Notables: Where Design and Music Converge


In terms of design, I've always loved the look of the Nagra SN, a miniature reel to reel recorder;

A beauty, indeed !


Anachronistic and amusing.

@LibertineLush looks like we are in the same boat. Let's do this together!
@HisMostDarxxxellent I'm back on the boat with you. Changed my mind on the Push 2 vs. Analog Rytm vs rumored Roland NAMM-drum machine mega battle. Push and Live won.

Some thoughts on the Push 2.

Teenage Engineering's OP-1 was the apogee of instrument design, beautifully attending to the entire spectrum of the discipline—industrial design, interface design, visual design, information graphics, typography, etc.

But with the Push 2, the OP-1 cedes its place as the most aesthetic and, for me, the most functionally fluid instrument.

Form and function are consistently complementing each, affirming their shared purpose—empowering and uplifting the user experience. These are some of the design points of the Push 2 that standout for me.

  • It's a sexy, svelte slab of anodized aluminum. There's enough heft to feel substantial and serious, but not so much that it's not still portable. It feels uniformly dense, not weighty and hollowed. The build quality is matched only by the OP-1.
  • Buttons are nearly flush with the body, which looks sleek and feels extraordinary as there's no wiggle upon depression, and there's a satisfying, muted click. They are not comically loud, like Elektron buttons where each hit resonates like a child's plastic toy.
  • The screen has specs and dimensions equal to a dozen Elektrons combined, and has much more forgiving viewing angles. No matter where you're standing, no matter if the sun's glare is resting on it, it remains visible. The OP-1 screen, despite being 5 years old now, is still a technically (contrast, viewing angles, etc) superior.
  • It has the best encoders I've come across in tactility and appearance. The dark trinity Elektrons have excellent encoders. I love that you can dramatically increase the rate of rotation when depressing them, however, because it requires some force, when you depress with your thumb, it hurts a bit. Ableton designed the encoders to be contextually aware: when you're working with a parameter with few values (choosing a waveform), it will adjust finely, but when working with a parameter with many values (browsing), it will adjust coarsely. They are also capacitive (touch sensitive), so you never fear unintentionally adjusting a parameter, like with Elektron encoder depression.
  • There are comprehensive pad sensitivity, gain and dynamics adjustments, unlike the Rytm. How those parameters work together to precisely follow the user's input is wonderfully communicated through intuitive and elegant visual design on the screen.
  • The typography may be inspired by the OP-1. It is lucid, playful and modern.
  • The animations—there are animations!—are aesthetic and informative. Occasionally, important actions are indicated on screen through a text overlay; in doing so, the overlay is fully lit and all other visuals are slightly dimmed. It's a surprising sense of dimensionality/layering that you would normally only expect from a desktop/smartphone OS. By comparison, the Elektrons show overlays, such as when copy/pasting, as an opaque rectangle enclosing the text, temporarily obscuring the screen.
  • These are the new best pads around; the Maschine Studio and Tempest are no longer the standard. There is barely any wiggle upon depression, and the sensitivity and consistency of sensitivity is perfect.
  • Visual communication through the button lighting is thoughtful, and resolves a problem with compact instruments: with controls compacted and some serving multiple functions, it can be hard to recall which buttons work at any time and which are available for button "combo-ing." Push 2 is contextually cognizant, only fully lighting the text on buttons that are available for use. They will be dimmed if an unrelated function is available, unlit if it would do nothing and even colored differently for some other significant functions.
  • Like TE and Apple, there is attentive care everywhere, including areas never seen (autographs from the developers on the inside) and rarely seen (the bottom is fairly dignified, not blemished with the typical unconcern of most products), and the attractive rubber pads are extremely large (largest I've ever seen), so stability while playing on unstable surfaces is remedied.

Of additional note, the Live instruments and effects, which I've only dabbled with so far, are really impressive. I have Komplete 10, but I'm focusing on Live's instruments, not only because of the native integration with Push, but because their sound is not diminished by being a "DAW-instrument" and the design of many of the instruments are in keeping with Ableton's apparent imperative of intuitive design with meaningful options, as opposed to "what's design?" and infinite options. Some of Native Instruments' instruments are unappealing because of the avalanche of options. In contrast, there's even a special new synthesizer, Multi, in Max for Live where there's only a few parameters, but the fun comes in its synthesis through randomization. And then, of course, there's the much praised new analog filters in Live 9.5, modeled after a Korg MS20, Moog Prodigy, etc. So Live sounds spectacular should you choose to work with it exclusively.


I’m feeling this with my new Squarp Pyramid sequencer. It’s sleek and is color coded like the OP-1, with labels, so it’s highly intuitive. Example: a button has a yellow label called time signature and a green one called offset. So to change the time signature of the track I hold the yellow Track button and press that button, and while holding them rotate the data knob to change the beats per measure. Pressing the knob and rotating changes what note gets a beat. I’ve had several instances where I go to do something with this system and it just does it how I thought it would.



Talk about pads. These are A+++

@hismostdarxxxellent Welcome to Ableton! What version are you using? My knowledge of Ableton is pretty basic, I don't do anything complicated with it at all but happy to try help if I can.

To give you an idea of what I use it for - recording live instruments, arrangements, mixing/mastering. I use it like a big tape recorder I guess! I'm not a big sample triggering guy but I do get some of the basics. What are you looking to do with Ableton?

Thanks for your question. Didn’t want to jack the thread but… I am stuck. Here goes :wink: I run all my synths and other outboard gear through Ableton Live 9.5 and then into the MPC for sampling and sequencing. I kind of like it but I guess I may not need to use the MPC. I could use Ableton like you - as a tape recorder. I’d like to use it for sample playback and live audio mangling… The problem is, I don’t really know how too. I’ve had a lot of fun trying to work it out. I saw a video and absolutely think it’s incredible and my aim is to accomplish something like this guy called Youngr: here’s a video displaying his incredible passion and talent

Sorry for my late reply, I was waiting for the right time. So, to wrap it up id like to.
Record a drum loop and then tweek it as I go with plugins. (I’ve already got the tr8 set up on separate channels in Ableton.)
Record synth parts from various outboard synths and tweak with plugins.

I then want those clips to play and then I can set my ‘already mapped’ cc controllers to mangle, manipulate, and tweak those sounds slightly as they play live.

I’ve used Logic for about a decade and it’s a bit of a struggle getting accustomed to a new DAW.

If you can help then I am all ears and ready to learn! :slight_smile:


@hismostdarxxxellent Please accept my apologies for a very delayed reply, I haven’t seen your post until now.

Youngr’s music is really impressive, clearly a lot of talent, application and practise involved in what he does. I’d also imagine that there is a sizeable warm up to performing this in a live situation - all the levels, EQ’s, FX etc is probably prearranged to a certain degree. The bit I can’t work out is how he’s getting parts to auto-record (e.g. hand claps, guitar line etc) and instantly loop without touching a mouse or keyboard. I’m not a sample person and MPC’s/midi boxes are pretty alien to me which is probably why I can’t suss whats going on!

In terms of Ableton and live mangling a lot of people are singing the praises of Push 2, it might be worth looking into as it seems to be an excellent bridge from software to performance.

Also, happy new year to you - hope 2016 brings you many musical adventures!

I’m really not anywhere near this level to be able to offer you solid working practices for this kind of live situation, as I said sample triggering is really not something I do a lot of but I will give it some thought and a few experiments to see if I can figure some things out that might help you.


No worries @wolflegjon! Thanks for taking the time to reply in this busy thing we are both apart of - LIFE!!!

I think I’ve got a flow now and I didn’t need to buy something to aid that! Hooray! A happy wife is a happy life!


Check out this everyone!!!

Wonderment and awe… 100% and pure… Now to find my jaw and pick it up from the floor


@hismostdarxxxellent Very pleased to hear you have found a creating method that you are happy with - judging from your last track its working very well!

Man, I’d love a reel to reel for recording but I lack the knowledge to maintain and service it. I will be keeping my eye on this project to see how it pans out…

Check out this everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wonderment and awe… 100% and pure… Now to find my jaw and pick it up from the floor

I still have my Akai GX-4000D (just like the one pictured next to the article, though with the brand & model names photoshopped away…), guess it’s time to go and bring it back to life. :slight_smile:

2020. A spectacularly beautiful, engaging and unencumbered (like Ableton Live, all design elements fit inside one window) interface design. And spectacular sounding (demo starts at 1:25 in vid).

2020 is a next generation semi modular beat-machine....


The concept of 2020 is very simple:

1. Generate a million sound/sequence variations from a single, small idea.
2. Make entire beats in just one screen. (without scrolling or switching windows)


Oooo 2020 looks good. they met there price. so ill wait to see if its any good./


2020 looks very interesting, I admire the goal of having everything on the one screen. Its simultaneously beautiful and possibly terrible at the same time but I like that I can’t decide. Its very bold, like a luminous cockpit of a airplane in the near future, but for sound.

Its very bold, like a luminous cockpit of a airplane in the near future, but for sound.

Yea, it does look like a cockpit! Does that mean I need it now? :slight_smile:


Certainly worth a test spin I’d say, flight goggles are optional :slight_smile: