The Pull of Push

Push Me Pull You?

Push Me Pull You?

This last week i’ve been learning how to incorporate the Push 2 into my workflow.  You may recall I’d previously settled for the Push 1 after having a disappointing experience with Maschine.  The original fascination was the ability to capture, manipulate and sequence my live hardware without having to rely on mouse and monitor.  While Maschine technically allowed this, it was not efficient to use in a live improvisational situation so I settled for the greater MIDI capabilities of the Push 1 and left it at that.

With the sudden announcement of the Push 2, its live sampling and conversion capabilities and the trade in for previous owners, it obviously wasn’t going to be long before I gave in to the Pull.

Push 2 and synth tower
Push 2 and synth tower

Given that it has been getting near universal praise I figured there would be catches but so far the only thing that has bothered me is the right angled USB cable.  I’ve managed to successfully use it in two jams… here is a ratty track from one of the jams – apologies for the bad quality – impromptu FX usage is my fault.

I’m sampling PFM and his hardware and playing them back both live and sequenced through various effects.  All done in real-time without consulting the monitor thanks to Push 2.

Real-time sampling is facilitated by setting up a muted track for recording input to clips.  The real benefit of the Push 2 over the first iteration is the “Convert” button which turns a recorded clip into a Simpler (sampler) track and from there a Drum-Rack.  The organisation into columns representing tracks is not going to suit everyone and I’d suggest it is something that separates this workflow from Maschine.  One might argue M is more powerful in that you can place your recorded sample anywhere but I guess the organisation with P2 seems to work better for me, given my experience with Ableton Live.

Having the ability to edit samples without grabbing a mouse is most certainly a bigger deal than it sounds.  P2 also seems to be dealing with plugin parameters more effectively.  The pads are closer to the KMI QuNexus style (with velocity and aftertouch but not 4-way detection).  Coming from the P1 it takes a while to get used to the changed functionality of Arm, Mute, Solo and Delete as well as the Layout navigation but the Screen based selection and navigation is much clearer.

I do find the sampling based workflow paradigm it encourages isn’t that far away from the Maschine approach.  Working in blocks, converting and resampling etc.  At this stage it may require some time spent exploring the boundaries and adapting to the affordances and constraints.

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