Novation has always innovated in areas of MIDI control. The original Launchpad was released in 2009 as a dedicated controller for Ableton Live. More recently the Launchpad MK2 has arrived along with the enhanced Launchpad Pro and more petite Launchpad Mini. All of them focus on providing an 8 x 8 grid of 64 pads designed to mirror the Session View in Ableton Live.
Hit the pad to trigger the corresponding clip in Live or launch a whole scene. Launchpad is visual, tactile, and extremely configurable.
The Launchpad pads are all now lit with RGB LEDs. This means they can match the color of your clips, so you can see at a glance what clips are loaded. But triggering clips is only part of the story. Down the right side of Launchpad are the scene launch buttons. These double up as shortcuts to transform Launchpad’s grid into other functions.
You have volume controls, pan, effects sends, stop, mute, solo and record arm. So, you can instantly move to mixing mid-performance or drop out whole sections, solo a specific clip or start recording new clips with a touch of a button.
The Launchpad Mini can do everything the Launchpad can do but in a smaller footprint. It loses the RGB nature of the pads, dropping back to the yellow, green and red of the original Launchpad. Otherwise, it’s a smaller and cheaper option.
The Launchpad Pro takes things to a different level. It builds on the Launchpad features by adding velocity sensitivity to the pads to enable a more complete controlling and performing experience. Launchpad Pro becomes an instrument in Note Mode.
It switches between layouts for drums or instruments, giving chromatic or custom scales so that you never miss a note. You can create an entire expressive performance, melody, chords, and percussion, all from the Launchpad Pro without having to touch a mouse or dig deep into Ableton Live. The external MIDI connection also means that you can start controlling other MIDI gear outside of the Ableton eco-system.
• Novation Launchpad Mini – $99
• Novation Launchpad Mk2 – $149
• Novation Launchpad Pro – $299