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Ableton Live Lite Limitations (Has It Got Enough Features?)

Ableton Live Lite limitations can be easily overcome with a few hacks.  Create several projects and link them together and suddenly you have way more than the 8-track limitation that everyone laments. Select the right instrument type, expand it and you explode from one track to over 30!

So Ableton Live Lite limitations are challenging – or are they? Does Live Lite have enough features for music producers? Yes, it does! 

Those limitations can be overcome with some research and your willingness to create several projects instead of just one.

By the time you have finished reading this article, you’ll know the differences between all the Ableton DAW offerings and their key features. 

You will know how to create numerous projects instead of just one, which will liberate you from your 8-track limitation misery!

What Is Ableton Live Lite?

Ableton Live allows you to sequence, create and mix music digitally at home, or you can use it in performances of your own music. 

It is a well-known Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) in music production. At the time of writing, the latest version of Ableton Live is 11. 

What Is Ableton Live Lite

Ableton Live Lite, however, is the version of Ableton that you receive (for free) when you buy some kind of MIDI controller or other third-party hardware so that you have software to connect with your new equipment. 

All versions of Ableton consist of two views, Arrangement View and Session View

You use Arrangement View when you want to record audio and MIDI and view and build your tracks on a timeline, reading from left to right. 

You use Session View when you want to brainstorm musical ideas and jam. You record musical ideas in this view, but there is no timeline. This means you can start and stop clips in this view independently, anytime you want, and they remain in time.

What Are The Limitations of Ableton Live Lite?

Ableton Live Lite has less functionality than Ableton Live Intro and considerably less functionality than Standard and Suite. It has: 

What Are The Limitations of Ableton Live Lite

The differences between Ableton Live Lite, Ableton Live Standard, and Ableton Live Suite are even more significant. 

The number of audio and MIDI tracks expands exponentially from 8 tracks to unlimited, which gives the music producer way more power to capture MIDI and audio.   

There are 13 more software instruments in Suite, and audio effects increase from 16 to 37 in Ableton Standard and 60 in Suite

MIDI Effects grow from 11 to 14 in Standard and 16 in Suite. The packs also differ from 5000 + sounds in Suite to 0 in Live Lite. Note that a pack consists of Live Sets, clips, samples, etc., that can be used in Ableton.

 Key Features of Ableton Live Lite

The key features of Ableton Live Lite include the following:

  • Multi-track recording
  • Unlimited undo
  • Powerful MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
  • Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
  • Group tracks
  • VST2, VST3, and Audio Unit Support
  • Multiple automation lanes
  • MIDI Polyphonic Expression allows you to add bends and slides to the pitch and apply pressure for each note in a chord. You can also add your own expression variations, completely individualizing them.
  • Track freeze
  • MIDI Effects, such as MIDI Effect racks, Arpeggiator, MPE Control, Pitch, Velocity
  • Audio Effects include EQ3, Audio Effect Rack, Compressor, Limiter, and Reverb.
  • Software Instruments include Instrument Rack, Drum Rack, Impulse, and Simpler.
Ableton Software Features

Is Ableton Live Lite Any Good?

Yes, it is. It is excellent for anyone wanting to explore the DAW, a first taste of recording a MIDI or audio track using Ableton, and also of using an instrument or instruments within Ableton. 

It also consists of all the essential workflows that make Ableton unique from DAWs, such as FL Studio or Avid Pro Tools.

Is Ableton Live Lite Good Enough For Beginners?

Ableton Live Lite is good enough for beginners at the beginning of their Ableton learning. For someone working at home or in a small studio, it is a fun way to explore DAWs.

The beauty of Live Lite is you are in the Ableton ecosystem and can easily upgrade when you are ready.

Is Ableton Live Lite Good Enough For Advanced Producers?

Ableton Lite Live is even better for advanced producers who are on a budget and want to record, place effects, e.g., EQ three, reverb, delays, and produce a final mix for a track. 

You will need to learn how to hack Ableton Live Lite to do this. See the next section!

Can You Work Around Ableton Live Lite’s Limitations?

The most significant limitation of Ableton Live Lite is the limited number of tracks, eight audio or 8 MIDI tracks. 

You could probably work within these limits if you are a small ensemble. 

You would also have to live with a limited number of audio and MIDI effects.

The good news is that you can work around these limitations and expand the number of tracks from 8 to anywhere over 100 tracks, depending on the instruments you choose and how you want to create them. 

There is a solution for MIDI and audio, and they are similar.  

Basically, you create a master project of 8 tracks and then make several sub-projects of 8 tracks each

You then stream the channels in the sub-projects to the Master Project. 

Note that you will need third-party software to stream the MIDI and audio from the sub-projects to the master project.

It also depends on the instruments you choose in Ableton. 

If you start a project and, let’s say, you want to record a rock or pop song; it’s fantastic. For instance, if you’re Session View and need a drum track, look no further than the 707 Core Kit.adg.  

To get there, open Session View, select Drums > 707 Core Kit.adg

Drag this drum kit onto a MIDI track, and then click the button in the top right corner of the kit in its MID track. 

The whole thing expands to 16 individual tracks, plus a Mix Bus and Reverb.

Expanding drum kit in Ableton Live Lite

Check out the two videos by Neon Syndicate on YouTube for a full explanation of these hacks, one for MIDI and the other for audio.

Where Do You Get Ableton Live Lite?

When you buy a MIDI keyboard, chances are it will be delivered to you with a serial number for Live Lite 11 or a version of Lite. 

Live Lite comes with hardware from brands such as ArturiaKorgNovation, etc. 

It is not available to purchase.

How Long Does Ableton Live Lite Last?

Your license for Ableton Live Lite never expires.  

Differences Between Ableton Live Lite And Ableton Live Lite Intro

There are just two features that separate Live Lite from Live Lite Intro: there are five more audio effects, but a whopping 1500 + sounds (5+ GB) in Live Lite Intro, whereas there are 0 packs in Live Lite.

Final Words

Ableton Live Lite definitely does have enough features for beginners and professionals alike. 

It would be most likely that the most experienced users of Lite, with a deeper understanding of its capabilities, would be the ones to research and use the hacks, third-party software, and multiple projects linked together to extend its capabilities.  

For those on a limited budget, it is well worth researching the hacks to extend the number of tracks while you save for an upgrade version.  

Even if you’re not on a budget, do your research, play around, and experiment with the software. 

You’ll be creating something powerful before you know it!

Still unsure what version to get? Check out this article looking at is Ableton Suite worth it.

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