Novation SL MKIII – the next-generation studio MIDI controller
The Novation SL MKIII builds on the epic legacy of its predecessor – one of my personal favourite MIDI controllers.
The new iteration of Novation’s flagship studio MIDI controller features a variety of exciting additions, from a built-in sequencer to hardware CV/Gate output for connecting the Novation SL MKIII directly to a modular synth setup. When the original Novation SL was launched, it was incredibly advanced for it’s time, a large amount of the features were previously unseen to most users. It’s been some time since then, and some competitors have popped up with some slightly more futuristic features. I’ve been expecting an updated SL series for a while, however I never expected so many new intuitive features.
The new Novation SL MKIII features the same step sequencer as seen on the Novation Circuit, and using the LED backlit keys, you’re easily able to see which notes are triggered by which steps – this could work well alongside the Circuit to add a keyboard style control. In Between the performance pads/sequencer buttons and rotary encoders is a series of LCD screens for intuitive deep editing.
Let’s look at the ins and outs…
The Novation SL MKIII features two sets of CV/Gate/Mod outputs and a further clock output for connecting to a modular system. You’re able to store a ton of hardware mapping templates in the memory, like previous SL controllers – which makes using it with hardware synths a breeze. Furthermore, using the intuitive interface you can easily jump between hardware/software and sequencer controls, making it a great centrepiece in a studio or the perfect companion for live performance.
The Novation SL MKIII no longer needs a template editor to be installed, the have cleverly designed to system to work alongside their Novation Components cloud-based librarian system. This allows you to recall patches to load onto your SL on any PC, anywhere in the world.
So far, Novation has only announced a SL 49 MKIII, however I’m sure we will see more additions to the new range in coming months. The retail price on the 49-key Novation SL MKIII is set at USD $689 (Around R10k excl. duties), which is not bad considering it’s such a powerhouse.
For more information, check out the Novation website.