Ableton Tension - Software Instrument for Live

Stringed Instrument Physical Modeling Synthesis Virtual Instrument for Ableton Live - Mac/PC AU, VST
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Ableton Tension - Software Instrument for Live image 1
Ableton Tension - Software Instrument for Live image 1
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Compatible with:


Software Compatibility

Most software is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, but check to make sure.

If you're using Pro Tools, AAX plug-ins (or RTAS for older versions) are what you need. Most other Mac DAWs support AU plug-ins. VST is compatible with a number of Mac and Windows programs. Be sure you choose plug-ins that work with your DAW!

To learn more about software compatibility, check out our buying guide.

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Ableton Tension - Software Instrument for Live
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Define Your Own Stringed Instruments in Ableton Live!

Create your own unique virtual stringed instruments with Ableton's Tension. Tension integrates directly with Ableton Live, dropping right into your workflow like any other instrument or processor built into the program, right down to the freakishly easy-to-use graphic interface. Without so much as breaking a virtual sweat, you'll find yourself quickly tweaking parameters to define all of the important parameters of your virtual stringed instrument, right down to the thickness of the frets and the friction of the strings. What's particularly awesome about this approach to synthesis is that you can easily use Tension to quickly create very realistic and organic-sounding instruments that are completely unique to the piece you're writing, even if you aren't already a synth nut. So, if you're looking for a creative way to expand your musical palette, then you definitely want to add the Ableton Tension virtual instrument to your Ableton Live rig.

Ableton Tension Virtual Instrument at a Glance:
  • Physical modeling lets you define every aspect of your instruments
  • From super-realistic to totally surreal and everything in between
  • An easy way to get even more out of Ableton Live
Physical modeling lets you define every aspect of your instruments

Made in collaboration with AAS (Applied Acoustics Systems), Ableton Tension borrows heavily from the same advanced physical modeling behind the legendary String Studio instrument. What physical modeling does for Tension is that it allows you to independently define the materials, dimensions, and overall characteristics that your virtual stringed instrument would have if it was real. Best of all, all of the extremely complex math involved with creating such realistic sound is tucked well away behind an incredibly streamlined user interface, allowing you to start creating sounds from day one, without having to ever crack a manual.

From super-realistic to totally surreal and everything in between

Are you ready to get creative? With Ableton Tension, it's easy to color way outside the box to create cool and original instrument sounds that aren't blatantly synthetic. For instance, creating a violin in Tension is a piece of cake (you can just load up a violin model from the massive included preset library), but that's just the beginning. Next, you can take that violin model and make the body the size of a small aquarium... and add frets to the fingerboard... and play it with a set of hammers if you like... or add a guitar pickup. Get the idea? The cool thing is that no matter how far out to left field you go with your sound design, Tension always retains some semblance of realism, allowing you to be synthesis to work for your music in entirely new ways.

An easy way to get even more out of Ableton Live

What makes Tension different from any other VST or AU plug-in? Simple - it's not a conventional plug-in at all. Instead, Tension integrates directly into the DNA of Ableton Live, becoming one more integrated tool you can use to take your music further. What's more, Tension and all the other Ableton Live expansions use the same simple interface style as Live itself, so you don't have to learn a whole new workflow to get great new sounds in the environment you're already familiar with. You can even stack multiple Tensions together, add effect and MIDI processors, and then save it all as a Rack for future use.

Ableton Tension Virtual Instrument Features:
  • A unique physical modeling string synthesizer that integrates directly into the Ableton Live environment
  • Created in collaboration with Applied Acoustics Systems (AAS) and based on the same advanced physical modeling synthesis technology found in String Studio
  • Simulates each component of a stringed instrument, allowing you to tweak everything from how the string is played to the size and type of instrument body used
  • Perfect for modeling real stringed instruments from guitars to cellos, but also great for creative sound design
  • Includes expertly programmed presets ranging from a wide selection of stringed instruments to hybrid inventions that show Tension's sound design capabilities
  • String module features Damping and Decay parameters to simulate the brightness and vibration of different types of strings
  • Inharm knob adjusts the tuning of partials from purely harmonic to inharmonic
  • Excitator section reproduces how the String module is played (e.g., plectrum, bow, hammer, etc.)
  • Define the body dimension of your instrument as well as its resonant qualities to simulate different kinds of body material
  • Damper section lets you define the way in which your virtual strings settle
  • Termination emulates the interaction between the virtual finger, fret, and string
  • Finger section features Finger and Stiff knobs to simulate different finger behaviors
  • Fret section features a Stiff knob to control the stiffness of the fret in relation to the string and the pressure applied by the finger.
  • Pickup section allows you to model the characteristics of a magnetic pickup, including the distance of the pickup from the string
  • A multimode filter with 2-pole and 4-pole lowpass, highpass, bandpass, notch and formant modes features a dedicated envelope and LFO to let you further shape your sound
  • Many parameters can be modulated via key tracking and velocity for expressive, dynamic playing
Create fun, exciting, and totally unique stringed instrument sounds with the Ableton Tension virtual instrument for Ableton Live!

Additional Media

Virtual Instrument Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Software Type Physical Modeling String Synthesizer
Platform Mac, PC
Upgrade/Full Expansion
Download/Boxed Download
Format AU, VST, (Only for use within Ableton Live)
Hardware Requirements - Mac Intel Mac, 2GB RAM
Hardware Requirements - PC Multicore Processor, 2GB RAM
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.5-10.9
OS Requirements - PC Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7-Windows 8 2GB RAM
Manufacturer Part Number 83837

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See also: Orchestral Software, Ableton, Ableton Virtual Instruments: Orchestra