words & image source/photographer : Eksovichea Tito Hak

The launchpad mini is essentially a more refined re-hash of the launchpad by novation. Although they've made it more compact and named it the 'mini' version, its in no way un-usably fiddly to use or handle, its still fully usable in a competent professional manner. In fact despite the downsize in dimensions the design language used has been totally revamped to throw minimalist clean lines at your eyeballs to feast on. More over there isn't anything lacking in terms of control capabilities and features from the original. Although the construction is all plastic it feels extremely sturdy overall and has a nice weighted feel to it, which at the same time isn't too heavy. Altogether pretty easy to just sling in a ruck-sack and just go. 

The dimensions aren't the only thing that have seen a downsize, the RRP for this thing also significantly undercuts the original launchpad as it weighs in a just over half the price of the original.

They've also designed it so that it can be used with an iPad too, you read that correctly, yep its been said that this re-hash of it was partly intended to appeal to the iPad generation also. 

As with the original, the launchpad mini also has full native functionality with Ableton live without the need for additional system device drivers.  However novation do supply additional OEM device drivers and control software for free so that you can access some of the more advance features of the controller when using it with other software DAW besides Ableton. They've only just recently unified the drivers and repackaged the control software to coincide with the release of this series of controllers which you can now get for free, previously it was the case that there was a free version and an advance version which you could get at a premium.

Be warned though, if you're a windows user and you're not really a fan of using net framework on your laptop DAW, (ie. people like myself who always deactivate the 3.5 built in windows net framework component and try to avoid installing the 4.5 version), the novation software and drivers needed use the full LED toggle status indicator features with other software DAW besides Ableton does in fact require net framework to operate. 

The only reason why I generally personally try to avoid using net framework is that I've had more undesirably anomalous things happen on my laptop DAW in the past whilst it was installed. There's also the fact that my machine generally runs noticeably quicker without it installed. 

At current I'm sticking to using the launchpad controller with Ableton, although using it with other DAW like Reason would certainly help to simplify things significantly to say the very least. I might have to install net-framework on my DAW after all despite my stubborn reluctance and suspicions of it. You can get a very decent price on it at 79GBP with free delivery over at Juno records. Otherwise click this to get to the official site.