Novation’s Launchpad S: Brighter, Faster, Driverless, Friendlier with Other Apps [Artist How-to]

Novation’s Launchpad may have begun its life focused mainly on controlling Ableton Live. But a new update, while not radically different from the original, is more flexible, working with more software and more operating systems – including the iPad. It’s also brighter and refreshes faster than the original. Updated – for a newer Launchpad, check out our hands-on guide to the Launchpad Pro. The Launchpad S is, generally speaking, still a Novation Launchpad. It has the same complement of controls, and unlike some recent hardware, it lacks features like velocity sensitivity and full-color RGB LEDs. This is still just a …

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Novation Puts Launchpad in a Keyboard, Makes iPad Apps Part of the Experience [Q+A]

What should a keyboard controller do for you in 2013? Should you plug it into Ableton Live and get colored control of clips? Or leave the laptop at home and use it with an iPad for synths and loops? Novation takes on both those ideas in their latest offering. Back in fall 2009, CDM was the first to get a hands-on with Novation’s Launchpad. At the time, this was big news. Grid controllers had gained popularity in the handcrafted, niche monome community, but hardware built just for Ableton Live with an integrated, light-up grid was something novel. Maschine, Push, and …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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Lauflicht 2 is One Tricked-Out Step Sequencer for Launchpad, Renoise

Late at night, you may hear them, a distant tapping of fingertips against pads and keys. They are the hackers, geeking away the late hours to make insanely-sophisticated custom musical contraptions, engineering some new forms of dance music or other electronic pattern. Thilo Geertzen is the latest, back with an even more pumped-up edition of the step-sequencer-on-stereoids that is Lauflicht. Sure, big hardware vendors are hard at work on hardware/software integration, but this is the DIYer’s answer. It’s a plug-in that combines Renoise’s powerful tracker-derived music construction features with Novation’s popular, now affordable-as-ever Launchpad. It’s bio-directional, fully integrated with the …

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A Haunting Chilean Single, Accompanied by Found Sound Videos [Listening + Vimeo]

In their lonely, intimate single “Pillatu,” the Chile-based duo of Vicente Espinoza and Alfredo Duarte offer some haunting music-making. Entitled El Gato, la Virgen & el Diablo (“the cat, the virgin, and the devil”), the artists are also making a kind of multimedia presentation of the work. Thanks to these CDM readers for sending in their work. Fire up the SoundCloud-based music, and you can play a series of video loops in a grid that sits alongside the music. It’s a nice window into their sonic world, with short video clips of sounds from bicycles to Korg Monotron. In fact, …

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FL Studio 10.5 Performance Mode in Beta: Bridge Arrangement and Live, Easy Hardware Control

FL Studio’s live performance functionality has been teased for some time online, attracting enraptured eyeballs and plenty of discussion online. Now, you can give it a try for yourself in the new FL Studio 10.5 beta. My prediction: it’s definitely huge for FL Studio die-hards, but it could also attract some “lapsed” FL users back to the fold, and it’s almost certainly a reason to fire up a copy of Windows. (That’s the sound of a bunch of Boot Camp installations.) The best way to see what the performance mode is about is in the video above. It’s actually a …

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Fruity Loops Gone Live: New FL Studio Performance Mode in Alpha (Video)

FL Studio, beloved to its users by its original name “Fruity Loops,” has long had a Playlist mode that could be used to assemble simple live performances by jumping to sections of your music. But a new alpha mode takes this mode far further. It’s still based on the Playlist, but can add clips dynamically – including Audio, Automation, and Pattern. While still in early testing, developer Image-Line has released some information about how triggering works, as well as the video above. And oddly enough, just like the video we saw earlier this week in Renoise, it employs a Novation …

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More Renoise Step Sequence Goodness: Launchpad + Lauflicht (Other Controllers, Too)

There’s a beautiful immediacy and tactile quality to hardware step sequencers. And there’s all the flexibility, convenience, and power of software. Solution: combine them. We’ve been following various custom creations for the music production tool Renoise – the latest being a lovely performance grid, and back in 2009, the beginnings of Launchpad grid sequencing. You can thank Renoise’s powerful API, which allows its users to modify the way the app works with surprising ease (at least for the hack-inclined), all for free. The latest is Lauflicht, an 8-, 16-, or 32-step step sequencer for the Novation Launchpad controller (or, alternatively, …

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Random Fun: Novation Launchpad as Live EQ Display, Built in Processing

If you’ve got a whole bunch of colored lights, it seems only right to do something with them. Cacheflow sends a fun little hack with a Novation Launchpad. Of course, turning a Launchpad into a live EQ display means you can’t simultaneously use its lights to, like, play the Launchpad, but provided you have another controller, this could be a fun way to liven up your stage setup. We looked at a free e-book on Processing last week; if you’re playing with Processing, you can now use a handy, free library to integrate this simple and elegant coding tool with …

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Numerology 3.1 Sequencer Adds Realtime Pattern Goodness, VST; See it in Action

Numerology is a sophisticated Mac modular step sequencer, capable of brewing patterns from simple to elaborate using combinations of note-making building blocks. It’s also a powerful host, opening up signal routing and modulation to AU plug-ins. Version 3.1, released this week, may be a “point” release, but its two additions are significant. First, it’ll run as a VST plug-in in any host, which adds direct MIDI routing from plug-in to host. (Somewhere, plug-in developers are nodding, knowingly – AU may be more commonly associated with the Mac, but VST can be a better choice even for Mac users.) Second, as …

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