Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to get LED feedback in User1 Mode?
2. What colors are available in LED feedback?
3. How to set up the buttons on the side to switch between drum racks?
4. How to get multiple samples onto one button?
5. Why are my samples slowly fading out after some time?
6. How to make lightshows?
7. How do I update Launchpad's firmware?
8. How do I record my project's audio?
9. How do I share my project with others?
10. Will my Launchpad work with projects made for other types of Launchpads?
11. What are the differences between different versions of Live?
12. What are the differences between different types of Launchpads?
13. How can I make a sample's audio stop after another sample is pressed?

1. How to get LED feedback in User1 Mode?


First, you must go into Ableton’s Preferences, which you can open with a shortcut:

[MAC] “CMD + ,”

Now, navigate into the “MIDI Sync” tab on the menu on the left. It should look like this:

Next up, click on the “Control Surface” and depending on your type of Launchpad, select that as your control surface.

On the Input and Output tab, select your launchpad and under the MIDI Ports tab, set on both the Input and Output’s “Track” and “Remote” to “On”. It should now look like this:

Now your Launchpads navigation buttons and Session mode buttons should be lit up.

You don’t yet have LED feedback in User 1, we will set that up now.

Make sure you have two MIDI tracks and on the left side of Ableton.
Click on the little round button that has I-O written on it (That stands for Input-Output).

Under your tracks, there are now Input/Output setting available.

Set them up like this:

Now when you switch to User 1 mode, you should get yellow illuminated buttons when you press them.

2. What colors are available in LED feedback?


For the S and MINI versions of the Launchpads:


127Strong Yellow
110Medium Yellow
126Lime 1
109Weak Lime 1
125Lime 2
124Strong Green
108Medium Green
92Weak Green
95Strong Orange
111Medium Orange
94Weak Orange
93Weaker Orange
79Strong Red
78Medium Red
77Weak Red
76No Color



Type 112612211811462585450
Type 1 Weak1091051019745413733
Type 212512111711361575349





The MK2 and PRO version of the Launchpad have RGB lights, which means that there are 128 different possible color combinations in Ableton, which are too long to include in this list. Here is a simplified chart of different color possibilities for the RGB lights.

3. How to set up the buttons on the side to switch between drum racks?


To get started, click and drag a device called “Instrument Rack” onto to the track called “1 MIDI”.

Now on the bottom of Ableton you should see an empty Instrument Rack when it’s collided together.

Next up, open up the Instrument Rack by clicking the 3 round buttons on the side of the Instrument Rack and it should look like this:

Next, on the top left of the Instrument Rack, you see 4 tabs called “Key”, “Vel”, “Chain” and “Hide”.
Click on “Chain”. The layout of the Instrument Rack changes and there is now a graph-like tab inside the Instrument Rack.

This is the Chain section, where you can drag in plug-ins, drum racks and other instruments.
The Chain section is mostly meant to switch between chains, like we’re about to do with drum racks.

Now, depending on how many “pages” you want to switch, you need to drag in the same amount of drum racks.
The drum racks in this concept can be called pages. So when you would like to have 4 pages, you need 4 drum racks.
So now you click and drag 4 drum racks into the Instrument Rack’s Chain section where it says “Drop an Instrument or Sample Here”.

You should notice that little blue bars have appeared on the graph, those are zones.

You may also notice that there is an orange bar above the zones that is the same width as the zones. That is called the chain selector.

When the chain selector is hovering above the zone, then that instrument is being affected.

Right now, all of the chains are being affected, so to make them not to do so, click on the second drum rack, so that it’s highlighted and with arrow keys, move the zone 1 space right.

Do this with each of the zones so that it looks like this:

Now we have to map the chain selector so that you can switch chains with your Launchpad, instead of your computer mouse.

To do so, on the left of the Instrument Rack, where the macro knobs are located, click on “Map” and it will turn parts of the Instrument Rack green.

The green shows you what parameters are possible to map to the macro knobs.

Now click on the long green bar where the chain selectors orange bar is located.

Next up, where the macro knobs are located, click on “Map” under the first macro knob.

Now your first macro knob should be renamed to “Chain Selector” and the new window that popped up on the left side contains all the mappings done to the selected Instrument Rack.

In that new window, there is a new mapping and on the left there are two boxes called “0” and “127”.
Those are the minimum and maximum values that the mapping is affecting.

Since we don’t need to control over a 100 drum racks, we’re going to click on the box that reads “127” and type in “7”.

7 is the maximum amount of drum racks that you can switch with the side buttons. You may be thinking, that there are 8 buttons on the side, but keep in mind, that 0 counts as a value too, so 8 drum racks are still selectable.

Finally, you can exit the map mode, by pressing the “Map” button again. If the green areas are gone on the Instrument Rack, you have successfully exited mapping mode.

Next up, we’re going to have to midi-map the chain selector to the side buttons. To do so, click on “MIDI” on the top right side of Ableton.

Now your entire Ableton session is highlighted blue and it looks like this:

The blue areas show what parameters can be midi-mapped to your controller. It’s like the mapping mode on the Instrument Rack, but on a larger scale and involves physical controllers.

Now to midi-map the chain selector to your Launchpad, simply click on the Chain Selector macro on your Instrument Rack and on your Launchpad, hold down the top side button and press the bottom side button.

Now you can exit midi-mapping mode by clicking on “MIDI” again. If there are no blue areas anymore, you have exited the midi-mapping mode successfully.

Your Ableton session now looks like this:

Now when you press the different buttons on the side, the chain selector should move around.

Congratulations, you can now start dragging in samples into your drum racks (You can drag in already finished drum racks as well into the instrument rack).

4. How to get multiple samples onto one button?


To do this, we will dive deeper into the possibilities of MIDI Effects and use of Instrument Racks.

First, you need to drag in an Instrument Rack onto an empty slot in the Drum Rack and open up the bottom two round buttons on the side and press on “Key” so it looks like this:

Next up, drag in the samples that you want on one buttons into the Instrument Rack. We’re using two in this case.

Under MIDI Effects select the “Random” device...

…and drag into this precise location and set the parameters up like this:

Depending on how many samples you want, you have to increase “Choices” to the amount of samples you want to use.
At the moment when you press the button where the samples are, they both sound at the same time, to make them sound separately, set the green bars, which are called key zones like this:

If you want to use more samples, you have to set up all the next samples a step left from the previous ones.
Now if you press them, the samples sound separate press times, but the second sample is transposed up by 1 half-tone, which may go unnoticed at first. To fix this, on the sample, set the transpose to -1.

Now the samples will sound normally when you press the button. If you want to add in more samples, you will also have to transpose every other sample down, so that it aligns with C3.

For example: The first sample’s transpose is 0, the second one at -1, third at -2 etc.

5. Why are my samples slowly fading out after some time?


All of the samples that are in the drum rack have a fade out time. You may not notice this with short samples like a simple drum sample, but with longer samples you can surely notice the volume going down.

To make it sound the same throughout it’s playing time, go to your sample that’s fading out in your drum rack and drag in a Note Length to this location:

Depending on the length of your sample, you can set the length to the same as the sample, but you’re only limited to a maximum of 2 minutes with the “Gate” set to 200%, after that the samples start to fade out again.

6. How do I display lightshow in User1 Mode?


In User 1 mode, you can use LED feedback along with Ableton’s default MIDI Effects to display beautiful lightshows. The first thing to know is what each of the MIDI Effects is capable of. They are all different from each other and can be used to work together with other effects to make breath-taking visuals.

Here is the list of all the MIDI Effects in Ableton at the moment:

Starting from the simplest, we have an effect called “Pitch”. This effect is used to move the position of the LED to another one. For example if you’re pressing a bottom left button on your Launchpad (which is usually C1) and set the pitch value to “+1 st”, it will light up the LED right next to it and leaves the previous one with no light. If set the pitch value to “+4 st”, it will light up a button above it (we are still talking about the bottom left button being pressed).

In conclusion: Pitch is used to move the original position of the LED to another one.

Coming up next is an effect called “Chord”. This effect is somewhat similar to “Pitch”, but instead of moving one LED to another, it makes a new LED light up on the Launchpad. When we press the bottom left button again and set the value of any of the knobs to “+1st”, the LED on the right of it while leaving the original one lit up as well. Since you’re only limited to 6 knobs to make chords, you can drag in another chord effect right next to it to extend the previous chord settings even further. So for example if I want to light up a line from bottom to top. I need to use two chord effects. On the first chord effect, the settings have to be like the following: “+4st” ; “+8st” ; “+12st” and on the second chord effect: “+16st”. So it looks like this:

In conclusion: Chord is used to make more lights light up.
Next up, we have a “Note Length”. As the name says it, it’s used to make notes/LED’s stay lit long-er. It’s very easy to use, with just one knob you can make the LED’s light up longer. Also, take note that the MIDI effect is then dependent on the Note Length only. The physical time when you press the pad, won’t make the LED light up longer or shorter. The Note Length has other features too, but they’re much more advanced and they belong to another chapter.

In conclusion: Note Length makes the LED’s light up longer/shorter.

Next, we have “Velocity”. Velocity is used to change the color of the LED’s. Each color has a cer-tain value on the 127 range. The color values are different between the Original Launchpad, The S/MINI and the soon to be released MK2/PRO. But for now the Velocity still works the same on all the versions. By tweaking the “Out Hi” knob, you can change the color, easy as that. The whole color chart of the Launchpad S/MINI can be seen here: Final Launchpad S Color Chart

Another use of the Velocity is the “Random” knob, where you can set the amount of different colors that can light up when the LED with Velocity is being affected.

In conclusion: Velocity is used to change color of the LED.

Now we’re moving on to “Arpeggiator”. The arpeggiator is one of the most useful tools in the lightshow making process. It is mostly used to make the LED’s move in a sequence. By using it with Chord effect(s). You can make the notes that you’ve made light up in a style set on the Arpeg-giator. There are many styles what you can choose from and all of them have different impacts on the lightshow.

The most basic knobs that you come across the most are “Rate”, “Gate” and “Repeats”. With Rate you set the speed of the arpeggiator. There are two modes for the speed. One is “Sync” and other is “Free”. Sync is used to make the lightshow move as at a same pace as the tempo you’ve set. Free is used to make the lightshow move at a time and it’s not dependant on the tempo anymore. As a little tip, it’s wiser to use “Free” mode, since it gives you more flexibility and smoother looking movements. Gate is sort of a small Note Length inside the Arpeggiator. You can make the se-quence stay lit longer. It will not change the speed of it, but makes the notes that it’s running through stay lit for a little longer. Below 100% the effect starts to look choppy, so keeping it over 100% makes the effect look more appealing. As an alternative, you can use the Note Length to do the same thing. Final basic thing that you need to know is “Repeats”. As you probably already can tell, it’s used to make the effect repeat for a certain amount of times. By default it’s on infinite, so the effect will keep repeating until you let go of it, or the length of the Note Length runs out.

In conclusion: The arpeggiator makes the effects move.

Next, we have an effect called “Random”. This effect is slightly more advanced and needs some playing around to get the hang of. Basically, it’s used to make one button have more than one ef-fect on it. So by pressing it more than once, more different effects happen. For example, on the good old C1 note, when we press it on the first time, it lights up the the row of lights going up, if we press it the second time, it lights up a row of lights going left. Of course you have to make all of these effects yourself.

Starting from the top, we have the “Chance” knob. This determins the chance of the different LED effect even happening. At 100% it, happens for sure, so in most cases, you’re going to have it set to 100%. The knob below, called “Choices” determines how many different effects can take place. The maximum amount is 24, which should be more than enough. At first you may notice that this effect can’t be reset, you’re going to have to go through all of the choices to reach the beginning. Luckily, you can set the Choices knob to 1, press the button until the first effect lights up again, and set the original amount back. On the right of the Choices knob, we have a mode switch. There you can switch between Random and Alt. With Random, the Choices are chosen randomly and with Alt, the effects work in a cycle-like behaviour. The knob at the bottom is called “Scale”. This knob is quite rarely used, but what it basically does, is that it increases the size of the gap between each pad that the Choices knob “hops” over. When the value is 1, it doesn’t skip any pads and it goes up chromatically. If it’s set to 2, it skips one pad between each, if it’s 3, it skips two pads etc. Finally on the left we have the Sign switches. This is another thing you will rarely come across, but this allows you to change the way that the choices are going. By default it’s on “Add”, which makes it go up. “Sub” makes it go down and “Bi” makes it do both. It goes up first, then it goes down and then starts over.

In conclusion: The Random effect allows you to put multiple effects on one button.

Finally, we have the “MIDI Effect Rack”, which is the backbone of the entire lightshow part of the project. In the MIDI Effect Rack, all of the effects are stored and it can be also used to make high-end looking lightshow effects. But for now, we’ll go over the basics.

By default, the empty “opened up” Rack looks like this:

In the beginning of the rack to the left are macros, you can map some midi effect parameters there, so you can get quick access to multiple effects at the same time. For example, mapping the rate of the arpeggiator on effects that use the same speed can save up a lot of time when calibrat-ing it with your project.

Next up, you have the Key Zone area, which is pretty much the same as the Instrument Rack’s one. There you can make different chains for each button. You can also use the Key Zone area as a place to animate more complex effects, but that requiers longer explaining and a new chapter. In the Chain area, you can have multiple pages of effects. This is most commonly used to switch be-tween the drum racks in your instrument rack and effects in your midi effect rack at the same time. So there really is no thing like “linking the effects with samples”. They’re both separate things, played at the same time in different locations. Although you could make it easier and make each MIDI Effect Rack to be a new page, it’s more computer-friendly to treat each effect like a new “page” or a drum rack, because the more racks you have on top of each other, the more it takes your computers processing power. The Velocity and Hide area is not important in the lightshow context really, so we can skip that at the moment.

After that we have the devices area, where it says “Drop MIDI Effects Here”. There is where you will be editing each individual effect. You can drop more MIDI Effect Racks there to build even more complex effects, but as a little tip: Try to keep the rack amount minimal.

In conclusion: The MIDI Effect Rack is the place where all of the lightshow effects and chains are stored.

There is one more MIDI Effect on the list called “Scale”, but the use of that effect is extremely rare and isn’t very important in lightshow making process.

This is what each of the effects are capable of. It is now up to you to make them work together and come up with cool looking visuals that adds to your performance.

7. How do I update Launchpad's firmware?


This is a problem with most Launchpads. When you have heavy lightshow effects in user 1 mode or press the bottom right buttons frequently, the Launchpad may glitch out and switch to either user 2 or mixer mode. This is because most Launchpads run on an old firmware. Luckily there is a way to upgrade your firmware and to get rid of this problem for good.

On Windows platform, you have to first install a freeware called “MIDI-OX” which can be downloaded here: MIDIOX.com

Next up, you need to download the new firmware from this site: http://beta.novationmusic.com/releases/launchpad_s/

After you’ve installed the MIDI-OX on your computer, it’s time to update your Launchpad.

First off, make sure that your launchpad is in bootloader mode. You can access the bootloader by having your Launchpad disconnected and while holding down the top rightmost circular buttons and plugging your midi cable back in. Now your Launchpad looks like this:

Next up, in your MIDI-OX, open up the new firmware that you’ve downloaded. Now select your Launchpad S/MINI as your output, by going into Options - MIDI Devices and selecting the Launchpad there as an output.

Finally you have to play the .syx file. To do so, select View, Syxex… in the window that pops up, select Command Window - Load File… and select the .syx file you downloaded. Last, click File - Send Syxex file and your Launchpad should start updating. You should see the word “Updating…” run across your Launchpad. Let it process all the way through and when you’re done, you can exit the bootloader mode and enjoy your updated Launchpad without a problem.

8. How do I record my project's audio?


The first thing that you have to do when recording audio is to make sure that the tempo is set correctly to the song’s tempo (This step should be done when before you’ve even started sampling). Also you have to enable the metronome to play everything in sync. The metronome enable button is on the top left side of Ableton view.

It’d be best if you let the metronome go through your headphones to hear the metronome as clear as possible. You can tweak the volume of the metronome under the master channel, where there is a little blue knob with headphone symbol under it.

Now that your metronome, it’s volume and correct tempo are set, it’s time to record your audio you want to play. If you’re making an User 1 cover, make sure that your track is armed. The track arm button is in the bottom of the track. You only need to arm the drum rack track.

Finally to start the recording, you can either do it in session view or arrangement view. In session view, click on one of the empty scene’s circle. This counts in one bar by default and it starts recording midi on that track from your drum rack.

Another way to record in session view is to switch to session mode on your Launchpad and press on an empty scene on your drum rack track and then switch back to your user 1 mode.

If you’re making an either User 2 or Session view or maybe even User 1 as well, it’d be better if you’d record into the Arrangement view. To record audio clips or midi clips (not midi notes like in your drum rack), switch into the arrangement view and click the global record button, which can be found on the top middle of Ableton’s view (the round button).

That works the same way as the drum rack track’s scene record button in session view, only now it record every track and any clips that you play either in session mode are recorded onto those tracks. You don’t have to arm the audio tracks to record the clips into the Arrangment view.

Now that you have everything recorded, it’s your choice to either quantize your tracks or not. It is still preffered to quantize your audio, so that the video can be enjoyed to it’s fullest. Quantizing is moving your midi notes to the grid so it is in sync with the session’s tempo. Quantizing is a very long process, but to get maximum quality on your videos it is a necessary step.

Depending on the complexity of your cover, the quantizing speed may vary. If for example all of your kick drum pattern never changes you can select all of the kick midi notes an quantize them all at once, just be sure that the quantize setting match to the pattern or it will shift the note to another location and will give you extra work. It is wise to work in parts, which means that you find yourself a comfortable amount of clips that you quantize before moving on to another. So cut your midi clip into parts from the song (Intro, chorus, verse etc.) and work on them in orded.

Finally when everything is quantized and ready, you can export your audio and sync it up with your video in a video editing software of your choice.

9. How do I share my project with others?


If you’re done with your project and want others to play it too, you can upload your project to a shar-ing site of your choice and share the download link where your project is located. You can even submit your project to the Launchpad-Pro's website.

The first thing when sharing your project is to make sure that your project is cleaned up and doesn’t contain any unnecessary samples.

If you’ve made an User 1 based project, you’ll do this, by saving your drum rack as a preset into your User Library by pressing the little floppy disk icon on the left of your drum rack. If your project has several drum racks chained into the Instrument Rack, then you’ll have to save the Instrument Rack only.

Do the same with your Midi Effect Rack if you have any lightshows made.

The Drum Racks are saved into User Library - Presets - Instruments - Drum Rack
Instrument Racks into User Library - Presets - Instruments - Instrument Rack
Midi Effect Racks into User Library - Presets - MIDI Effects - Midi Effect Rack

Now you’d want to open up a new fresh Ableton session and drag in the racks you’ve saved into your user library.

In your drum rack(s), you’re going to want to right click and crop every sample to make sure the sample exists in your sample folder.

Finally, collect all and save.

Now save the project, exit Ableton and locate the folder where you’ve saved the project file and make sure you’ve uploaded the entire project folder (along with the .als file, samples folder and pro-ject info) into the sharing site of your choice.

10. Will my Launchpad work with projects made for other types of Launchpads?


Yes, in fact you can play the project with almost any controller as long as they send MIDI data. There are a few changes though you need to make to the project to make it function properly.

First, set up your Launchpad to get LED feedback, you can do it by following the steps here: How to get LED feedback in User1 Mode?
Second, depending on how the project is made, it might be using either the chain selector technique to switch between the racks or just track arm being mapped to the sides.

For the chain selecting technique, simply double-click on both the drum rack track and LED feedback track, select the “Chain Selector” macro and MIDI map it to the side buttons like shown here: How to set up the buttons on the side to switch between drum racks?

For the track arm mapping technique, simply MIDI map the track arm buttons to the side buttons one by one.

11. What are the differences between different versions of Live?


Ableton has 3 main different version. Intro, Standard and Suite. Ableton has made a comparison table about the different versions.
You can check it out here: https://www.ableton.com/en/live/feature-comparison/

12. What are the differences between different types of Launchpads?


Today, there are 6 different types of Launchpads (Original / S / MINI / MK2 / MINI MK2 / PRO).

The original and S are discontinued and aren’t made anymore, now the MINI, MK2 and PRO are the main launchpads today.
You can see differences between the three here: https://us.novationmusic.com/which-launchpad/

13. How can I make a sample's audio stop after another sample is pressed?


This is called “Choking” in official terms. There are 16 choke groups available for use, that means that you can have 16 different groups that are “choking” each other.
For example buttons “A” and “B” are set to choke group “1” and buttons “C” and “D” are set to choke group “2”. When pressing button “A” and while it’s playing audio you press the button “B”, then the audio coming from button “A” stops at the time button “B” is pressed.
But, when you press the button “C” or “D” when the audio from button “A” or “B” is playing, then the audio won’t be stopped since the buttons are in a different choke group.

You can see and edit the choke groups in the drum rack by clicking on the middle button of the the button on the top left side of the drum rack device (It’s called a “Show/Hide Chain List” button) and after that, click on the newly appeared I/O button just below it.

Now all of your samples/devices that are in that drum rack, are being displayed as a list and you can edit different functions of them. For now, we will be concentrating on the “Choke” list. When you click on the little box under “Choke” a list of 16 choke groups open up. Set the samples you wish to be cancelling or choking each other out into the same choke group.
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