Novation Launchkey Mini Overview

Novation Launch family welcomes keyboard controller to its ranks


Novation is really going all-out with its Launch range of products. Already we’ve seen a new version of the famous Launchpad controller, along with a superb new audio interface with integrated USB hub. Well, you can add a rather natty looking USB MIDI keyboard controller to that list now, as the company ushers in its Launchkey Mini device to further add to your musical options.

Launchkey Mini is a 25 key keyboard controller, with a few unique tricks up its sleeve. For starters, as well as a two octave keyboard roll, you also get 16 pads, eight rotary faders and a unique mapping system which works wonders with major DAW software packages. Effectively three separate pieces of hardware in one perfectly formed miniature package.

As with the original Launchpad, users of Ableton Live are in for a treat. The Novation Launchkey Mini syncs perfectly with Ableton, and via the 16 pads you can instigate all kinds of clip-launching mayhem. The dedicated In-Control mode, activated by a button on the top of the unit, switches between allowing you to play the pads in standard drum machine way, or controlling a chunk of your Ableton set much in the same way seen on devices like Push or a standard Launchpad. This opens up the possibility of both creating music and performing it with little or no interaction with the computer itself. You could, for example, set up a few different instruments across different tracks in Ableton, compose music using both the keyboard and the pads, and then fire the clips at your leisure to start jamming out some new ideas. Taking it a step further, you can then alter effects and add automation using the rotary knobs which are accurately mapped out to the device, instrument or effect in question with no extra effort or programming required.


Check out the above picture – the guy is sat on a park bench making music with the Launchkey Mini. It’s perfect for slinging in a bag and carrying around, ready to lay down some beats at a moment’s notice. It’s all pretty liberating, and enables the player to concentrate more on capturing ideas and playing around, rather than slaving away in front of a computer. Non-Ableton users are also catered for with the mapping, which further widens the potential user base.

The Launch range is getting bigger and bigger, allowing musicians a quick and easy (not to mention cost effective) way of adding extra possibilities to their rigs. They’re also perfect for iPad users, and take the already-excellent Launchpad apps to a new level of usability and, above all, fun.

Check out the video below for more information on this exciting new controller.