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Review of the Novation LaunchPad and Ableton Software

Updated on December 28, 2012


What is it?

The Novation LaunchPad is absolutely, hands down, my new favorite monome above all others. I'm actually new to the world of super-advanced drum machines and button-grid controllers, though I don't intend to stay a novice for long!

I had the opportunity to try out one of these bad boys in the store a few days ago, and decided to started saving every possible penny, to get one of the new launchpad. Which really won't take me long with the prices that Amazon is offering them at. I've been window shopping for the right grid controller for a while, and out of the few quality interfaces I've come across, the Novation is definitely the perfect balance of quality and price. It's obviously not made out of gold, but it's 10 steps up for any musician who needs more control while maintaining their freedom for spontaneous musical inspiration.

Why am I telling you about it?

Aside from the fact that I feel like I have been neglecting my inner musician, I was so excited after I played with the Novation LaunchPad and resolved to get my own, that I felt inspired to tell you about it too =)

Not to mention, I know that many of my avid readers are musicians themselves, and it is my pleasure to bring to light the newest music technology, so that everyone can benefit from it.

And this digital instrument is definitely a technology I feel is well worth my time to show off. It's innovative, radical and a fantastic show of how far we have come in all areas of our culture. The Novation Launchpad is a combination of sound and technology that many other designers have attempted to craft, but have been held back by certain steps that were necessary for this evolution to come about.

Even the Novation itself is not a perfect model just yet, and still has a lot of room for growth and expansion, which is fine with me. I love to use technology that has an opportunity for growth beyond its current state. At the same time, no one wants to play with something that doesn't have enough possibilities to start out with. The novation launchpad is definitely the balance between both of those worlds.

The whole setup is feature-rich, from the simple button-grid itself, to the customized Abelton Live software made just for the novation. It is exceptionally versatile, with the Ableton software working find side-by-side with other recording and automation software and the launchpad itself being able to become a universal controller for software and midi insturments alike.

And when I say universal, I really mean it. The entire system is set up to make it easy for just about anyone to access everything from the launchpad. Within just one of these baby's, you have 8 levels that allow you to program in automated tracks and loops, as well as free instruments for you to play live. As you can see in the demo, you can attach up to 3 launchpads together, to have complete navigation and versatility while you play. That opens up to 24 levels to program your EQ, volume, fades, solos, loops, clips, beats and custom added sketches.

All of this, to everyone's amazement, is run on phantom power, which allows the launchad to draw a small amount of power from the device it's plugged into. You definitely won't have to go searching for a new outlet to hook up one more thing to, as this device is set up to plug in through a USB or FireWire port for immediate use.

All in all, I am thoroughly impressed with this cool instrument, and I know you'll take the time to check it out. As a musician myself, it's an invaluable tool. Though as the parent and friend of musicians, I also look at it as a fantastic gift idea for anyone you know who loves to compose and play there own music.


Where can you find one?

I did my research after leaving the store, like the thrifty shopper I am, and found that the best deal around is on Amazon where the Novation Launchpad is ready and waiting for you in new or used condition.


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