launchpad_angle

A monome-like grid controller built for Live, shipping in November for $199 – and I’ve got a first hands-on look with the hardware.

The feature that makes Ableton Live Ableton Live has always been its Session View, an array of Lego-like blocks of music triggering samples and patterns. In the grand tradition of the MPC, mapping hardware controls that make music non-linear has been a major theme of computer music, leading to the monome and the Tenori-On. Usually, consumer gear has only combined these with traditional drum pads, knobs, or faders.

Enter the Novation Launchpad. It’s $199. It’s a grid controller and nothing else, with a set of on/off buttons in an 8×8 array, plus additional shortcut buttons around the sides for switching modes. It’s set up out of the box to integrate with Ableton Live, but it also acts as a generic MIDI controller. It’s bus powered, really lightweight, and compact. Even following Akai’s earlier APC40 this year, there’s something special about the Launchpad: its radical simplicity, and the fact that it is this compact and cheap and plugs in via USB without power, makes this a potential no-brainer for any Live user with a laptop.

I’ve just gotten one of the first Launchpads to arrive (unit “#16″ on the back), so I’ve been playing around with it and can provide some initial impressions and details. I’ve also gotten input from Ableton’s Dave Hill as well as Novation, and I expect to fill in more soon.
launchpad_buttons_angle

All about the buttons: Buttons on the Launchpad can light up red / green / amber, with limited dimming ability (non-continuous). Like the APC40 and the monome, those buttons are not velocity-sensitive.

monoming the sincerest form of flattery? Of course, one design more than any other championed the radical idea of a minimal grid of buttons — and nothing else. That design statement was the partially open-source, fully-homegrown monome. I’m sure as a result Novation will be accused of ripping off the monome design. I think the opposite: I think the availability of the Launchpad is a huge victory for monome, and an enormous compliment. More than any other design – including the APC40 – the Launchpad really says that an affordable, mass-market device can take on the monome’s radical form. It says grids could become ubiquitous. It’s an enormous validation of what the monome project has done. Furthermore, I think the monome community can continue to reinvent what to do with grids, with software and interaction. There are also many things the monome is – locally produced, sustainably produced, running with open source software, fully community-supported, available in kit form, working with OpenSoundControl, built in a premium form factor – that the Launchpad is not.

[edited for clarification] I think the Launchpad is unlikely to dissuade a person who wants a monome from getting a monome. But what’s significant here is that the design of musical instruments and controllers can adopt new forms. The monome was seen as radical when introduced. It seemed as though the music tech industry wouldn’t produce anything without slapping on some arbitrary knobs somewhere. The Launchpad really does follow the monome’s design cue, and maps control in Live in some new ways. That gives me hope that other designs could likewise tread in new direction, both from independent and larger designers.

Onto the details… The big picture aside, here’s a first look at how the operation of the Launchpad works. I’ll have a short video a little later on today.

launchpad_above

You can see how compact the Launchpad is here with it sitting alongside a MacBook. Buttons on the top and side provide shortcuts; they also send MIDI messages, so could be customized for other software. The buttons on the right launch scenes in Session View.

pagebuttons

Page buttons allow you to navigate through your clips, with an onscreen rectangle – as on the APC40 – to help keep your place. Page up and down through scenes, or left and right through tracks.

Control Modes

The Launchpad has a series of modes that act allow the single 8×8 grid to perform multiple duties. Different modes and shortcuts bring up different visual feedback (by lighting up the buttons) and allow you to control different parameters.

Session mode

In Session mode, the Launchpad does exactly what Akai’s APC40 does. You can trigger clips and view clip state (playing, recording, ready, empty) by color (green, red, amber, and off). You can trigger scenes. You also get the red rectangle that highlights which bank of clips is active.

Unlike the APC40, though, the Launchpad is cheaper, smaller, thinner, lighter, and bus-powered. You can pick it up like a tablet, or squeeze it into a small club space. You can also easily chain multiple Launchpads together (or Launchpads and APC40s), so long as you have enough ports or a USB hub.

Multiple units can simultaneously access integrated control surface functions and clip triggering in Session View. So, for instance, you could have two Launchpads controlling clips, or one controlling the mixer and one controlling clips, or… you get the idea.

Mixer mode + parameter pages

Hit “mixer,” and you see an overview of all your tracks, eight at a time. (You can navigate through your set using the “page” buttons.)

Each row has a different function:

  • Volume
  • Pan
  • Sends A + B
  • Stop clips
  • Track on
  • Solo
  • Arm

The “stop” row allows you to either stop an individual track or stop all clips by hitting the “stop” button itself on the right. Solo, arm, and track enable are self-explanatory.

Where things get a bit cooler is if you press the “snd A,” “snd B,” “pan,” and “vol” controls. These allow you to use each column to set parameters. So, for instance, if you want to adjust the send level on your second track, you’d hit “mixer,” then “snd A,” then use the second column to adjust the send up or down. You can fake a “fade” by dragging your finger up or down the column. Now, this doesn’t give you the continuous control a knob or fader would; there’s no interpolation between values. On the other hand, if you’re trying to create stepped, rhythmic changes, that could make the Launchpad (or any grid controller, including the monome) more interesting.

launchpad_modes

Using one of the two dedicated User Mode buttons, the 8×8 grid becomes a blank canvas for sending notes or Control Change messages. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make either mode dynamically control devices, which I’m investigating.

User mode

“User modes” provide open access to the pads for use as MIDI inputs. By default, “user 1″ sends MIDI note messages, and “user 2″ sends control change values.

In the video, you’ll see these modes used for some crazy things, like programming in a sequence and having it continue to light up as you add other layers. In my test – keeping in mind launch date is still over a month away – I couldn’t replicate any of these behaviors. Some of this interaction may require the upcoming Max for Live; I’m awaiting confirmation on details.

In the meantime, you can at least use the Launchpad as a MIDI input in Live or any other software.

Use with other software

Every single button on the Launchpad sends MIDI; I opened a MIDI Monitor session on my MacBook while testing it. There’s not a single menu key that doesn’t send a message. Also interesting: each sends both an on and an off value, which makes it more useful as a button.

It should also be possible, as with the APC40, to use MIDI to light up the Launchpad, complete with color and limited dim levels. I’m assuming the mappings may even be identical to the APC40. I don’t know yet how to do this, however.

Another big selling point for Novation, of course, is Automap support. Along the top, there are alternative labels for the buttons: learn, view, page, instrument, fx, user, and mixer. These will work with Automap and Automap Pro, in case you want to use another host or map to third-party instruments and effects. I didn’t get a chance to test this functionality yet, however.

twolaunchpads

You can connect multiple Launchpads to one computer and use them all dynamically as control surfaces. I tried it with the pre-production prototype at Ableton’s office in New York, alongside my production unit. (The pre-production device at top has slightly different-colored plastic and less-frosty pads.)

Physical form factor

The Launchpad feels really good. It’s thin, it’s light, it’s easy to toss in a backpack (as I did today), and yet the plastic case feels very solid. The pads feel good, though I find the throw a little long, making them rock slightly if you don’t hit them dead-center. Angled pads indicate the center, and four pads around them have slight nubs on the surface for additional tactile feedback.

Rubber strips underneath the unit help grip surfaces.

One possibly unfortunate decision was to put the USB port on the side rather than the top, which means you can’t easily put two Launchpads side by side.

Software

The Launchpad ships with a copy of Ableton Live Launchpad edition (aka Live Lite), version 8.0.6. On both my Mac and Windows boxes, I simply installed that version and it automatically found my full Live license. I expect that the 8.0.6 build will get pushed to everyone else in time for launch.

You select the Launchpad as other control surfaces, by looking for “Launchpad” in the Control Surface menu. This presumably means that, like the APC40, a software handshake is used to enable the red clip selection box. I’d still like to see a universal solution from Ableton, one resizable to other controllers. Why not plug in a 4×4 drum pad and bank through clips in a 4×4 rectangle instead of an 8×8 one? The red rectangle is also limited in that it’s tough to see which tracks are selected. (It’s also kind of tough to see, period.) That’s really become an Ableton complaint, though. I’m sure we’ll be working on Max for Live and Live API solutions for heads-up displays that replace all of this soon.

inthebox

In the box: a very thin but clear getting started guide, plus a disc with Live Lite and USB drivers. Sadly, without drivers, this doesn’t work, so as with other Novation hardware, you’re out of luck on Linux. That’s too bad – Live may not run on Linux, but I like hardware that does multiple duties.

Questions and Initial Impressions

I like the Launchpad a whole lot. Sure, it doesn’t have knobs or faders – but you could throw the Launchpad into your backpack alongside a KORG nanoKONTROL, using the Korg for your fader and knob tasks while the Launchpad launches clips, triggers drum pads, and gets used for live sequencing and playing instruments.

I am a little disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be a way to control Devices. I’d like to be able to take the User Mode and use my eight columns to control the eight macro knobs on any active Device. Sure, you only get 8 values of resolution, but you could set up a Device so that those eight values were musically interesting. I’m investigating whether this is possible; if not, I may look into hacking a solution.

I still think there’s a big place for open tools. The Launchpad is already touting forthcoming use with Max for Live, but that’s only because it sends MIDI messages – and anything else that can send MIDI (or OSC, via work from the Live community to use it) will do the same. I think those of us working on open interaction, though, can find ways of building stuff that works in open tools and closed tools (Java, Pd, and the like are open, Max is not), and open and closed hardware (monome, Livid’s Ohm on the open side, things like the cheap-and-light Launchpad on the proprietary side). Having lots of grids could be a good thing. If everyone has the same thing, the pressure is on to make your performance different from everyone else’s.

But the bottom line is, I think this is going to be a huge hit with the Live user base. And even more than the APC40, I think it’s cheap, an easy impulse-buy, extremely compact, and complements other hardware. It also looks like it’ll be a terrific live visual controller for people who moonlight between music and visual sets.

Since I do have this Launchpad here well over a month prior to launch, and some folks at Ableton and Novation ready to share, if you’ve got questions or concerns, please don’t be shy.

  • s ford

    Great write up.

    Looks good, can't wait to get my grubby hands on one!

    Would it be possible to use it with other progs though?

  • hermetic

    I´m totally into this, the apc is ofcourse very nice but not the price, the future is goodlooking!

  • Barry James

    Here's a video of it if anyone wants to see it in action: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=DV247TV#play/

  • saiko

    yesterday i dreamt about smthg like that !

  • http://phrontist.org Bjorn Westergard

    The buttons don't send velocity/pressure do they?

  • robb

    oh boy, so you communicate with it over midi? get with the times, new roman!

    I think this is good news for the monome-community, but all these extra buttons make it difficult to write cross-'platform' apps.

    If I write something for an 8×8 grid controller, i have to make sure it runs well on the 64/40h with tilt, 40h without tilt, ohm64, apc40 and launchpad + versions for 128 in both orientations as well as the 256…

    Cause why should i use a multi-button gesture from the 64 when i have plenty of extra buttons for mode-switching?

    and of course, all that without access to the real deal

  • http://phrontist.org Bjorn Westergard

    Agh, just saw the bit about it not being class compliant – how useless.

  • http://www.podcomplex.com/blog Dan Foley

    Was on the verge of getting an APC40 or Livid Ohm, but might hang on and try this out first… if it works for me, that would certainly save a few quid!

  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    This is not CC patent issue?

    How Akai could do this kind of rip off and sell it and nobody else could sell arduinomes or something similar?

    I'm a bit confused.

    Of course it is a great new but nothing "new".

    ;)

  • http://phrontist.org Bjorn Westergard

    Mudo: It's really a huge leap backward – this company has used it's resources to mass produce a cool piece of open hardware for a low price, but deliberately crippled it by ignoring established standards.

  • pierlo

    ahhah i dreamed of korg doing a nanoLaunchpad tonight and here comes novation!

  • Martin

    mh … looks great, hopefully the monome guys on the forum will jump on it. No OSC though …

    these are quite interesting times for making music!

  • Chris Thorpe

    I know it's off-topic, but this just sparked an idea of a guitar-ome. 6×24 matrix of buttons plus some pluck sensors. I wonder how hard that would be to build.

  • andrew zero

    man these guys are killing me. im going to be surrounded by a sea of controllers.

  • robb

    @Chris Thorpe

    I’m thinking about this for a while now, but i could not find any backlit monome-style buttons that are small enough and stand close enough together for something like this…

  • Herby

    Just bought ordered one from DV247.com

    Man.. those guys are quick and I got a free case!

    Novation Launchpad

  • http://www.myspace.com/gliiitches Leon Tricker

    An affordable clip launch controller for Live… Its about time! :-)

  • Chris Thorpe

    @robb – You have a point. I think are some engineering challenges to solve for sure. I guess it could be done with QProx or similar proximity switch technology but then it starts veering off into elongated iPhone territory. Also, to preserve the guitar metaphor, it might be good to have thin buttons aligned in 'strings'. Or, perhaps strings made of that conductive rubber stuff whose name escapes me but whose resistance drops with pressure. Some thinking to do…

  • http://arcanumxiii.deviantart.com/ Sebastien Orban

    Want.

    Still, they're copying the Monome big way. But cheaper and thinner. I've mixed feeling about it, but well, 1/4 of the price and I've already buy too much gear so…

  • http://www.basementhum.com Basement Hum

    A couple of questions:

    Are the lights controllable via midi? Could this be used to provide visual feedback for (eg) a max patch that has nothing to do with live? (if so, is there protocol info available somewhere)

    Why are there timing hiccups in the promotional video? at 0:43 http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=DV247TV#play/… whats the weak link that's causing this?

  • http://www.soyuz7.net Cosmonaut

    Beautiful! The main reason I went against the APC 40 was the sheer size. this has connectors on the side (which I demand) and can be fit into a laptop bag. I bought a nanokontrol for knobs and sliders, as you said, the perfect combination.

    While that I think the format is derived from the Ableton clip view and not a specific invention as such of Monome, it is as you say a compliment that such a successful product can show the larger companies that there are more and just as equal ways of doing things.

  • http://www.basementhum.com Basement Hum

    Ah, seems like the lights are properly controllable '• Flexible trigger platform for Max MSP and Reaktor programmers

    Programmers can utilise variable brightness and multi-colour LED states to their full advantage when designing new and innovative tools in Max MSP and Reaktor.'

  • ed

    any idea if the launchpad is going to work with older versions of Live, e.g. my humble copy of Live 6? The APC only works with an updated version of 7, or Live 8, as far as I'm aware.

  • jeroen
  • http://nostromo.noisepages.com M-.-n

    THANK YOU NOVATION !

  • vinayk

    Cool!

    Are the buttons velocity sensitive Peter?

    I assume they currently wont work with monome software, but I guess one could maybe look at a way to get that working maybe with max4live?

  • jon kurinsky

    they're definitely running afoul the open-source hardware concept–one of the things, to my mind, that has made the monome/arudinome community so cool–but i think this shows the limits of the open-source hardware concept. roughly the same approach to design, manufactured cheaply overseas, extra features, will probably be cheaper than building your own arudinome or monome kit, etc. this is just how capitalism works. oh well.

    the lack of support for widely-used standards is distressing, but nothing a few max-heads (or pd-heads or any other simple platform) can't fix with a simple midi-to-OSC patch, or something.

  • Woieyr

    Finally a good monome type controller and a reason not to buy into the utter crap Akai has for tech support.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    These are buttons, not pads. No velocity sensitivity. Also, on that note, that hack that's pretty easy to build on the monome and impossible here is to add tilt sensors, which could be used as a continuous controller to make the device a bit more expressive.

  • riki b
  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    @Bjorn

    Are you talking about Novation?

    They crippled until maxforlive arrives…

    What about the monome license for non profit clones?

    This is cheaper than arduinome and it doesn't give greethings to monome comunity…

  • ben

    I'm a bit confused by this:

    "I think it’s not so much about competition as it is a sign that the days in which all music hardware fit into the same physical forms may finally be drawing to a close"

    I think you're saying that the increasing ubiquity of backlit grids shows that we're breaking free of established physical forms.

    It's seems like a somewhat counterintuitive argument to make about a device that, well, looks pretty familiar these days.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Bjorn: Not sure what you mean – crippled because they didn't implement a class-compliant MIDI mode? (I think there's a simple reason some vendors don't do that, which is that it's extra work on the firmware side, whereas if you require drivers, from a support standpoint you have a little more control over what people are doing. I don't agree, but that's my suspicion; class-compliant support does require some effort.)

    @Mudo: The Launchpad is a MIDI device. There's absolutely no way in which it's dependent on the release of Max for Live, other than if you want a MIDI device to use for Max for Live with things that light up, the Launchpad is one option. But maybe I misunderstand?

    As for "cloning" the monome, the Arduinome really was designed to be a clone of the monome and to be interoperable with that device. The Launchpad is not. This, at the end of the day, is a grid of buttons. Part of why I think it's possible to become over-protective of hardware designs is that *some* things are very, very easily copied or (more liberally) re-interpreted. Other things are not – which gets into the monome software, the community, and the commitment to sustainable production. And from a design standpoint, the Launchpad *feels* very different than a monome. I don't expect much of any confusion, to be honest.

  • ed

    Mudo: unless i've completely misunderstood the way monome works as a company, they are completely open source. this means there are no patents or copyrights on the design of their devices, and no license for non profit clones: anyone is free to make a monome-inspired device, using as much or as little of their design ethos, pcb templates, communication protocol or whatever as they choose.

  • Nek

    to Mudo:

    I don't really understand what are you talking about. As long as there is no patent infrigement you could copy and sell anything you want.

    I'm sure there is no patent for "X by X buttons controller surface".

    BTW the article is about Novation not Akai Pro. And not about new ideas but about new accessible implementation of the known idea.

    The appearence of Novation's Grid is a sign that pro music industry is beginnig to take all those strange and new kind of instruments seriously and consider 'em to be intresting enough for mass production with low price.

    And of course somebody else can sell something similar to monome. Actually you can. Find time, money and do it.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @ben: I'm sorry, that was a truly, truly terrible sentence. I rewrote what I was trying to say:

    "I think the Launchpad is unlikely to dissuade a person who wants a monome from getting a monome. But what's significant here is that the design of musical instruments and controllers can adopt new forms. The monome was seen as radical when introduced. It seemed as though the music tech industry wouldn't produce anything without slapping on some arbitrary knobs somewhere. The Launchpad really does follow the monome's design cue, and maps control in Live in some new ways. That gives me hope that other designs could likewise tread in new direction, both from independent and larger designers."

    And yes, because the monome was differentiated partly for what it did *not* have, that to me opens the door for things that, in turn, look nothing like a monome. At least I hope so. In fairness, it was an independent designer first and a larger manufacturer much later – that's often a business reality, if nothing else. So, as always, CDM is committed to independent design, not just big-name makers.

  • Michael Coelho

    This is very exciting. The APC-40 interested me, but duplicated a lot of functionality of my ProjectMix IO and takes up a lot of desk space. The Monome is expensive and not readily available. Arduinome – I just don't have time to put it together. At $200, I could definitely see one of these in my home studio.

  • lematt

    that launchpad looks really promising (i just bought a monome kit and i'm in the process of building it… :( ) but why making the launchpad so ugly ???

  • apalomba

    No MIDI velocity ?! What a shame…

    With a little extra effort they could have made

    their controller in to an instrument.

  • Matt Gnarly

    It definitely looks interesting, would a monome emulator be possible for this thing?

  • http://chromedecay.org Joshua Schnable

    @Michael Coelho – you hit the nail on the head. Not everyone is going to have the time or patience to work with the monome or the various DIY options out there.

    @jon kurinsky – maybe if this device sent OSC and was compatible with the monome patches out there, sure. But monome or not, a grid-like device to launch clips in Live was inevitable.

  • mpf

    oh boy.

    crabtree gets a gold star for being years ahead of his time.

  • Geoff Smith

    This could be a great and easy way for me to create a custom 'key command' set for Logic Pro to use alongside my laptop.

    i.e. I may use this as an extra set of shortcuts :)

    G

  • http://www.DharmaLab.com Christian K.

    Nice controller, really like that it's a compact grid with some additional buttons for navigation. I don't think this will replace my APC40, but it might augment it.

    FYI, there are right angle USB cables out there, so those wanting to put more than one of these (or any other USB midi for that matter) side-by-side could use a right angle USB cable to save on the space.

  • Joe

    A bargain basement Monome to suit the amateur tinkerer. It's like they read my mind!

    I HAVE A QUESTION: Is Live "Launchpad Edition" usable per se? I compose in Renoise and therefore have no desire to spend £hundreds on (and spend time learning) a whole effing DAW. But it seems like the stripped down version could be good for doing rough arrangements and live performance with loops exported from Renoise.

    The feature list indicates that it's a little more generous than previous Live Lites. So… is it crippled in some way I haven't yet noticed? Is this just a cynical way to make people buy Live 8 proper, or is the Launchpad edition a good enough tool in itself?

  • http://www.redvoidmusic.com/blog/ redvoid

    I think this will make inroads into the monome's business, since the biggest deterrent for many people with the monome is the price. I think, the other deterrent for the monome is the additional scripting work it requires, so for people who want the OSC, and deep script control, you are right, the monome is still untouched, but for those who just wanted the monome for a grid controller, and balked at the cost, will probably opt for this.

  • sclr

    i like the fact that the version of live they have boxed isn't as bad as the first versions of live lite. its actually usable and not all that crippled. if i didn't have live already…

  • http://www.myspace.com/k1ru k1ru

    hey guise…

    somebody already asked..but this is the affordable solution that i've been waiting for to launch clips..hell yes!!

    is this little guy compatible with…say….Live7??

    i'm not quite up to live 8…but i know that the apc40 will work with live 7…any idea about that?

  • http://www.basementhum.com Basement Hum

    @redvoid "I think this will make inroads into the monome’s business,"

    It seems inevitable. Not least of all because this unit offers several colours of led for each cell.

    @peter. "I think the Launchpad is unlikely to dissuade a person who wants a monome from getting a monome."

    Isn't this a bit of a platitude? Of the current monome owners who can say how many of those specifically 'wanted a monome' more than they wanted a compact button matrix backed by leds, and controllable by custom patches.

    Of course, post launchpad, there will be those who still choose for a monome, but that number will surely be smaller.

  • cool guy

    this why the guy who created the monome is a little stupid.

    he could a have made a lot of bucks , with producing it at an industrial scale, because there was a huge demand , but no , monome is for the elite lol …

    well luckily , some are not as narow minded , and there are a lot of musicians that wanted this kind of controller , well , here we are …

    so thanks for the monome ,but common , stop being stupid , go with the flow , the launch pad is what people need, not woody elitism…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Basement Hum: Well, keep in mind, the monome has been fairly scarce, so we're not talking huge numbers to begin with. But I think that the converse is true – people who wanted a matrix of LEDs and *didn't* want to spend the money / deal with the short runs of monomes didn't get a monome. So I just don't see this cutting into the monome market just yet. It'd have to cut into it a lot just to make the thing stop selling out.

    And yes, I think monome has at least for some people been more than just a compact button matrix. It's the fact that you can hack it, that you have specs on the site, that you can (very easily, by the way) add in a tilt sensor, that it's locally and sustainably produced, that it has this beautiful case design and a premium form factor, that it's something unique and you're likely to wind up hanging out with the person who designed it, that it has all this community software support, that it supports OSC… I could go on.

    It's really quite remarkable that something so simple *isn't* all that simple. That's nothing against the Launchpad, which looks like a nice gadget and I expect will ultimately sell more units than monome. But, you know, I'm headed off to a monome meetup in New Jersey this Saturday. Would that ever happen with the Launchpad? I doubt it. Part of what makes the Launchpad possible in the first place is this cultural phenomenon that goes beyond just the design.

  • ninetales

    i too would love to be able to control devices. being able, say, to manipulate the appregiator or doing something with beat repeat would be awesome!

  • http://dentcenter.dridus.com Kent

    Let's hope the monomulator from mike @ trackteam audio comes to the launchpad. I have been using my APC40 to control sevenuplive, so it would be very nice to have all those nice knobs back. If the Launchpad could control sevenuplive, the APC could be freed up to do all kinds of device control.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh yeah, we'll be working on emulators and such for this, too. That said, I'd also like to see a) some new apps and b) some stuff that doesn't depend on Max, just for the purpose of portability.

  • http://www.conceptualinertia.net ash

    What if, you had lego-style snap together blocks of controller components. Want 4 sliders on your device? Snap 4 sliders together. Want an 8×8 grid? Snap together 8×8 buttons. Users can build arbitrary configurations to suit their needs.

    The idea stems from: http://www.buglabs.net/products but with an eye towards custom controllers.

    Just throwing it out there, whether it's technically feasible or not.

  • Chuck

    A low cost, bus powered MIDI controller developed specifically for Live but also compatible with any MIDI application and devices? This is what I was hoping the APC 40 was going to be…

    I assure you Korg and Akai will have similar (if not superior) controllers out in the near future.

    Thank God too, since I've been wanting a grid controller since first learning about the Monone and Ohm products but couldn't afford them. Let many have said, team this up with a nanoKontrol and you have a great, affordable and portable control set up.

    It's definitely a great time to be a musician!

  • Josh

    Set up 8 tracks each one being a loop cut into 16 scenes with follow actions, put 2 of these rotated 90 degrees side be side, and you have mlr with a 128 monome.

  • http://k@le-k.org dopo
  • samu

    @cool guy, you accuse him of being stupid for not milking the monome harder, and then accuse HIM of being narrow-minded? Heh.

  • cool guy

    <cite>@cool guy, you accuse him of being stupid for not milking the monome harder, and then accuse HIM of being narrow-minded? Heh.</cite>

    yeah , he could have thought big , he would have been a millionair by now …

    he could have produced his thing on a huge level ,but no , mister only makes hand made stuff …

    well novation stole his money , and they are right to to do

  • Martin

    @ josh.

    you might get the mlr functionality but in now the easeness of use, image the work if you just jam with some loops and see what´s happening …

  • Chad

    @cool guy

    Ugh. Your attitude is gross.

    - c

  • cool guy

    <cite>@cool guy

    Ugh. Your attitude is gross.</cite>

    oh yeah , well i dont care , i'll have my monome for less than 200 bucks , no matter who bulid it …

  • aaron m

    other than looks (that conform to the clip launch view), i dont see anything remotely similar to the monome in this controller or it's capabilities. they could've tried to pull a korg and done some native mode type of control so more elaborate things could be done, monome-style-ish, but this doesnt appear to be the case.

    in other words, just looks to be just a clip controller and toggle/button controller with feedback locked down to Live like the APC.. nothing like the monome and useless to anyone that doesnt use Live.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Okay, everyone – let's skip the head banging over the monome.

    The monome has weathered these arguments before. It's shipped in limited runs of uniquely-built, uniquely-design hardware. So long as people want those *limited* runs (i.e., not 10 or 20,000 at a time), the monome will be fine. And to claim that's somehow "elitist" would be to ignore the entire history of musical instruments, which has long involved custom instruments in which you invest some cash but get long-term use. Likewise, instrument builders have always offered cheaper, mass-produced models. The two have coexisted, and the more expensive models have never been exclusively the domain of the "rich," either – people even with relatively limited means will often invest more money in something if they think they'll see a return.

    The world has been big enough for countless identical keyboards with knobs on the top; I'm sure it can handle a handful of controllers with grids on them. The more interesting question to me is, how will you use this stuff?

  • cool guy

    <cite>

    other than looks (that conform to the clip launch view), i dont see anything remotely similar to the monome in this controller or it’s capabilities. they could’ve tried to pull a korg and done some native mode type of control so more elaborate things could be done, monome-style-ish, but this doesnt appear to be the case.

    in other words, just looks to be just a clip controller and toggle/button controller with feedback locked down to Live like the APC.. nothing like the monome and useless to anyone that doesnt use Live.

    <cite>

    Wrong , that stuff is midi that is the point … it seems you can do anything you like with it , as long as you create the right application

    about the monome , the question wasn't the price , the issue was availability…

    so much people wanted one, but it was just unavailable, unless you build one …

    that is why i'm angry about it ,and not because of the price.

    i'd have prefered to give money to the creator of the project , but if he was not willing to build one for those who wanted one, well i dont care who makes one at the end of the day as long as i've got my grid controller …

    now some will profite the opportunity , because there is a demand , it is not difficult to understand

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    I think this is a great Foray into the Monome type of device. It allows people to get a controller at a reasonable price that would not normally be able to afford one. Remember, The monome starts at around 400+. The APC is close to $400. The Launchpad provides enough out of the box functionality to get people up and running and make people feel comfortable, while still giving them a little bit of hackability through midi and control messages. I agree that's not the best method for us control freaks, but the mass population may not understand OSC and MAX and other 3 letter words.

    But, I am with Peter… I am heading up to the Monome convention this weekend, not only because of the product, but because of the people and the community. I don't see myself doing that for the Launchpad or for that matter the APC40.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Right, but availability, like price, is a challenge for any manufacturer. The monome project chose to keep production local, to avoid making certain sacrifices that would help with scale. Now, even big manufacturers, unconcerned with some of those compromises, can run into these issues or find a reason to limit availability (as apparently even Akai did recently). I hear your frustration, but it is possible to get a monome if you want one – especially if you'll settle for a kit (which can be fun to make). And some of the deeper issues here are worth examining separately, why it is difficult to make stuff locally and how that can improve.

  • Lord Toranaga

    always desired a monome, but did not want to jump through hoops to get one.

    This product = win for Novation

  • Pats

    My main concern is that it works with my remote SL Zero automap. I'm guessing it will because the launchpad is said to be an automap enabled device, and the Automap 3 pro supports multiple automap devices.

  • fintain

    I think this will do great, I want it already.

    But make no mistake, the reason I want it is because it is a cheap monome.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Pats: Yep, this device fully supports Automap. I haven't had a chance to test it just yet, but I can ensure that plugging in an SL and a Launchpad together works okay soon… and, PS, definitely worked with two Launchpads.

  • NickT

    This plus a Behringer BCF-2000 equals 8 faders, 8 continuous led knobs 20 push buttons and an 8×8 grid. All for less than an APC

    It might not have all the features of the Akai but you get motorised faders.

    It's gone on to my christmas list…

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    I would of liked to have seen a better user mode implementation. If they were smart then they would create a Launchpad object in M4L and then create a bundle with Live, M4L and the Launchpad at a decent price point. This way they could tie all of their technologies together in a tight little bundle that can be affordable and supportable by Ableton. Additionally it could be a great starter for people who do not really understand Max yet, During the course of my analysis of M4L I realized they are creating a lot of object that are meant to obscure the underlying complexity of programming a lot of max patches in order to make the learning curve easier for Live users who are unfamiliar with Max. Creating a Launchpad object in which to connect to other M4L objects would just be an extension of that same model.

  • http://fractaldimensionproductions.com Fractal Dimension

    That's a great addition for someone who already has (and loves) a Novation ReMOTE SL keyboard and uses Live. Hey, that's me!

  • Matt_C

    What I'd be interested in is whether you could use the forthcoming Max For Live features to do Tenori-On style pattern sequencing with the Launchpad.

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    In addition to what Matt_C had said… Does the two way communications still exist when in user mode. The communications would have to be through Midi or CC messages. But, Does it allow controlling the buttons and lights, etc. Or, Is that only using the session or mixer mode.

  • http://www.soyuz7.net Cosmonaut

    "I don’t see myself doing that for the Launchpad or for that matter the APC40."

    but why not? if the launchpad or apc40 could perform / program like monome? surely other musics is just as valid. that sounds to me like a corporate culture and not musics one.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, yes, not only is it possible to get bi-directional communication working on the User Mode page, but you don't need Max for Live to do it. You can use MIDI routing in Live natively, which is what's in the video. I'm posting the details of that shortly.

    That also means, incidentally, you can pull of what's in the video using Live Lite (Launchpad Edition) and the Launchpad hardware out of the box — you don't need the full version of Live or the Max for Live to do it.

    There will also be some implementation that makes Max for Live patchers' lives a bit easier; should have more details on that soon. But even there, any device (monome, Livid's Ohm, an iPhone, an Android, a home-built Arduino thing with some LEDs and buttons) that allows bi-directional communication will work. You won't need to have an Ableton-logo'ed device (APC40, Launchpad). I mean, hey, it's great if Ableton can give you some help, but we didn't survive over a quarter century of MIDI just for someone to tell us what we can and can't plug in and use. Just a friendly reminder.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Cosmonaut: I think that'd be actually the opposite of corporate culture. But he's just saying he wouldn't necessarily go to an Akai Meetup, not that he'd have any less respect for someone's *music*. So maybe it's a music event… or CDMcon. ;)

  • http://www.soyuz7.net Cosmonaut

    i guess i mean to have events for everybody and not just one product? maybe he does not find the apc40 interesting, which is ok. i just dont like to see two groups, it's all musics is what i mean. it sounded unwelcome.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Oh, yeah, I agree. I mean, the monome thing began as basically a user group. The fact that it has such passion is great. I hope we see some of that directed toward a larger movement in this part of the country behind open source musical tools. And actually, I've talked to Brian Crabtree (monome creator) about that. Because it isn't the same sort of commercial product, directing that energy to everyone is actually easier. So it shouldn't come down to who does or doesn't own a monome, or a Launchpad, or who uses Live, or the Mac, or any of those things. I think there's a lot we can come together on as people making music with electricity.

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    Cosmonaut… Definitely the wrong intent there on my part… I am talking about the user community and how it stands today. People who are interested in the Monome because of the affection they have towards the device and the community behind it. That is not to say the APC is any less capable. A matter of fact, I really enjoy the APC40. I think it is one of the better devices for Live. The integration is great, and you can still do some Monome type fucntions. In terms of music… Music comes from the mind, The tools allow others to hear it.

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  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    One more thing to illustrate my point. I created a site to bring together all of the different controllers, Max and Live. I believe we can develop a common framework that can work on all devices. If we can create some levels of abstraction then we can design patchers and other things that will work over any device. Just plugin a new XML mapping or something like that for the device and it will work.

  • Ben

    I think Novation has handled the issue of the side mounted USB connector by shipping then with a L shaped USB cable. I'm assuming they have chosen a cable that will be small enough to allow several of these to be sat next to each other. Might be a shame to have to use their cable, but i think i may have to get a few of these cables for my other gear so that everything fits on my desk a bit better.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    Hi guys,

    My question about licenses and "clonation" is clear:

    Has Monome any kind of cc license? I read that arduinome isn't possible to make it for sell…

    but this device (and Apc40 more or less) are made to become monomes (and reverse hacking is out there and will be for this unit too).

    Don't be hypocrite, people loves this because it is like monome (and soon hacked into it).

    We will see.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://myspace.com/tekcormusic tekcor

    great affordable "monome". ill get my hands on one.

    but i ask myself if their will be similar products on the market soon. its easy to imagin after the nano key series and akais clones which came on market only a few months after the nanos.

    than it could be better to wait for a better monome/grid matrix from akai or korg which eventually has additional xy pads, velocity sensibility, osc, direkt monome app iomplementation or whatever could make it more interesting than novations launch pad.

  • Paul

    @ash

    What if, you had lego-style snap together blocks of controller components. Want 4 sliders on your device? Snap 4 sliders together. Want an 8×8 grid? Snap together 8×8 buttons. Users can build arbitrary configurations to suit their needs.

    The idea stems from: http://www.buglabs.net/products but with an eye towards custom controllers.

    Just throwing it out there, whether it’s technically feasible or not."

    look at http://www.machinecollective.org/

    i have a monome (original run of 40h) but i can't wait to get one of these

    i made a vocal effects rack (in pure data) kontrolled by the korg nanokontrol for my fiance and would love to add this as an additional controller for her i may even use it myself but that doesn't mean i can't still dream about getting a 256

    yay for matrices

  • http://myspace.com/simonjamesfrench Simon James French

    I'm a little bit confused about the bundled software. I'm sorry if someone has asked this before, but can you just clarify what you can do with the software? I don't have a copy of Live whatsoever on my system. So can I just buy the LaunchPad, use the included software and get to creating sound immediately? Or will I have to buy a license of Live beforehand?

    What limitations, if any, does the bundled software have?

    Thanks! Simon

  • ElPat0

    Cool… Novation, when will we see a 16×16, 32×32 & 64×64 version? :)

  • http://myspace.com/tekcormusic tekcor

    @simon: theres only live lite included. that means you can create music with it, but its not possible to work seriously with it. you are limited to a small amount of effects and instruments in one set and more some limitations like that.

  • velocipede

    I think you can control other device in Live.

    According to
    http://www.novationmusic.com/products/launchpad
    "Controlling other functions

    Launchpad can be used to control other functions using Ableton's 'Learn' mode. This includes Ableton's knobs and faders, which can be assigned to rows of buttons on Launchpad."

    I guess you would be stuck with eight equal levels of resolution, but I believe you could restrict the range. Maybe an Automap template could be programmed to send specific values from specific buttons. Not sure what Novation has planned, but seems doable.

    I'm not sure I need this device, but it sure looks nice! Kudos to Novation and kudos to Ableton for not locking up with one hardware maker.

    I do have to say that I wish that all these new portable controllers had real midi outputs and optional battery power.

  • http://myspace.com/simonjamesfrench Simon James French

    @tekcor: ah thanks for clearing this up. I'm using Logic Pro currently, so perhaps I could do all my work in that, export into Live and use it as a live performance tool. That, or I could just bite the bullet and upgrade, OR use the LaunchPad with Logic!

    Thanks again.

  • Mike

    So I have 2 APC40's and have been wanting a monome 256 for awhile now. Can someone tell me why I should keep waiting to pay $1400 for a monome when I can buy 4 of these and have a larger (more audience appealing) version with more buttons for $800?

    To review… 2 APC40's + 4 Launchpads = $1600 vs $1400 for a 256 with far less features. I hate to say it because I'm a huge fan of the guys but I think we have our monome killer.

  • http://myspace.com/tekcormusic tekcor

    of course you can use it only for launching you imported audioclips. but im shure you wont be happy that long with live lite as you discover all the great performance tricks with lives build in effects and the possibility to build racks :)

    but its up to you of course :)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @velocipede: That's correct. That's basically a Live feature; you can take any controller and map it to a range of values. It's especially easy with stuff that has buttons.

    Adding the full answer to that, plus more on Live Lite's limitations, in the next post… stand by. :)

  • hellow

    im not getting what he is doing in the video.

    i could just post "woo hoo looks awesome"

    but the video does not explain what button is launching what parameter.

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  • hellow

    also it would be nice if they would make a foot controller.. some of us play real instruments and

    not all of us want to dj.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Mike: Well, if you're spending that amount of cash, I'd look close at both options, as indeed you don't get exactly the same result. With the monome, you have the ability to open the thing up and service it yourself, you can add even additional inputs (like tilt sensors), you get ongoing software updates from the monome folks, and a case with some nicer materials to it than what you get from the Launchpads. On the other hand, having the Launchpads be modular in this way could be a HUGE advantage, in that you could wind up in a cramped space and have just one 8×8. Also, the APC40 adds some significant advantages for use with Ableton in that it's very easy to map directly to channel parameters and device parameters (though my one gripe about it is, with dynamic device mapping there is not a display on the unit as with the Novation ReMOTE line).

    I would hesitate to call anything a "killer" of something else, just because they're different. But this does offer some new advantages, not least price, which is why choice is good.

    And keep in mind, Novation, Akai, and the monome project aren't the only players here. We still have everything from fascinating DIY solutions to the also-locally-made gear from Livid Instruments, like the Ohm64. I can't ever imagine needing the number of buttons on the 256, so it goes to show that not everyone is looking for precisely the same thing.

  • Paul

    ElPat0

    Cool… Novation, when will we see a 16×16, 32×32 & 64×64 version? :)

    why stop there lets do a 256 x 256

    sounds like a monome floor audio installation / dance party

    your dancing is making the music maybe thats only in my house though, or maybe my floors just really creaky

  • jasonrkramer

    this make me feels weird

  • ron

    So can I plug this in and use at as a monome controller ? I have the monome emulator for the iphone but an actual controller would be great ..

  • s ford

    @Michael Chenetz

    'I am heading up to the Monome convention this weekend, not only because of the product, but because of the people and the community. I don’t see myself doing that for the Launchpad or for that matter the APC40.'

    Was this statement written satirically or in jest? I found that statement absolutely hilarious!

    A statement which in some ways supports Cool Guy's claim of the Monome being elitist, as how are we to join this club if we can't get our grubby little hands on a Monome! It's a bit early to write off whether Launchpad is able to create a online community as well.

    As for this statement 'In terms of music… Music comes from the mind, The tools allow others to hear it.' Even more hilarious than the first statement! Is anyone on this site English and had the good fortune to ever read Private Eye magazine? That statement reminds me off the infamous 'Pseud's Corner'. Which if you are unfamiliar with, Wikipedia has kindly explained it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regular_mini

    Surely Michael Chenetz's statements were satirical? Nonetheless, bravo my good sir, they were wonderfully humourous intended or not!

  • Cuatha

    Looks cool, but in the user group Novation tutorial (see dopo's post) it looks like custom cc mapping doesn't give visual feedback using the matix leds. That would have been really cool… :(

  • Cuatha

    damn, meant to say user mode…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @s ford:

    Let's not read too much into this. For starters, sometimes people without monomes – or people who have hacked together their own projects – come to the events. To imply this is somehow elitist is just wrong. People start up Ableton-specific user forums … there are MG owners' clubs for cars. It's all the same thing.

    I think what's being differentiated here is that people aren't necessarily going to be passionate enough about Novation or Akai that they'd travel halfway across the country to hang with other artists, as people are doing in NJ.

    But for that to be true, obviously, they're not just going there to be part of a cool club. They think they're getting something out of it musically. And of course, we can – and do – have get-togethers about music that aren't specific to any one brand or project. This site, as you know, does monthly events that are just DIY music events and have no specific aim.

    @Cuatha: That's only partially true; you can route *note* events back to the LEDs, and I expect there will be ways to hack around this – potentially in some cool ways. For instance, if you're willing to make your own Pd/Max/SuperCollider/Java/Bidule patch, you can also interpolate creatively between the eight values here. And once you do that work once, it'll work with all of these new grid controllers. Naturally, that'll also be possible in Max for Live. I think the important thing to remember here is both input and output is just MIDI, so with some work, this will do whatever people want.

  • Cuatha

    @Peter Kirn: True. From what I've seen of the new Live objects in Max for Live, they seem to be putting a lot of work into making these sort of functions reasonably accessible, but it struck me as a shame for those of us who aren't planning on learning max (not thinking about myself here – I've had Max/MSP not far off a year now). Then again, as you say its all just MIDI note messages being sent in and out of Live, so there's always the possibility that Ableton could implement this functionality if they choose to.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Cuatha: Max is great for people who like Max. I think it'll be even more appealing to use Max for Live if you know it's a choice *you* get to make, and that absolutely looks like the case.

    The ways into Live:

    1. MIDI

    2. OpenSoundControl (via custom scripts, not via Ableton)

    3. Python

    4. Max

    – all four of those should be more accessible, with or without Max for Live, when Max for Live ships, because the scripting API on which all of this stuff is based will be more mature and better-documented. So, for instance, I'm a huge fan of Processing. It appears I'll be able to write Processing sketches using either OSC or Python as glue.

    This also means there's more you can do with hardware without necessarily needing to learn or install Max for Live. And that should be absolutely true of the Launchpad, because its means of communication is simply MIDI.

  • cool guy

    ableton should defenitly disclose there api , i dont know why they dont do that …

    MAX wont solve some communication issues , MAX wont allow OSC in Live , where as API with Python does …

    we should be allowed to do whatever we want in term of communication with live and external applications …

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @cool guy: That's exactly what I'm saying. Anyway, they can't "disclose" anything yet – they have to finish it! Messages and such have actually been changing. Every indication I've gotten is that this will be fully documented and that we'll have full details here on CDM of every message in there. So don't worry about that, until I hear otherwise. ;) But yeah, there's really no point in doing that until it's finished, which – after a very long wait – should be very soon (note that it is now in a wider beta). Once I'm assured that we have a working version of it, I will make sure that Ableton is allowing us to talk about the details. But like I said, I don't think it's something they want to keep secret.

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    This is a really good example of how my words are getting mis-interpreted. I am not inferring that the Monomeet is an elitist group nor that the Monome itself is an elite object. A matter of fact I do not think that is the intention of it's creator. The designers of the Monome (Brian and Kelli) wanted to create a minimalistic hardware interface that could be open ended and left to it's user to decide functionality. The reason that the devices have become very desirable is because of it's limited availability. The reason it has limited availability is because they are all still assembled by a small group, now in the catskills. The designers have never been into mass production that would lower their costs and increase their revenue. Then some people probably would not view it as an elite object of desire.

    I was serious about enjoying the Monome community. One thing that must be realized is that the Monome community does not necessarily denote that the people at this meeting have monomes. A matter of fact a lot of people that go to these meets , go to exchange ideas with each other on other projects. I personally use the ideas from the Monome community, Arduino community, Lemur community, etc… in order to learn what other people are doing and integrate it into my own work.

    To sum things up… I think any passionate group of people that can exchange ideas on same or different technologies is good. Everybody can learn from one another.

    I never said the Monomeet was the one and only meet. I would go to an Akai APC meet if there was one and there was a passionate group of people behind it.

    In the near future I believe that there will be these communities can all merge in order to share the knowledge for the common good. They are all very similar and it comes down to user preference. A matter of fact it real comes down to input, output and processing…. So whatever tactile controller you can plug-in to your app that, "Does the thing you want" and then creates an output that is aesthetically pleasing to you, is what you should use.

    I am currently working on a abstraction layer that will allow you to plug-in your, "logic", and then pick your controller. I think if we create a good enough framework then we could standardize the way the programs are made and re-use a lot of the code for all of the different devices.

    Again.

    - I like all groups

    - Music is good

    - everyone needs to enjoy whatever they use

    :-)

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    just a note on Max for Live… One of the advantages of the Max for Live integration is that other people can create devices and they can be re-used by everybody. So, Even if you do not want to use MAX or learn it. You are free to use other people work. This could lead to a lot of innovation for everyone.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    Michael +1

    But I still have the same question…

    Has Monome any kind of CC license?

    I don't understand, sorry.

  • http://www.max4live.info Michael Chenetz

    @Mudo

    I think the Monome does use the Creative Commons License. I am not sure if the Monome was the first multiple button device. You would have to do a patent search in order to find out. It would be up to the patent holder to take up issue with all of these new products.

  • robb

    I’m afraid that, with the launchpad/apc40 and m4l, the monome app development will be pulled further away from linux and FOSS

    The abundancy of max/msp is already a problem, imho

    btw. If I share my m4l-patches using live's built in features, do I keep all the rights? Can I apply a GPL license? Did anyone read the fine print?

  • Redoom

    I have been waiting for something like this for a long while now and with Max for Live all sorts of new possibilities will be opened up.

    On a side note has anyone here been to the Monome chat to see what they are saying? Way too many snobs there. This is great news no matter what they say.

    Also I am a huge, HUGE fan of the Create Digital Music site and make it a point to visit every day.

  • anonymous

    "MAX wont solve some communication issues , MAX wont allow OSC in Live , where as API with Python does …"

    wrong, max for live allows incoming/outgoing OSC messages via the udpsend/udpreceive objects. i've already hooked my monome up to it, works fine without the LiveAPI installed.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @robb: Well, that's a pretty easy problem to solve – develop in free tools. I have a lot of respect for what Ableton and Cycling '74 are doing, but I think having an alternative, genuinely free ecosystem is really vital. I think you can make a strong pragmatic, practical argument, even without venturing into philosophical issues. I think you can make a musical argument. I actually intend to bring this up at the monome discussion. There ought to be a way to interface with these commercial tools while at the same time encouraging the growth of an alternative that's free.

    Call it the Public Option. (Okay, that'll only make sense to those of you who follow US news…)

  • robb

    > Call it the Public Option. (Okay, that’ll only make sense to those of you who follow US news…)

    i dont, hehe

    I’d love to have polygome on my girlfriend’s ubuntu netbook and a java rewrite has long been on my list, though i doubt that i’ll find the time. Developing in free tools doesn’t solve the issue of redudancy in rewriting everything over and over. There’s a max mlr, a pd mlr, c and chuck coming up and a m4l version is more than obvious.

    That time could be spend so much better…

  • http://typenerd.com bolig

    so easy to make something like this once you have seen it made by someone else. the time brian and kelly spent only to be knocked off time and again is depressing to me. companies like novation have the money to develop truly innovative instruments instead they find ways to flood the market the plastic-craptastic junk that will surely be in a landfill in 3 years. foolish.

  • gb

    Gee, you gotta love the Abes. Big fanfare about the lunch of the APC40 as the controller developed exclusively for Live. Then several months later, a new controller rolls out from another manufacturer, also developed with Ableton…makes you wonder, what else do they have up their sleeve? Granted, I didn't buy an APC40, but many others did and I wouldn't blame them if they felt a bit betrayed by the Abes' marketing.

    They should just open the format to other manufacturers and be done with it. Let's be honest, they are pocketing on this clip control thing and as Peter said, there is no reason one shouldn't be able to trigger clips in a similar fashion from a PadKontrol or Trigger finger. As far as I am concerned, those multi colour pretty lights are just for show…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @robb: Well, *porting* to a bunch of different environments is definitely not what I had in mind. Take a look at what the reacTable project did with TUIO. What they did was to establish a simple protocol (not coincidentally all built in OSC) that allowed clients in all of these tools. What you *don't* want to wind up doing is rewriting stuff. And that is absolutely my concern about Ableton and Cycling '74, that you wind up having to hack together something specific to that environment that may not work elsewhere. Ultimately, I'd flip the problem around: assume you want a level of freedom and portability in the stuff you create, work on building stuff that easily interoperates with other things, and then choose the tools that enable that.

    Do that properly, and you can limit your tools to those that are the most productive, take a small amount of work and have it work in a lot of places. Free software can pragmatically be useful for that reason. Take a look at ChucK, Pd, and SuperCollider working on the iPhone. Suddenly, the time that you spent learning one of those environments just pays off.

    As far as Live goes, the key is going to be OSC communication. With that standardized, you should be able to create your own stuff that stands on its own and works everywhere, but sends OSC messages to Live when that's necessary to what you wish to accomplish.

    MIDI has saved us a lot of time and allowed projects to be flexible over the years. OSC can clearly do far more.

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  • DumaisAudio

    I'm definitely interested in getting one of these. But that doesn't mean I don't want a Monome anymore. I think the Monome is still a more attractive product, but it's price, a more so, it's very limited nature, make it hard to come by, so I'll get the Launchpad when it comes out.

    Because it doesn't deal with OSC, does that mean it won't work with any of the many programs written for the Monome, or will someone hack it so that it will work? I'm happy to use it just with Live, but if I'm able to use some of the open source stuff that the Monome uses, then that would be even better. I seem to recall seeing a video of someone using the Ohm64 with some Monome programs, but that seems to be more full featured and was made to be more open from what I can tell.

  • Jimmy Jams

    I'll call myself this to distinguish myself from the other James who posts here :)

    This is yet another beautiful, simple, cost effective offering from Novation. As my PC + FL/Cubase experiment was unsuccessful (I was a bit unlucky with my shop-bought PC hardware), I'll be putting my refund to'ards one of the new Macs (rumoured to be out in the next few weeks). I was going to plump for the new Logic, and an iMac, but little pieces like this might pull me in a more Macbook+Ableton combination (especially for deejay sets…I fret terribly for the state of my cd collection every time I take it into a mangy Melbourne goth club :P ). This w/ a Remote SL 0 would offer serious control over mixes and jams live and at home, even in situations where I'm playing keys and doing vocals, to trigger bits and pieces.

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  • Esol Esek

    I'd appreciate others feelings' about the APC40. I'm not all that stoked about it. In fact, I think a long slider that went from one scene to the next would be adequate, because I can set up the scenes to be individual samples. Triggering each one on its own in a grid doesnt seem critical. What I want is good knob controls, and the APC40 is not particularly useful in this regard. The behringer looks interesting, and combining this in modules could be good and bad both. BTW, what is class compliant? It seems ridiculous to want to sell a piece of gear so quickly, but time will not be kind to these controllers.

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  • http://phrontist.org Bjorn Westergard

    @Peter Kirn

    It may in fact require more developer time (however little) to implement two protocols, but why not simply choose one protocol that's open?

  • http://phrontist.org Bjorn Westergard

    And that is absolutely my concern about Ableton and Cycling ‘74, that you wind up having to hack together something specific to that environment that may not work elsewhere.

    I agree. I would go further and say intellectual property has no place in arts.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Bjorn: well, I respect that opinion, but let's recall – the arts are what *created* most modern notions of intellectual property. (Not patent law, but certainly copyright, performance rights, etc,. etc.) So, obviously, there was a perceived need. Now, whether the need and the apparatus to serve that need are the same for all artists, or whether they're the same in 2009 as they were in the late 19th and early 20th century as a lot of this involved, or whether the various additions to intellectual property law added in the last 30-40 years which were advocated more by publishers and corporations than by individual artists – lots of areas up for debate.

    For the individual artist looking at Live, MIDI, Max for Live, OSC, Processing, monome, etc., etc. – the answer is much easier. You can answer it for yourself, using whatever measure you like. And you actually can't be wrong, because you're deciding for your own work.

  • ElPat0

    Paulk

    why stop there lets do a 256 x 256

    sounds like a monome floor audio installation / dance party

    your dancing is making the music maybe thats only in my house though, or maybe my floors just really creaky

    Ey Paul, i think i already saw something like that:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x8trg3Eyto

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  • http://www.totalreboot.com BreakPhreak

    It's a Jazzmutant Lemur 8×8 pixels :)

  • http://nezoomie.wordpress.com/ nezoomie

    what if I want to set some buttons on the Session View to send Momentary CC( like turn on/off filters just while pressed )? As I understand there's no midi editor, so I have to use automap. But automap will change the functions of the top scroll buttons… right?

  • aaron m

    sford: it's because there is a development and creative community built up around the monome.. the monome is like a canvas. it has nothing to do with snobbery (as you just imposed yourself in a high and mighty reverse-snobbery fashion), just a community. simple fact, nothing more.

  • http://www.prospectmusic.com jon

    I owned a Monome for a few months.

    It was such a pain in the rear to use and half the time it never worked as advertised.

    I hope this is finally the answer to getting Monome like control (pattern sequencing, etc…) without the "open source" (ie. lack of real support) dogma.

    Thank you Novation.

  • vaikl

    I want it, i'll buy it – but only if Novation puts a little John Travolta doll in white suit in the box. Must be cute to make him dance over the buttons…:-)

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  • arveen

    I don't know if this question has been answered above or not. but i would like to know if i'll be able to use the Launchpad to control different softwares like arkaos or traktor, etc…

  • http://gerardlee.wordpress.com geelee

    regarding the velocity

    i think since the launchpad can issue a midi cc (control change) command means it can simulate pressure like turning a fader.