Midi Controllers: Novation Launchpad vs Monome

Minimalist Monome Controller
Minimalist Monome Controller
Novation Launchpad Controller
Novation Launchpad Controller

Recently release from the people at Novation is it's new launchpad controller for Ableton Live. The Novation Launchpad controller is a cheaper rip off of a handcrafted quality product called the Monome which has been produced for the last several years in small batches and crafted with quality.

The Monome is an open source midi/ computer/ whatever controller that comes in a few sizes. The smallest has 64 buttons arranged in an 8x8 square, the same as the Novation Launchpad. Monome is also available in 126 and 256 buttons as well which the Novation Launchpad Controller is not.

The Novation Launchpad Controller is specifically designed to control Ableton Live, especially in a live setting. Monome is an open source controller that works very well for Ableton Live but can also be used for just about anything you can think of.

Novation has a reputaion of making cheap quality products out of plastic that break easily. I once owned a Novation V-Station and the inside of the knobs that connect to the little pins that turn got stripped out just from below average use, I could not imagine someone using it in a live setting, night after night. The Monome is made from wood and silicone buttons and the electronics are handcrafted one by one and not spit out from a machine, or even some limited edition ones you can build yourself.

If you check out the videos I have provided you will see how many features are accessed the same way on the new Novation Launchpad and the Monome. However, the Monome has been out for years and the Novation Launchpad is just copying it's methods exactly to make a quick buck from unsuspecting consumers who will have a broken product in 1 years time. It is not copyright infringement but, In my opinion it is Open Source infringement at its best. The open source of the Monome is for every user to collectively benefit not one company to monetarily profit off someones goodwill.

Monome in Use

Novation Launchpad Controller Video

If you are looking to buy the Novation Launchpad, I would recommend waiting till a Monome becomes available. There is a reason they are slightly more expensive yet perpetually sold out 100%. Unless you want to buy more than one Novation Launch pad in the same time as one Monone and don't want to use it for anything else but Ableton Live, then go for it, otherwise stay away and snag an original Monome.

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Comments 6 comments

Ihatenovation 6 years ago

I agree about launchpad being a piece of junk. The second time I used it, it wouldn't turn on. It's been a few months since I first used it so it's out of warranty.

Screw crappy electronics. It's made in china, as cheap as possible no doubt.


GTS 6 years ago

Launchpads may be cheap but they do everything a monome can do plus a lot more.I own all of the above and the launchpad is a great entry level grid based controller.


GrosBedo 5 years ago

I don't know what you do with your launchpad, or even if you tried one, but it's a very good piece of gear to add in your setup. And it can do everything a monome can do, the SDK is provided for this purpose.

Obviously biased review.


AlanSwenson profile image

AlanSwenson 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV Author

@grosbedo It "can" do everything a monome can do. However, it is a piece of crappy plastic not wood or metal like a real piece of gear and novation straight up tried to copy the monome... so what you are saying is that a mercedes can do what a geo metro can do. I would rather have the mercedes. Let me know when your launchpad breaks cause the monome will still be going strong in 20 years.


againplease 4 years ago

Although not my favorite material(plastic that is)

a lot of "real" gear is made from it.

Actually a lot of seasoned pros use the launchpad.

based on your young,smug face in the photo,I'd fathom a guess that your not so seasoned.


AlanSwenson profile image

AlanSwenson 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV Author

Can I get some names of Seasoned Pro's that are not paid to endorse Novation that use their equipment? I have been a Pro Audio Producer for 4 years and a semi-pro studio owner for 4 years before that. You be the judge.

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