Novation 61 SL Mk II Reviews4.3/5.0 based on 5 customer reviews
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from Joshua Tree, CA
December 14, 2012Music Background:
novation 61 sl mk 11great action on the keys and very simple to use. i love it
from Nashville, TN
February 5, 2011Music Background:
Production, Recording Engineering, Home project recording studio
Take a little timeOk I have read all the bad reviews about this line of controllers. The truth is if people would take a little time to research these controllers before they buy them, they would not be so upset when it doesnt do what they want it to. Look automap is a relative program, while it may not map exactly the way you want it at first it is highly custonizable and taking a day or to to customize it to the soft synths you use is not too much trouble and you wont be dissappointed. Now it doesnt work great with all DAW's but hey its a keyboard controller if you want it to control your daw then buy a control surface. All I am saying is this thing works great with all my vst instruments, and is a joy to play. The keybed is very similar to my MPK61(which I highly recommend for Reason users). I use this for FLstudio where I sketch all my production with my high Q VST instruments. I have yet to have a problem with it.
August 8, 2009Music Background:
A Pro Grade Controller KeyboardI've had my SL MkII keyboard for over a week now and I have to say, it is the best controller keyboard I've owned or played. It has brought back the joy of programming my soft synth patches.
The software brain of the controller, Automap Pro (at writing, version 3.2) is phenomenal at using Reason and handling Ableton Live. It's also a joy to work with some of my VSTi's such as Rob Papen's Predator, although I reassigned some of its parameters to my liking. The included Bass Station VST is a nice bonus. The fact that I can configure any parameter on any MIDI compatible device and save it as template washes away any hassle of complicated configuration that I've experienced with other controllers.
The touch sensitive controllers took a short while to get use to. Any metal encoder or fader will "focus" the 144-character display to that parameter at the slightest touch of your fingers. Also, you have the ability to have Automap automatically popup in your computer's display as a semi-transparent window as you adjust to get an instant overview of assigned parameters. The Speed Dial knob will automatically map to any knob you have in focus in the DAW.
Other things I enjoy about this controller include the x/y touchpad (works wonders with cutoff/frequency filters!) and the aftertouch, which is quite firm. I like the option of hooking up an expression pedal, although I haven't tried it yet. The second MIDI out port which will come in handy when I buy that rack synth I have my eye on. And even with all the LEDs and display, Novation has kept the controller bus powered. Amazing.
The feel of the semi-weighted keys is quite spectacular. Even without the gazillion other features the SL has, I would almost pay the same amount of money for just the keys. They feel solid and seem to made out of a tougher plastic than other controllers I've played on. The keys feel like they can take quite a bit of abuse. The construction of the entire controller itself feels solid and substantial.
The small gripes I have are inconsequential. The endless encoders feel strange, like it takes more or less rotation than necessary to change values. The LED rings around the encoders are a bit useless (although really cool looking). They don't convey the actual value in sort of meaningful way. Plus, from a seated position, the top LEDs in the ring are hidden behind the knob - so you do have to lean over the keyboard to see them. It doesn't matter anyway, since the actual value is in the display above it. The display itself is rather small for my liking. The way it truncates the parameter names takes getting used to - I find myself using the Automap heads up display instead.
All in all, this is a wonderful controller. I'm glad I bought it.
from Atlanta USA
November 11, 2012Music Background:
Professional musician, audio engineer and home studio owner
Took a chance. Glad I did!I was a bit skeptical at first based on some of the reviews I had read. I had a detailed conversation with Mike Badonado, (always helpful). I decided to go with this controller instead of other considerable options. Perhaps all others are great devices as well, but I am very pleased with my purchase. The sl mk II is well constructed and delivers on solid, smooth rotary encoders and sliders. It integrates well with Ableton, Reason and DIgital Performer so far. To really dig into this controller, I can see that I may have to put in some time, both with it and my DAWs/Instruments. However, I have found that this always leads to the development of a stronger skill set. An endeavor that I welcome.
After loading drivers, I was using this product with great success right out of the box.
I would recommend this product to anyone who wants comfortable, capable keyboard/control of there "inside the box" functions. I have used a few other controllers along the way, and though they were just fine, the sl mk II is my favorite. Adding real advantage to my workflow.
As always, I am very happy with Sweetwater, their staff and services.
from New York
December 27, 2010Music Background:
It doesn't save your time vs. mousing.The bottom line:
It's cool but it doesn't save your time vs. mousing.
Each knob/fader of any software instrument or plugin has a name; with SL Mk II you have to memorize where is it. Even so, with a mouse I can control what I need faster that with SL Mk II.
Plus, I have problems with automap - each third-second time I use Logic 9.1.3, the keyboard disconnects from Logic without any noticeable reason = no sound. In order to revitalize it, I have to go through many steps of re-registration with Logic and then I have to restart Logic because without restarting it doesn't work, but according to the manual and video it should work without restarting.
Automap is working even worse (Note: my Novation software is up-to-date) - most of the time even default for Logic settings, like Mixer, disappear without a trace = i have to re-assign everything again. And the default feature of SL Mk II is upsetting - with each new project you must to re-register SL Mk II with Logic again because Novation decided to save money on Drivers.
You can see the display of SL Mk II only if you are standing = it's very inconvenient. Is it because they are trying to save money on the tilting option or what?
Novation tech support replied me once and when I answered them that their advice didn't work, they disappeared (I checked my Junk box).
Thus, for me the automap is useless.
By itself, the keyboard is better than other keyboards in this price range; it's a little stiff, but it's OK. The Joystick is worse than, e.g. the Korg's one - it doesn't do the same quality job - you cannot get same level of pitch or modulation as you can get it with the Korg or M-Audio.
If I would be Novation, I would produce just a plain same quality or better keyboard with an improved joystick and Drivers (to eliminate the multi-step connection to a DAW). Please, provide an option with no automap, but if someone wants - provide an option - integration of the ZeRO SL Mk II block into the keyboard.