Novation’s SL MkIII stands alone with its software and hardware control

While some producers are happy to make all their music in the box, an increasing number of us are adding a few choice bits of hardware into the mix: synths, drum machines and the like. There’s certainly something to be said for using a ‘best of both worlds’ setup like this, but it does present its own set of challenges.

Not least of these is control: you need to feel like the different elements of your setup are coming together to create something that’s more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps the best way to achieve this is to have a single controller that works with everything, and that controller is Novation’s SL MkIII.

As you might expect, this comprehensive keyboard works brilliantly with your DAW and plugins, but that’s only the half of it. It also plays nice with all your MIDI- and CV-equipped hardware, meaning that you can use it to control a whole room’s worth of equipment. With the SL MkIII, your studio will finally make sense - you even get control templates for hardware from the likes of Elektron, Roland, Korg and, of course, Novation itself.

This is also a controller that’s begging to be taken on stage. It contains a powerful 8-track sequencer that can be used to trigger your hardware, with a standalone mode eliminating the need for a computer. The performance potential is simply enormous, and it’s great to know that you can leave your laptop at home. That said, you might want to bring it along; thanks to the SL MkIII’s Zones feature, you can trigger combined sounds from your software and hardware simultaneously, making the idea of a hybrid performance setup even more appealing.

When you do want to hook the SL MkIII up to your DAW, you won’t have any problems. It offers a deep level of integration with Ableton Live, and also works great with Logic Pro and Reason. HUI integration means that Cubase and Pro Tools users are catered for, too.

The SK MkIII is available in 49- and 61-note flavours, with each offering a semi-weighted, synth-action, aftertouch keyboard that’s fast and rewarding to play. The obligatory buttons, pads, knobs and faders are here, too, as are five LCD screens that will keep you in the picture at all times.

To find out why an SL MkIII should be your next studio centrepiece, check out the Novation website.