This article was written by Ski for the Point Blank Blog and published on 29th October 2012
Live users have been anticipating the announcement of version 9 for over 3 years now, causing some intense speculation about what new features might be added. So when it was finally announced last week, you can imagine the frenzy of excited tweeting and status updating that took place. Ableton's biggest surprise however, was the announcement of a brand new hardware controller entitled 'Push'. On reflection it seems like natural move for Ableton to introduce their own controller, especially when you consider other companies such as Native Instruments andAkai who have been doing this for a quite a while now. Both NI's Maschine and Akai's new MPC Renaissance come with their own standalone DAW software, providing some real competition for Ableton. Push however, raises the bar, and by benefiting from it's predecessors, the APC40 and Launchpad, has combined all the best features to create what seems to be a unique new controller. Let's have a look at what it has to offer..
For me, both the APC40 and Launchpad have their shortcomings. Firstly, the Lauchpad's Pads aren't velocity sensitive, which limits the amount of expression when programming drums for example. Also, to get 'Visual Feedback' working, you need to set up an extra channel in Live to send back the midi data. The APC40 is primarily a clip launcher and mixer controller, and even though various customizations exist, you would generally still need to use a keyboard controller when composing with Ableton. Also, due its limited 5 x 8 grid, you have to rely on the cursor keys to view a large number of clips.