Ableton Push 3 Has Arrived: First Impressions

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  • The long-awaited Push 3 has just been released
  • This model marks the third iteration of Ableton’s DAW controller

Ableton has created quite a buzz with their brand-new Push controller, marking the third in the series which is already shaping up to be the most exciting yet. We first saw the Push debut in 2013 followed by the second version in 2015, which came with several upgrades but since then there hasn’t been too much to go off apart from whispers and rumors. 

The Push 3 is finally here! Although it does show similarities to its predecessors we’re told it has been in development for over 10 years and comes jam-packed with enough features to keep the most avid music maker happy. Let’s take a look.

First Look


The Push 3 understandably bears a resemblance to the previous models and it just looks so darn cool!

Push 3 is available in two units, with one being completely standalone (although a controller-only model is also available). The unit features 64 MPE pads across an X/Y axis which allows for a huge level of expression at your fingertips. With the Push 3, you can really fine-tune your music-making with pitch, slides, and effect changes right at your fingertips.

Although there isn’t the capability to host third-party plugins, as you’d expect you’ll get more than enough Ableton effects and software instruments as well as sample libraries. Push 3 is set up with WiFi so you can transfer sets between the controller and Live itself.

Attention has been paid to workflow as well with an overhaul on the layout and button configuration and you’ll also get an integrated audio interface and a secondary USB-A port. The Push 3 is of course MIDI compatible too. 

Ableton clearly put thought into the portability of the Push 3, with battery power being available, and we can really see this becoming an integral piece of gear whether you’re just jamming at home or working with a band to record elements directly into the controller. The battery life is impressive, you’ll be looking at about 2 and a half hours on a full charge with around the same time needed to fully recharge. If you’re wondering the battery is fully replaceable as well should you need it further down the line.

If you’re familiar with the earlier Push models then using Push 3 will feel like second nature. If you aren’t or maybe you need a refresher the unit comes with a quick start guide but you’ll find regardless of your experience the Push 3 is quick and easy to get going with. As I’ve mentioned the workflow is pretty simple and it’s easy to find your way around the various functions and to get going quickly. 

The trigger pads are noticeably brighter than Push 2 and there are several upgraded functions that are much easier to get to such as MIDI capture and a dedicated Lock Tracks button. For many, the compatibility with Max For Live will be a big draw as well, giving the Push 3 huge potential for sound design and creating bespoke samples and audio.

The great news is you can get your hands on one now! You’ll be looking at $1,999 for the standalone model with the controller-only version coming in slightly cheaper at $999.

For more information, head over to Ableton’s website.