J74 ISO Controllers: Musical Scale Templates on Launchpads + APC40s

One of our favorite features of the Ableton Push is the ability to set the controller to act as a scaled instrument – with standout root notes that allow very easy riffing and melody/harmony performance. We’ve seen this feature emulated software, but today we’re sharing a project by Netherlands-based programmer and electronic artist Fabrizio Poce that takes the Push’s Scale mode to the next level – on Novation Launchpad and Akai APC40 controllers.

Push layout on Launchpad

Instead of just one scaled layout, J74 ISO Controllers incorporates 9 different isomorphic layouts (the Push layout pictured above) based around different instrument layouts that users might be familiar with. The manual puts it succinctly:

The templates in the J74 ISO Controllers package re-use the matrix layout of the Launchpad and APC40 as programmable MIDI note instruments by re-assigning notes to the pads and using colors to give essential and intuitive information about the layout being used and its harmonic characteristics.

The other layouts include DrumRack, Diatonic, Octave, Guitar (2 layouts), Diagonal, Chromatic, and Janko. Watch them all in action in this overview video:

The J74 ISO Controllers package uses Max4Live devices and MIDI Remote scripts to work its magic in Ableton Live, but also includes a standalone version that has slightly more limited control (Launchpad only) and works with any MIDI input accepting software. Both versions work on both Mac and PC platforms, and for a price of $8, it’s a pretty nice upgrade for producers looking to add serious enhanced functionality to these aging-but-affordable controllers.

Learn more about the J74 ISO package on Fabrizio’s site

Ableton PushAPC40fabrizioisomorphic instrumentsJ74 ISO controllerslaunchpadmax4livePushscalescales
Comments (24)
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  • Brett Jackson

    Huge +1 for the APC20 version!! Fabrizio, love your work brother, I got Progressive a few months back and I use it a lot. Check it out people, Fabrizio is doing great stuff.

  • Marc Nostromo

    Great work. Congratulation for the different angle on the topic. I might steal some idea from you 🙂

  • Kenneth Spice

    Can I modify the max4live device to move up & down in drumrack mode up by 16 and down by 16 ?? Basically to switch between whole 4×4 rack 🙂

    • Fabrizio Poce

      You can only transpose of one note at the time. That means, in mode one to shift a full 4×4 you need to shift 16 times. Note: on the Max for Live and Standalone versions you have a “transpose” parameter on screen. If you change this from C1 to E2 you will shift at once of +16, if you set it to G#3 of +32 etc.

  • Drew Tetz

    picked this up and have been really loving it, adding push-style scales to my launchpad was well worth the eight bucks. so happy that Fabrizio created it and DJTT featured it!
    the only challenge i’ve had is that i can’t seem to get it to record midi notes. is there a simple fix that i’ve been missing? i love the tool even if i’m forced to record audio, but that flexibility would really send it over the top for me.

    • Fabrizio Poce

      You can record MIDI. It depends on the way you integrate the devices. Here the major cases:
      1) Max for Live in Live. If you use this you need to record MIDI to another track, as Live records only MIDI “to” the track, not generated inside the track. The trick is simple. For instance create 2x MIDI tracks, let’s say [A] and [B]. On track [A] put only the ISO device. In the track I/O set “MIDI To” to send midi to the other track, track [B]. On track [B] put the MIDI instrument to play. Arm both track [A] and [B]. You can play the instrument and on track [B] you can record MIDI (clips or arrangement).
      2) MIDI Remote scripts (Python). This works by default. You can record as MIDI is sent “to” the track (not generated inside of the track)
      3) Standalone. Same as 2)

      PS: in the manual there is a note about this on the installation/use of the Max for Live versions.

  • Orpheus360°

    This is great stuff, it launches LaunchPad in to the outer-space. Well done Fabrizio!

  • Robert

    If we have Live but not M4L will it work?

  • mispel

    Sorry if this is a stupid question… I have a KMI QuNeo which has a Launchpad emulator mode. If I’m using the QuNeo in Launchpad mode, will this work for me too? Thanks!

    • Fabrizio Poce

      I suppose it will not work with the QuNeo. As far as you do NOT use the default Launchpad control surface in Live preferences, it won’t work.

  • coolout

    Nativekontrol’s LPC mapping for the launchpad has a similar scale mode, but also a bunch of other stuff: MPC-style drum mode, step sequencer, loop chopper, etc. With that said, the real appeal of J74’s scripts is that you can use them without Ableton. That alone is worth 8 bucks to me. Since I bought Maschine and also switched to Studio One, I rarely use Ableton these days. My launchpad has been sitting here collecting dust. Now I can easily incorporate it with Maschine.

  • Jose Ramirez

    A version for the APC20 would be really awesome

  • cokeramirez

    Launchpad95 is a good free alternative, and doesn’t rely in m4l, is a native surface control mapping for Live

    • Kenneth Spice

      yeye it is but not working the same way (functionality in leds) and others like this one – gotta love it since today 🙂 perfectly fit the launchpad+launchkey+twitch in Traktor+Ableton together setup 🙂

  • Fabrizio Poce

    Hi there. A quick answer about models of controllers the ISO Controllers package currently supports: on the Ableton Live versions it will work with any of the currently available Launchpad models (the original one, the S and the mini) and on the APC40 (not on the APC20).

    The standalone works with the Launchpad’s (the original one, the S and the mini) but no APC’s.

    The package includes all versions.

    • Hedgehog

      Why doesn’t it work with the APC 20?

      • Fabrizio Poce

        Good question. The reason is quite simple: I have not implemented a version for the APC20 yet, but it is definitively doable. It’s on my to-do list for the future. It has been there some time actually…. but if there is a lot of request I may prioritize it.

  • Guest

    @5b4abad98a426b76284b3ccb0e31ee88:disqus & @6750eabe2b319c9b884e2ea76158bdfa:disqus: the ableton live versions will work with any of the currently available Launchpad models (the original one, the S and the mini). For the APC currently only the APC40 is supported.

  • morgraw

    launchpad mini compatibility?

    • Fabrizio Poce

      Yes. It is compatible.

  • Dan White

    Just a note here: I’ve asked Fabrizio to help answer any questions that you all might have. Ask away!

  • Gianko

    does it work for the APC20?

    • Fabrizio Poce

      No. Nit it’s on my to-do list for the future.