Novation Launchpad S

Novation’s Launchpad has become a standard tool for many an Ableton Live rocker. Just a big bunch of buttons in a box, the Launchpad and Akai’s APCs had a relatively free run at the Live pad bashing brigade. So when news leaked out about Ableton’s new Push controller, Novation needed a response. And that response is a repackaged Launchpad S.

Strangely, there’s no press release, but there is the above video. So I guess I’ll just have to pull the site apart to fill in the yawning gap. Getting the obvious out of the way – it’s visually more or less the same as the old one. There are some cosmetic differences and it’s been made prettier, although for some reason, the old Ableton logo is on there. The buttons are brighter as well, although still the same Red, Green, Yellow, and White colours. And still no velocity or pressure sensitivity.

Speaking of Live, it’s in the box, along with Novation’s Bass Station synth, and is fully supported within FL Studio. But the Launchpad S has broken free of propriety drivers and is now class compliant, meaning that you can now use it with any computer and software capable of mapping. That said, it hasn’t stopped all manner of mappings popping up over the years. This also means that via the USB camera connection kit, you can use the Launchpad S with the iPad. On top of that, it’s also bus powered via the iPad as well.

Worth the update? Well it’s not that expensive in the whole scheme of things, and the bright lights and class compliance are a draw too. Obviously for a few notes more, you can grab Ableton’s Push controller. And it would be shortsighted to think that Akai didn’t have something APC shaped hot on the heels on Push and Launchpad S.

If you want to now more about how the KillTheRobot performance video was made, check out the above clip. It says more than I ever could.

In the meantime, you’ll be able your hands on the Launchpad S in May for $170/£150, a little time to eBay your old one.