What are the Limitations of Ableton Live Lite?

What are the Limitations of Ableton Live Lite

Learn all the features and limitations of the cheapest Ableton Live version — Ableton Live Lite.

The light version of Ableton Live, simply called Lite, is often included with products used for music production, such as MIDI keyboards or controllers like the Arturia MiniLab Mk 2.

One question that is often asked is what the limitations of Ableton Live Lite are and what it means to use the Suite or Standard versions instead, so here's a quick walkthrough.

Features in Ableton Live Lite

Even though this is a Lite version of Ableton Live, the software is still tightly packed with the features that make Ableton Live what it is. The famous Session View is there, just like the ability to record multiple tracks in 192 kHz sample rate and 32 bit depth.

The Lite version supports VST and Audio Unit (Mac only) plugins as usual, Track Freeze, automation programming, non-destructive editing, group track arrangements and Live's flexible audio warping.

Features

  • Session View: Yes
  • Multitrack Recording: Up to 32-bit 192 kHz
  • Audio Warping: Yes, and Live Stretching
  • Supported Audio Formats: Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MP3, WAV and AIFF.
  • Non-destructive Editing: Yes (unlimited undo's)
  • MIDI Sequencing: Yes (both software and hardware)
  • VST Support: Yes
  • Audio Unit Support: Yes (Mac only)
  • Track Freeze: Yes
  • Multi CPU Support: Yes

As you can see, most of the foundation features of Ableton Live are still supported in Lite.

Limitations of Ableton Live Lite

Unlike the Standard and Suite versions of Ableton Live, the Lite version has some basic limitations that might limit you in your music creation journey.

The main limitations are:

  • Audio & MIDI tracks: 8
  • Scenes: 8
  • Send and Return Tracks: 2
  • Audio Input Channels: 8
  • Audio Output Channels: 8

If you need to use more than 8 audio and/or MIDI tracks in your project, the Lite version won't be enough for you and you need to upgrade. Luckily Ableton offers multiple upgrade paths; from Lite to Standard and from Lite to Suite.

Instruments in Ableton Live Lite

Even though Ableton Live Lite is free when it's shipped with hardware accessories like MIDI controllers, it comes filled with great instruments and sample content.

Drum Rack

The Drum Rack gives you a 16 pad beat grid for triggering and layering samples.

Impulse

Ableton's modulation-capable drum sampler.

Simpler

An easy-to-use but powerful sampler with classic synthesis parameters.

Instrument Rack

Combine multiple instruments and effects into a single device, allowing for split and layered sounds with customized Macro controls.

Audio Effects in Ableton Live Lite

Auto Filter

Classic analog filter emulation with an envelope follower and LFO.

Beat Repeat

Creative beat mangling with controlled or randomized repetitions of an incoming signal.

Chorus

Create thickening or flanging effects with two parallel modulated delays.

Compressor

Dynamics processing to add punch and loudness.

EQ Three

Three-band EQ with kill switches, modeled on classic DJ mixers.

Erosion

Adds “digital”-sounding artifacts and noise to audio signals.

Redux

Bit- and sample-rate reduction for classic lo-fi sounds.

Reverb

Simulates the acoustics of real or imaginary rooms.

Simple Delay

Two independent delay lines with feedback and tempo sync.

Tuner

Tuner shows the incoming pitch and its distance from the nearest semitone, helping you quickly get instruments in tune.

UtilityUpdated for Live 10 Lite

Multipurpose tool for adjusting gain, phase, stereo width and more.

Audio Effect Rack

Combine audio effects into a single device, allowing for the creation of simplified Macro controls for complex effects chains.

MIDI Effects in Ableton Live Lite

Ableton Live's MIDI Effects can be used to manipulate MIDI data and allows you to find creative new ways to write music.

Arpeggiator

The Apreggiator works just like a classic arpeggiator; it takes individual notes and transforms them into different patterns.

Chord

The Chord MIDI Effect lets you automatically add additional notes to the MIDI you're playing or sending to the plugin.

Note Length

Manage the MIDI note lengths on the fly (live quantization).

Pitch

The Pitch MIDI Effect simply transposes the MIDI notes by the amount you specify.

Random

This is exactly what it sounds like — a randomizer for MIDI notes. You get to adjust a Chance Parameter in order to get the desired results.

Scale

The Scale MIDI Effect is a great tool for playing in the right key; it automatically remaps all incoming MIDI notes to the correct notes of your specified key.

Velocity

The Velocity MIDI Effect can be used to compress the MIDI note velocity, or to simply randomize it.

MIDI Effect Rack

Combine MIDI effects into a single device, allowing for customized MIDI processing chains with simple Macro controls.

Samples & Presets in Ableton Live Lite

Includes Live’s core library of sounds and presets, which can be used together with the instruments and effects that are included.

Racks

The following Racks are included in Ableton Live Lite:

  • Instrument Racks: 268
  • Drum Racks: 48
  • Audio Effect Racks: 117
  • MIDI Effect Racks: 5

Presets

The following presets are included in Ableton Live Lite:

  • Instrument Presets: 50
  • Audio Effect Presets: 172
  • MIDI Effect Presets: 109

Samples

The following samples are included in Ableton Live Lite:

  • Loops: 84
  • Drum Hits: 1249
  • Multisamples / FX / One-shots: 513

Is it worth the upgrade?

Many people ask themselves if it's worth the upgrade of over 400 USD to the Suite or Standard versions, and in my opinion it's a no-brainer — yes, of course it's worth it. You get all you'll ever need for music creation right at your fingertips.

Free Upgrade to Live 11

Ableton has also launched an upgrade deal for everyone who upgrades or buys an Ableton Live 10 license — whether it's Standard or Suite — to upgrade to Ableton Live 11 for free when it's released.

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