Topic: Launchpadding For Dummies
1...What is a launchpad?
2...Should I buy a launchpad?
3...Where can I buy a launchpad?
4...How do I learn to play the launchpad?
5...How do I make a project with the launchpad?
6...How do I upload a video of me playing my launchpad?
7...How do I upload a project of the thing for others with a launchpad?
AS A FOREWORD: Everything that you need to know about Launchpadding, can be found on the forum. This is a big recap of everything that is basic or common knowledge.
RESEARCH BEFORE ASKING!
A Launchpad is a 64-button MIDI-controller which is most widely used for controlling a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW in short) on your computer. Though there is a wide selection of DAW's out there, the most common one that every Launchpad owner uses, is Ableton Live. The Lite version of Ableton Live is included with your Launchpad. The newer models of Launchpad (new version of S, MINI, MINI MK2, MK2, PRO) include a version of Ableton Live Lite 9. The older versions (Original, older version of S) include a version of Ableton Live Lite 8.
There are 3 versions of Ableton Live: Intro, Standard and Suite. To find out what features each version has, you can check this link:
Each version of Launchpad is different from one another. The first Launchpad is simply called a "Launchpad", though to distinguish it from the other versions, it is come to be knows more as the "Original Launchpad".
The Original Launchpad
After the Original Launchpad came the updated version, also known as "Launchpad S"
The Launchpad S
The difference between the S and the Original are:
-Faster response time
-Class compliance (no need for driver install)
-Connection ability with the Novation Launchpad iPad app
A video of comparison can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=34&v=ipLYqxYyfLg
The "little brother" of the Launchpad S is known as "Launchpad MINI"
The Launchpad MINI
There is not much feature difference between the Launchpad S and Launchpad MINI. The only feature is the size. If you're wondering how big is the size difference, compare your computer keyboard buttons to calculator's buttons.
There is also a new MK2 version of the Launchpad MINI. But so far the only feature that is different is the design and price.
After the Launchpad S/MINI, comes the new MK2 version.
The Launchpad MK2
The new features on the Launchpad MK2 are:
-RGB lights to match the colors of your clips in Ableton Live
-A new position of the USB port
-Ability to change MIDI channels
In terms of features, the Launchpad MK2 is the best of the previous versions of Launchpad (Original, S, MINI). As a little side note, the MK2 needs version 9 of Ableton Live to work.
The highest grade of the Launchpad is known as The Launchpad PRO
The Launchpad PRO
The Launchpad PRO is considered as a whole new version of the Launchpad range and can't be really compared about wether it's better than the MK2, since the features are rather different from eachother.
The features of the Launchpad PRO in comparison with the MK2 are:
-Velocity and pressure sensitivity
-A new changed layout
-16 additional buttons
-New user modes
-Dedicated button to setup mode
-MIDI In/Out to connect synthesizers to it
-Power supply connector to run in standalone mode
The Launchpad PRO has been changed so much from the other versions that writing it here would make the post too long.
As a little side note, the PRO needs version 9 of Ableton Live to work.
For more in-depth information about the Launchpad, visit the Novation website here: http://uk.novationmusic.com/launch
Now, if you already wish to purchase the Launchpad after seeing a few videos by popular launchpadders, then I first suggest you to give yourself a minute or two to think.
First of all, the things they play aren't as easy as they look. Though the audio may sound clean which makes you believe that it's easy to play it, is an illusion. In reality, most of the audio you hear, is edited afterwards so that the video looks and sounds close to perfection. In often cases, the audio could even be faked. This means that the original song that they're covering, their mashup, original, etc. is simply fully edited together in a video editing software, so the little faults in the sampling process aren't heard (if you ask me, that is a very-very bad and weak way of making a video, for my respect, stick to keeping the audio of your project real).
Second of all, the Launchpad is not exactly cheap. The new MK2 costs around 150-200 dollars, depending on the distributor in your area and the PRO around 200-300 dollars. So before purchase, I suggest you to try the product or try sampling, making a mashup in Ableton Live.
Third, if you have no musical/music theoretical knowledge or music production experience, then using the Launchpad and Ableton could be quite a challenge for you. Luckily, there are many great tutorials about music production, theory and other topics on the web. It's all a matter of knowing how and where to search.
If you have money and time to spare, then there is no holding back from anyone. Just please, do not come complaining to us that it's too hard to use...
Since the Launchpad's have become ultra-popular over time, then the chances of it being on sale at your local music store is quite possible. Search for music stores in your region and check to see the availability there.
Note: The Original, S and MINI are not being produced anymore and are soon off the shelves, so finding them requires some research on second-hand sites.
There exactly is no such thing as learning to "play" the launchpad. It is not for example a guitar or a piano, that has techniques, tuning and certain sound. You are the person who decides what sound it does.
Note: The Launchpad can also be used for MIDI-mappings, it means that the Launchpad doesn't always have to control music. It can control visual programs and other types of software. it is all a matter of programming.
I myself have put together a Launchpad tutorial series, where I teach people the most common ways on how to use it.
You can view my tutorials here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ULT1MOD/videos
There is also the FAQ section on the Launchpad-Pro website, where the most widely asked questions are answered.
You can view the FAQ here: http://launchpad-pro.com/page/faq
There is also a highly professional alternative to learning how to use the Launchpad. Kevin, the creator of the Launchpad-Pro website himself has made a very long and in-depth training session for it. You can learn more about the session here: http://launchpad-pro.com/training
The sounds that you play, LED's that are feeding back and MIDI-mappings that you control with your Launchpad, are all in one big "Project". We are concentrating on the Ableton Live software in terms of project making. Again, there are many tutorials on how to work in Ableton Live with the Launchpad.
Before you start making your own projects, it is first recommended to try other's people's Launchpad projects first.
There is a massive selection of project files available for download here: http://launchpad-pro.com/page/project-file
If you've gotten the hang of the basics of how everything works, you can try to start making your own project. Making projects in Ableton is very easy due to it's user-friendliness and ability to play with it. So, besides the technical side of knowing how to use Ableton, try experimenting and messing around with it, since this can lead to interesting results.
So in short conclusion on how to make a project: Get to know Ableton and start playing with it.
I have made a separate video on how to record, edit and upload a Launchpad video to YouTube.
It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgFX65j5JgE
As a little tip before uploading your rendered video to YouTube, compress it to speed up the upload process. Don't worry, the compression doesn't affect the quality of the video, just the size. I have started using a freeware called "Handbreak".
You can download the software and see more info about it here: http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/adamweblearn/2 … handbrake/
The style and look of the video is all up to you. Search around for some lighting tips and good camera settings.
A little forum topic about lighting: http://forum.launchpad-pro.com/viewtopic.php?id=4291
If you feel that your project is good enough and want to share your creation with others, you can upload your project for others to use.
Again, there is a video of it on YouTube, that you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UpbLhUiNoc
Make sure that the project is nicely cleaned up, all of your samples are included in the sample folder and make a tutorial video/clip for "extra points".
That's about it. If you know a friend who is looking to buy a Launchpad or know someone who just doesn't know where to start, share this post with them!
(man I love to write when I'm bored)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ult1mod/ … page_panel