Novation FLKey Mini Review
Verdict and Review Summary
Ideal for beginners and designed for portability, the Novation FLKEY Mini is a solid, entry level MIDI controller for those on the go. The Mini gives an affordable alternative to larger and more complex controllers while retaining the functionality and flexibility we’ve come to expect from Novation’s product line.
The FLKEY Mini is Novation’s latest entry into the smaller controller market.
It comes on the heels of the Launchkey Mini and includes significant upgrades from the previous model. Novation has been in the controller market since 2013 with the first Launchkey and has consistently led with quality.
This 25-key controller includes 16 touchpads and eight knobs all customizable to your specifications. Both the keys and pads include Novation’s velocity sensitivity which we found to allow for excellent inflection in composition. Perhaps most appealing is the fact that all your presets are directly accessible from the hardware.
No more wasting time working through file trees to find that one instrument you were looking for.
Finally, perhaps the best upgrade from Novation’s former installment, is the scale mode which allows you to shift - with the push of a button - between various scale forms (whole tone, pentatonic, Ionian, etc.), making songwriting a lot simpler.
This review was conducted by testing the FLKey Mini with product-in-hand and not with secondary information. Note that we use partner links to support our site, which means if you click through and make a purchase, we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your continued support.
Compare to Other MIDI Controllers
Take a look at other controllers in the same category as the FLKEY Mini. The table below will give you key comparisons between them.
Note that we do not provide extended comparisons for keyboards or MIDI controllers.
Novation FLKey Mini
Novation Launchkey MINI
Novation Launchkey 49 MK3
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Novation FLkey Mini Price Guide
Prices updated Wed, June 07th, 2023.
Pricing from Sweetwater
Price Alert Tool
Price History for Novation FLkey Mini 25-key Keyboard Controller for FL Studio
|Current Price||$109.99||June 2, 2023|
|Highest Price||$109.99||October 31, 2022|
|Lowest Price||$109.99||October 31, 2022|
Last price changes
|$109.99||October 31, 2022|
IDEAL FOR: The FLKEY Mini is ideal for either the beginner looking to delve into the world of MIDI controlling or a more advanced user looking for portability and value. For the beginner the Mini offers an extensive online tutorial and six months of free use of the FL Studio to explore the world of DAW’s. For the more advanced user, the seamless integration with Logic and Finale (we tested on Finale), the amount of customization options, and the compact design allows for music composition on the go.
Over Product Quality
Soundscapes and software for MIDI voicing are so easy to come by that it makes a quality controller the difference maker for production and performance.
Novation has offered another solid controller for those looking to do just that.
The FLKEY mini brings a lot of features with its smaller design with only a few drawbacks.
If you are just starting out with a MIDI controller or are not a very skilled keyboard player, the features on this device will level the playing field for you.
The arpeggio and chord features allow you to link complex structures to just one key for ease of playing. Arpeggiations can vary in different modes, ascending, descending, mixing it up, etc.
The scale feature allows you to program various scales, automatically moving to the correct note for those not familiar with Dorian or even Phrygian scales.
The velocity sensitivity feature is excellent, not only registering the impact on the pad or key but even increasing intensity as you press harder while holding the pad or key down.
The software integration with FL Studio is completely seamless.
It was clearly made for this platform and comes with a six month trial of it. We tested the composition features primarily on Finale and it worked great.
What you give up in only having 25 keys, you make up for in the other features. Shifting to different octaves is easy and fast so the downside is minimized as much as possible.
The mini is clearly designed for portability.
It's lightweight, compact, and has a low profile.
All of these allow you to pack this quickly and easily. If you are traveling to perform or collaborating with a colleague off site, the mini will make this completely painless.
If you are new to controllers, many of the customizable features will not be necessarily obvious to utilize.
This is solved by the video tutorials that are linked through their registration site but, for those who want to get started right away, you may be doing a good bit of trial and error.
The system boasts a lot of customization but the learning curve in how to fully utilize it will just be longer than some will want.
Pitch Bend and Modulation Controls
We personally found the location of the touch sensitive pitch bend and modulation areas somewhat tricky. These are not standard physical wheels but, instead, touch strips and so you can easily find yourself bending a pitch while engaging with the pads.
If you are aware of this you can avoid it but, in the middle of a performance it would be easy to make the mistake.
Finally, what creates the feature of portability can also bring a downside. The mini just feels almost too light, and that it could break.
It's so light that you almost get the sense that it's not substantial enough for the rigors of the road. To be fair, we did not try to see what the limits of its durability are.
We are simply speaking to its feel.
In addition, the lightweight design can move very easily on both a desktop and a keyboard stand. You would need to find a way to stabilize it during a performance certainly, and even during composition.
With all this in mind, the Novation FLKey mini is a quality entrant into the controller market. If you plan on using FL Studio as your DAW, this controller will serve you very well.
If you are new to controllers or looking for an option to take on the road, this is also a great fit.
The customization, hardware features, and integration with various software platforms are a solid value at this price point. If you are searching for a smaller controller, especially if you are looking for portability, you really should consider the mini.
Leave questions (if you have them) down in the comments section.
Written by Bobby on Keyboards and Roundups
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