Looking for midi controller advice :D

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
Eekstreams
Posts: 4
Joined: 31 Jul 2020

Post 31 Jul 2020

Hello friends, I'll try to be concise! After I finally find my old copy of Reason to upgrade it, I hope to start finally making music soon! Looking for midi controller options that fit my preferences, I have narrowed it down to the following:

Novation Launchkey Mini

and

Nektar Impact (25 key)

I was wondering if you guys had any insight on to what you would personally go with, and why? For me, the plug-and-playability with Reason is why I'm drawn to the Impact. Very high on my list of priorities is the ability to plug and play without fussing too much to get my controller to control Reason. However, I personally just really like the look and build of the Launchkey Mini (the Impact looks a bit cheap and bulky to me). However, I feel that since I won't be using Ableton Live, I wouldn't be using the device to its full potential, and that bums me out. Am I being silly? Would you go with one of these, or something else entirely? Mainly looking for something with a small footprint, keys, and pads to get me started. Thanks so much!

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gullum
Posts: 795
Joined: 15 Jan 2015
Location: Faroe Islands

Post 31 Jul 2020

The knobs you are going to end up never using because they are not endless encoders, so they will not reflect the RE in reason you are going to control which means every time you switch device in they will not line up and you nee to move them first the the place they are in reason before they will make changes inside reason, so just get a keyboard with no knobs or faders because you end up using the mouse far that anyway

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guitfnky
Posts: 2235
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 31 Jul 2020

I have a Novation Launchkey. it’s sitting in the basement in an old toy box. I’m using a $30 mini keyboard instead, because it’s a better playing experience.

the Novation looks cool, but it doesn’t play well, at all. the keys are okay, but the drum pads on it (a key reason why I bought it in the first place) are utterly trash. I thought maybe after a while they might get broken in somehow and start to be usable, but they never did, even after more than a year of use. many hits wouldn’t register—even when I hit them fairly hard. lighter hits would almost never register at all.

add to that the fact that it’s really designed more for use with Ableton, so for Reason it’s not just plug and play—there are a series of steps to set it up. I didn’t mind taking the steps the first time, since once you’ve got it set up, you shouldn’t need to do it again (unless you have computer issues like I did, and have to wipe the system and start over). but when I had the opportunity to choose between going through that hassle, only to not have usable drum pads anyway, vs. just plugging in my dinky cheapo controller—which works just fine—it was an easy decision.

I wanted to love the Novation. I tried to, but as you can probably tell by my tone, I wasn’t even ever able to say I liked it. if you’re only using it for the keyboard, and don’t need pads, maybe that’s okay, but I definitely wanted a decent set of pad triggers, and these weren’t them.

and a last note on the aesthetics; the pads don’t light up in colorful ways using Reason. you get the nice color splash when it loads up, but then the pads are all either off or red. it’s possible I missed a setting for it somewhere, but even the aesthetic appeal of it wasn’t great, in my experience.

so, needless to say, I don’t recommend Novation products. not trying to sound so salty, but definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

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Skimrok
Posts: 311
Joined: 12 Jun 2018
Location: U.K.

Post 03 Aug 2020

Hi
I've had a few launckeys, mk1 25 and the smaller mk2 mini and the recent mk3 mini, for Reason I strongly suggest getting nektar impact 25+ , or if you want a smaller keyboard for convince playing on your lap, akai mpk mk2 works good with Reason
Reason 11 Suite :reason: Akai MPK Mini Mk2 / Nektar LX25+ / MPD218 /Focal Alpha 80 Monitors / Mrs10 Sub

EdGrip
Posts: 1881
Joined: 03 Jun 2016

Post 03 Aug 2020

If you just want a keyboard, any USB keyboard will let you play instruments in Reason without hassle. I have a CME Xkey, which is a great playing mini keyboard.
I also have a Launchkey 49 MK1 - it's not a good keybed. It's fine for inputting notes but no fun to actually play. I never used the pads much so can't comment on that. I want to get a really good 61 key keyboard. The Launchkey sits on my wardrobe now and the CME and Ableton Push 2 get all the action.

Knobs and faders ARE fun to have if you fancy doing live jamming. Something like a Midifighter or a Faderfox PC4 will give you loads of knobs to assign wherever you like.
The Launchkey actually has a degree of integration with Reason - when you put it in control of a Reason instrument, it automatically maps the 8 knobs to parameters of that instrument - filter cutoff, resonance, that kind of thing. The trouble is you don't know what those parameters are so you have to turn them and see what they do, and it only works with some devices. In short, unless you have a device like a Push 2 or the fancy NI controllers with good screens that let you know what every knob is currently assigned to, I haven't found "integration" to be much use. If you want to control something with a knob, I think it's probably best to midi-learn that parameter to a knob and leave it until you need the knob for something else.

Eekstreams
Posts: 4
Joined: 31 Jul 2020

Post 03 Aug 2020

Thanks so much for your input, guys! I'm probably going to pull the trigger on an Impact 25+ soon, though I recently found my old Novation Remote SL 49 Compact.... would that even work with the newer versions of Reason? Its in like-new condition but I don't know if its worth trying or just shelling out for something more modern, haha.

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QVprod
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Posts: 2500
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 04 Aug 2020

Eekstreams wrote:
03 Aug 2020
Thanks so much for your input, guys! I'm probably going to pull the trigger on an Impact 25+ soon, though I recently found my old Novation Remote SL 49 Compact.... would that even work with the newer versions of Reason? Its in like-new condition but I don't know if its worth trying or just shelling out for something more modern, haha.
Reason doesn’t drop compatibility with controllers. It should still work provided your computer recognizes it or if drivers are still available. Midi controllers haven’t advanced much in the last 10 years so it’ll work just as good as most anything else. You should try it before buying the other options.

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