I haven’t satisfied with the reliability my arduio-based monome clone I built earlier this year, so I sold out and got a Novation Launchpad. At $200, it’s nearly half the cost of materials as my DIY project and is obviously in a different league of build quality. Despite not providing a learning experience, this is a button board I’m not afraid to leave the house with. On top of the improved reliability, the multi-color led’s look great, the buttons are more responsive and the automap controls to ableton got me up and running instantly. I’m quite content with the purchase.
Not to deny my inquisitive spirit though, I promptly dissected my launchpad upon unboxing. The board’s shift-register-based schematic is similar to my arduinome, but it differs by consolidating the buttons and processor onto the same board. This would explain the launchpad’s relative robustness as the issues in my old device were primarily caused by the wire connections between my button board and arduino. If I ever attempt another controller project, a single board design is definitely what I will strive for.