I've had my Push for a few days now and have spent some quality time getting to know it a little better. Here are my first impressions.
- It's darned good looking (but then, there's no accounting for taste...
- It's bigger than I thought it would be. I was expecting something a little bigger than the LaunchPad, but it's quite a bit bigger than that.
- It's HEAVY. Maybe dense is a better word. It stays put on my desk. I hope I never drop it on my foot.
- Build quality and "fit and finish" are excellent. This is probably the most solid feeling piece of equipment I've ever owned. It's a nice switch from the plastic-y stuff many manufacturers are putting out these days.
- There is absolutely no wobble in the encoders. Very smooth, very nice.
- The encoder knobs are just a little too close together for my fat fingers. Trying to quickly change a setting from zero to full, I often end up bumping an adjacent knob. That said, I wouldn't want to make the unit any bigger or have fewer knobs. I can adjust.
- I like the light-up legends on the buttons, but some of them are kind of hard to see in bright light even with the unit powered by the wall-wart power supply. I don't expect that to be a problem once I learn my way around. It's nice that disabled buttons are totally blank when not lit up.
- As others have pointed out, the color variations on the pads when they're supposed to be white are a bit disappointing. It certainly doesn't affect the performance of the unit, but it mars the aesthetics and bothers me more than it should. I hope Ableton is able to come up with a way to tune the white color of the individual pads with a software update.
- Playing sustained notes on the pads in note mode is a little harder than I expected. Despite adjusting the sensitivity and the response curve, I seem to have to keep some pressure on a pad to keep the note sounding, but too much pressure activates the aftertouch. Since there's no movement to the pads, it's hard to find the pressure that will keep the note on, but not start sending aftertouch. It's more fatiguing than playing my usual keyboard. I suppose that's just something I'll have to get used to.
- I wish there was a dedicated "Save" button. (Yes, I know that the first time I save something I have to type a name on my computer keyboard anyway, but that happens once, compared to the dozens or hundreds of times I save a work-in-progress.) Second best would be a shift-key combination to trigger a save. Another hope for a future software update.
- "Shredding" in one of the scale modes is just incredibly fun. I don't really like listening to that kind of stuff, but man, it sure is fun to play.
- Although Ableton touts the fact that you don't have to look at your computer while using Push, I'm finding it quite helpful to watch what's going on in Live as I'm pushing buttons.
Bottom line: I REALLY like this thing, and I think it will only get better as Ableton issues updates.