Novation Launch Control Review – Compact USB MIDI Controller

Novation Launch Control is portable USB MIDI controller from Novation Launch series, which designed to work as single midi controller for Ableton Live, FL Studio, any other DAW, and to complete Launchpad S/Mini and MIDI keyboard Launchkey with 16 rotary pot controllers. The controller also has 8 full-sized pads like in the Launchpad.

We should just mention that the controllers of the Launch Control though are digital, but they have 300-degree motion limit. Thus, the best option for their use — one selected set of parameters. The Novation Launchpad controllers serve as filters and volume in the iPad app.

Manual setup is not required: the device is ready for operation right after connection to the computer and is seen automatically by Ableton. Everything is clearly explained in an illustrated 3-page PDF document Launch Control Ableton Live Guide. The set also includes a paper “cheat sheet” on the functions of the controllers of Launch Control. So let’s start our detailed overview from specs, as usual.


  • Rotary Controllers: 16 rotary knobs with 300-degree motion
  • Launch Buttons: 8 pads with LED backlights (amber, green, red, no color)
  • Function Buttons: 6 buttons with red backlit
  • Power Options: MicroUSB cable powered, including iPad 2 or newer
  • OS Compatibility: Windows 7,8,10 / starts from Mac OSX 10.7 and greater, iOS 6 or greater
  • Package Bundle: Novation Launch Control, MicroUSB cable, Manual, Ableton Live Lite 9, Standalone editor for control assignment, Lightning to USB camera adapter not included
  • Dimensions: [W] 240mm x [D] 118mm x [H] 39mm
  • Weight: 453 grams (1.5 pounds)

Novation Launch Control Overall Build and Features

Each DJ will appreciate the advantages of this controller: ergonomic design, compact body, intuitive interface, sound quality, connectivity with iPad, durable housing made of high quality materials, ensures reliable operation for many years.

The handles of the controller Launch Control are large in size; they move smoothly and they are very easy to work with! Fully rubber surface on the bottom prevents sliding: the controller is fixed well on the surface. The only complaint is an abrupt leap to the current position of the controller when you attempt the slightest adjustment. (An alternative option, that in such cases synthesizer developers use, a parameter begins to change only after the current position of the virtual knobs “is caught” by the handle of the hardware). There are no complaints about the pads: they work accurately and without delay. The size, sensation and appearance are exactly like the buttons of the controller Novation Launchpad.

Nocation Launch Control Editor

The controller has an internal memory where you can save your own templates or call a ready-made factory one. The button section Templates is made for this. A quick call of presets allows you to control up to 448 parameters with Novation Launch Control! There is also a release of new firmware for the device on the website, updating 8 factory templates and giving a compatibility with new software versions. 8 custom templates change through the app for PC and Mac called Novation Launch Control Editor. You can share your custom settings with your device with buttons “Load” and “Save” and save your templates to a file.

We can understand from the document that there are three ready modes of Launch Control. These modes activate by pressing the button “Factory” and then by pressing pad 1, 2 or 3. Why do we need the modes:

  1. Mixer mode. The top row of rotary controllers consists of mixer track panorama, the low one – of the volume; the buttons control the activation of tracks. Further, the mode changes from panorama/volume to Send A/Send B and below with vertical arrows. In Ableton, at the bottom, a tooltip shows what the current activated function is. The buttons with horizontal arrows move the pads on the mixer right and left.
  2. Launchpad mode. The rotary controllers consist of a panorama/volume, but the pads work as one big line of Launchpad. We move through the composition with arrows. The line we move in the current moment is highlighted in the “Arrangement View”.
  3. Effect mode. The rotary controllers change the settings of the current effect. The first four top handles are the first four parameters. The bottom row of handles changes the parameters 5-8. The rest of the controllers are not assigned. Pads switch banks. The button “up-down”: it’s a switch to the effects of the current track. “Right-left” – track selection. A currently selected track is shown in the “Session View” window.

The manufacturer calls Novation Launch Control a perfect complement to the Launchpad. It’s hard not to agree. Firstly, it means that there is an ability to simultaneously connect multiple Launch devices to your computer or iPad. Secondly, modular design allows flexibly configure the controllers under the way of playing of a particular artist. Thirdly, a great advantage is that it’s not necessary to give at once a large sum of money, as it’s inevitable in the case of a purchase, for example, of Ableton Push.

Ultra compact controller Navation Launch Control receiving power only from the connected devices. AC adapter is not provided for his work. The set includes a powerful DAW – Ableton Live Lite. A lite version of Ableton Live Lite is available for download after registration of the serial code which is included in purchase. If you think that functionality of Lite version is too poor for your production and performance, you can uptate it to version “Standart” or “Suite” for an additional fee. It is worth noting that with the help of this DAW, many well-known artists created their masterpieces.

We have already told about integration with iPad and free apps for iPad Launchpad and Launchkey iPad synth in the review of the Novation Launchpad Mini. It’s bigger than a little Launchpad. We should recall you again that you need an adapter kit Apple Camera Connection Kit or Apple lightning to USB Camera Adapter, which is purchased separately, to connect to iPad. To connect multiple devices to the iPad Novation Launch you will also need a hub (USB Hub), preferably with its own supply.

Final Verdict

Novation has managed to create a convenient, inexpensive and functional tool for working with contemporary styles of music. The user is given 16 handles of rotary knobs, which are complemented by a series of 8 full-sized pads with lighting, and buttons for moving through tracks, and ready meaningful patterns of values. So we recommend you to buy Novation Launch Control and to use it in tandem with Novation Launchpad Mini as they look very organic with each other, and this bunch allows you to extend the functionality.


  • Compact control panel with 16 handles and eight 3-colored pads
  • “Ideal Partner” for the Novation Launchpad and Launchpad Mini, Ableton Live and FL Studio – Plug and Play when using “factory” mapping and the ability to create your own for any DAW.
  • Integrates with iPad-application “Launchpad” from app store, allowing to control the volume and filters using the controls on panel and to run effects and clips with the pads. Also iOS app “Launchpad” allows to connect several devices from Novation at same time.
  • Rugged, portable, powered from the USB-bus (including iPad power)
  • Eight “factory” and eight custom templates you can create and save your own control settings.


  • No Cons. We were trying to find any cons, but there isn’t any flaws in this device. The only thing that you may not like – it’s not such a large number of buttons, but the Novation company has taken care of this by releasing an extended version of the controller – Novation Launch Control XL.
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Global Novation Launch Control Rating
  • Overall Build and Features - 8.2/10
  • Versatility - 8.5/10
  • Design - 8/10
  • Value - 10/10
  • Ease of Use - 7/10