Novation Launchkey Mini Review – Where is it most suited?

Novation has continued to set trends and to stand out of the crowd with their recording gear and equipment. Their color popping tabs have been forever etched in our memories and we cannot get enough. Launchkey Mini MK2 is one such innovation that everyone can appreciate just as much.

This is a compact controller featuring 16 keys that are sensitive to velocity, RGB pads launches Ableton’s Live Sessions, 25 notes of the keyboard, eight rotary knobs, seven directional buttons and two buttons for performance metrics. it comes with tons of software and is available at a very affordable price for budget shoppers.

What to expect with the Novation Launchkey Mini

The Launchkey Mini was built to be used with the Ableton Live DAW and as great control over the keyboard’s features. With this keyboard, you will be able to drum your beats in, tweak your performance and mixer parameters using the rotary knobs. Thankfully, this MIDI controller also integrates with other forms of DAW like Logic Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools and Reason and the device’s MIDI messages are easily configured using Novation components that are browser-based.

What are the key features?

Key and Pad quality

You might find the synth-action of the Launchkey mini to be a little springy which is a good trait to have as a compact MIDI board. If you are used to operating a big piano with big sized keys, you may ae a problem adjusting to the keys on this controller that have been minimized to maximize space on the keyboard. With some practice, it is easy to get used to it and to start making your revolutionary melodies. They are also made less-weighty than the larger keyboards due to their compact design but they work just as perfectly.

The pads of the Launchkey are small and sleek to fit into the compact design and build of this controller keyboard. In keeping with Novations pop of color, the pads have three color theme that provides a calming yet exciting effect.

Knobs and Buttons

Buttons and knobs on the Launchkey have been pre-mapped to the Ableton and Logic Pro DAWs to make the configuration and launch of this controller smooth and hassle-free. All you need is to plug the USB in and wait for OS to prompt you for auto installation of the Novation software to use with the DAW.

Arpeggiator, Onboard Arp and Fixed Chord Modes

The arpeggiator will produce crisp and strong melodies and rhythms. It is easy to us and very controllable allowing you to change rhythm, octave, gate, pattern or beat.

With the onboard arp, you will get rhythmic patterns, a four-octave range, multiple modes, timing divisions and a mutate mode that generates sound changes automatically.

As for fixed chord, users can define shapes of different chords and keep tracking and following them as they go up and down on the keyboard. It helps you to further your ideas.

Mini-keymech

The 16 RGB pads on the Launchkey mini are highly sensitized for accurate and dynamically timed drumming. There are two touch strips for modulation and pitch adjustments when necessary adding to the quality and variety of sound you can produce. There is also a sustain input that will see to it that when pressed and held down for a duration of time, the notes played in this time will be running on a continuous loop until you release the button.

MIDI Output Port

By using the arp and chord modes available and the USB port, this allows the Launchkey controller keyboard to operate with no extra equipment as a standalone device. To do this however, you need to use an adapter that was not included at purchase.

Control

Mini’s coordination with the Ableton Live DAW gives you ultimate control over your keyboard and the devices connected to it. These mixer, device and transport controls greatly reduces the need to move around with the mouse.

As soon as you plug it in, the Launchkey Mini powers up immediately and with the 16 RGB sensitized keys you may begin to play some bets and launch new clips. As these clips load, the backlit pads will light up to confirm when they are being loaded, played and recorded then laid out to show on the Ableton view.

Tweaking instruments has been made easier with the rotary knobs that are fitted into the keyboard. The fast action associated with the 25 velocity sensitive keys makes play extremely fun and also helps you to sketch drafts of your ideas.

Lunchkey Mini is portable, light and can fit into any backpack to take it with you. It is a completely plug-and-play device that works immediately you plug it into our laptop. You never have to worry about drivers and software. The Launchkey is powered by USB only and does not need an external power source beyond your laptop or any other electronic instrument you may be using.

Software

In making certain that the user gets the best deal, Launchkey Mini has a packed store full of instruments, sound and effects from many platforms such as; Spitfire Audio, Klevgrand, Softube and XLN Audio. You will find all these well within your package of the Ableton Live Lite or while using Mini’s user interface with Logic Pro or any other DAW that is compatible.

You will need to register and sign up for Novation Sound Collective membership which will grant you access exclusively to the free content from third parties that comes every other month. These customers are also eligible for special effects and synthesizers whenever they’re available.

Novation’s Launch key and Launch pad apps are downloadable for free and they will help you produce better music with the launch key.

To connect directly to the Launchkey with your Apple device, you will need a Camera Connection Kit which you must buy separately.

It is compatible with Mac and PC computers.

Pros

  • Compact quality build
  • Arpeggiator and chord modes
  • Easy set-up

Cons

  • Need to buy MIDI adapter

 

View price on Amazon

 

Conclusion

MK2 is perfect for on-the-road producers, DJs and music artists. It’s compact, portable and sturdy build will serve you for years to come. Just like the timeless music you will make on it.

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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