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Novation ZeRO SL MkII Reviews

4.5 stars based on 9 customer reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Carson McClain

    AutoMap now works with Logic 9 plug-ins!! You can now control all of your built-in Logic 9 plug-ins and not just 3rd party plug-ins!

  • from June 11, 2015

    I Can't Work Without It!

    I work with a lot of sample libraries which means I need a lot of control of MIDI CC's
    I have a fully weighted 88 key piano, but it doesn't have any faders or wheels on it, but the ZeRO solved all those problems!
    I now have all my MIDI CC's mapped to the exact locations I want including an expression pedal and with I can also set up separate pages so I can easily switch between setups on the press of the button (i.e., page 1 has CC 1/mod wheel set to my expression pedal, but page 2 has it assigned to CC 11/expression)

    My workflow has certainly increased dramatically
    Automap was easy to set up and it automatically mapped itself to my huge collection of plug-ins; there are more faders and wheels than any parameters in my plugins

    The only downsides I've faced are:
    1) Sometimes my MIDI CC mappings will recent themselves. It's an easy to fix them though. Mapping them are really easy

    2) If you are going to use the faders for mixing, depending on the size of the track, there aren't enough faders for that. You could probably set the wheels to also adjust volumes, but I think they make more sense for controlling panning and bus levels

    3) It's currently having trouble synching up with Logic Pro X. However this is on my end. I had to do a clean wipe and reinstall of everything on my computer and that's when it hasn't synced. Before that it was all perfectly aligned together

  • from Detroit, Mi. January 19, 2015Music Background:

    Really good control surface

    Novation has been pretty spot on for years now with their Automap technology. Their controllers map to most Daw's plug ins and mixer pretty much out of the box once installing the software. Even third party plug ins are mapped pretty thoroughly. About 95% of my plug ins are controllable with this. I did have a problem getting mixer/fader control with this at first (with Logic Pro X). I found a work around though and now have complete mixer control. The few parameters that are not mapped can be easily added with the twist of a knob and saved. Highly recommended if you are a knob twister and miss your old analog synths.

  • from Bellevue, NE May 16, 2013Music Background:
    Music Instructor, Pro Musician, Composer, Recording/Mixing Engineer

    Great Budget Control Surface

    This unit was very easy to install and setup with the Automap software. You will spend a fair amount of time customizing the plug-in control maps to your liking but once your favorite plug-ins are mapped, your fingers will be flying like a pro. Thankfully, the Automap options are mostly what I need from it but If you want to control software that is NOT supported by Automap, get ready for a steep learning curve and a thorough exploration of the MIDI protocol, not for the faint of heart. I'm looking forward to forcing it to work with Pd! Check Automap's list of supported software first!

    I only have one big complaint and one small complaint. The big complaint: No AAX plug-in support for Pro Tools users and there is no timeline for support (according to their tech support reps). AAX isn't going away any time soon and Avid is only going to increase their support of their own format so either Novation gets on the ball and adds AAX support ASAP or this unit will eventually not be at all useful to Pro Tools users.

    The small complaint: I wish there were a few more commands controllable in Mixer mode such as changing track automation modes. But ultimately, for the affordable price, this is a great entry-level control surface.

  • from Illinois, USA April 25, 2013Music Background:
    Recording, Live sound, Pro Musician

    Novation ZeRO SL MkII

    I love the easy of operating my DAW for this unit. Once it's loaded into the system, it intelligent to find it's way to each task. This particular unit is a replacement. The first one I bought took a dive one month after the warranty expired. I hope this replacement unit last longer that the first.

  • from United States April 17, 2013

    Zero SL MKII

    I love this thing. The learning curve is a bit steep, but once you get the hang of it, mapping plugins is so helpful and easy. I can now map any control in my plugins with the knobs, buttons, or faders and get a hardware feel and the led screen is very easy to read. Not to mention panning and send controls which save a lot of time, and the best part to me is being able to program qwerty assignments straight onto any button, so you dont have to do all your keyboard shortcuts on the keyboard, you can use one of the buttons on the zero, with one touch! thats amazing. This thing is a must if you are sick of using a mouse and keyboard, nothing can beat it for the price.

  • from Rhode Island April 26, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer

    ZeRO SL MkII Seamless With Pro Tools

    Easy set up.Was up and running in less than an hour.Automap did all the work and walked me through step by step.In less than an hour I was working on a mix in Pro Tools.It also mapped all 91 of my plugins and was able to control them and the mix and transport.Great inexpensive unit well built and easy to get out of the way.Can not beat it for the money.

  • from San Francisco Bay Area, USA January 17, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist Producer

    Immediately Useful, Easy to Integrate with Automap

    The Novation ZeRO SL MkII was instantly the best addition to my workflow. I like to switch between using Cubase and Ableton Live. My APC controllers are great for controlling Ableton, but where the Zero is an absolute charm to use is for direct control over my VST plugins ( like Omnisphere, East West/Quantum Leap and Native Instruments Komplete). Wrapping the VST libraries with Automap is simple with the Plugin-manager. The touch-sensitive knobs and faders are fairly intuitive, allowing you to see what you are controlling before you actually make a change. The controller itself is highly configurable and makes switching between your mixer (like Cubase or Ableton) and your instruments and FX intuitive. I like the angled stands it comes with, placing it on my desktop puts it at a convenient working position.

    I give this 4 solid stars. Where I docked it a couple of marks is that it really would be better with a second LCD strip along the top of the faders, though having just one display is by no means unusable. The Automap software is impressive, really ingenious in fact. Some of the default naming conventions for the mixer tracks in the LCD display add "Record" to the names (to indicate they are in record mode?), which shortens the display name from something like "SoloFlute" to "SFRecord". A minor annoyance, and most likely something that can be solved in the automapping for the DAW.

    In Cubase, my most used features are the faders and transport controls. In Ableton, the device assignment controls (for instruments) mirror the setting on the APC40, so by default if you've got an APC40, your device controls are duplicated. What's cool is the ZeRO can be locked to an instrument while the APC40 can be left to dynamically control whatever device is active.

    This MIDI controller is by far the most configurable and has the most knobs I could find in a professional level controller. The page left/right buttons mean it offers more than enough control over my favorite VSTs! User provided maps (online) mean there are setups for Omnisphere and EW/QL PLAY right off the bat. Get one!

  • from Phoenix, AZ June 6, 2010Music Background:
    Beatmaker aspiring engineer

    Zero SL Mk2

    The feel of the unit is good for the money, the automap software is really smooth, I have it working in Logic 8 and Reason. You have the option to write your own assignments and its a pretty painless process. I needed to do some un and reinstalling of the automap software to get the automap to work with reason but with great help from novations tech support they helped me to get up and running.

    For the price range probably the best control surface you can get. It looks nice and the feel is pretty good for the price range. The feel of the drum pads are a bit cheap feeling but i don't have alot of use for them same goes for the crossfader. This unit completely does the trick for what i got it for. I would recommend this unit and i'm loving the automap after some slight growing pains

  • from New Delhi, India May 11, 2010Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    An improvement over the Remote

    The SL Mk II is an excellent controller, which allows for easy assignment of parameters, and consequently helps in speeding up workflow.

    Having previously owned a Remote 25 SL, the Mk II's are a big improvement despite the lack of a second screen. The backlit buttons and touch sensitive pots and faders alongwith the single screen provide a lot more feedback than the 2 screens on the Mk I. Still, I would imagine that a second screen on this unit would only have helped further. Additionally, the build quality seems to be slightly improved though the crossfader feels flimsy (feel is exactly like the one on the nocturn).

    The slightly longer faders are nice, and of course Automap Pro is great, I was using it before I purchased the Zero SL Mk II.

    For the money, this product can be described as mid-range as there are cheaper controllers out there, but they are surely not as easy to set up. In fact, I would say that it has some "high-end" functions for a fraction of the cost of the higher end controllers.

    However, I have two problems with this unit. The first is that while the build quality is good, its all plastic (a factor which surely helps to keep prices low). In future, I would like to see Novation develop a line of higher-end controllers than the Mk II line or at least the zero, which would be made of metal, have motorized faders, dedicated pan and fader controls for the master channel, and probably a second screen.

    And secondly, the platform that is included with the zero model has to be screwed on to the back of the unit. I would rather have liked to see some lever mechanism to attach these platforms, as the screws can easily get lost, and it would be nice to be able to raise and lower the platform as one sees fit, without having to screw and unscrew them each time.

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