Ableton And Launchkey Problems: 5 Known Issues (Solved)

Novation’s Launchkey is a line of keyboard controllers that works seamlessly with Ableton Live, on the world’s most well-known and loved Digital Audio Workstations (DAW).

With the keyboard’s controls, you can easily navigate and control Ableton Live without having to use a mouse or keyboard.

Although Launchkey is known for being a reliable counterpart to Ableton, problems have been known to occur.

In this article, we’ll jump into 5 known issues with Ableton and Launchkey, and help you figure out a solution.

Image of Novation's Launchkey controller. Compatible with Ableton.

Your Launchkey Isn’t Making Any Sound

If you’re excited to start using your Novation Luanchkey with Ableton Live but aren’t getting any sound, it can be a frustrating problem to have.

Let’s dive into some reasons why your Launchkey isn’t making any sound.

First things first, if you’re using a Launchkey Mini Mk3, you need to make sure that your firmware is updated.

This will help ensure that your controller is working smoothly and effectively. You can update your firmware using Novation’s Components, located on Novation’s website.

Novation’s Launchkey is a MIDI controller that is primarily designed to control Ableton Live for instrument control and clip launching. But what is MIDI data, and how does that work exactly?

MIDI data is control data that tells the software what to do and when to do it. It’s important to note that MIDI data can be used to control sound, but it doesn’t contain any sound itself.

Now that we have a better understanding of what MIDI data is, let’s figure out why your Launckey isn’t making any sound through Ableton Live.

To get sound from your Launchkey, make sure that Ableton Live is set to use your desired output, such as your sound card or laptop speakers.

Here’s where to do this:

  1. First, navigate to Ableton Live’s “Preferences”
  2. In the “Audio” tab, select the “Audio Output Device” drop-down menu.
  3. From here, select your desired output.

Next, you’ll need to make sure your Launchkey is set up according to the settings advised in its user guide (which can be found on the downloads page for your specific Launchkey model).

Now that you’re all set up, you can load audio clips to lanes in Ableton Live or select an instrument to control, all of which can be done on the left-hand side of Ableton’s interface.

Your Launchkey should now be able to control and manipulate these clips to your heart’s content. Happy producing!

Your Launchkey Isn’t MIDI Mapping Properly

Novation’s Launchkey is a line of Keyboard Controllers that is designed to work smoothly and efficiently with Ableton Live. Unfortunately, as we all know, with music software and MIDI controllers, this isn’t always the case.

Let’s figure out why this may be happening, and get your music production back on the map, the MIDI map, that is.

Firstly, we need to cover all the basics of your Novation Luanchkey setup.

Start by making sure that your Launchkey is connected and turned on. Check that all cables are properly plugged in and that the device is receiving power.

Next, make sure that your Launchkey is set up correctly in Ableton Live’s Preferences.

  1. Navigate to “Preferences” and select the “MIDI” tab.
  2. From here, make sure that your Launchkey is selected as a “Control Surface” and “Input/Output Device”
  3. If it’s not listed, try unplugging and re-plugging it in or restarting Ableton Live.

Make sure also to check that you’re in the correct MIDI mode on your Launchkey. Check the user manual for your specific Launchkey to see which mode is recommended for use with Ableton Live.

MIDI controllers can be finicky, so always double-check connections and reboot Ableton Live as well as Launchkey before moving forward.

The next thing to check is that no other MIDI controllers are interfering with your Launckey’s connection.

 Sometimes, when other controllers are connected, and their MIDI has been mapped, it can cause a conflict when trying to set up a new controller.

Make sure to unplug any other controllers and set up a new MIDI map with your Novation Launchkey.

Once you’ve selected the Novation Launchkey in the “Control Surfaces” section of Ableton Live’s Preferences, follow these steps to allow for correct MIDI mapping:

  1. In the bottom half of the MIDI menu, make sure to toggle “Remote” off.
  2. From here, test to see if the controller works correctly with Ableton.
  3. For adjusting volume, make sure you’re using actual volume faders and not empty MIDI channels with no volume control.

If everything seems to be working properly, you can then turn ‘Remote’ back on. It’s best to have it off initially, just in case any MIDI mapping interferences might come up.

Check out our article about common audio effects problems on Ableton – with solutions!

Your Launchkey Isn’t Connecting On Startup

One of the most important things for a producer is that all your equipment works immediately, without any hiccups. This means that when an idea strikes, you can turn on your computer, controllers, and software, and immediately put your ideas down.

  • Firstly, ensure you’re using the correct USB type for your device.
  • USB 3.0 ports are usually blue, while older versions are often white or black.
  • It’s worth checking if your Launchkey is compatible with your USB port type, as this can sometimes make a difference. If you’re not sure, refer to the user manual or Novation’s support resources for more information.

If you’re still having issues, try switching USB ports. Occasionally, USB ports can become faulty, so testing different ports on your computer could help isolate the problem.

If you’re using a USB hub, try unplugging it and testing the Launchkey without it. USB hubs can sometimes cause compatibility issues, particularly if they’re not dedicated USB docks.

Lastly, make sure that you’re using the latest drivers for your Launchkey and your computer. If you’ve recently updated drivers, a compatibility issue may have arisen. Check Novation’s website for the latest drivers and firmware updates, and make sure your computer’s drivers are up to date too.

Your Launchkey Piano Keys Are Not Recognized

The Novation Launchkey works wonders with Ableton Live because it uses keyboard keys, pads, and knobs, all working together to control and manipulate Ableton sounds and clips.

If your Launchkey piano keys aren’t working, it can be incredibly frustrating, not allowing you to use your Launchkey to the best of its ability.

Let’s jump into some possible solutions for your Launchkeys piano keys not working:

  1. The first thing to check is to make sure that the MIDI signal is being received by Ableton Live.
  2. You can check this by monitoring the input MIDI signals on an armed MIDI track.
  3. Simply press any piano key or pad on your Launchkey, and check that a corresponding signal is arriving on the right-hand side of your MIDI track.

The next thing to check is that your Novation Launchkey is set up correctly in Ableton Live’s preferences.

  • First, navigate to Ableton’s “Preferences”
  • Next, select the “Link Tempo MIDI” tab.
  • From here, ensure that your Launchkey is selected in the “Control Surface” and “Input” sections of the MIDI menu.
  • Also, try toggling “Remote” on and off for your Launchkey to ensure a reset on your MIDI map settings.

A MIDI controller like Novation’s Launckey has the ability to send multiple different MIDI signals at the same time, which is why its piano keys can be used independently from its Pads and Knobs.

For this reason, it’s essential to make sure that the Launchkey is set up correctly.

Please also check out our article about common issues with MIDI keyboards and Ableton.

Your Launchkey Has Stopped Communicating with Ableton

If your Launckey has suddenly stopped communicating with Ableton Live, it can be highly annoying, wasting precious time that could be used for writing and producing new music.

The first thing to check is that you may have a problem with your USB MIDI driver.

The best course of action is to reinstall your driver, restart your computer, and update your Novation Launchkey firmware again. Your controller should be back to working seamlessly again!

Another option to try is to clear all MIDI settings and restart Ableton Live, giving your Launchkey a fresh connection again.

Ableton and Launchkey Pros and Cons

Ableton Live and Novation Launchkey are two popular music production tools that are often used in conjunction by many electronic music producers.

Here are some pros and cons of Launchkey’s relationship with Ableton Live.


Novation’s Launchkey is a very popular MIDI controller for Ableton Live users, as its unique design was always intended to work fluently and flawlessly with Ableton’s interface.

The Launchkey comes in at a very competitive price point in comparison to other MIDI controllers on the market. It also offers a wide range of controls, including faders, knobs, and pads.

Novation’s Launchkey also comes with Ableton Live Lite, allowing for immediate use for beginner and intermediate producers. It even comes with software like Novation’s Bass Station and V-Station plugins, and a range of samples and loops.

If you use a different DAW, that’s OK too, as the Launchkey is compatible with a variety of other software, not just Ableton Live.

Launchkey has a lot of great features like velocity-sensitive keys, drum pads, faders, knobs, and transport controls, which make it an excellent tool for music production and live performance.


  • Launchkey sometimes does not connect properly, causing there to be no sound coming through in Ableton Live.
  • Launchkey can sometimes battle to MIDI map correctly to Ableton Live.
  • On startup, Launchkey sometimes doesn’t connect automatically.
  • The piano keys and Pads connect differently on the Launchkey.
  • The Launchkey can sometimes battle to communicate with Ableton

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a music production setup that offers a more tactile and intuitive approach, the combination of Ableton Live and Novation Launchkey is an excellent option.

Although problems can sometimes arise, these two tools have been designed to work seamlessly together, with the Launchkey providing hands-on control of Ableton Live through its mapped knobs, faders, and pads.

This enables you to access Live’s various parameters quickly and easily, speeding up your workflow and inspiring your creativity.

With this powerful combination, you can create music with greater precision and control, giving you the freedom to express your musical ideas in new and exciting ways.


Novations Components

Using MIDI controllers with Ableton Live