In this article, I will guide you through the limitations that Ableton has put to its introduction version of music production software Ableton 10 lite. It’s not a big myth that everybody nowadays is wondering can Ableton can stack up to its competition? Is this software even worth it?
Time and time Ableton has proved that the functionalities in their digital audio workstation have abilities that other music production software cannot reach up to.
You might a conversation of should I start with Ableton? Is it even a worthy investment to make?
will I outgrow Ableton?
The way to answer this question is to look at Ableton as an overall software. you can check my article on how Ableton is the best DAW.
Coming back to this article, there are three versions of Ableton available for its uses which include Ableton intro, Ableton standard, Ableton suite.
Ableton intro starts at 99$ you can get it here if you are interested.
These are the limitations that are in Ableton lite,
- No of audio tracks
- No of midi tracks
- No max for live
- No auto slicing for audio samples
- Limited Ableton sample library.
No of audio tracks
Audio tracks are nothing but strips where you can only add audio samples in the format of wav/mp3 files. A complex project will have about 40 to 150 audio tracks.
As a beginner when you are starting to learn Ableton you don’t need a big piece of software with all its abilities.
That’s the reason why Ableton has rolled out Ableton live lite/intro.
You will get 8 audio tracks to use in Ableton Live. The limitation in the number of tracks wouldn’t affect you much as you will be learning how to use the music production software in the first year.
When you outgrow you can always switch to the Ableton live standard version which is more than enough for a producer for the first 5 years.
Ableton standard version comes around 449$ so it’s a significant amount to invest but its worth it if you are here for the long run in music production.
Music production as a business requires you to invest a lot more. Let’s look at the next limitation in Ableton live intro/lite
No of Midi Tracks
Just like the audio tracks you are getting a limitation in the number of midi tracks you can have in your projects.
Midi tracks are used for software instruments to store the trigger signals from the user to do musical functions.
A single project can have only about 8 midi tracks.
You cannot add more.
Thus in total, you will be getting about 16 tracks to use in the intro/lite version.
One thing to note is the limitation on a return track. if you don’t know what is a return track it’s a send option that is available(like a mixing console).
You will be restricted to use only 2 return tracks in this license.
No max for Live
Max for live is a premium option that’s only available in the suite version of Ableton Live.
The suite version is the premium license you get with Ableton and it costs around 749$.
Max for live gives you access to create your plugins to make your music production process easier and making you automate things in a better way by building your plugins.
If you are starting as a producer you might not require this for the first 3 -5 years of your music production journey when you are trying to get better at making music.
You can still upgrade or buy Ableton live suite version here.
Max for Live offers functionalities like the ability to work with various midi channels and audio channels and manipulate them in ways to make functions and workflow as simple as possible.
You don’t require any coding knowledge to work in max for live but it requires is a basic understanding of how the software works and how the concepts in music production work.
Don’t stress yourself on this you don’t have to know this in the first 5 years of your music production journey.
No auto slicing for audio samples
Auto slicing is a feature that’s available in the standard and suite versions of Ableton live where you can process an audio sample and cut them into pieces using Ableton’s software program.
The tech has progressed so much that you don’t have to manually cut this or manipulate an audio sample anymore.
Ableton does this all for you.
Every other digital audio workstation doesn’t have this functionality at all they rely on third-party samplers to do this.
You get it all inside the Ableton suite and standard license.
Limited Ableton sample library
When you look at an intro or a lite license of the Ableton software the only biggest limitation would be the limited resources available in the lite version.
You will get so many devices in terms of plugins and samples when you choose a suite or standard version.
You are limited in this section of sample libraries.
You can cut through this by using a lot of free sample libraries out there.
The standard version which I always recommend to producers who are serious about their music comes with about 100 GB sample libraries that you can download from the Ableton website.
It includes artist packs and eminent music producer bundles as well.
You will never be disappointed at all.
If you don’t have money to invest in any digital audio workstation don’t be hard on yourself.
If you buy a midi keyboard or audio interface you will get the lite version of Ableton for free.
Check my articles on midi keyboards here
My articles on audio interfaces here.
You don’t have to spend 1000$ on putting a music studio at all.
You can start small and build it up.
If you are interested check my article on 21 tips for music producer motivation as well