The Push is one of those rare controllers that is tough to improve upon. But with Ableton currently hiring designers for their “next generation of hardware,” I began to wonder how a new Push could improve on things.
These five ideas came to mind…
A built-in audio interface seems obvious for such a great sampling tool. Push already makes chopping and mangling audio easy, so why not have dedicated phono inputs for vinyl, or XLR inputs for microphones? I’ve also seen Live do funny things with certain interfaces. Having an in-house option that the team can test would ensure the best stability and keep the price down when choosing an interface.
Live is a great piece of software, but getting away from the computer would be a dream. A standalone mode for Push would pair well with built-in audio. Even with limited functionality, imagine being able to load up a Drum Rack, Simpler, session view and some FX. Throw in a rechargeable battery and it’d be a live performer's dream that could dominate the space.
Now that our Push is portable, it’d make a lot of sense to have a “Day Mode.” If you’ve used either of the current models on a sunny gig, you can understand the sentiment. Being able to invert colors or use high contrast layouts that work better in the sun would go a long way. Better anti-glare options on the screen would also be quite helpful.
Midi and USB Connectivity
The Ableton Link technology is sick, allowing you to tempo sync devices, such as a smartphone, wirelessly. But most hardware still needs midi or USB connectivity. For that reason, the next iteration of Push should have a hub for both. Audio interfaces like the Arturia Audiofuse have ports for MIDI, USB, ADAT, S/PDIF, hell even DIPSET. Ableton would promote more connectivity by removing that crappy USB hub from your studio and replacing it with solid ports built into their hardware.
Finally, I’d love to see smaller versions of the Push 3. The product is already a great value for the price, but imagine a cheaper option that only had 16 pads and was smaller. Picture a version that removed the pads altogether and left you with knobs and a screen for navigating effect parameters. If you prefer to play keys anyway, it’d be the perfect addition to your keyboard controller.
It’s always exciting to see the team in Berlin working on new hardware. What would you like to see in a new version of Push?