Ableton is a German company that was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles and Bernd Roggendorf, which develops music production software. They are most recognised for their "Ableton: Live" software which is designed to allow both composition in a studio and performance of tracks in a live environment.
Ableton Live features a unique way of performing live tracks with its Session feature. This view allows for samples and loops to be dropped onto selected channels and triggered easily to play in time with the rest of the track.
More recent versions have seen many instruments added that can be played simply using the keyboard or with an external midi source such as a midi keyboard The latest version (version 6) expands on the number of patches available to users of the available softsynths.
On top of all this Ableton Live comes equipped with a large number of effects with 22 in total. Some of these effects include EQ's, a Flanger, a Phaser and two Compressors. These can all be assigned to individual channels and allow for even further manipulation of tracks on the fly.
Ableton’s software has been adopted by many well known DJ’s and Producers including Sasha, James Zabiela, Surgeon and Paul Van Dyk. Many criticise the software for DJ’ing as it takes the skill away from the art but just as many argue that it allows for a more creative experience with a user being able to play the same song they would normally play in a DJ set, but expand upon it by adding samples or playing keys over it and “remixing on the fly”.