The latest in this controller keyboard series is overflowing with features
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. novationmusic.com
Sequence and control everything in your studio with the SL MkIII