Posted by admin on 2009 Nov 1

Novation Launchpad vs. Monome

Original ideas are hard, very hard to come by.
The creators of the monome were onto something big when they created their groundbreaking hardware controller.
Why? because another Monome 64 clone controller for Ableton has been launched, this time coming from Novation. It is called Launchpad, and it is looks even more like the monome 64 than the infamous Akai APC40. Unlike the Akai APC40, Novation’s Launchpad doesn’t have any sliders or knobs to complement the 8×8 button grid.
Launchpad sure looks sexy, but i wonder if it has the same functionality as the APC40, but i don’t think this will matter since the unit will retail for under $200 brand new..
Yes.. you read that correctly.. under $200 NEW!
I suspect everyone and their mother is going to have a Launchpad..

Sure, Launchpad is no competition to the monome, but it is a matter of time before the unit’s handshaking is hacked and Launchpad is able to run monome apps, just like the APC40.

One of the big pluses of Launch pad is that up to 6 controllers can be used simultaneously in Ableton to control multiple aspects of the software.. so for the price of one used monome 64 i can get two or three brand new three launchpads!

I am glad i didn’t purchase an APC40 or a monome..

Novation Launchpad

More information about Novations Launchpad can be found here

Someone already made a video of Launchpad:
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Here is a tutorial video explaining how you can use multiple Launchpad controllers in Ableton

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5 Responses to “Novation Launchpad vs. Monome”

  1. Peter Kirn says:

    Actually, that’s a misunderstanding of what the “handshaking” does — that only impacts how Ableton Live behaves when the device is plugged in. There’s nothing to “crack” here; you just have to map software you want to use (like the monome patches) to the MIDI messages for the lights on the Launchpad. The same is true of the APC40. And Novation just published those messages in detail, so there’s even less work. (Akai didn’t keep them secret, necessarily, but they didn’t bother to document them, so you just had the added work of going through with a MIDI monitor.)

    But just being able to run monome patches isn’t the only appeal of the monome. It’s hardware you can hack, modify, put in different cases, you can add accelerometers — none of this is possible on the Launchpad. So the Launchpad is a great, cheap grid controller, but it’s not as hackable as the monome. And part of what you pay for on the monome is a higher-quality, handmade build.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Peter. Thank you for your comment.
    I described the process of deciphering the handshaking process and the MIDI mapping of the unit as “cracking” since it does involve some detective work to figure out the MIDI messages exchanged between the unit and Ableton. I am sure just like the APC40 some precautions were taken by Novation and Ableton to make sure the controller cannot be faked by some other hardware unit. Maybe i could have used a better to term to describe the process, but cracking sounds sexier. :)

    As i wrote in the post, the Launchpad is no replacement for the monome, but its cheap appeal (under $200 for each Launchpad) more than makes up for its lack of build quality and programming abilities. The fact that i can run two or three new Launchpads for the price of one used monome 64 makes it a viable alternative in my book.

  3. Peter Kirn says:

    Right, but you’ve still got it a bit backwards. Handshaking does indeed prevent *other* controllers from emulating the APC and monome. And no one has managed to crack that yet.

    The MIDI messages were copied by hand on the APC. But on the Launchpad, Novation provided the documentation – no cracking needed.

    If Ableton removed that handshake, then you’d be free to use any controller you wanted. Because it’s there, Ableton is actually actively reducing the value of your software, by choosing the hardware you use for you rather than letting you choose.

  4. admin says:

    thanks for the info!

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