I used to use the hell out of the Launchpads in the studio and in my show rig from 2010-2012. In 2013 I sold both my launchpads when I switched to Maschine. In 2014 I then moved on to Push which I simple love! Recently I decided I wanted to pick up a Launchpad so I could:
- Have a backup controller for Push that wouldn’t take up a lot of room in my carry-on
- Use a Launchpad to control session view so I could stay focused on Note Mode on Push thereby reducing mode switching on Push
- Be able to perform some songs off of my 2nd alien invasion album I Hear Your Signals, like “Celebration and Voices” were created using custom Launchpad mapping that I’ve never been able to quite replicate on other controllers
- I wanted a small footprint controller to sit next to my Octatrack on a Roland Laptop stand so I could play using Octatrack and Live from a single table (and Push is too big for that sort of thing.
Of course today there is a choice to be made these days. Launchpad S or Launchpad Mini? While researching this I found a fantastic in-depth comparison video on Chris Hahn’s YouTube channel.
I ended up going with the Launchpad Mini. I went with the Mini because, for what I needed, the smaller footprint was better. As Chris mentions in his video, the small buttons are great, you can reach them all with your thumbs (holding it more like a Tenori-On), and the fully rubberized back is great for popping the unit on the right-side deck of say a Nord Lead 4 or Blofeld.
My only concern in getting the Mini was it uses Micro USB which I hate because they snap off so easily. I’m happy to report that Novation supplies a really great 4.5’ cable with the jack mounted in a block of plastic. When the cable is plugged the block of plastic snugs up against the body of the Launchpad Mini so stresses from cable tension are distributed along the block instead of just on the metal jack. Nice one Novation! The Mini is also an excellent value at $99 – especially considering you get Ableton Live Lite with it.
I have to say I’m using it even more than I thought in conjunction with Push and for easy chair production sessions. Welcome back Launchpad! Welcome back :^)
PS – Here is an video from a few years back of my song “Celebration and Voices” which I can now play again.
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO