Gear Review: Novation Remote SL Mkii Midi Controller

Although it’s an older keyboard at this point, Novation’s Remote Series midi controllers has a bunch of attractive features for MainStage. Here’s how it stacks up: 

 

What we liked: With 48 front panel knobs, buttons, endless rotary encoders, and faders, there’s lots of options for hands on control of MainStage with this controller. 

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What we loved: the Automap software, while not integrating particularly well with MainStage, does have a user mode that allows you to create multiple pages of midi control of MainStage. We created up to 3 banks that were easy to page through, giving us almost 150 hands on controllers. Cool. 

 Unfortunately Automap doesn't work with MainStage, but the general User Mode offers a lot of tweakability. 

Unfortunately Automap doesn't work with MainStage, but the general User Mode offers a lot of tweakability. 

 

What we didn’t like: To our taste the key action had an odd “scooped” feel to it, with hard velocity strikes hitting very hard, a gap in the mid strike level, and a very quiet soft velocity section. We talked with Novation who helped us do a reboot of the firmware and we tried several velocity actions, but with no noticeable change. Some people may love it, but we’re not a fan at Patch Foundry. 

 

Pros

 

• Bus powered

• Lots of controllers

• Unusual controls, including an X/Y controller

• Rugged construction (plastic, but solid) 

• Looks great onstage

• Solid synth action keyboard on all models

• Automap mapping software included

 

 

Cons

 

• Velocity curve seems top and bottom “weighted”, making it feel uneven on some patches  

 

 

 

Patch Foundry Rating:

 

 

MainStage Compatibility: 10

 

Stability: 9

 

Key Action:  6

 

Number of Features:  9

 

Portability: 9

 

Final Score: 8

 

 

Buying advice: If you can get past the velocity curve, you’ll love this keyboard- lots of controllers, great integration with MainStage, and solid build quality.