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Favorite Hardware-/Midi Controller

edited April 30 in General App Discussion

Hi guys,
what is/are your favorite midi/hardware controller(s) for having a hands-on experience when making music on the iPad?
I'm missing knobs and sliders in my setup to edit synth/sequencer parameters.

I would love to have an all in one solution for keys and knobs/sliders but I haven't seen any good ones out there, doing both worlds equally good, so I will probably add one controller for note input & one for parameter/midi editing.

Edit: I should mention that I only looked for small setups, big keyboards do have a good combination of both, but are not of great interest to me

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Comments

  • edited April 30

    Korg nanoKontrol 2 is great as a mixer controller. I also have the LaunchControl XL but I find myself using the Korg more often because it is more compact and does what I need. Mostly I’m using the mute and solo buttons with AUM.

    Korg nanoKeys Studio as a Midi keyboard. I’m not a piano player so for me it’s not a problem that the keys are rather basic. But this device is a great composer tool as you have a lot of scales build in, chord pads and knobs. When I’m on the go this device fulfills all my needs: playing notes with the keys, finger drumming with the pads and controlling some synth parameters with the knobs. The device is very lightweight and has got Bluetooth - no cables, no dongle, no hassle.

    Arturia BeatStep Pro. I totally fell in love with this device and can only say the best things about it. It enriched my music making more than any other device I bought. It’s so easy to come up with a beat and some melodies. Moreover it’s a great synth controller with 16 endless knobs. You can use the three sequencer tracks and the controller knobs all together so this device became quickly the center of my music making. It’s kind of heavy though.

  • I have an Akai MPK 261, pads, knobs, faders and keys. The 249 also has all four. The 225 lacks faders. I like mine. They seem a little pricey compared to similarly spec’ed but generally get very good reviews.

  • Launch Control XL for hands-on editing and mixing.

  • Kenton Killamix Mini for knobs.

  • Yes, I can confirm exactly that setup: NC2, NC Studio and BSP are the perfect setup for me though NC Studio is more for „on the road“. I prefer to use my Monologue as a keyboard.

    BSP is really awesome. It is long lasting, fast and easy to operate, „feels“ great, integrates everywhere. I have created some Mozaic stuff for me to get more magic out of the BSP. One drawback of the BSP is that it does not support CCs in the sequencer. Therefore you get the possiblity to shift notes in the drum sequencer which I often use.

    I was also looking for an all in one solution first, but there where to many compromises.

  • I’ll vote for this one too! I also have an Akai Midimix …that gives me 16 channels. And an Cme xkey > @auxmux said:

    Launch Control XL for hands-on editing and mixing.

  • edited April 30

    After testing a lot of portable hardware (Korg, Akai,M-Audio), I stayed with
    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32
    It has midi sized keys (bigger and more usable than mini but smaller and more portable than standard keys) and there are 32 of them. After a lot of experience with 25 key setups, I find it to be the minimal number of piano keys. Knobs are awesome in term of ergonomy and there are 8x4 sets of them (mapping sets switch ultra fast on a press of a button).
    A bit of a bummer is the fact that all the other hardware buttons are inactive in iOS but the size and quality of the keys (and knobs) recompense for it fully.

    For a second controller with sliders Midimix does a pretty good job, if you can stand those tiny hard rotating Akai knobs.

  • @Bele Which sequencer are you using?
    I don't know of a single one that lets you edit everything using a MIDI remote, they're all quite limited compared to touch screen interaction.

  • @rs2000 said:
    @Bele Which sequencer are you using?
    I don't know of a single one that lets you edit everything using a MIDI remote, they're all quite limited compared to touch screen interaction.

    The one's i use the most are rozeta suite, drambo, polyphase

  • @Bele said:

    @rs2000 said:
    @Bele Which sequencer are you using?
    I don't know of a single one that lets you edit everything using a MIDI remote, they're all quite limited compared to touch screen interaction.

    The one's i use the most are rozeta suite, drambo, polyphase

    I've been working with MIDI controllers since a very long time and in terms of sequencing, I wonder how much of an advantage a MIDI controller will add to touch screen operation.

    I would start super simple with something like the suggested Korg Nanokontrol (both v1 and v2 work) and see if you end up using it enough to warrant further purchases.

  • +1 for this, really good

    @auxmux said:
    Launch Control XL for hands-on editing and mixing.

  • @Sawiton said:
    I have an Akai MPK 261, pads, knobs, faders and keys. The 249 also has all four. The 225 lacks faders. I like mine. They seem a little pricey compared to similarly spec’ed but generally get very good reviews.

    By far my favorite all-purpose midi controller. It has all the necessary elements you need. The build quality is good. Even has an arpeggiator that responds to midi clock. Most importantly it can be used stand-alone with hardware and totally programmed from the front panel without the need of a computer.

  • My Yamaha digital piano. I have the MIDI OUT connected to a MIDI interface that I hook up to my iPad via USB.

  • :D I love this forum ! A gold mine for unknown gems !

    Faderfox PC12, or Sl MK3 Novation...had good times with a QuNeo also !

  • Midi Fighter Twister and launchpad mini are my controllers of choice.

  • @soundtemple was mostly responsible for me getting a Midi Fighter Twister and, along with a Launchpad X, it’s largely fulfilling my controller needs. I’m finding I get all the control I want without the need for faders.

    However, on my desktop my favourite hands on experience is from a Vestax vcm600, which I’ve seen reported here on the forum as working well with iOS. It’s a beast of a controller, no longer made, but I think you can pick them up fairly cheap (£100-£150). Built like a tank, lots of knobs, buttons and faders and no complicated software, a real pleasure to play with.

    Alternatively the Novation Remote series offers good options, I have a remote SL mk1, but they feel that much cheaper (which they were). The Novation Automap software for desktop is becoming obsolete, but you don’t need it for it to operate as a midi controller for iOS.

    One last recommendation would be the Behringer X-touch mini, no faders, but very cheap and very capable with 8 encoders with push switches and 16 buttons duplicated over 2 banks. You need a PC to run the midi editor if you want to change settings (no Mac version), but other than that restriction I find it a very capable and neat controller.

  • @os68ng said:
    Yes, I can confirm exactly that setup: NC2, NC Studio and BSP are the perfect setup for me though NC Studio is more for „on the road“. I prefer to use my Monologue as a keyboard.

    BSP is really awesome. It is long lasting, fast and easy to operate, „feels“ great, integrates everywhere. I have created some Mozaic stuff for me to get more magic out of the BSP. One drawback of the BSP is that it does not support CCs in the sequencer. Therefore you get the possiblity to shift notes in the drum sequencer which I often use.

    I was also looking for an all in one solution first, but there where to many compromises.

    Would you mind sharing your BeatStep related Mozaic stuff?

  • @krassmann said:

    Arturia BeatStep Pro. I totally fell in love with this device and can only say the best things about it. It enriched my music making more than any other device I bought. It’s so easy to come up with a beat and some melodies. Moreover it’s a great synth controller with 16 endless knobs. You can use the three sequencer tracks and the controller knobs all together so this device became quickly the center of my music making. It’s kind of heavy though.

    Can I ask you about this, @krassmann?

    When you say it enriched your music making, do you mean it allows you to do things that you couldn't do on an ipad (or on a second ipad)? Or is it about being a piece of hardware with physical knobs and pads, instead of software with a touchscreen? Or is it something else I don't even think of?

    Thanks much in advance.

  • edited May 2

    iPad Pro. As a second device. I also like the Novation LP Pro mk iii and there is a lot of support building around it. I've got a bunch of other stuff but I really enjoy my old school weighted piano from the 80s.

  • thanks for this thread!

  • I’m partial to my Komplete Kontrol S61, Maschine ... and my trusty old Yamaha P60, great weighted 88-key monster I’ve had for over a decade, still going strong. Had an Arturia Keystep for barely a year and multiple keys already stopped working; Loved it while it lasted.

  • @audiobussy said:
    iPad Pro. As a second device.

    How do you connect it to the first ipad when you use it as a controller? May I also ask what apps you use on the second ipad for controlling stuff on the first ipad? Thank you!

  • edited May 2

    Novation LaunchKey 37!
    It has lots of creative options like arpeggiation, fixed chords, strumming, good pads, full size keys, knobs, and receives frequent firmware updates. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff… oh and it’s price doesn’t break the bank.

  • Yes, plz!

    @ervin said:

    @audiobussy said:
    iPad Pro. As a second device.

    How do you connect it to the first ipad when you use it as a controller? May I also ask what apps you use on the second ipad for controlling stuff on the first ipad? Thank you!

  • @ervin said:

    @krassmann said:

    Arturia BeatStep Pro. I totally fell in love with this device and can only say the best things about it. It enriched my music making more than any other device I bought. It’s so easy to come up with a beat and some melodies. Moreover it’s a great synth controller with 16 endless knobs. You can use the three sequencer tracks and the controller knobs all together so this device became quickly the center of my music making. It’s kind of heavy though.

    Can I ask you about this, @krassmann?

    When you say it enriched your music making, do you mean it allows you to do things that you couldn't do on an ipad (or on a second ipad)? Or is it about being a piece of hardware with physical knobs and pads, instead of software with a touchscreen? Or is it something else I don't even think of?

    Thanks much in advance.

    I second the Beatstep Pro!
    Killer device, Swiss Army knife of midi controllers.

  • @steve99 said:
    @soundtemple was mostly responsible for me getting a Midi Fighter Twister and, along with a Launchpad X, it’s largely fulfilling my controller needs. I’m finding I get all the control I want without the need for faders.

    However, on my desktop my favourite hands on experience is from a Vestax vcm600, which I’ve seen reported here on the forum as working well with iOS. It’s a beast of a controller, no longer made, but I think you can pick them up fairly cheap (£100-£150). Built like a tank, lots of knobs, buttons and faders and no complicated software, a real pleasure to play with.

    Alternatively the Novation Remote series offers good options, I have a remote SL mk1, but they feel that much cheaper (which they were). The Novation Automap software for desktop is becoming obsolete, but you don’t need it for it to operate as a midi controller for iOS.

    One last recommendation would be the Behringer X-touch mini, no faders, but very cheap and very capable with 8 encoders with push switches and 16 buttons duplicated over 2 banks. You need a PC to run the midi editor if you want to change settings (no Mac version), but other than that restriction I find it a very capable and neat controller.

    Ditto! I love my Midi Fighter 3D and Twister. Both are only limited by your imagination.

  • Can confirm the usefulness of:

    Beatstep pro
    Midifighter twister
    Keystep (old regular)
    Launch Control XL

    Orba and some Mozaic scripts

  • Akai MPK Mini MK2/3 + Nanokontrol2 (Most portable and budget friendly)

    Or

    Launchpad Pro MK3/X + Launch Control XL
    (Launchkey Mini MK3/37 works well here too)
    (Works well with desktop and hardware X not so much for hardware)

    Or

    Keystep 37 + Beatstep Pro
    (Works amazingly with desktop and hardware)

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