FIRST LOOK: Ableton’s free Live 11.3 update includes Drift, a new MPE-compatible synth that can create sounds “from every era of modern music”

Ableton has announced that Live 11.3 is now in public beta, and it turns out that this update has a strong MPE flavour. There’s a new MPE-compatible synth, known as Drift, and other Live instruments now support MIDI Polyphonic Expression, too.

Drift is said to be capable of generating sounds “from every era of modern music,” and has a minimalist design that Ableton believes makes it beginner-friendly. However, we’re assured that there’s also enough depth to keep experienced sound designers interested.

The new instrument is inspired by classic hardware, but also nods to more modern synths and Eurorack modules. Check out our first impressions in the video above.

The good news is that Drift is being included with all versions of Live 11 - even the lowly Live Lite, which is bundled with other software and hardware products.

Live’s Analog, Collision, Electric and Tension instruments are now MPE-friendly, too, giving you more opportunity for expression. Relatedly, the MPE Control device has been given a lick of paint, and now offers increased functionality and reduced CPU load.

The Note Echo device also gets MPE support, with feedback controls for each control dimension. This means that MPE modulation can change over time.

There’s even more expressive content in the updated Core Library - check out the Live 11.3 beta release notes for a full list of what’s new.

The public beta of Live 11.3 has just been released, and is available to all owners of a Live 11 licence. Once beta testing is complete, all Live 11 licence holders will be able to download the Live 11.3 update for free.

Find out more on the Ableton website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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