Drumroll please... We’re excited to present the newest member of our training studios: Ableton Push 3.
With numerous innovative features and enhancements over its predecessor, Push 3 is poised to transform the way we make music.
Before we dive into the details, if you’d like to get hands-on with Push 3 or ask us questions, come to our free Push 3 Premiere Event on July 1st. Can’t attend in person at our Sydney training studios? We’ve got you covered! We’ll be live-streaming the event online. RSVP now to secure your place.
Ableton Push 3: First Impressions
To give you an idea of what it’s like playing with Push 3 for the first time, Liveschool trainers Moss and Setwun turned on the cameras to share their first discoveries:
Push 3 vs Push 2 / Push 1
It’s the 10th birthday of Push 1 this year. And true to Ableton’s consistent track record in hardware and software creation, Push 3 leaps beyond its predecessors without making earlier versions redundant. If you own a Push 1 or Push 2 you already know these are incredibly solid devices, built to last and are still being maintained with firmware updates and ongoing compatibility with the latest versions of Ableton Live. The Push 3 builds on this ethos with upgradeability central to the design planning – more on that in a moment.
Push 3 delivers on Ableton’s original intention with Push – to make an instrument, not just a controller. And they’ve delivered on this with a combination of several stand-out features plus many smaller optimisations
- The tactile surface of the instrument is now more responsive than ever, with each pad responding to vertical, horizontal and pressure movements. In technical terms this is MIDI polyphonic expression (MPE), but more simply your touch can animate individual notes in so many ways it allows you to express yourself more fully and precisely, even when playing multiple notes at the same time.
- For sampling, recording and performing you no longer require an additional audio interface. Push 3 has this inbuilt with 2 audio inputs (with variable gain), 4 audio outputs (including the 2 reassignable cue outs), plus ADAT in/out ports allowing for an expansion up to a total of 10 inputs and 12 outputs.
- If you use hardware of any kind – drum machines, synthesisers, sequencers or MIDI controllers – your Push 3 can act as your MIDI hub, connecting all your gear and tempo syncing any external clocks. This can be done via the extra USB port, or via the minijack MIDI port. And the two footswitch jacks are DC-coupled for controlling any CV-gate devices (and are TRS so can be split to create 4 CV outs).
- Many, many small optimisations we’ve come to appreciate the more we’ve used it:
- Session View clips on the display allows you to continue playing the pads while launching and navigating scenes. There’s still the dedicated session pad mode, but combining these workflows has been a game-changer. A small but nice modification is the buttons for Session / Note modes now have icon labels instead of text labels.
- A dedicated Capture button, so you can easily “capture” ideas as you play, ensuring you don’t lose any moments of inspiration, even if you forgot to hit record beforehand.
- The large jog wheel for navigating, launching, loading sets and projects (yep, that’s new too) makes detailed editing a dream.
Push 3 Stand-alone vs Controller models
What will be perhaps the most talked-about feature is that there are in fact two Push 3’s to choose from. Available in both “controller” and “standalone” configurations, the standalone variant is capable of running Live without a computer or charger:
- Inside the stand-alone Push 3 is a computer running Linux and Ableton OS and a Push-version of Ableton Live software. There is also a battery with 2 hours of charger-free use, and a hard drive with 256GB of SSD storage for soundpacks, samples, recordings and project files.
- The “controller” version is exactly the same but without the extra internals. To run, it requires a laptop with Ableton Live and the power charger. But this is also where things get interesting. At any time you if you decide to upgrade your Push 3 “controller” to a fully stand-alone version their upgrade kit instals the hard drive, operating system and battery. A welcome and ethical approach to equipment manufacturing in an era of planned-obsolescence.
Liveschool Courses: Produce Music, Release Music, Perform Live.
Eager to master Push 3? Liveschool offers a variety of courses taught by expert trainers like Moss and Setwun. Our courses cover everything from the basics to advanced techniques in music production with Ableton Live. Explore our courses here.
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