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Ableton’s Push Versus Other Sampler Pads

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Ableton’s Push Versus Other Sampler Pads

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:12 pm

Although I’m leaning towards getting Studio One, which I’ll use as my main DAW, I’m already anticipating getting some equipment to help me play around with a deep bank of samples that I’ll be creating.

My understanding is that Ableton Live excels at live sequencing and processing. Firstly, does the software play nice with other DAWs?

Secondly, how helpful is their Push hardware? It seems amazingly powerful in that it gives the user a lot of tactile control. And it is designed to be used in conjunction with Ableton. But it’s very expensive.

Does anyone have experience using either Ableton or Push or the two together? Are there other programs and devices that can accomplish anything similar?
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Re: Ableton’s Push Versus Other Sampler Pads

Postby Mike McLoone » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:43 am

Sunshine82 wrote:My understanding is that Ableton Live excels at live sequencing and processing. Firstly, does the software play nice with other DAWs?

If you mean, works in parallel using ReWire, then sort of. The last time I checked, this was somewhat crippled in that one could only play back samples or recorded audio once Live was in ReWire mode, the VST/AU plugins were disabled. But this was a long time ago, it may very well have changed since that experiment.

I would write at times in Live, then export to WAV/AIFF files and mix in Logic. There was no simple "Export" button to do this, it was a manual process of bouncing and then rebuilding the track in Logic. Taking a few screen-shots of the Live track before going into Logic helped with this.

Sunshine82 wrote:Secondly, how helpful is their Push hardware? ...

Does anyone have experience using either Ableton or Push or the two together? Are there other programs and devices that can accomplish anything similar?

If you are just writing in Live, you don't really need a Push controller. If you are going to play a live set of your music, then Push or another similar controller becomes invaluable. Something with pads to be able to start/stop clips is the main benefit. What the Push lacks is a direct way to control volume of tracks. It's in there, but not on a dedicated control. So for performing on stage, a Push and a controller with say 8 faders (such as the Behringer X-Touch in Mackie emulation mode, no MIDI setup required) is fantastic.

The integration of Push and Live is excellent, but again, not absolutely required in the studio. Alternatives are NI's Maschine, which also provides a similarly deep integration to the controller. Live tries to be more of a DAW in itself, Maschine not so much a DAW.

Many EDM artists these days will just write & mix in Live and export the final track from there. From Maschine, as it can be used as a VST/AU plugin, one could bounce out the parts as audio and then continue building the track in the host DAW. So with Maschine, you would more likely use it in conjunction with Studio One, Logic, Cubase etc, to build a complete track, whereas Live provides just enough functionality to get through to final mixdown without an additional DAW.

The MIDI editing in Live is fantastic and incredibly deep. For loop based music there are some functions which even Logic doesn't have, for example, such as direct keyboard shortcuts to "1/2 speed" or "2x speed" of a midi section, or shifting a looped section one beat forward or backward in time. You can do the same in Logic of course, but using several mouse clicks and menus. In Live it's more spontaneous for certain things, if you are creating loop based music.

If you're on a budget, you could try starting with one of the cheaper Novation controllers, which provide pads for start/stop of clips. Or just start using Live without any controller, see yourself what functions you use most often and would like to have on a hardware controller, then buy a controller which fits that purpose. AFAIK there is no function in Live which you cannot access directly with mouse and keyboard. If you are just starting out, trying to get to grips with Studio One, and Live AND learning how Push works, all at the same time, might be a bit much at once!

Best,
Mike
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