Ableton Push Controller for Live 9 with 11 Touch-Sensitive Encoders
- 64 velocity and pressure-sensitive multi colored pads to play and sequence beats
- A new way to play notes and chords. Play melody and harmony in any key.
- Improvise and play with loops. Trigger and re-arrange your ideas at any tempo.
- Hands-on control with 11 touch-sensitive encoders.
- Includes Ableton Live 9 Intro and works with any edition of Ableton Live 9
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|Item Dimensions||5.43 x 18.94 x 14.76 in||9.45 x 9.45 x 0.98 in||12.36 x 7.08 x 1.8 in||12.2 x 14.96 x 16.54 in||12.28 x 7.64 x 1.69 in||4.72 x 33.46 x 12.6 in|
|Item Weight||9.7 lbs||1.98 lbs||1.63 lbs||5.95 lbs||1.85 lbs||8.16 lbs|
Ableton Push - the instrument for hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds and song structure in Ableton Live
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Now, the reality check. There are many surprising omissions from the workflow which, when you discover them, will annoy you. I bet you thought you could load up drum sounds from the controller and "audition" them the way you can in Live 9s newly redesigned browser, didn't you? Well, you can't. The browser in Push does not mirror the Live browser. Push is butter smooth with Live's native instruments, but using VSTs requires certain workarounds, and these workarounds are never perfect. (Example- you can use the drum step sequencer to send MIDI to NI Battery or another drum sampler, but won't be able to see note names or mix from within Live. You must take the time to map the VST parameters in advance in order to control them from Push. Though the Push is a lot more fun than an APC40 or Launchpad for launching clips, you may miss some of of the dedicated Solo, Mute, Arrangement Record buttons on those controllers.
Compared to Maschine, the next closest thing: Push has so many different ways that you can interface with your sounds (easily changing musical scales, adding and tweaking new effects, playing unconventional progressions) that it can really get you playing differently than you normally do. Maschine never had that for me, with it's 16 pad layout, barely 2 octaves compared to Push's 8. That said, you won't find Maschine's super smooth sample chopping workflow, nor it's automatic mapping of NI Komplete plugins.
Conclusion: at least as of this early stage (Push firmware 1.0, Live 9.0), Push works best if you spend the time with your good old fashioned mouse and keyboard to prepare your instruments in advance, and build yourself a pallette of sounds to work with, then sit back in a cozy chair, monitor and mouse in the background, and just jam. I did just that this afternoon, and once I found my flow, hours passes in the flick of an eye.
In short, it's far more intuitive at playing/sequencing drums and playing chords and scales than it is on controlling some other functions, but once you (and I) have time to learn it, it well bring treasure troves of fun and rewards.
First, this thing feels like a solid iron block wrapped in space age plastic coating. It is built heavy, and solid, like it is built to last for years. I would still be weary of breaking off any knobs, but even the knobs feel like the are built to a very high tolerance and are firmly attached. The pads are a bit different than the APC 40. They are not as "squishy" as the APC40, but are built more like touch sensitive drum pads. One thing I noticed immediately is that the color of the clips in Ableton match the colors of the non-paying pads in pad mode. Now you have a total visual cue to match the buttons to your set in session view by COLOR. That's a great thing and a huge step up from previous controllers.
Without even cracking open the manual, the unit booted up, asked for a firmware update, which I did, and took about a minute, then rebooted itself, done!
There are 3 modes I found almost immediately: Note mode, clip launch mode, and sequence mode. I have no idea how the 3rd mode works, but I can see right away how this one controller could do a LOT in either a recording or live set. I actually found myself immediately drawn to playing notes on the note grid. I still haven't figured out the color coding or layout, but it IS playable almost immediately, and I can see ditching the traditional keyboard in favor of this unit once I understand how it works a bit better. It's obvious that Ableton really wanted to make an outstanding INSTRUMENT as well as a solid piece of hardware, and so far it shows.
I am excited to get a good night sleep and crack open the manual tomorrow to see how this thing REALLY works.
After reading some of the manual, watching about half the videos, and just trying things out for a couple of hours on my own, I stand by my 5 star rating. I am even more impressed now.
Admittedly I can only compare this unit to the APC40 because it's the only other unit I own, but Push stands on it's own ground. In actuality you can use both at the same time, but the APC40 is definitely geared more to track control and clip launches.
There are basically 3 main modes of working with Push, and that is Note/Drums and Clip Launch. The clip launch works as you would expect, almost exactly like a novation or apc40, but with the advantage of color coding of clips that try to match the colors of your clips on the screen, and more pads. The second and third modes are under "note" mode (instead of session). The drum screen in note mode turns into a visual drum machine that uses 16 pads at a time, just like in Ableton. This "drum machine" mode is packed with a lot of useful features.
The last mode in note mode is instrument notes (non drum pad). This, to me, is the most important mode, and a fair bit of genius. Because it allows you to play a bunch of different scales, in any key, and either with or without the notes that are not in the scale. For someone like me who isn't a great keyboard player, this is a GOD SEND. The ability to play in any scale or key without worrying about hitting a wrong note is a big deal. But it gets better. The blue notes on the pad correspond to the root note of the key and scale, so you have a reference, but also if you hit 3 keys horizontally and walk that up vertically, you play each note of the scale in succession. Also, if you hit 1 or more notes on the pad, the pad also shows you where the same notes are elsewhere on the pads. Almost like a guitar, you can play totally different pads to get the same notes.
But the list of features goes on. There is a lot more to Push, including automation, and controlling parameters of various ableton instruments in real time.
The only thing that I would have liked to see in Push, that is NOT in Push is the ability to browse VST instruments like you can browse the ableton instruments from the device itself, but alas this is not a feature of push.
Having said that, you can still manually add VSTs tp tracks, aand once you have their parameters set up in MIDI, you can use the controllers on Push to control parameters of your VST in real time or for automation recording, and you can play and record your instrument, so you can still do the important stuff with Push, just not the browsing via the screen on Push.
The other thing that is a bit sketchy is that the control buttons aren't quite bright enough for my liking, even with the unit plugged into a power source, however, there may be a way to adjust the brightness...
Those last two points are minor in my book. Just preferences, but not necessary.
All in all, this device pretty much replaces both my apc 40 AND my korg keystation keyboard, so my setup just got easier, more portable, and better.
For $600? Just buy the thing. It's worth it. I have NO regrets about buying Push, it's a great piece of hardware.