Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk2 vs. Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk3 – Which generation from the Launchkey MIDI Mini line is better?

If you are looking for a keyboard controller, then you have probably heard of Novation and the Launchkey collections. This article takes on two well received models from said collections: the MK2 and MK3 Mini key controllers. Take a look.

Novation is an industry especially in keyboard controllers. Specifically the Launchkey MK series is host to a wide range of quite handy instruments. Here in, you will find an objective review of both mini MIDIs from the Launchkey collection where features, capabilities and other important aspects of either controller will be discussed. As the MK3 is an upgrade of the MK2, there will be some similarities in design and functionalities. However, both instruments display several differences in design and various improvements of course, considering it is an upgrade.

Read on for more on Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk2 vs. Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk3.

MIDI mini Mk2 vs. MIDI mini Mk3

Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk2
Novation Launchkey MIDI mini Mk3
USB Bus powered controller

With AC/DC power adapter (9VDC at 25mA) as PSU option, adapter not included

USB Bus powered controller
Octave shift and transpose performance functions
Octave shift, Transpose, Transport control and Arpeggiator performance functions
17.7 x 10.6 x 3.5″
13.0 x 6.8 x 1.6″
fast-synth style
Mac OS 10.7-10.10, iOS and Windows 7/8 compatible
Mac OS 10.7/later , Windows7/later and iOS compatible

Novation Launchkey MIDI mini MK2

The 25-key Novation Launchkey mini MK2 is a class compliant MIDI controller that works well across different platforms. This handy controller features while it is small, the controller is well set up to help you produce your music. This MIDI controller features a fast-synth style, making it enjoyable to use. The Novation Launchkey mini MK2 will help you tweak your effects and virtual instruments for a great performance.

Additionally, this instrument also features 16 backlit drum pads and 8 knobs, as well as different control buttons on the control panel for a versatile production experience. It is designed to work on Mac and PC devices when plugged in, making it convenient for quick set up.

Aside from offering a range of control options for customized performance, the Novation Launchkey mini MK2 also features a great design. The MIDI controller is lightweight and portable, which makes it ideal for both live and studio needs. The controller also integrates FL Studio, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic and Cubase without any mapping, allowing smooth workflow with minimal distracters. The USB-powered board will work without any driver upgrades, and perform well with different DAWs.

If you are interested in a clutter-free controller, that is highly portable and highly functional then the Novation Launchkey mini MK2 could be what you are looking for.

Pros

  • Great software options
  • Very easy to set up and use across multiple devices
  • Lightweight and portable controller

Cons

  • Lacks the fader-button pairings of larger alternatives

 

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Novation Launchkey mini MIDI MK3

Alternatively, the Novation Launchkey mini MK3 is a 25-key MIDI controller that offers an impressive range of control options for production. Alongside the high quality keybed, the model also features 16 RGB backlit pads, 8 knobs and 2 touch strips. It does not offer the wide range of faders and adjustable buttons like larger MIDI controllers, but it will deliver an impressive customization experience. This MIDI controller is easy to set up and use. The controller’s mini keymech and deep integration with Ableton Live combine to enhance your customization options.

An integrated creative arpeggiator and fixed chord mode allow for increase the range of control options without making it difficult to use. The wide range of customization options offered combine with the simple design for a high end mini MIDI controller. As an added benefit, the MIDI controller can be used for recording without any fuss.

The Novation Launchkey mini MK3 is lightweight and very portable; making it well suited for both studio and performance needs. It offers a variety of impressive software options, with different effects and instruments making it ready to use after setting up. This MIDI controller also works across different platforms, making it a convenient fit for your use. It also works well with different DAWs.

While it is smaller than other alternatives, the Novation Launchkey mini MK3 will deliver a great production experience.

Pros

  • Impressive software bundle
  • Compact and portable controller
  • Very easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Smaller launch pads will be tough for new users

 

View price on Amazon

 

MIDI Out

Among the more popular improvements from the MK2 to M3 is the inclusion of the unique MIDI out features. This is allows you to use the MK3 mini anywhere, programming changes to hardware synthesizers, sending arps or even incorporating all over the MIDI connection. Considering this is a mini controller: that’s all pretty impressive. Both mini generations do feature a sustain input however, an inclusion many users appreciate.

Performance functions

There is a distinct difference in the performance capabilities of either MIDI mini controllers. Additional performance functions on the MK3 including the very creative Arpeggiator in collaboration with other features ensure prime performance on the Mini MK3. This is quite unlike the mini Mk2 which while still a capable mini controller, which has notably fewer performance functions compared to the newer generation mini MIDI make.

Power requirements and display

The MK2 is not all bad, featuring several design inclusions and accommodations lacking on the MK. While these do not affect performance, they are cool convenience features that may come in handy. Moreover, this controller has provisions which allow users to operate the controller via USB or via a power adapter. This option is unavailable for M3 mini devices that must rely on USB connection. The additional LED display on the MK2 lacking from the M3 is a great output area for feedback reviewing information that may be displayed on there.

Which is our pick and why?

It’s probably obvious but the newer generation Launchkey MIDI mini mk3 is the better option compared to its predecessor. Equipped with more updated features and an even lower cost of ownership, the Mini MK3 is a highly operational mini controller with features way ahead of its time: for a mini keyboard controller.

Final word on Novation Launchkey mini Mk2 vs. Novation Launchkey mini Mk3

Both the Mini MK2 and MK3 are a giant step in the right direction. Remember, the MK3 is an upgrade of the MK2 and spots various inclusions and deletions from the overall design: making these two mini MIDI controllers quite distinct options. With the information and some of the differences highlighted within this article, you should be able to effectively gauge between either options, and finally select the champ depending on your needs.

Peter Smith

Welcome to MusicGearAdvisor! 4 years ago I rediscovered my passion for making music and began building my own home studio. As I have gone through my journey I realized that I am just as passionate about the equipment as I am about the music. I started MusicGearAdvisor as a way for me to share my learnings with others so you can get started making music that you dream of.

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