Novation Launchpad Pro MIDI Pad Controller (Discontinued / Superseded)

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Novation Launchpad Pro

NB: This has been superseded and many stores no longer sell it. To see our current recommendations look at our guide to The Best MIDI Pad Controllers.

The Launchpad Pro goes several steps beyond its predecessors.

New features include RGB pad lighting, velocity and pressure sensitive pads with aftertouch, expanded note modes for virtual instruments with custom scales where it mutes notes outside the scales you set to prevent off notes and more.

It has MIDI I/O for use as a grid based controller for other midi instruments outside Ableton.

  • Pads: 64 RGB backlit velocity and pressure sensitive button grid
  • Buttons and Knobs: 1 x Setup button, 32 x RGB Backlit round mode buttons
  • Standalone Mode: Yes
  • Power: USB bus powered, 12V DC Power supply (included) and camera connection kit or USB camera adapter (not included)
  • Connectivity: 1 USB Connector, 2 MIDI sockets, 1 Power Supply Connector
  • Compatibility: USB Class Compliant
  • Software Bundle: Ableton Live Lite 9.5 music-making software, 4GB of Loopmasters sounds and samples, Bass Station VST and AU plug-in synthesizer, V Station VST and AU plug-in synthesizer
  • Dimensions: 10.3" x 1.1" x 10.3"
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs

Pros

The design lends itself well for integration with Ableton Live. Users noticed hassle-free integration with other software as well. The RGB lighting of the pads are a welcome upgrade from its predecessor and enables color matching to active Ableton clips for better visual feedback. Despite its lack of faders, users note the velocity sensitive fades were very easy to use. Seasoned pros appreciate the depth of customization as well because of the open source nature of the product's firmware. This makes it easy to "hack" and put in additional features that aren't available out of the box. These are curated by several active online communities dedicated to expanding the usage of the Launchpad Pro. In his MusicRadar review, Si Truss mentioned the design's "combination of metal chassis with rubberised outer coating means that the Launchpad Pro is plenty sturdy and feels like it could happily take a regular beating on stage. The RGB buttons look very striking too, and provide clear visual feedback under all lighting conditions."

Cons

While more of a caveat than a con, several unsatisfied customers note that the Launchpad Pro has a steep learning curve. True to Novation's spiel of "Play it like an instrument", forum users note that the Launchpad Pro demands to be learned as such rather than as collection of pads to hit. Using the device takes practice especially during live performances and it's easy to miss a hit or press the wrong pad to trigger the wrong clip because of the tightness of the layout.

Overall

If you're looking for a MIDI Pad Controller to upgrade your existing rig with additional features, workflow and performance options, the Launchpad Pro is your best bet. If this is your first controller, it may take time getting used to the workflow especially if you aren't an Ableton live user, but once you're over the learning curve, the creative freedom and expression it allows can be very satisfying.

NB: This has been superseded and many stores no longer sell it. To see our current recommendations look at our guide to The Best MIDI Pad Controllers.

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