Novation SL MK 3

Instruments Category: 

SL MkIII is far from your typical keyboard controller. It’s an all-sequencing, all-dancing hub for all of your music making tools. A centrepiece to connect, control and create with your entire setup. Computer or not.

Create quickly and easily with your hardware. Build your tracks in the eight-track polyphonic sequencer: everything in time; everything in key; every control at your fingertips.

Back To Black

Unpacking the SL MkIII, I couldn’t help but note some contemporary influences, starting with an Elektron‑style braided USB cable. The keyboard itself bears more than a passing resemblance to NI’s S‑series controllers, and not just because the previous generation’s greys and silvers are replaced with matte black. Inset above the keys is a strip of LEDs, the first time I’ve seen this since the NI keyboards.

The primary row of eight encoders and buttons are accompanied by full‑colour displays. There’s a transport section, various mode and function buttons, and a bank of eight mixer‑style strips each with a slider and two buttons. The 16 pressure‑sensitive pads lie in two rows below the screens so they can be drafted in as Ableton launchers and sequence programmers.

The build quality is solid. I particularly like the thick rubber track that runs around the bottom in lieu of feet, making the keyboard very stable even when overhanging my keyboard shelf at one end and with cables and a laptop stand’s feet shoved underneath! The semi‑weighted keys have a reassuringly solid, smooth action with the sprung ‘synth‑style’ feel I (as a non‑player) like.