Novation has announced a “faders and knobs” controller in its Launch range of devices. The Launch Control XL is a controller built for Ableton Live that comes with 24 knobs for sends and pans, eight 60mm volume faders, and 16 multi-colour buttons for track device control.
Fully USB bus-powered and capable of working with any iOS device (provided you have a Camera Connection Kit), it’s a slim device at just under an inch thick. It’s also completely remappable, although it’s meant to work with Ableton as a companion to Novation’s Launchpad S and Launchpad Mini grid controllers; the Launch Control XL gives you hands-on control of Ableton’s mixer functions like volume and panning, while the Launchpad lets you trigger audio clips on Ableton’s grid. Although it can work standalone, pairing both the Launch Control XL and Launchpad S gives you more comprehensive control of Ableton Live, saving you from having to look at your computer screen.
By creating modular controllers for Ableton instead of an all-in-one device (like Ableton Push or the Akai APC40), Novation’s Launch series lets you dip your toes into music production without spending an arm and a leg, letting you “build” your studio little by little by purchasing additional controllers that handle specific duties as you gain more understanding of the software and your workflow. The Launch Control XL even comes with Ableton Live Lite and 1GB worth of samples from Loopmasters; more than enough to get you started.
• The Launch Control XL will be available in August and will retail for US$199 / £159.
What kind of controller do you use Ableton Live with? How do you think adding a controller like this to your existing set-up would affect your workflow? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.