FX Channel Routing

FX Secrets Series: Part 5

Effects (FX) are an integral part of electronic music in general. They can be used in wide variety of ways, from adding subtle musical enhancement to constructing entirely new creations.

The choice, as ever, is yours: which FX do you want to use, and how do you want to use them?

What is FX routing?

Each column (channel) in Launchpad has its own set of FX that can be controlled independently. Each FX pad represents an FX with a particular set of parameters, which it activates or deactivates on particular channels. By default, the FX pads are routed to all channels. When you purchase an FX in Launchpad, you gain access not only to its parameters and full preset list, but also to channel routing.

launchpad blog013FX Secrets

The channel routing of an FX pad defines which channel FX will be activated when the pad is pressed. For example, a Stutter FX pad routed to channels 1 and 2, when pressed, will activate the Stutter FX on channels 1 and 2. The FX in each channel (including the filter and volume controls) are arranged in the following order:

launchpad blog013FX Secrets

FX Types

The Stutter, LFO Filter, Gater and Stopper are 'insert' FX because they exist independently for every channel; for example, each channel has its own Stutter FX. The Delay, in contrast, is a 'send' FX because there is only one. Channel routing for an insert FX determines which channels will activate this particular FX, whereas channel routing for a send FX determines which channels send their audio to the FX.

FX pads therefore behave slightly differently for insert FX and send FX: pressing an insert FX pad (e.g. Stutter) will affect the sound of only the pad's routing channels, whereas pressing a send FX pad (delay) will affect all channels being sent to this FX. This is a subtle but important difference that is best understood by experimenting with channel routing in Launchpad.

launchpad blog013FX Secrets


Experimentation is the best path to creation. To get a feel for the power of channel routing, try the following:

• Create FX pads with the same parameters but different channel routings
• Latch an FX and 'juggle' the channel routings in real time
• Separate FX across channels; for example, use Stutters on channels 1 & 2, Autofilters on channel 3, and Delay on channels 4, 5 & 6

Different FX suit different types of sound. Thankfully, Launchpad soundpacks generally have a consistent channel format: 2 drums, 1 bass, 3 melodic/percussion/vocal and 2 FX. This means that it's easy to design FX palettes (a group of 16 FX pads, which you can save for reuse in different sessions) that suit particular types of sound. For example:

• Delay on Percussion and Melodic (channels 1, 2 & 4)
• No Delay on Bass (channel 3)
• Autofiler on Bass (channel 3)
• No Autofilter on Drums (channel 1 & 2)

Going Further

Launchpad FX pads remember the order in which they were pressed, which allows for great creativity when combined with channel routing. For example, find a few FX pads that work well together when active, then try experimenting with pressing/releasing them in various orders.

FX palettes are a great way to build up particular groups of channel-routed FX pads that work well together. If you've found a palette that works well, try using it in a different session, or try designing palettes to suit particular parts of your performance, such as the break-down or chorus.