The lat­est in this con­troller key­board se­ries is over­flow­ing with fea­tures

Computer Music - - Contents -

Aim­ing to pro­vide to­tal op­er­a­tional dom­i­nance over both your DAW and hard­ware synths, the lat­est ver­sion of No­va­tion’s pop­u­lar SL se­ries con­troller key­board looks to be a ma­jor up­grade from pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions. The SL MkIII clearly riffs on Na­tive In­stru­ments’ Kom­plete Kon­trol S-Se­ries Mk2 key­boards, with its Light Guide-style RGB LEDs over ev­ery key, il­lu­mi­nat­ing to pro­vide vis­ual ref­er­enc­ing for scale and chord lay­outs, and key­board zon­ing. Be­yond that, un­like the more un­der­stated S-Se­ries, the SL MkIII is bristling with knobs, pads, faders and but­tons. It also gives an im­pres­sive de­gree of

con­nec­tiv­ity, with the usual USB, MIDI and pedal out­puts joined by an ana­logue clock and two sets of CV/Gate/Mod mini­jacks.

Build­ing on the tech­no­log­i­cal foun­da­tions put in place by No­va­tion’s Launchkey and Launch­pad con­trollers, the SL MkIII hooks into Able­ton Live for bidi­rec­tional con­trol of de­vices, plu­g­ins and the mixer via eight touch-sen­si­tive ro­tary en­coders and five LED dis­plays. Map­pings for a range of other DAWs and soft­ware are also built in, not to men­tion var­i­ous hard­ware synths and other gear. And if your par­tic­u­lar ‘thing’ isn’t cov­ered, the free soft­ware editor en­ables you to make your own tem­plates and up­load them to the key­board.

The 16 ve­loc­ity-sen­si­tive RGB back­lit pads, mean­while, are used for trig­ger­ing drums, launch­ing clips and – cru­cially – stand­alone step se­quenc­ing. This last is one of the MkIII’s big­gest sell­ing points: you get eight tracks of up to eight 16-step pat­terns each, with full on­board con­trol over note pitch, ve­loc­ity, gate time (all routable to the CV/Gate/Mod outs) and play­back style, as well as live record­ing and pa­ram­e­ter au­to­ma­tion.

Avail­able in 49- and 61-key con­fig­u­ra­tions (priced £540 and £630 re­spec­tively), the No­va­tion SL MkIII is avail­able now, and we’ll be re­view­ing it soon. no­va­tion­mu­

Se­quence and con­trol ev­ery­thing in your stu­dio with the SL MkIII

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