I need a damn midi controller!

Ok, rather then groping around google, I figured I could pick your brains about this topic.

Midi controller…need one.

My desires:

  • plug in and play (usb 3?)
  • A couple octave range, no need for full court playground. Also realistic keys are not needed.
  • cannot be korg nanokey…I demolished one already
  • buttons and knobs . Not too many though.
  • easy easy routing (I use S1 )
  • price point, well just name your best opinions and I will sort through them.
  • does not need anymore bells or whistles…unless I find it interesting.

Thanks in advance!

I strongly advise going to a music store and trying some out.

I had an alesis v61. I loved the layout, loved the features, etc. BUT, the keys would give almost random velocities, which made using it almost impossible. Now it’s sitting in my closet being useless.

When you try them, press every note multiple times to make sure it’s consistent. My m-audio keystation plays just fine for unweighted keys. It’s just bulkier and doesn’t have the drum pads, which is a shame, so I had to augment it with a nonokontrol and nonopad.


Ok, let me ask you this… How big do I have to get to use sample libraries that have note triggers in like the C0-C1 range? Could I get away with a couple octaves or do I have to commit to a larger range?

I was hoping I could map the first octave of keys to the midi note changes, then use the other octave to play…is that possible?

well, obviously the bigger the better, but I rarely run into issues with a 61 key controller on my desk. I don’t have room for anything bigger on my desk. If I need bigger, I can go to my full size. But for just doing stuff quickly, it works fine. I usually find I only need a full size when I’m doing full on piano stuff.

I used to use a 49 key controller, which works fine most of the time too, but I did run into issues with the limited range. But that’s mostly because I do orchestration stuff, and with those sample libraries, the first octave is used up by key switches.

so for me personally, 49 keys I run into range issues quite a bit. with 61 keys, it’s pretty rare. But of course, it depends a lot on what you plan on doing with it.

Thanks! I guess it is time to hit the stores!

i love the novation stuff but yeah like others said go and try

[quote=“cptfiasco, post:3, topic:953, full:true”]
Ok, let me ask you this… How big do I have to get to use sample libraries that have note triggers in like the C0-C1 range? Could I get away with a couple octaves or do I have to commit to a larger range?
[/quote] Are you actually talking about note triggers or keyswitches? If keyswitches, what library? Most will allow you to re-assign the keyswitches to a more accessible portion of the keyboard. If not, you can change the incoming MIDI channel so that they only respond to a few working keys on your demolished Korg NanoKey, but ignore your primary controller.

I’m confused…A midi note change is playing like…C, D, E, F# etc…Midi note changes are what you use to actually play your keyboard. Right? So you want to only be able to play the keyboard on your very bottom octave? And then you want the other octaves to auto play? So is that like triggering arpeggiators and step sequencers within the library to play by themselves?

If that’s the case then usually you access the step sequencer in whatever program it might be, then specifically map the trigger for the step sequencer to any of the other available keys.

Novation is a great option, if and only if you aren’t heavily dependent on Waves plugins. Because of the way automap and the template editor are integrated, they’re very much not plug and play. But once you go to the work of setting them up, they’re AMAZING keyboards for anyone who does not use Waves plugins.

why problem with waves?

Hey @cptfiasco, when you get it narrowed down, let me know! I may be able to get it through my distributors.

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Nektar, Native Instruments, Yamaha, Korg, Novation, Nord, and Roland. All good stuff.

I would only get a Arturia, M Audio, Alesis, Behringer, Samson and Akai if you can’t swing one of the others budget wise.

Novation ‘wraps’ or creates its own version of every single plugin on your system. This is how Novation enables Automap (which is the software middleman) to achieve bi-directional control and visual feedback to and from the plugins.

Novation stubbornly refuses to fix the wrapper which has been broken for years. The Waves Shell will not scan in the Novation plugin manager. Logically, no Waves plugins post July of 2014 can be controlled via automap. Unfortunately the WavesShell update is all or nothing. So you can’t leave old versions of your EQ and compressor programs installed, while updating new versions of your 5.1 surround plugins. Total fail.

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Keyswitches I guess. In S1 the new presence xt sample synth has a bunch of new basses and (keyswitches?) allows you to change from full, muted, hammer-on, harmonics .

Just for my own curiosity, what puts Arturia in that list? They strike me as pretty solid builds etc.

Yes , I would be interested in this too. I was looking at a arturia 49 key one…300$

Ok , I like this one because it clearly states it integrates well with S1. It has knobs, buttons, pads and seems well reviewed.

I guess you can assign keyswitches to the pads?

Ah! Yes. To change articulations. Personally I prefer to MIDI learn pads and buttons to the keyswitches. Studio One should be able to do this. That way if you transpose the keyboard (or +1/-1 the octaves) out of reach of the keyswitches, you can always use pads or buttons instead. Because they don’t follow the transposition. That might be the easiest way to manage those.

Generally unless I’m on an 88 key keyboard, I have a hard time getting to keyswitches. Even when I’m using an 88 key board, I forget real quick which keyswitches do what. I also find that if I use pads, knobs, or sliders, they’re also easier to reach.

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I was sadly let down by the overall construction and the touch response of the action. And I really wanted to like this thing when it went on sale at GC not too long ago, because I have every plugin those guys make. If you’re close enough to a GC to take a quick look at one, I’d highly recommend it before ordering it online. It looks sooooo much better in the pictures that it does in person. You don’t see the construction and design flaws until you’re up close.

But regardless of my opinion, it could still be the perfect board for what you need. Don’t by any means let that sell it short. :wink:

Very little experience or knowledge in the area but all I can say is I’ve had an Alesis Q49 for about 4 years and it’s perfectly fine for my needs. Vel sensitive keys, pitch wheel, mod wheel, assignable sliders & not much else…

Ideally, would have preferred weighted keys (for piano) but not a big deal. It fits neatly accross a small PC desk too. Occasionally miss having extra keys so maybe Q61 which should be under $150.

i dont see how u can make it so cut n dry when describing quality?
this is terrible advice i feel.

you should read zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance