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Novation 61 SL MkII

Novation Remote 61 SL MkII

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Decent build, great bang for a buck, amazing keybed from Fatar, intuitive maping software for you VSTs and DAWs.


26th February 2015

Novation Remote 61 SL MkII by 4ndy

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Novation 61 SL MkII

Kind of beast this controller is. Weighs 6 kgs and is pretty large in comparison to some other keyboard controllers. Lot of space could be used more efficiently (=for some more faders/knobs).

The build quality is OK for the chasis itself. It's plasticky, but sturdy, although I would be scared if it would off my stand. Powered by USB or 9V adapter. Doesn't work with my USB 3.0 individually powered hub only with dedicated USB in PC.

Now for the features. The keys are the best I have experienced so far on any MIDI controller. Italian made FATAR. Semiweighted, very natural, piano like. Not synthy enough for some people, but I play piano a lot, so I love it. (the sound quality score in my review is affiliated with the quality of keybed)

The knobs and faders are sturdy, dependable and responsive. Some are exclusively reserved for Automap soft and some are free to assign by user. The Automap (4.8 in my case) is great soft, it automatically assigns knobs and faders to every editable function in your DAW or VST, that is currently selected and you can clearly see on screen, what feature you control. Really help my workflow. It also has joystiq-like pitch mod bend wheel, that can be set up to stay in position and don't return back to original position, like on most keyboards. The X/Y touchpad is hard to evaluate. I don't use it.

It also has drumpads, but I wouldn't bother, If they just let those go in next series, that would be no loss. They're small and does not respond well, or maybe the sensitivy curve is not very well edited in my global settings, i dunno. I don't use them, but so far I would always recommend buying dedicated drum machine or something like M-Audio trigger finger pro. I generally discourage anyone buying keyb cntrlr for drumpad reasons.

The bundle software is decent. It's not very significant in terms of size and usability. You get Ableton Live Lite, Bass Station VST, Mike the drummer and Loopmasters sample libraries (1,5 Gb)


Summarization:
PROS:
  • fantastic keybed for piano purposes, decent for synths
  • fantastic Automap soft, makes creating music much easier
  • OK build quality, massive, good quality of knobs and faders - responsive, sturdy, and lot of them
  • 4 MIDI Ports (In, thru, 2x out), one input for sustain and one for expression pedal
  • joystick-like pitch and mod wheel - much more instinctive control for me than 2 separated wheels. Can be set up to not return and stay fixed in position. X/Y touchpad

CONS:
  • bad drumpads, virtually useless
  • lot to learn, when you dont want to run automap
  • Novation could add more bundle software for 500 Bucks.
  • Does not work with USB hubs.

 
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