Product Pick: Novation Launchpad

FACT: Ableton Live is one of the best things to have happened to music in the last 10 years. It has enabled studio musicians and producers to be able to bust their bad beats in a way that is simply not possible with traditional sequencing software (or at least wasn’t possible when Live was released – some of the others have tried to catch up now). It transformed the sequencer into a performance instrument, with users able to trigger loops and sounds completely live (hence the name).

However, even if the music itself is being created live, there is something fundamentally un-funky about using a computer mouse and / or keyboard to make music. Step forward the Novation Launchpad.

Designed in close partnership with Ableton, the Launchpad allows Live users to trigger samples and loops, tweak effects and generally do everything they need to do on a funky 64×64 coloured grid that looks like a 70s disco dance floor for mice. The mice will be pleased, too, as each button can change colour to indicate the different states of a Live clip –if a button’s green, the clip is playing; if it’s yellow the clip is loaded; and if its red, the clip is currently recording. If a button’s blue, either it’s not a Launchpad and you’ve got a dodgy knock-off, or you’ve smoked one too many jazz cigars.

The concept is pretty simple, but the beauty is in the way it’s all been implemented. One neat feature is that though (unlike Akai’s APC series) the Launchpad doesn’t have any faders, the whole unit can easily change mode and become e.g. a mixer, turning all the vertical rows of buttons into virtual faders with in-built metering. Nice.

The bottom line is that the Novation Launchpad will help you perform loop-based music live with ease and grace, freeing you from the confines of your laptop, and that’s got to be a good thing.  It’ll keep the disco mice happy an’ all…

Get your hands on one by clicking HERE.

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