Review: Novation FLKey – World’s first dedicated FL Studio controllers

For 30 years now, English music equipment manufacturer Novation has been making some of the best gear in the game- they’re no strangers to innovation, and with the release of FLKey, the world’s first line of dedicated FL Studio controllers, they’ve gone and taken their trailblazing to an exciting new height.


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Thoughtful and stylish, FLKey is true to the premise of being the ultimate controller for FL Studio. Consisting of the compact, 25-key Mini and the larger, more hands-on 37 (named for the amount of keys), the line has something for everyone. Both options have got built-in controls for the software’s Step Sequencer, Channel Rack, and Mixer, as well as a special Scale mode (and a Chord mode exclusively on the 37) for getting the creative juices flowing. The functions and features are as numerous as they are easy to use…


Sequencer: The sequencer mode directly maps the controller’s pads to the FL Studio Step Sequencer, intuitively visualizing the sequencer directly onto the controller for quick and easy ideation.

Mixing: The 8 pots at the top of both the mini and 37 put the mixing process directly into your hands, allowing you to adjust volume and panning, with the 37 even being capable of calibrating those same parameters in the channel rack for pre-mixing.

Scale: Mini gives you 4 different scale modes (minor, major, dorian, and phrygian), with another 4 available on the 37 (mixolydian, harmonic minor, major pentatonic, and minor pentatonic) so you never play the wrong note.

Chord: Available only on the 37, three chord modes (fixed, scale, and user) make building progressions a breeze: fixed enables you to build a chord and play it chromatically across the keyboard, scale chord lets you access banks of triads, sevenths, ninths, and six-ninths in a given scale, and user allows you to create up to 16 chords to assign to whichever pad you like.


FLKey mini has play and record buttons right there in the controller, with the 37 adding dedicated stop, metronome, quantise, undo, redo, and score log buttons! Built in channel rack buttons on both make navigation a cinch, while note repeat makes it easy to generate interesting patterns. There’s even a bevvy of instruments and effects that come with the controllers, including a 6-month free trial of FL Studio Producer Edition!


I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an FLKey mini, and before I even plugged it in, I was taken aback but just how wonderfully built it is. It’s incredibly lightweight and solid, with pots and keys that are clearly made to last. It didn’t take long after playing around with it in FL Studio to see just how smooth everything felt. The pads and touch strips are wonderfully responsive to touch, and small details such as light intensity demonstrating which octave you’ve set it to make it an absolute joy to use. Where so many sacrifice style for substance, Novation has refused to compromise.


The bottom line is that, regardless of which of the two you choose, Novation FLKey is simply perfect for the producer who prefers FL Studio- the mini is excellent for the bedroom musician for whom space is at a premium, and the 37 is ideal for anyone needing a larger, workhorse keyboard. The Novation FLKey mini and 37 are available on the official Novation website for $109.99 (or £83.33; €92.43) and $199.99 (or £166.66; €193.27) respectively. Still on the fence? Watch the video below for a quick look at these beautiful controllers!



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Image credit: Novation (Instagram)