The Ableton Push midi controller might be the preferred option among the pros, but what if your budget won’t give you access to this advanced system? No need for concern, as there is a wide range of Ableton Push alternatives that still give you the features you need to make every track you produce better than the last one.
With experience in working with many types of controllers and instrument systems, I have come across good and bad Ableton Push alternatives. Read on as I reveal what alternatives are really worth it if your budget is too low for the Ableton Push.
Best Ableton Push Alternatives
Let’s face it – without a doubt, the Ableton Push controller is one of the best options you can fit in your studio. With a single device, you have the ability to control all of your instruments, channels, and even additional plug-ins that are added to your software. The problem is, it does not meet the needs or budget of every person.
Below, you’ll discover the best Ableton Push alternatives out there right now – with each of these giving you a way of making music according to your own criteria.
1. Akai MPD 218
- 16 configurable pads
- Six control knobs
- Uses a USB interface
- Bundled software
- MPC pad design
When portability is a priority while looking at Ableton Push alternatives, the Akai MPD 218 should be at the top of your list. A compact design is combined with professional functions in this controller. The controller offers a universal system that is compatible with most software that you may already own. This means no need to spend extra on licenses for software after connecting the controller.
The Akai MPD 218 controller is also bundled with software that provides 100% compatibility with the system.
A USB interface is used, providing a MIDI-over-USB experience. With this in mind, connecting the controller to your laptop or PC is quick and easy. With a built-in driver in the controller, no additional downloads are required. MPC controls are used to offer a more sensitive control system – enhancing the precision of every setting you adjust.
There are 16 built-in pads on the Akai MPD 218. These pads are configurable and can be assigned to channels, plugins, effects, loops, melodies, and even specific instruments. Six touch-sensitive knobs can be found on the side of the board. These controls allow you to have more control over the intensity of effects, the volume of specific channels, and other configurable settings.
2. Akai MPD 232
- Full-featured pad controller
- 16 programmable pads
- 8 sliders
- 8 control knobs
- Indication LEDs
Need a professional solution with more customization options? Then the Akai MPD 232 is a MIDI controller you want in your set of equipment. This is a recent addition to the Akai Pro series and provides several improvements over the already-impressive previous model.
The Akai MPD 232 has bundled software included in the kit, which allows you to start producing music even without having existing applications for creating custom beats. There is a Thick Fat Backlit system on the pads, with a standard MPC design. The backlit system features four different colors, making the organization of your channels, instruments, and other production elements significantly easier.
With the MIDI-over-USB interface used in the Akai MPD 232, you get a plug-and-play operation. Simply use the USB cable to connect the controller to your PC, and a driver will automatically install it. Most music and beat production software will be able to recognize the MIDI controller immediately.
With 72 controls in total, divided throughout three banks, the Akai MPD 232 is an ideal solution for a bigger sound and studio setup.
3. Novation Launchpad Pro
- Centerpiece controller design
- Software and hardware compatibility
- Can be used for live performances
- Huge selection of pads
- Live integration capabilities
With the Novation Launchpad Pro, professionals, studio producers, and live performers have a single device that does it all. This controller was developed to provide a centerpiece for your entire studio or live setup.
The Novation Launchpad Pro is compatible with both supported hardware and software. It can also replace your Ableton Push in a full Ableton setup – as the controller provides full support for the Ableton Live workflow system.
With a 32-step design, you have superior flexibility when connecting channels, instruments, and other programmable functions to the pads included in the controller. The probability and sync rate of the Novation Launchpad Pro is also faster and more efficient compared to many alternative models.
4. Novation Launchpad MK2
- Integrates with Ableton Live
- 8×8 grid
- Built-in lighting system
- RGB LED-backlit
- No setup needed
Ease-of-use is a priority in the Novation Launchpad MK2, featuring a plug-and-go design with an integrated driver. The launchpad is one of the closer matches to the original Ableton Push, and can even be integrated into your existing Ableton Live workstation.
The Novation Launchpad MK2 features quite a compact construction, which means traveling with this device is easier. Even though compact, the 8×8 grid system gives you 64 assignable pads that can be used with software and hardware interfaces.
USB is used for connectivity, ensuring connecting the Novation Launchpad MK2 to a computer or laptop you take with you is no problem. A lightweight design also ensures it does not add extra weight to your music travel bag.
Apart from the launchpad itself, the system comes with loopmaster samples that are royalty-free. You also get a copy of Ableton Live Lite, the original V Station VST plugin, and you get an AU Synthesizer plugin included with your purchase.
How To Choose The Best Ableton Push Alternative?
There are a few things to look for in an alternative Ableton Push – but the specific features really come down to your own needs.
Many people looking for alternatives to the controller are low on budget. With this in mind, you want to turn your search toward the more budget-friendly controllers on the market. Pros can sometimes find that they need a greater variety of features – in such a case, a larger budget may also be required. Consider how much you are willing to spend, then narrow your search according to your budget.
The interface and connections are also important. Many people are looking for a simple solution that can connect with a plug-and-play experience to their PC. In this case, you might look for an alternative with a standard USB interface. These devices will generally come with a built-in driver and need no additional downloads to work with your software.
The size of the controller, key and pad variety, and configurable settings are other areas you want to focus on when looking at specifications.
There are a few great alternatives to the Ableton Push – but also many options with features that are nowhere close to what this controller offers. Know what to look for in the best Ableton Push alternatives and understand when to say no.
For a more compact experience, choose the Akai MPD 218. This one features a MIDI-over-USB interface, which means universal compatibility with your equipment and PC. It has multiple pads that can be customized, and it features industry-standard MPC controls.
Need something with bigger and more impressive features? Then the Launchpad Pro is the way to go, featuring an LED-backlit series of pads, as well as a system that is highly configurable.
- Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
- Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
- Assignable Control - 18 fully assignable 360-Degree potentiometers accessible via three banks for controlling DAW, virtual effect and virtual instrument parameters
- Feature Packed - MPC note repeat and full level controls for immersive expressive performances
- Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Sonivox Big Bang cinematic percussion and Big Bang universal drums
- The MPC Production Experience - Includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series
- iOS Connectivity Covered - Control your iOS apps and open up a world of pad control capability using the Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)