Categorized | Hardware, iOS & Mobile

Novation Launchkey Mini mobile MIDI controller review

Hey what’s good fam!

Back with another review for you, today I’m checking out the new Launchkey Mini

I’ve had my eye on this little controller for a while so I was excited when Novation sent it over for review.

I wanted to test it as a mobile solution, but quickly found it to be much more than that.

Let’s check it out?

So what is Launchkey Mini?

LaunchKey_Mini_PP_Pic2The whole concept is to give you a super compact and portable controller that doesn’t lack in features and options for integration.

The controller comes with 16 velocity-sensitive pads that sport 3 colors, it has 8 knobs, a bunch of other buttons, and 25 keys.

It also ships with a some software to help you get creative out of the box including Ableton Live Lite 9, the V-Station & Bass Station plugins, and you can also use it instantly with the free Launchkey and Launchpad apps.

On top of that you get a bunch of samples from Loopmasters too!

It’s a controller for sure, but with the included apps/programs it turns this controller into a musical instrument in it’s own right.

Quick Specs

  • Key features/controls: 25 keys, 16 velocity-sensitive 3 color pads, 8 control knobs, 7 buttons, 2 performance buttons
  • Included content: Ableton Live Lite 9, V-Station, Bass Station, 1gb Loopmasters sample content, Novation Launchkey and Launchpad apps (free to download)
  • Price: $99.99
  • Product page: http://us.novationmusic.com/midi-controllers/launchkey-mini

So how’s the integration?

LKM_KF_1Man, let me just say, I really wanted to check this out for mobile use. I’m always trying to find a good, solid, useful controller to take around with my iPad.

And I will say this thing is amazing for that, as a general MIDI controller it’s great. Though the pads default to channel 10 in basic MIDI mode which is the standard general MIDI percussion channel, I wish you could assign it yourself to the default channel your keys are on.

The way it integrates with the Novation apps is awesome! Doesn’t take any crazy setup and it makes them feel like true instruments.

The same can be said for how it works with the Novation V-Station and Bass Station apps, very tight integration, and I really love the ability to browse presets freely from the device.

I also tried the integration with Ableton Live 9 and it again works flawlessly. I can quickly launch clips for recording, playback, switch tracks, jump up and down through scenes, or even launch whole scenes quickly.

And you get instant control over the currently loaded device with the 8 knobs.

So what’s the bottom line?

If you’re looking for a mobile controller with lots of knobs and buttons that is still sleek and streamlined check this out

4andhalfsubsI give the Launchkey Mini 4.5 out of 5 subs, it’s a very slick controller with tons of integration and plenty of knobs/buttons ready to be mapped.

I do wish I had more control over the MIDI channel that the pads send on, but maybe they can fix that in an update.

Also I wish there was a way to still browse through presets in V-Station or Bass Station when using it inside of Ableton live as a control surface.

Other than that, the only thing I could see added would be some way to alter pitch in place of a pitchwheel, two buttons would be fine for me.

I personally like the key action a lot, it’s not stiff like many mini controllers and gives me the response I like.

It’s really a great controller in many different situations, checkout their site for more info: http://us.novationmusic.com/midi-controllers/launchkey-mini

At the price, it’s definitely worth taking a look at

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this or the other devices in the Launch family product line.

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6 Responses to “Novation Launchkey Mini mobile MIDI controller review”

  1. Coolderb says:

    Nice review St.Joe! I have been looking for a portable controller primarily for use with my Ipad. The Novation VST bundle is icing on the cake.

    Maybe Midibridge could be used to get around the midi channel restrictions?

    Your demo./review review has pretty much convinced me that the Launchkey is for me.

    Thanks

    • saintjoe says:

      Yeah I would imagine one could get around the issue if they want to, I just feel a midi controller should allow such things in a simple manner. However it’s still very useful and I really enjoy it as a controller, specifically when using with the Novation stuff or something like Ableton Live. Thanks for the comment fam!

  2. Dave says:

    Great review saintjoe, thanks! That is way compact, and they still managed to get 16 pads on there.

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