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An Ableton Live user has installed every version of the DAW from the past 20 years so you can see how it’s changed

To mark the DAW’s 20th anniversary, YouTuber and all-round Ableton guru Julian Gray has put together a mini documentary in which he installs every version of Live from 1 through to 11.

It’s a fascinating journey through the software history - akin to looking through Live’s baby photos - with the added bonus of some chat about how the software came to be in the first place. Thanks to changes in operating system support, a variety of computer hardware was required to complete the task.

While a lot has changed over the years, it’s fair to say that some of Live’s key concepts were in place right from the start, and many elements of version 1 - the presence of the dedicated Session and Arrange views, for example - will be familiar even to those you came to the software later on.

The film might also serve up some surprises - did you know that, when it launched, Live had no MIDI sequencing features, for example? 

If you’ve got half an hour to spare, you can take this technological trip down memory lane above.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Group Content Manager for MusicRadar, specialising in all things tech. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 20 of which I’ve also spent writing about music technology. 

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