Ableton Push Controller For Live 9

In addition to announcing Ableton Live 9, Ableton today announded Push – a new hardware instrument designed to solve an old problem: how to make a song from scratch.

Ableton describes Push as “a new instrument that solves an old problem: how to make a song from scratch. With hands-on control of melody and harmony, beats, sounds, and song structure, Push puts the fundamental elements of music making at your fingertips – and it fits in a backpack alongside your laptop.”

Ableton Push looks a lot like existing Live controllers, like the LaunchPad or APC40, but it has some unique features:

  • The pads are velocity and pressure sensitive;
  • The encoders are touch-sensitive;
  • It includes a 4-line contextual alphanumeric display;
  • A touchstrip is included for expression and navigation; and
  • It includes 24 navigation LEDs

Here’s a video into for Ableton Push:

Ableton Push Key Features:

  • 64 velocity- and pressure-sensitive multi-color pads can be used to play, step sequence, and navigate within rhythm patterns – all at the same time.
  • 11 touch-sensitive endless encoders can control device parameters, adjust velocity, nudge timing and more.
  • Play melodies and chords – Push “folds” a keyboard’s worth of notes into its 64 pads, with different pad colors showing the key center and other notes in the key. The symmetrical pad grid means melody and chord patterns can be played using the same fingerings in every key, and key changes happen at the touch of a button.
  • Improvise and play with song structure: Capture everything you play with Push’s unique recording workflow. Overdub new notes or create variations of phrases, moving quickly between your song materials with just a few buttons. After you’ve created ideas, switch to another mode to try them out in various combinations. When you’re ready to get into arranging, detailed editing, and exporting your finished song, switch from Push to your computer to find your music already laid out in Ableton Live.

Here’s a look at playing melodies and chords with Push:

Here’s a look at improvising with loops with Push:

Ableton Push can also be used for sound editing:

Push is expected to be available in 2013 Q1, for $599 USD/499 EUR. Push includes Ableton Live 9 Intro and works with any edition of Ableton Live 9 (Intro, Standard, Suite). See the site for details.

44 thoughts on “Ableton Push Controller For Live 9

      1. Touch/velocity/pressure sensitive, a nice pitch bend, aftertouch (though rarely available or used, I’ll admit), connection for two footswitches, more Maschine-oriented possibilities, seemingly “better” integrated with the software, etc.

        Now, to be fair, I do not own the APC-40 (nor the APC-20), and I hear good things about them, but it doesn’t seem to be made for quite the same type of performance, at least not “out of the box”. (As for price, the APC-40 usually hovers around 399 Euro in European stores (online, even worse in Norwegian shops, so here the price-part doesn’t seem quite as horrible as it would in the US).

        I do however own both the Maschine and the Launchpad, so it isn’t as if I _need_ this right away, but it seems like a sweet combination of the two for Ableton, and that would mean less gear in my bag when I play outside of my bedroom. (OK, it means I could bring less gear, not that I will :P).

        Of course, to each their own and all that, but I’m getting this somewhere down the road.

  1. Looks fantastic, but a little pricey. If it came with Live 9 Standard instead of Intro I’d probably buy one.

  2. Yup- They took there time and copied the best bits of what everytone else was doing (even iPAD software) but this looks to be about the best controler I have seen – Expect to see Maschines on ebay!

  3. This controller looks awesome! I can’t wait for this to come out. I can replace two controllers wit this thing and save some desk space.

  4. Wow, at first I thought it was going to be an APC with a few more features. At which point, it would be overpriced. After watching those videos – WOW. It really is an instrument. I love how intuitive it seems. I just wonder if I’ll be able to use it (and want to use it). I currently have an APC20 that sits on my desk, while I punch away on my laptop and LPK25. Like others said above. I MUST HAVE THIS. haha.

  5. I thought solving the “problem” of making a song “from scratch” was to have an idea to begin with. No device can fix that. Also, when you start from a grid, you often get grid-like results. That doesn’t at all mean that you can’t step above that and use it fluidly, but its a strong temptation and a bit of a compositional weak spot.

    That said, this looks like a very useful labor-of-love thing. Live sometimes seems too mechanical to me, but no tool is automatically liberating. Its simply the doorway to whatever potential you can bring to life. I also think that after the dust-up Ableton had a while back, they’ll be very careful and supportive here. At $599 list, its no casual investment. Its just a feeling, but I don’t think they’ll ever pull a stunt like NI’s sudden abandonment of KORE. There’s a good chance that Push will be somewhat like Logic for Macs: so well-integrated that many mismatch-type problems never appear at all. I applaud its appearance. It’ll help make a great DAW even more accessible. If its still going strong in 5 or 6 years, I’ll applaud even harder.

    1. I wonder the same about livid.. this almost makes the cntl:r obsolete.

      This machine is far more integrated with live AND cheaper.

      And of course, COLORED SESSION VIEW!

      1. The Livid Code controller will still be relevant as a companion to Push as it will provide the extra encoders and mapping that could be lacking with Push

    1. It’s new tech and they gotta make it pay! Cheaper controllers don’t have the interactive display, touch sensitive pads, pressure sensitive pads, the ribbon controller – it goes on and on.

      You can’t compare this to a LaunchPad!

  6. DAMN! This does what i’ve been trying to get my apc to do for years with max for live and ableton templates I made. (all of my attempts failed horribly) It really looks like you could make the bulk of a song without a mouse. Finally! I was about to buy numerology and a launchapd.

    But I was looking forward to bitwig so much! Now, I dunno, I still think bitwig looks like better software but this controller might (probably) keep me with ableton. bitwig also doesn’t have rewire and I’m really itching to use audio gl when it comes out for mac and i would like to not have to use soundflower.

    In conclusion, Ableton, I really though I was gonna jump ship but push makes seriously reconsider.

    1. I’m in the same boat – I was planning on numerology+launchpad as well. After watching these videos, I’m still going this route as it looks like the step sequencing features are pretty rudimentary and won’t even come close to Numerology for sequencing software and hardware synths.

      1. Ummmm…THANK YOU!!! I’ve used a Launchpad since 2009 and always hated the step sequencing options (max4live devices, nonome mod, etc). I still use the launchpad for tons of other things besides launching clips, but I am gonna get Push solely for the colored pad’s discernability in a fast-paced performance – been needing it so badly. But I had never heard of Numerology until I read your post just a couple hours ago, and I’ve since gotten it off audionews, hooked it up, and am loving the s**t out of it. I now know how to put my old macbook to use during performances, THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN!!!

        Oh, maybe I can offer you some advise, too. Buy two Griffin Powermates, they’re mappable jog-wheels, $25 each (I used to use them in DP and they’re great for Live, too) and route the functions however you’d like, these are my settings:

        -Knob 1-
        Scroll R: shrink grid
        Scroll L: expand grid
        Hold + Scroll R: zoom in
        Hold + Scroll L: zoom out
        Short Hold: tuplets grid
        Long Hold: disable grid

        -Knob 1-
        Scroll R: move wiper right
        Scroll L: move wiper left
        Hold + Scroll R: highlight right (shift + ->) or toggle between top and bottom windows in arrangement view
        Hold + Scroll L: highlight left (shift + <-) or toggle between top and bottom windows in arrangement view
        Short Hold: play
        Long Hold: toggle between track/clip view (as in the two bottom tabs for devices and clip editor)

        I don't use nudge, but I can also see this as a solution for people who complain about there being no decent controllers to map to it. Just look up the Powermate, it can be mapped to any key combination in any application, there's also general OS functions like volume control. So in Live you can do stuff like cmd+1 and cmd+2 that are already native Live keyboard shortcuts, or use Live's keymap to map, say, the letter "m" to something without a shortcut, like nudge or punch in/out switches, then go to the Powermate's settings, select the Live application, and map those key combinations to the jog-wheels 6 different functions.

        TRUST me on this one, they will blow away any attempts to date that ANY controller company has made to make dedicated buttons for edit options/functions in Live. Sorry for the ramble, they're that good…and that cheap.

  7. This controller is the biggest draw for Live 9 with two caveats.

    1. This won’t automap to your favorite Vsti so expect it to take at least an hour to get something like Diva all knobbed up with some limitations to what you change while crafting away from the mouse and keyboard (changes usually make big impacts to sound like modulation destination). On top of that, if you did custom map it you would have to go all the way to the preferences to get back to auto sync and vice versa. This is the the reason I sometimes forgo using my APC40 and I see it being the reason I may skip out on this.

    2. It’s hard to tell from the video but the pads don’t look all that great and if they’re anything like the APC40 it may not be the funnest thing to play. I hope they are MPC quality.

  8. Check the playstation controls- play, stop, d-pad.

    I have an APC20 and it’s so unbelievably useful, and integral i’d never replace it… Except with this beauty! WOW!

    1. I was sworn against APC’s for the longest time – I just despise infinite rotary encoders to begin with. However I JUST picked a 20 up for performances because my Launchpad had too many other functions in use, I needed to sacrifice TouchAble to use Midi Touch, and I was SO sick of the track faders on the old ReMOTE Zero (I personally find automap useless for anything other than track faders). The thing is indeed a very well-made, cheap and compact lil’ SOB. But booooo, I’m probably gonna return it and get this. I just can’t afford to be finding workarounds for “screenlessly” identifying clips (like gapping clip slots to make an identifiable pattern) during a performance that’s supposed to last 45 min or more. But I hear ya, man it’s up there with the nanoKontrol and UC33e (previous price at least) as a frigging steal.

  9. I am loving the matte black finish and button layout. Does it have the similar colour changing lights in the pads that the new maschines have?

  10. Looks great. Was planning on finally getting an APC40 for Christmas, but now i’d rather wait.
    I love that it has a dedicated step sequencer mode and velocity sensitive buttons.

  11. have monome 256 an apc 40 didnt get rid of one to make room for this guy, i agree with post above trying to turn the apc40 into a step sequencer for live

  12. Holy Cow! It looks enormous! These days, I think of digital music as being small, compact, high-featured, and very portable. A laptop, and maybe a wee keyboard. But I can’t see taking that huge thing up to the coffee shop!

  13. Bit cheap of them not to include the full version of Ableton with it mind, if I was buying that I’d expect a free copy of Live 9, not the crippled intro version

    1. Would you like some Suite with that, princess?

      Just messing around. But seriously man, I get that the controller is $200 more than the software (regular, at least), but still, think about it. If you set out to buy tall software for the first time and all you had to do is throw in an extra 200 bucks and get THAT thing, too (yes, it’s overpriced for how little I would use most of the features, but it DOES have substantial amount of functions), then everyone would get one just for that reason and they would lose out on the MILLIONS of separate purchases that would occur otherwise.

      Also consider that the only people who would go out and, having no previous experience with Live, but 9 or Suite 9 AND Push are a spoiled kid’s parents and your local aspiring rap artist. That leaves the rest of us (who haven’t pirated or have decided to stop) owners of the program who will get a, now even more generous (well, more fair), upgrade discount. So I both support their business strategy and think that, other than the price tag on Push, they have are being pretty damn reasonable.

  14. The contoller looks like it fell out of apple’s azz. Throw four sets of MPC esque pads on a tenori-on slate. Next!

    1. Ha, I may have phrased it differently but I can’t say I disagree with you at all 🙂 First thing I thought when I saw it other than, I want those colored pads, I want them on a Launchpad, and I wanna pay under $200 for it was, crap, that thing looks like a bunch of burnt army legos.

  15. When Akai came up with the APC40 Novation released the Launchpad a more clever more compact controller, now Akai takes the best of what’s out there to make this controller, we just need to wait to see what Novation’s got for us in it’s counterstrike. So far it’s controllers on NAMM didn’t amazed me.

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