MPE in Ableton Live 11

Hello all! I’m making this post tentatively and will delete it if it’s been discussed or isn’t what I’m thinking, but, apparently the Ableton Push and Push 2 controllers will soon be considered “MPE Controllers” of a sort in Ableton Live 11 and later.

Or at least that’s what this CDM article determined and demonstrated by this video it links to.

It says:

“connect a Push 1 or Push 2 to Live 11, and enter the Setup menu on the Push hardware. You’ll find a new parameter called Pressure, which you can switch from ‘Mono’ to ‘Poly.’ (I’ve confirmed this with Ableton.
Note Expression from Push can be played right into Clips and played back or edited.
You always had pressure sensitivity on Push, but pressing with any finger impacted the whole instrument you were playing. With Poly Pressure on, Push senses and transmits individual pad pressure – so if your left-hand thumb presses harder and your right-hand index finger lighter, those register independently.
That has instant benefits inside Live 11, too. You can record that poly pressure data into Live. You can edit it and play it back inside Clips (in the new Expression tab). You can use MPE-capable instruments – including now Ableton’s own Sampler, Simpler, Wavetable, and Arpeggiator. You can play third-party instruments that support MPE via Live, at least as far as playing them with poly aftertouch. And you can map that pressure to other parameters, using the new MPE Control device.
The relevance to Push / Push 2 here is that you can apply pressure to individual pads, but not per-note pitch bend, for instance – there aren’t hardware sensors on the Push to even accomplish that. The pitch and modulation strips work as channel-wide controllers, just as they always did.”

As mentioned in the title, it’s only for “multi-pressure expression” and not pitch bending, but I thought I’d get this “invisible upgrade” on our MPE radar here on the forums in case there are people in the future who could benefit from this “poly-pressure” feature that’s already inherent to the Push and Push 2 controllers once Ableton Live 11 hits.

Let me know any corrections or thoughts on the value or accuracy of the information, here!

@Photosynth for now Ive moved this to the Ableton 11 post…

is the Push 2 now an ‘MPE’ controller?
really this is coming down to a question we have ‘debated’ here before, what does ‘supporting MPE’ mean?

so the change now, is that Ableton have :
a) enabled Poly Aftertouch on the Push 2
b) starting support it in some instruments which they call 'MPE enabled.

the polyAT is no surprise, it kind of was there previously with drumracks … but ableton I guess never exposed it due to the lack of general support in Live… so once MPE was ‘enabled’ its not a surprise really.

does it qualify as MPE?
MPE allows for per note expression, but what are the criteria?

how many axis of control do we expect? is pressure enough? or do we expect timbre? or individual pitchbend?
(I will say, Ive never found velocity or pressure particularly reliable on my push2… its a bit uneven across pads)
I personally think ‘MPE’ controllers have varying characters and capabilities - so sure we can have basic support, like just pressure … up to more extensive support of 3D and beyond.

in my experience, alot of MPE support requires pressure to be sent on different midi channels with channel aftertouch rather than polypressure - so may polyat support may not be included in all MPE synths… that said, many support polyat as well.
(Id need to check MPE spec to see if poly at is supposed to be supported as an alternative)

so, I think we can talk of expressive controllers, the more expressive features the better…
and then MPE is a a protocol, like MIDI, it does not ‘define’ what the controller can be.

anyway, again, I think none of this matters too much…
its a great step forward for Push and Live.

and honestly, my experience its quite a small minority Push outside of Live that much, so for most users if Live supports it… then its golden.
(hmm, I wonder if Bitwig are now supporting this with the push?!)

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It’s a step beyond “never exposed”.

They send a sysex command, upon launch, to have Push disable that output.

When you press the “repeat” button, they send another command to enable it for internal use (to derive velocity values for the triggered notes). And when you leave that mode, they send the disable command again.

Live 11 finally changes that.

I made this device forever ago. It sat outside of Live, listened for the disable command, and responded to that by sending the re-enable one a moment later.

I stopped supporting it after the third or fourth time they changed those commands. Ironically, right about the same time that Ableton featured this video themselves.

There was some further development and more features that I never released, because why bother?

Push 2 has a published specification, so that should be more stable. But I just wasn’t motivated to resurrect the project.

I may do so for 11, since it should work in max for live now, without all the extra overhead. But I can’t imagine that someone else isn’t putting the finishing touches on something better already.

(Not so much, it turns out. We don’t have access to aftertouch data through the Control Surface API. Channel aftertouch is available through other means, but poly aftertouch is blocked the moment you grab control of the grid.)


We’ve got some significant MPE improvements in 11.1 beta:

I really think Ableton have stepped up their game in recent times…

not only did we get mpe, but now some tweaking on it.
and the M1 support in this beta was pretty surprising, I thought we’d be lucky to get native support this year!


Looks like the Push is going MPE:


this has to be great news for MPE support ( in ableton)…

Ableton Push seems pretty successful, so this is going to put MPE into many more hands that, perhaps, would not have bought a dedicated mpe controller.

real pity they didn’t show it at Superbooth… as Id love to know how it feels… as the older push has pretty ‘robust’ pads…, so Im assuming they have softened them a bit for sensitivity.

anyway, will be interesting to see how it fairs, I think the price is ‘fair’ for what it is, but its still not cheap.
it makes you wonder, if you dont want the standalone part… then mpe is the main difference to the push 2… how many will jump on it?

personally, Im crossing my fingers they do the trade-in program again (for Push 2 → Push 3), as Id probably go for that…

otherwise, Im not convinced for my needs at the price… but thats, partly, because I have mpe controllers… also, if I’m brutally honest, the main issue I have with the Push, is its size, due to having pads sized for the finger drumming crowd (of which I am not :wink: )

but who knows… and as I say, I can see this leading to better/ more focused mpe support in Ableton Live so thats going to be a benefit for us all here!

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All these years people wanting a standalone AB Live, this is pretty wild!
Sure it won’t do “everything” but combining workflow with what is now laid out, future prof, new v12… might we call it a new kind of instrument?!

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I dont think they have any trade in plans, and probably only offered that previously because the timing gap between push 1 and push 2 launches wasnt huge.

edit - a tweet confirms this

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Their marketing team has done a poor job of reassuring users that the standalone version is optional.

Nearly every thread that I come across involves someone declaring “I don’t need standalone, so the price is ridiculous and I’m sticking with Push 2” in the comments.

This is inevitably followed by dozens of people agreeing with the sentiment instead of explaining to them that what they actually want costs half what they’re evaluating – they just have to scroll a bit further on the order page.

An apologist might say that MPE’s wider adoption is crushed by the reading and comprehension skills of Ableton’s user base. But I think it’s clear that simply putting the two options next to each other in columns would have prevented this.