launchpad

Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out.

But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification.

The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback.

Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute studio setup and a live performance by Buddy Peace:

That basic model does quite a lot.

Beginners: For beginners, you get a lot of bundles. Live Lite, a gig of samples, and the Bass Station plug-in are included.

Ableton Live users: In Ableton Live, you’re pre-mapped to Drum Racks, mixing, and Max for Live.

iPad owners: And this is a grid that works with just about anything. Ableton Live is the original use case, but the driverless model plugs into an iPad, too. There’s official support for Novation’s own Launchpad app.

Advanced users, customization: Linux, Windows, other apps, all work, too, because the Launchpad has class-compliant drivers. This hardware has also been well supported by the community for apps ranging from Bitwig to Renoise, partly because of its low cost. Because it’s simple to program, it’s a great choice for Max and Pd and Reaktor patchers, too.

But that’s all true of the whole family at the moment.

So, is this the Launchpad I’d get? Absolutely not.

Wait, what?

Yeah, I have to admit, I think Novation has nailed it with two models. The Launchpad Mini is incredibly small, so for a dead-simple grid to just toss in a bag, I’d opt for that model – partly because I don’t need all those colors. The Pro, meanwhile, is brilliant in that it works with MIDI, and much to my surprise will support standalone operation. It’s not necessarily the most responsive controller in terms of pressure sensitivity (I still like Push and Maschine for that, or the Linnstrument if I want to get really serious). But it may prove to be the most versatile. There’s more to say about the Pro, but expect our review as they arrive this summer. (I got to play with a prototype, alongside our own MeeBlip, this summer.)

All that said, I’m sure the RGB Launchpad will be perfect for some. And Novation has done a superb job of rounding out their lineup with options for every use case, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. That lets you be modular and carry just what you need, and that, I think, is a very good thing.

Plus, I still can’t kill my original Launchpad (serial #7, believe it or not), even after copious amounts of abuse. So I think putting your faith in this line isn’t a big risk.

Ableton’s Push remains the hardware to beat as an expressive instrument with lots of other features. But it’s not much use outside of Ableton, it’s not available in anything other than the flagship model, and it’s heavy (which may be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re next DJ gig involves Ryanair).

Novation at the moment has pretty much every other possible base covered.

Now I just have to bide my time waiting for that Pro model.

http://global.novationmusic.com/launch/launchpad

  • ElectroB

    Love this new version, but Launchpad Mini is the way to go as far as I’m concerned. It’s particularly useful in a modular setup that involves 2-3 other controllers. I hope the Mini’s mkii is just around the corner πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah, I really fell in love with the mini once I first got my hands on it. Interesting question, whether they’ll be able to enhance that model, too, and still hit their price point…

      • sbrat

        That looks like the Mini in the video, actually. I have the mkI Mini in front of me right now – it looks like they’ve dropped “Mini” from the name here and branded it as the base model. I’m guessing the Launchpad S will become the Pro, since it’s the right size+price for a model MIDI ports, etc.

        Anyway this might explain why I was just able to get my Mini for 25% off the normal price, looks like the other Launchpads/controls are on sale too

      • Virtual Flannel

        Peter, can we get dimensions? I’m wondering if this might actually be the same size as he mini?

  • ElectroB

    Love this new version, but Launchpad Mini is the way to go as far as I’m concerned. Its size is particularly useful in a modular setup that involves 2-3 other controllers. I hope the Mini’s mkii is just around the corner πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah, I really fell in love with the mini once I first got my hands on it. Interesting question, whether they’ll be able to enhance that model, too, and still hit their price point…

      • sbrat

        That looks like the Mini in the video, actually. I have the mkI Mini in front of me right now – it looks like they’ve dropped “Mini” from the name here and branded it as the base model. I’m guessing the Launchpad S will become the Pro, since it’s the right size+price for a model MIDI ports, etc.

        Anyway this might explain why I was just able to get my Mini for 25% off the normal price, looks like the other Launchpads/controls are on sale too

      • Virtual Flannel

        Peter, can we get dimensions? I’m wondering if this might actually be the same size as he mini?

  • Kinetic Monkey

    This looks great, and good to see them using more realistic performances by inspirational producers like Buddy Peace rather than the crazy preprogrammed midi lights shows that are so very 2010. That said, my original first run launchpad still works flawlessly, as does the one at the community studio I help run – no reason to upgrade.

    • Oh, sure, though I think they’ve given two compelling reasons to upgrade:

      1. driverless operation for more compatibility (not available on the original Launchpad)
      2. MIDI and standalone operation on the Pro

      It’s great, though, that gear keeps working. If we could never throw anything away, that’d be perfect.

      • Kinetic Monkey

        Oh sure, there are improvements – I just mean that there’s nothing that’s made me go “sweet mother of launchpad! I need that!” So I’ll stick with my trusty old beast.

  • Kinetic Monkey

    This looks great, and good to see them using more realistic performances by inspirational producers like Buddy Peace rather than the crazy preprogrammed midi lights shows that are so very 2010. That said, my original first run launchpad still works flawlessly, as does the one at the community studio I help run – no reason to upgrade.

    • Oh, sure, though I think they’ve given two compelling reasons to upgrade:

      1. driverless operation for more compatibility (not available on the original Launchpad)
      2. MIDI and standalone operation on the Pro

      It’s great, though, that gear keeps working. If we could never throw anything away, that’d be perfect.

      • Kinetic Monkey

        Oh sure, there are improvements – I just mean that there’s nothing that’s made me go “sweet mother of launchpad! I need that!” So I’ll stick with my trusty old beast.

  • shane

    Every Warper Party and other music event I attend or perform at is an advertisement for Novation gear. My SL61 is indispensable. Now they just need to make an SL MKIII, bring back the right LCD and add polyphonic aftertouch. I was impressed with the feeling of the faders on the LaunchControl XL, definitely a step above other less expensive controllers.

    • Heh, Warper Parties. πŸ™‚ That brings back some memories – and that scene has given a lot to all of us in the controller world, back when there wasn’t much out for Ableton and it was all a pretty DIY affair.

  • shane

    Every Warper Party and other music event I attend or perform at is an advertisement for Novation gear. My SL61 is indispensable. Now they just need to make an SL MKIII, bring back the right LCD and add polyphonic aftertouch. I was impressed with the feeling of the faders on the LaunchControl XL, definitely a step above other less expensive controllers.

    • Heh, Warper Parties. πŸ™‚ That brings back some memories – and that scene has given a lot to all of us in the controller world, back when there wasn’t much out for Ableton and it was all a pretty DIY affair.

  • Paul Rose

    my original launchpad died… well the buttons do not light up anymore. I will get another one. You get push like scales and many more features for Ableton Live with this patch here: http://motscousus.com/stuff/2011-07_Nov … e_Scripts/

  • Paul Rose

    my original launchpad died… well the buttons do not light up anymore. I will get another one. You get push like scales and many more features for Ableton Live with this patch here: http://motscousus.com/stuff/2011-07_Nov … e_Scripts/

  • Neil Mitchell-Goodson

    Is it just me, or are they “paying homage” to recent Ableton videos? Vintage gear prominently placed, the mise en scene?

    • Michael Aldridge

      Ha, yeh, I always wondered how much use that often-featured Waldorf Pulse is used…!

    • maybe they use the same creative agency in their marketing campains πŸ˜›

  • Neil Mitchell-Goodson

    Is it just me, or are they “paying homage” to recent Ableton videos? Vintage gear prominently placed, the mise en scene?

    • Michael Aldridge

      Ha, yeh, I always wondered how much use that often-featured Waldorf Pulse gets…!

    • Igor Warzocha

      maybe they use the same creative agency in their marketing campains πŸ˜›

  • Leon Tricker

    An obvious point to make, but the price point will be key in terms of whether I upgrade from the original to this version or the Pro. That said, I’m also considering the LK XL – is that the same size as the original (and now RGB) version or the same size as the LP Pro? My OCD tendencies will want the LP that matches the LK XL πŸ™‚

    • Octavio

      yes i have both and they are the same size

  • Leon Tricker

    An obvious point to make, but the price point will be key in terms of whether I upgrade from the original to this version or the Pro. That said, I’m also considering the LK XL – is that the same size as the original (and now RGB) version or the same size as the LP Pro? My OCD tendencies will want the LP that matches the LK XL πŸ™‚

    • Octavio

      yes i have both and they are the same size

  • Mike Perkowitz

    Still interested to learn how you can control the lights and colors. The launchpad’s simplicity makes it great for simple animations, but I’d love to add RGB color.

  • Mike Perkowitz

    Still interested to learn how you can control the lights and colors. The launchpad’s simplicity makes it great for simple animations, but I’d love to add RGB color.

  • jason

    launchpad95 for old launchpad owners who want extra function.

  • jason

    launchpad95 for old launchpad owners who want extra function.

  • Virtual Flannel

    Stand alone operation of the pro is the key selling point for me. Would love a colourful scale grid to play my hardware gear instead of a boring keyboard.

  • Virtual Flannel

    Stand alone operation of the pro is the key selling point for me. Would love a colourful scale grid to play my hardware gear instead of a boring keyboard.

  • ThisIsReallyMyUsername

    they put the usb-port to the top. at last. the usb-port on the right side on the launchpad mini is really annoying, especially if you are using two minis next to each other. i have been thinking of modding my launchpad mini.

  • ThisIsReallyMyUsername

    they put the usb-port to the top. at last. the usb-port on the right side on the launchpad mini is really annoying, especially if you are using two minis next to each other. i have been thinking of modding my launchpad mini.

  • Laszlo Zizics

    still not working standalone without pc…. we need something like beatstep pro… who use usb for hardwares or pc i hate this

  • Laszlo Zizics

    still not working standalone without pc…. we need something like beatstep pro… who use usb for hardwares or pc i hate this

  • richard conrad

    whats the point of having a wasp and a tr808 in video and not use them??)

  • richard conrad

    whats the point of having a wasp and a tr808 in video and not use them??)

  • tomek

    Peter, what do you mean by not needing the colours?

    “The Launchpad Mini is incredibly small, so for a dead-simple grid to just toss in a bag, I’d opt for that model – partly because I don’t need all those colors.” LP MK2 Mini does feature RGB, doesn’t it? Besides, all the functionality is said to be there that of the regular LP.

    Another think, does anyone know of the Launchpad 95 author’s plans to upgrade to MK2? Or maybe some alternative to this script fo the new launchpad.

    Cheers

  • tomek

    Peter, what do you mean by not needing the colours?

    “The Launchpad Mini is incredibly small, so for a dead-simple grid to just toss in a bag, I’d opt for that model – partly because I don’t need all those colors.” LP MK2 Mini does feature RGB, doesn’t it? Besides, all the functionality is said to be there that of the regular LP.

    Another think, does anyone know of the Launchpad 95 author’s plans to upgrade to MK2? Or maybe some alternative to this script fo the new launchpad.

    Cheers

  • This isn’t correct. Just got mine in the mail – when plugging into iPad I got a “not enough power” message.

    Talked w/ tech support & they confirmed not only does it not provide enough power, there also is (as of 7/14/15) NO support for the Launchpad app with the new Launchpad RGB.

    The tech suggested I DOWNGRADE to the older version of the Launchpad controller.

    Made a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4DZONFfTHo

    Super frustrating.

  • This isn’t correct. Just got mine in the mail – when plugging into iPad I got a “not enough power” message.

    Talked w/ tech support & they confirmed not only does it not provide enough power, there also is (as of 7/14/15) NO support for the Launchpad app with the new Launchpad RGB.

    The tech suggested I DOWNGRADE to the older version of the Launchpad controller.

    Made a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4DZONFfTHo

    Super frustrating.