Pads - they come in different forms and shapes. They are programmable and even controlled by additional software. The market is huge and the developers are working on new and creative ways to integrate them into production hardware. In this article, we provide the latest information to make sure you’ve got everything you need to know about pads in production and live performances.
Shape and layout. Pads are specified to the shape of fingertips, making it easier for a DJ to work during live sessions. They are also well separated and organized into transparent grids eliminating the chance of hitting the wrong one.
Drum recording. They are irreplaceable in the studio when it comes to creating rhythmical elements like drum-lines. Mapping drum elements to different pads and later using your hands to create some beats is so much easier than drawing them in a digital audio workstation (DAW) using a mouse.
Performing live. Launching a sample has never been easier. It’s no surprise that pads are coming in strong as useful performance gear. If necessary they can even replace the MIDI keyboard in your live setup if you just need to play simple melodies.
What Forms Are Available?
Launchpad – a separate chassis built just for the pads, is the most common pad format. These are designed specifically to control the parameters of the software, meaning there are no standalone features provided.
Music production center – the Launchpad block is integrated in the same chassis with the sampler, arranger, mixer, instruments, effects, and more. These pad solutions range from a separate block on a MIDI keyboard to advanced standalone beat-making systems.
Drum racks – MIDI-mappable percussion pads meant to imitate physical drum kicks, snares, cymbals and hi-hats. They are meant to be played with drum sticks. Therefore, the pads are usually a lot wider than the typical pads meant to be pressed by fingertips.
Novation Launchpad – the most iconic pads solution mounted into an 8x8 grid framework that has become ubiquitous with the evolution of electronic music. This pad lets you launch clips, play drum racks and control your mixer in just about any way your mind can think of.
Native Instruments Maschine Studio – an advanced all-around solution for producing a wide range of beats, melodies and harmonies. Maschine also comes with an integrated sampler, which combined with cutting-edge software, creates an ultra-smooth workflow.
Alesis Perfomance Pad Pro – an all-in-one drum station with eight velocity-sensitive drum pads, kick, hi-hat inputs and over 500 multi-sampled Dynamic Articulation sounds. The Performance Pad Pro is designed to take your drum-lines to the next level.
When it comes to compatible software, Ableton Live is definitely in a league of its own. It is designed specifically for live performances. It is super easy to mount samples to the physical pads on the Launchpad and to set other parameters to control them.