Launching in May this year, the third iteration of Ableton's Push controller series arrived in two variations. In addition to the new and improved version of the pad-based MIDI controller, which requires a USB connection to Ableton Live to operate, Ableton announced a standalone device that can be used completely independently of the computer.
At the time of release, Ableton also announced that owners of the regular Push 3 would eventually be able to transform their tethered version into a standalone instrument through the use of an Upgrade Kit, sold separately, containing an Intel 11th Gen Core i3-1115G4 processor with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD hard drive, a lithium iron phosphate battery and a heatsink, alongside all the requisite tools for the DIY upgrade process.
The idea is that you can save money (around $1000) by purchasing the non-standalone version of Push 3, which retails for $999/£879, but if you decide later that you'd like to take advantage of the standalone edition's capabilities, you won't have to drop another $1,999/£1,669 on a new standalone Push. Instead, you can purchase an Upgrade Kit for $1,049/£849 and install the required parts yourself. All things considered, a more sensible - and sustainable - option.
Push 3's Upgrade Kit was released earlier this month. Naturally, we were curious to find out whether, as Ableton says, the upgrade can be completed by anyone without prior electronics experience in under 30 minutes. Ableton were kind enough to supply us with a non-standalone Push 3 and an Upgrade Kit, so we put its claims to the test and attempted the upgrade process ourselves with no preparation.
How did we fare? Pretty well, it turns out. After unboxing the Upgrade Kit and following Ableton's helpful guide, we successfully upgraded our Push 3 in the time it took us to share some insights on what we love - and don't love - about its new controller. All in all, the upgrade process was quick, painless and took us less than 20 minutes. Don't take our word for it, though - watch the video above to see it in action.