Novation Impulse 61 USB Midi Controller Keyboard, 61 Keys

Novation Impulse 61 USB Midi Controller Keyboard, 61 Keys

Item # 405591

 (5 Reviews)

$149.99

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  • Ultra-responsive semi weighted keyboard with aftertouch
  • Full DAW/plug-in control surface with 8 knobs, 9 faders and buttons. Sustain pedal 1/4 inch jack socket, Expression pedal 1/4 inch jack socket
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plug-ins
  • Multi-function drum pads enable you to warp arpeggios, roll beats and launch clips in Ableton Live
  • Includes downloads for: Ableton Live Lite, Novation’s Bass Station synth, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, and a Loopmasters Sample Pack; 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects
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Guys, I've scowered the internet, and my local guitar center, in search for the perfect MIDI controller.

I grew up playing a Yamaha PSR learning keyboard, so I've learned to be proficient on synth style keys. In addition, I was a piano primary music composition major in college. I spent the majority of my youth locked in my bedroom recording tracks: rock, techno, ambient classical contemporary, pop, hip hop, etc. Now that I'm older, I work at a church where I like to explore different piano sample sounds for the worship service (mostly using Kontakt) and I like to layer many instruments to create these lush, cinematic sounds for when my band is slim. I'll put a bass guitar in my left hand and of course piano in the full range.

So, I like that these MIDI keyboard have the faders and knobs to allow me to control the (mostly Low Pass Filters) of my pad sounds, to bring them in and out as I need to.

So, the question is, why spend 400 bucks on this novation when I could spend nearly the same and get a keyboard that has BUILT IN sounds? Good question.

The ideal situation would be to have a powerful, great sounding keyboard, like a Nord Stage, or Yamaha Motif, and use that to control my laptop sounds in Kontakt. I could even buy a MIDI controller with no keys, just knobs and faders, very cheaply. This is something I might do at some point, for my stage performances in MY venue where I can leave the stuff set up.

However, a MIDI controller with the keybed, like this, allows for easy transportation and setup.

As a professional piano player and recording guy, I know that keybeds action/velocity curve can either be preference, OR it can be straight up poorly made, like when a key stroke randomly jumps out more loudly than the others.

However, I've seen young guys on youtube, playing a Novation, and they are awful keyboard players. Then, as they are playing, they say "Yeah, this velocity curve isn't that great". Umm..actually YOU are not that great. haha

So on the this Novation.

It is heavy and a bit bulky, compared to the Launchkey I own. But, that's not a terrible thing.

The knobs and faders feel good. Not like an Allen and Heath soundboard, of course, but they feel decent and comfortable. not wobbly and loose.

Drum trigger/pads...I don't do a lot of triggering/ableton stuff. If I play detailed sampled drum tracks, I use the keybed. So for me, the drum triggers are fine.

Keybed - this is the big one for people. This keybed feels great. I seem to hit more notes when I do random, sloppy runs and scales. It's very forgiving. and again it just feels great. Some people have said they are annoyed at the velocity curve adjustment within this keyboard. I would advise them to not use it. Use the built in velocity curve adjustments in your virtual instrument. you have so much more control that way.

It mapped itself to REAPER just fine. But I don'[t use it for mixing too much.

So, this is a great keyboard/Midi controller. I'm very happy with it.

I have the Launchkey 49 as my "throw around" keyboard. it's great, and it small. But for serious stuff, I use this. I've also just purchased the SL mkii off Ebay (why not on ? what's up with that?) So it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against this one.

UPDATE 12-15-16
SO I got the SL mkii

the knobs, faders, controls, etc feel great and professional. the unit is strong and heavy. However, the velocity curve simply has too much dynamic range and is too responsive to the smallest variation in playing strength. the impulse feels way better.
By Jered Mckenna November 30, 2016
I have been using this product now for months, and I must say I like it.

Pros:
1. The feel of the keyboard is really stable. The keys feel nice with enough action to actually feel a little like real keys. I wouldn't say it's weighted (even semi) as much as I'd say there is a little bit of tactile response, like the difference in a typewriter vs. a mechanical keyboard. I personally like it, although full weight would be perfect. The pads are stable and faders and knobs feel pretty robust.
2. The Automap software does make it easy to get started. BUT please follow this if you're on a Mac: ALWAYS start the Automap Server application before you open your DAW and AFTER you've plugged in the controller. As long as I follow that rule, Automap works like a charm. If you accidentally open your DAW before launching the Automap server, you'll have to completely delete and re-install the software. Just a heads up!!
3. Bundled AddictingKeys and Addicting Drums 2 are great. Be aware!! you get a copy of the software but only get to choose 1 kit! In fact, if you plan to use the addicting drums software (which I found I actually really loved), you may want to skip registering and just buying the software bundle when it goes on sale. You'll save yourself a lot of money. If you do what I did, you'll only get 1 kit and have to buy more separately. Good news is the software goes on sale frequently.

Cons:
1. The pads, as others have mentioned, do have some weird sensitivity to them in that you'll frequently push and get duplicate notes recorded. I've found them useful for scratch work but I wouldn't use them live to trigger anything. However, due to my usage, I don't need them for that reason, so you may be able to toggle the sensitivity to get it to work, I just haven't spent the time to do it.
2. There appears to be a lot of functionality in the whole middle section of the controller, but other than hard-coding it in, automap doesn't let you use that to toggle between plug-ins in the default condition with Logic Pro. I found it really odd that they had a preset on-board for GarageBand and like 6 other DAWS but not Logic. I personally have gotten by just fine without it, as I only use it for writing music and less for production/live. I'd like to test the functionality because I want to use it for MainStage some day. I'll update if I figure out the best way to use it.

Overall, I am happy with this product for the relative price. I'll update more but so far it does what I need and probably a lot more that I don't.
By Nic May 1, 2018
For the price point, this keyboard punches above it's weight. I use it for composing and editing in Apple's Logic Pro X - it is practically plug-and-play (in fact for use as just a midi-keyboard to control and input instruments in GarageBand or Logic - it is plug-and-play; no set up required other than plugging the USB cable into your computer - I use Mac). Has been super fun to use, compact enough to use on a desk, but enough range for most instruments when composing. it is powered by USB, so there is no power cord or additional wall-wart to take up space or restict where/how you set the keyboard up.
By J.Roe February 22, 2017
Is as simple as connecting the usb to your mac, running automap and boom there you are. The only thing I haven't been able to do is to control mute and solo buttons from it as it has no assignable buttons available, but for the rest it works amazingly. if you want to launch different samples or sounds with the drum pad you will have to map it yourself though, but it is so simple it won't take more than a minute.
You can create, edit and save 20 presets, for live set artists thats dope.
By Emilio Penaherrera May 15, 2017
Software has issues setting up with REAPER, even with following directions and despite the advertised compatibility with it. So I still can't access the automap features yet.

Keys have aftertouch, which is cool, but some keys bottom-out and you can feel/hear a plastic "clack", which feels cheap.

Not sure if it's consequence of software, but when alternating the sustain pedal in music, stuck notes are a common occurence, which sometimes require a midi panic/reset.
By CG April 15, 2018