APC40 / PUSH / Maschine ? Which should I buy and why for Ableton?
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor Mr_Moo's Avatar
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    Default APC40 / PUSH / Maschine ? Which should I buy and why for Ableton?

    I have read in depth about all of them, but still not sure where to splash my hard earned cash.

  2. #2
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    Push.

    If you have the cash, I see no reason to not get the best. Pads are supposed to be just as good as the Maschine, and the APC40 is just an older version of the Push IMO.

  3. #3
    Tech Guru botstein's Avatar
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    Edit - pmed
    Last edited by botstein; 03-19-2013 at 09:22 PM.

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    For the point of view of a pure Live use - I tend to disagree even though I understand that workflow is something personal to each user of hardware/software. Maschine is great but as the only piece of software for a computer based setup it has some fatal flaws if you want to do more than simple structured music.

    I owned Maschine Mk1 - sold it. I owned Mikro Mk1 - sold it. I owned Maschine Mk2 - sold it (damn NI marketing and "hands-on workflow"). I finally pre-ordered Push.

    Maschine is great and have a fantastic workflow for creating loops and sampling, no doubt about that. The arrangement capabilities on Maschine is very weak and i am not even talking about basic mixdowns (no visual feedback on levels - I know you are supposed to use your ears but frankly it was a nightmare). The worst was trying to move from a Maschine project to arrange in a proper Daw that offers the necessary mixing and arrangement environment. Drag and drop yes it is easy but if it is more than 10 loops it was tedious to say the least - long hours using the mouse. Commit to audio and drag the wavs, you'd better be a king of folders organization to remember which part is your 2 bar fill or your Riser. Routing audio and midi was also a nightmare because Maschine overrides your output audio routing each time you change a sound on the pad. All in all no need for a pseudo-Daw inside your Daw. I had high hopes for the promised Traktor integration but ironically Live was more able to hold the sync tight as a slave than Maschine in Traktor and this integration is still vaporware today after more than 2 years.

    Push may not be able to do everything from the controller but it would be impossible because Live is much more complex than Maschine. NI needs to work on creating their daw and then Maschine will be a useful tool for making music and not just a tool to create a collection of loops or struggling to create an arrangement where micro edits areso cumbersome to incorporate.

    No one needs Maschine or Push to make music - keyboard shortcuts and knowing your daw is technically all you need, the rest is talent (no Daws provides that in the box unfortunately)!

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor DirtyNerd's Avatar
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    I think that maybe we should make a distinction between making music and playing music with either Push/APC40 etc. & Live or Maschine HW & SW. There is a difference...are you looking for a solution to create loops, samples etc? Are you looking for an ability to trigger clips, adjust levels, parameters? Are you looking for the ability to do arrangements of different sections of a song? Do you want to "play" the HW (i.e., finger drumming etc.)?

    I think workflow matters a lot. I have been thinking about these same issues myself and am trying to determine which way to go. For Live, currently I use a Launchpad,BCR2000, LPK25 and nanoKontrol2. All are fine for triggering clips and adjusting levels...but creating new drum loops, baselines, etc. is still a very "keyboard and mouse" process for me. I would really like something that allows me to just work with the hardware most of the time and not even have to look at the screen. I've been looking at the Push for that reason, but don't want to have to upgrade to Live 9 suite (currently own Live 8 suite). So the wait and quest continues.
    Traktor: Kontrol X1, Kontrol F1, DN-MC3000, DN-X1700
    Ableton: Launchpad, nanoKontrol2, LPK-25, BCR2000

  6. #6
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    I think it depends on what your trying to do.

    I will briefly echo what erpi wrote.
    Maschine was built to integrate with Maschine software.
    Although people do their best to get Maschine working smoothly with Ableton, and lots of people rave about it, I found the little things that didnt work to be huge stumbling blocks for proper integration with Ableton.
    Great for sketching, lots of mouse clicking to get a solid arrangement into Ableton.
    I sold Maschine because I was getting similar results with my APC40 and a drumPad controller with the help of max for live and Bomes. Yet that was on Live 8.

    So for me I would rule Maschine out as a contender at integrating with Live.
    That said, Live 9 offers one thing that it sorely needed to contend with Maschine software, "Record Automation to Session Clips."
    I LOVE IT.

    So if you narrow it down in this way you're left with 2 choices.
    APC40, and PUSH.
    So how do you anticipate working with Live?
    If your strictly DJing, playing others tunes, riding faders, launcing clips, mashing up with FX etc.
    The APC40 sould suffice, and cost much less, leaving you with money for other things, such as NativeKontrol templates for the APC40, or M4L so you can use the abundance of patches made for the APC40 adding killer funtionality.
    However, if you plan on building beats/songs using drumRacks and instruments (and drumRacks + Sampler are fucking DOPE) PUSH looks like a dream come true.
    I dont have one and sure it's brand new, plus bugs, and probably missing features.
    Nevertheless these things will get sorted.
    Ableton is currently in developement on adding features, integrated M4L devices, and working out bugs.
    The hardware layout of PUSH looks perfect to achieve a small footprint controller that offers all of that.
    Coming from 4 years of hacking away at the APC40 to try an emulate things offered in PUSH, they pretty much got everything right except adding faders. However you could easily add a fader controller to your set up.
    For me the attraction to PUSH is the 8x8 matrix of velocity sensitive pads accompanied by 2 rows of function buttons, all the necessary labeled mode buttons, and 8 encoders for blue handing (one of Lives best features) plus a master encoder.
    The hardware sequencing layout plus Live's capability is amazing, there is truly nothing like it.

    If your just getting started in Ableton, it can be an elegant all in one solution, for softwware, laptops, music production and performance in that manner.
    Anyone who argues that does not know enough about Live as software.

    Another thing to consider, what is Novation going to release next?
    Good chance it will be cheaper, and possibly a better layout for what you want.

    Personally I am trying to ween myself off of Laptop dependency these days, and PUSH is kinda fucking up my plans, maybe.
    My only beef with this kind of thing is that SO many people will be using this as the center of their rig making everyone look like a similar act. If your trying to stand out and appear unique I say PUSH is the last thing you should consider, but thats a whole different topic.

  7. #7
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    I would also like to mention for music production use that I really enjoyed LPC software by NativeKontrol with a Launchpad and because it was directly integrated in Live unlike Maschine I did like it a lot and Stray (Native Kontrol founder and developer) offered amazing support. This convinced me that for 4 times less the price of Maschine and not the hassle of the pitfall of the pseudo-DAW inside a DAW, a controller directly integrated in Live was the ideal solution for me. I think Stray created some new script similar to Push functions - it may be a very affordable alternative to consider too. Regarding using Maschine a la Hawtin to layer claps or perc loops, ironically a Launchpad synced to traktor as a slave with LPC was much more reliable than Maschine itself regarding the Sync. With LPC, I was able to create nice little loops with Drum racks and it even had a melodic step sequencer for simple basslines. On an iPad Griid by Liine was great to create clips too

    For DJ use as a complementary source for fills and one-shots LPC seems to me the most efficient and affordable solution. Because I sold my Launchpad, I would be happy so sell my license at a low price for someone who has a Launchpad and wants to try this solution.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtyNerd View Post
    I think that maybe we should make a distinction between making music and playing music with either Push/APC40 etc. & Live or Maschine HW & SW. There is a difference...are you looking for a solution to create loops, samples etc? Are you looking for an ability to trigger clips, adjust levels, parameters? Are you looking for the ability to do arrangements of different sections of a song? Do you want to "play" the HW (i.e., finger drumming etc.)?

    I think workflow matters a lot. I have been thinking about these same issues myself and am trying to determine which way to go. For Live, currently I use a Launchpad,BCR2000, LPK25 and nanoKontrol2. All are fine for triggering clips and adjusting levels...but creating new drum loops, baselines, etc. is still a very "keyboard and mouse" process for me. I would really like something that allows me to just work with the hardware most of the time and not even have to look at the screen. I've been looking at the Push for that reason, but don't want to have to upgrade to Live 9 suite (currently own Live 8 suite). So the wait and quest continues.
    Live 9 is a free upgrade for you if you have a legit copy. Job done.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru botstein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steverido View Post
    Live 9 is a free upgrade for you if you have a legit copy. Job done.
    No, it is not.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by botstein View Post
    No, it is not.
    Read the following and Abletons site. They were promoting the free upgrade building up to its release?

    http://www.dawsons.co.uk/blog/ableton-live-9

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