Ableton Live vs Suite: Difference and Comparison

Ableton is a software company in Germany that is a music company, and it produces different kinds of music and organizes performances and launches them with the help of its application, i.e. Ableton Live.

In it, there is a vast collection of different types of musical instruments and equipment, sample libraries, and its hardware control called Ableton Push.

Its headquarters is situated in Berlin, Germany, and the second is situated in Pasadena, California. Ableton Live and Suite are digital audio workstations, and it has come in different versions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ableton Live is a music production software offering essential composing, recording, and editing tools.
  2. Ableton Suite is an expanded version of Live, including additional instruments, sounds, and effect packs.
  3. The suite offers more creative possibilities and features, making it suitable for professionals and advanced users.

Ableton Live vs Suite

The difference between Ableton Live and Suite is that Ableton Live is the oldest version of Ableton. While Ableton Suite is one of the recent versions; launched by the company. In Ableton Suite, more instruments can be found, which is lacking in Ableton Live. If a user wants a basic feature with no extra instruments, then Ableton Live may be best suited for this purpose. Ableton Suite is costlier than Ableton Live. Ableton Live has sample packages included. While in Suite full package consisting of samples and presets is available.

Ableton Live vs Suite
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Ableton Live is an audio workstation by Ableton. It was developed for both macOS and Windows. Unlike other software, Ableton Live is specially designed for live performances so that instruments can be recorded live.

It also includes additional features like composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering. When it was launched, it became the very first application to beat-match the songs on itself. It is available in three editions that are Intro, Standard and Suite.

The suite is one of the editions of Ableton Live. It can be said as the most advanced version launched by Ableton. The suite is better than Live because it has many extra instruments that cannot be found in the other editions of Live, i.e. Standard and Intro.

Ableton Suite comes with a complete package consisting of samples, presets, loops, a Library full of percussion instruments etc.

The suite occupies a space of 48 GB of disk when it is unpacked. After installing it on Macbook, it takes several hours to install.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAbleton LiveSuite
InstrumentsBasicMore
VersionOldestNewest
PriceCheapCostlier
PackageSample musicLoops, Presets, Library full of Percussion instruments etc.
FeatureBest suited for music-making and live performances.Complete package of sound and tools with an add-on of a sound library.

What is Ableton Live?

Ableton Live is software that was opened as a digital audio workstation. Ableto specially created it for giving live performances.

The co-founders of Ableton, Robert Henke, Gerhard Behles and others, created this platform from homemade software to facilitate live performances. Earlier, Ableton Live was called Monolake.

The first official version of Live was released in 2001. It became commercial software. It was written in C++ and not in Max, that act as a prototype for all visual programming languages in music.

Ableton Live has two types of user interfaces. One is the arrangement View, and the other is Session View. Live uses a technique where it uses all the samples of audio sequences, or MIDI, referred to as Clips, and then it arranges for them to be played live.

In the Arrangement system, all are played back in an arranged manner. In Session, it has a grid representation of all the different types of Clip in the Live set.

It can also be arranged into scenes and then be triggered. For example, guitar, bass, the drum can be composed into a single scene then the artist may trigger it activating the clips.

The Intro edition has four different types of instruments, i.e. Impulse, Simpler, Instrument Rack, and Drum Rack. The standard edition, it has an additional option with external instruments where users have the option to purchase these instruments.

ableton live

What is Suite?

The suite is among one of the editions of Ableton Live. It is one of the newest versions of Ableton because it includes all the available instruments. Users don’t need to purchase them like in the standard version.

Instruments are Impulse, drum rack, Analog, Bass, Collision, drum synths, Wavetable, Tension, Poli, Sampler, simpler, electric, operator etc. Along with that, Suite also has some sample add-on packs.

They are Session drums, Latin Percussion, Orchestral Instrument Collection and Essential Instruments Collection. The suite consists of a set of four DVDs with a full package of different Ableton software.

Libraries included in Suite’s collection are called ‘live Packs’. It also has some compressed archives. The suite also gives you the option to install which pack and not unpack.

It takes the space of 48 GB in a disk. It takes several hours to install. All the instruments and samples in the suite are arranged hierarchically.

So sometimes, it is confusing which instruments are part of ‘Live Packs’. Ableton Suite is currently the 8th version of Ableton Live. 

Along with all the features of Ableton Live, Suite consists of a sound library and additional 10 instruments to play. Collision and Tension are some of the new instruments added to the Suite.

Suite 8 is a complete package because it contains both tools as well as a sound package.

Main Differences Between Ableton Live and Suite

  1. Ableton Live has basic instruments like Impulse, Simpler Instrument Rack, and Drum Rack. The suite has more instruments than Ableton Live.
  2. Ableton Live was one of the first versions launched by Ableton in 2001. The suite is one of the newest versions and editions of Ableton Live.
  3. The price of Ableton Live is cheaper than a suite.
  4. The package of Ableton Live consists of sample music. The package of Ableton suite consists of Loops, Presets, a Library full of Percussion instruments etc.
  5. Features of Ableton Live are best suited for music-making and live performances. Features of the Suite include a Complete package of sound and tools with an add-on of a sound library.
References
  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9780080961057/ableton-live-8-suite-8-keith-robinson-huston-singletary
  2. https://online.ucpress.edu/jams/article-abstract/74/1/214/116877

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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