Remote SL COMPACT 25 USB MIDI keyboard

It’s no secret: I’m a huge fan of Novation’s ReMOTE SL line, and they’re becoming very popular with live laptop users, soft synth lovers, and users of software like Ableton Live and Reason. Put aside for a moment the whiz-bang Automap features, which automatically assign controllers to software (both plug-ins and hosts), and the physical keyboard itself is very good. The semi-weighted action feels terrific, and there’s a nice selection of controls.

Novation has expanded the SL line this week with the ReMOTE SL “Compact”, apparently keeping with their Goldilocks-friendly marketing strategy. (What, that’s a little too big for you? How about this…)

The SL Compact features:

  • 25- or 49-key semi-weighted keyboards with aftertouch
  • Assignable pitch and mod wheels
  • USB bus power (as on the previous SL)
  • Full Automap support (as on the SL)
  • Eight encoders and buttons with LEDs
  • Eight velocity-sensitive triggers
  • Single, large display
  • Group select switches allow 64 parameters in manual template mode or unlimited controls in Automap mode

In fact, it’s so close to the SL that you may wonder what’s different on the Compact. As the name implies, the layout has been adjusted to take up less space; the SL’s footprint is a bit deep. Standard pitch and mod wheels replace the pitch/mod joystick and X/Y touchpad on the full SL. There’s one screen for the controls, as on the SL, but minus the SL’s menu screen. And on an up note, the trigger pads are larger; I hope this improves upon the stiff, tiny triggers on the SL.

One of the caveats on the SL was the higher price, relative to some of its competitors; I think it’s worth the premium but the SL COMPACT does appear to be a “budget” model. Novation hasn’t yet announced pricing or availability. I’ll send an update if I hear.

What’s nice here, though, is that as opposed to keyboards like Novation’s previous Remote LE, they’re not dumbing down the feature set by removing aftertouch or changing to an unweighted action. I like that trend a lot. The 49-key model could be a great touring keyboard; Novation, if you’re listening, I hope we’ll get a 49-key keyboard backpack as on your previous models.

ReMOTE SL COMPACT [Novation News]

Remote SL COMPACT 49 USB MIDI keyboard