Is Push right for me?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
ObiKaNobi
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Is Push right for me?

Post by ObiKaNobi » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:18 pm

I've been messing around in Ableton Live for a little over a year now. I've come a long way, learned a lot and can now confidently say I know the program very well. While I've never quite finished anything I've started, I feel capable of making good sounding...well, sounds. Arranging and what not is another story, it always gets me frustrated and I end up quitting before finishing.

Lately I've been looking in to new toys or controllers I could invest in. Midi Controllers, Synths, etc. I was looking at Maschine and Push, both seem like they'd be worthy additions to my home studio. I've ultimately decided I like Push far more and would have way more uses for it.

Let me explain a little about my work flow and how I do things in live. Perhaps you can help me decide if this would be worth it for me.

See, I work a lot in midi. However, I also love audio. In fact, I try to take anything I can that I use in midi, and convert it into audio. Vice versa, too. I like midi for it's simplicity and ease of use, however I like audio because it's easier to edit, to see visually and most of all it's just the better way of doing things I feel.

When I'm making a track, despite being told by many to work mainly in arrangement view, I often work in both views equally. Generally I start in Session view, making various clips and what not, variations, etc, then I arrange them, or stack them in Arrangement view. For the most part, I'm in session view and triggering clips and what not to get a feel for how I want the track to go, then I'll arrange it how I see fit.

Now, as for why I want Push. I feel it would help me arrange faster, as well as get out ideas quicker. Also, I know a lot of people use Push live for gigs and what not. Me personally, I've never gigged in my life, however I could see Push being an excellent piece of hardware to have, if I ever decide to play a small party or something like that. I'd be playing with Live, playing various clips and what not, triggering them on or off, a long with needing a way to adjust parameters and effects on the fly. Push can clearly do this no problem.

So, is it worth it? Do you like it? How have you improved since getting Push?

TomViolenz
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:54 pm

ObiKaNobi wrote:I've been messing around in Ableton Live for a little over a year now. I've come a long way, learned a lot and can now confidently say I know the program very well. While I've never quite finished anything I've started, I feel capable of making good sounding...well, sounds. Arranging and what not is another story, it always gets me frustrated and I end up quitting before finishing.

Lately I've been looking in to new toys or controllers I could invest in. Midi Controllers, Synths, etc. I was looking at Maschine and Push, both seem like they'd be worthy additions to my home studio. I've ultimately decided I like Push far more and would have way more uses for it.

Let me explain a little about my work flow and how I do things in live. Perhaps you can help me decide if this would be worth it for me.

See, I work a lot in midi. However, I also love audio. In fact, I try to take anything I can that I use in midi, and convert it into audio. Vice versa, too. I like midi for it's simplicity and ease of use, however I like audio because it's easier to edit, to see visually and most of all it's just the better way of doing things I feel.

When I'm making a track, despite being told by many to work mainly in arrangement view, I often work in both views equally. Generally I start in Session view, making various clips and what not, variations, etc, then I arrange them, or stack them in Arrangement view. For the most part, I'm in session view and triggering clips and what not to get a feel for how I want the track to go, then I'll arrange it how I see fit.

Now, as for why I want Push. I feel it would help me arrange faster, as well as get out ideas quicker. Also, I know a lot of people use Push live for gigs and what not. Me personally, I've never gigged in my life, however I could see Push being an excellent piece of hardware to have, if I ever decide to play a small party or something like that. I'd be playing with Live, playing various clips and what not, triggering them on or off, a long with needing a way to adjust parameters and effects on the fly. Push can clearly do this no problem.

So, is it worth it? Do you like it? How have you improved since getting Push?
There are already quite a few threads, that asked the same question. In fact there was one just last week. So look for them, you might find them useful.

My opinion is: What are you waiting for?! :mrgreen:

No really, I think you are pretty much the target market for that thing. At least for the Midi side of the equation.
On the audio side it's a little less clear. You can play with clips very well, and if you get the PXT script from Nanokontrol, you can also chop the clips up nicely.
But editing audio itself is not its strong suite. If this is one of your main priorites, you should probably look at Maschine too. Because it kicks ass in this regard. But you would then work mostly in the Maschine software (as a vst or stand alone). You have to decide if you want that extra layer of complexity.

jestermgee
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by jestermgee » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:02 pm

Tom does have a point in there being a LOT of threads about Push and "Is it right for me". We cannot say.

By the sounds of it you love the concept of Live and it's workflow but if you cannot get your head to actually finish a track or work through the roadblocks then you probably haven't figured out your process yet.

Push "may" help with that but could also run the very real danger of creating a distraction where you just play and get nothing done.

At the end of the day if you use Live just to have fun and Push looks like a way that can assist in that department then makes sense to just have some fun with it all. If you are dedicated to actually finish what you start and want to progress then maybe at this point putting more on your plate to wrap your head around may not be such a good idea.

Buleriachk
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by Buleriachk » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:40 pm

For me, the interfaces (Maschine Studio, Push) are tools that help me learn the mechanics of the programs in the fastest and easiest way possible, since the maximize they efficiency in creating and organizing your immediate experience. And Push is a lot of fun to play, better than the alternatives (which are still very useable, just not as much fun).

Especially because Push was designed by Ableton as its flagship interface. There are tradeoffs (portability (Launchpad S + Launch Control) vs. touch sensitivity - I dunno, I try as many as I can since for me time is precious.... but I have also wasted lots of time trying to figure out "gotcha's" in advance (they ALL have them....)

That means you pay a price to be on the bleeding edge, especially when everyone else is trying to, and selling the same equipment you are on EBay to try to finance it.... :)

ObiKaNobi
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by ObiKaNobi » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:09 am

jestermgee wrote:Tom does have a point in there being a LOT of threads about Push and "Is it right for me". We cannot say.

By the sounds of it you love the concept of Live and it's workflow but if you cannot get your head to actually finish a track or work through the roadblocks then you probably haven't figured out your process yet.

Push "may" help with that but could also run the very real danger of creating a distraction where you just play and get nothing done.

At the end of the day if you use Live just to have fun and Push looks like a way that can assist in that department then makes sense to just have some fun with it all. If you are dedicated to actually finish what you start and want to progress then maybe at this point putting more on your plate to wrap your head around may not be such a good idea.
What do you suggest I do then?

I have a simple PC laptop set up. An Akai MPK mini midi controller, and that's it. I'm running Suite, with some plug ins and such but it's a basic set up. I'm perfectly able to make good sounding sounds on my own with just the program, but arranging and piecing parts and clips together is where I really fail. I have a lot of trouble going from a simple kick and bass to much else, mainly because piecing together a weird drum sequence or bass pattern is a little frustrating for me, considering the editing and effects editing I have to do on the fly. Won't Push help with this?

Also, it is not a ton of fun? If anything, it's a new toy to play with and can't hurt to have, can it? I think if anything, at the very least it'll help me become more focused on the program and not get so discouraged easily. I have bad adhd it seems, I tend to get frustrated when I can't quite get where I want to be. Perhaps Push will help me get there quicker.

jestermgee
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by jestermgee » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:05 am

Hey, it's not me who needs to convince you what you would like and need.

You are saying that you ONLY have an MPK and live to create music with. Let me take you down memory lane to a simpler time. My introduction to computer based music saw me create (complete) over 200 tracks with headphones and the computer keyboard alone. No VST plugins, just WAV samples and a keyboard and tracker software. Point is that it matters not WHAT you have. Indigenous Australians can create rather complex music that tells stories with nothing more than their voice and sticks.

Push can make the process more fun but by the sounds of it you will add it to a process that is not refined or even figured out yet so I doubt it will help to make it "better". You will certainly enjoy using Push but if you think it will just magically create hits for you then I am sure that you will start to feel disappointed after the first month when the novelty wears off.

If I HAD to suggest something I would say that if you have used Ableton for a year and are struggling to finish a track while having fun look into what is holding you back at that point. If you believe it is because you cannot express things right and Push may look like it will help, sink $500 into that. Just don't expect it to work miracles.

What is your actual drive to sit and make music? Seems it is a question many just don't ask themselves. Do you want to just pass some time, impress others, take thoughts from your mind and tell it through sounds, make money? That would be where I would focus. If you get frustrated getting things done then put down the brush and do something else for a while. Set goals (like "I WILL sit down and pick an unfinished track and do NOTHING else until I complete it"). Doesn't have to be a hit, just set some rules for yourself. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of tracks I have "finished" I wouldn't even wish half of them on the ears of my enemies but they helped in progressing skills and even after almost 2 decades I am no expert and still learning techniques every day. Shit, half the guys on here that I see have way more complexities in their sets and proper musical talent. Doesn't bother me because I am happy in what I do.

re:dream
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by re:dream » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:55 am

Push and AKAI complement one another well. Seriously consider SelectedTrackControl (Google it, and search for the STC thread on this forum) and use it to assign the MPK sliders and knobs to give you additional control over Live devices.

Push will be particularly attractive if (like me) you are not a particularly accomplished pianist. But even if you can play keys it offers very easy and fluid control over the music. And I think it probably gives you more expressive control than the MPK's rather springy keys.

artpunk
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by artpunk » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:47 am

YES

“... it was just to make an average listener go: ‘What the fuck is this?’ That’s a real inspiration for me and something that I will explore more on upcoming recordings.”
- Wally De Backer (Gotye) quoting Ween's intention behind making records

dna598
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by dna598 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:20 pm

Live opened up for me when i got my padkontrol and i still prefer it to my APC40 for doing scene launch stuff because it's velocity sensitive and therefore feels much better. Your mpk is velocity sensitive i believe.
I'm sure you can get more creative with what you have. But don't let me stop you!

Here is one thing i do:

In my default template I have as many session view scenes as possible assigned to the pads and pad banks on my padkontrol. I know that pad1 triggers scene 1 on live and so forth.

When i am working I may duplicate several drum scenes (by copying rows,not scenes-messes with mapping), change the start points on each clip/scene, and delete stop buttons on everything but the drums. I then go about jamming and recording drum edits all over whatever else is playing without disturbing them by bashing the corresponding pads. As they are mapped in the template, they are always ready to go.

I am using drums as an example but same goes for ANYTHING else.

The point is you can really bash out the edits on your pads, come up with ideas ,and arrange in a spontaneous manner.

disclaimer: I have been (thoroughly bored) arranging in linear sequencers for years so i am excited about these real time ways of arranging, but in the end, YOU have to do the arranging and no new toy is gonna do it for you.

having said that, if i had the dough.....
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

ObiKaNobi
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by ObiKaNobi » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:29 pm

jestermgee wrote:What is your actual drive to sit and make music? Seems it is a question many just don't ask themselves. Do you want to just pass some time, impress others, take thoughts from your mind and tell it through sounds, make money? That would be where I would focus. If you get frustrated getting things done then put down the brush and do something else for a while. Set goals (like "I WILL sit down and pick an unfinished track and do NOTHING else until I complete it"). Doesn't have to be a hit, just set some rules for yourself. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of tracks I have "finished" I wouldn't even wish half of them on the ears of my enemies but they helped in progressing skills and even after almost 2 decades I am no expert and still learning techniques every day. Shit, half the guys on here that I see have way more complexities in their sets and proper musical talent. Doesn't bother me because I am happy in what I do.
What drives me to want to make music? The feeling I get when I listen to a good song. When a song gets me dancing, gets me bopping my head hard, I want to replicate that feeling I feel and give it to others. I want to make music people listen to and find themselves feeling amazing inside, dancing outside. I want to be someone people can inspire to be and look up to. I just love music so much, I can't express it in words.

It's not about money for me, though making a humble living from my music would be amazing. It's about the feeling, the sounds, the music itself. A big hurdle I've always faced is 'getting out there' so to speak. I've played instruments since I was 16, started on bass then moved to guitar. Still play guitar, but I never went past just playing in my bed room, though I've taught myself a lot about music theory and have learned a good bit, I would comfortably say I'm a decent guitarist, rusty but decent.

My love has gone to electronic music though, and I would love to produce my own ambient, lo-fi, tycho-ish type chillwave music, incorporating all types of sounds and instruments into my playing. I find it very difficult to sit down and complete a track though.

I have dozens of project files, mostly just unfinished songs. Most of them are just the skeleton of a song, kicks, basses, maybe a few synths, but that's about as far as I ever really get. I find myself getting frustrated at times, or distracted when I can't quite come up with what I want. often I'll be trying to make something, only to not have any ideas in my head or direction to go.

I agree and know that a big part of the problem is I need to invest more time into practicing my arranging and staying focused long enough to bang out more ideas and actually finish some tracks.

A lot of times I'll start something, get stuck and go on youtube for tutorials on how to make that sound. Then I try and replicate it only to fail, and then I stop what I'm doing. Gotta learn to not quit when I fail.

This is where I feel Push would come into the picture. I see it's "note mode" as a great way to come up with new chords, melodies, etc on the fly. Also, I LOVE how you can choose different scales to play in, including the 5 other modes besides Major and Minor.

re:dream
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by re:dream » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:42 pm

I must say I don't think Push is going to make the specific difference you seem to want or need.

As far as I can see the breakthrough you need is more in terms of your creative process and your workflow. That requires a different way of working, rather than a piece of equipment that is going to make it easier.

There's some good advice around on the internet (check ill.gates's stuff, and also Tarekith's site) for advice on creative process, and on developing an actual track out of good ideas.

Good luck!

TomViolenz
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:53 pm

ObiKaNobi wrote: A lot of times I'll start something, get stuck and go on youtube for tutorials on how to make that sound. Then I try and replicate it only to fail, and then I stop what I'm doing. Gotta learn to not quit when I fail.
I don't think this is a good aproach, though it is popular.
Think about what you could possibly achive with this. The best you could get is to make a sound someone else already made. So it will never be yours.
But in the worst case, you end up frustrated, because you don't seem to measure up to that guy. There is no winning.
My guess about why you don't finish things would be, that you don't know where to go yet. But since there is no specific place to go, because music is a wide open field, you can get lost, so you look where other people went. But they finished because they had the way already inside of them defined.

What you need is to find your own sound, your own way. When you know who you are as an artist, the pieces will finish themselves with you hardly noticing it. But tutorials can and will not teach you this.
Make your own sounds, let them grow out of your being, discover who it is inside of you, who wants to make art.

IMO sound design is not about learning how to make one specific sound, but about learning about the nature of sound, especially about the nature of YOUR sound. Everything else follows.

BTW: Push is a great sound design tool if you tweak it a little. It can be the best there is, if you tweak it a lot!
This is where I feel Push would come into the picture. I see it's "note mode" as a great way to come up with new chords, melodies, etc on the fly. Also, I LOVE how you can choose different scales to play in, including the 5 other modes besides Major and Minor.
Yes, Push gives you a push ;-) in your creativity. I garantie it!
Also don't forget the step sequencer, with the parallel finger drumming!
The drum/percussion loops you will make, have never been so varied. It's all in the workflow of that thing. It enables!

TomViolenz
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:00 pm

The Finn wrote: There's some good advice around on the internet (check ill.gates's stuff, and also Tarekith's site) for advice on creative process, and on developing an actual track out of good ideas.
There are obviously people who think differently :mrgreen:

IMO you can not "learn" the creative process and I liken people promising so to all the self help videos and tele-evangelists. The Ill Gates guy is especially good at this ;-)

Buleriachk
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by Buleriachk » Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:51 pm

For me, the biggest motivator for completing a track is when I am getting paid for it.
So far, I haven't completed a single track.....
(getting paid is where one touches base with reality....)

(kind of like going to a university where there are no midterms.....)
(and no jobs when you graduate, come to think of it..... Like Flamenco guitar, come to think of it....... :)
Last edited by Buleriachk on Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

login
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Re: Is Push right for me?

Post by login » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:16 pm

I think you should try it, it really can boost productivity.

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