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Novation Impulse 61 Keyboard Controller Reviews

3.5 stars based on 15 customer reviews
Questions about the Novation Impulse 61 Keyboard Controller?

Questions about the Novation Impulse 61 Keyboard Controller?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

  • wmma
    from November 22, 2016

    Novation Impulse 61

    for the price/features at the time it was announced about 5 years ago i'm relying my my review.

    i've choosed this board for the keybed and was as expected: great action and the aftertouch is acceptable and the keys has a very good weight and are very playable and responsive

    although the build/quality is not so good it's still ok, you might find after time that the modulation wheel keeps changing it's value even if internally disconnected

    sliders are not smooth as should be & the the rotary encoders are faulty & should have some back-force tension

    pads are solid but responsive and usable/playable

    automap software is not good - forget about it... sometimes the firmware is faulty/not stable

    my rating is almost for its keybed & the fact after more than 4.5 years it still works

  • Michael James
    from Myrtle Beach, SC March 14, 2016Music Background:
    Long and sorted

    Novation Impulse 61

    I researched this item and compared it to other similar controllers and came away thinking this Novation Impulse 61 would be the best for our purposes. The capabilities of the unit make it very up to date and useful into the forseable future. My 18 year old daughter Micah is graduating high school this year and has hopes of becoming a recording artist. She has been accepted in the music program at Belmont College in Nashville as well as others. I hope she will be taught electronic music composition. If so, she will meed a controller for programing and mixing plus other digital computer based uses. With the Novation I feel confident she'll have what she needs. She is also able to take the Novation out with an Ipad to play gigs.

  • Customer
    from NY October 4, 2015Music Background:
    Mixer/Producer

    Best Playing Keys On The Market

    I'm guessing the 3 star average is coming from people who are dissatisfied with the software/Automap integration. I haven't had this issue, because I have never demanded much from my midi controllers other than pure playability, and that is where this unit shines. I haven't played another controller with better keys, and I've tested almost all of them, including the new Akai and Native Instruments units. These keys are smooth as butter, and are the first keys that strike the perfect balance between synth action, and a slight weightiness; in other words they are perfectly "semi-weighted." The pads are exceptional too. If you are like me, and already have all of your software controller needs covered in places other than on your midi controller, and simply need the most playable keys on the market, then look no further. I'll knock off half a star simply because the software integration is a little dated compared to what has recently come out, but like I said, that's not what I was looking for in the first place, and the simple things like fader control, transpose, and transport control have all worked flawlessly in both Studio One and Live.

  • Customer
    from September 30, 2015

    Unacceptable CC and Velocity Output

    After daily use over the last month, I have to admit that I've been disappointed with this keyboard. The key action is very average (and a bit loud) but more notable is that both the velocity and CC data output just isn't smooth. If you inspect the MIDI data, it's really jumpy. This make playing with any real control a difficult proposition especially with slow controller changes. Unfortunately the mod wheel seems to be the worst offender of this with the sliders being somewhat better. If I had it to do over again I would get something else.

  • Alton Bryson
    from South Carolina June 18, 2015Music Background:
    Home Studio and Love for Music

    Impluse

    Do you know how many midi controllers I have?
    MidiMan 61
    Axiom 49
    EvolutionMK46IC
    M-Auido Keystation 49E 4 of them
    Novation Remote 25 LE
    M-Auido 88 SX
    All of the slider and knobs, Pads, Just everything works and shows you on the led whats going on both on the keyboard and in AutoMap and Logic. Bam Plug and Play!!!
    This with SweetWaters 5 Star Help and no hassle return policy! Happy Camper Here!
    Other companies take heed to Novation and Sweetwater! Money well spent!

  • Robert Zehler
    from Rochester NY January 19, 2015Music Background:
    Working Musician

    Novation Impulse 61

    Love this keyboard. Very easy to setup, a nice feel to the keybed.
    The reason that it only rated 4.5 stars is that there is something rattling around inside. Don't know what it is yet, but it means I will have to open it to find out.

  • Composr
    from United States January 15, 2015Music Background:
    Professional Composer

    Controller-chip tritone fatigue?

    Shortly after the warranty expired, the keyboard started to fail.
    None of the C or F# keys--in any octave--works. Viewing the MIDI stream data, none of them will send a MIDI Note On command, but WILL send MIDI Note Off command. Of course, in this state it is completely unplayable.

    Unplugging/Replugging failed to solve the problem. Replacing the USB cable failed to solve the problem. Updating the controller firmware failed to solve the problem. Several hours online and on the phone with Novation Support failed to solve the problem.

    Sadly, because the controller is out of warranty, it's more economical to buy a new one (of a different brand) than to pay for shipping and repair.

    I am disappointed with the quality of this controller. Perhaps it was just a bad batch of controller chips, rather than a design flaw. Regardless, I cannot recommend the Novation Impulse.

  • Ryan Riveros
    from Los Angeles, CA August 16, 2014Music Background:
    Recording Artist, Performer, Engineer, Producer

    A Hit/Miss Controller With A Number Of Flaws

    Novation has always been a quality brand, and I don't mean to say that this controller is awful because it isn't. The keys are well-made and solid, as are the pads, which are flashy and well-constructed. The positive notes, however, end there.

    To begin with, the overall build quality is not nearly up to par for this price point. Of the $300-$500 61-key Controller range, this is by far the least solid piece of equipment, with a flimsy plastic body that shudders and creaks when you move it around. At this price range, a body that is at least partially metal is expected, and in this area Novation has not even succeeding in matching the quality of their Launchkey line. Elsewhere, the various DAW control elements are just as poorly constructed. The rubbery feel of the buttons comes across as cheap and unwieldy, and the faders are stiff and brittle. The rotary knobs are the worst offenders here, feeling especially toyish and delicate, and feeling as if they could break at any moment.

    Overall, this isn't a BAD controller, I suppose, so much as woefully inadequate in the face of its competition. If you are looking for a more solid build quality, spring for the SL MKii (Novation's top of the line model), or the cheaper Launchkey, which is suprisingly a good deal more sturdy than the Impulse line.

  • Eric
    from Truckee, CA June 20, 2014Music Background:
    Touring Pro Musician, Recording Engineer

    Disappointed

    The first several uses I thought it was pretty good. Keys feel ok if a little bouncy and sharp on the edges, lots of knobs and buttons. Then the issues cropped up. A couple of the sliders keep sending jittery midi data constantly. They become useless because they keep sending values to the DAW or plugin. And they render the whole unit useless because their data interrupts the lcd screen so navigating and editing is rendered near impossible. I've tried firmware updates, everything, no luck. I've heard quite a bit of complaining on boards about this same issue. 31/2-4 stars if Novation could QC their products better.

  • CD
    from California September 27, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED!!!!

    I got this the first week they were released. Literally the first month i noticed the USB port was very wobbly and loose. Shortly after a small piece from inside the USB port broke off into the cable. It constantly lost connection. Then finally, as soon as the warrantee ran out, the key-bed just stopped working altogether! I called Novation several times, and left messages prior to and after this this happened. NO LUCK! I completely wasted my money. Seriously crap situation.

  • Customer
    from April 7, 2013

    Garbage

    I've had this for about 9 months and can say it's a very frustrating pice of gear. I use it to control Ableton Live and as a key controller with Maschine. The action is great, the pads feel nicer than both Maschine and my Tempest. That is where it ends thou. The software is constantly losing the connection. Unplug/replug and it works again. Every now and then it just completely stops working so you have to uninstall and reinstall Automap. Novation support is about a three day wait only to have them suggest you read the manual. I will never buy another Novation. I've owned Akai, M-Audio and Alesis and never had anything like this to keep them running. Novation = constant fiddling and troubleshooting.

  • Jared Forkner
    from San Francisco March 6, 2013Music Background:
    DJ & Producer

    Quality Keyboard - Automap Not so good

    This is a great keyboard controller. The roll/arp functions are huge helps in workflow. I will say tho that the automap software is less appealing. It's clunky.

  • Javier
    from San Juan, PR February 4, 2013Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Simply Incredible!

    I had being looking for a decent MIDI Controller that could have all the necessary things to create music as fast as possible. The Novation Impulse 61 has everything I wanted; great feeling Keys, touch pads, parameter knobs, and a relative large mixer (for a keyboard). But the most amazing thing is the Automap software. I configured all the plug-ins and mixer options in Pro Tools 10 in literally 3 minutes. Other controllers, to setup, usually require more time. It's that simple. Highly recommend getting this controller. Every $$ is worth it. Much better than other midi controllers with the same features.

  • James Woodgrain
    from Atlanta Ga. December 22, 2011Music Background:
    Producer singer songwriter.

    Logic's Best Friend

    For years now I'v wanted a keyboard controller that would give me real control over Logic Studio. Out of all the other brands that failed to deliver this one just works. You load the auto map software go into controller setup in logic scan and then close and it works giving you control over the mixer with full banking no matter how many tracks your using, Volume & Pan controls, full mapping to any plugin you click on letting you tweak sound in real time like never before and full transport control.

    On top of that programming the trigger pad on this thing is the most logical I ever seen. You hit the controls button find the sound you want on the keys hit that key then hit the pad you want to assign it to. Yes I would highly recommend this to any logic user that needs an all in one real time control set up. Love the product and most of all love the sweet service from sweetwater sound. Love it Love it Love it!!!!!!

  • Jeff Griffith
    from Maine November 19, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Excellent Buy

    Superb keyboard, solid built, Excellent responsive semi weighted keys. Automap software makes using this board with VSTi's a breeze

Reviews

  • Mitch Gallagher
    2-24-2012

    The latest USB keyboard controller from Novation, the Impulse aims to provide complete control over your entire rig, with a slew of controls and functions. Does it succeed in its goal? Let's check it out!

    There are three flavors of Impulse available: 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key. I received the 49-key Impulse for review. Aside from the number of keys, the controllers are all similarly featured. The semi-weighted keybed has assignable aftertouch, and it feels great under your fingers. The obligatory pitch-bend and modulation wheels are provided. A nice blue LCD screen gives you visual feedback for what you are doing.

    But this controller is about more than just the keys. It's decked out with eight assignable rotary controllers (knobs) and nine sliders. (The sliders are only available on the 49- and 61-key versions -- there isn't room for them on the 25-key version.) Having nine sliders allows for full control over tonewheel organ simulation, if that's what you're using them to control. They could also be assigned to control DAW mixer faders or other control applications. Each fader is accompanied by an adjacent assignable soft switch.

    There are eight responsive groove-box-style pads for playing drums. Additional switches allow you to use these pads to do rolls, launch clips, or arpeggiate. A full set of transport controls rounds things out.

    All of these controls, plus others, can be quickly and easily assigned to send out MIDI control change messages. As just a MIDI controller, the Impulse has all of the control and features you could want. But it's when you install the included Automap V4 software that things get hopping. Automap V4 is an application that automatically detects what software you are running on your computer and instantly configures the Impulse to be able to control the parameters in that software -- be it your DAW, a plug-in, or a virtual instrument. This feature is amazing, and it truly allows the Impulse to become command central for your entire virtual studio. It's a joy to be able to get your hands on your software, whether you are mixing, tracking, playing, or processing. Automap V4 makes the process seamless and transparent.

    The Impulse is one of the most full-featured controllers I have encountered, with a great-feeling keyboard and plenty of controls. Combined with Automap V4, it's a stellar package that can take charge of any virtual rig.

Questions about the Novation Impulse 61 Keyboard Controller?

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