Ableton Live comes in a few flavours, but what’s the difference? Let’s find out together as we break down Ableton Live Standard vs Suite!
Live Standard vs Suite – why not Intro?
Well, basically, Ableton Live intro is a very different package. It is limited to total of 16 audio and MIDI tracks, 8 scenes, 2 send/return tracks and 4 audio inputs and outputs.
Live Intro is a great introduction to Live, or for producers who predominantly use a different DAW, but want to add some of the functionality and the workflow of Live to their studio, but don’t require the number of tracks, effects and I/O that the ‘full’ versions of Live offer.
Live Standard vs Suite – what’s in it for me?
Right, so, you know you want a ‘full’ version of Live. You want access to up to 256 inputs and outputs, complex warping modes, POW-r dithering, audio to MIDI conversion and more, but want to know whether you should make the leap to Suite, this post is for you…
The Ableton Live feature comparison mentioned above gives you all the details of what is included with the different versions, so consult that as the ultimate reference. What it does’t tell you though, is why you might want those features.
So let’s do that.
Ableton Live Standard vs Suite – the basics
No difference. Nope. None.
Live Standard and Suite both offer you the same workflows, sample rates, I/O, track counts, warping, plugin delay compensation…
…multiple automation lanes, audio slicing, integration with Serato Scratch, video import and export…
…support for REX files, all the things we mentioned earlier and more besides.
The differences come when we look at the extra content. And that’s really what’s going to make your decision for you.
Well, that, and one more thing, that is a bit too special to describe as ‘extra content’…
Ableton Live Standard vs Suite – Max for Live
Wow. Max for Live. DO ANYTHING!
If you want to get down and a little bit dirty with the grease-covered nuts and bolts of audio, Max for Live – included with Live Suite – is the way to go.
Even if you don’t want to get down and a little bit dirty yourself, there are plenty of people who do and are willing to share.
For esoteric effects, sequencers, instruments and all sorts, Max for Live gives you the power to experiment. The only limit is your imagination (and Max programming ability).
And don’t think it’s just for the audio, want to add some visuals to your live set?
Ableton Live Standard vs Suite – Instruments and Effects
Here’s where we start to see a few more differences between Live Standard and Suite. Max for Live is perhaps more likely to be a very easy binary decision: you either want it , or you don’t. With the effects and the instruments, things might get a bit more woolly for you…
Starting with the effects, Live Suite gives you three that aren’t included with Standard. The first two – Amp and Cabinet – are, as the names suggest, for processing guitar and bass parts. Or, of course, anything else you might want to sound like it’s been through a guitar amp.
Tori Amos’ harpsichord for example.
So, if you already have a favourite choice of go-to amp modelling, then the loss of these might not be a problem.
Possibly of more interest to both sound designers and producers/mix engineers looking to add some specific effects or tones, is the Corpus effect. Corpus, according to Ableton, “simulates the acoustic characteristics of seven types of resonant objects”.
What this actually means, is that you have the ability to take any incoming audio source, use it to trigger the synthesis of a resonating tube, membrane, marimba and more, shape that sound and blend it back in with the original audio. That’s a lot of sound design power right there…
As for instruments, Live Standard equips you with the Simpler, Drum Rack, Impulse and the External Instrument devices. Live Suite takes things to a whole new level.
Included with Live Suite are Analog, Collision, Electric, Operator, Sampler and Tension. With synthesis options to take you from classic analogue synths, electric pianos, FM, physical modelling and percussion – as well as a fully-featured sampler – these could really be the only plugin instruments you ever need!
Live Standard vs Suite – the packs
Let’s talk about content. You want content? You want Suite. Just take a look at the list of Live packs that are included with Ableton Live Suite! 25 of them. Seriously. Dang, that’s a lot of content.
Latin Percussion, Orchestral Brass, Retro Synths, Session Drums Club, Konkrete Breaks, Drum Machines, Vinyl Classics, Grand Piano… the list goes on!
Live Standard includes four packs: Designer Drums, Digicussion 1, Loopmasters Mixtape and Unnatural Selection, but for a vast collection of inspiration, orchestral sounds, MIDI clips, samples, instrument presets and more, Live Suite is what you want!
I suppose the easiest way to convey the amount of content included with Live Suite is to tell you the installation space requirements if you install all the sounds and content. For Live Intro, you’ll need 6 GB, 12 GB for Live Standard, but a whopping 55 GB for the Suite!
Whichever version you go for, there is plenty Live to get you started and keep you going, but if you want a one-stop solution for all your synthesis needs, plenty additional content, and the power of Max for Live, then Suite is for you!
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