Ableton 9 – My First Impressions

I’ve finally got my hands on Ableton 9 & my first experience with it didn’t disappoint. I’ve been wanting to try out the new Ableton 9 features since they were first introduced. Knowing there were plenty more people out there curious of what Ableton 9 has to offer, I made a video of me sharing my thoughts.

Here are my first impressions:

The overall look

I always liked the look and feel of Ableton, but the new look in Ableton 9 is even more pleasing on the eyes. Especially for those who work inside Ableton for hours on end, day after day. I think the color scheme in Ableton 9 is quite an improvement & I’ll probably stick with the default.

The New Browser

Wow, this is so much better than before. Everything is laid out in a much more intuitive way & everything is much easier to navigate to. Previously the instruments, drums, audio effects & midi effects were all in the same location. This was doable, but still slowed down the process of finding what you were looking for. There was a lot of scrolling involved.

Now in Ableton 9 everything is separated nicely & clearly labelled. The search engine is noticeably faster as well. I haven’t really put it to the test, but it does the basics really well.

Convert to midi Drums

This was really impressive to me. I just recorded my own voice doing a little beatboxing into Ableton 9 & it converted perfectly to drums. Although you can use whatever drum kit you like, it uses a pretty good default to get you started. I can definitely see myself using this tool a lot in my writing.

Convert melody to midi

I tested this out the same way as with the midi drums & I was not disappointed. I hummed out the melody to Axel F in my completely out of key voice and it translated really well. I can see so many uses for this, from grabbing a melody from another song, to playing a guitar part & converting it to midi for a synth to play. Humming things out the I can’t play (or don’t feel like playing) is a great option too.

The only bummer, is that it doesn’t capture bending notes from what I’ve tried so far. I assume improvements will be made with this technology in later Ableton 9 updates, so I’m happy with what I’ve got here.

The new Ableton 9 effects

Glue Compressor

I was very pleased with the Glue Compressor. The presets sounded great on individual tracks as well as on the whole mix. The low extender, bass punch & mastering – make it loud presets all sounded professional, warm and natural.


I’ve been waiting for the spectrum to be included inside the EQ8 for a long time & I really love how it’s implemented here. Being able to used your eyes & ears to dial your sound in it great. The EQ also sounds much smoother to my, especially when sweeping frequencies.


The gate plugin is a huge improvement from the previous version. You have much more visual control over the threshold range & you no longer have those glitchy artifacts. It’s much more intuitive & natural sounding. I think you will be really impressed.


How Ableton 8 project translate in Ableton 9

I opened up a song I am currently working on in Ableton 8 into Ableton 9 & I can confirm that everything translates perfectly. If anything, the audio engine sounds better. My song & mix sounded just as I remembered, so there was no adjusting effects necessary to get the results you had before. This was quite a relief for me & I’m sure it was something you probably had on your mind too. So far, I give the translation an A+.


I’d love to hear any requests for things you would like me to try in Ableton 9. Just leave a comment below & I’ll consider it for another video.  If you are a Producer’s Playground member or have purchased any of my Ableton collections, rest assured that I’ll be adding updates to share the new features in Ableton 9.

Enjoy the video below:

I’ll be making more Ableton 9 videos as well as continuing my Writing a song in Ableton series, so stay tuned!

Happy music making,


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