Novation Releases $99 Launchpad Mini Grid, $99 Triggers and Knobs [iOS, Mac, PC]

Here’s this week’s theme from Novation, in a nutshell: Stuff that costs US$99 (street). Stuff that’s ultra-mobile/portable. Stuff that works with Mac, PC, and iPad. CDM readers already worked out that they weren’t done, watching the video for the $99 Launchkey mini keyboard, which also fits this theme and combines pads, knobs, and keys. Looking closely at the video, you nailed one of the product releases: a smaller version of the Launchpad grid controller, the product that perhaps more than any other popularized grids in the mass market. (Outside the mass market, that honor surely goes to the monome.) So, …

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Novation’s Launchkey Mini is a Little Keyboard with Pads, Knobs [$99, Mac, Windows, iOS, Linux]

We’ve seen plenty of pint-sized keyboards about lately, especially as people more frequently play and produce on the go with laptops and tablets. What we haven’t seen is much in the ultra-portable end of the spectrum that combines drum/trigger pads with knobs with keys – something KORG’s microKONTROL did once, before it was discontinued. (More recently, that has included the Akai MPK Mini and, below, Arturia Minilab.) The Launchkey Mini, introduced today, promises to fill a niche. Available worldwide later this month, you get a nicely-straightforward complement of playable controls. And hopefully, this includes more flexible pads (now with LEDs) …

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Now Shipping: Bass Station II, Novation’s $500 Synth; New Sound Demo

When we last saw the Bass Station II, Novation’s affordable analog monosynth celebrating the company’s 21st birthday, Novation still had a prototype. Some stuff on that instrument simply didn’t work – or didn’t sound the way we might expect. But there was still reason to anticipate learning more. Novation had something at the $500 street price in America, (529 € is the official price now for Europe), sporting dual filters, two oscillators with a sub oscillator (the “bass” bit), analog effects, patch save, and sequencing and arpeggiation. Even in an increasingly-crowded monosynth landscape, that’s something to note – and here, …

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Grid Tricks: How Launchpad S Differs, Emulate Push with Launchpad, 11 Launchpad Display, More

Life on the grid gets better and better. Yes, these blinky, lighty arrays of squares do continue to proliferate. But musicians are also hacking away to make them more useful. And they do that with perhaps nothing as much as the Novation Launchpad, a kind of workhorse of the grid world. While one of the simpler grid controllers available, Novation’s hardware is also uniquely affordable – and uniquely rugged, standing up to plenty of abuse. Here, we get to see how the Launchpad S differs from the original, how both Launchpads can emulate Ableton’s flashy-new Push, and what happens when …

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Grid Tricks: Mega-Bass 2020, Delicious Live Performance Groovebox [Launchpad + Reaktor]

Mega-Bass 2020 – Teaser Performance from Icebreaker Audio on Vimeo. Look through that VHS fuzz, and listen as a Casio VL-Tone and synth go ultra-retro – they even play a cover of Jan Hammer. But that’s not what this story is about. This story is about using more simple grid techniques to create something that lets you improvise using your hands, to play music freely without looking at the screen. And Mega-Bass 2020, while still building on the grid ideas of monome et al, is a very sharp user-created marriage of software and hardware. With electric-pink and grape-on-gray retro graphics, …

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Serato Updates Add iPad Control App, More Hardware Support

Serato’s marketing now pushes the notion of flexibility with a variety of different controllers and DJ methods. But it’s taken some time for their hardware support to catch up with their current generation of software. Today’s Serato DJ 1.2.1 and Scratch Live 2.5 updates continue to close that gap, however, and both now boast an iPad app for controlling DJ performances. Music apps on the iPad have tended to fall in one of two categories: either new apps that put the whole functionality of the tool on the iPad (as with Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ for iPad and iPhone or …

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FL Studio 11: Play it with Touch and Everything and Everywhere, Live or Editing

FL Studio 11 has arrived, hot on the heels of an impressive FL Studio Mobile release. The folks at Image Line have been intensely busy, but what strikes me is that you can now play FL Studio using almost anything, on almost any device. The Mobile version works on Android and touch Windows devices, not just iOS, when most folks target only Apple. And the upgrade to FL Studio 11 is similarly flexible. There’s a clip-triggering performance mode, which already supports a range of input methods: “mouse, touch screen, typing keyboard or MIDI controller. Supports APC20/40, Launchpad, Lemur, Block, Maschine/Mikro, …

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BassStation II, Hands-on: First Direct Sound Samples from Novation’s Analog Synth [Musikmesse]

Novation’s BassStation II, a US$500 street all-analog monosynth, is already big news. If Korg is bringing back the late 70s/early 80s sound in an analog keyboard, Novation is giving us the early 90s. And since sound is what it’s really all about, we wanted to get a hands-on with the actual sounds of the BassStation II. I recorded directly from the line out on the BassStation (only a mixer in between), into Sonoma WireWorks’ GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS. (That interface, by the way, sounds and feels terrific.) The BassStation II so far shows some serious promise, something that should …

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Novation Bass Station II: All-Analog Sequel to a Classic Instrument, $499 Street [Video, Pics]

The original Bass Station would now be old enough to drink. But the new Bass Station II (which, in a typical marketing twist, Novation would like to remind you can also do leads) is improved, expanded, and more connected. And with a street price of US$499, the competition for affordable synths has gotten just plain ridiculous – in a way that can only benefit the synth consumer. Now, the Bass Station II has two filters, two oscillators and a sub-oscillator, patch save capability, and analog effects. It also looks playable, with a step-sequencer, arpeggiator, onboard modulation, and MIDI and USB. …

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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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