In the Pitch Perfect movies, Beca creates beats with this key-pad-like device with colorful square buttons that don't have labels. I don't know what to call it and I haven't been able to find anything by searching for it online. Is this a real device? What is it?

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up vote 52 down vote accepted

The device appears to be called (or is similar to) a Launchpad, and is not just something made for the movie.

https://global.novationmusic.com/launch/launchpad#

They've been around for some time. One was used in a popular YouTube video from 2011 to create a mashup of several songs. This isn't to pinpoint exactly how long devices like this have been around, just to note they were around well before Pitch Perfect 2.

Some additional searching would indicate this could be the actual device being used, a Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1 USB DJ Midi Pad Controller. Looks like it could also be referred to as a "drum pad".

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-controllers/traktor-kontrol-f1/

A video of the device being used:

  • 5
    Just to add to this good answer (+1), a common term for these devices is MIDI controller, but this also includes Keyboards without pads. That's why these things often go under the brand names of widely used devices like Launchpad or Maschine. People familiar with these instruments would probably understand "Pad MIDI Controller" as term. – Ian Aug 10 at 10:16
  • I thought they were called MCG. – Tolga Ozses Aug 10 at 10:31
  • @Ian Thanks for the additional information! – MattD Aug 10 at 12:52
  • There's also Ableton Push and Push 2. And now there's the Roli line of products. The lighted buttons are a more recent advance in this kinds of controller, but devices like this with unlighted buttons go back to the Akai MPC line that was started in the late 80s. – Todd Wilcox Aug 10 at 14:17
  • +1. It's been used since well before 2011. Linkin Park used something similar all the time. You can see Mike Shinoda using it at the 24 second mark. youtube.com/watch?v=U5qHGjVnk08 – kuhl Aug 10 at 16:12

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