Comparison: Ableton Push vs Akai APC40 MKII – Which one is best for you?


I’ve been an Ableton Live user for many years, and I always felt a dedicated controller would really benefit the program as well as my workflow.

After using both the Ableton Push and Akai APC40 MKII for a while, I’ve been able to see the benefits of both and how they fit different workflows.

I get a lot of questions on which one is “best” out of the two, and my response is alwaysย the same…”what are you looking to do?”.

I really think both are great controllers, and one may be more suited than the other depending on the user’s workflow and what they are looking to accomplish.

In this video I highlight some of the strengths of each, as well as what I feel separates them, and what could be improved on each one.

This isn’t so much of a review as it is just me sharing my thoughts on both.

Hopefully this helps those interested in these controllers gain a better understanding of what each can bring to the table.

You can pick either one of these devices up in most stores and online shopsย that sell music gear.

Here’s a couple links toย Musician’s Friend

Ableton Push


If you use Ableton and either of these controllers, let me know which you prefer and why.

If you don’t have one and are interested, let me know which one you think would fit your workflow the best.

If you prefer something else over these two, share that as well!


  1. Right off the bat I’d have both. But then again I’m on a whole other page.

    Is there a new Push controller coming? $479 is quite generous and suspect considering NAMM 2015 is around the corner.

    • I really loved using both together man lol, was fun. As for the sale, I think it’s only at Musician’s Friend, they having a crazy sale right now lol.

  2. Hey Saintjoe,

    Great video man! I personally use the Push and Maschine together. I also DJ so I’ve been considering adding that Apc40 for that. I feel that you landed it with your description of the push. It is a great device for the creative aspect of music production.

    I personally like Abletons work flow and warping function. It’s is something much easier to get a sample prepared I Ableton. I also love the Maschine’s work flo. I own the Maschine Studio some I’m sure you understand that. There are multiple ways in which I use the two together. Sometimes I’ll build in the Maschine in stand alone then open Ableton and drag and drop my tracks in to the clip view or save the song in Maschine then open Abletons. While in Ableton open Machine as a VST then select the song that I just created, from there I can begin to build on the song in Ableton. Lastly I have a template created where all of my Maschines audio and midi are routed directly in Ableton, this way I can use them simultaneously together. I prefer to get creative with my drums on the maschine but I often times find myself getting stuck in an 8bar loop adding more and more. Where Ableton’s live arrangement mode helps to spread out my ideas in real-time, then allows me to go back and make edits. Getting to the sound or kit that I need on Maschine is quick and easy but the “command F” button to access file browser then simply typing in the name of the plug in or effect is just priceless for workflow in Ableton.

    The APC 40 would be the perfect addition to my DJ controller. Allowing me to utilize Ableton’s beat warping functionality with my live DJ sets just opens the doors to unlimited creativity. Allowing me to showcase both my DJing and music production skill at the same time.

    • Thanks for the comment Marc! Yeah, it’s all about workflow. Most times when in Ableton I just have Maschine routed to audio tracks and I build my drums directly in Ableton clips as audio, using Maschine as if it were a hardware drum machine. I like working with audio so Ableton is great for that. I love the operational and edit functions of Push, it’s crazy for the creation aspect. Though I do like how immediate the APC is with it’s faders and direct button access for quick mutes, solo, rec, etc on the fly.

      Either way, they are both awesome depending on what you like to do, and many will find room for both!

      Thanks fam!

  3. I respect your outlook on all the products that you share with us, I was wondering if you can assist me with my big decision. I’ve been working heavy in Ableton for an entire year now. The workflow is compared to none in my books. I also DJ out here in Vegas and this upcoming year will be working in the clubs. I’ve been utilizing the APC40 MKII with a template loaded with effects, the first four volume faders as EQ effects, and also a built in step sequencer via user mode. I just purchased the Traktor Kontrol S8, my first time in Traktor but got the groove of it really fast, and now I want to know which controller would you suggest I stick with for my live DJ gigs? I have my songs set up in Ableton, warped and broken down into duplicate clips as my hot cues so I can mix songs on the fly and in key just like traktor, and the size of the s8 is also my concern. But I would love to receive your feedback fam. I appreciate it…

    • I don’t dj, so I wouldn’t be of much help there, however, it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind. Especially if you’re using Ableton, then a dedicated Ablton controller would be best. However, if you find yourself moving into Traktor then of course you’d want to use that…you may find yourself using both or one or the other based on the gig you’re doing that day. So really I always say go with your gut, and go with what is most comfortable to you so that you don’t even have to think about it while performing.


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