First hands-on with Novation's new Nocturn plug-in controller

Nocturn has landed! Novation´s brand new “intelligent plug-in controller” - complete with the all-new Automap Universal 2.0 technology - has just turned up on the Computer Music doorstep ready for testing. So, without further ado, here are some choice pics (click for hi-res versions) and a few words on our first impressions…

Out of the box, the unit´s very light and compact - a mere hand span´s width across - yet with just nine dials and a crossfader, things are certainly not crowded. The rotary controls feel lightly stepped and quite sturdy, while the crossfader feels smooth and not far off what you´d expect from a decent quality DJ mixer.

16 illuminated soft rubber buttons take care of any switch-style parameters, as well as accessing various on-screen functions. And here it is in action…

The supplied documentation is very light, which turns out to be a testimony to just how fast Nocturn is to get up and running. In fact, it couldn´t have taken much longer than two minutes from opening the box and glancing at the ‘getting started guide´ to controlling a 10-band URS EQ with the thing!

Getting used to the semi-transparent ‘heads up display´ - which replaces the functionality of the LCD screen on Novation´s SL series controllers - doesn´t take long at all, and we suspect with time this only becomes more intuitive.

Note that we´re running Renoise here - although sequencer mixer control is not supported by this particular application, controlling plug-ins in it is no problem whatsoever.

From our experience thus far, we can say that this is a very promising start for what could well prove to be the future of hardware controllers. Novation Nocturn is compatible with PC and Mac, and will be available in April for a very reasonable £69. For more information about Nocturn, check out Novation's website.