Novation ‘Launch-Key Mini’
Novation is an English company founded in the year 1992 and has been a part of Focusrite Audio Engineering Ltd. since 2004. The company is perhaps most famous for it’s software applications ‘Basstation’ and ‘V-Station’, which are both included with the Launch-Key Mini that was released recently. These applications have some really cool features, but sadly I can’t use them in Reason. However, any other DAW supporting VST plug-ins will run them. Novation also offers a wide variety of hardware equipment, including many keyboards, and some created specifically for optimal use of their own software. An interesting company to say the least.
Now on to the Launch-Key, since most people would agree that it looks really appealing in the picture, with all the colorful lights and what-not. And when taking it out of the box for the first time, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s really amazing that such a small device could have so many features. It doesn’t trade size for functionality which is always a big plus if you travel a lot. The Launch-Key weighs next to nothing and can fit in almost any bag. The lack of weight presumably comes from the housing, which on the bottom looks like some cheap plastic toy. The top has a nice metallice finish though, and remains cleaner and more scratch-free when compared to more expansive hardware.
And since you’ll mostly be looking at the top, it doesn’t even matter that much. You’ll probably be too busy playing with the shiny keys, which feel just like someone would expect them to do, accompanied by a good sensitivity. The drum-pads feel very stable and are easy to get used to. It doesn’t seem to register very light taps however, but I presume that is because they are able to withstand a relatively high amount of force. The knobs, although nothing special, feel sturdy. Some people might argue that they are a bit loose, and prefer a tighter feel when turning the knob.
To close off I’d like to warn users of older DAW’s, because of compatibility problems. When the Launch-Key was acquired, I was using Reason 5 when version 7 was available. Therefore it took me a couple of days of searching for solutions until it worked. It does however work flawlessy with most, if not all the latest version of DAW’s.
Everything in one
Small, easy to travel with
Older DAW compatibility problems