Novation Launchpad S vs. Launchpad Mini

launchpad s vs mini

I used to use the hell out of the Launchpads in the studio and in my show rig from 2010-2012. In 2013 I sold both my launchpads when I switched to Maschine. In 2014 I then moved on to Push which I simple love! Recently I decided I wanted to pick up a Launchpad so I could:

  1. Have a backup controller for Push that wouldn’t take up a lot of room in my carry-on
  2. Use a Launchpad to control session view so I could stay focused on Note Mode on Push thereby reducing mode switching on Push
  3. Be able to perform some songs off of my 2nd alien invasion album I Hear Your Signals, like “Celebration and Voices” were created using  custom Launchpad mapping that I’ve never been able to quite replicate on other controllers
  4. I wanted a small footprint controller to sit next to my Octatrack on a Roland Laptop stand so I could play using Octatrack and Live from a single table (and Push is too big for that sort of thing.

Of course today there is a choice to be made these days.  Launchpad S or Launchpad Mini? While researching this I found a fantastic in-depth comparison video on Chris Hahn’s YouTube channel.

I ended up going with the Launchpad Mini. I went with the Mini because, for what I needed, the smaller footprint was better. As Chris mentions in his video, the small buttons are great, you can reach them all with your thumbs (holding it more like a Tenori-On), and the fully rubberized back is great for popping the unit on the right-side deck of say a Nord Lead 4 or Blofeld.


My only concern in getting the Mini was it uses Micro USB which I hate because they snap off so easily. I’m happy to report that Novation supplies a really great 4.5’ cable with the jack mounted in a block of plastic. When the cable is plugged the block of plastic snugs up against the body of the Launchpad Mini so stresses from cable tension are distributed along the block instead of just on the metal jack. Nice one Novation! The Mini is also an excellent value at $99 – especially considering you get Ableton Live Lite with it.

launchpad mini cable

I have to say I’m using it even more than I thought in conjunction with Push and for easy chair production sessions. Welcome back Launchpad! Welcome back :^)

PS – Here is an video from a few years back of my song “Celebration and Voices” which I can now play again.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO (meetup)

Early Experiment Using Launchpad as a Cable Patching Matrix for U-he ACE

U-HE Ace allows you to use MIDI CCs to control the source and destination of patch cables. This video is my first experiment to use a Launchpad as a patch cable matrix. I have a cable plugged into the Filter Gain. By pressing buttons on the Launchpad, I’m essentially plugging cables into input sockets without touching the computer. I’m using the  QWERTY to trigger notes but not move cables.

Special thanks to my cat who photo-bombed the video at the end :^)

Mark Mosher
Synthesist, Composer, Performer

Gotye Live Show Powered by Ableton Live and Launchpad


I’ve been a fan of  the track “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye since I first heard the track on the radio. I was surfing around tonight and noticed and article on the Novation website which mentions the band’s use of Ableton Live and Launchpad. The article mentioned the viral video which I somehow missed – lol. It’s pretty cool so I’ve embedded it below. I then found a live performance video which shows them performing the same song live. For me it’s nice to see Ableton and Launchpad’s in the wild with charting bands. Also, bringing a bunch of Launcpads along is certainly carry-on ready for touring.

Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra) – official video

Gotye performing "Somebody That I Used To Know" on KCRW

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
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Two Live Electronic Music Performance Videos for Free Music Friday – “Alone” and “Celebration and Voices”

Here are two videos for you for Free Music Friday.

Watch embedded video of “Alone” by Mark Mosher

This video has an HD version as well so check it out from your home theater using your Tivo or or other streaming box.

In this video I'm playing my original instrumental electronic music song "Alone" from my album REBOOT ( name your price, enter $0 for FREE). I'm about half way through arranging and programming the synthesizers and controllers so I can add this song to my live set. I'm pretty excited about the progress I'm making on the performance so I thought I'd share a rehearsal video.

It's such an organic and textural piece, I decided to play the entire song from Percussa AudioCubes using only spatial control via hand movement. Ableton Live is playing back the pulsing drone, but almost all other elements are being played live via the AudioCubes. The AudioCubes are in "sensor" mode so placing my hand in front of a cube face plays a note on a virtual synthesizer hosted out of Ableton Live – almost like a Laser harp.

I only use the Novation Launchpad on my right to change which tracks are armed thereby allowing me to switch which synths I'm playing on-the-fly throughout the song.  At the 2:00 minute mark I start playing chords by using multiple faces simultaneously.

Watch embedded video for “Celebration and Voices”.

In this video, I'm rehearsing an original composition "Celebration and Voices" from my album I Hear Your Signals ( name your price, enter $0 for FREE).

I'm using a Novation Launchpad and Ableton Live 8 to control the session, effects, and I’m playing melodies in real-time from the Launchpad. I'm using standard Live 8 features to communicate with the Launchpad. No additional middleware such as Max for Live is being used. I'm using additional MIDI tracks to route MIDI back out to the Launchpad to get visual feedback on sequences and to give me feedback on the notes I'm playing.

I'm in User Mode 1 the whole time and controlling all elements via MIDI notes. The entire song is performed in Session view and all elements are either being played or generated live using multiple VSTs on the fly (no audio clips). Lots of Live effects plus SugarBytes Artillery II.

Like with all songs on this album, I composed and arranged the song around the controller as opposed to composing the song then trying to figure out how to play it live.

Composer Notes
Even though these songs are from two different albums, the are related in that they tell the same story from two points of view.


Mark Mosher, Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO