while leaving out pretty obivous missing workflow stuff or even long time bugs (I guess they can’t reproduce it). Of course Renoise still is king when it comes to some of the workflow features (also if you count a pattern/tracker view into the area “workflow”).

At least there must be a reason why countless musicians use Ableton.

That said I think the EQ+ of Bitwig is even better sounding than EQ8.

I also like EQ+, a welcome change because as you said, the basic stuff is the most important (that’s why i’m really not happy with the internal renoise eq…)
I hope the next version of bitwig will concentrate on basic stuff that matters the most and not on niche things. I tried to use the grid a few times but I often go for the other synths like phase-4 or polysynth because that’s where i can get the sound i want the fastest.

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Yes sure, the Bitwig concept is really next generation, and Ableton here is on the level of Renoise (no wonder, since Taktik worked for Ableton, or maybe still does, who knows). And yes, you can extend the pretty basic bundled synths with the modulation system and turn it into a synth wonder. And then there is the grid with endless possibilites. But this is the point, when I start to focus on “endless possibilities”, I end up with experimental stuff and will never reach any composition goal. That’s why I like streamlined workflow, which makes the daily/usual operations in a DAW very efficient. The faster, more easy the better.

There are interesting things in ableton, for example the drum bus effect, which is basically a doofer with compression + saturation and some macros, so nothing ground breaking, but very efficient workflow wise.

Still I think that ableton is very hyped now because there is this new version, but I remember a few years ago, when everyone was hyped about the new integrated wavetable synth. As far as i know, nobody uses it, everyone used serum. So if you are thinking about switching maybe wait for the hype to pass a bit :slight_smile:


ableton great ! price its ^^^^ so god damn expensive

i would just get it just to be able to collab more with people but its too expensive…ill get a modular insted :joy:

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Bitwig is just in version 3.3 and has all those great features imagine when it hits version 11.I like both of them but Ableton is way too pricey


Think it is not a tracker.

Simply NO! 600 € for a DAW where you have to use a piano roll for making a beat? :rofl:
My brother has got Ableton, but he’s not using it quite often, so it’s just a waste of money. If you’re not using it as a professional artist it’s WAY too expensive, better buying Renoise 10 times. And for those who really think 60 € for Renoise is too much there’s Sunvox for free. A friend of mine is using it and he’s very excited about it.


I did not know that it costs 600€… Wow, this is so much overpriced. There is a 349 EUR version, but I guess you need Max4Live already to do a simple meta LFO? Did expect 350 EUR for the max. version.

I’ve paid close €600 for just a single hardware synth, Make Noise 0 Coast, and Xfer Serum, probably the most used software synth in the world, costs €150, a quarter the price of Ableton just for a software synth alone. So I don’t think Ableton is overpriced at all when you consider the amount of functionality you get out of it, along with the free add on content, plus consistent updates, a very very active community of users who share information, and then Max 4 Live which extends the capabilities for sound creation and device creation even further, among other things.

All hobbies cost money that’s the bottom line of it. €600 is nothing in terms of expense. If you were into photography you could pay that for a starter camera with a crappy stock lense that wouldn’t get you near where you wanted to be. With Ableton you get almost everything you need straight out of the box.

But it costs the same as cubase…
bitwig costs much less, even more on sale (got v2.5 for 320€ on a summer sale)

Ok, is Cubase considered worse or better or something?

The point I’m tryna make is that if it takes time to make it’s gonna cost big $$$ if people want it. €600 isn’t an enormous amount of money. It’s good that Bitwig and the like is coming along cost it’s cheaper price could push down the price of Ableton by creating a competitive market. Ableton was sorta running a monopoly, kind of, among the average producers so obviously they could make it a certain price and not have too much to worry about. But yeah that’s changing now it seems

But these programme also take money to develop and to maintain. Renoise is wicked cheap which is great, but it’s what, 4-5 people running the whole thing. The lack of income and manpower results in barely any major updates and the constant looming presence that development could just stop overnight. When you don’t have a decent cash flow one wrong turn can sink a business.


What about the model that image line has with lifetime upgrades how do they survive? Ableton is a bit greedy company if you ask me and maybe they are on top now but things as we all know can change rapidly

What MPE feature is about?
I don’t really understand, it’s some kind of complex midi feature?

I presume that Image Line get there one of payment for the full version of FL Studio for like $450 or whatever and that can keeps them going. Maybe a lot of users choose not to upgrade to new version once they have a full working version with everything they need to do them for several years. I’m sure a lot of people who buy into Ableton pay the one of price and then don’t upgrade each time a new version is out, only the die-hards do. Lots of people just buy one version and use it for years and years. If Renoise updates weren’t free I probably wouldn’t be bothered updating till at least a couple new updates came out after a few years.

Do most people here really feel like €600 is an extortionate amount of money. I’m quite comfortable paying that for something I’m gonna get 1000s of hours of use for. To think of all the money I’ve spent on cigarettes and booze down the years for a quick buzz, I could have bought Ableton, FL, Cubas, Bitwig, the lot, several times over and would still have them. It’s all a matter of perspective


Yeah well, I find Ableton still too overpriced. So for me that is a no-go. Maybe one day I will be rich…

I obviously have a problem with finishing songs. It is not the fault of any DAW of course. But I always had a hard time to quickly enter notes in a pianoroll. My imagination lasts only a short time. If I have to record first multiple times what I have in my mind using a midi keyboard (my playing capabilities suck, too), need to quantize and fix timing bugs (renoise), or fix some technical problems, my creative idea already dissolved. Do you have a similar experience here, that technical issues have a strong anti-creative effect to you? I like to “step-edit” stuff in Renoise’s pattern view a lot. I can then transfer my idea in my mind to the pattern. Exactly this keyboard driven step editing is what I miss in Bitwig. Is it possible in the same manner?

For example I love these little but yet so great features in Renoise pattern view:

  • Set stepwidth to 0, trying different chords on the same position
  • Playing the notes under the cursor/bar position (pressing return)
  • Setting stepwidth so quickly
  • Seeing tracks notes and rhythmical structure very nicely side-by-side
  • No need to touch the mouse very often, no annoying “painting” operations in between

How to do that in Bitwig? Are you so obsessed with workflow like me?