Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Arturia Keystep

MIDI controllers are convenient because they can help navigate the music software. Different controllers may provide different levels of features and compatibility, such as the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Arturia Keystep, which are perfect for Ableton users. These controllers offer similar features and are relatively compact for the studio and stage. However, they are also different, and let’s see which you should get.

In this comparison, we will talk about the following:

  • What are the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • How is the Design of Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • How is the Keyboard in Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • How is the Pad in Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • How is the Knob in Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • What are the Features of Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep?
  • Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Arturia Keystep
  • Which MIDI Controller to Buy?
Novation Launchkey Mini MK3Arturia Keystep
Product Dimensions1.61 x 6.77 x 12.99 inches
19.09 x 5.71 x 1.42 inches
Shipping Weight16 ounces
3.1 pounds
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About the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep

Do you need a MIDI controller? This gear is crucial in a setup for its ability to control the software. Yes, you can navigate the DAW with a mouse and keyboard, but it will feel less natural because there are many functions and features to handle. The MIDI controller is like a physical control for the software to improve the workflow. The best or most popular controllers are expensive, but there are many good controllers to consider, such as the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep.

These controllers are excellent options for the price, but they may have some differences that sway your decision. One of the main differences between the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep is the number of keys because the Mini MK3 is a compact keyboard with 25 keys to save space, similar to the Launchkey 25 that you can see in our previous Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Launchkey 25. On the other hand, the Arturia Keystep is available in a few options, but the smallest has 35 keys.

There are also many other differences, such as the amount of physical control on the Arturia Keystep, but everything should fit your preferences. The Keystep is a simpler controller as it only has the keyboard keys and a few numbers of knobs and buttons, while the Mini MK3 is the more versatile choice as it carries more features. If you want more physical controls and want to drum on the pads, the Mini MK3 is more compact, cheaper, and offers more features.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep Design

Another difference between the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep is build quality. The Mini MK3 is primarily made of plastic and is well-built for the price, but it isn’t the most rigid gear you will have. The Arturia Keystep is sturdier with a metal base and plastic top panel. Since this controller has more keys, the length is wider than Mini MK3, but the depth is shorter. Price may vary depending on the seller, but the Keystep is usually more expensive than Mini MK3.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep Keyboard

The keyboard is integral to your MIDI controller because it is used to enter the note or chord. These mini keyboards are shorter than typical keyboards or digital pianos but should be enough to trigger the note or chord. The keys are generally light and springy, with a slightly mushy feeling once you push them fully. However, the Keystep keys are better since they feel more solid and sturdy. Like most MIDI keyboards, the keys are sensitive, meaning you can control the signal sent depending on the pressure level.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep Pads

The pad is the next part to see in a MIDI keyboard. The pads are crucial for some people, especially if you love finger drumming, and this control is missing from the Keystep. Most MIDI controllers, including the Mini MK3, have sensitive pads. This controller has 16 sensitive pads backlit in different colors, which should be enough for most users. The arrangement is divided in two to save space. The pad’s size is relatively small, but they are comfortable unless you have big hands, then the spacing and size can be too small.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep Knobs

Of course, the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep have the knobs, but MK3 has more to offer. These knobs are mapped for various functions and are regular knobs, so you can’t rotate them continuously as they will stop. The MK3 has eight knobs which are programmable for different software. The Keystep only has three knobs and a switch to change the function. The knobs on Keystep are rubbery and larger, which arguably feel better and more robust if you are worried about longevity.

As for the pitch bend, both controllers have two stripes for each function. We prefer this controller because it is easier to use than the joystick, like in the MPK mini. Some new users may need to get used to the stripes, but they are intuitive and more convenient while saving space, especially on the height when you need to transport the gear.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep Features

As for the additional features, the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep have major differences. First is the connectivity because Keystep has more to offer, including MIDI in/out connectors and a dedicated power separated from the USB port. The Mini MK3 only has a USB port, pedal connector, and MIDI out connector. Second is the features because Mini MK3 misses the sequencer, which is native on the Keystep. Other basic features like the arpeggiator, octave shift, and transport controls are available on both controllers. Read also: Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Oxygen Pro Mini.

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 Vs Arturia Keystep

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 and Arturia Keystep are some of the most compact controllers you can buy. The main differences between these controllers are the number of keys and features because the Keystep has more keys and is wider, but it has no drumming pad. The Mini MK3 also has more knobs, meaning more physical control to assign to your software. The build quality is better on the Keystep, including the build quality. The number of ports is also higher on the Keystep.

- Get hands on with Ableton Live - Have a seamless music making experience with Ableton Live and your Launchkey Mini. Have all the tools at your disposal with deep and intuitive Ableton Live control — including device macro control, track select, record, capture MIDI, clip and scene launch, stop/mute/solo, volume, pans and sends.
- Get creative easily with arpeggiator - Easy to use but deeply controllable, Launchkey Mini’s creative arpeggiator allows you to change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, gate and more to add a whole range of diversity to your ideas and melodies.
- Play chords with one finger - Lay down chords for your track quick with fixed chord mode. Play a chord with one finger by assigning a fixed shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard.
- Launchkey Mini goes anywhere with you - Send apps and program changes to your hardware synths with MIDI Out, or add keys to your Groovebox directly over MIDI. Launchkey Mini’s lightweight and compact design means it goes anywhere you do. The hardware is bus-powered which is great for travelling and jamming on the go.
- VERSATILITY IS KEY: KeyStep widens the creative potential of your setup! This portable musical tool combines a keyboard controller with a polyphonic step sequencer to control both analog and digital devices. Compatible with synths or keyboards, analog or digital, hardware or software, it’s built for effortless real-time composition and live performance.
- HIGHLY PLAYABLE: Its ‘Slimkey’ keyboard action balances the main features of compact mini-keys with the musicality of full-sized keys, complete with velocity and aftertouch, giving you the freedom of portability without sacrificing playability. You can compose and perform effortlessly with 8 programmable sequence memories, change the feel of your sequences with on-the-fly gate time and swing adjustment, and transpose and overdub in real-time. You are set for hours of musical adventures!
- GO BEYOND SEQUENCING: Each feature has been thought out to match live artists' hopes and needs. In Sequencer mode, you can record, play and transpose a polyphonic sequence with up to 64 steps and 8 simultaneous notes per step. Sequencer mode also allows you to rewrite in real-time your sequence and even to play and sequence simultaneously on two different MIDI channels.
- ARPEGGIATOR AND CHORD MODES: You can also play up to 8-note chord voicings with a single key thanks to Chord mode or create exciting melodies and rhythms in seconds with KeyStep’s flexible 8-mode arpeggiator. It allows you to play each note of a chord consecutively instead of simultaneously.


There is no wrong option between the two because we may have different preferences. We recommend the MK3 for those who want more features because this controller has pads and more knobs, including all basic features like an arpeggiator. This controller is also more portable if you need to travel with the gear. However, the Keystep is better for stationary setup and those who want more keys. This controller is also well-built and more straightforward if you dont need the additional features.