Novation Launch Control XL Review
Portable device offers parameter and mixer control for Live
The Novation Launch Control XL device has arrived, and brings with it a host of control and sound manipulation possibilities. While not an instrument as such, the Launch Control XL instead offers a way of controlling the various features of Live which don’t fall under the remit of traditional MIDI controllers.
What you get is a bank of eight faders, knobs for controlling send/receive and pan parameters, and the ability to arm tracks for record. While these are all things which can be changed or altered using your mouse, having a dedicated unit to share the load does make things infinitely easier for the producer.
In practice, the Launch Control XL opens up the opportunity to get creative with your song structures and plugins in a performance setting. You could, for example, use the faders to slowly bring in new elements to your track, or add and remove elements via the solo/mute buttons. Even better is the way the Launch Control XL integrates natively with Ableton, and more specifically its instrument racks, so you can set up signal chains involving various effects, plugins and otherwise, and ‘map’ the important settings to the eight macro slots. These macro slots are then controllable via the Launch Control XL, meaning you can get really creative with how you shape your sounds.
The Novation Launch Control XL is class compliant, meaning it doesn’t require special drivers to use, and its shape and size will be familiar to users of the Launchpad controller. Build quality is sound, with the unit held in place via rubber feet on the underside, and it is durable enough to withstand being thrown in a laptop bag and carried around from gig to gig.
The entire Launch range from Novation is gaining real popularity among aspiring producers, who are able to put together rigs which boast real, usable functionality and interesting creative potential. They are well worth a look for anybody looking to expand their musical possibilities without breaking the bank.