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Akai controllers vs Novation Controllers
Old 18th July 2011 | Show parent
Registered User
🎧 10 years
I have an Akai APC-40 and Novation Remote Zero Mk II.

The Novation is a plastic piece of shite but it does sysex and has some built in templates for older synths so its fairly useful to me. If it wasnt for that I'd have gotten rid of it long ago. The drum pads are 110% useless (which I know you dont care about but they are vital to my workflow). All the knobs and sliders are too small and too close together. The sliders have very rough travel,etc. etc.

Automap looks like it has a lot of potential but at this point I dont use it all because I have the...

Akai APC-40 which is reasonably well-built and works like a dream with Live in every possible way. It's the reason I, a long time DAW-phobe, finally took the plunge and invested in some software. I love and once I pair it with some decent pads like the Korg PadKontrol I'll be in control heaven!
Old 24th February 2012
Registered User
🎧 15 years
Wow, I'm glad I am not the only one dealing with this problem. I actually have an Akai MPK61 which is going back tomorrow. I really hate the key action. I was hoping it would work better once it was used a little but I feel like I fight the keys constantly.

My favorite keyboard was the one on my Korg Triton that I sold a few years ago. I tried a few M-Audio keyboards then and hated every one of them. I ended up using a Fantom X7 for many years but my new studio setup, I needed something smaller to be in front of me on the Desk (using an Ikea Jerker v2 desk).

I initially thought the MPK61 because it has pads, but I gotta say, compared to the MPD32 I already have, the pads are not that great. I messed with the settings for quite a while and couldn't get anything that works as well with even just the default settings on the MPD32.

I found a great deal online for the 61SL which it's pretty clear the pads are complete crap, so I will be keeping the MPD32. That said, the SL mkii series use Fatar keyboards and looking at the pictures of them online, it appears the different key models do not use the same keyboards. The easiest way to tell is look at the shapes of the black keys. The images of the 25sl and 61sl I've seen look different (although it is possible that maybe some of the images are not actual shipping product). Locally where I am, Sam Ash only had the ultra nova and Impulse in stock. What I learned was the keyboard on the impulse was even worse than the MPK61, but the ultra nova had a nice keyboard. To me it seems Novation is really hit or miss. My supernova II is built excellently as was my KS rack I used to have, but the impulse was complete utter crap.

Today the 61sl comes in and hopefully I can share my thoughts about the key bed.
Old 24th February 2012 | Show parent
Registered User
🎧 10 years
I have a sl25mkII, use Ableton as Daw. I use it mainly as a midi controller, but am also very happy to use it as a mixer, comtrolling levels, pan etc. 8 faders and possible to have several pages makes it nice. I have setup a couple ofnaudio tracks in ableton, and also alot of midi channels. Drumpads suck, knobs seems to be inaccurate, when turned. Is there maybe a sesitivity setting somewhere? What I lke about the controller is the possibility to map around, and use the knobs for different tasks. Makes it less computer, more hardware.
Old 24th February 2012
Lives for gear
Spectral Climax's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Novation controllers are crap. Everytime I test them in shops I get the same idea...they are like cheap Chinese toys. I'm much more happy a BCR2000 and an M-Audio Axiom keyboard.
Old 24th February 2012 | Show parent
Gear Addict
audiohack's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Originally Posted by Spectral Climax ➑️
Novation controllers are crap. Everytime I test them in shops I get the same idea...they are like cheap Chinese toys. I'm much more happy a BCR2000 and an M-Audio Axiom keyboard.
I guess everyone has a different experience. I have had a Novation Remote SL Mk I since they first hit the market. The pads are stiff and almost unusable except as triggers, not really expressive or playable. The build quality of the encoders and faders could be better, but they are completely usable and reliable with no problems after 5+ years of steady use. But the key action is great if you want quick, synthy light action. The Axiom is a completely different beast. I owned two. Both broke on me within two months of ownership and very light use in a home studio. I returned them, went with the SL MkI and never looked back. Sure the keys on my Virus are better, which is very subjective anyways, but the SL MkI - especially the MkI with the dual displays - has proven its worth to me. But again. All subjective. YMMV.

And yes, I agree 100% with you about the BCR2000. Great value for a knob-laden controller interface. All that and a bag of chips.
Old 24th February 2012
Registered User
🎧 10 years
I have an MPK49, coming from having used m-audio axiom keyboards it feels amazing in comparison and feels better than anything else in the price range.

Pads are crap but I don't use them anyway. I would be curious how automap is with the novations since I don't really bother with the knobs or sliders on the mpk and just use an ipad with touchable.
Old 24th February 2012
Lives for gear
jarlywarly's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I have an 8-year old X-station (remote 25 Audio) still going strong. I've often wished for an upgrade, but when i research around I find that the x-station has never been equalled in the knobbage front at this price.

I wouldn't even dream of installing automap on my computer.
Old 24th February 2012 | Show parent
Registered User
🎧 15 years
I just didn't like the action on the Axiom keyboards. It is interesting how subjective keyboard action is. For instance, I don't like fully weighted keys. I like light keys like my Triton and X7 have. And, not sure if this matters for other people, but the keys are shorter on the MPK and it really makes playing harder for me. I like longer keys as well (and something I didn't even check in the store). The other thing was the black key shapes. I like them slightly curved a bit on the edges, not that I couldn't learn to live with a different key, but the feel is much nicer to me.

Given I have an MPD32, I have all the advantages of the MPK61 and none of the disadvantages already, so even if I end up not using the Automap stuff at all, as long as the keyboard action is great, I'll be happy. We'll see though, I am certainly not sure what the keyboard will be like. Given that Novation touts the feel of the keyboard as important and they point out the use of the Fatar keyboard, then it might be good. One reviewer I read said the keyboard felt the same as the Triton keyboard, so I hope they are right!

(And it looks like the Triton does use a Fatar keybed Keys & Contacts | Yamaha, Korg, etc., but cannot find any info on what the Fantom X7 uses).
Old 24th February 2012 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
grimepoch, I went through exactly what you did with a mpk61. I love the transport buttons, the sliders and knobs. I especially love how there are 3 banks for the sliders. The Ableton default is that bank A is volume sliders, and the b and c can be used for anything else. It's perfect for my work flow..

Except, I hated the feel of the keybed. It is fine for putting in a baseline or triggering some drums, maybe a lead line. But once you start playing 2 handed chords, the sum total of all the springs is just beyond what is comfortable.

This sent me off on a search for the perfect keybed. And I ended up just going with the mpk88, which doesn't feel great for a weighted controller, but feels a lot better than the mpk61 or 49. I still have a week before I can't return it anymore, and I am tempted. I wish they made a mpk0!! I would love that.
Old 24th February 2012 | Show parent
Gear Guru
Muser's Avatar
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
haven't use the Akai's. APC attracts me though.

I opened my ReMoteZero SL (V1) up recently for some reason. oh I think I wanted to spray the pots and clean any accumulated dust and gunk off the internals.

I thought it was built nowhere near as poorly as I thought it might be.
everything was very tightly in place and the metal plate under the potentiometers did a good job of limiting the wobble of the pots. so if you hit them or horizontally stress them they won't move too far. and to honest I've had this thing years, although I haven't gone nuts with it. all the knobs and faders are still sound.

I think mine could benefit from a dedicated power source or a good solid USB unit with good solid power. It tends to demand a close range of mAmp in the 5Volt. so I think it might get buggy because It demands power from a HUB. if that's the configuration you use it.

I beta tested V3 on Mac because it would stop loading Auto-mapped plug-ins at a certain point in Logic. it took them months to solve that, but eventually they did.

saying that, the precision scaling tools for Auto-mapped plug-ins are very good. room for improvement but still good. if the Plug-in has the resolution available, Auto-map can often get to it.

Not sure if i've seen a controller surface map for the APC. I don't understand why there isn't one , if there isn't already.
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