You are an Ableton user and maybe you already use the Push 2? And now you're confused about whether YOU need to upgrade to the new Push 3?
So I thought about it for a while and even designed a small alternative setup to the new Standalone Push 3. More about it in this video!

Ableton Push 3: Don’t believe the hype!

What a gigantic social media hype around the new Push 3 from Ableton! I'm just waiting for 'Marques Brownlee' to play frisbee with it or 'Jerry Rig Everything' to get one to break. Because I'd really like to see what that thing looks like on the inside!

But all joking aside: Because a German product of course also requires a serious German video!

On 23.5.2023, the time finally came.

Early in the morning Björn Torwellen from was the first German YouTuber to drop his Push3-Standalone Review even before Sonic State's Nick Batt and Loopop. His Ableton Push 3 Standalone review is great!A great video and you can really see Björn how excited he is about the product. You guys are doing a great job! Respect!

And I'm happy to be contaminated by this enthusiasm. Sure, because the interest in new music technology is one of my passions. Which I guess is what it takes to spend as much time on YouTube as I do.

But the more I looked at what the new standalone Push 3 can do, the more I came to the conclusion that there are actually very few things that a Push2 can't do, at least as a controller.

And then I wondered, if I really need these new features for my production workflow?

Here in the studio, Ableton 11 is in constant use almost every day. My studio computer is a Mac Mini M1 with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD. When I'm on the road (which for me means on the couch), I have Ableton Live on my MacBook Pro, of course. And there I prefer to operate it with the built-in trackpad! Otherwise, I only have Davinci Resolve installed on my studio machine and keep both the OS and the applications up to date.

Johannes runs Ableton on my old DUAL-Xenon Windows-HP workstation in his homestudio and for on the road he "still" borrows the MacBook Air from his girlfriend. He also invested in a used Push 2 last year.

So all the music you hear on this channel is guaranteed to be produced with Ableton Live, and I would definitely call us "power users" for our output.

What do we actually do with Ableton in our studio?

I hate to say it, but by default, we have the Arrangement window of Ableton Live 11 running on the main screen. The second monitor contains the Session View: I use it as a mixer and to check my recording levels. And I like to use the Push 2 in mixer mode for that. Real controls are better than such an old mouse! Or?

And yes: our claim is to produce finished tracks for our channel and for our Label Live performances at the moment are only available in a brainstorming version, or Johannes simply takes the finished tracks to the club for DJing.

A significant disadvantage of all Push variants: There is no possibility to use the Push with the Arrangement View!

And here we already come to one, for me significant disadvantage of all Push variants: There is simply no way to use the Push for arranging.

Unless you want to chain patterns, like in the early days with C-Lab Creator on Atari or with an Amiga Tracker. But that is totally not my glass of wine!

So for our main use of Ableton, namely multitrack recording and arranging, the Ableton Push 3 is therefore no more help than its predecessors.

On the other hand, when it comes to pre-production, creating patterns and loops, in the Drum Rack - especially - we use the Push 2 with the highest level of enjoyment. I love drum machines, too, and I have to say that for me there is no better drum sampler than Ableton Live with a Push to build precise and perfectly mixed grooves! And in this functionality, the 2 and 3 variants are hardly different either. Or did I miss something important?

The same applies, of course, to the operation of the sampler and simpler instrument. To edit samples, you are much more intuitive and musical on the Push than with the mouse on the screen. The same applies to the other built-in software instruments and the standard audio and MIDI effects. There, the operation with the Push is simply a dream. And here, too, nothing has really changed with the new version. And even an ever-increasing number of external VSTs are immediately operable via the Push. But we'll get to VSTs later.

So far, no reason for me to give away my old Push. But wait!

But the thing that's really awesome about the new Ableton Push 3, and of course makes for a great show effect right away, are the new MPE pads! I suspect that the Abletons actually only use one large pad for this, which is then visually divided into 64 sections. Because being able to drag a sound across multiple pads within polyphony is pretty cool! I would definitely like that too! Wow! Seems like a lot of fun!

But wait! We both use the Push2 as a controller keyboard quite often. Johannes has no space for anything else, and here the Push is always connected to the computer, so you don't have to turn on an extra keyboard for quick sketches. The old pads have a nice feel and haven't caused any problems so far. What I like to do is play with the adjustable scales, which leads to interesting new harmonic entanglements. Also, the Push 2 pads handle polyphonic aftertouch, which quite a few plugins and also various hardware synths understand. If I ever become as famous as Nick "PWM" Batt, you can definitely make polyphonic aftertouch memes of me! And that's why I'm currently more in danger of ordering a UDO Super-Gemini than the Ableton Push 3!

The controller market doesn't sleep!

And the controller market is not sleeping: Meanwhile, there are quite a few small manufacturers with interesting MPE concepts. Nevertheless, for me this is one of the great new features of the Push 3, and if the Abletons were to make me an immorally favorable exchange offer, I would definitely not refuse!

But honestly: Putting 1000 euros/dollars on the table for the fact that I can now give my sounds a massage seems a bit too much for me personally!

The standalone features of Ableton Push 3:

From a technical perspective, it's fascinating! Nowadays, everything fits into such a small box! Wow! And compared to the toy gear from "Kindergarten-Engineering" the requested 2000 Eurodollars here are actually still quite acceptable. Especially since the quality of the late Push 2 models is excellent and the 3 hopefully has not become worse again. Because sticky rubber surfaces were a hotly debated topic with the 1 and 2 Pushes in the beginning.

However, the first disillusion comes with the technical data of the hardware: what????? Intel I3 processor? Hmmpf! Ok. This is robust mass-produced hardware and the whole built-in computer, including SSD, is probably not bigger than a credit card. However, the announced possibility to upgrade the "normal" Push 3 to a standalone model via an upgrade kit is great. This is a very user-friendly and sustainable solution.

At second glance, it's interesting that Ableton Push 3 is supposed to run a dedicated Linux. This, in turn, puts the processor's performance into perspective, since there is no annoying macOS or Windows in the background swallowing up power for anything other than making music. Keep this in mind!

And somewhere I saw a benchmark comparison to an Atom processor that Akai builds into its stand-alone MPC Live 2. In comparison, the I3 is a real rocket, which is also optimized for energy efficiency and does not need any additional bells and whistles, such as graphics units, which are useless for music production anyway!

Half the performance of an M1 processor?

And according to first rumors, the standalone Push3 is said to have about half the performance of an Apple M1 in real-world use. That is acceptable. If it does not start to stutter at 70% load, like the older Intel processors. On the M1, it only starts to stutter when you get well above 90%. Furthermore, the device is said to hardly develop any heat, which certainly also has to do with the choice of this processor. The built-in battery is also supposed to last for a while. Officially, it is said to last 2.5 hours. But a power bank can certainly get more out of it. Especially for longer live gigs.

So overall solid technology. As I rate Ableton so far, the reliable and trouble-free operation is the priority. Also, the Push 3 Standalone should have hardly any latency, which is not surprising, however, since no external VST or AU plug-ins can be integrated. And Ableton plugins actually always come with zero latency. I guess you have to accept this limitation to ensure smooth and tight performance.

So for those who really only want to fire up a live set with the Ableton Push 3, for example in a DJ mix, the Push 3 Standalone is certainly absolutely brilliant. And it offers everything you know from your usual DAW in the studio.

However, as soon as it comes to more complicated setups, the standalone advantage quickly melts away. If you want additional audio inputs for hardware instruments, you either have to connect an audio interface or ADAT port extensions. MIDI is only available as a mini jack, which is pre-programmed cable salad. And if power supplies or power banks are added, "standalone" is quickly history.

Somehow the Ableton Push 3 is not so standalone:

Because, all in all, for me, the Ableton Push 3 is not really standalone at all:
At some point, you absolutely need a computer that also runs Ableton Live with at least version 11.3. Because the Push 3 Standalone comes standard only with Live Lite! Yes right heard! Just bought hardware for 2000 euros and you may directly spend another 350 to 600 euros for a real version of Ableton Life!
Hey guys! You can't be serious, can you? At Davinci, for example, you get a free Pro license with any hardware!

And then of course you need a computer to authorize etc.

So I'd rather make a different calculation:
MacBook Air M1/M2: 800 bis 1000 Euro
Ableton Suite: 600 Euro / Standard 350
Used Push 2: 300 Euro

Behringer UMC1820 interface: 260 euros, if more connections are needed. Makes a total of about 2000 euros. The advantage: A reasonable number of inputs and outputs for audio and proper DIN MIDI. And last but not least a processor at least twice as fast. The functionality as a controller with the Push 2 is the same as with the 3, except for the new MPE pads. As a musician, you have the computer with you anyway when you perform live, so you can also use your usual VST plug-ins.

On the sofa, an Ableton Push 2 is already quite bulky! What about the even bigger and heavier Push 3? So I hardly dare to think about the park, the garden or even the airplane as a place of use for the Push 3.

Well folks! Not to spoil the fun, but somehow I don't really feel the urgent need to replace my Push 2 with the new Ableton Push 3.

And unless you're really serious about performing live with the Standalone Push without using much other equipment, for example in combined DJ mix/live sets, and if there happens to be no power in the venue at the time, then the Standalone is just right!

Otherwise, I strongly recommend to all Ableton Live users who do not have or have not had a Push yet, to look for a used Push 2! They will never be that cheap again! And all others who don't use Ableton Live at all yet, I can only strongly advise starting with it as soon as possible! It is simply a great program that is constantly being developed by electronic musicians for electronic musicians.

And of course you can find our affiliate links in the description. Since by now 25% of our viewers are from the USA, I decided to join the affiliate program of Perfect Circuit! So you can now support us directly with your purchases! Cool isn't it!?

And if you don't want to buy anything after all, I'm happy about a Like and your comments on this exciting topic!

With that in mind! New synthesizers coming soon! Peace!

Ableton Push 3 Standalone: Don’t believe the Hype!

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