Novation Launchkey 25

Anyone using one of these :question:

Thoughts, comments on its performance with Cubase :question:

I’m using Novation 25sl mkII but it doesn’t work. And yours?

Purchased a Novation Launchkey 49 today… The keyboard worked fine on first install but the InControl transport and faders were useless… Main reason I purchased this. After several uninstalls and re-installs I got the transport and faders to work but then the keyboard itself did not. The VST instruments would not recieve midi note data!

I of course had the device connections (Mackie HUI) set proper… (Not a novice user) Cubase would see both the MIDIIN2 (Launchkey 49) (for the InControl) and the Launchkey 49 options but upon selection would not work.

*Note… I learned later as well there is no solution for custom mapping the drum pads which also renders this product useless to me. All pads are fixed according to a Sound On Sound review.

It’s in the box and going back to the store… I’m giving up on the idea of having any type of Keyboard Controller that will work in Cubase! The newer M-Audio Oxygen 49 I purchased two weeks ago had the same issues.

I had to settle on a simple M-Audio Keystation for a simple piano midi keyboard. And even the first one I bought was not transmitting midi note data! Not a Cubase issue but a manufacturers defect! Drove me nuts and it took tech support 90 minutes on the phone to realize that I was correct. (I had told them at the start of the process that the device was not transmitting midi note data regardless of the fact that the drivers were correctly installed and appearing in Cubase)

Something about Cubase 7 and above and Keyboard Controllers!

I’m finished trouble shooting this stuff!

I’ll pick up another M-Audio Keystation (One that works I hope) and forgo the idea of using Controllers Pods and Faders for now.

I have Cubase IC Pro on my ipad and will just use that for now.

Before giving up entirely, I recommend you consider taking a look at Nektar keyboards. Our keyboard range uses a custom protocol specifically for Cubase.

had one it was awkward, did not like the wrapper tech

The Novation or the Nektar?

The Nektar looks interesting but no one seems to have it in stock yet?

Sorry, for clarity, I had a Novation MkII with keyboard, not the launchkey - my mistake (some time ago).

This is my run down.

The Keyboard uses wrapper tech and you have to have two copies of your VST, the original and the wrapped. You use the wrapped version with the SL, by selecting it in the Instrument rack. This is the Automap tech, It works reasonably well and has a wizard, but if you add or move VSTs then you have to delve and mess around. I did not like having two versions of VST dlls on my system, its ugly.

The keyboard is well finished but plasticky in feel. The keyboard features Back lit LEDs which could be a godsend, and is generally well thought out, except the VDU which is long and tiny. I could hardly see its readings, with my bifocal glasses, I have to stand over the keyboard to see it and the info is so ‘concise’ ( a few letters per knob) that it felt old tech and kept leaving me guessing as to what it was displaying.

Why do so many companies save costs on the VDU? Give us a plug for a phone/ipad/ etc !

I found they keyboard action less than thrilling, but I don’t really use synth keyboards at all, I even find my Nord C2 less than thrilling, compared to my wonderful Roland 700 NX which plays like a real piano. So, I guess I am finicky and a bit spoilt.

They say the keyboard plays ‘like a musical instrument’ in my view it doesn’t. They say the screen is ‘large’, well I guess if you were an ant it would be gigantic. 144 characters max!!! For me its tiny, but the only screen I have seen which is big enough is on the Kronus - again why cant we have a screen we all can see, with enough real estate, you can buy a decent touch screen for £50.

Overall finish was good, for the price, there is a lot to like for this pricepoint.

As I could not really see the VDU, and the wrapper tech got in places where I did not want it (such as the instrument rack in Cubase), it went from my studio.

I am still looking, Nuage and Avid have been recommended as brands, but I want to play with them in the flesh and (perhaps unreasonably_ want them to plug in and work with any VST. I think this might need a new VST standard being adopted by manufacturers, similar to GM.


Judging from the posts, my experience is a shared one of some frustration…

Ignoring the build aspects for a moment, I was curious to find out how well others have managed to get Cubase to work with the “control” aspects.

I am able to work the quick controls and eventually had control over HSE as well. The pads are huge disappointment. I discovered that they are fixed to CH10 - so using them with HSE pads did not work as expected.

Overall I find that the NL25 works really well with AL9! But

Instant access to major DAW control parameters – with no assignment necessary

is definitely not entirely true… in fact its a blatant overstatement. :unamused:

Yes, I have been scouring the internet too, but no joy yet. Hyperbole is the problem everythnig is fantastic and wonderful - yeh yeh bla. Novation are good at this 'arge screen equals 144 characters max etc…

Build, really there is only one way and that is see the physical thing.

Even if you can do this, the next issue is the actual software, I have been caught before by good products with rubbish software that make them unuseable -CME stuff is a case in point.

Presently I have decided that for all the effort its simply not worth it at present, as clicking around on a screen really isnt that much of an issue - just my point of view of course.

when I try to imagine a controller that can handle Cubase and all the VST’s it goes back to being an app on an Ipad or similar Android tablet. If you have real sliders for example, its good to have hands on, but Cubase can have hundreds of tracks and sliders, all set up different ways, groups etc, various settings for the channels etc…

Maybe we have the best way already? Or Maybe a nice tablet sitting on your lap, that can truly integrate with the main screens in Cubase and all the VST’s. I dont know of such a thing, but it might exist.

My opinion is buyer beware, just my thoughts though


Please contact a Nektar distributor directly and they should be able to help you:



Yes, it does - I’m using it on my Samsung Note 10.1 - -

I know this an old post but I got a novation launchkey 49 over the festive season and will just add some notes here on how I got most of the functionality up and running.

A little about my setup for reference:.

  1. MSI Apache GE72VR GRF Apache Pro Laptop 16GB Ram, 250GB SSD, 1TB HDD
  2. Windows 10(Why MS why?)
  3. Cubase 8 Elements (Got a copy with my Yamaha MX49).

    I followed some of the guides on how to setup the LaunchKey with the various DAW’s. The Cubase one was helpful but there was some differences which I had to discover by reading some other docs and footnotes.

The easiest one to follow was this one

Also watch the following youtube video:

Basic setup is to launch cubase then go to device setup and add a Mackie HUI to the layout tree. In the tree layout section of the device edit form choose the newly added Mackie Hui and then for input and output you need to select the Novation LaunchKey items. Right at this point you might run into the following issue which can cause you some headaches.

In most of the guides and videos around this setup the following two ports are listed as possible choices:

  1. Launchkey InControl Note that this varies slightly the main thing is that it should have the InControl Part so the following are valid LaunchKey 49 LaunchKey InControl , Launch 25 LaunchKey InControl.
  2. Launchkey MIDI the main part here is that it does not have the InControl Part listed.

When installing mine the LaunchKey InControl did not appear on the list and for the first 24 hours I was not pleased with the product. When I looked at the available ports under Mackie HUI I only had LaunchKey MIDI and MIDIIN2(LaunchKey MIDI) and LaunchKey MIDI and MIDIOUT2(LaunchKey MIDI).

After some more reading I found out that the LaunchKey has two sections which add two MIDI ports essentially via USB. The InControl Part and the normal MIDI part. The I found this little article on Novation which explained the whole problem

In essence Windows can and will rename the ports as it sees fit(why MS why?, I love Linux if it does not work change the source). Thus in my situation it renamed LaunchKey InControl to MIDIIN2(LaunchKey MIDI) , MIDIOUT2(LaunchKey MIDI) as noted above.

In a nutshell this means that MIDIOUT2(LaunchKey MIDI) , MIDIIN2(LaunchKey MIDI) is the LaunchKey InControl referred to in the setup guides and videos. The LaunchKey MIDI is the normal MIDI.

So I did the following changes to get it to work pretty smoothly:

  1. Mackie HUI uses LaunchKey MIDI (not the MIDI2 options) for input and output.
  2. Under Midi Port setup under the MIDI In section make sure you set MIDIIN2 (Launch Key MIDI) to Inactive. The reason for this is that the launchkey port sends all sorts of funky midi messages and this can make some interesting sounds on a VST if you are into random noise, however it is not what you want. DISABLE THIS AS AN INPUT.

Ok so at this point everything is working more or less but the damned launchkey pads are fixed to MIDI notes C1 upwards and cannot be changed. Most of the drum VST instruments have different mapping thus rendering the Novation pads as useful as boat with leaks. However a little creative mapping can help here.

Do the following.

  1. Add your drum VST instrument to the VST instrument list and then choose a drum mapping for the channel. In my case I was using DrumTROOP and it only accepts notes from C3.
  2. Create a new drum map.
  3. In the new drum map look for the C1 key in the list and under the MIDI in and out notes changes the midi out note from C1 to C3.
  4. Repeat for all other notes from C#3 to B3. Thus C#1 -> C#3 , D1->D3 etc.

Viola I can play on the drum pads and record live performances straight into Cubase.

Most of the functions are working now and I can actually use it in Cubase 8 which is really nice. Hope this helps.