Novation Launchpad: hack nr 1

As you know I own a Novation Launchpad, and since I want to extend the functionality in ways that Novation did not think about and I really don’t want to be bound by max/msp. Inspiration are plentiful from the work’s of monomeist’s and fellow launchpadders.

What I’m making though is a little framework, with the emphasis on little, that enables me (and perhaps other when the source is a bit better) to create applications in C/C++. So far I’ve gotten a decent framework in place as a command application. No GUI to speak of and it needs a little bit of cleaning up before anyone could make a port to something other then it’s current os x home.

But without further babbling, here is a video of a little something I made as test of the framework:

Novation Launchpad, a review

I’ve been using my Novation Launchpad for since Nov 11, not very much, but enough to make a review.


So yeah, the drivers are not class-compliant so you have to install something that seems to be a lot bigger and carry loads of crap that I don’t really want on my computer. It would have been better to split that stuff. Also, turning on a single led somewhere or a little animation or anything that gives you an indication of it actually getting power from your USB port. Freaked me out.  It did not light up until I started Ableton Live, which I already have so I did not install that.

First impressions:

The packaging was nice. The device feels sturdy and rugged. The LED’s where  a lot brighter then I thought. But the buttons feels very cheap.  There are a few videos on the Internet where they show of the feature’s. One of the features is using the buttons as a slider or pan, where you can drag your finger from left to right over the buttons. They must have redone that take a gazillion time.


The buttons feel cheap, and clickety, and not nice. I’m getting more used to them but I’m really comparing it to the korg padKontrol and my moanonme wich features arcade buttons (they are awesome). and that might not be fair. I really like the integration into Ableton Live. It’s the reason I bought it and the buttons are good enough for launching clips. I’ve done some drum-editing and a little general midi-playing with it but that’s where the buttons fail.

Using as a Monome-cloe:

Well, there are a bunch of awesome Monome max/msp patches. These can be run in nomone, a little tool also made in max/msp. To  bad that the only available version of max at cycling 74’s site is the demo version of 5.1 (which is a beta for max4life). There isn’t the usual runtime that you can use. The 5.1 version seems to be broken.  The drag and drop wont work and layouting sometimes looks weird (as in stuff is placed over other stuff). Those issue’s have kept me from testing the really interesting monome patches.

Using the launchpad as a LittlePiggy controlsurface:

n0s of little piggy tracker fame suggested that you could use it to control the little piggy tracker, so we launched into a small prestudy. The bad news are that while it has USB-midi it’s not class compliant so connection to it will require someone to hack Linux drivers. That on the other hand doesn’t seem to be that hard a task. The chip used for communication (and logic) in the launchpad has a data sheet and also reference drivers-code available. I’m guessing that there is no logic at all inside the launchpad, it at most keeps state of the LED’s and maybe debouncing the buttons.  This will probably be doable. However, none of the devices we run the piggy on/from really has battery power to support the launchpad. so there has to be something made there as well. Something for the future maybe.

What I’m going to use it for in the future:

I’m definitively going to learn how to use it for launching clips better, but I haven’t felt that groove lately. and I will also program something nice for it.  No max/msp stuff though. Something on my Mac that interrupts the MIDI messages and let’s me manipulate that both forward and backwards, Creating step sequencers and whatnot. Building on the stuff I made with the moanonme. And probably very similar to little-scale’s max/msp linear sequencer patch.
Infact, I’ve already started. I have the basic framework up in a cmd-window program.  Gonna move that to a nice Cocoa application soon.


The launchpads weakest point is the buttons. The features are great. The hackability is great and I’ll have much fun with that (I’m geeky).  Overall a nice buy that I’m not going to regret.

Dear Korg, what I wish for xmas is a kaossilator 2 with these features:

Same size.
Larger touch pad.
A new and exiting color.
More sounds, preferably 4 banks.
No LED’s (that are for other products)
Be in the same price-range as the current one.
A tad better LCD to better show of the new features.
Patch editing, at least let me turn of those reverbs/delays/echo’s.
Multiple recording layers, that could be turned on and off at a whim.
Audio in, so it could be used as a looper for other audio sources as well.

I know it’s a little late Korg, but I’d be satisfied if you pulled that stupid German kaossilator movie of off the internet.

Thank you in advance.

Plain white MacBook made awesomer!

When pondering if I should buy a MacBook or a MaxBook Pro one thing that talked against the MacBook was it’s plain whiteness. I decided for the cheaper alternative but I did not accept the whiteness. This is my journey towards getting this awesome tentacles on my computer.


The first thing I did whas deciding on a motive, and there are a lot of nice things to do and loads of inspiration to get at such places as deviantart and the internet in general. A few things I really liked was the snowwhite motives that are available to buy. But by this time I was so set on making something unique. So I made a tentacle motive.
Since I cant draw very well this proved to hard so I cheated 🙂 a few google imagesearch I found a bunch of tentacles that I could use. These I “photoshoped” together and printed. After that I stenciled that image with the help of a window and the sun.


Ten I photographed this image in a better setting. Then back to the computer to and some searching on the internet. I looked around for skin shops and or sticker places that could do a good job. But I found no skin that I liked and all the “convert photo to sticker for your computer” places had no way of telling where the apple would be. I did not want to loose the glowing apple. Then I found  a local place and they had this vinylcutter service. Excellent. But they wanted an EPS. So I had to learn how to do one. I could try and redraw my image in some program that makes vectors, but that seemed hard and time-consuming. But I remembered Inkskape that I used before and behold I rememberd correctly. Inkscape can export EPS files. Then luck stroke again, delineate takes an image and converts it to SVG. After playing with the contrast and brightness levels I got this picture that that translated into a EPS beautifully.


So yeah, I sent the EPS to stickit and they sent me the plastic and all I had to do was to transfer it onto my computer. I’m very satisfied with the result.

Very satisfied!

First in scandinavia.

I was able to sell the theremin I ranted about a while ago, and for only 500sek more I got myself a Novation Launchpad instead. The music store where I get (almost) all of my stuff Malmö Musik, had the Nordic general agent visiting today, and he brought it. And since he was hasn’t delivered anywhere else I got the first one. Unless ofcourse you count those that imported theirs from Germany or USA or wherever. Still it feels nice.

I hoped to be able to test it a little at work, but I wont install Ableton Live at the dayjob’s computer.  I’ll just have to wait until I get home to take it for a proper spin.

But boy does new technology smell good.

A grinder of coffe I found!

I found a coffe-grinder at a secondhand market today. It was 140Sek so I just bought it. After I tore it apart, cleaned it (spiderweb and stuff) put it together again. After spending more time to get it to grind so very small then I did waiting for it to dry after the cleaning. Then I made a latte and drank it. Here are some pictures:





30 songs in 30 days. is an initiative I’ve joined. The quest is to write 30 songs in November. This is both hard and easy. Writing 30 songs is easy, but with the awesome other musicians participating I’m feeling the pressure of  stepping up my game. I have not really succeed in that, but I think I will become a happier musician after this is done. If  you want to check out my songs you should look over at