Novation 61SL MkIII controller vs. NI S61 Controller - which is better with GP?

Hello GP users. It’s almost 2023, and time for a new keyboard controller.

I’m looking for a second keyboard controller (I already have an 88-key weighted keyboard). The second keyboard will be used for VSTs hosted on Gig Performer, mainly synths, and possibly guitar solos à la Marty Wade style, but I don’t want to go for the full keytar yet. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have the Arturia V Collection 9 and NI Komplete 7, plus some Melda, Embertone, Spitfire, Sample Science and miscellaneous VSTs.

What say you, friends of GP? Would either of these make a good second controller for GP, or is there possibly another? I selected these two because they have the modulation and pitch wheels up front on the left hand side, which for me, is easier to reach.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Native Kontrol is my best choice for semi weighted keys, I find it perfect. But using it with GigPerformer you lose most keys and two displays. You get only 8 pots and 8 buttons.
It’s perfect at home to navigate inside presets of Native and Arturia. In that case displays are really helpful.
Novation has a huge set of controls, midi mapped, so all available for GigPerformer. But I don’t know the keybed, where I am extremely sensitive…


I chose the SL MKIII over the S61 as a second keyboard and because it has more controls, but more importantly because you can control the displays (which you can’t really do with the SI61).

If the NI S61 gave the ability to fully control the displays I probably would have gone that route. But NI shows no interest in making screen control available. They’re nice if you’re content to use them exclusively with NI’s software, but they don’t do much for use with GigPerformer.

The SL MKIII display and buttons are fully accessible through a programming API. I’ve written a GigPerformer extension for it (which I’ll make freely available if you or anyone else wants to use or modify it. It’s up on Github, but I still have it tagged as private.)

The picture below is probably hard to make out very well, but I have the displays showing GP parameter names on each of the 8 knobs, the knob position, and the text value (e.g., -2db or whatever). The arrows to the left of the display can “bank switch” through however many banks of knobs you feel like creating for each rackspace. I have the buttons underneath the displays set up to select Rackspace/Variation/Song/Songpart and you can scroll through those with a different set of arrow keys. The names of the Racks/Variations, etc. are on the bottom lines of the display right above the buttons.

I find the keybed to be fine for semi-weighted synth style keys.


@Furio thank you for your response, and @Vindes, wow, you’ve really taken it up a level with your SL MKIII. I did notice in watching a demo video on the NI S61 that they only showed NI instruments. So your reply is exactly the kind of information that I was hoping to get from other GP users. I would love to learn more about your GP extension to make the SL MKIII display and buttons accessible from GP. Thanks for making that share offer.

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It looks like a killer application.
Any way to show us details? A video maybe?
It’s enough to buy a Novation controller only for that reason

Awesome, please share it, as there will be Novation users interested in having this extension.

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Are you able to control the LED button state when the Novation is not using “In Control” mode? I have a template that I use with Gig Performer. Unfortunately, Novation does not allow incoming MIDI messages when the controller is in “In Control” mode.

I really haven’t done anything with the SL MK3 outside of In Control mode. I bought it with the intention of using it in the In Control mode and honestly haven’t even looked at the other features (sequencer, CV controls, etc) outside of In Control mode.

I don’t think I have a decent way to do that.

I did make the GitHub repository public, so anyone who has an SL MK3 and wants to try it out can do so. I’m new to GitHub so I will probably need some of the experts around here to give me some tips on how to get it set up properly.

The GitHub repository is at GP-SL-MK3 Extension.


That’s completely awesome Vindes… thanks so much for sharing the Github with the community!

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Looks awesome! Is it possible to use Zones with InControl mode (and this extension)? Would be nice to see splits with led feedback on the keyboard.

Good question. I’ve never actually used any of the Zones/Sequencer/Arp type features on the keyboard so don’t know off hand how any of those work (or don’t work) with inControl mode.

The key LEDs are addressable through inControl mode, so I don’t think it would be very difficult to implement something in the extension to light key LEDs different colors to reflect different splits. This would probably be most practical if you’re controlling the split through GP rather than using the Zones feature of the keyboard.

Even better if LEDs addressable through InControl mode :+1: I haven’t done splits in Gig Performer per se, but made them inside Halion VST. So basically I could just put 61 (invisible) widgets to each rackspace and click those on/off for right keys :smile: Not most elegant solution but would probably work.

I’m getting a SL mk3 next week, but checked out pptx of the extension, everything is very well explained. Can’t wait to test the extension!

Hi Vindes,

I have just tried your GP-SL-MK3 Extension.
I’m able to build it under Windows and under Mac and it is recognized by GigPerformer 4 (Version 4.5.8) at startup, but then the following error message is displayed (on Windows and Mac):

The extension is more recent than this version of Gig Performer. You have to upgrade Gig Performer to use this external.

The problem is, that Version 4.5.8 is the most recent version that is available.)

Do you have any hint to solve this problem?

Thanks for any support

If you go to the GitHub page and click on the Releases on the right you can download the compiled files and copy the files into the correct places. Those were built for 4.5.8.

Hello, I did download the latest version but also get the message : The extension is more recent than this version of Gig Performer. You have to upgrade Gig Performer to use this external.
Gig Performer is the latest version 4.5.8

Sorry, it appears there were some issues with the files previously in that Releases folder.

I have updated them so they are now functional with 4.5.8 and I included a very basic sample Gigfile illustrating some of the widget types and how they control what’s on the displays. There’s also a pdf version of the documentation in each of the Mac and Windows release zips.

You can get to it here: Releases · WidnerM/GP-SL-MK3 (


Thank you very much.

would it be possible to make a basic sample gigfile using the lostin70s keysof the70s plugin.
Now your using pianoteq 8 and I can’t figure out how it works.
Maybe step by step instructions how to set it up from zero?
I have put my sl61mkIII in incontrol mode but nothing happens on the keyboard.
I want to mention I really apreciate the work you’ve done !

Whether you have pianoteq or not will not effect whether the extension links the widgets to the controls on the SLMK3. The extension just displays the widgets as configured in the rackspace. You can leave those widgets in place and just bind them to a different plugin through the usual GP mechanism.

If the widgets are not displaying on your SLMK3 then it could be:

  • you didn’t enable the extension. You need to enable it through the GP “Options → Extensions” menu item
  • you don’t have the midi input and output ports enabled in the “Options → MIDI Ports” menu
  • you may need to restart GigPerformer after enabling the extension for the first time
  • your system may assign the SLMK3 a different midi port name than expected. If so, the extension would need to be told where to find it.

If you open GP’s Script Logger window by clicking “Windows → Show Script Logger” the extension will report there what MIDI input and output it is trying to communicate on. If those don’t match the names your computer assigns to the second midi ports of the SLMK3 then you’ll need to create text widgets in the global rackspace with the correct port names.

Those widgets must be named “sl_midiin” and “sl_midiout” (using the OSC/GPScript Name field on the Advanced tab of the widget editor) so the extension knows how to find them. Then change the caption (on the General tab of the widget editor) to whatever shows up as the port names in GP’s MIDI Ports window. The default should be “MIDIIN 2 (Novation SL MkIII)” and “MIDIOUT2 (Novation SL MkIII)”. You’ll probably need to exit and restart GP after adding those (if that’s the issue).

I’ll add that and some basic set up instructions to the documentation.

Let me know if you get it working.

adding the text widgets in the global rackspace with the correct port names was the solution !