Novation’s fantastic Launchpad app for iOS just got a massive update, with a whole new interface, and a great new in-app-purchase which unlocks all its features for just $15.
Launchpad live loops
Launchpad is the same –in principle — as GarageBand’s Live Loops section. It’s a grid of pads, any of which triggers a loop when you tap it. These loops are all synchronised, so that they switch seamlessly in time with the music. The grids are arranged by columns and rows. Each column has single instrument type — beats, for example, or basslines — and rows are arranged to group loops that work well together.
So, to switch to variations on a bassline, you tap in the same column. Rows are good for grouping sections of a song. You might have a row containing the parts for a verse, another row for a house, and so on. Because you can trigger entire rows at a time, its an easy way to switch between song parts.
The emphasis in Launchpad is on live performance. You can record those performances, though, using the loop triggers as a way to build a song.
But just triggering loops is only part of it. Launchpad also has a bunch of effects that can be applied as you play, as if you were a DJ twiddling knobs, or whatever it is they do, to get the crowd into a frenzy by turning the bass down and then up again.
Launchpad gives you a flanger, a delay, a “stopper” (for glitch effects), stutter, and various filters. Any of these can be applied to a loop on the fly, which turns loop playback into a performance instrument itself. You can purchase all of these add-ons in one IAP now, too, for just $15 (you can also just grab the ones you want, individually). The Launchpad store also has many, many loop packs for you to buy and use.
Roll your own
Finally, Launchpad lets you import your own loops. This can be direct (IAP required), or by sending a bunch of loops from another Novation app, Blocswave, which is all about creating loops and recorded snippets (its a composition tool, whereas Launchpad is a performance tool).
I use Blocswave all the time, but never really clicked with Launchpad before. Now, with the sleeker interface, and the all-in-one IAP, I’m giving it a second chance, and so far I really like it.
Price: Free to download, multiple IAPs
Download: Launchpad from the App Store (iOS)