Novation Launchpad vs Akai APC40

Rupert Brown takes a look at the Novation Launchpad and compares it to the Akai APC40:

Does the Novation Launchpad offer anything my APC40 doesn’t? Find out in this video!

The review is based upon my initial impressions of playing with the Launchpad at the official release event.

Got your own thoughts on using the Novation Launchpad vs the Akai APC40? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

21 thoughts on “Novation Launchpad vs Akai APC40

  1. The reason I chose a Launchpad over the APC40 was the price and Monome emulation (I'm aware the APC can do this too, but it seems odd to me when the buttons aren't all the same size).

    Now if somebody eventually comes out with a 16×16, velocity sensitive, RGB (full color) grid controller with Monome 256 emulation…….

  2. The reason I chose a Launchpad over the APC40 was the price and Monome emulation (I'm aware the APC can do this too, but it seems odd to me when the buttons aren't all the same size).

    Now if somebody eventually comes out with a 16×16, velocity sensitive, RGB (full color) grid controller with Monome 256 emulation…….

  3. First of all I have to say that I liked the review. A bit slow, and I didn't understand the need to show the official "launchpad commercial" but apart from that I think he gives some very good points. And I think its refreshing to see another mpd24 over there. IMO one of the better controllers when it comes to percussion.

    And well, IMO you cannot really compare the LP and APC. Where the launchpad obviously excels in maintaining control over your work due to the larger grid it might present some shortcomings when it comes to tweaking instruments like Operator. And that's where the APC has the advantage.

    I own an APC40 myself and my reasons for picking up on it are twofold. First is laziness. Yes, shame on me 😉 While the Launchpad has some user modes which you can use to control the mixer and such I simply didn't consider this a liable solution for me since I didn't want to look at the controller first while having to wonder in what mode it was set. I want to instantly see what I'm doing and work on stuff.

    The second reason is mentioned in the video as well; I use Suite 8 as a full fledged synthesizer and in that respect want to have full control over my gear. An 8 step slider simply doesn't cut it for me so I really wanted to have some analog knobs to control my settings. For me the controller isn't merely something you use to launch clips or globally change some settings. I fully use it as an interface between me and my synth.

    Even though I favor the APC40 I really consider the Launchpad to be an awesome device. Should I ever want to expand further by getting a second controller then it won't be an APC20 but definitely a Launchpad. I think such a comparison (Launchpad vs APC20) would be much more interesting by the way since both devices are somewhat in the same price range.

    When it comes to such a comparison I think the Launchpad totally kicks the APC20's ass big time.

  4. First of all I have to say that I liked the review. A bit slow, and I didn't understand the need to show the official "launchpad commercial" but apart from that I think he gives some very good points. And I think its refreshing to see another mpd24 over there. IMO one of the better controllers when it comes to percussion.

    And well, IMO you cannot really compare the LP and APC. Where the launchpad obviously excels in maintaining control over your work due to the larger grid it might present some shortcomings when it comes to tweaking instruments like Operator. And that's where the APC has the advantage.

    I own an APC40 myself and my reasons for picking up on it are twofold. First is laziness. Yes, shame on me 😉 While the Launchpad has some user modes which you can use to control the mixer and such I simply didn't consider this a liable solution for me since I didn't want to look at the controller first while having to wonder in what mode it was set. I want to instantly see what I'm doing and work on stuff.

    The second reason is mentioned in the video as well; I use Suite 8 as a full fledged synthesizer and in that respect want to have full control over my gear. An 8 step slider simply doesn't cut it for me so I really wanted to have some analog knobs to control my settings. For me the controller isn't merely something you use to launch clips or globally change some settings. I fully use it as an interface between me and my synth.

    Even though I favor the APC40 I really consider the Launchpad to be an awesome device. Should I ever want to expand further by getting a second controller then it won't be an APC20 but definitely a Launchpad. I think such a comparison (Launchpad vs APC20) would be much more interesting by the way since both devices are somewhat in the same price range.

    When it comes to such a comparison I think the Launchpad totally kicks the APC20's ass big time.

  5. I was gunna respond with this and that but @Synthfan pretty much summed it up… The APC 40 is all about the sliders and wonderful knobs at your disposal…

    And all the things you can do besides just clip launch & monome emulation…

  6. i was having trouble deciding between the apc40 and launchpad when i started to get interested in this type of thing and i got the launchpad for a few reasons –

    1 – usb powered
    2 – size (although it does feel somewhat cheap being plastic)
    3 – people that have no idea how you are using either seem to be more impressed by doing everything with only buttons instead of a combo with sliders and knobs
    4 – it blinks!

    the dsp project is quickly earning my respect for what its involved in and this was a great review / comparison in my opinion. if you are interested in either of the apc40 or launchpad i recommend going to your local music shop and trying them out as mail order anything has the chance of becoming a major headache.

  7. @tekkentool – along with the launchpad i at times use the nano series. not so much for drums but for a string of effects and the occasional keyboarding, yea – mainly nanokontrol.

    @synthhead – what i usually do if i cant find it 'local' is check everything out and guitar center (as they seem to have everything) and go buy/order it elsewhere. i forgot! – i got it to control my cursor with 'joy2key'.

  8. @tekkentool – along with the launchpad i at times use the nano series. not so much for drums but for a string of effects and the occasional keyboarding, yea – mainly nanokontrol.

    @synthhead – what i usually do if i cant find it 'local' is check everything out and guitar center (as they seem to have everything) and go buy/order it elsewhere. i forgot! – i got it to control my cursor with 'joy2key'.

  9. Hey guys,
    Interesting to hear your feed back.

    @Rob P with a wish list like that why stop there? I would add LCD readouts for the channel names at least if not for each pad, now that would be sweet.

    @SynthFan I know playing the "launchpad commercial" might seem a bit lame but I didn't have a demo unit so for the few that hadn't seen it I thought it was best to display the unit in some form (plus I kind of like the demo track).
    And yes the MPD24 is a great unit (except the parameter jump on the encoders) I will do a review on it at some stage.

    +1 for supporting your local music shop.

    @tekkentool yeah that would be a good combo (nanoKontrol review on the way too by the way) I guess the Launchpad isn't really designed as a standalone do it all but as a solid grid to be used with other knob slider controllers. And there is something very appealing about the modular approach.

    Thanks for watching.
    -Rupert

    (p.s. I know im a little late to this conversation)

  10. Hey guys,
    Interesting to hear your feed back.

    @Rob P with a wish list like that why stop there? I would add LCD readouts for the channel names at least if not for each pad, now that would be sweet.

    @SynthFan I know playing the "launchpad commercial" might seem a bit lame but I didn't have a demo unit so for the few that hadn't seen it I thought it was best to display the unit in some form (plus I kind of like the demo track).
    And yes the MPD24 is a great unit (except the parameter jump on the encoders) I will do a review on it at some stage.

    +1 for supporting your local music shop.

    @tekkentool yeah that would be a good combo (nanoKontrol review on the way too by the way) I guess the Launchpad isn't really designed as a standalone do it all but as a solid grid to be used with other knob slider controllers. And there is something very appealing about the modular approach.

    Thanks for watching.
    -Rupert

    (p.s. I know im a little late to this conversation)

  11. I know i'm a bit late on this conversation but thought it was worth adding my opinion.
    I have the use of both the APC40 and the Launchpad however i solely use them for live performance DJing rather than for production and i have to say that i much prefer to use the Launchpad with an LPD8. These fit in a laptop bag with much greater ease and being Bus powered means one less cable to carry around. Plus there is something quite sleek and sexy about the Launchpad that just wins handsdown everytime for me.

  12. I couldn’t decide between them. So I saved and saved to get the APC40 to start since it seemed to be the all around package. And then later on got a Launchpad. I LOVE both units. I like to use the APC40 to control any sort of volume/filters etc. and clip launching while I actually use the Launchpad as an instrument to add in my own loops and synths. Lots of fun with both I’ll tell you that!

  13. I know im also a bit late on this but i just wanted to know: I have heard a lot that the launchpad has a slow reaction time and that it can often lag. is that true?

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