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Re: interesting controller/Ableton Push

I finally got my Ableton Push yesterday.  (Only 19 weeks after I placed my order!!  I'd almost forgotten about it.)

I've only had about five minutes (literally) to play around with it so far but my first impressions are very good.  It's beautiful, heavy and feels extremely well made.  The layout is intuitive, everything has a nice, matte texture and it feels good under my fingertips.  The pads are tall, solid and very sensitive.

Setup time is non-existent - just plug in and play, as you'd expect.  It'll take some time to configure my presets to work with Push.  I think (haven't investigated fully) that third party plugin presets need to be saved as rack presets in order to access them through Push's menus.  That'll take some time to configure but it's easily done.

The only thing I'm not crazy about so far is that the touch strip only sends pitch bend information and it always defaults to the middle when you take your finger off.  Hopefully this will be addressed with future updates.

All in all it seems to have delivered what it promised - a way of composing and performing with Live without having to touch your computer.  (This is especially welcome during the current hot weather as my Macbook, even with the fans on full power, is just about hot enough to cook a steak on!)

Should get to spend some more time with it tonight, hopefully.


On 7 March 2013 12:58, Philip Conway <Philip.Conway@bristol.ac.uk> wrote:
I pre-ordered Push yesterday.  It's a sizable lump of money for a controller - especially one that I haven't been able to try out first hand - but I couldn't resist the introductory offer.  It'll be here in just 12-14 weeks!...

I'm quite excited about its potential as an instrument.  One appealing thing is that, if the early reviews are to be believed, it is very well made and feels heavy and solid.  This is no small thing for a musical instrument.   It's much easier to 'lose yourself' and get into 'the zone', as they say, if you're playing something that just feels solid and high quality, rather than flimsy and plasticy.  And, for me, whether or not you can 'lose yourself' in an instrument is ultimately the marker of whether it's any good or not.

In many ways Push makes much more sense than a traditional keyboard for performing and composing electronic music since it allows any scalar mapping of notes and makes that mapping intuitive by providing visual feedback.  In this way it seems to let the player find relationships between notes and sounds that don't rigidly adhere to the c-major scale structure of the piano-style keyboard.

This is how it should be for electronic music, which is not being limited to the physical mechanisms of objects like the piano.  The piano keyboard was an elegant invention but it resulted to some degree from the physical requirements of whacking strings with little hammers.  Electronic music is completely free from such physical connections but, with some expensive exceptions (e.g. the Haken Continuum), instrument or interface design has lagged a long way behind what programmers and sound designers have achieved.

Push looks like a step in the right direction in that respect.  It's not revolutionary in concept but it appears to have been very well done - at least I hope so!


--On 07 March 2013 12:15 +0100 Per Boysen <perboysen@gmail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:36 AM, michael noble <looplog@gmail.com> wrote:

Anyone know anything more about this company or the controller?

Looks cool, like a "piano submarine" :-)  A little thin on information
that page, isn't it? From the video it seems as notes are located in
linear way, similar to a piano?

I must say I'm more intrigued by Ableton's new instrument Push, due to
its non linear location of notes. The chromatic scale layout on Push
is based on rows differing by a fourths and this creates what to me
seems to very playable note locations. In fact, the hand patterns are
the same as if tapping a fourths tuned fretted string instrument.
Another aspect I like with the Push is that some notes appear at
several positions and can be played in unison but with different
attack/_expression_, this too in common with fretted string instruments.

I've been using an Akai EWI4000s for some years and think it is the
most (musically) expressive MIDI controller instruments I've come
across. Since it is based on breath control rather than
hitting-something-with-a-hand velocity it a challenge to program good
synth patches to play. I think Yamaha was great in the 80s with breath
control but since then not much product development seems to have
happend im this area. THat's odd, thinking about how a simple hose to
blow into increases the expressiveness of any simple keyboard.

Greetings from Sweden

Per Boysen