Novation’s Launchpad Pro is unique among controller hardware: not only does it operate in standalone mode, but it has an easy-to-modify, open source firmware. This mod lets you exploit that to transform it into a 32-step sequencer.
French musician and engineer Quentin Lamerand writes us to share his mod for Novation’s firmware. And you don’t have to be a coder to use this – you can easily install it without any coding background, which was part of the idea of opening up the firmware in the first place.
The project looks really useful. You get 16 channels (for controlling multiple sound parts or devices), plus 32-steps for longer phrases. And since the Launchpad Pro works as standalone hardware, you could use all of this without a computer. (You can output notes on either the USB port – even in standalone mode – or the MIDI DIN out port.)
You’ll need something else to supply clock – the sequencer only works in slave mode – but once you do that (hihi, drum machine), you’re good to go.
- Note input with velocity (adjustable using aftertouch on the pads)
- Repeat notes
- Adjustable octave
- Setup mode with track selection, parameters, mute, clear, and MIDI thru toggle
- Tap steps to select track length
- Adjust step length (to 32nd, 16th, 16th note triplet, 8th, 8th note triplet, quarter, quarter note triplet, half note)
- Rotate steps
On one hand, this is what I think most of us believe Novation should have shipped in the first place. On the other hand, look at some of those power-user features – by opening up the firmware, we get some extras the manufacturer probably wouldn’t have added. And if you are handy with some simple code, you can modify this further to get it exactly how you want.
It’s a shame, actually, that we haven’t seen more hackable tools like this. But that’s all the more reason to go grab this – especially as Launchpads Pro can be had on the cheap. (Time to dust mine off, which was the other beauty of this project!)
Go try Quentin’s work and let us know what you think:
Got some hacks of your own, or inspired by this to give it a try? Definitely give a shout.
The open firmware project you’ll find on Novation’s GitHub:
Hack a Grid: Novation Makes Launchpad Pro Firmware Open Source