Novation Launchkey Mini vs Arturia MiniLab

Disclaimer:
I have not used the Launchkey Mini yet, the below is based on specs and photos.

launchkeymini_angle-640x412So Novation has announced the Launchkey Mini (sp ~$99). With 25 mini keys, 16 pads, 8 rotary knobs and 2 performance buttons, all assignable of course, it makes for a sweet little MIDI keyboard, not at all unlike the Arturia MiniLab that also launched recently.

I got a chance to play around with the Arturia board for a couple of days and it certainly has the upper hand when it comes to design in my opinion. Of course the two are not entirely comparable given that you get a bloody awesome collection of 5000 analog synth emulation presets with the Arturia board..

My biggest gripe with the Arturia MiniLab was the touch strips. Very poor quality and performance which in the end rendered it almost unusable for me. The keys and the pads though were very nice and responsive. The Launchkey Mini has gone a step further and done away with the traditional modulation / pitch controls entirely. My suspicion is that you can use the two ‘performance buttons’ for this by assigning them your self?

MiniLab_275In terms of connectivity the only difference is that you get a foot switch input on the MiniLab. This could be important to you depending on your playing style. Both are USB powered and class compliant. I for one really wish they had a MIDI out port for connecting straight to some of my older analog gear, but that dear old round connection seems to be an endangered species these days…

Looking at the bundles software (Launchkey Mini: Bassstation, V-Station, Live Lite, Samples, Launchkey app for iPad vs. MiniLab: AnalogLab with 5000 classic synth presets) it really depends on your style of music and workflow. I love the Arturia emulations since they fit very well with the kind of music I make, but the flexibility of the Novation soft synths where you are not limited to presets is also very attractive. In the end it’s up to you.

Check out the rivals at their respective websites below:

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4 thoughts on “Novation Launchkey Mini vs Arturia MiniLab

  1. I’m waiting to get my hands on the new mini novations as well! I am interested to compare the two based on their ipad compatibilities! Nice write up btw, off to check out your other stuff!

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  2. Hey! Thanks for the feedback! Since I’m a reluctant Arturia fan (we have a kind of love-hate relationship…) I’m actually holding off to get one of the new Keylab controllers. The presets are just fantastic and with a dedicated controller they really come to life….

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  3. Have you tried the launchkey mini yet? I recently got the minilab for my ipad production, but I’m not particularly satisfied with it. The keys feel stiff and shallow, and my main app (gadget) doesn’t respond to knobs or pitch bend so it’s more than I need. I’m wondering if the keys and pads feel better on the novation, as I might return the minilab

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