Quick Review: Novation Launchpad
Novation’s dedicated controller for Ableton with a 8×8 grid.
Buy ‘Novation Launchpad? In India
Novation collaborate with Ableton to present a tightly integrated control surface just for Ableton Live. At first glance, you’ll notice that there’s no faders or knobs but only buttons. That’s all you really need though. The tri-colored (amber, red, green) 64 buttons on its 8 x 8 grid comfortably triggers your clips while giving you instant feedback as well. In the session mode, the clips denote an 8 x 8 grid on your Ableton session view, amber clips on the Launchpad represents an existing clip, red a recording clip while green is a clip that’s playing. You can move the grid left, right, up or down with the arrow buttons on the top of the Launchpad. Each vertical strip represents a channel while you can trigger multiple clips on the same scene by the master scene trigger buttons on the right side of the Launchpad. Why would you need a Launchpad to trigger clips you ask? Well, you can only trigger a few clips at a time with a mouse (if you’re really fast), but imagine the spontaneity & versatility if you could trigger as many clips as your fingers could, giving you a more natural performance. Apart from trigger audio or midi clips from Ableton, the Launchpad lets you control more than that. The mixer section gives you the option to mute, solo or arm your channels, and the master scene trigger buttons on the right turn into Volume, Pan, Send A & Send B pages. Understandably it won’t be the smoothest transitions since you’re only incrementing by chunks of 8 steps, but having access to these pages in one controller is incredible! For more flexibility, the User 1 page turns into a MIDI keyboard-type layout where all the 64-buttons have notes & User 2 page is completely customizable by your own personal mapping. If you didn’t know, you could daisy chain a maximum of 6 Launchpad’s together as well. It’s amazing, just check it out below.
See, the Novation Launchpad first entered the picture as an official Ableton controller, and still is today. It’s just that people have decided to use it more than an Ableton controller by taking it off the standard mapping and re-mapping it to make it their own, sometimes not even for music! We’ve seen the Launchpad being used to play Tetris! Since its a great little MIDI controller at its core, the endless possibilities of its use is quite exciting, plus it’s got a great price for what it can do. If you don’t have Ableton, Launchpad comes with a free licensed version of Ableton albeit a stripped down one.
Reviewed by: Praveen Achary
Available on: Euphoric Magazine – Issue #4 – July 2012