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This Video Demonstrates How Akai’s New Keyboard Controls Everything

It’s a horse race. Two keyboards – one from Native Instruments, one from AKAI – really want to be the interface between you and every plug-in you own. And we’re getting closer to find out if either deserves your attention. You’ve heard this story before. Sure, you have powerful software on your computer screen. But when you want physical control of those instruments beyond just playing keys, you’re left either manually mapping controls or reaching for your mouse or trackpad. So, over the years various solutions have tried to solve this automagically. There was Automap, seen in Propellerhead Reason and …

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Novation’s New MIDI Keyboards: Automap, Aftertouch, Ableton Pads

Novation has unveiled their newest product, a line of USB MIDI keyboards called Impulse. Shipping in September, they’ll run street/dealer prices of US$249.99 for the 25-key, $349.99 for 49 keys, and $399.99 for 61 keys. This pits Novation squarely against some similar MIDI keyboards, including the M-Audio Axiom to which I gave the nod in a Keyboard Magazine round-up I wrote. (It even has a similar control surface layout.) The Novation picks up on some of the issues I noted, and adds some unique features: Aftertouch. Keybed quality is paramount for obvious reasons. What’s typically missing, for those who like …

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Faderfox LV3, Compact Boutique Controller, to be Ableton Live 8-Savvy

While Ableton’s logo is stamped on Novation’s Launchpad and Akai’s APC, there’s a lot to be said for the tried and trusted Faderfox as a controller for Live. The work of one man – German designer Mathias – these controllers run a bit pricier than some of their rivals but deliver great-feeling controls and ultra-compact designs. They’ll fit into cramped quarters when the APC won’t, and they offer features like high-quality joysticks. The models could be used with any software you like, but they are designed with certain tools in mind. Following an update for DJ-centric, Traktor-ready models, Ableton users …

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New, Improved M-Audio Axioms, Q&A, and Controller Keyboard Choices

Avid is updating their M-Audio Axiom line of USB controller keyboards. New in this version is DirectLink, which provides automatic mappings for software like Ableton Live, Logic, Cubase, and of course Avid’s own Pro Tools, similar to what’s in the Axiom’s big-brother Axiom Pro. The controller itself has also been improved, with lower-profile faders on the 49/61 model, smooth rotary encoders (not knobs!), an angled-up top panel so you can see what you’re doing more easily, and other tweaks. Perhaps the most significant feature is improved keyboard, with an updated semi-weighted action and adjusted playing angle. The updated Axiom enters …

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First Hands-on: Novation’s New $199 Launchpad Grid Controller for Ableton Live

A monome-like grid controller built for Live, shipping in November for $199 – and I’ve got a first hands-on look with the hardware. The feature that makes Ableton Live Ableton Live has always been its Session View, an array of Lego-like blocks of music triggering samples and patterns. In the grand tradition of the MPC, mapping hardware controls that make music non-linear has been a major theme of computer music, leading to the monome and the Tenori-On. Usually, consumer gear has only combined these with traditional drum pads, knobs, or faders. Enter the Novation Launchpad. It’s $199. It’s a grid …

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Video Tutorial: How to Control Ableton Live with Axiom Pro, Questions Welcome

Having full control of a complete mix and session from your MIDI keyboard – without having to move your hands to the mouse or shift your focus to your computer screen – can be an addictive, if elusive feeling. Here’s a look at one way to accomplish that objective using the new Axiom Pro keyboards from M-Audio and CDM reader favorite Ableton Live, thanks to a first-look video provided to CDM first.

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Video: Novation Automap for iPhone, with Ableton Live

Automap on other devices – and an iPhone as a remote control for your Live set? Our friend Ben Rogerson at MusicRadar have caught up with the chaps at Novation at a London trade show to have a look at Automap for iPhone. This app hasn’t yet hit the App Store yet – Hispasonic and the Ableton Forums got the jump on the story last month. But it looks appealing. It seems to auto-detect the computer to which it’s connecting – as it should, folks, look up Zeroconf. (implemented on iPhone as “Bonjour”) And you can learn in both directions …

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Novation Automap, Ableton Live Clip Control, Coming to the iPhone

Novation’s Automap is coming to the iPhone – meaning a handheld device can provide interactive visual and textual feedback about what you’re manipulating in, say, an Ableton Live set. Our friends at Hispasonic (Spanish-language) bring us the news. (Thanks, Xavier!) Photo credit: the new blog SaM’s burrow: Novation Automap for iPhone in beta stage (first screen captures) That gives you a closer look. I’m not even going to try to wonder what happened to Novation’s NDA. (We seem to be getting mostly “D.”) But, Novation, if you’re out there, trust me – buzz already suggests this is a good leak …

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Keyboard Geeking Day: What’s New in the Novation SL Mk II Controller Keyboards

The ReMOTE SL Mk II series is on its way, an improved version of a controller keyboard of which we’ve been big fans at CDM. In an ideal world, there would be a truly standardized specification for control of music production software – and I still dream of mainstream OpenSoundControl support as a way to start to develop such control. But in the meantime, Novation has done a pretty intelligent job of mapping lots of functions in popular software so that they can feel fairly transparent to control. The whole “automatic mapping” area is getting juicier, too, with new entries …

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