Is Novation Launchkey 37 (Mk3) Worth Your Time?

Recently, we had the chance to work with the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3. We found it to be an intricately designed MIDI keyboard that’s proven to be quite a boon for our music production workflows. It is yet another Ableton asset that Ableton fans have found to be a terrific addition to their arsenal. Its tight integration transforms how we navigate and control different elements within the DAW. It includes device macros and real-time recording and clip launching. The keyboard’s responsiveness and the dynamic pads notably enhanced our expressive capabilities, allowing for more nuanced performances.

Novation Launchkey 37 MK3

The trio of chord modes became indispensable in our sessions. It speeds up chord progression creation, while the arpeggiator added rhythmic variety to our melodies with its umpteen customisation options. Having the scale mode meant that hitting a wrong note was one less thing to worry about. Beyond Ableton, its usefulness extended to other DAWs, proving the Launchkey 37 isn’t just a one-trick pony.

Bottom Line

The Novation Launchkey 37 MK3 sturdily stands out as a solid choice for producers looking to streamline their workflow.

The integration with Ableton Live, thoughtful performance features, and also its ease of use with other major DAWs date its capabilities beyond just a mere controller.

Considering adding this tool to your studio setup? Click here to purchase the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3 on Amazon and reinvent your music production experience.

Overview of the Novation Launchkey 37 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard Controller

After spending some time with the Launchkey 37, we’ve seen how it’s a game-changer for those who use Ableton Live. It feels like an extension of the software itself, providing an intuitive control surface that melds seamlessly with Ableton’s environment. With a key press, you can effortlessly launch clips. You can also tweak devices, and even control pan and send levels, making for an efficient workflow.

Its Capture MIDI function stands out, letting you snag musical ideas on the fly. It ensures no creative spark gets lost. The velocity-sensitive keys and pads offer expressive playability, catering well to dynamic performances. The chord mode is particularly handy, allowing us to lay down chord progressions using a single finger. Talk about speeding up songwriting!

Engaging the arpeggiator spices up melodic content. Therefore, for those of us who might get stumped by music theory, the scale mode is a lifesaver. It’s like having training wheels that make us sound proficient and also keep us in key.

Moreover, the Launchkey 37 isn’t just for Ableton users. We appreciated its compatibility with other major DAWs like Logic and Reason. And while we did note it’s designed more for musicians rather than for producers seeking complex MIDI editing tools, its ease of use for performance and composition can’t be overstated.

With a solid build and portable size, it’s been convenient for our studio setup and live performances alike. Simplicity is the underlying theme here — it’s a plug-and-play system that gets you up and running with minimal fuss. For those starting in music production or looking to streamline their setup, the Launchkey 37 [MK3] hits a sweet spot between functionality and user-friendliness.

Seamless Ableton Live Integration

Working with the Novation Launchkey 37 [MK3] has been a breeze, particularly when pairing it with Ableton Live. Our hands-on experience confirms that the MIDI controller’s integration is exceptionally tight. Furthermore, it offers near-instant access to a wide range of tools and functions. We found ourselves effortlessly controlling device macros, selecting tracks, and manipulating volumes, pans, and sends directly from the controller.

The Capture MIDI function is a standout, making sure none of our spontaneous ideas got away from us. It’s incredibly convenient not to pause the creative flow just to secure a great melody or rhythm. The velocity-sensitive keys and pads elevated our expressiveness, capturing every subtle nuance of our performance.

The controller’s chord modes streamlined our creative process, as we could generate rich harmonies with a single touch. Scales were never a hurdle, as the scale modes guaranteed that we only hit the right notes. This frees us up to focus on creativity rather than theory. For those moments when we wanted to add complexity to our melodies, the arpeggiator offered robust customisation options. It should also be noted that it doesn’t overwhelm us.

We also tested the DAW integration beyond Ableton Live and were impressed with how seamlessly it adapted to other major DAWs, such as Logic and even HUI-compatible software. This versatility means that whether we’re in Live or another environment, the Launchkey 37 [MK3] adapts effortlessly.

Innovative Capture MIDI Feature

In our time with the Launchkey 37 MK3, the Capture MIDI function proved to be a standout asset. It’s quite the gem for spur-of-the-moment creativity. You know those moments when inspiration strikes while you’re noodling on the keys without hitting record? This feature has got your back. With a single tap, it snaps up the melodies and rhythms you’ve just played. This is even if you forgot to hit record. Thus, it is a joy to use.

For us, this was a game-changer. It meant no more lost ideas and a smoother workflow. We didn’t have to disrupt our creative flow to ensure everything was captured. If you’ve ever been frustrated by perfect riffs disappearing into thin air, this feature alone can save the day.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. Sometimes, the software can pick up unintended notes, especially if you’re experimenting and not playing a structured piece. This may require a tidy up afterwards, but it’s a small price to pay for never missing a beat.

Expressive Performance Tools on the Novation Launchkey 37

We’ve had our hands on the Novation Launchkey 37 [MK3], and the tools it provides for expressive performance are notably impressive. Playing chords with one finger is a breeze, thanks to the three chord modes. Whether you’re laying down a quick sequence or crafting intricate progressions, the fixed, scale, and user chord modes are game changers.

The velocity-sensitive keyboard and pads offer much-needed dynamics for a performance that stands out. You can capture the essence of your playing in Ableton Live with precisely the emotion you pour into it. The pads feel responsive and contribute to the overall expressiveness of this MIDI keyboard.

Moreover, the scale mode removes any fear of hitting a wrong note, allowing you to maintain creative flow without interruption. The arpeggiator on the Launchkey 37 expands your melodic horizons. It also has easily adjustable options like rhythm, pattern, and octave settings, tailoring intricate patterns with simplicity.

Our time with the Launchkey 37 revealed that it’s not just about hitting notes. It’s also about bringing out the character in each one. The interplay of scales, chords, and arpeggiation on this controller means you can truly define your musical expression. While some may find a learning curve to mastering these tools, once harnessed, they immensely enrich the music-making process.

Chord and Scale Modes for Easy Composition on the Novation Launchkey 37

Figuring out the right chords and scales can often feel daunting, especially if we’re trying to compose quickly and efficiently. With the Novation Launchkey 37 [MK3], this process becomes much more intuitive. Whether we’re sketching out a new idea or fleshing out a full composition, the scale and chord modes are a lifesaver.

The chord modes are particularly clever; one finger is all it takes to play complex chord progressions thanks to the fixed, scale, and user settings available. Our experience with the fixed mode was especially enjoyable, enabling us to effortlessly transpose chords and add variety to our tracks without missing a beat.

The scale mode is equally impressive, removing the fear of hitting a wrong note by mapping the keys and pads to the selected musical scale. It’s a feature that boosts our confidence during live performances and helps us stay creative without being sidetracked by music theory.

On the flip side, it is worth noting that these features cater mostly to those working within the electronic music domain or those who rely heavily on MIDI composition. Pianists and keyboardists looking for a traditional playing experience may find these modes less relevant to their workflow. That said, for the modern music producer, these modes are a game changer in speeding up workflow and sparking new creative ideas.

Creative Arpeggiator

When we got our hands on the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3, the arpeggiator feature really stood out. It’s straightforward to access and offers robust controls to spice up our melodies. With the ability to adjust rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, and more, our creative flow was uninterrupted when generating complex patterns.

The beauty of this arpeggiator lies in its simplicity paired with its depth. One moment you’re crafting a straightforward arpeggiated line, the next you’re deep into customising gate lengths and rhythm patterns, which can turn a basic chord into an evolving musical phrase. This flexibility made it incredibly useful, whether we were sketching out quick ideas or finessing intricate parts for a track.

Of course, no feature is without its learning curve. Newcomers could initially find the array of options daunting, but after a little tinkering, we believe most will appreciate the musical possibilities it unlocks. Overall, the arpeggiator is a potent tool in the Launchkey MK3’s arsenal, driving creativity with its intuitive, hands-on approach.

Pros and Cons

From our time spent with the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3, we’ve deduced a few key points that might influence your decision, consider these when weighing up whether it’s the right MIDI controller for your setup.

Pros

  • Seamless DAW Integration: We found that the controller truly shines with Ableton Live, but it’s also highly capable with other DAWs like Apple Logic and Reason, not to mention its compatibility with HUI for a variety of others.
  • Intuitive Controls: The deep level of control over Ableton Live’s features like device macros and scene launches felt intuitive and enhanced our workflow considerably.
  • Expressive Playability: With its velocity-sensitive keyboard and pads, the responsiveness encouraged us to play more dynamically, capturing our performance nuances effectively.
  • Chord and Scale Modes: These modes are a boon, especially for those still grappling with music theory. Chord mode was a quick way to lay down progressions, and scale mode ensured we never hit a wrong note.
  • Arpeggiator Functionality: The arpeggiator is user-friendly while still offering enough control to shape our melodies in quite interesting ways.
  • MIDI Capture: This feature is a lifesaver for those fleeting moments of inspiration, capturing our ideas without interrupting the flow of creativity.

Cons

  • Learning Curve for Beginners: Absolute beginners might find the range of features daunting. Without prior DAW knowledge, it doesn’t seem quite as ‘plug and play’ as advertised.
  • Ableton-Centric Design: Those not using Ableton Live won’t get the most out of some features, which are custom-tailored for the software.
  • Software Appreciation: While the controller sports impressive integration, fully appreciating its capabilities means delving into the software it comes with—time that not every musician has.

In our review, these aspects stood out prominently, and we believe they form a comprehensive picture of the Launchkey 37 MK3’s strengths and weaknesses. Whether these will sway you towards a purchase will depend on how closely they align with your needs and expectations.

Customer Reviews

In exploring the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3, we’ve had a good cross-section of experiences shared by users. A standout point is its seamless integration with Ableton Live, which many found elevates their music production workflows. The keyboard is lauded for its touchpads’ sensitivity and the convenience of having enough keys to comfortably play most tunes without frequent octave changes.

Although aimed primarily at Ableton users, the versatility extends to various DAWs, enhancing its appeal. We’ve noticed some users did mention an initial learning curve, especially for those not versed in Ableton. Nonetheless, the easy-scales feature receives nods for its intuitiveness.

On the build quality front, the keys, pads, and sliders are consistently praised for their feel and responsiveness. It’s an affordable product that doesn’t skimp on performance, offering value even beyond special offers.

However, there have been occasional quibbles. A few users encountered setup issues, and there’s a sentiment that while the features are plentiful, not all of them are straightforward, which can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner.

Our take is that if you’re after a MIDI keyboard that merges portability with comprehensive control, the Launchkey 37 MK3 is a solid choice. Whether you’re a seasoned producer or just venturing into music creation, it’s an investment that appears to satisfy many with its capabilities and build.

Conclusion

After spending quality time with the Novation Launchkey 37 MK3, we’ve come to appreciate its reliability and seamless integration with Ableton Live. There’s no denying its appeal, especially with features like Chord Mode, Scale Mode, and a versatile Arpeggiator. From first-hand experience, we can say the touch-sensitive pads and smooth keys add a responsive and enjoyable dimension to music production.

Some users may find themselves at odds with Ableton, but the Launchkey makes an admirable attempt to smooth out the learning curve. However, it won’t magically make the complexities of Ableton vanish, and its wealth of features might require a learning investment for newcomers.

For those venturing into MIDI controllers or simply looking to upgrade, the balance between functionality and price is quite compelling with this Novation model. While the full potential is unlocked with Ableton, its capability as a standalone MIDI controller cannot be overstated. Sure, there may be a hiccup or two with initial setup or feature navigation, but overall, the Launchkey 37 MK3 is a solid, value-packed choice that enhances the music-making process without overwhelming users.

Frequently Asked Questions

What features make the Novation Launchkey 37 suitable for music production?

The Launchkey 37 is designed with various music-making tools that offer a fluid production process. We particularly appreciate the velocity-sensitive keys and pads which respond beautifully to touch, allowing for expressive performances. The creative arpeggiator, along with chord and scale modes, facilitate dynamic composition and melody crafting. These features empower us to bring ideas to life with ease and add flavour to our creations.

How does the Launchkey 37 integrate with Ableton Live?

Integration with Ableton Live is a breeze using the Launchkey 37. It’s been a game-changer for us with features like clip and scene launch, device macro control, and direct access to Capture MIDI—all without ever needing to reach for the mouse. Its deep connection with Ableton Live streamlines workflows, making music production more intuitive and less interrupted.

What is the price range of the Novation Launchkey 37 in various markets?

In our experience, the price of the Launchkey 37 can fluctuate depending on the retailer and region. Generally, we’ve seen it being sold in a mid-range bracket, which reflects its balance of professional features with affordability. Buyers should compare prices across various marketplaces and music stores to find the best deal.

Can the Launchkey 37 be used independently of a computer for live performances?

Unfortunately, the Launchkey 37 requires a computer as it is a MIDI controller with no inbuilt sounds. It functions as an extension of digital audio workstations (DAWs) and software instruments, so it’s not suited for standalone use in live performances.

What are the key differences between the Novation Launchkey 37 and the 49 or 61 models?

The most noticeable difference is the number of keys. Depending on your needs, the 49 or 61 models offer more keys, providing greater range without the need to shift octaves. For compact setups or those who prioritise portability, the Launchkey 37 hits the sweet spot. Feature-wise, all models have similar capabilities; the choice ultimately boils down to the number of keys you require.

Does the Novation Launchkey 37 support velocity-sensitive keys and aftertouch?

The Launchkey 37 boasts velocity-sensitive keys which means they respond to the force with which they’re played, adding nuance to our performances. However, the Launchkey 37 does not support aftertouch, which is a feature where pressure applied to keys after the initial key press can modulate various parameters of the sound. If this is a critical feature, you might need to consider other keyboard controllers.

When using the Launchkey 37, it’s apparent that the design team at Novation has put a lot of thought into the needs of modern producers. The integration with Ableton Live in particular has felt seamless, significantly enhancing our music production workflow. While it may not tick every box for every user – the lack of aftertouch and the inability to be used standalone could be potential drawbacks for some – we can confidently say the strengths of the Launchkey 37 make it a capable tool for aspiring and experienced music creators alike.

You can learn more and/or purchase the Novation Launchkey 37 from Amazon. This is an affiliate link. Therefore, if you make a purchase through this link, we will make a small commission. This will enable us to continue to support other producers like yourself here on Krannaken.com and also on Krannaken TV

About the Author
David Verney is a graduate from the University of West London, husband, father, Christian and Tottenham Hotspur fan. He started Krannaken.com during his final year at University. The initial idea was just somewhere to put his ideas on the subject of music marketing. However, it has been going strong since then and (at the time of writing) this website is just over 3 years old. Ideas don't dry up because the industry is always changing. New websites with new features are being launched all the time. Therefore, Writer's Block does not feature. I hope you enjoy the blog. Please hit one of the banners and claim your free copy of The Complete Guide to Music Marketing. I plan to update my book with new content every year.

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