Novation Nocturn Review | Jon B.
Novation’s Plug-In Controller is a sophisticated compact way to streamline the performance of your music production or DJ software. This rugged, USB-powered mini controller offers an intuitive layout and promises to provide you with one-touch control over your favorite instruments and effects. A very cool gadget indeed.
The Novation Nocturn requires very little user setup, which is a very good thing. It’s designed for use with laptops and portable applications so Novation’s gone through great lengths to make the controller as automated and intuitive as possible, including enabling the unit to be powered by your laptop or desktop computer. The Automap Universal 2.0 software can be used in conjunction with any major DAW including Pro Tools. The unit allows DJS to instantly control automatable plug-ins by mapping buttons and rotaries on the Novation Nocturn to correspond with plug-ins within your software. Plug-in parameters are automatically mapped to Nocturn’s controls when you boot up and the controller is fully customizable with just a click for quick re-assigning of controls.
For those who are particularly tech-challenged like I am, the Novation Noctorun really does take care of a lot of what you would otherwise have to do yourself. It has an instant ‘learn’ function for re-assigning parameters to different controls. I like the fact that the controls are illuminated for ease of use in dark venues. It features eight LED-lit, touch-sensitive rotary encoders, eight assignable illuminated buttons and a 45mm cross-fader. The Nocturn also has a Speed Dial feature that instantly takes control of whatever your mouse clicks on within your DAW, which is a convenient feature, particularly helpful when you’re toggling back and forth between the controller and the DAW.
Use the Heads-Up Transparent Control GUI to view a transparent control map across your computer screen that you can hide at will. The Nocturn is well made and extremely compact at measuring only 5.4 x 1.9 x 1.9 inches and weighing in at 1.1 pounds (2.6 pounds altogether when shipped). The Noctorun will literally sit right in your hand and fits nicely into a backpack for ease of transport.
The Nocturn works seamlessly with Serato’s ScratchLive. Just use the FX plug-in screen in ScratchLive to map Serato’s controls to the actual knobs by rotating the assigning knob on the Nocturn as you map the ScratchLive controls and ScratchLive will automap to the appropriate control every time you boot up. Simple!
The Novation Nocturn MIDI controller is a great tool for the mobile, active DJ, and for under $100 there is no reason not to have one in your arsenal.