I have Ableton Live but didn't invest in the software because I want it for a different use. I have a feeling that the $170 for the additional samples would be a good investment. Why? My past experience, until you get familiar with any software like this, its much better to use add-on products that are part of the company's package, tested and optimized to work. The $170 is most likely a very good investment and will sound great. They will also have the sound that other users are drawn to it in the first place. I'd buy it Bob, get the Suite!
Ableton Live is a loop monster totally unique. Its very very cool and proficient. The Akai controller for it would be another thing that I would look at.
Hope that helps!