Novation 61 SL MKII Meta-Review - 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller (Discontinued)

88
GEARANK

88 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$400
Novation 61 SL MKII
Novation 61 SL MKII

Far from an ordinary MIDI keyboard, the strength of the Novation 61 SL MKII is in its wealth of control options and convenient automatic mapping with popular DAW software that include Ableton, Logic 9, Pro Tools, Cuebase/Nuendo, Reason/Record, and Sonar. Most notable of these controls are the 8 touch-sensitive encoders that feature 11 segment LED rings and infinite rotation. Other controls include transport buttons, 8 pots, 8 sliders, 8 soft feel trigger pads, and a touch sensitive speed dial. It also comes with an Xpression Pad and Xpression Stick for modern expressive control over sound and effects. All these features make this MIDI keyboard appealing to electronic musicians and home studio producers. Surprisingly it does not skimp on the keyboard, with 61 semi-weighted synth action keys that are velocity-sensitive and have after-touch.

Key Features:

  • Keys: 61 / semi-weighted / synth style / velocity-sensitive / aftertouch
  • Pads: 8 velocity-sensitive pads
  • Octave: Octave Up and Down
  • Controls: 24 assignable Q-Link controllers that include 8 encoders, 8 knobs, 8 trigger pads, 8 faders, and Speed Dial
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Xcite+ Loops and Samples, Software Synthesizer
  • Power: DC Power Supply / USB Bus Powered
  • Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI In/Out/Thru ports, Footswitch and Expression pedal jacks
  • Compatibility:Windows 7,8,10 & Mac OS X (10.8,10.9,10.10), iOS (via Apple Adapter)
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 38 x 2.7 inches
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs

Pros

Market response to the Novation 61 SL MKII is mostly positive, many of which cite its convenient automap and good synth action keys as its stand out feature. A good number of users also commended its wealth of touch sensitive controls, which impressed even the experts. It has been proven to work well with most of the popular DAWs, including Pro Tools, Reaper, Cubase, and of course with Ableton, which is the DAW software that it comes bundled with.

Cons

In contrast to the users who welcomed its wealth of controls, there were a few who felt that it has too many controls. There were also a few who compatibility issues, and some reported that they could not make automap work - but these maybe due to problems with the users' computer themselves.

Overall

If you're looking for a feature packed MIDI keyboard with multiple DAW control options then the Novation 61 SL MKII is highly recommended.