NAMM 2015: Launchpad Pro Is Novation’s Answer To Ableton Push

Novation has been building Launchpads for the better part of decade, and it’s fair to say the controller has launched careers, pushed controllerism into the mainstream, and been an integral part of thousands of DJ and producer setups both onstage and in the studio. Today Novation is announcing a professional version, the Launchpad Pro, which brings long-requested features to the product line. Read on for full details.  

Name: Launchpad Pro
Manufacturer: Novation
Available: Spring 2015
Price: Street price will be $299.99
In A Nutshell: The RGB-pad filled big-kahuna of the Launchpad family, with velocity sensitive pads and additional mixer controls

Watch it in action: Thavius Beck rocking an exclusive Ableton set on the Pro

Novation celebrated the Pro with champagne (resting on a backlit image of the Pro) at last night’s media event

Launchpad Pro: Feature Overdrive

Novation has taken their ubiquitous controller and brought on a number of features that go well beyond anything we’ve seen in a controller at this price range (the Pro will launch with a street price of just $299).

  • Enhanced full color RGB LED pads: The pads look better than ever on the new Pro – which match the color of your clips in Ableton Live
  • Pressure/Velocity Sensitivity: Each of the 64 pads send MIDI data based on how hard you hit the pads
  • More buttons: The Launchpad Pro incorporates 16 additional circle buttons, located on the left and bottom of the pad grid, allowing quick access to Live mixer and playback controls
  • Midi Output: The rear of the Pro now has MIDI ports, meaning you can run it out directly to hardware synths and play the instrument in Note Mode (more on that below)
  • Still Bus Powered: Despite all of the added features, the unit still manages to work under just bus power – there is an optional power adapter. It’s also class-compliant, making it suitable for iOS use.
Looking extremely Pro, Launchpad.

Advanced Launch Modes Built-In

Launchpad Pro’s Note Mode: full drum kit (left) and a complete chromatic keyboard (right)

The Pro also has an array of new modes that allow dynamic control over Live:

  • Session Mode: immediately trigger and combine your clips – this is the traditional view that everyone is used to
  • Note Mode: create dynamic beats and play the grid just like an instrument. Launchpad Pro automatically switches the layout for drum or instrument devices. With drums, all your sounds are available, spread across the whole 8 x 8 grid. With instruments, the grid illuminates as a chromatic keyboard, enabling you to easily play notes, melodies, and chords.
  • Device Mode: easily apply effects to your performance.  Control any effect or instrument mid-performance to add engaging, expressive effects like reverb, beat repeats and filters. For super smooth effect transitions, the button grid also turns into eight velocity-sensitive vertical faders, with LED feedback – the harder you hit the pad, the faster the transition.
  • User Mode: create unique custom performances and layouts

Look, Feel, And Initial Impressions

The Launchpad Pro also feels very pro – with an upgrade to the physical surface to a more soft-touch plastic that resembles the Ableton Push. There’s a nice orange shade added to the bottom of the unit, and it sits up a bit higher than other Launchpad products. On the front, there’s a new RGB indicator – we’re not sure what the function there is yet. The Pro is still very lightweight (no official specs yet) and is roughly the same dimensions as the original Launchpad, albeit a bit thicker.

We’re impressed at the amount of functionality that Novation has packed into this thing, eliminating a lot of additional work that some live performers have had to put in to build a performance environment around their Launchpad. (We wish they would have built a great tool for making wild LED graphics, though!)

The Launchpad Pro is expected to lift off into stores sometime this Spring for just $299.

More NAMM 2015 news and articles:

launchpadlaunchpad promidi outnamm 2015novation
Comments (28)
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  • MadeInMachines

    No scales in note mode for perfect live jamming?

  • qazen

    does anyone know, if the pro uses the same midi note messages as the LP S?

  • Guest

    It makes me happy to see Novation is finally ditching the bi-color LEDs, and incorporating velocity sensitivity on the Launchpad Pro. One can only hope that the Twitch 2 is on the horizon.

  • CUSP

    Wow, they actually listened to us and did what they needed to do. I think I might get one of these. I only hope the Twitch 2 is coming soon.

  • Aken

    What about the pads ??? thats the most important now considering the price. If they feel like the old launchpad so i prefer to sepend a little more and have a truly finger drumming dedicated controler (Push). If they are well suited for finger drumming so yup, it may be a good alternative for the push.

    • CUSP

      You’d say the Push was on par with an MPC or Maschine drum machine? I wouldn’t. The biggest complaint I’ve heard about the Push is that the buttons are too small to quickly finger drum.

      Launchpad devices always had bigger pads than the AKAI grids (not the drum machines), as per APC 40/20 and the Launchpad hasn’t tried to be more than what people want. The Launchpad Pro was a necessary response to the Push, but I imagine more of these will sell because it does 90-95% of what the Push does for (about) 50-60% of the price. Yes, there is no touchstrip, on the Launchpad Pro, and it doesn’t have the LCD panel, but those aren’t why people want these grids.

  • Rick

    probably worth an upgrade… just so I can distinguish the pads better, and know what is loaded in a slot.
    hard to know what is the corresponding slot when they are all the same color on an original launchpad
    and to actually see what is loaded in a drum rack.
    original launchpad does not show anything for drum racks, except unlit pads.

  • Johnathan Anthony Chacutu

    It was cool if it accept midi in and midi out so you can controller analog synth with it… or if can do everthing by it self so you don’t have to conect it to a pc or laptop…. one stand machine by it self ….. but I have to say it look good!!!

    • SynthEtiX

      That’s exactly what it Does do.

  • Vaughn

    I’m defiantly looking into this. I have an original Launchpad, and if I put the two together, I’ll finally have the control I want.

    • Vaughn

      *Definitely. Sorry.

  • midiman

    looks very nice and solid but i will buy push.

  • stromberg

    its nice to see scale function and chord mode getting implemented into controllers (push, kontrol s, launchpad) keyboards are not relevant anymore in music production

    and yeah launcpad pro is just the answer to pushs scale mode

  • Em

    This combined with LPC-Live 2 is going to seriously compete with Push at these price points. LPC-Live 2 is essentially a Push emulator for Launchpad. Been using it for a couple of years now, well worth the $22 and honestly has enabled me to hold off on a Push. These new features (RGB, scale display (which LPC-Live 2 already has) are going to really add to the appeal). I’m really interested to see what the developer thinks whenever he posts his comments on it.

    Here’s the link for anyone who wants to check it out. I think you’ll be at least moderately impressed:

    • Darren E Cowley

      The LaunchPad PRO has a new remote script and will need an update for LPC-Live 2, i’m sure Stray will be on it quickly… (If he hasn’t already done it 😉 )

  • The Push still has much more functionality, but that is a mighty fine price point. It’s also probably much easier to transport to & from gigs than the Push is. It’s about friggin time Novation. I never liked the Launchpad because I had such a hard time differentiating between the Green & Amber colors of the pads

    • deejae snafu

      i agree, this is a sweet a** launchpad, and i am really liking the midi out functionality, but the push is still way more integrated.

  • Toontown

    Step sequencer?

    • Darren E Cowley

      Not without an external script or device….

  • MAuricio

    Just want to say: MOtherf*cking Gorgeous!!!
    Should it be a competitor to ableton push?

    • mish

      needs software to control led feedback and button states

      • Clint G

        They’ll have that, because they have it for the new Novation LaunchControl XL, which I’ll just say right now, paired with this new Launchpad could become big.

        • Darren E Cowley

          Sync the two together and you’ve got a Push Killer!

  • Phil Mycok

    That champaign glass tho

    • Vibesman

      That spelling of Champagne tho…

      • Betty Black

        you’re a fgt though