Is Ableton Live / Live Lite Free? (Intro vs Standard vs Suite)

So you have done some research on the best DAWs to suit your use case and settled on Ableton Live. Your next decision naturally will be, where can I get Live, how much does it cost, and are there different versions to suit my use case, and what are the specifications of these versions? This is what this tutorial will be about. I will discuss whether Live is free, what it costs to acquire any version of Live and other special offers Ableton provides its users.

ableton live different purchase options

So now, is Live free? The simple answer is no for the most part. You can get Live for free for a 30-day free trial, which enables you to give Live a spin before you decide to purchase Live. You will also see 3 versions of Live: Intro (Lite), Standard, and Suite. These variations have their perks and drawbacks, which I will discuss, to help you make an informed decision.

You can also decide to purchase Live’s variations for a once-off fee or opt for an instalment-based mode of payment if you cannot purchase Live at the once-off rate. Before we get into the specifics, please note that I will use Live ‘Intro’ and ‘Lite’ interchangeably, as they are the same thing regarding pricing and what you get.

Let us get started!

Free Ableton Live

I like that Ableton allows you to try out Live Suite, which is the full and premium version of Live for free for 30 days. Just as with all versions of Live you purchase, you will need to sign-up with Ableton on their official website from which you will get an activation code in your email, to use the current version of Live that you have registered for. For more about Live’s licencing stipulations, please read the information provided here.

Once this 30-day version is authorized, you will be able to use Live for the next 30 days for free, enabling you to explore Live’s workflow, before you make a purchase decision. You can find the trial version of Live here.

ableton live free

Ableton Live Intro (Lite)

Now we are getting onto the versions of Live that need to be purchased to function. Note that if you do not purchase Live and receive an activation code, or your free trial expires, you will only be able to use Live, but will not be able to save your projects. This is perfectly fine if you are using Live in a demonstration or a performance, but the inability to save will massively hinder your productivity

ableton license

If you a looking for a version of Live that is lightweight, simple and at an entry level for your students, children or yourself, Live Intro is the version for you. This version costs €79 which includes a 19% VAT sum. This version of Live cannot be paid for in instalments, unfortunately, and is only available at a once-off fee.

paid versions of live

With this total fee, you get an introduction to Live. These are the features you will get for using Live Lite:

  1. 16 total tracks – 8 Audio and 8 MIDI tracks
  2. 16 recording scenes
  3. 2 send and return tracks.
  4. 8 Mono audio input channels and 8 mono audio output channels
  5. Complex warp modes

If you get the latest version of Live, Live 11, you will also get these features not available to older versions of Live:

  1. Comping
  2. MIDI Polyphonic Expression
  3. Tempo Following
  4. Note and Velocity Chance

With the expansion that comes with the Live 11 update, the version of Live is much more expansive compared to its outdated counterparts. My only reservation comes from the limited 16 tracks you can use and the limited instruments and effects that I get from the Suite version. Nonetheless, you will get the basics of Live that will be, in my opinion, instrumental for educational demonstrations.

Ableton Live Standard

This version of Live is the Jack of All Trades edition. You do not need the most premium versions of audio production software to make some of the most sonically intriguing productions or performances. This version of Live is something I would recommend for a semi-professional or a student of audio production who is looking to, in the near future, get into audio production professionally. This version of Live costs €279 including a €44.55 VAT fee, and this sum is payable in 24 (6, 12 or 24 monthly) once you have selected the Klarna option during checkout.

live standard paid version

With this version of Live, you will get:

  1. Unlimited Audio and MIDI tracks and unlimited Scenes
  2. 12 Send and Return tracks
  3. 256 mono audio input and audio output channels
  4. Complex warp modes
  5. Audio-slicing
  6. Audio to MIDI conversion (one of my favourite Live features)

If you opt-in to the Live 11 version, you will get:

  1. Linked track editing
  2. MIDI Polyphonic Expression
  3. Tempo Following
  4. Note and Velocity Chance

These additional features with Live 11 are also available in the Lite version of Live 11.

Ableton Live Suite

This is the professional level of Live. This version I can only recommend to professionals who want the full Live experience, and use Live in their professional practice. This version is quite pricy for a semi-professional or a student of Live, but the full Live experience is hard to pass. This version of Live costs €599 payable in 24 instalments (6, 12 or 24 monthly), inclusive of a €95.64 VAT charge.

ableton live suite price

This expansion allows you to access the Max for Live. Which is a feature that allows you to create your software instruments. As I have mentioned, this is a professional tool, and with the Max for Live feature, you can get heavy into sound and instrument design. With this feature, you can access custom Max instruments developed by Ableton, and other producers!

max for ableton live


Ableton is very encouraging to students, teachers and learning institutions, and provides Live for educational purposes. You can get Live for up to 50% off the market price if you fit the eligibility check here. You can get any version of Live for half the price for an extended period if you are a student or a teacher as long as you meet the criteria defined by Ableton!

different versions of ableton live

Final Thoughts

Ableton has thought of every case use. If you are a beginner and want to introduce your children or your students to audio production or performance, Live Intro (Lite) suits you best. If you are a semi-professional student in audio, Live Standard will fit your needs. If you are an audio production professional, Ableton Live Suite is simply a must. I hope that this tutorial will provide you with all the information that will encourage you to make the move to Live, and the version that suits you best. If you still have doubts, try Live free of charge for 30 days, before you make your decision. Bus most importantly, have fun while you are at it!

Collins K