Sunday, July 24, 2011

Novation Launchpad & FL Studio 8,9,10

 Here's an excellent writeup I found on Novation Launchpad and FL Studio support. I've been researching to see if I might try it out; unless there is a better midi controller out there.

I've been using the Novation Launchpad with FL Studio for almost a year now and have, through scouring the internet and trial-and-error, garnered what I consider a considerable amount of knowledge about the compatibility of all our favourite DAW with this nifty little device. I have also discovered that there is a surprising lack of information about getting the Launchpad to work with FL Studio out there on the web, so I've decided to share what I know in this thread for anybody to read and learn. I'm not really looking for replies here, unless of course you have a question about the Launchpad for me in which case go right ahead, but I'm mainly looking for this thread to just get buried in the internet where people doing Google searches like I was can find it and it can hopefully help them someway. So if you fit that description, welcome :) this explanation is pretty paraphrased from an answer I sent to someone on Youtube who saw a video of me using the Launchpad with FL Studio (very basic, it's just hooked up to FPC, you can see it here and was wondering about its compatibility and stuff. So yeah. Here we gooooooo

So here's the thing with the Launchpad. Natively, each button on the Launchpad is programmed to correspond to a specific note value. These note values are the only way that FL interacts with the Launchpad; as far as I've found, there's no way to make virtual "sliders" or XY grids or any of that to send data to FL to control parameters. The most you can get with it other than note values is anything that can be assigned that's on/off, such as mutes or either 0 or 127 on a parameter. There's also a problem with the note layout on the Launchpad; click here to view the note values that correspond to the Launchpad's buttons: ... d_MIDI.gif. As you can see, the note values go chromatically and cut off seemingly randomly at the end of each row only to restart on some other random note, leaving many notes on a typical piano out. This is a bitch if you're trying to play it as a synthesizer, and due to the way FL maps (for example, "white keys" on the Launchpad when linked to a mute in FL will leave the value muted or unmuted when you hit it but "black keys" on the Launchpad require holding the button to make it unmute. It will mute again when the button is released) it's not very pragmatic to use the Launchpad to control FL. As far as I've been able to find, there is no way to reprogram these note values. The closest that I've found that might work is Novation's Automap software (, which says it can change the note values of all its controllers but I've played around with it and haven't been able to successfully change the note values as FL sees them. This sucks because it would be awesome to just reprogram the note values to fit your needs. Due to the note layout, controlling Live Mode on the Launchpad is significantly less glamourous than it could be, because as I'm sure you know Live Mode corresponds with Pattern 1 being Middle C, Pattern 2 the D above that and such, which a. leaves all those black notes in between to be unusable buttons per se and b. leaves you not being able to turn on tracks 6-11 or whatever it is because those notes aren't on the Launchpad. Some other problems I've had with it is that FL recognizes it as one controller so it can only control one plugin at a time (so no Live Mode on the top buttons and FPC on the bottom ones, though I should note you can have certain buttons correspond to mutes as said earlier just as if you made one random key on any keyboard controller correspond to a mute) and FL can't control the lights by itself, although there is a great program for the Launchpad called Katapult ( which allows you to create pages of lights as you can see in my Launchpad video. One cool thing about this program is that it has a way to tell certain buttons on the Launchpad to send your computer send the same meaning as a key on your computer keyboard, i.e. I have the red button in the top right of my Launchpad the space key so I can play/stop FL from there.

So is the Launchpad practical for FL Studio? In short, no. It is a very fun and relatively cheap controller that works beautifully with Live (it was built for it lol) but unless you have like $150 to burn, a bit of time to learn it, and a burning passion to just make it work it's not practical. I never use it when I'm producing tracks in FL, only for live performance either while DJing or playing with my band as a keyboard instrument and to control samples or sometimes Live Mode if I've got it set up for the specific song. I hope all of this helps somebody out there and isn't too confusing haha, sorry I've taught myself a lot about this although there's still a lot to be learned. There's a ton of crazy programs that people have made for the Launchpad, mostly for the LEDs but maybe I've skipped over finding one that allows reprogramming the note values. If anyone has any questions don't hesitate to ask, and if you're really set on getting a grid controller to control FL might I recommend the Livid Block? It's a bit pricier but it lets you set the note values for the buttons. Kind of looks like a monome too, except obviously it has some knobs and sliders and such (very handy).


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