No­va­tion’s SL MkIII wants to con­trol your hard­ware and your DAW all at once

The next-gen con­troller key­board com­bines dig­i­tal con­trol with CV

Future Music - - FILTER -

No­va­tion have up­dated their SL line of key­board con­trollers, with a MkIII of­fer­ing that sig­nif­i­cantly ex­pands on the scope and con­nec­tiv­ity of its pre­de­ces­sor.

Like ver­sion 2, this lat­est SL is, at its core, a MIDI key­board equipped with an ar­ray of mul­ti­func­tion con­trols for use with any DAW or plugin. This lat­est it­er­a­tion, how­ever, also adds a clutch of pow­er­ful new fea­tures aimed at con­trol­ling not only dig­i­tal/ MIDI-equipped in­stru­ments, but also ana­logue hard­ware.

The most ex­cit­ing of these is a mul­ti­chan­nel se­quencer de­rived from the ex­cel­lent pad-based in­ter­face found on No­va­tion’s Cir­cuit and Cir­cuit Mono Sta­tion. Here we get eight se­quenc­ing chan­nels, each of which can con­tain up to eight 16-step pat­terns, which can be chained or trig­gered in­de­pen­dently. This can also host up to eight chan­nels of au­to­ma­tion, recorded us­ing the SL MkIII’s faders, ro­taries, pads and other con­trols.

To make the most of these se­quenc­ing chan­nels, the con­troller has plenty of out­put op­tions, in­clud­ing the ex­pected MIDI and USB MIDI, but also two CV chan­nels, two gate and two ana­logue mod­u­la­tion out­puts. Se­quencer chan­nels can be routed in­de­pen­dently, for se­quenc­ing mul­ti­ple in­stru­ments at once. Each pat­tern can have in­di­vid­ual step length, di­rec­tion and clock set­tings too, open­ing up plenty of polyrhyth­mic se­quenc­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties. There’s also an on­board arpeg­gia­tor, which can be used in­de­pen­dently of the se­quencer.

Aside from the se­quencer, there’s plenty in the way of hands-on con­trol, which can be put to use for a va­ri­ety of pur­poses. The keybed it­self is semi-weight and af­ter­touch-equipped, and comes com­plete with pitch and mod wheels. The key­board can be split into zones for play­ing mul­ti­ple in­stru­ments at once. There’s also a scale mode, for as­sist­ing those with less mu­sic the­ory knowl­edge – or who are sim­ply in need of a lit­tle in­spi­ra­tion. A sys­tem of LEDs above each key – not en­tirely dis­sim­i­lar to those found on NI’s S-se­ries range – help iden­tify both scales and key­board zone as­sign­ments.

On the main con­trol panel, mean­while, the SL MkIII packs four screens, eight faders, eight ro­taries, 16 ve­loc­ity-sen­si­tive pads, and an as­sort­ment of other pa­ram­e­ter but­tons and trans­port con­trols. All of these are, as you’d ex­pect, freely as­sign­a­ble, us­ing No­va­tion’s sleek Com­po­nents sys­tem (which will be fa­mil­iar to Cir­cuit and Peak users). The com­pany are also creat­ing a grow­ing li­brary of hard­ware tem­plates though, for sim­ple in­ter­ac­tion with in­stru­ments in­clud­ing the Roland TR-8S, Korg Mini­logue, Elek­tron’s groove­boxes and, nat­u­rally, No­va­tion’s own Cir­cuit range and Peak polysynth.

It’s not just hard­ware that gets pre-con­fig­ured con­trol though, as most ma­jor DAWs have some form of pre-mapped con­trol on of­fer. Live users come off best here, as No­va­tion have worked closely with Able­ton to of­fer tight con­trol of their DAW. There are, how­ever, also com­pre­hen­sive set­ups for Logic, Rea­son, Pro Tools, Cubase and Reaper.

We’ve got our hands on one of the con­trollers al­ready, and we’re qui­etly quite ex­cited by the range of fea­tures and con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions. Look out for a full re­view in the next is­sue.

The SL MkIII is due to ar­rive by the end of Oc­to­ber, and will come in 49 and 61 key ver­sions, priced at $599 and $699 re­spec­tively.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.