Novation Launchkey Mini Mk 2 Review

The updated Launchkey Mini MK2 combines the best features from a number of Novation’s earlier products – the larger Launchkey USB MIDI keyboards, and the Launch controllers for Ableton Live – in a small formfactor, that won’t take up much space on a desk and can easily be taken with you wherever you go.

This very compact and portable workstation keyboard controller, has a built-in technology that Novation refer to as InControl – essentially what this means is, the Mini is pre-configured to work smoothly with today’s most popular Digital Audio Workstation software. It comes with controller templates for Ableton Live, Apple’s Logic Pro X, Avid’s Pro Tools, Steinberg’s Cubase, Propellerhead’s Reason, and FL Studio by Image-Line.

Since the configuring of devices can often be a time-consuming and frustrating process, InControl is a useful addition which allows you to get going and be creative much more quickly.

Also to get you started making music right away, the Lite version of Ableton Live is included with the controller.

Novation began manufacturing quality hardware synthesizers in 1992. In recent years, they have become increasingly successful with their USB MIDI controllers too – releasing a varied range of products for composers, performers and DJs – from full-sized MIDI keyboards to handheld devices.

As well as Ableton Live Lite, the Launchkey Mini MK2 also comes with the following Virtual Instruments:

Novation’s own excellent V-Station and Bass Station software synthesizers –

  • V-Station is a detailed reproduction of their classic K-Station hardware synth, incorporating Novation’s Nova sound-engine (now found in their current flagship products, the UltraNova and Mininova);
  • and the precisely-modelled analogue synth-engine of the much-acclaimed original Bass Station hardware – first released in 1993 and recently re-imagined in hardware for its 20th anniverary;

XLN Addictive Keys virtual instruments – a number of software versions of classic instruments such as a Yamaha upright piano, a Steinway grand piano and the Yamaha CP-80 synthesizer;

and, 4GB of Loopmasters samples to load into Ableton.

As with Ableton, Launchkey Mini’s controls are conveniently pre-mapped to the functions of these softsynths.

A interesting new feature of the Launchkey Mini MK2 is the RGB lights that illuminate the launch pads. They now provide a wide range of instant colorful feedback. This may sound like a trivial improvement, but it means that the pads will exactly match the on-screen colors in Ableton Live. They give a very clear, quick visual indication of which sound clips are loaded, the locations where they are stored, which clips are playing, which are currently recording, and which clips are ready to be launched.

 

Hardware:

25 note velocity sensitive mini-key keyboard

16 multi-colour backlit velocity sensitive drum pads

8 dials

2 octave buttons

2 track buttons

2 navigation buttons

InControl button

2 multi-colour backlit round buttons

Micro USB socket

Kensington security slot

Compatible with Mac, Windows and iPad

 

 

Key Features:

A portable USB MIDI controller with professional features and quality build

Easily and Quickly Produce and Perform

25-note velocity-sensitive mini keyboard.

Designed for Ableton Live

All the workstation controls are assigned intuitively, for vastly reduced set-up time.

 

Play Loops and Create Expressive Beats

Trigger sound clips and play drums using 16 velocity-sensitive multicoloured pads.

Totally portable – take it Anywhere

Compact and tough, doesn’t need a power cable.

Shape Your Sound

Edit your instruments and effects or freely re-assign using eight high-quality dials.

Control All Major Music Software

Automatic configuration for control of Digital Audio Workstations.

USB bus-powered and USB class-compliant, no need to install any software drivers.

Make Music Immediately

Comes with everything you need to perform your music.

Product Dimensions: 325mm width x 175mm depth x 43mm height (15.5 x 9 x 3 inches)

Weight – 675 g (1.5 lbs)

 

25 synth-style mini keys

16 velocity sensitive pads (three-color coded)

Eight dials

Seven function buttons

Included software: Ableton Live Lite 9, 3 softsynths – Novation Bass Station and V-Station,

XLN Addictive Keys, and 1GB+ of samples & loops

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