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Novation Launch Control XL  ·  Source: uk.novationmusic.com

Focusrite’s sister company Novation have expanded the uses for their Launch Control XL by adding HUI support. This now means that on top of Ableton Live compatibility, Pro Tools, Cubase and Logic users can now make use of its functions. New DAW controllers are very much in demand at the moment, but despite its attractive price I don’t think this has enough on offer for a non-Ableton user to purchase one as their dedicated controller.

While this is clearly very useful for Ableton users who, thanks to this free firmware update can now control their other DAW’s, is there enough draw for potential new customers? If you’re an existing customer, or an Ableton Live user after some hardware controls, then I can only imagine the release of this update will be welcome. Realising the full potential of a piece of gear, especially when it takes up precious desk space, is very important. I respect Novation for adding this functionality and I believe the firmware update to existing users is free, so a congratulations is deserved here.

However, the unit itself doesn’t inspire me. There are minimal controls and the faders aren’t motorised. This will make banking through channels and adjusting levels frustrating, as settings jump to the hardware position and back. I also don’t think much of the fader design, which look like they belong on a DJ mixer and not on a pro controller/desk/console. What’s more, Pro Tools users will apparently experience a flaw with the pan controls, as the centre indentation of the rotary encoders will not always marry up with the centre point in Pro Tools.

There is one fundamental factor that might tempt ‘non-Ableton’ users into purchasing the Launch Control XL, and that’s of course the price! For only 124 GBP you could have a DAW controller and a copy of Ableton Live Lite. Not bad at all, but I think you’ll find it’s cheap for a reason, I’m afraid.

More Information: https://uk.novationmusic.com/launch/launch-control-xl#

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