NAMM had plenty of new goodies, but what do we actually want to buy? Here’s Liz’s top pick (high on my list, as well). -PK

No, it’s not an advertising campaign for Ableton Live if that’s what you’re wondering. The Live-like logos that pop up onto your screen when you start using the Novation Nocturn controller actually represent the Nocturn’s various knobs, automatically mapped to whatever software you’re using at the time. It’s a heads-up, intuitive display that extends both the mouse and the controller itself. You can see the knob settings on screen, then use the mouse to navigate between the controller’s touch-sensitive knobs. If the Automap feature isn’t doing it for you, you can reassign any parameter or create a new MIDI map from scratch. Ed.: Novation says this functionality will soon be available on other Novation Automap gear, too, like my beloved ReMOTE SL keyboard. -PK

In terms of blinky appeal, each of the knobs are surrounded by LEDs that make it easier to see the knob’s position in a dark club.

What will it cost? A mere $100. On my wishlist, for sure.

Nocturn – The world’s first compact intelligent plug-in controller [Novation Music News — and by “first”, I think they mean the first of theirs, of course, or “intelligent” defined as their particular Automap feature]

Stay tuned for hands-on video with the Nocturn. And yes, the crossfader feels fantastic, especially for the price.

  • ilo

    I hope someone hacks that new Automap software to work with my BCR's 32 knobs and 28 buttons.

  • >> What will it cost? $100.

    Hey Liz – I too saw this (well, online, not in person), and was intrigued. Is that price a guess or the word from Novation?

    Also, hopefully those 8 trigger buttons have lit/unlit states, unlike the lighting for the Korg PadKontrol, which could have been better implemented.

  • Isn't it "Nocturn"? It looks very interesting since mapping a lot of knobs requires a bit of planning. This seems to bypass Live's mapping though, keeping this controller as an improvisational tool rather than a control surface like the BCR-2000 or the UC-33. I wonder if there's a way to "save" the instant mappings for later use, or if the whole thing depends on the specific program controlling it… Still, it's a nice treat for that price.

  • matt

    so um, link? or are we just expected to google it?

  • Apologies; in our NAMM haze we accidentally posted a draft to the site briefly. (And obviously this generates enthusiasm, because it was up for a short time in the middle of the weekend!) Fixed.

  • john dalton

    What's the intelligent part? When i read that in your post i got excited and thought it let you modulate plug-in parameters based on incoming audio or something like that. But after i went to their description it just seems like a knob box.

  • The lit/unlit button states is the big question in my mind, too. 8 buttons with controllable lit/unlit states for $100 is a steal – think monome, PadKontrol, etc.

    This could be a fantastic little controller! Looking forward to seeing the video…

  • Very nice looking piece of kit, if a bit plastic-y. I do like how well spaced the knobs are, there's certainly plenty of controllers out there that don't take the less clockmaker-like into account when designing their surfaces.

    How do the knobs feel, do they have any resistance or just turn loosely?

  • Joe Bicker

    How useable is it with Max MSP? If it's just MIDI data, can you take it from ctlin?

  • Thomas Cermak

    Does it have suctions cups? It would fit nicely on my x-station if it had suction cups, otherwise I'd see it flying off of the slippery surface of the x-station in seconds – especially in a live setting.

  • All of the knobs have that satisfying bit of resistance to make it feel rewarding, and the crossfader does as well. If you dig the whole loose crossfader deal you're out of luck, as it's built-in and doesn't allow replacement, unlike other DJ mixers. Still, for what I do I thought it was pretty great.

  • And no… no suction cups.

    However, the people that make the sheilds for my iPod and KRZR also make this little sticky pad thing for your dashboard in your car ( I bet you could score something like that and stick it underneath… or a similar hack. Didn't flip the controller over as it didn't exactly cross my mind.

  • Dr muzungu

    i asked novation's very nice sales lady, and was told retail will be around 129 bucks, which is still a steal, given the functionality

    at first i was confused about how it could even with Plug-Ins not having Midi learn,

    but they are using the Vst automation parameters instead, so it works with all Plug Ins and the controller assignment are also saved with the project.

  • Downpressor

    I'm always in favor of good knob boxes. I used to have a BCR-2000. Kicked it to the curb as soon as I realized what a grand piece of eurocrap it was. Never did get it working right or reliably.

  • @ Dr muzungu: I thought that the Novation has a MIDI learn override. As I haven't played with it directly I can't confirm it….

  • that's a pretty awesome controller. I missed that, but I wish I would have hit the novation booth up. I guess I'll try it out come march or whenever they decide to release it.

  • velocipede

    I'm very psyched about Automap 2, which will work with both the Nocturne and the SL series. The interface looks very friendly. I talked to one of the guys working at the booth, who was not from Novation, after watching him jam on a Remote SL Zero with Live for a few minutes. I asked him how it compared to Automap 1 and he replied that he had no idea because it was his first time to ever use an SL that day! At any rate, the minimalist, yet resizable onscreen interface looks great.

  • Intelligence: basically, the intelligence is the Automap feature, which works with VST plug-ins, as others have said.

    Assigning parameters: um, well, Automap won't work with Max/MSP unless you're building a plug-in with Max and running in another host. But you should be able to send MIDI with this, as with the ReMOTE SL. And Automap *can* now also assign mouse moves, so you could use that with any software you like.

    I'm guessing US$100 street or thereabouts; that'd match up with a $129 list. Availability is April.

    I'll be editing all those videos tomorrow! Thanks for your patience!

  • sven

    I'm confused, are there just the 8 knobs and buttons or are there multiple banks of knobs and buttons?

  • I like to make friends, I do not know and may not leave your friends? I have here a software may be helpful to you.


  • Nick Hoggard

    Is it USB-powered or does it have a power adaptor?

    This is probably a make-or-break feature for me, for portability reasons.

  • matt

    The Nocturn does also have MIDI built in to the server aswell just incase Automap can't cater for the item needing to be controlled. There is also a cool pickup mode (just like regular Automation) and also the MIDI is bi-directional so you get feedback using regular MIDI also! Its also only USB powered. The Automap Universal 2 is a massive upgrade to Automap. Also with Protools learn, its pretty much the ONLY thing that can learn Plug-in controls on protools.

  • janosch

    this is what i have been looking for without even knowing.

    switching your plugins and having everything important assigned in a second… wonderful!

  • @Nick: definitely USB-powered.

    @sven: not totally clear on how you switch banks, but this being Novation kit, you definitely have the ability to switch banks/instruments.

  • somosanto

    Are the knobs "detented"?

    Someone asked about the feel of them. What stopped me from buying the remote zeo, ere the "click-wheel like" rotary encoders.

    Somewhere between the bcr-2000 and this, lies nirvana.

  • Pingback: Muzyka » Blog Archive » Best $100 Spent at NAMM: Novation’s Nocturn Controller is Liz’s Pick()

  • Looks like the Nocturn could be a nice little controller for Mainstage.

  • Julien

    What's the difference between a "touch sensitive" knob and a knob ?

  • Dave

    The knobs aren't detented except the Speed Dial, which needs to be for browsing presets (click it in to do that).

    The touch-sense allows you to learn a parameter to a knob without having to move it, and a few other tricks 🙂

  • 59min

    Hi, look into this video demo:

    Hope its that good integrated with DAW and Reason also. Looks like a winner (for the prie!!). Hope the knobs run smooth though. My top knobs on Zero SL have "steps". I dont like that.


  • Ive just ordered one

  • somosanto

    59min – was looking for that term > got "detented" off the top of my head.

    dave- thanks a bunch

  • upbeat27

    it looks like these are actually selling for $149. i knew it was too good to be true…

  • Mike

    @ Thomas: I know I'm late on this, but having just read the official press release. I can confirm it does have suction cups.

  • D.Eastwood

    Can this interface with Max/MSP using midi messages? The crossfader would be extremely useful for video mixing. would it work??

  • Any update on getting that video online? Still pretty curious about this little beast…


  • Im not intrested into how this thing controlls plugins, Im going to be using it to controll ableton live via my own mapping. Also to let the Max/msp users know yes you can use this as a controller. If your using Max or PD (lIm a PD user) you can assign anything to anything. a midi message is a midi message. Just ont bother with the Automap software and map it yourself.

  • Hey Liz,

    I wonder if you can adjust any of the rubber buttons, too? I need to be able to make them assignable in Traktor.

    Otherwise, it's kind of ridiculous. I can have the page button on the Function keys on my computer keyboard. And the price of $149 is a lot for this controller if those rubber buttons aren't programmable. I prefer to spend another $50 and target a Vestax VCI dj controller for $200 on eBay.

    I think retail should be no more than $99.

  • MonksDream


    A touch sensitive knob knows when it's being touched. I have them on my AplhaTrack. When you touch the knob the display changes to tell you more about the parameter that knob will act upon. For instance, I can lightly touch the fader slider to see the level of my track in db in the the display. It's like the thing's alive!

  • azmills

    8 of the buttons are assignable in multiple pages. the others are;

    System Buttons: ‘Learn’, ‘View’, ‘Page+’ and ‘Page-’


    Group Buttons: User, FX, Inst, Mixer

    I'm not sure how many pages but it may be as many as you need /want.

    See novations website for a userguide and more info.

  • azmills

    I just ordered a Nocturn from


    It's not in stock yet and I probably won't get it until May but at that price I couldn't wait!

  • azmills

    I'm thinking that now it will be late May or even June until it arrives. Novation told me that no saleable units had shipped to the US yet. May was an estimate by them.

    No worries though, I'm still happy to be getting one. If it's not here until July I'll be a little upset.

  • Whatchoo talkin 'bout Willis?! I just looked at and they're listed at $149. All the stores are probably trying to do pre-orders for $149, but why do they have to get greedy on such a nice product? I would be happy to get one for $99. Do you have a link to that offer?


  • Ah, you're making an April Fool outta me? I got it!

  • Wes

    Awesome stuff!

    im gonna nip and get myself one of these tomorrow!!

    i saw someone mention this and a monome… sounds like a great combination, and as for live plugin work it looks like just the ticket for me!

    and usb powered- even better!

  • circuitslave

    Sam Ash was selling them for $99, but they raised the price to the same as others }:(

  • Maybe we can get together and do a big purchase from Sam Ash and get a quantity discount. Anyone interested?

  • lifespan

    anyone hooked it up with traktor3 in Leopard ?

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Korg nanoKEY, nanoKONTROL, nanoPAD: Super Tiny MIDI Keyboard, Controller, Pads()

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Hands-on with Aurora, Open Source DJ Control Surface, Shipping Now()

  • If you understand how Automap works (which you can figure out at, the Nocturn is easily one of the best MIDI controllers available.

  • If you understand how Automap works (which you can figure out at, the Nocturn is easily one of the best MIDI controllers available.