First things first, I actually can’t decide which I prefer more, the new Ableton Push or Native Instruments Maschine+. And to be honest I don’t want to, as I love both units equally. For anyone looking at each of these units and can’t decide, this might be for you. The world of music production gear has evolved significantly over the past few years, and with it, the tools and equipment used by artists and producers have also seen major advancements. In recent times, standalone controllers have gained popularity for their portability and versatility, allowing musicians to create music without the need for a computer. Two standout options in this category are the Ableton Push 3 and the Native Instruments Maschine+.
I’m fortunate I have both, I’ve been a Maschine and Push user since the early days and they feature a permanent spot in my studio. In this video, l compare these two in terms of their design, functionality, software integration, and overall performance to help you decide which one suits your music production needs.
Design and Build Quality
Push 3 features a sleek and minimalistic design with a large 8×8 grid of responsive RGB pads, and now with MPE. The build quality is solid, with a robust chassis and high-quality buttons and encoders. It also has a high-resolution display that provides visual feedback and allows you to interact with your music directly. The unit features an impressive i/o section on the back including an ADAT interface, and MIDI and it runs on an internal rechargeable battery!
Maschine+ boasts a more compact design, making it highly portable although it requires a mains power supply. It has a 4×4 grid of RGB pads, a high-resolution colour display, and a robust build quality with premium materials and features built-in audio i/o and MIDI.
Both units allow you to connect external MIDI controllers and sample audio directly to create a completely standalone music-making experience.
Ableton Push 3
Push 3 is a standalone device, meaning it can operate with no computer however under the hood is essentially a version of Ableton Live driving the unit. Push 3 will tightly integrate with Ableton Live on your computer, one of the most popular digital audio workstations (DAWs).
Native Instruments Maschine+
The Maschine+ is also standalone and runs its own Maschine 2 software, however, given NI is the pioneer of many virtual instruments like Massive, Monark, Kontakt and Reaktor; all of which are compatible with the standalone version of Maschine+. It can also act as a controller for the included Maschine 2 software which is a fully-fledged DAW in its own right with powerful sampling, sequencing, and sound design capabilities. It supports VST and AU plugins, allowing for a wide range of sound possibilities. The controller is designed for beat-making and live performance, with a focus on pattern-based production. It also includes a built-in sampler and synth engines.
Which one is right for you? The choice ultimately comes down to your specific needs and preferences as a music producer or performer. If you are an Ableton Live user and value deep integration with the software, the Push 3 is a fantastic choice with its expansive grid and touch-sensitive display. On the other hand, if you seek a more self-contained production solution with versatile software and plug-ins that that you already know and love the Maschine+ offers a powerful standalone experience.