Push for 'traditional' musicians?

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hobbycore
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Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by hobbycore » Fri May 30, 2014 3:49 pm

So I've been looking for a way to improve my workflow in Live and I've been researching Push, but I would like some opinions from people who maybe in the same place as me musically.

I don't make electronic music and I don't use softsynths or samples. I record everything myself. (and no I don't think that makes me better than anyone else).

Does push offer much for this type of recording-oriented workflow? I spend a lot of time in arrangement view and do a good bit of multitrack recording.

BobSubgenius
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by BobSubgenius » Fri May 30, 2014 6:32 pm

I was also looking into Push and though it is a very tempting device decided not to buy one. In my opinion it is mostly made for loop-based music using a lot of midi instruments or ready made samples. I do a lot of recording and sound-design myself and think that I'm just quicker using mouse, keyboard and my regular controllers.
It looks like a small and very practical device for producing on the road but that's not worth the money for me.
If you just want to control your live set for recording I would rather get a Behringer BCR2000 for example. It maps automatically to the volumes and sends in your first 8 tracks and the top 8 controllers can be used for racks in Ableton, much like the APC40 does.
You can map it to whatever you want of course. The BCR is about 150 eur.

lachrimae
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by lachrimae » Sat May 31, 2014 4:44 am

The BCR suggestion is a good one for what you do, but:

I have an extensive background as a guitarist and record a lot of guitar based music so I guess that makes me a traditional musician but here's why I LOVE my Push:
1) I picked it up used from a poor college kid for $350 (amazing bargain) :D

2) The Push IS an instrument. I didn't realize that until I used it and I've been blown away by the capabilities of performing music on the thing ever since. In particular I like the chromatic layout with intervals of a 4th between rows because it's the same as the guitar and all of the modal patterns I learned over the years are the same. But... I'm not ashamed of using the scale mode if I want to quickly jam something out (i.e. backing track for guitar practice). In fact, the scalar layout has added some new chord voicings to my stable and helped me to break out of some habits I've developed over time.

3) Although I don't find the melodic step sequencer to be very useful when compared to using the midi editor or a VST sequencer, the drum sequencer is actually very useful for laying down a quick beat or just finding a new idea. I don't have a background in playing drums and don't have time to learn to play them, but I am able to "play" drums via Push and get exactly what I was hearing in my head.

4) It doubles as a Mackie MCU emulator (I use PXT General btw). You can control a lot of items using an MCU, BCR2000 or the Push but I normally prefer kbd/mouse. Here's what I control with the Push: Record, Play, Tap Tempo, Metronome on/off, Program change (preset browsing), Quantize, automation parameters and maybe a few other things. It's not much, and easily replaced with kbd/mouse but I like it.

What I really like is that it's an all in one package since I have limited space at my desk.

I guess the point I really want to get across in response to your "I record everything myself" statement (which I don't take any offense to) is:
You don't just press a button and the Push lays down a loop for you. It's a full-on performance instrument with touch sensitivity and more sounds than you could ever imagine (VSTi purchases required of course). Traditionalists are missing out on a very cool instrument IMO.

Good luck!

hobbycore
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by hobbycore » Sat May 31, 2014 1:00 pm

I really appreciate the response lacrimae. I will look into it as an instrument in its own right.

Mainly I am looking for something that will/could enhance my current workflow. It does seem like push could do that along with being a supplemental instrument in its own regard.

I'd still love to hear more from people who don't have a loop/sample based workflow.

BobSubgenius
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by BobSubgenius » Sat May 31, 2014 2:47 pm

hobbycore wrote: I don't make electronic music and I don't use softsynths or samples. I record everything myself. (and no I don't think that makes me better than anyone else).
I think Push is really focussed on use with midi instruments or at least external synth. If you really just want to track "real" instruments Push would definitely be one of the more pricey options.
I played with Push at a friends studio and it is definitely fun to use and very well made. So if you can afford it, it is a nice device for sure :)
But if you don't make electronic music and don't use synth at all there is just a bunch of features in Push that you won't use.
You can get the same functionality (for what I assume to be your workflow) way cheaper from other controllers.

yur2die4
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by yur2die4 » Sat May 31, 2014 3:45 pm

Ableton Live is the tool you need. Not necessarily a Push. You can probably take advantage of Clip Automation to create unique fx chain triggering on the spot. Another possibility is iphone/iPad tools. They are pretty much the future of contorting and interacting with sound on the go (no power outlet required, full computing, motion sensing, fx routing, flexible on screen display)

And I'd maybe look into a softstep :) since most instrumentalists have their feet available.

caras
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by caras » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:41 am

I am looking for exercises for practicing playing with 4 fingers (with integration of Pitch and other options like scale change 8ve changes, etc.) and get speed. There is some material about on the net? Something like a mix between keyboard and Guitar licks adapted to the Push.


Thanks

Analog4Science
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by Analog4Science » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:57 pm

BobSubgenius wrote:I was also looking into Push and though it is a very tempting device decided not to buy one. In my opinion it is mostly made for loop-based music using a lot of midi instruments or ready made samples. I do a lot of recording and sound-design myself and think that I'm just quicker using mouse, keyboard and my regular controllers.
It looks like a small and very practical device for producing on the road but that's not worth the money for me.
If you just want to control your live set for recording I would rather get a Behringer BCR2000 for example. It maps automatically to the volumes and sends in your first 8 tracks and the top 8 controllers can be used for racks in Ableton, much like the APC40 does.
You can map it to whatever you want of course. The BCR is about 150 eur.
Thats funny because i do not use samples and play a keyboard to make music. i use outboard analog synths mostly but some VSTi's. I use push as a sequencer for patterns and as a controller for Live. It is awesome in that role and i wouldn't want to use Live without it.

BobSubgenius
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by BobSubgenius » Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:19 pm

Analog4Science wrote: Thats funny because i do not use samples and play a keyboard to make music. i use outboard analog synths mostly but some VSTi's. I use push as a sequencer for patterns and as a controller for Live. It is awesome in that role and i wouldn't want to use Live without it.
I'm using a Launchpad for that but I don't do a lot of sequencing. More sound-design, field-recordings, then editing sounds into arrangements.
Push is a great device for sure but for me it is just to much money regarding the fact that I wouldn't use most of its functions. I was playing with a Push at someones studio for quite some time.

The original poster of this thread is using Live only as a recording software without any MIDI instruments at al. So for him it really wouldn't make any sense I think.

gsbe
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by gsbe » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:17 am

hobbycore wrote:So I've been looking for a way to improve my workflow in Live and I've been researching Push, but I would like some opinions from people who maybe in the same place as me musically.

I don't make electronic music and I don't use softsynths or samples. I record everything myself. (and no I don't think that makes me better than anyone else).

Does push offer much for this type of recording-oriented workflow? I spend a lot of time in arrangement view and do a good bit of multitrack recording.
I can understand your dilemma. I'm in a similar situation but have a Push. I've found it to open some doors for me creatively that I didn't expect. lachrimae covered a few of these cool new doors like the chance to learn a new instrument utilizing skills that you probably have as a traditional musician as well as the drum programming options.

If the choice was between Push and an iPad Air, I'd definitely go with the iPad. As a traditional musician, the practicality of having awesome sounds from inexpensive apps on the iPad would outweigh the creative benefits you could possibly get from the Push. Using Ableton with an iPad and external MIDI controller is a breeze and opens up so many sonic possibilities from the amazing audio apps on the iPad.

From one traditional musician to another...
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TomViolenz
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by TomViolenz » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:00 am

BobSubgenius wrote: I'm using a Launchpad for that but I don't do a lot of sequencing. More sound-design, field-recordings, then editing sounds into arrangements.
I do lots of sound design, and I think that it is one of Pushs strong suits and it's one part of the reason I bought it (step sequencing with parameter lock was the other, but even that can really be part of sound-design again)!

(If you have our community mapping and Strays PDE script installed, that is)

I work mostly in Sampler or Operator
Think about it: All the controlls accessible in a logical layout, with their labels visible right below the knobs and the levels of the parameters too, often in the relevant units (Say: Filter type: LP, LP4x, BP, etc...., instead of 0-127). Jumping between the banks, say from LFO1 to Pitch Envelope is right there under the screen one button press away and clearly labeled too. If I use FX, then jumping to them is just one button press away as well. So are the Sends. I can even load new effects and racks directly from the device. If the control is not finegrained enough, just press Shift before turning the encoder and you get really precise control of the parameter (with PDE). Your sound should have more movement than even the 3 LFOs and the AUX can provide?! Just below is the grid, to enter a note and let it loop, so that you can now do the rest of your sound design with automation, either on a step by step basis, or press record and do smooth sweeps.
When I'm trough, I just change to my resampling track (also only a button press away!) and hit record.

I honestly have a hard time comming up with a workflow that would be even more powerful and hands on for sound design than this! (I think something like Virtual Reality goggles and Data Gloves, could be the next step up :mrgreen: )

And the encoders on Push, and I think this does not get mentioned enough, are the best that I have ever had on a Midi controller!

caras
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by caras » Thu Aug 07, 2014 9:36 am

caras wrote:I am looking for exercises for practicing playing with 4 fingers (with integration of Pitch and other options like scale change 8ve changes, etc.) and get speed. There is some material about on the net? Something like a mix between keyboard and Guitar licks adapted to the Push.


Thanks
No musicians here (instrument players)? Only controller artist? and sound designers? I am searchig but 98% what I found are only "punch up punch up" with Kids melodies and frequencies juggling. Nobody use it as a "real" Instrument like a guitar or keyboard?

Searching for more things like this:

http://youtu.be/6XF41rVzKbs

gsbe
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by gsbe » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:55 pm

I remember seeing a video of someone playing Giant Steps on a Push. It was probably one of the Dennis's that work for Ableton. Pretty cool but i don't know about practical. ;)

I've enjoyed playing keyboard sounds with the Push but you really have to setup the velocity and stuff before hand because the pads' sensitivity still isn't good compared to a keyboard. It releases notes when I'm still holding them and silly things like that. Still can't add MIDI effects directly from the Push as far as I can tell so it helps to save some keyboards with a midi velocity plug in front of it as presets in your user library to have ready for the Push.

I can generally play any melodies I can hear in my head on the Push when in a scale. I find some of the more interesting things are to try random pads or find pad patterns that I like and might not otherwise find on a regular keyboard. Obviously melodic sequences are very simple with the Push layout so those are fun to experiment with.

At any rate, using the Push as a melodic or harmonic instrument does provide some new avenues to go down. I think guitarists, as previously mentioned in this thread, will probably find the layout the easiest to work with. I play both guitar and keys so it has been pretty easy to get around on right away.
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panten
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by panten » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:17 pm

Not that this has too much to do with the OP question but check out these videos on Push.

http://youtu.be/oFIFibk1TYw - featuring a musician who plays bass and guitar loving on Push.

http://youtu.be/51vRur2qiio - Push chord progression and musical theory series.

http://youtu.be/8an-dKtqpUs - Another video where the guy is explaining how he uses Push as a live instrument.

As you say Push can definitely be used as a supplemental instrument but if you extend it's capabilities with nativeKontrol's PXT-Live which gives you some of the more fundamental controls over the Arrangement view. It doesn't do everything unfortunately as it's hobbled by Live's own API.
Just a few things it can control: Scrubbing through timeline, inserting and triggering Locators, Loop Braces, Punch In/Out, Loop Switch, Arrangement Record, Overdub, Back to Arrangement, Zooming Horizontal/Vertical... amongst other things...

There is so much depth to Push and it's not just for triggering Loops. It's a shame 90% of youtube 'performances' tend to be just triggering loops of previously recorded clips with little or no dynamism.

That said Push is a fantastic Sketchpad for recording in Real instruments using the Session view to try new things or progressions in a non-linear way. You can sequence juggle and record the whole thing to the Arrangement view. All changes and Automation that you make carries over in a non-destructive way.

We are yet to see the flexibility of a Jon Hopkins Live performance on Push. Maybe we never will but Push needs it's own Jeremy Ellis virtuoso.

gsbe
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Re: Push for 'traditional' musicians?

Post by gsbe » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:43 pm

gsbe wrote:Still can't add MIDI effects directly from the Push as far as I can tell...
Whoops. My bad:
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