It’s been a thinly veiled secret that Ableton have been working on the next incarnation of Live, version 9, for some time... what may come as a bigger surprise is the announcement of Push - a hardware controller/instrument with an astounding amount of potential.
I was lucky enough to get hands on with Ableton Live 9 and Push in Ableton’s Berlin office last week. My impressions are positive. The Live 9 update will be very welcome, though I know some were expecting interface changes, there are a number of feature improvements which could have a significant impact on how you go about creating in Live.
What’s New in Live 9
Here’s a quick overview of some stand-out improvements (from my perspective, of course) in Ableton Live 9. For more details visit the new Ableton site. Live 9 is not released yet... and will likely become available when Push is released. Stay tuned to Ableton and MPVHub for more details!
- Live’s new browser has been completely redesigned with an emphasis on speedily finding sounds, effects and instruments. I'm impressed by the new search functionality which will help keep me focused on creating rather than searching for content, especially with the instant preview for Ableton packs!
- It’s now possible to record automation into clips in Session view and edit automation with curves.
- Live 9 suite comes bundled with Max for Live! Plus there are 24 new Max for Live devices included.
- New analog modeled Glue Compressor and Compressor, Gate and EQ Eight (with very cool visual displays).
- Quick and easy way to convert audio to MIDI (with rhythmic, chord and melody settings). Very impressive results!
- Improved MIDI note editing tools. There are a fair few to choose from here... I’d like to mention the ability to stretch MIDI notes and transform MIDI notes within the MIDI editor.
Push the Boundaries
So, here is the big news. When I first laid my eyes (and soon after my fingers) on Push, I looked upon this sturdy 64 pressure sensitive pad controller for Ableton Live as a direct competitor to Native Instruments’ Maschine MK II. Within a few minutes of the first demo I began to perceive Push as something entirely different... and dare I say, even more ambitious.
To think of Push as a controller means you're missing half the picture. Yes, it can control Ableton 9’s instruments and effects, and allow you to improvise with your song arrangement without ever needing to look at your computer screen. This in itself is amazing. But, Push is so much more than a controller. At its heart it is an instrument.
Designed to create a “song from scratch”, Push (made in collaboration with Akai) combines the ability to play beats live using a section of its 64 pads, and to step sequence and navigate loops and patterns. When you see it in action you may well drool!
But it’s not just a beat machine! Push is designed to be an instrument (yes, there’s that word again). But it really is. You can play notes, chords, and with a little practice you’ll find the finger patterns you learn for one key can be applied to any other key. The colorful pads can aid you to find notes in the same key amongst many other functions.
The touch sensitive rotary encoders at the top of Push are very cool to work with, and the LCD text display can show you a lot more info than I initially gave it credit for. Basically, you really might never need to look at your computer screen again when browsing and performing instruments and effects!
Some final points of note. Push is bus-powered, can fit in a large back-pack, includes Live 9 Intro and, though not yet available, when it is... will be priced at only... €499 EUR / $599 US!!
I’d highly recommend checking out the Ableton Push promo videos here to learn more. And rest assured, macProVideo.com will be working hard to bring you video courses on both Push and Live 9 in the future...
Learn more about Live 9 here.
Discover Ableton Push here.