If pressed for a quick description, I'd probably call Ableton Live 7 a digital audio workstation--a music application that records and plays back audio and MIDI tracks. But that terse description leaves so much unsaid.
Yes, Live 7 can record and play audio and MIDI, but it's also among the world's most powerful and flexible loop sequencers--allowing you not only to string together countless musical snippets in order to create tracks and compositions, but also to trigger those snippets and tracks via a MIDI controller; this makes Live as much a performance instrument as it is a desktop workstation.
Live has always been a capable application, and now it's more so. New features include Drum Racks, a feature that allows you to easily build extensively configurable virtual drum machines that you can play with a mouse, a keyboard, or a MIDI controller. Live 7's Slice feature makes it easy to split audio files into their component parts and then map those parts to individual pads in a drum rack (all while having complete editing control over the sampled sounds). Finally, you can assign multiple time signatures to a single project. Live 7 more than lives up to the program's stellar rep as one of the Mac's most musical applications.
This story, "Eddy Winner: Ableton Live 7" was originally published by Macworld.