Novation Launchpad for Music Production
Producer Essentials

Novation Launchpad for Music Production

10 min

Wondering what a Novation Launchpad does for music production? It’s a powerful MIDI grid controller that transforms how you interact with your tracks. In this guide, we’ll uncover the distinctive features of the Launchpad Mini, X, and Pro, showing you how they integrate with Ableton Live to refine your creative process. Find out which Launchpad suits your sound without the complications.

Key Takeaways

  • The Novation Launchpad range, tailor-made for digital music production, offers a portfolio of MIDI grid controllers like Launchpad Mini, X, and Pro. These devices are designed to seamlessly integrate with DAWs such as Ableton Live and Logic Pro, providing an immersive, hands-on experience for crafting beats, harmonies, and live performances with features like RGB pads and numerous controls.
  • Innovative features such as Capture MIDI in Ableton Live automatically preserve improvisational performances even when not recording, while seamless DAW integration ensures immediate and intuitive music playback, recording, and control, elevating the user experience with customizable controls and dynamic feedback.
  • The Launchpad Pro not only serves as a core MIDI controller but also offers access to a comprehensive sound library, customizable chord modes for easy harmony, velocity-sensitive pads for expressive performance, and additional features that go beyond music production to include audio-visual experiences and enhanced connectivity with analog and digital gear.

Exploring the Novation Launchpad Range

The Novation Launchpad range is synonymous with versatility and innovation in the digital music arena. Each device in the series is fine-tuned to work harmoniously with industry-standard DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic Pro, offering a plethora of features tailored for music producers of all calibers. With a lineup that includes the Launchpad Mini, Launchpad X, and Launchpad Pro, Novation has crafted a suite of MIDI grid controllers that cater to the diverse needs of today’s music makers.

These controllers are not just about triggering clips and scenes; they are about experiencing a deeper immersion in your music production journey. Each Launchpad model boasts a 64-pad grid with RGB pads that come alive to reflect your Ableton Live sessions, allowing you to:

  • Orchestrate your soundscapes with ease and precision
  • Craft intricate beats
  • Lay down harmonies
  • Perform live

The Novation Launchpad range is your gateway to an intuitive and tactile music-making experience.

Launchpad Mini: The Portable Beat-Making Powerhouse

The Launchpad Mini is a marvel of compact engineering, designed to deliver the full functionality of a key midi keyboard controller in a form factor that begs to be taken on the road, while offering launchkey mini’s deep integration with your favorite software.

Key features of the Launchpad Mini include, but are not limited to, the launchkey mini features:

  • 16 buttons
  • 81 RGB LEDs
  • USB-C socket
  • Kensington MiniSaver slot for added security

With these features, the Launchpad Mini transforms any space into a production studio, whether you’re in a café or on a sun-soaked beach.

This powerhouse may be small, but it’s mighty, offering an intuitive Ableton Live control that fits snugly in your backpack. Imagine the freedom of:

  • composing a drum pattern
  • triggering a melodic line
  • while waiting for your next flight
  • all with a device that’s as portable as it is powerful.

The Launchpad Mini is not just a standard MIDI controller; it’s a passport to musical exploration wherever your journey takes you.

Launchpad X: The Heart of Your Studio

The Launchpad X sits at the heart of your creative hub, designed to be the essential 64-pad MIDI grid controller for the modern producer. It’s the perfect partner for intuitive Ableton Live sessions, requiring version 10.1.3 or later, and even comes with a complimentary Live Lite license for those yet to own the full version. Every aspect of the Launchpad X is crafted for smooth, intuitive Ableton Live control, from its responsive RGB pads to its sleek, studio-ready design featuring the iconic Novation logo.

With the Launchpad X, you’re not just making music; you’re effortlessly navigating the realms of sound with a device that feels like an extension of your own creative spirit. It’s where technology meets intuition, empowering you to compose, mix, and perform with a level of freedom that only a Launchpad can provide. Step into your studio, and let the Launchpad X be the conductor of your musical orchestra.

Launchpad Pro: Advanced Control for Professional Creators

For the discerning artist seeking more hands-on control and professional-grade features, the Launchpad Pro is the perfect controller. Its RGB pads not only trigger clips with precision but also provide a canvas for polyphonic aftertouch and scale mode, enhancing your live performances. The Launchpad Pro’s advanced chord mode beckons you to explore new harmonic structures with color-coded pads that guide you through major, minor, and unique chords – all achievable with a single touch.

Beyond beats and harmonies, the Launchpad Pro offers:

  • Translation of your rhythmic ideas into expressive beats and melodic performances
  • Pads that light up in drum pads and melodic layouts
  • Nuanced control and creative freedom for professional music makers

Whether you’re in the studio crafting your next hit or on stage captivating an audience, the Launchpad Pro is the perfect tool for you.

Capturing Creativity with Capture MIDI

Ever found yourself lost in the flow of a jam session, only to realize you didn’t hit record? With Capture MIDI, those moments of unrecorded brilliance are a thing of the past. This unique feature in Ableton Live listens in the background, ready to seize your spontaneous creations at a moment’s notice. Just imagine, after an intense session of improvised melodies and rhythms, with a single command, a new MIDI clip materializes, containing all the notes you played but didn’t record – it’s like having a safety net for your creativity.

What’s more, Capture MIDI isn’t just about salvaging lost ideas; it’s a tool that can shape your workflow. When there’s no existing clip playing, and you’re not sure about the tempo of your latest riff, Capture MIDI intelligently sets the session’s tempo based on your performance. It’s akin to having a personal assistant that not only remembers every note you play but also understands the rhythm of your creative heartbeat.

Seamless Integration with Popular DAWs

The Novation Launchpads are not just controllers; they are the bridge between your musical imagination and the digital world of DAWs such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and Pro Tools. They are crafted to enhance your production workflows, enabling you to play back, record, and control your music with an immediacy that banishes the mouse to the sidelines. The Launchpad Pro takes this integration to the next level with customizable controls, dynamic velocity-sensitive faders, and RGB LED feedback that resonates with the pulse of Ableton, solidifying its place in the live performance arena.

Whether you’re a user of the Launchpad Mini or the Launchpad X, you’ll find a seamless experience with DAWs like Ableton Live and Logic Pro, thanks to features like 64 RGB pads for a visual representation of your session and velocity-sensitive pads for dynamic note and scale modes. The connection between your Launchpad and DAW is more than technical compatibility; it’s a harmonious partnership that unlocks new creative possibilities, making the production process as fluid as the music itself.

Customisable Fixed Chord Shape for Instant Harmony

Imagine being able to create complex harmonies with just a single finger. The Launchpad Pro’s chord mode turns this fantasy into reality, offering customizable fixed chord shapes that empower even the most novice of musicians to play chords like a pro. This innovative feature is not just about playing predefined chords; it’s about giving you the tools to shape your music with chord progressions and rhythms that are uniquely yours.

Whether you’re looking to add an emotional undercurrent with a minor chord or lift the spirits with a major one, the fixed chord mode on the Launchpad Pro is your ticket to instant harmony. It’s a creative arpeggiator that lets you change rhythm and mood on the fly, making every performance feel fresh and inspired. With the Launchpad Pro, harmony is not just a concept; it’s a tangible, customizable experience that elevates your music.

Velocity Sensitive Pads for Expressive Performance

The touch of a pianist, the strike of a drummer, the vibrato of a violinist – all these nuances of a live performance are within reach with the velocity-sensitive pads of the Novation Launchpads. The Launchpad Pro, especially, shines with its super sensitive pads, offering a breadth of expressive capabilities that bring your beats and melodies to life with every touch. The ability to control the dynamics of your music with the sensitivity of the pads is not just a feature; it’s an invitation to infuse your compositions with the emotional depth and texture that only human touch can provide. With responsive keys, the Launchpad Pro takes your musical expression to new heights.

This level of responsiveness is not just for show; it’s a crucial element for nuanced drumming and expressive strings, allowing musicians to articulate their creativity with a precision that mimics the finest of virtual keyboards. With the Launchpad, you’re not just pressing buttons; you’re engaging with an instrument that responds to your every intent, making every performance as vibrant and dynamic as if you were moving through the strings and skins of physical instruments.

Mixing and Device Macro Control at Your Fingertips

Step into the control room where the Launchpad series becomes the epicenter of your mixing universe. No need to switch modes or navigate complex menus; the intuitive interface of these controllers allows for immediate access to mixer controls. Adjusting volume, muting tracks, and fine-tuning your mix becomes second nature, all without having to pause your creative flow. The Launchpad’s hands-on control extends to device macros as well, providing a palette of effects like Stutter and Autofilter at the tip of your finger, ready to transform your tracks with a twist or a press.

This level of deeply controllable mixing and macro manipulation is akin to having a sonic sculptor’s toolkit at your command. The tactile response of the Launchpad’s interface invites you to mold your soundscapes with precision, ensuring that every nuance of your music is captured exactly as you envision it. It’s a symphony of control that’s both intuitive and empowering, making the Launchpad an indispensable ally in the art of music production.

The Ultimate Sound Library with Essential Sounds

Unlock the gates to an audio treasure trove with the Novation Launchpad Pro. As a Launchpad Pro user, you’re granted access to a world-class collection of sounds, including Ableton Live Lite, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Spitfire Audio Labs, and over 4GB of Loopmasters samples – a library rich enough to spark endless creativity. But the journey into sound doesn’t end there. The AAS Session Bundle, Klevgrand R0Verb, DAW Cassette, and Softube Time and Tone bundle further augment your sonic arsenal, providing you with the tools to carve out your unique musical identity.

The sound packs curated for the Launchpad offer:

  • Inspiration from the latest music trends
  • An ingenious feature that presents the relative minor for any major key samples, ensuring your tracks resonate with the emotional depth that only minor keys can convey
  • A collection that spans a myriad of genres and styles, guaranteeing that no matter your musical inclination, the Launchpad will serve as the ultimate companion in your sound creation odyssey.

Creating More than Music: Additional Features

Step beyond the boundaries of traditional music production with the additional features and creative tools that come with the Novation Launchpads. These devices are not just about making music; they are about crafting a full-fledged audio-visual experience. Compatible with applications like Ampify Launchpad, the Novation series extends its functionality with creative tools such as arpeggiators, enriching both your hardware synths and your approach to music-making.

The Launchpad app for iOS, for example, brings the power of scene launch and drum pad functionality to your fingertips, transforming your iPad into a potent musical instrument. For those seeking professional-grade tools, the Pro Features Collection on the iPad offers an array of sophisticated options, which, when paired with Novation hardware, create a cohesive and holistic music production environment. And for the customizers and tweakers, the Launchpad Pro’s integration with Max for Live paves the way for personalized interactions and creative visual performances that push the envelope of what’s possible in music production.

Connectivity and Power: Plug, Play, and Perform

In the world of music production, simplicity is key, and the Novation Launchpad X embodies this principle with its plug-and-play connectivity. It’s bus powered, drawing energy straight from the USB connection, which means you can focus more on your performance and less on power outlets. The inclusion of a USB-C socket not only ensures compatibility with modern devices but also promises a more stable and versatile connection, enabling you to plug in and get the music flowing without a hitch.

But the Launchpad X isn’t just about simplicity; it’s about connectivity. With MIDI in and out ports, it extends its reach to external MIDI hardware such as synthesizers and drum machines, inviting them to join the digital symphony you conduct from your Launchpad. This seamless blend of digital and analog gear is what makes the Launchpad X an indispensable asset for live performances and studio sessions alike, offering a world where connectivity and power come together in perfect harmony.

Customizing Your Launchpad Experience

Your music is a reflection of you, and with the Novation Launchpad’s Custom Modes, your controller can be just as unique. Each model, from the Launchpad Mini to the Launchpad Pro [MK3], offers an array of Custom Modes, enabling you to create personalized control layouts for software, hardware, or both. These modes, which can be tailored without replacing any factory features, are crafted within Novation Components software through a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Once you’ve designed your Custom Mode, it can be renamed, saved, and uploaded to your Launchpad, where it remains active until you decide to switch it up. These layouts are not just about personalization; they’re about expanding your control capabilities. You can map different parameters using MIDI learn for software or MIDI channels and CC messages for hardware, turning your Launchpad into a deeply customizable extension of your musical mastery.

Accessorize Your Launchpad Setup

Unleash the full potential of your Launchpad setup with a suite of accessories designed to enhance functionality and express your style. The journey from studio to stage is made effortless with a backpack-style soft carry case, specifically tailored for transporting your Novation controllers while keeping them safe and sound. And for the pinnacle of protection, the Launchpad Pro users can opt for a lightweight ‘shell’ case, which not only safeguards your device but also doubles as a desk tray when you’re ready to perform.

Accessorizing your Launchpad extends beyond mere protection. Here are some accessories that can enhance your experience:

  • Decksaver cover for the Launch Control XL: offers a durable shield against the rigors of the road, ensuring your device stays in pristine condition.
  • Launchpad & Launch Control XL Sleeve: snugly fits your device, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Custom stands: available to elevate gear like the Peak synth, making your setup more ergonomic and visually appealing.

These accessories can turn your Launchpad into a command center for your live and studio endeavors.

Let’s not forget the style aspect; with a range of themed T-shirts made from 100% organic cotton, you can wear your passion for the Launchpad brand and community on your sleeve, quite literally.


As our exploration of the Novation Launchpad series comes to a close, we’re left with the undeniable realization that these devices are much more than MIDI controllers; they are the conduits through which music magic is made. From the portable Launchpad Mini to the studio-centric Launchpad X, and the advanced Launchpad Pro, each model offers unique features that cater to the individual needs of music makers. The ability to capture creativity spontaneously with Capture MIDI, integrate seamlessly with popular DAWs, and control nuances with velocity-sensitive pads, ensures that your music production is as limitless as your imagination.

The Launchpad range is not just about making music; it’s about creating an immersive experience. With customizable modes, a vast sound library, additional creative tools, and a plethora of accessories, the Novation Launchpad serves as the cornerstone of any music production setup. Whether you’re performing live or laying down tracks in the studio, the Launchpad series provides the flexibility, control, and inspiration needed to realize your full creative potential. So go forth, armed with the knowledge that with a Launchpad by your side, every session is an opportunity to create something truly extraordinary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use the Novation Launchpad with DAWs other than Ableton Live?

Yes, you can use the Novation Launchpad with DAWs other than Ableton Live, such as Logic Pro and Pro Tools, due to its seamless integration and customizable features.

How does Capture MIDI work, and do I need to set it up before I start playing?

Capture MIDI works by automatically capturing MIDI data from armed or monitored tracks in the background of Ableton Live. You don't need to set it up beforehand; just start playing, and Capture MIDI will be ready to capture your ideas when inspiration strikes.

What are Custom Modes, and how do they enhance my Launchpad experience?

Custom Modes allow you to create personalized control layouts for your Launchpad using Novation Components software, offering unique control over your workflow. This enhances your Launchpad experience by providing tailored control for software, hardware, or both.

Is the Launchpad Pro suitable for live performances?

Yes, the Launchpad Pro is suitable for live performances due to its advanced control options, customizable chord shapes, and velocity-sensitive pads for expressive playing. It is designed with live performances in mind.

Are there any accessories available to protect my Launchpad during transport?

Yes, there are several accessories available such as backpack-style soft carry cases, lightweight 'shell' cases, Decksavers covers, and sleeves that offer a combination of convenience, protection, and style for transporting your Launchpad.