Sonic LAB: M-Audio Axiom Pro vs Novation SL MKII

Rob Jones puts them on his test bench      29/05/09

No flash plug

   QuickTime (MP4)  | iOS MP4    Windows Media 
14:39 mins
Take two just released, cutting edge, MIDI keyboard controllers - the M-Audio Axiom Pro 49 (49 keys) with its HyperControl bi-directional MIDI communication, and also the Novation SL MKII 25 (25 keys) featuring AutoMap, Novation's third generation MIDI mapping system. Rob tests each of these in Logic, ProTools, Cubase and Ableton's Live to give us an in depth appraisal of the two systems. Both the Novation and the M-audio are available in 25, 49 and 61 key models, though the 25 key model of the Axiom Pro does not have the additional 9 faders due to size limitations, which perhaps gives it the least value for money. There is also a keyboard-less version called the ZeRO SL MKII which also has no X/Y pad or joystick. Both also come with bundled software: Axiom Pro:
Ableton Live 7 Lite
M-Audio's Enigma Editor Software SL MKII
Ableton Live 7 Lite
502MB of Mike the drummer drum loops - live drum loops
Novation Bass-station synth virtual instrument
Loopmasters Samples library consisting of 1GB of royalty free samples Both feature additional MIDI In and Out ports for external gear connection. But the SL MKII has in addition a Thru port, plus a second MIDI Out for more connectivity. Pricing and Availability
M-Audio Axiom Pro 49 $599.95/£389
Novation SL MK II 25 $499.95/£329.99 Other Options
Axiom Pro 25 $499.95/£299 Axiom Pro 61 $699.95/ £479
SL MK II 49 $599.99/£399.99 SL MK II 61$699.99/£499.99 Note: All the above prices are list price. Street prices will be significantly lower.

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10 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
velocipede    Said...

Is this video any different from the one posted two weeks ago?

30-May-09 06:48 AM

NIck B    Said...

Correct, but we had to make a couple of changes

31-May-09 02:01 PM

fizmo    Said...

what about ableton?

01-Jun-09 12:16 AM

Nick B    Said...

Both controllers have good integration with LIVE, but at the time of review, there wasn't any information available for the Axiom.

I'll see if we can find out some more information about this and post here.

01-Jun-09 04:53 AM

Nick B    Said...

Actually, I should say that Axiom presets and information wasnt available at the time of review, but we have subsequently found out that told that it does, we know the SL does.

01-Jun-09 04:55 AM


Great video from our favorite Hugh Laurie look a like! ;)

01-Jun-09 05:06 PM

Ravloo    Said...

Thanks for making this video, it's a great help.

Can you explain further what you mean by "resorting to conventional midi, of course" when talking about how the sl mk2 falls short in terms of controlling logic's internal instruments and fx?

14-Jul-09 01:15 AM

Android    Said...

The broken Axiom key gives me a bad taste. I think the Novation is a better buy.

22-Jul-09 10:56 PM

Cedric    Said...

what's wrong with the sixth note on the axiom ? :o) couldn't find one that was new or did you break it yourself ?

24-Oct-09 04:46 PM

Survey says    Said...

I heard a lot of bad experiences with the M-audio controllers.The bad key on the axiom was obviously a statement.I think I would rather go for the SL unless M-audio builds their controllers more robust and sturdy. Thanks for this review.

11-Jan-10 10:53 PM

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