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Novation ReMOTE SL - the dawn of intelligent MIDI control

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March 1, 2006

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March 2, 2006 Music producers in 2006 truly are spoilt. Apart from gamers, they're the only mob that has a healthy variety of computer input devices available to them. In a sea of competition, Novation's recent release of the ReMOTE SL looks like it has solved the problem of almost an entire market of increasingly inappropriate controllers for complex audio projects. They're calling it the first intelligent MIDI controller - and it's set to improve the workflow of anyone using current digital audio software, and liberate laptop musicians from their mice.

Starting with the meat and veg, it has a total of 56 assignable pots, encoders, sliders and buttons, an X/Y touchpad and a joystick, is topped off with the slickest navigation (and configuration) system we've ever seen - courtesy of two massive, backlit LCD's that stretch the entire width of the controller.

That's all very nice, but not particularly smart. What makes the device so special is a new feature Novation have developed called Automap. This allows the controller to configure itself contextually - select any software instrument or effect in a compatible sequencer, and the Novation will load a template, map its controllers to what you want to tweak, and 're-label' - it's LCD's will instantly remind you of what's at 16 of your finger tips.

Most creative types will understand the frustration of a mouse becoming the bottleneck of a creative burst. With machines available that can run hundreds of virtual instruments and effects in real time, and minds the world over that are eager for the chance to coherantly utilise it all, this device really couldn't have come a moment too soon.

It's currently compatible with Apple Logic 7, Ableton Live 5, Steinberg Cubase SX/Nuendo 3, and Propellerheads Reason 3. There are 25 and 49 key versions, with a 61 key version due soon.

Tim Hanlon

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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