Can You Use a Launchpad with FL Studio?


Can You Use a Launchpad with FL Studio?

The advancement of technology has allowed most aspiring musicians to flex their creativity. From countless digital instruments to a vast library of production software, the options to create your unique style is near limitless. Launchpads are such an exciting investment. Popularized by DJs such as Madeon and Porter Robinson, a Launchpad can be used to either perform music or make remixes and mashups using various tracks. But a tool is only as useful as its compatible software. Fortunately, we got you covered. 

Can you use a Launchpad with Fl Studio? While Launchpads are built natively for Ableton Live, they are also compatible with other DAWs, including FL Studio.

Ableton Live may not be the most appropriate tool for the job. Let’s explore how versatile Launchpads can be with other DAWs as well as demonstrate why you may be better off using a more straightforward program such as FL Studio. 

Can You Use a Launchpad with FL Studio?

A Launchpad, like any other MIDI controller, is compatible with most DAW software. As most MIDI-equipped instruments come bundled with a DAW, you’re not limited to just working with that program. 

But what do we mean by describing a Launchpad as a MIDI controller? Simply put, a MIDI controller is any hardware or software that creates and transmits MIDI data. This data is crucial to trigger artificial sounds and to control assets involved in electronic music performance. Without a MIDI controller, most EDM artists are heavily restricted with how they approach music production. 

MIDI controllers, as a result, cannot be limited to the software and functionality imposed on them. If this were the case, the market for compatible MIDI-devices and DAWs would impose substantial constraints on the consumer. While Launchpad may be typically associated with the DAW Ableton Live, it can function well as a MIDI piano with other DAWs as well.

It should be noted that there are some caveats to using a Launchpad with DAWs other than Ableton Live. Many features are built specifically for Ableton Live, such as Scene Launch and Note Mode. Therefore, some buttons on the Launchpad won’t do anything natively without that specific DAW. Instead, you’ll have to remap them to the closest alternative on FL Studio or something completely different. Luckily, there are many videos online that demonstrate this process.  

How to Configure a Launchpad with FL Studio?

We’ve demonstrated that Launchpads are quite versatile with their compatibility with most DAW software. This is fine and all, but we should take some time to lay-out how does one connect their Launchpad to their controller and some troubleshooting issues that may arise.

PC Connection

Connecting your Launchpad to your computer is a straightforward process. Most of the headaches associated with the set-up arise from not having the proper cable. The tool required for this connection is the handy USB B to A cable where:

  • USB B end connects directly to the Launchpad 
  • USB A end connects right to the computer

For MacBook users, the same principles apply with one small difference. Instead of a USB A end, you’ll need a USB B to C cable to provide the same connection.

While rare, you should be aware of the situation where your Launchpad may not have a USB B port. Instead, you may notice a circular port with five indents along the bottom edge. This is your 5-pin MIDI Output. For this port, you’ll only need a MIDI to USB adapter. To establish the connection, simply follow the exact protocol, as mentioned previously.

Both procedures are universal amongst all MIDI-equipped devices. The installed DAW will recognize any connected MIDI device and install all the necessary drivers. For such a popular MIDI controller, a complicated connection process would defeat the entire purpose behind its usage.

Troubleshooting  

Even a popular MIDI controller amongst EDM artists is never perfect. Like any other form of technology, you’ll come across some issues that require a bit of troubleshooting on your end. Fortunately, this device is so widely used that any problems you’ve come across, someone has experienced and fixed that exact problem.   

Here are some standard troubleshooting issues and their solutions to quickly get you ready to start producing music.

  1. The PC doesn’t acknowledge the Launchpad, even with a proper connection. For this, you’ll have to inspect the connection in your PC manually. Under Device Manager setting in Control Panel, check for the Launchpad icon under Sound and Video Game Controllers. If found, manually install the necessary drivers. 
  2. The Launchpad isn’t producing any sound. This issue is more on the technical side of things. Most still assume that Launchpad or other digital instruments can produce sound. As a MIDI controller, they’re designed to tell DAWs what to do and can be used to control sound. Without the proper VSTs assigned and a designated output, you’ll hear nothing from the device. 

While this may be the most common issues you’ll face with your Launchpad, this barely scratches the surface to what you may encounter. To emphasize, both the controller and the software have a large community that is ready to help you at a moment’s notice. So even if the situation seems impossible, remember that another user thought the same thing before finding the solution themselves. 

The Benefits of FL Studio over other DAWs

In the DAW battle between FL Studio and Ableton Live, most would recommend working with FL Studio, especially those new to DAW production. 

Fl Studio is hugely popular for its use within the electronic music community. Major artists, i.e., Madeon and Martin Garrix, have created some of their best work using this software. For good reasons nonetheless.

The software is extremely user-friendly with many online tutorials that will streamline the entire process. With such a massive community, any troubleshooting issues that arise can be easily remedied with a quick Google search. 

There’s also the great additive of having a mobile version of the software. FL Studio Mobile enables you to work on your track even if you’re away from the studio. 

Most companies will charge their users for updates to their software. Unlike its competitors, FL Studio guarantees lifetime free updates.

While it’s generous for most launchpads to come installed with Ableton Live, I would recommend you hold off from using it as your primary DAW. Ableton Live is indeed perfect for those hoping to collaborate between music production and live performance. But as an advanced DAW, the learning curve may be too steep for someone new to music production. 

Starting with something mainstream as FL Studio will get you the experience you’ll need. If you realize you need more features, then you can consider working with more advanced software. Till then, Fl Studio may be all you need to produce some of the most excellent tunes out there.  

Conclusion

Depending on the DAW software, a musician has a wide array of production tools at their disposal. A launchpad, while typically associated with Ableton Live, is compatible with Fl Studio and other DAWs as well.

With all the necessary steps laid out, you’re free to work on the style that suits you best. But don’t let all this advancement bloat your ego towards becoming the next big DJ. Heed this lesson, though. Regardless of the tools, the final product is only as good as its’ creator. 

If the creator doesn’t put any passion into their projects, it will stand out to the consumers. Time and patience are the only attributes that will lead to a stunning project. Time to buckle down. For this is one payoff that’s well worth the time investment.  

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