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Remote SL 37 mk I vs SL 49 mkII vs MPK 49
Old 3rd May 2009
  #1
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Remote SL 37 mk I vs SL 49 mkII vs MPK 49

I've had the SL 37 and 61 and ended sending both back. I want it for VST control and analogue mono synth control. Here's my feelings about each.

SL Mk1

I know the pads are awful (from experience) on the sl 37 but i like the good size and feel with a little more time invested and automap 3, It could be worth another shot to control softsynths. The keys are also nice, but build quality isn't amazing. Same goes for the SL61 mk 1 but I wouldn't get that model because it's too big for my needs.

Price Β£240

SL MK II

I'd go for the 25 or 49 in this range - Very expensive, only one screen but touch sensitive & LED smooth encoders

Β£315 or Β£400

Akai MPK25 or 49


Don't know how this is to use, or how well it works with softsynths but I've heard the build quality is good, the pads will trounce novations and its got an arpeggiator + latch which would be very useful for a non-player like me.

Β£250 or Β£300

To me the mkI SL seems like a bargain, the mkII seems like a rip off but at least i may not need separate pads. Akai, I doubt I need separate pads but may not have the same soft synth control.
Old 4th May 2009
  #2
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plaid_emu's Avatar
The whole Automap thing was very spotty in my experience. Most of the time it didn't work with my plug-ins. Some had better luck than others once it's all set up properly, but I thought the whole point was to avoid setting **** up and having it.... automatically mapped!

My advice would be to get the Akai. It's leagues better in build quality and the software is easy enough to use and fairly intuitive to set up. The built in arp is a nice touch. The keybeds are slightly (but significantly) better on the Novations but since you said you are a "non-player" it shouldn't be a big concern.

I sold my Remote 61 SL and bought an MPK49. I liked it much better than the Novation but decided to send it back and buy an AXiS-64 instead.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Automap 3 is amazing, i have ReMOTE 61SL with 2 LCD screens. "Mk1."

a nice youtube video of another ReMOTE 61SL user/owner:
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Yeah, What I did when I had the novation was to edit the automaps to my liking. That way you get your custom settings on demand and can esaily flick through pages and to alter different parameter settings, and it recalls all the parameters of different fx and softsynths instantly.

I don't know if the akai templates let you do this? Can you easily edit/create a few template pages for each soft synth and access them at a click of a button like with the novation?


For example
I edited automap for predator so I could control the filters and 3 oscs on the 1st page, modulation on the 2nd page, fx on the 3 page etc.

I know the akai has banks with I guess would kind of be like an equivalent of pages but there aren't as many controls and limited banks so you may have to switch templates to control 1 soft synth. Could be laborious. I dunno.


I don't mind taking the time to edit automaps, since once edited, I like the way it all works. If that's the same with the Akai I see no reason to go with the novation. I can't get over how bad the mk1's drum pads are, I'd never use them so I'd have to buy a dedicated mpd or something.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaid_emu View Post
The whole Automap thing was very spotty in my experience. Most of the time it didn't work with my plug-ins. Some had better luck than others once it's all set up properly, but I thought the whole point was to avoid setting **** up and having it.... automatically mapped!

My advice would be to get the Akai. It's leagues better in build quality and the software is easy enough to use and fairly intuitive to set up. The built in arp is a nice touch. The keybeds are slightly (but significantly) better on the Novations but since you said you are a "non-player" it shouldn't be a big concern.
I know some that like the Akai keybed, but when I demoed it I thought the keys sucked hard. If you're more of a synth player that likes semi-weighted keys, you'll like the Novation better. The Akai had that 'synth' type action, something that you would find on the Korg MicroX or another board that has keys as an afterthought. The pads on the Akai are infinitely better. I love my PadKontrol over all the pads out there, it's the coolest and easiest pad setup. The build quality on the Novation is an afterthought. Akai's is better. But it mainly comes down to the software and I like Automap 3, much more intuitive now. The new Automap 3 basically does all the setup for you and was ready to use in Logic right away. They have a lot of video tutorials for setup of the old Automap 2 and also now with 3, so basically you watch the video and you copy what they did in it and you're ready (plus you learn a little bit about navigation).

The SL mk2 is supposed to be out by now. I'm hoping that they delay and add a second screen. Does everyone else think a 37 keyboard is the perfect size also? I do. I wish more companies would make this. 25 is too small and 49 keys is getting into the big category. It's like the 3 bears story and the 37 keys is juuuuuuuust right.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
37 is juuuussssssssssst right. I had to try the 61 but in the end, there's just no need for me and it's too big. I don't care about the occasional press of the octave button. I know novation is a bit of a sacrifice on quality but I can live with that if I can control everything easily - it really is no issue to switch between pages and it switches between pulgins for you :-)

I take it the touch sensitive thing won't mean that you don't have to move the control past the point it's set at to make it adjust the parameter.

Why not led's showing you position on the pots too - normally it would be stupid but on a multi-layer control it's good to see the setting of your parameter.

I don't think they bringing back the screen - apparently some stores have some of the models in stock already - boooooo.

Just another way to cheap out really. Skimp on build quality, skimp on hardware features, but you still gotta have it because of the software....they've got us by the balls....for now.


Anyone got the MPK and can comment on how easy it is to set up layered templates for complex vsts etc?
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Touch sensitive means that you don't have to move the control just touch it, then the display will show you the current value without any movement.

I wonder if Youtube has any MPK vids for mapping the controls? Novation has done a good job and has made multi vids showing you how everything works. I applaud Novation for that.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
So touch sensitive means I won't have to move the control past the previous point to affect change? If so that is sweet.
If that's the case and they had kept the 2nd screen I'd have been all over the mk2.

No mpk setup vids that I can find...only old ones showing work arounds because of problems and a marketing video with reason.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Id never give up the fact that with automap whatever you open on screen in your DAW , its controls are instantly sat there on your keyboard...thats priceless! without touching a single button!

yes to get the control YOU want you need to tweak each template for each plugin and save it but thats so easy just dragging and dropping controls in the editor window. hit save.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Is this touch sensitive thing with the mk2 gonna be cool? If the 'soft touch' drum pads are soft i'm sold....unless i get a mk 1 and an mpd or something.

Just found this:

"
[h3]Novation SL Mk II unboxing: Computer Music's first impressions[/h3]
Novation launched their SL Mk II series of updated controllers at the recent Frankfurt Musikmesse show, describing them as the "biggest music-making product" of the entire event.
Luckily, we haven't had long to wait to get our hands on one of the new devices, as the 25-key SL Mk II 25 just popped through our letter box.



We haven't had chance to give it a serious trial yet, but that hasn't stopped us snapping a few pics, plonking a few keys, waggling the mod stick, bashing the drum pads, stroking the XY pad, jostling the faders, and giving our wrists a workout with the obligatory 'knob test'.



It all feels solid enough, and the new "soft feel" drum pads are definitely more tactile than the plastic-y grey ones of the original series.
After our initial fumble, we even went so far as to plug the thing in, and immediately marveled at the bright red 11-LED rings on the upper row of knobs. The older models had continuous rotary dials, but the new LED rings should make it a lot easier to get a handle on their current value. Oh, and all the knobs (except the central speed dial) now turn smoothly, with no clicks/detentes. Check 'em out:



As you'll note, there's only one LCD screen, as opposed to the dual displays of the original SL series. The idea is that the Automap 3 Pro software pop-up display (a semi-transparent control panel that appears on your computer screen) will be your primary source of visual feedback on control assignments and whatnot. This arrangement certainly worked well for the Nocturn – which has no built-in display at all – so hopefully setting up the SL Mk II devices will be easier than their predecessors.
Now steel yourself for another gratuitous pic of the SL Mk II 25 – note that all the buttons are now backlit! And the transport buttons are now freely assignable too…



One of the coolest improvements is that all dials and faders are now touch-sensitive. This allows for such features as Autoview, where the Automap display only appears while you're touching a control, and an "instant learn" function – "Simply click on the software parameter and touch a touch-sensitive control to assign it," explain Novation.
As well as losing an LCD display, the SL Mk II range has also ditched the option to power via batteries, though we can't imagine too many computer musicians grumbling about this, since the device can be powered via USB or a DC adapter.
How well it all works in practice remains to be seen, so watch out for the upcoming CM review! In the meantime, you can read more at Novation's website, and be sure to have a quick drool over the very sexy keyboard-less ZeRO SL Mk II


"
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 10 years
the pads for me are top on the Mk11, but then again im not a big MPC pad person hehe, so please dont reply on my judgement.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
You've actually used them? I'm not a big mpc person either, I just want them to be usable without pressing hard. Would you say there like that?
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I also have a 37sl which I like but not keen on the automap..I dont like the way the parameters are named or how they are setup on the pages..yes you can create custom maps but then automap really isnt benficial

Thye faders are its weakest point...i will be getting an apc 40 just to control ableton for that

and I thought the new Mk2's were supposed to be out...have not seen them anywhere yet
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yep, the faders are crap. The whole unit's quality sucks actually apart from the keys. Automap 3 with a rock solid hardware controller would be insane! Imagine how much novation would charge for a decent quality midi controller though!!! Β£500 for the 61 mk2 is an absolute pisstake given the quality. You can buy decent monitor speakers for that and they are more than just a bit of plastic. I resent paying alot for something that's poorly made, but it seems like there no better option really.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Yes automap is still beneficial,

because it automatically brings up controls for whatever plugin you have on screen at that moment...i really find this useful and yes , in automap 3 its so easy now to customize and have it remember your custom layout for a plugin is a great feature, you can also rename each one and it'll remember it when you open an instance of your plug for example when i open up URS Strip, on screen its presented nicely and named nicely so i need not really touch my pc, you can even jump between plugins using the hardware with the new automap control buttons.....


p.s. yeah ive used them and the pad are good for me bud.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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🎧 15 years
Has anyone seen a confirmed release date for the 49 key version? I've been waiting on that to drop.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
So what's the deal, are some SL mk2s out in the UK and not the US then?
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Gonna get an SL 49 mk2 I think, since it'll give me drums, softsynth and daw control (and a some keys heh) although i'm quite tempted to get the 25 key version just to use in bed and on my lap (I love producing in bed).

Would anyone recommend a 25 key or not really? I found the 61 got in the way of my laptop.

I don't know what's going on, they said they be on sale at that show, but all the UK and EU stores don't have any in stock yet
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Alright, today I just got word from Nova Musik- The Electronic Musician's Wonderland. and Mike over there said:

"I just talked to Novation about these controllers and they still have no
pricing info on the SL MKII series. They expect that all of the models
will be shipping late June/early July. (The 25 and 61 key controllers
were supposed to be shipping in April but they got pushed back with the
rest of the series.)
Once we have more info, we will be posting it on our website as soon as
we get it."


I would go for the 49 over the 25 myself, the 25 just isn't enough to write some decent tunes with.
Old 4th May 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There must be something going on at HQ because in the interview they named all their prices Β£330, Β£400 & Β£500...Maybe this is good news, they can't price them any higher. Hopefully they've read my slagging them off on forums and decided to put penny and giles faders in them and a metal case LOL

June/July though....ugggg! I'll have spent all my money by then. Perhaps I should put in a pre-payed order.

Anyone got an axiom pro? The drum pads look relatively sensitive (good thing in my book) and they have the automap rip off (hypercontrol)
Old 5th May 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Spent? Why don't you put your Controller keyboard money into savings and set aside the money for when it is released? That's what I do when I'm projecting to buy something. If Novation puts a 2nd screen on it, I could see myself getting the Mk2. These mk2 faders at least look better than the original, as I see in the pics they are elevated a little to not rub on the SL. What are the knobs and faders made of?
Old 5th May 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Plastic....all plastic.
Old 5th May 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I know the SL Compact knobs felt different and these look different yet. They look nicer to the touch than both previous models. I'd like to get my hands on one of these to see how it feels.

I hope they make a 37 key version. The 49 key is a bastard. It's not big enough to be a solid all around controller, yet it's too big if you like compact setups. The 37 key allows you to retain much needed space in your studio and can fit along side other boards and can make for a creative setup. The 25 key and 37 key are small boards, but the 25 is too small to do proper spaced out chords over 3 octaves. The 37 allows that. If I wanted more keys than the 37, I would go for a regular 61 keyboard. Who came up with the 49 key idea? Where's the 37 key in other companies? No one makes them and that's one of the reasons I went with Novation because I felt they understood the 49 key is a ugly duckling. Plus the 37 (and 61) is somehow really sexy looking, whereas the 25 and 49 look awkward.

I bought a 49 key Novation KS-4 when they came out and always felt limited in playing (this version begs to have more key room when playing). I now have a KS-5 with 61 keys and love it.
Old 5th May 2009 | Show parent
  #24
msl
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Never liked the SL's had a Zero for a while, god rid of it. Worked great for Reason and Live, never worked well with Logic. Waaaaay to much plastic, and the faders where absolutely useless, I don't really see much difference with the new ones, just a face lift.


.
Old 5th May 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by msl View Post
Never liked the SL's had a Zero for a while, god rid of it. Worked great for Reason and Live, never worked well with Logic. Waaaaay to much plastic, and the faders where absolutely useless, I don't really see much difference with the new ones, just a face lift.


.
So what are you using now then
Old 7th May 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Anyone making the 'upgrade' then to mk2? Ideally I think i'd get the mpk and the sl zero mk2 heh I guess I can use ableton's arpeggiator though and buy a padkontrol for drums if I get the novation.
Old 7th May 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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🎧 10 years
I was disappointed in AutoMap until I got 3 Pro. After I had it I didn't even resent paying for it.

Once you use the 'drag and drop' all the complaints about the weird way parameters get mapped out go away.

Also now you have access to multiple novation controllers. It's a treat locking nocturn to one thing while you use zero for something else.

I'm selling the zero and waiting for the 37 SL MK II ... not because I don't like the zero but because I won't need it.

I was first disappointed about the removal of the 2nd LCD ... but after working with nocturn for a while with the back lit buttons and coders ... who needs it?

To me there are two intelligent ways to go: get the new zero; or, get a MK II keyboard and nocturn. First way you can get any other keyboard you want. Second way having nocturn at hand makes it much easier to play with one hand and use the other hand on the nocturn just as you might a mod wheel.

There are no 'all-in-one' solutions. Every bit of kit adds useful wrinkles.

prado
Old 8th May 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by prado escondido View Post
I'm selling the zero and waiting for the 37 SL MK II ... not because I don't like the zero but because I won't need it.
As of right now, they don't offer a 37 mk2 keyboard. I don't know why they did this. I think they really should stick with the 37 keyboard on the mk2.

I bought Automap Pro and was dang skeptical at first, but the assignable Keystrokes and drag and drop features make it worth it for sure. I think they did a really good job with the software here and everything is much more intuitive. Maybe we should write Novation e-mails to make a 37 keyboard version.
Old 8th May 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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PeteJames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm thinking of grabbing a deal on one of those limited mk1 37's. Should I go for it or embrace the new? Is it worth Β£200 for a few led's & touch sensitive controls? That said at least the mk2's will hold their value for future resale.

Judging by reviews from users of the mpk, the pads are hard and unresponsive anyway (even at max sensitivity)...for drums I'll have to get a dedicated drum controller.
Old 8th May 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Drum pads ... schmum pads.

None of the keyboards really have a proper setup for the drum pads. If you want them, you don't want to have to reach up and over your keyboard. You want something you can slap in your lap like some bongos or like an MPC on a stand.

If they don't come out with the 37 SL MK II, then I think I'll get a 37, too. Right when the price drops. As everyone here seems to agree 37 and 61 are the only useful sizes. So as the last good 37 with the kick a** Automap, I think the 37 SL will hold it's value pretty well ... not to mention being the right tool for now.

prado
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