Choosing A Live Performance Midi Controller Under Linux Os

Hi, :)
Arr, I have it.

Though I don’t want to write a negative opinion, I don’t recommend it honestly :rolleyes: .
Especially if you want to use it as a grid controller for Renoise, it’s not suitable.
It’s quite unique (even strange) controller.
And there is no documentation for the bi-directional comunication, therefore we cannot make a good Duplex control-map for it.

Also do you already see the Video “iSatge for Ableton Live” on their site?
Actually, iStage cannot recognize the Live’s clips automatically. You must set them one by one by hand. It’s quite strange method. :wacko:

Simply, I recommend LaunchPad or APC or others for Renoise.

In case you opt for a Launchpad, Petit Volcan wrote this ALSA driver for Linux:

Thanks for the answer. ;)

by the way, is the akai APC 20 working on Linux ? The extra mixer features seems interesting, comparing to the Launchpad.

Yes it works fine. (I have tested it only in ubuntu though)

And you have to use a AC adapter for APC. LaunchPad is usb bus power.

Great ! I’m using a sort of “fork” based on Ubuntu 10.04LTS (Tango studio 1.1), so it should work. No need for extra drivers ? Really USB compliant devices are not so common :lol:

I found that controller interesting because of the “mixer” part of it. So in one controller, you’ve got (sort of) launchpad + Kord nanokontrol (the one with faders) :D

Usually I’m a Win Vista user though, this is the ScreenShot on Ubuntu Studio 11.04.
Simply, plug APC20 and set Duplex’s in&out ports.

:excl: [Note] About nanoKONTROL2:
It works on Ubuntu too. But if you want to use it for the bi-directional comunication, you should set nanoK2’s LED mode to “External” by using the Korg’s editor. I think this setting is not possible on the hardware only. So, you need Win or Mac just for the setting. ;)
Also nanoK2 seems to send very accurate midi signals, therefore it tends to be cpu heavy a bit, I need more testing though.
Well, nanoK2 itself is interesting controller, and I like it too. :)

Really nice ! That’s a really complete answer. I’ve got an old g4 mac if needed (for nanokontrol). For renoise and more generally speaking, wich one will work better (or be more usefull, to be more specific) ? APC20 or launchpad ?

APC20 seems (if I understand correctly your answer) really USB compliant, so I should be able to use it with any linux music software, am I right ? For now I just do the math : launchpad + nanokontrok (the one with faders) cost more than the APC20. Since I’m on budget…

For now I’m using that kontroller :

I believe it will easily replace the mix features on the APC40. By the way, does Renoise got a soft takeover feature ? Since my DJ kontroller 's got 2d and 3rd level controls (you can punch select buttons, shift, etc…so the pads can be used for other fonctions, depanding if lights are on, off, or blinking). As far as I know, the only issue is that I cannot use the crossfader in any other software than MIXXX (not speaking of ableton, traktor and other expensive softwares I cannot afford, of course).

Seeing most of the DAW/midi software availables, a midi mixing controller (like the nanokontrol, or the faders part of the apc20) seems to be a must have. It’s why I’m thinking of what would be the best to complete my KDJ500. For what I understood, I’d need a grid controller + a faders controller.

For now, I’m wondering about 3 different setups :

Launchpad + nanokontrol2 (but it’s too expensive for now, honestly)
nanokontrol2+nanopad2 (=2x8 pads) (or any other cheap grid controller)

The main required features are :

perfect fit for Renoise (and if possible, other linux programs)
Good addition to my current DJ MIDI control (KDJ500), especially for live performance
Budget (most important thing, I’m afraid)

Any other (cheap or cheaper) ideas will be appreciated :lol:

Many thanks

Well, it’s a difficult question and hard to reply for me since I never touch LaunchPad. Please chose yourself. ;)
But in the Renoise forum, I guess there are more many LaunchPad user than APC20.

Mmm, basically yes. But please see the Akai’s page.

APC doesn’t have it’s own editor, so the midi signal layout is fixed like the image in the page.
Also, APC has internal mode called “Generic Mode” and “Ableton Live Mode”. Duplex support “Ableton Live Mode”, therefore we can use full bi-directional comunication in Renoise.
But if you use APC with other linux music software which doesn’t support “Ableton Live Mode”, you will use simple “Generic Mode”. (About each mode, please refer the comunication protocol pdf)

Well, if the music software has MIDI-learn function, it may be enough though.

Currently, only the Mixer app of Duplex has the feature (only for mixer volume). It is dependent on future development.

Well, this is just my humble advice though, if you chose from the 3 setup and if you want to use Mixer for live performance mainly, I recommend APC’s mixer rather than nanoKONTROL2. As said before, nanoK2’s fader sends very accurate midi signals, therefore it’s slightly cpu heavy than APC’s mixer.
But anyway, please chose yourself. :)

Btw, shouldn’t we change the thread title?? I feel somewhat sorry for icon iStage. :wacko:

Thank you for the answer. I cannot change the topic title, unfortunatly :lol: A better title would be “choosing a live performance midi controller under linux OS” :lol:

I have to think about it. I think I should first try to see what can be done with my kdj500 controller. WIth the 2rd and 3rd “shift” levels of control (select buttons change the controls), I should be able to have this kind of template :

Uploaded with

EDIT : by the way, to focus on the main subject, too bad the Istage is not that interesting. The device design would fit perfectly my budget minded needs :(

So under 200USD (or 180euros), no other choices than APC20 or Launchpad, for grid control, correct me if I’m wrong ?

What about akai MPD related devices ? It seems quite nice too for my needs : a mixer, a 4x4pads (wich can be used, as I imagine, for grid control AND for live samples performance like on MPCs, with the sensitive pads ?), a few knobs and banks…

How do Renoise manage it ? It seems pretty compliant for what I readed, and has also midi DIN plugs for universal compatibility with whatever software.

What do you think about it ?


You probably mean this…

I know, but it’s definitly not for my wallet ^_^

By the way, I found Icon Istage at around 70euros…Can’t beat the price. Too bad it’s not “renoise friendly”. Is there any workaround to use it as a grid controller not using Duplex, but midi learning, for example ?

The applications that I use are mainly Renoise and MIXXX. For Mixxx, I’ve got the KDJ500, but a sample “launcher” would be a nice feature. I also plan to develop my live performance abilities (I like MIXXX a lot but I want to go deeper in “on the fly” creativity), it 's why I may prefer a sensitive pad (for sample loops, but also drums, etc…) than a “simple” grid controller. It’s why I think akai MPD-like devices or other touch sensitive device should do the job.

The istage controller is touch sensitive, apparently. I also found (on a german music webshop) a cheap “MPD28 sort of” clone, for less than 100euros. Could do that job, maybe ?

Not the best grid controller, not the best pad controler, but something “all around” for my bedroom studio setup. I don’t plan to start a new carreer or steal Plastikman’s job :lol: I just want to have fun playing and creating sound.

I’d made the Duplex config for MPD26 before, though I’d already sold it in auction.
Simply you can try it in Duplex browser. (you can touch another controller maps in Duplex too , even if you don’t have the hardware)

It manages Mute&Solo in PAD BankA, and Selecting Effect Device in PAD BankC.
Of course, the faders, knobs and Transport work fine.

It’s possible to use it for both grid controling and playing pads, if you set both native Renoise midi port and Duplex’s midi port. However, if suitable midi-note mapping is not done, un-intentional sounds will be triggerd during grid controling. (since you cannot map midi-cc value to the MPD26’s pads, you should use midi-note signals to both grid controling and sample triggering)

Since you can do all edits on the MPD26 hardware only, probably it will also be able to use on Linux (I never tested it though).

Well, if I make the Duplex configs for MPD26 now, I may make more different config (for example Grid-Pie, etc). The strong point of Duplex is you can edit it yourself as you like.

And about iStage, please wait a bit (I cannot reply in English so soon ;) )

Hmm indeed, I tend to praise Duplex too much maybe. Of course you can use Renoise’s native midi mapping with any controller.
Then, I calm down once and have tested iStage again on Ubuntu. But believe me, still I don’t recomend it so much. It is an aggregate of applications like a toy. :(

Indeed, yes. But it’s not good feeling compared with the Akai’s one.

You mean this, don’t you??

Yeah, it’s quite Akai-ish :blink: . Honestly, I cannot judge only by the image. But if all the parts on it work properly even in Linux, it will do a better job than iStage, imho.

Thank you for your detailed answer. I think I’ll go for the akai-ish device. For the price, I don’t take too much risk, especially since the machine has DIN midi ports, programmable functions and external power supply, even if the USB connection is not linux compatible (but if it’s really usb compliant, it should work I guess), I’ll still have the good old way to use it on my linux PC.

I’ll make a little review of it as soon as possible. And I’ll try tosee what can be done under DUplex.

Thanks again !

edit : I ordered the controller. I 'll let you know how it performs. :drummer:


THe “akai sort of” controller should be on my home’s way now :lol:

I saw that interesting feature in Renoise (again, I guess I find one new great feature in that software everyday or so :lol: ) :

That could be the best companion for Icon I-stage, instead of Duplex, perhaps ?

Now Grid Pie has been ported to Duplex too (and it’s still going to be improved).
You can use it both as a simple script with midi-mapping and as a Duplex app, as you like.

Also, try the MPE with midi-mapping. It must be suitable for your controller.

Nice ! New features I didn’t know :dribble: The MPE seems really powerfull too. Now I’m polishing my linux workstation (finally, I choosed a minimal Ubuntu 10.04LTS +RT kernel+Jack, dual core and plenty of ram, instead of using a music dedicated distribution), then I’ll learn Renoise (and buy the licence), and play around with my controllers (KDJ500 + mpd clone). And, later, I’ll see what I should add into my setup. Probably a grid controller, I guess, but maybe not. I need to see how everything works together, first. And save money, since the launchpad appears to be the way to go (or if I can save a LOT of money, a Livid grid controller… :lol: )

Again thank you for your help and your patience.

nevermind ^_^