Confused about your options? Fret no more. MacAbleton is here to clarify it all for you!
There are several versions you can buy. These are as follows (prices are official Ableton, 17/10/2015):
Live Intro: $99 USD. Note that students and teachers can get up to 40% discount on all versions.
Live Standard: $449 USD.
Live Suite: $749 USD.
Boxes (box contains printed manual, installation disc, content discs and stickers. software license sold separately): Intro $20, Standard $50, Suite $50
Educational discounts: Note that students and teachers can get up to 40% discount on all versions.
Upgrades: You can upgrade from Intro to Standard etc, and also upgrade from earlier versions eg Live 8 to Live 9.
All these can be bought online from Ableton, and also from shops.
Ableton have done a feature comparison chart for Intro, Standard and Suite here
Live 9 Lite
This is a free version. It is usually labelled as a manufacturer version, and comes free with hardware. This is obviously a great way to get started. If and when you upgrade to a higher version, you’ll get a discount, and so you may end up getting the hardware for free, effectively.
Live 9 Intro
The basic intro version obviously. Costs $99. Enough to get started. You can make tunes and learn to use Live with this, but obviously it has it’s limits.
Live 9 Standard
Costs $449 USD for the download at Ableton. Shop around for bargains on boxed versions and upgrades from Intro, Lite, or earlier versions of Live. The main thing you don’t get with this is synths, but you can get free ones – see the free plugins page in the Features section. Also you don’t get a multisampler which you need for natural instruments with large ranges eg a piano.
Live 9 Suite 9
$749. This version contains many important features not found in Live Standard, such as Operator (FM synth), Analog (synth), Collision (drum synth), Sampler (advanced multisampler) and Max for Live. The synths etc are great value for money and Max for Live is useful for all sorts of things, so this really is the ideal version to go for if you can afford it.
Ableton sell Push, and there are packages to buy the software and the hardware together, both in the Ableton shop and in music shops online and in the High Street.
Ableton Live – 32 or 64 bit?
What’s the difference? Well, 64 bit versions allow you to use more RAM, and there is no point in using a 64 bit version unless you have more than 4GB RAM. Currently I only have 4GB, so I’m sticking with 32 bit.
If you do want to go 64 bit some of your plugins might not show up, if they are not 64 bit versions. Most manufacturers are updating. Of course a lot of the free ones won’t get updated either. There is a thing called 32 Lives which converts 32 bit plugins to 64 bit and works stable.