Novation 61 SL MKII Meta-Review (61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller)
The Novation 61 SL MKII is a quality keyboard that has a great feeling keybed, solid construction and highly customizable automap feature. Its most noteworthy feature is its synth-action keybed, which is built by popular Italian keyboard producer Fatar. While it has a good number of positive ratings and reviews, it would've gotten a higher score if not for some users who did not read the specs carefully before buying.
- Keys: 61 semi-weighted / synth-style / velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch.
- Pads: 8 soft feel trigger pads with velocity and pressure sensitivity.
- Controls: 8 Encoders (Infinite Rotation) with touch-sensitivity and 11-segment LED rings, 8 Pots (270 Rotation) with touch sensitivity, 8 Sliders with touch-sensitivity, 32 Buttons with integrated LEDs (37 in MIDI mode), 8 soft feel Trigger pads
- Bundled Software: Automap 4, Ableton Live Lite, Novation's Bass Station synth, Loopmasters and Mike the Drummer sample packs included.
- Automapping with popular DAW software like Ableton, Reason and more.
- Power: USB powered and can use an optional power adapter (sold separately).
- Connectivity: USB, MIDI IN, OUT and THRU din sockets plus additional MIDI OUT din socket, Sustain and Expression pedal jacks
- Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, Windows XP SP2 or higher
- Dimensions: 18.43 x 2.67 x 11.54"
- Weight: 13.4 lbs
As mentioned above, the Novation 61 SL MKII's great feeling keys are its focal point, some experienced users even compare it to the keys of expensive synths from Moog. The wealth of controls available is also worth mentioning, along with the nice looking LED rings, back-lit buttons added into the unit. Finally, this controller comes with its own specialized Automap software that works with popular DAWs, and can be customized to your preference.
As expected, not everyone is happy with the Novation 61 SL MKII's keybed, and this is reflected in customer reviews. Unfortunately, this is mostly due to experience and preference than actual quality. There are also some who complained about the Automap feature, but since a majority of users said it worked fine, it probably is more of a learning curve issue with the software.
This is a great value keyboard MIDI controller from a reputable manufacturer. If you're used to the synth-action keys of old Fatar equipped keyboards from the past, then you'll feel right at home with the Novation 61 SL MKII.