The Live Loops grid in Apple’s new Logic Pro X 10.5 has a hardware controller – and you might even own it already. Apple includes plug-and-play support for the Novation Launchpad line in the latest Logic.
It’s a new angle on launching sound and patterns – well, literally and figuratively. You’ll want to physically rotate the Launchpad 90 degrees left or right so that you orient pads horizontally in time, instead of vertically as in Ableton Live’s Session View.
Other than that, you just connect a supported Launchpad, and Logic’s Control Surface Setup will automatically set it up as a controller for Live Loops.
This lets you do the sort of thing Launchpad users are already accustomed to doing in Ableton Live – using pads to trigger samples, loops, MIDI patterns, and so on.
Logic’s grid is integrated into that software’s workflow, though, which also opens up some new features – like dragging and dropping multiple files into the grid easily, triggering Logic automation, and using the grid side by side with Logic’s timeline.
I was able to get some information about how this works.
Which devices are compatible: Original Launchpad (that surprised me!), Launchpad s, Launchpad MK2/RGB, mini MK1 + MK2 + MK3, and Launchpad X.
Basically, only the new Launchpad Pro MK3 is missing, though that may be forthcoming. In the meantime, this or any other controller can also be configured manually. (See below.)
You can use multiple Launchpads. One Launchpad gives you 8×8 grid. A second one gives you 16×8, a third 24×8… and so on.
Rotate either direction. There’s also a rotation (clockwise/counterclockwise) option in Control Surface Setup, which means you can make that chain seamless – without bumping into the USB port. Clever.
Trigger cells and scenes. The Launchpad is already set up to do this in Live, the Ampify Launchpad app, and via third-party support in tools like Bitwig Studio. Now you can use it directly with Logic.
Control the mixer. On some models, you can also control track volume, pad, mute, solo, etc. (Launchpad X, Launchpad mini MK3.)
Assigning control manually: The whole point of the Launchpad integration is not having to do this manually, but while we’re on the topic – and even for you Launchpad Pro MK3 users – yes, you can assign everything in the Live Loops via MIDI, too. You’ll use the Controller Assignments page, choose Learn, and set up triggers manually. That’s a bit of a pain, though, so I hope there’s another solution that lets you ‘script’ controllers.
And play instruments. Well, apart from Live Loops, the Launchpad is still an excellent instrumental controller, thanks to scale mappings, and on some models (Launchpad X, Launchpad Pro) velocity and pressure sensitivity. That support is just using it as a MIDI controller and was present already, but obviously the combination should also be useful.
All of this should answer anyone who missed tactile control when they saw pictures of Logic and an iPad. That said, Logic Remote on iPad and a Launchpad should be a pretty complete solution. And you still have the more intuitive display and mouse-keyboard combination for precise work in the main interface.
Meanwhile, this is another demonstration of why it’s useful that the Launchpad is a software-agnostic controller you can use anywhere. (I do mean anywhere – only the very first model required drivers, so even Linux, iOS, and Android work.) That’s true of some controllers – but not of a lot of mass-market grid controllers.
Put it this way, it’s likely to help a Launchpad pass the dust test – that is, it’s less likely to collect any.
If you have any more questions, or ways you’d want to use this, let us know.
Oh, PS – here’s Novation on Launchpad Pro with Logic even before this integration: