When it comes to midi controllers, keyboards or synthesizers, the words, “quality” and “reliability”, are synonymous to the name, Novation. A branch of the Focusrite group, Novation has been a major innovator and leader in the music-making industry. In this edition, we’ll be looking at a few game-changing products that Novation has come out with.
Ever since the popularization of DAW’s and digital music production, midi-keyboards and controllers have been a sort of prerequisite for musicians/producers.
Novation has a wide variety range of midi keyboards that include products such as the Launch Key Mini, Launch Key, Impulse and the SL MK II. Novation’s Impulse series of midi keyboards are one of the top choices in the category. Available in 25, 49 and 61 key versions, the Impulse keyboards are designed to permit the user to create a flexible and expressive performance. While pianists and keyboard players might complain that a lot of midi keyboards don’t feel right to play on, the Impulse series comes with full-size piano style keys that are semi-weighted with aftertouch for a wholesome playing experience. Apart from the obvious, these keyboards come armed with pressure-sensitive pads for all kinds of percussive implementation and a set of knobs and faders that can be assigned to various parameters. Its seamless integration with major DAWs such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro and Pro Tools make it the perfect choice for producers and as well performers.
Apart from midi-keyboards, Novation also sets a standard for synthesis. Their new synth range includes the Peak, an eight voice polyphonic synth, the paraphonic Circuit Mono Station, the MiniNova, the UltraNova and the Bass Station II. Their famous Bass Station monosynth had been reworked to sound bigger and badder. We now have the improved and enhanced Bass Station II, with two tuneable oscillators, a sub-oscillator and a noise and rig modulation. More possibilities arise when these features are paired with the classic multi-mode filter as well as a new acid filter. Its wide plethora of controls and options are laid out in an extremely clear workflow so as to make most of its capabilities. The Bass Station II allows you to save and load your own patches or choose one of the 64 patches that come loaded into it. Connectivity is made simple with the Bass Station II with the USB, 5-pin din MIDI I/O ports and it also has provisions to plug in external instruments and run it through the effects and filters.
Today, there are tons of midi controls that posses the grid-based pad design and Novation was the brand that sparked this evolution in electronic music. They boast a wide range of products in this category, including the Launchpad, the Launchpad Mini and the Launchpad Pro. The Launchpad Pro, an improvement on the classic Launchpad, comes packed with features and allows you to create dynamic and expressive performances with an extremely professional touch. Novation is known for its seamless integration with Ableton Live and the Launchpad Pro is no different, allowing complete control over your DAW.
Apart from the features present in the classic Launchpad such as using the 64 illuminated RGB pads to launch multiple clips, play samples and instruments and various looping controls, the Pro also comes armed with an arsenal of new possibilities. The velocity sensitive pads permit you to play drums and other instruments more dynamically and also provides automatic LED feedback. The Pro also has dedicated Note and Drum Rack modes. The 24 function buttons allow for a higher control of different parameters and mixer controls making it a more useful tool for live performances. The MIDI I/O connectivity permits you to control your software as well as other hardware devices.