EM's Mike Levine and Gabriel Whyel (American Music & Sound/Novation)
Novation SL Mk II ($499.99)
The new version of Novation's Remote SL Series brings more visual feedback, along with touch-sensitive dials and faders. Available with a two, four or five-octave keyboard or none at all, one of the models will fit in just about any studio configuration. The improved Automap 3 control-mapping software, with its semitransparent heads-up GUI, lets you make fast work of setting up and seeing what each control does. The unit retains the excellent keyboard mechanics from the original series but replaces the finger-numbing drum pads with soft-feel pads.