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Novation SL MkIII - a controller you can build your studio around

Novation SL MkIII - a controller you can build your studio around

On October 10, Novation released a new SL MkIII controller, which gives a lot of possibilities both in controlling hardware devices and even entire setups, and in controlling digital workstations. In addition to the rich functionality, the device is quite ergonomic and has a good keyboard and a sufficient number of controls.

Novation SL MkIII

The controller can connect to hardware synthesizers via MIDI, feed CV / Gate to modular systems, and integrate well with digital workstations such as Logic, Reason, Cubase, Pro Tools and in particular Ableton Live, with which Novation worked closely with the developers to create this controller. MkIII has a built-in eight-channel polyphonic sequencer that will allow you to create tracks on the fly.

As for the keyboard and overall appearance, the Novation SL mk3 gives the impression that it was really made with care for the musicians and provides for such trifles as, for example, a dynamic backlight above the keyboard, which in some situations makes life much easier. The keyboard itself, according to the developers, is the best company has in the arsenal. It is semi-weighted, with an aftertouch function and a slight spring loading, as well as a scanning frequency of 10 kHz, which greatly expands the possibilities for expressive performance. Pressure-sensitive pads have RGB backlighting and can be used in different ways: to launch clips, as steps in a sequencer, or to play virtual drums. From the results of teamwork with Ableton on the front panel, you can see 5 small color LCD screens, which show the change of parameters in Live, which allows you not to take your eyes off the controller at all. In addition to all of the above, there are 8 faders, modulation and pitch control wheels, as well as many buttons for various purposes among the controls.

An important advantage of the SL MkIII is the ability to connect directly to many different devices, which is possible, of course, due to the large number of inputs and outputs, including: USB, MIDI In/ Out/ Out2/ Thru; two CV Pitch, Gate, and Mod outputs, which can control “anything and anywhere”, three pedal inputs and an output for an analog sync signal.

In addition to the eight-track sequencer, the controller also contains a built-in arpeggiator with several types of arpeggios, the length of which, like the frequency for synchronization, can be adjusted. By the way, SL MkIII can act as a single source of the synchronization signal both MIDI and analog. The sequencer itself supports both step-by-step input of notes and real-time recording, as well as parameters automation. You can also edit the created sequences on the keyboard itself.

A very useful feature is the ability to choose from ready-made or create and save your own templates for customizing control settings for parameters. By the way, these templates can be stored not only locally on the device or computer, but also in the cloud of the Novation Components service.

I would like to say that Novation has really laid out and presented an excellent product that can provide a good combination of device management capabilities and the unification of the entire studio, and both the hardware and the software part of it. Of course, the cost of the controller also corresponds to the functionality and is $600 for the version with 49 keys and $700 for the 61-key version.

Novation SL MkIII

Published: 12:21 24.10.2018
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