Automapping, the ability to automatically assign controls on hardware to software parameters, is a big draw for a lot of users, and a new upgrade to the ReMOTE SL keyboard brings this feature to Pro Tools for the first time — while smoothing out the rough edges in support for other software.

The ReMOTE SL is a fantastic keyboard in terms of hardware, but the software when released was a work-in-progress, at least when it came to the much-publicized “Automap” capabilities. Fortunately, Novation’s been making steady progress on its SL keyboard software over the past months, as have some of its partners. When I first fired up Ableton Live 6, for instance, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many things “just worked”, thanks to new features on the Live end.

This week, Novation has released its new version 2 of its SL operating system, with some major new features:

  1. Mackie HUI support
  2. Automatically maps to Pro Tools tracks, sends, panning, record arming, plug-ins, effects, and even window navigation
  3. Use manual and automatic templates simultaneously in software like Pro Tools and Live

Those of you who have an SL will recognize right away what this means. It sounds like Novation is really listening to user feedback on the SL, because this is exactly what a lot of us wanted.

For those of you who haven’t tried the SL, what’s great about the Automap feature is the ability to get hands-on physical control of parameters without having to switch between a lot of templates and manually assign MIDI controls. The Pro Tools integration appears to be the tightest yet, with the ability to select plug-ins and navigate windows directly from the SL without touching the mouse. (In Ableton Live, by contrast, you have to click a device first, then let the SL’s Automap take over.)

At the same time, though, what many early adopters of the SL found was that automatic mapping isn’t always what you want — it’s actually too much control. What’s nice about the v2 update is that you can use manual assignments (like those you hand-picked out of a Live session to control in performance) while still taking advantage of Automap (saving you a lot of work).

What I don’t see mentioned is Apple Logic Pro support, for which there are still some issues that need addressing (see my review); I’ll have to check to see if fixes are hiding in there and Novation just isn’t talking about them.

I’m deep in Live 6 template creation for the ReMOTE SL and my Faderfox control surfaces, so stay tuned and I should be able to share some tips.

Novation ReMOTE SL v.2 Announcement and Downloads [Novation]

Novation ReMote SL Keyboard Reviewed: Automapping Control Surface