Ableton Live users may want to check out the recently announced third-generation Launchkey Mini from Novation, which has changed considerably since the review of the original 25-key affordable keyboard controller of that name back in SOS January 2014. The Launchkey Mini MkIII sports an improved keyboard, a sustain pedal input, and has proper RGB-backlit sample pads, allowing you to customise the colours quickly and easily to aid with identification of the assigned clips. There are also new modulation and pitch adjustment touchstrips, and a new Fixed Chord mode and arpeggiator allow you to trigger chords from single notes and create riffs from chords respectively, with the option to store the output of the arpeggiator as MIDI notes via the Capture MIDI button.
The Launchkey Mini’s transport controls, coloured pads and rotary controls integrate with Live’s control surface, allowing you quick real‑time access to the software without having to use a mouse. It isn’t just for Live users, either; supplied mapping templates allow you to use the controller with Logic, Cubase, Reason and other HUI‑compatible DAWs.
The third-generation Launchkey Mini is available now, priced at £99.99$109.99. It’s supplied with sounds, virtual instruments and plug-in effects from AAS, Softube, Spitfire Audio, XLN Audio and Klevgrand, plus regular free plug-in content via the Novation Sound Collective.