Whilst they are still compatible most MIDI software, the Novation Launchkey range have been designed to integrate seamlessly with one of the most popular production packages, Ableton Live. The launchkey mini, which comes bundled with Ableton Live Lite, takes most of the Ableton optimised features found on the larger keyboards in the range, but packs them into into a tiny, extremely portable keyboard.
Despite it’s small size, along with the 25 velocity sensitive mini keys, Novation have managed to squeeze in a pair of touch sensitive strips for accurate control over pitch bend and modulation, there’s 16 multi coloured backlit, velocity sensitive pads, that’s more than on any of the other keyboards we’re looking at today, and not only that, there’s also 8 control knobs, which come pre-mapped to various parameters within Ableton, allowing for really in-depth control over instruments and effects within the software.
Along side standard features such as basic record and play transport controls, octave shift and transpose buttons, the launch key mini also offer some pretty cool features to help with creativity, and these include a fixed chord mode, which allows you to trigger chords with one finger, and a powerful, adjustable arpeggiator, and these can be really inspiring to use, helping you to build ideas really quickly and easily.
For such a small keyboard, the connectivity is also pretty impressive, it’s USB bus powered and class compliant, there’s an input for a sustain pedal and there’s also a MIDI output, which means that if you use an optional MIDI breakout cable, you can control other non-USB MIDI devices via a standard 5-Pin MIDI cable.
So if you are producing music primarily on Ableton, and you need a really small, lightweight keyboard but without losing any control options, the Novation Launchkey Mini is pretty much a no-brainer…