Novation FLkey 37 Review – How Good Is It?

Today we will be taking an in-depth look at the Novation FLKEY 37. I’ve been a massive fan of Novation lately. I picked up the Novation 88 key MK3 and the 37 key MK3 earlier this year, and I was intrigued when I saw the FL Key37.

What piqued my interest about the FLkey 37 is that most MIDI controllers aren’t made specifically for an individual DAW. On top of that, only a few are compatible with FL Studio.

Note* I ended up adding the FL Key 37 to the top of my list for FL Studio MIDI controllers after reviewing it.

That’s where the Novation FLKey 37 comes into play. Again, It was a great move by Novation, and many producers will be happy as there’s a lot to like and very little to dislike here.

Best FL Controller
Novation FLkey 37 Keyboard Controller for FL Studio
5.0

The Novation FL Key provides producers with a streamlined workflow that allows for maximum productivity. You are also able to control your DAW directly from the keyboard, for those of you who like the hands on approach.

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Key Take Aways

  • First MIDI keyboard controller specifically built for FL Studio
  • Controls the market for FL Studio keyboards
  • Great pads for laying down beats
  • Clean layout for controls
  • Immediate access to FL Studio functions
  • Fully integrated with channel racks/mixer
  • Integration with sequencer
  • Streamline workflow with FL Studio
  • Great fixed chord mode for laying down quick ideas
  • Lightweight
  • Extremely reasonable (low price)

Novation FLKey 37 Review

playing the fl keys
The size of the 37 key is perfect if you’re looking to get away from your studio desk

If you’re familiar with my reviews, you will know that I was hyped about the Novation 37 MK3 for apparent reasons. 

Novation keeps true to the MK3 design with the FLKey 37 and focuses on streamlining a more effective studio session for us producers. If you’re familiar with FL Studio, you will know that there are few compatible MIDI keyboards, especially right out of the box.

Coming in at just 4.9 lbs and packed with 16 programmable pads that can be used to control FL studio racks, sequencer, and play beats, the FLkeys 37 presents something for all levels of producers.

With a dedicated controller, the one fear that producers may have is price concerns. This is where Novation was smart: providing an option of just $199 for a piece of gear that controls your DAW seamlessly is a win.

For a quick overview, Akai’s Fire was the first FL Studio dedicated controller, but it lacked keys and didn’t have the same capabilities as the FLKey 37.

Key Features

  • Step sequencer
  • Volume/pan control via eight pots
  • Flawless integration with FL Studio
  • Channel rack playability via 16 pads
  • Chord mode – great for beginners
  • Scale mode – great for beginners who aren’t familiar with playing in specific key signatures
  • Instrument control via pads
  • Plug and play
  • Select presets from the controller

The FLKeys 37 is an excellent tool for producers with limited music theory knowledge, with features such as chord fix mode. You can play chords for beats without knowing how to play chords, essentially.

Design

I love the hardware synthesizer design that Novation took for this keyboard. It’s boxy, yet everything is where it needs to be, and it doesn’t feel cheap like many other MIDI keyboards.

Regarding layout, it was straightforward to get into a nice workflow when laying down simple, quick beats in FL Studio with the drum pads. In addition, quickly controlling FL Studio from the keyboard enhances your workflow after you get the hang of it.

Here are the official dimensions:

  • Width:21.85″
  • Height:3.03″
  • Depth:10.16″
  • Weight:4.9 lbs

Keys

The keys play exceptionally well for the price point. In addition, their larger keys allow for expressivity with aftertouch included.

I laid down a few ripping solos within 10-15 minutes of plugging into FL Studio.

Connectivity

You can control some of your favorite synths with a 5-pin MIDI DIN connection. You are also able to assign specific parameters to the FL Keys 37.

On top of this, connecting is a breeze as it’s a classic USB connection to your computer.

Pads

This keyboard boasts 16 pre-programmed pads that allow you to navigate the channel rack and search for new presets quickly.

They play surprisingly well. I’ve seen a couple of people mention that they were struggling to lay down beats with the pads, and I had the opposite experience with mine. The pads are on the stiffer side but were exceptionally accurate when laying down to the grid.

You can also use the pads to play in scale and chord modes. These pads make it almost too easy for producers to quickly lay down great-sounding chords to their latest beat.

So, what is scale mode? You can activate scale mode if you want to have fun with some bass or keyboard solos but lack knowledge of scales. In this mode, you can choose a scale such as Ionian, Dorian, or Mixolydian and let it rip. 

 All you have to do is choose the note, and the scale and the notes will transpose themselves for you in real time.

Performance

The FL Keys performed exactly as I thought it would: exceptionally. As I own the Mk3 88 and 37, I had a good idea of what to expect. Where it exceeded my expectations was its sequencer and how well integrated it was with FL Studio.

Sequencing different rhythms/patterns on the fly is key when writing music. You can do this and quickly lay down a keyboard part over the sequence.

If you love to write music and travel frequently, I recommend trying out the mini FL Keys.

Size Variations

The FLkey series comes in the following sizes:

  • 25 keys
  • 37 key mini
  • 37 keys

Bundled Software

With a lower price, I didn’t expect as much bundled software. However, the FL keys series boasts impressive software that instantly makes your mixes sound better.

Below is a quick look at the software included:

  • Membership to Novation’s Sound Collective
  • Six-month trial to FL Studio (producer’s edition)
  • Addictive Keys – This is my favorite included software for the FL Keys. 
  • AAS Session Bundle – Includes lounge lizard electric piano (incredible electric piano VST)
  • Spitfire Audio LABS Strings – Impressive sounding strings
  • Klevgrand – nice reverb/delay, also comes with cassette for vintage effects

Compatibility

Here’s a quick look at the compatibility for your FLkey 37.

  • Windows – 11, 10, 8.1
  • MacOS – 12, 11, 10.15

VS The Competition

While other great MIDI controllers are available, I have yet to find another controller to control the racks and streamline the process with FL Studio, like the FL Keys 37.

Bottom Line

You can’t go wrong with this keyboard if you’re an avid FL Studio fan. The FL Keys 37 boosts creativity and efficiency and is one of the most reasonably priced options available in 2022.

Best FL Controller
Novation FLkey 37 Keyboard Controller for FL Studio
5.0

The Novation FL Key provides producers with a streamlined workflow that allows for maximum productivity. You are also able to control your DAW directly from the keyboard, for those of you who like the hands on approach.

View Price At Sweetwater
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
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