The Novation Launchkey Mk2 is a keyboard controller that has RGB-backlit pads that mimic your clip colours in Ableton Live. It’s a great-feeling keyboard controller, and the velocity-sensitive pads are great for identifying / launching clips, and even playing the drums.
First Impressions / Setting up
The Novation Launchkey 49-note is the middle size of the Launchkey line and is a sibling of the 25 and 61-note versions. All the Launchkey versions come packed with Ableton Live 9 Lite for seamless pairing and performance. The Launchkey Mk2 49 features velocity sensitive, full-size keys and 16 RGB pads, as well as nine sliders and eight knobs for controlling your mixer, instruments, and effects all of which are mappable.
The Launchkey 49 is USB bus-powered, and its size gives you the best of both worlds: it’s great for in-studio use because of its full-size keys, but it’s still portable enough for gig use.
The keys, although plastic, are semi-weighted and provide good feedback. It’s a mixed bag of likes and dislikes for the plastic keys, but it is what to be expected at this price point. The knobs and faders have a good feel to them, and are nice and tight. The build is solid and the pads feel like they can take a good amount of beating.
It must be noted that the Launchkey line cannot be used as a standalone keyboard and requires connecting to a computer or an iPad via camera connection kit. Using it with Ableton Live is simple and straightforward, though it may take some setting up when used with another DAW.
Users conclude that the Launchkey Mk2 49-note is one of the best MIDI-enabled keyboards for both music production and live performances if you are an Ableton Live user. It is suited for both the professional and those who are just starting out. Packed with features and a decent software bundle at a good price, the Launchkey Mk2 49 is a worthwhile addition to your music production set up.