Novation Impulse 49 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
This is another controller which we first recommended in February 2016 and which has increased its Gearank score since then and retained its place as one of the highest rated options currently available.
One aspect I quite like about the Novation Impulse are the transport controls - it has dedicated buttons for play, stop, record, rewind, fast forward and a loop toggle switch.
Another nice feature is that when you put it into arpeggio mode, you use the keyboard as usual but you can also use the pads to turn notes off and on and change the rhythm of the arpeggio.
- Keys: 49 full size, square front, semi-weighted with aftertouch.
- Pads: 16 velocity sensitive with RGB illumination.
- Arpeggiator: No.
- Motorized Controls: No.
- Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite and Xpand!2 by AIR Music Tech.
- Power: USB or optional separate power supply.
- Connectivity: USB, 5-pin MIDI out, 1 x TRS input for sustain pedal.
- Control Hardware Directly: Yes.
- Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.8 or later + Windows 10, 8, and 7.
- Dimensions: 28.3" x 15.1" x 6.29"
- Weight 11.02 lbs
Its Automap software makes it easy to set up with Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Sonar, Reason, Pro Tools and a range of other major music applications. Both customer and expert reviews say this is a very good tool for composing and recording. They consistently talk about how good the pads and keys are.
On the downside a few people report that the faders feel a bit cheap, but I didn't see anyone saying the faders had broken - and a few like that it has 9 instead of the usual 8 faders. There were also a few people who found the Automap software difficult to get used to at first.
Overall it has a lot of features for the price and would happily be used as your main MIDI controller in a home studio.
Since we originally recommended the Novation Impulse 49, more highly rated options have become available, which you'll find in our guide to The Best 49 Key MIDI Controller Keyboards.