After almost a year with Push

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After almost a year with Push, what's your final verdict on the device?

It's everything I hoped it would be. It couldn't make music without it anymore. It's my new go-to instrument.
13
68%
It's cool and fun to use but it has many limitations, I still use normal keys and other controllers to make music.
5
26%
It's impractical/I didn't like it and I hardly use it anymore now that the novelty has faded off.
1
5%
 
Total votes: 19

BoddAH
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After almost a year with Push

Post by BoddAH » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:40 am

So now that Push has been released for almost a year and many of you have (probably) spent a lot of time with it, what is your verdict with a little more perspective and experience using it. Push certainly looked extremely promising and presented as a new and revolutionary musical instrument and as such the early reviews and even a couple weeks are hardly enough to judge its true potential in the hands of somebody dedicated to learning how to master it.

As a keyboard player I have tried it and, not surprisingly to be fair, I wasn't used to the pads and disappointed. I'm not sure if it is all it is touted to be although I am willing to take a leap of faith and give it more time if it actually has potential to be a playable and expressive instrument (in addition to the obvious flexibility and many functions).

Is it really the "perfect" device? The little square shaped board giving total control over every aspect of Live and, more importantly, music: harmony, melody and rhythm, allowing you to quickly create everything you can dream of with hands on control and without having to sift through menus and look at a screen.

Or is just another (extremely cool) but ultimately limited (or frustrating) gadget to make music in a sea of constantly released other new cool gadgets to make music. Should I just give it more time? Should I wait for Push 2? Considering the sheer number of people probably owning Push by now, the buzz it made and the "cool" factor of the device, I'm surprised that there aren't thousands of impressive performance videos on YouTube or a new generation of DJs/performers playing Push live like a real instrument. :roll:

I'm really curious, by now many of you should have spent enough time with Push to consider it the alpha and omega of all music creation devices (if it truly has the potential to be).

Well, is it or should I just stick with regular MIDI keyboards/controllers?

H20nly
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by H20nly » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:48 am

does it have to be someone's "go to instrument" or flawed if it isn't?

your poll seems a little skewed. it's as if Push is not the ultimate weapon of mass production it has no merit.




8) in the spirit of simplicity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRNOwB9DqpA&feature=kp

BoddAH
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by BoddAH » Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:57 am

H20nly wrote:does it have to be someone's "go to instrument" or flawed if it isn't?

your poll seems a little skewed. it's as if Push is not the ultimate weapon of mass production it has no merit.
Maybe I should have clarified my poll. It certainly looks like it would have the potential to replace all other MIDI controllers since it can be used to play melodies and harmony in an intuitive and easy way as well as rhythm with both pad drumming and step sequencing and CC encoders. My question is basically if it really fulfills all those roles perfectly or if it is still lacking in some respects. My main worry is expressiveness when playing compared with a keyboard. :)

blakjesus
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by blakjesus » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:06 am

I agree with H20nly. My ideal choice would have been somewhere between "It's perfect!" and "Its cool but has limitations."

To be completely honest, i love my Push. It gave me a swift kick in the pants while i was having writer's-block, and it has solidified its spot in my studio. I still have a bunch of other stuff I use, but Push sits at the center as my "hands-in-Live" device. There are clear limitations to the device; but in my workflow, it's nothing that is a deal-breaker for me. You could only take my Push from me if you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. :wink:

That said, I am excited to see where Ableton will take things. APC40 -> Push was a huge game-changer imho. Honestly though, I don't think "Push 2" will be seen until at least 2 years from now. And even then, i think they are going to change up the form of their next controller to try to keep Push relevant. (e.g.: I still keep my APC40 around even though Push can replace it in every way)

Tarekith
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by Tarekith » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:07 am

I rarely use Live anymore without it, but at the same time it's not something that is so super awesome cool that I can't stop using it. It's a great way to quickly get ideas down I find, but it's not an all singing and dancing program controller like some people try to make it out to be. Definitely something I want to hang on to, it's just not enough for me personally to get sucked into Live for all my music making right now.

tedlogan
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by tedlogan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:08 am

My main worry is expressiveness when playing compared with a keyboard.
I'm no keyboard player (guitar player), but I find the pads quite expressive. Their sensitivity to velocity is about the same as a piano I'd say (well, the one my mom used to have), and they have the bonus of being capable of aftertouch, which a piano is not. Although you did say keyboard and not piano...

Furthermore, I think your poll needs an option between Push being "everything" and "still go to other controllers". It's not everything one could ever want, but I never use any other controllers at all anymore - keyboards, pad controllers etc.

Finally, I don't know if a skilled keyboard player could easily translate their expressive playing to Push due to the unfamiliar layout of the pads. Just another instrument to learn I suppose.

H20nly
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by H20nly » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:18 am

BoddAH wrote:
H20nly wrote:does it have to be someone's "go to instrument" or flawed if it isn't?

your poll seems a little skewed. it's as if Push is not the ultimate weapon of mass production it has no merit.
Maybe I should have clarified my poll. It certainly looks like it would have the potential to replace all other MIDI controllers since it can be used to play melodies and harmony in an intuitive and easy way as well as rhythm with both pad drumming and step sequencing and CC encoders. My question is basically if it really fulfills all those roles perfectly or if it is still lacking in some respects. My main worry is expressiveness when playing compared with a keyboard. :)
i haven't had it a year... so i'm not answering the poll... but i have found cool uses for it that are "always on" and then there are other things that

A. i don't even know it does yet
B. i know it does but don't care to use it for (yet?)
C. i will probably begin to do with it later
D. i would be asking too much to even expect it to do

but again... i've only had mine since December, so i am hoping to learn a thing or two. one thing i know now, and knew before i bought it... it will never. ever. ever. replace my bass. :wink:

blakjesus
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by blakjesus » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:29 am

tedlogan wrote:I don't know if a skilled keyboard player could easily translate their expressive playing to Push due to the unfamiliar layout of the pads. Just another instrument to learn I suppose.
This may also be the reason I love the note layout so much. I started on guitar and gradually started learning keys along the way. I was never at the point whereIi could play any scale (even just major and minor) at any key without first counting the intervals. (I am somewhat familiar with music theory and what makes scales and chords)

Push is my favorite instrument right now because it combines the functionality of keys with the layout of a pseudo-guitar. All at the same time, giving me hands-on control over Live. 8)

BoddAH
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by BoddAH » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:36 am

blakjesus wrote:
tedlogan wrote:I don't know if a skilled keyboard player could easily translate their expressive playing to Push due to the unfamiliar layout of the pads. Just another instrument to learn I suppose.
This may also be the reason I love the note layout so much. I started on guitar and gradually started learning keys along the way. I was never at the point whereIi could play any scale (even just major and minor) at any key without first counting the intervals. (I am somewhat familiar with music theory and what makes scales and chords)

Push is my favorite instrument right now because it combines the functionality of keys with the layout of a pseudo-guitar. All at the same time, giving me hands-on control over Live. 8)
Well I'm by no means a skilled keyboard player but I DO know how to play some scales and the thing that sucks when you know scales is that you instinctively play the same things all the time. It's actually hard to break free of your muscle memory. In that sens Push looks awesome because you can easily explore new scales and play them by ear just by changing a setting.

Another thing: when I tried Push I found the pads very hard to play expressively. I tried setting the sensitivity but even with high sensitivities I felt like I had to mash the pads to get a 127 value. Does this just take some getting used to? Do the pads have to break in?

Oh and it turns out that there are actually many Push performance videos on YouTube. Watching some right now. Pretty inspiring stuff. :)

H20nly
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by H20nly » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:40 am

Jekblad shared these with me: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 8v2ZSSgEYR

i watched them while i was impatiently waiting for Push to arrive in the mail... they're not performances, but they do touch on many aspects of it including chords and some cool stuff on triads


H20nly
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by H20nly » Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:33 am

I've noticed that the pads are too tight for a lot of variation in velocities. My old drum pads were on an Akai MPD 24 though... so I think what you are coming from before Push will flavor your opinion/level of satisfaction greatly. For me it's still a slight improvement... Just having the extra rubber to manipulate is an upgrade.


tedlogan
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by tedlogan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:09 pm

I've got Pad Threshold set to -10, and Velocity Curve to the default 1 setting. Really soft notes (ghost notes) are very easy to produce, as are soft to medium. I must say, to get really loud notes, velocity 110+, I do have to exert much more pressure.

I just played and recorded a little drumloop, using one of the Bomblastic kits - AcoustifiedKit01. I did not have to try hard to hit velocities as low as 3 up to 128. The average velocity seems to be around 100. I usually sculpt the dynamics further afterwards by turning Accent on and "highlighting" key hits. I like this way of working.

With melodic instruments it's a different story for some reason. I just test-recorded some crap with Instrument Rack - Piano & keys - Acoustic Bell piano. Velocity is around 67% under Filter/Global. Really low velocities are easy to produce, but the average played velocity seems to be quite low, around 60. Here I really gotta slam the pads to get near 128. Same with Zebra with various velocity settings in the VST itself. Of course, you can alter the velocity settings to taste in the instrument to get a louder average, but then very soft notes will be impossible to produce. I guess for some people's musical styles/genres this won't do at all. Fortunately, it is fine for what I do - my synth lines do not have that much dynamics in how they're played, more in how they're built (modulated etc).

Perhaps there is a general overall setting/balance amongst Push's User mode's pad sensitivity, the VST's velocity settings, and the user's playing style/expression.

And finally, meh.

tedlogan
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Re: After almost a year with Push

Post by tedlogan » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:19 pm

Also for the use of Aftertouch, I find the pads lose contact too soon, which often leads to an involutary retriggering of the pad (if I set the sensitivity to something like -12). This in turn cuts off the release phase of the sound..... :(
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Tom, you use Sampler a lot don't you? I've just tested a random pad - Cybernetics Pad. in the MIDI tab, I chose aftertouch to control volume, Amount turned up to 100. It was very easy to achieve a consistently changing aftertouch volume from 5 up to 128.

EDIT - on more tries, I must honestly say, the average lowest velocity i could get from my aftertouch settings in this instance, was around 18 or so.
Last edited by tedlogan on Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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