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Review MIDI keyboard Novation Launchkey Mini MK3. Where to buy it?

Novation Digital Music Systems Ltd. is a British music equipment manufacturer, founded in 1992 by Ian Jannaway and Mark Thompson as Novation Electronic Music Systems. Today, the company specializes in MIDI controllers with or without keyboards, analog and virtual analog performance synthesizers, grid-based performance controllers and audio interfaces.

I’ll tell you how this post is built. First I list the features of this Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 keyboard.Then you have a video or two, purchase links and then you have one of the most useful parts, which are comparison tables with similar keyboards so you can compare.

review novation-launchkey-mini-mk3
This MIDI keyboard is usually priced at around €98/£89/$99 and gives you 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (which translates as intensity in MIDI language), which allow you to play melodies and chords as well as compose or arrange your musical ideas.

It includes 16 RGB pads (RedGreenBlue backlighting) with sensitive dynamics, which allow to create percussion loops or other used samples, we also have 8 assignable rotary controllers, to be more precise in the parameters of the DAW or plugin we are using.

It also has touch-strips or sliders to control the pitch bend and modulation in real time, i.e. at the moment of sounding. We also have arpeggiator function and fixed-chord mode, that is to say playing a chord using only one note.

Finally the connections of the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 are: 3.5 mm minijack MIDI output, USB port, Sustain pedal input, and offers a Bundle Software license.

Now that we have seen the features of this Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 keyboard look at these related videos to learn more.

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Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 vs Akai MPK mini MK2

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard is priced at €98/£89/$99 compared to the Akai MPK mini MK2 €79/£70/$81, but the difference is so small that this may vary. Let’s see the face to face:

  • Both offer 25 speed-sensitive (MIDI language intensity) mini synthesizer action keys.
  • The Novation offers 16 backlit pads, 8 assignable knobs and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation, and transport buttons (play, rec, forward, reverse), while the Akai offers 8 high-quality MPC (Midi Production Center) pads, 8 assignable knobs and a 4-way thumbstick for pitch bend and modulation control.
  • Both have an arpeggiator function as well as a sustain pedal input. Both are USB powered, no other power supply is needed.
  • The Novation includes a Software Bundle and the Akai includes Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Wobble and Akai Pro MPC Essentials as licenses.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Akai MPK mini MK2

  • Optimized for Ableton Live Control
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity in MIDI language)
  • 16 RGB Pads with sensitive dynamics
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • Pitch and modulation sensitive strips
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fixed-Chord mode (automatic chord with one finger)
  • Batteries for recording, playback, stop/solo/mute and octave switching functions
  • Connections: MIDI output, 3.5 mm mini-jack, USB port, Sustain pedal input
  • Includes USB cable and Software Bundle
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 330 x 41 x 172 mm
  • Weight. 689g
  • 25 mini synthesizer action keys
  • New 4-way ‘thumbstick’ for dynamic tone/modulation control
  • 8 MPC pads with note repetition
  • Arpeggiator
  • 8 assignable control knobs for mixing, adjusting plugins and more
  • Ultra-compact design allows you to create anywhere
  • Additional inputs: 1 x 6.3 mm jack for sustain pedal
  • Powered by USB
  • No power adapter required
  • Full size sustain pedal input jack
  • Includes complete production software package (downloads): Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Wobble and Akai Pro MPC Essentials
  • Dimensions: 317 x 181 x 44 mm
  • Weight: 748 g

We have a very even comparison, with two MIDI controllers with very similar features and prices, the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 that we have already analyzed with a bigger amount of pads and transport buttons (only relevant differences), and the Akai MPK Mini MKII of which we have the difference already mentioned, and a slightly lower price, but with a slightly higher popularity, and according to that, I would go for it. Seeing also the size of its pads, in the Novation they are very small, while in the Akai they are a little bigger and with MPC quality.

And here is a video of the Akai MPK mini MK2 white keyboard

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Akai MPK Mini MKII review.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 vs Arturia MiniLab MKII

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard is priced at €98/£89/$99 and the Arturia MiniLab MKII is priced at €91/£82/$91, but the difference is so small that this may vary.

  • Both offer 25 synthesizer-action mini keys with speed sensitivity (intensity in MIDI language).
  • The Novation offers 16 backlit pads, 8 assignable knobs and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation, and transport buttons (play, rec, forward, reverse), while the Arturia offers 16 assignable rotary encoders (knobs), 8 sensitive pads with RGB (RedGreenBlue) feedback and pitch bend and modulation touch strips.
  • Both have a sustain pedal input. Both are USB powered, no other power supply is needed.
  • The Novation includes a Software Bundle and the Arturia includes the Analog Lab Lite software license with 500 sounds in V-Collection Five quality, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Arturia MiniLab MKII

  • Optimized for Ableton Live Control
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity in MIDI language)
  • 16 RGB Pads with sensitive dynamics
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • Pitch and modulation sensitive strips
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fixed-Chord mode (automatic chord with one finger)
  • Batteries for recording, playback, stop/solo/mute and octave switching functions
  • Connections: 3.5 mm mini-jack MIDI output, USB port, Sustain pedal input
  • Includes USB cable and Software Bundle
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 330 x 41 x 172 mm
  • Weight. 689g
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys
  • 16 rotary encoders (2 of them are clickable)
  • 2 banks of 8 speed and pressure-sensitive pads with RGB backlighting
  • Touchstrips for pitch bend and modulation
  • Connection for sustain pedal
  • USB connection
  • Bus-powered
  • Dimensions: 355 x 220 x 50mm (width x depth x height)
  • Weight: 1,5kg
  • Includes license for Analog Lab Lite software with 500 sounds in V-Collection 5 quality, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano (software requires a download from manufacturer’s website)

Again in this comparison, we have two very similar MIDI controllers, where the only relevant difference is that the Novation has 16 backlit and sensitive pads, and 8 assignable knobs, while the Arturia is the opposite, offering 16 assignable knobs, and 8 backlit and sensitive pads. In terms of weight, the Novation is very light at 689g and the Arturia is still light at 1.5kg. If you wish to have more pads in order to have more controls of this type (to give throws or to have samples/parameters assigned), the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 is better for you, on the other hand, if you wish to have more knobs (to have parameters assigned) to control, your choice will be the Arturia MiniLab MKII.

And here’s a video of the Arturia MiniLab MKII

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Arturia MiniLab MKII review.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 vs Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard is priced at €98/£89/$99 while the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 is priced at €105/£98/$108, but the difference is so small that this can vary.

  • The Novation has 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity according to MIDI language). When the Native Instruments has 32 mini-keys equally sensitive.
  • The Novation offers 16 backlit pads, 8 assignable knobs and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation, and the transport buttons (play, rec, forward, reverse). The Kontrol M32 offers 8 assignable encoders and two touch-strips for pitch bend and modulation. In addition to a 4D pushbutton encoder.
  • Both have input jack for sustain pedal, USB port and USB power.
  • The Novation includes a Software Bundle. The Kontrol M32 includes the software Monark, Scarbee Mark I, Reaktor Prism, Komplete Kontrol Software, Maschine Essentials, Komplete Start, Ableton Live 10 Lite. Plus intuitive control over the DAWs: Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Garage Band, Cubase and Nuendo.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32

  • Optimized for Ableton Live Control
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity in MIDI language)
  • 16 RGB Pads with sensitive dynamics
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • Pitch and modulation sensitive strips
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fixed-Chord mode (automatic chord with one finger)
  • Batteries for recording, playback, stop/solo/mute and octave switching functions
  • Connections: 3.5 mm mini-jack MIDI output, USB port, Sustain pedal input
  • Includes USB cable and Software Bundle
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 330 x 41 x 172 mm
  • Weight. 689g
  • 32 speed-sensitive synthesizer-action mini-classes
  • 2 touch strips for modulation and pitch
  • OLED screen
  • 8 touch-sensitive encoders
  • Push-button 4D encoder
  • Smart Player
  • Integration with Maschine
  • Intuitive control over Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Garage Band, Cubase and Nuendo
  • NKS compatible
  • USB powered
  • 6.3 mm input for pedal
  • USB port
  • Dimensions: 475 x 167 x 50 mm
  • Weight: 1.45 kg
  • Includes Komplete effects and instruments: Monark, Scarbee Mark I, Reaktor Prism, Komplete Kontrol Software, Maschine Essentials, Komplete Start, Ableton Live 10 Lite

And here is a video of the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 keyboard

The most relevant difference between these two models of MIDI controllers is the number of keys, in the Novation there are 25 (2 Octaves) and in the Native Instruments, there are 32 (3 Octaves). The Native Instruments does not offer any pads, whereas in the Novation we have 16 of them. And in the Native Instruments, we have a 4-dimensional push encoder, useful for the control of the DAW, or some plugin parameter. According to your needs, you will choose what suits you best.

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 review.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 vs Arturia Keystep

The MIDI Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 is priced at €98/£89/$99 and the Arturia Keystep is priced at €102/£89/$101, but the difference is so small that this can vary.

  • The Novation has 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keys (intensity according to MIDI language), while the Keystep has 32 thin keys with sensitivity and aftertouch.
  • As the Keystep is a polyphonic sequencer, it offers up to 64 steps and 8 notes of polyphony.
  • The Novation offers 16 backlit pads, 8 assignable knobs and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation, and the transport buttons (play, rec, forward, reverse). The Keystep offers transport buttons and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation.
  • Both have input jacks for sustain pedal, USB port and USB power. And the Keystep has a CV output/door, input/sync output.
  • The Novation includes a Software Bundle. The Kontrol M32 includes Monark, Scarbee Mark I, Reaktor Prism, Komplete Kontrol Software, Maschine Essentials, Komplete Start, Ableton Live 10 Lite. Plus intuitive control over the DAWs: Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Garage Band, Cubase and Nuendo.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Arturia Keystep

  • Optimized for Ableton Live Control
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity in MIDI language)
  • 16 RGB Pads with sensitive dynamics
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • Pitch and modulation sensitive strips
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fixed-Chord mode (automatic chord with one finger)
  • Batteries for recording, playback, stop/solo/mute and octave switching functions
  • Connections: 3.5 mm mini-jack MIDI output, USB port, Sustain pedal input
  • Includes USB cable and Software Bundle
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 330 x 41 x 172 mm
  • Weight. 689g
  • Thirty-two thin speed and touch-sensitive keys
  • Integrated polyphonic step sequencer
  • Up to sixty-four steps and eight notes per step simultaneously
  • Eight-Mode Arpeggiator
  • Mode of interpretation of chords
  • Transposition buttons
  • Pitch and modulation touch slider
  • Connections: USB, MIDI In/Out, CV/Out, Sync In/Out, Sustain Pedal In, Nutrition Source In

Now we have a slightly more interesting comparison with a MIDI controller as such, the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3, and the Arturia Keystep which is also a MIDI controller and which merges the functions of a sequencer, allowing you to work with sequences (steps) of different musical elements such as percussive rhythm loops, harmonies, arpeggios and also basses and melodies in order to create musical ideas. If you want to experiment with this function, the Arturia is for you.

And here is a video of the Arturia Keystep

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Arturia Keystep review.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 vs Akai LPK 25

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard is priced at €98/£89/$99 and the Akai LPK 25 is priced at €42/£37/$42.

  • Both have 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity according to the MIDI language).
  • The Novation offers 16 backlit pads, 8 assignable knobs and touch sliders for pitch bend and modulation, and the transport buttons (play, rec, forward, reverse). The Akai offers octave up/down buttons, sustain button and tap tempo. It’s really very basic.
  • Both have input jack for sustain pedal, USB port and USB power.
  • The Novation includes a Software Bundle. The Akai is Plug and Play and works with virtually all audio software.
  • The Arturia Minilab MKII has the dimensions of 355 x 220 x 50mm and a weight of 1.5 kg, while the Akai MPK mini MK2 has the dimensions (W x H x D): 9.65 x 34.04 x 2.79 cm and a weight of 635 g.

Let’s put the features of these keyboards in a table so you can compare

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Akai LPK 25

  • Optimized for Ableton Live Control
  • 25 speed-sensitive mini keys (intensity in MIDI language)
  • 16 RGB Pads with sensitive dynamics
  • 8 rotary controllers
  • Pitch and modulation sensitive strips
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fixed-Chord mode (automatic chord with one finger)
  • Batteries for recording, playback, stop/solo/mute and octave switching functions
  • Connections: 3.5 mm mini-jack MIDI output, USB port, Sustain pedal input
  • Includes USB cable and Software Bundle
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 330 x 41 x 172 mm
  • Weight. 689g
  • Works with virtually all audio software
  • 25 mini-format speed-sensitive keys
  • Arpeggiator
  • Sustain button
  • Octave Up/Down and Tap Tempo buttons
  • Plug&Play USB socket on Mac and PC without drivers
  • Fits neatly into a laptop bag or backpack
  • 4 programmable memory banks
  • Editor Software for Mac and PC included
  • Powered by USB port, no mains power cable required
  • Size: 9,65 x 34,04 x 2,79 cm
  • Weight: 0.635 kg

Now we have an equally interesting comparison, the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 which we have already discussed with a considerable number of functions and features for the beginner in music production. The Akai LPK 25 is a more minimalist MIDI controller, and at the same time very portable, that due to its measures and weight can fit in a suitcase or pocket. According to your needs, you will choose the best decision.

And here is a video of the Akai LPK 25 keyboard

If you want to know more about this option, click on the following link to see the Akai LPK 25 review.

Which is the best of these MIDI keyboards if I am a beginner on a low budget?

While the answer to this question lies mostly in what specific need you have, for example, if you want to have a keyboard with the widest range of notes possible, or if you want to have as many control functions as possible, or perhaps a mix between the two, that is without leaving behind the different connections and software licenses that most MIDI controllers offer, we will give an objective opinion according to our experience in music production and thus also with the price that the controllers demand, a kind of value for money.

Although one of the closest comparisons was the first one, where we found ourselves face to face with the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and the Akai MPK Mini MK2. As we mentioned before, the Akai MPK Mini MK2 has some advantages against its competitors: better quality pads and a slightly cheaper price, besides having more software licenses included. If you want a driver that won’t let you down, go for it.

Where to buy the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Amazon

  • Free Shipping and possibility of shipping in one day with Amazon Premium.
  • Full Guarantee but they are no experts in music equipment.
  • Sometimes a better price.
  • He’s got worse stock than Thomann.

 

Thomann

  • Free Shipping.
  • Full warranty. If you have any problems, they take care of everything.
  • 100% reliable payment.
  • A leader in trouble-free shipping.
  • Usually the Best price.
  • Best Reputation: They are the leading online store in Europe and have the best catalog and information.

 

Also look at these models with a similar price and features:

Jaime Echagüe

Hi! I'm Jaime Echagüe, a musician and an authentic fan of musical instruments. With this blog I want to give general information about musical instruments in an easy, direct and honest way. I hope you enjoy my website and that you find it very useful.

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