MPC Live 2 vs Push 3 Standalone (w/ Live Suite)

This is very true and certainly speaks in favor of me just sticking with Reason 10 and the MPC Live 2 because I know those tools inside out by now.

Doesn’t it come with at least Drift as a synth and a generous sample and keygroup library? But yeah, there’s definitely a reason why I’m comparing the MPC Live 2 vs the Push 3 Standalone + Suite license, because without that license, a lot of the value of the Push is lost for me. The breadth of high quality synths included is part of the main draw for me compared to the relatively shallow free synths on the MPC and their strategy to charge for all the really interesting synths and plugins.

100% agree about the familiarity. The speaker though, do you use it much? I’d rank the much better battery life higher than the speaker, personally.

The I/O seems more than adequate on both for me. I guess you are referring to the lack of USB audio streaming? To me, if I plug in the computer, I’m just a step away from controller mode and the computer can do the hard work anyway.

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But are you really going to use every piece of DLC available? You can fashion a lot of synth sounds out samples and keygroups and some of the built in inserts.

I mean I got some for Black Friday but I could have easily gone with my primary workflow use case for this which was to build instruments from samples into keygroups. Autosampler makes it easy to rip from various sources including software based VSTs for offline usage on the MPC.

Roland does similar stuff, there’s DLC but I don’t find I need to get them all and I normally just go for the AEZ because I know there’s going to be some decent sounds designed by Matt Traum and they’ll all just work with the Aerophone. But I could still live without any Roland Cloud DLC.

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Yeah this is a fair point and you can get very far with great keygroups indeed. The main gripe for me is more about the workflow of having to export the work to the daw and having to redo a lot of the work again to mix and add the right reverbs etc. It’s doable, but it seems the Push 3 and the seamless transition from the embryo to the final song is much faster, while letting you use a really good reverb already at the sketching phase.

The other thing I dislike about keygroups is that you can’t easily audition the ones you made yourself unless you take the time to export and generate an mp3 and place it in the right folder for your keygroups. Basically it’s a lot of maintenance to get to a point where you can audition and quickly find the perfect sound for your song. You have to load a keygroup to listen to it, and before you know it you have 10+ loaded and unused keygroups in a project and it takes forever to remove them using the main menu and pencil icon.

Not sure how that compares on the Push 3 though, maybe it’s just as clunky there?

But with synth plugins, it’s far more straightforward to browse through some presets while playing a loop live.

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There’s always going to be something clunky with any given workflow. The real question is that clunkiness right in the way of your core workflow.


A key difference for me that this thread has reminded me of;

The P3SA definitely feels like a control surface extension of Ableton Live that has the ability to be removed from it if/when you want to work standalone… but it essentially has to be anchored to Live at some point.

The MPC is the opposite… it’s more fluid and powerful than it’s desktop DAW counterpart as a standalone device, and you can easily use it without ever having to need the computer attached.

IMO they compliment each other really well, especially with the MPC starting things off, Ableton Live/P3 finishing and completing.

(But, I will say I could easily sub the P3 for P2 in that scenario…)

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Unfortunately, I can’t answer about the hardware workflow because I’ve never used Push 3 or MPC. Only Ableton up to version 10. I see that there are more users out there who will give you more detailed information on this matter.

I think I can give my opinion as I’ve had every single new MPC product since the launch of MPC live1 until they release the MPC xl se and I also had an MPC 2000xl back in the early aughts.

I’ve had live 1, liked it so much I bought an X. Then the Force came out and I went that direction. Bought an MPC one, and and MPC live 2 retro. I really like these units. I eventually found myself using my PUSH 2 more, and as a live suite user, when the PUSH 3 was announced, it was an immediate purchase for me.

I LOVE Push 3. The MPC’s don’t touch it IMO. Take this with a grain of salt, as even though I do have the standalone version, I use it in tethered mode, except for live performance.
I have already played a small gig with PUSH 3 SA, and it performed very well with no issues.
I’m thinking that I don’t even really need any Elektron gear anymore (will this get me banned??).
Just using my modular as sample fodder for Push 3 and nothing else seems to be the fastest and most productive workflow for me atm.
Transferring my live set from computer to standalone was a piece of cake and I think that this is really where push shines. The ability to build a set in the computer and then transfer to standalone for performance is a pretty amazing feat and I will recommend this to anyone considering push.
I think it will also only get better with time. I am grateful to Ableton for making this machine a reality.


The new MPC One+ is 12V so if you just wanted a powerbank and not the built in speakers, that should be more able to do the powerbank thing.


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I use the speaker all the time when I’m on the couch, charging ev, idle in the office, in the kitchen etc. L2 wins for carrying weight too and fits into a normal commuter bag. But if you’re not planning on moving it, you probably dont need the L2 anyway.

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This is a helpful perspective but it also seemingly confirms a pattern I’ve noticed: those who really click with the Push workflow seem to not really use it the way I’m using the MPC, which is to go from zero to a new song by building it from scratch. On the contrary, it seems that the more successful Push use cases are more focused around using it as a controller for Live and only bringing it out in standalone when it comes to performing on stage. That’s sort of the opposite of the groovebox use case which is to use the hardware at the inspiration phase and to build out a song and then using the daw to produce the final results.

So is the Push 3 more of a stage tool for live performers, and the MPC is more of a producer’s tool to get new ideas going?

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But it that more of a feeling/mindset or a practical difference in their use? And how much of it is influenced by the fact that you have built years of muscle memory on the MPC and have not used the Push much yet?

Given that my intention is to always end up in the daw anyway, the fact that there’s an eventual point when it makes more sense to finish the job on the computer is sort of the whole point for me. To blend the best of both worlds.

The real question I have is, does that feeling of being an Ableton extension show up in how the P3S feels in the song sketching phase? Can you build out the parts of the song (eg intro, breakdown, buildup, drop, outtro) with scenes and automation, and is that process straightforward? Can you design your lead from scratch using eg Drift or Wavetable (assuming moderate familiarity with sound design) or will you be reaching for the mouse and keyboard to get that job done in Live? Is it enjoyable to noodle on those MPE pads?

The theory I’m beginning to have is that those who love the Push:

  1. Already use Ableton Live and so are invested in it anyway,
  2. Use it together with the computer in the sketching phase and don’t really use it as a “groovebox” (as in, a standalone device you build out new ideas from scratch on your lap or on a desk), and
  3. They see most of the value of the Push as the final destination for the produced track as a place to perform with it live in front of an audience (i.e. professional musicians as opposed to happy hobby producers like myself) - which is the opposite of the groovebox use case of being the starting point of the creative process.

Is this theory flawed or is there merit to it? Essentially:

  • MPC = groovebox - a fully featured production tool to build out new tracks from scratch
  • Push 3S = live performance tool - something you bring on stage to perform your already made productions live on stage

Push 3 doesn’t have an arrangement mode. Other than that: creating clips scenes, variations, automation etc. seems to be a breeze just like in Live itself. It’s definitely not only a performance tool, that’s also not how it’s marketed. Even the previous Pushes were meant to compose and sketch away from the screen (albeit tethered), why would 3 be any different?

I’m going to repeat myself here but: Try Live! Especially in session view. If you gel with that you’ll most likely get on with the Push.

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I must, yes. But also, I keep hearing the opposite being true in that, if you learn Live, you’ll begin to complain about how the Push workflow is different and more limited. And to me the tactile feel is a core part of the experience, so I’m not sure how much I’ll actually appreciate the workflow of the Push by trying to figure out Live. I’ve used MC-101 and similar toys so I’m familiar with the clip based workflow. And if automation works reasonably well, I have a pretty good concept for how it would work on the Push I guess, assuming it’s similar to the MC-101 but hopefully a lot smoother.

But yes, I really need to try to build something from scratch in Live in session view to get a feel for this.

As far as I know it has a dedicated automate button and then it’s just grabbing any knob and twist to record. Definitely a lot less clunky than for instance the 707.

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Push 3 is a just as much of a groove box as MPC IMO, except that you’re simply just better off at building whole arrangements in the computer.
And on the other side of the coin, the MPC can be a great tool for live performance.

French electro producer Fasme, who I used to see using elektron stuff put a recent set out with what looks like just and MPC one with a few other bits, and DMX crew does banging live sets with older mpcs and a mixer.


How about to try Push 3 for 30 days? Yes you must pay but after 30 days if you don’t like it, return it and get a full refund.

Edit: This doesn’t seem to be possible with the Ableton trial.

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Have you tried looking for used Live 11 licenses on

In my case, I went from MPC X to Push 3 controller and couldn’t be happier.

I rarely finished tracks on the MPC. Just found the process too tedious. Had the same feelings about the lackluster fx and exporting projects to the pc was a total momentum killer, like you said.


I don’t own a Push 3, but using Push 2 I can get pretty far in the process of making a song just on the device, I end up reaching for the mouse for some things that are faster that way because I’m tethered to the computer anyway from Push 2, but I do enjoy sound design directly from the Push interface and get far enough into the song writing process that I have considered Push 3 as a serious future option that I can’t afford currently. I personally really like the drum rack step sequencing, and have found the capture midi indispensable and wish every device with a sequencer had it. While I have complaints about how the device browser works, I still find it way more enjoyable than grabbing instruments with the mouse.

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My impression of the MPC though I’ve only recently gotten one is it can do a lot of stuff but seems to be geared more to methodical production stuff UNLESS you want something that you play the pads like a drum kit then it’s setup for live.

In contrast the Synthstrom Deluge which is also a fairly recent purchase seems to be setup extensively for on the fly performance oriented stuff with the ability to rapidly switch between arranger/song/clip. BUT it’s not super setup to finger drum (though some of that is changed in Community). It is however setup to easily play across a wide range linnstrument style instead.

The Push seems a bit in between from the interface as it has more pads than the MPC but less than the deluge and seems more like a Novation Launchpad Pro which can do live stuff as well. I’ve never played with one to know how much the live control integrates with the rest of the performance.

All this becomes pretty moot though if you end up doing your performance on something external like keys.

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