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Review of Launchpad X and Launchpad Mini mk3

Over the last year or two years, I started to perform more and more with Ableton Live. To be honest, in the beginning, it was a struggle to learn Ableton Live mainly as I was used to DAWs like Studio One, Logic, and Cubase. The concept of Live follows a very specific approach and method which can make it harder to get started when you feel at home in a different DAW.

When I first connected the devices to my iMac my chrome browser was assisting me with the setup process.

Also, both Launchpads show as USB storage devices on my MAC. Once you’ve plugged in your Launchpad you start the online Easy Start tool. Through this process, you can easily register the device.

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When I plug Launchpad X or Launchpad Mini mk3 into my MAC both devices start a fun light show using colors of the rainbow. The Launchpad X has an 8×8 grid of pads and on the side of the device, you can use two rows of parameter/navigation buttons. The Mini also includes an 8×8 grid of pads plus one row on the side.

Ableton Live Control

After I got my head around the way to use Ableton Live I was looking into the market to understand how I can launch clips and manage the handy grid easier with an external device. I ended up asking Novation to send me a review unit for their new Launchpad X version, and the updated Mini (mk3).

For me, the main use of the Novation Launchpad is to manage with sensual feedback my prepared clips and scenes that I define in the Session View in Ableton Live. Novation Launchpad X and Novation Launchpad Mini Mk3 did become my personal two unique clip starters.  

The volume and pan control was not utilized often, that could be personal preference on how I work. I do see that in a dark room I would use volume and pan more as it is easier to use when performing live where it is generally speaking dark.

As I am a keyboard player I tent to use the midi keyboard to play the piano. The Launchpad can be used to play an instrument in the desired scale. On the other hand, the Launchpad shines when playing drums. The scale selection are unique to the Launchpad X and not available in the Launchpad mini.

Performance with Launchpad

My personal number one use of any Launchpad is that I completely control a composed music track and perform with loops single or in groups in an extremely easy way. When you play with a Launchpad your live performance.

Pressure Sensitivity Pads

With the launch of the new version, one of the new features of the Launchpad X is that Novation added velocity and pressure sensitivity to the pads. These enhanced pads turn the Launchpad X into a more meaningful controller for example when performing drums.

As before there are mixer controls that are manageable through the pads. You can mix the different sounds when managing their volume or pan.

The Launchpad X includes 64 Velocity Sensitive Pads with Polyphonic Aftertouch, the mini mk3 comes with 64 Pads which are not Velocity Sensitive.

Launchpad in other DAWs than Ableton Live

Novation actively supports you when using the Launchpad controller in other DAWs. You get access to excellent video tutorials like the one below.

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