The Launchpad Pro [MK3], Novation’s latest in the Launchpad Series, has arrived. Along with upgraded RGB pads for added response, it features deep Ableton Live integration and a 32-step sequencer. With these expansive new features, Musician’s Friend took a deep dive into the Launchpad Pro [MK3] to learn all about what this production hub can do for DJs, mobile performers and more.

Who will benefit from the Launchpad Pro [MK3]

Novation's Launchpad Pro [MK3] is for DJs and electronic music producers looking for a full performance and production grid with Ableton Live integration. The Launchpad Pro [MK3] comes with Ableton Live 10 Lite included. It also works as a standard MIDI controller and features a 32-step sequencer. It’s a true one-stop production system designed to enhance your creativity as you practice, perform and produce.

Integrating Launchpad Pro [MK3] with Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a staple software for creating electronic music. With such deep integration with Ableton Live on the Launchpad Pro [MK3], players can make music and perform right from the grid without ever touching a mouse. Ableton Live keeps all your tracks organized and arranged. Launch clips and scenes, access mixer, device and transport controls, or quantize, duplicate and double all from the grid. When you’re practicing or just playing around with sounds, Ableton Live’s Capture MIDI feature is a click away. Never fear losing a great idea or a happy accident.

How Launchpad Pro [MK3] differs from other Launchpads

On top of Novation’s deepest integration with Ableton Live yet, the Launchpad Pro [MK3] features brand-new, upgraded RGB pads. These 64 pads are super sensitive and are designed to reflect your Ableton Live sessions. The larger-size pads with velocity and pressure sensitivity make it easier to play instruments dynamically with fast response. Plus, it’s easy to customize pads to work the way you need them to. Use Scale Mode to lock pads to a specific musical key, or Chord Mode to build harmonies. Play it all with Dynamic Note for in-key basslines, melodies, chords and leads.

Taking a closer look at Launchpad Pro [MK3] at Winter NAMM 2020.

Using the Launchpad Pro [MK3] in Live Performance

Firstly, the Launchpad Pro [MK3] is lightweight, so it’s easy to take it to and from your gigs. The RGB pads feature LED lights for cool live effects that also coordinate with your clips in Ableton Live, so you’ll always know what track you’re playing. Feedback buttons are backlit so you’ll see them even in the darkest venues.

When it comes to the actual performance, the Launchpad responds instantly to what you need. The built-in, four-track, 32-step sequencer unlocks longer sequences with scenes and pattern chaining. Evolve tracks on the fly with probability and mutation features, as well as sync rate and play order. Connect to anything MIDI for hands-on control in the setup you already have. It delivers full performance so your set really shines.

Customizing For a Personalized Playing Experience

With Scale Mode, you can lock the RGB pads to a musical key of your choosing. When you want to control MIDI from the Launchpad Pro, use Novation’s eight Custom Modes to customize mappings. The Easy Start Tool helps you set up the Launchpad to your specifications right away, so you don’t have to waste time with sounds you don’t want to play. Plus, plenty of included sounds and plug-ins give you full freedom to experiment and create something new.

Additional Software Bundled with Launchpad Pro [MK3]

Apart from Ableton Live 10 Lite, the Launchpad Pro is equipped with plenty of other software. The AAS Session bundle features three synths for staple sounds. For a retro sound, Klevgrand R0Verb and DAW Cassette offer reverb and tape deck emulation for old-school cassette tape sound. The Softube Time and Tone bundle offer reverb, delay, mastering tool and distortion plug-ins, and Sound Collective gives Novation hardware owners a free plug-in every few months. If the Launchpad Pro [MK3] is your first piece of Novation hardware, XLN Addictive Keys gives access to a virtual keyboard when you register. You’ll also get access to two months of Splice Sounds membership, which offers quality one-shots, loops and presets.

Please note, if you already have Ableton Live, you’ll need to upgrade to version 10 for it to work with the Launchpad Pro [MK3].