The Launchpad Mini is a smaller version of the company’s popular gridpad controller, giving you individual cell as well as browse control in a portable device that you can throw in your rucksack. The Launchpad Mini is a quality little controller, given a nice twist with the iPad app. Well worth investigating.
First Impressions / Setting up
The Novation Launchpad Mini is well-built and neatly finished in tough-feeling plastic. It has a bright orange rubbery bottom, ensuring that vibrations and nudges won’t cause it to move around too much in the booth or studio. The mini pads on the Launchpad aren’t touch sensitive, and they do have a slightly “clicky” feel, but after a minute or so I was used to them, and had no problems.
I expect a lot of people reading this review will be interested in the differences between the Launchpad Mini and the Launchpad-S. In fact, the only real difference is the size (pedantics take note: the USB connector is also different) and for many, the difference in price will be the deciding factor.
If you’re choosing between the two, it’s definitely worth thinking about the size of the buttons as well as the overall size of the unit; I really liked the compact finger-sized pads on the Launchpad Mini and I was easily able to adapt even though I’m used to the older, larger Launchpad.
I am pleased to report the controller connected to my laptop and my iPad without any problems at all, and in fact, I quickly forgot I was testing a new product and focused on having fun straight away! I didn’t expect the Launchpad Mini to be as comfortable to use as my old, full-sized Launchpad; but in fact I was fine with the smaller size.
It’s worth mentioning that the Launchpad app is free from the Apple store, and if you’re interested in buying the Launchpad Mini for use with your iPad, you should download the app right now, so you can see (and hear) for yourself how it works.
The way that the Launchpad app works is really easy to get into, and the free samples that come with the download are useful enough to get you started. It was also easy to put my own samples (.wav files) into the mix. The Launch Control worked perfectly well, but it was of limited use to me as I am very comfortable with using the Launchpad to control effects and the mixer. However, I’m sure that many advanced users will consider it a blessing.
Overall, using the Launchpad Mini was an enjoyable experience that took me one step closer to losing my fear of bringing an iPad to the DJ booth (I started on CDJs and only relatively recently brought my laptop into the mix!).
The Launchpad Mini is a quality little controller, given a nice twist with the iPad app. Well worth investigating.