Hardware Question: Best Midi Controller


I just got a Akai MPK mini last month… now I really want something to control bpm/position/mixer etc in a handy fashion. I mostly use just renoise. Now I figure, I would want to buy the novation launchpad + novation nocturn, they seem to have perfect midi programming software as well… but when it comes to that, maybe just the apc20 is more than enough, although it has much less grid buttons, it has smart mixer already built in. what do you think?


Korg in general is highly recommended. Ive had the micro for 5 or 6 yrs now, and other than 2 faders broken in a BSE/Noisia mixing frenzy, its fine. The velocity sensitive pads RULE, especially since Renoise makes drumkit creation so easy. I have no complaints, though its somewhat larger of a footprint than some.

Ive been interested in the Launchpad to use along with teh micro, the 'Pad seems to be able to to everything that the Korg doesn’t easily do, mainly i just want to be able to navigate in Ableton without the DAMN MOUSE. (I keep hitting upon that issue; Renoise rules so much more every time I use another DAW that is mouse-centric.)

For cheap, you can get what is basiclaly the microKONTROL broken into 3, fades, pad rack, keys, as standalone nanoKONTROLs, around 100 USD. The microKONTROL itself is usually around 300 US, which isnt the cheapest.

I use the Korg for djing in Live with no hassles at all, set 6 pots as EQ, 2 fades as channel volume, some master channel fx triggered with the handy pad rack… I couldnt say if it would work with other mixing software, as I basically gave up beatmatching the old way and let my handy German robot, Live, do the grunt work so I can have fun and listen to music instead of hide in the mixer :P.

I also was interested in teh apc20, though Ive been hesitant to get an Ableton-focused controller like that (especially now that I found a way to do 92% of my live set in Renoise). The APC40 would be really cool if I used Live more than I do, a year ago i was drooling over it, but the 40 is really an all in one only-controller controller, for Ableton. It ought to have plenty of use in other DAWs but it seems to have a lot of features designed just for LIve… So yeah now its either the 20 or the Novation and im leaning novation way.

As for programming software teh Korg library utility is easy to use, quick, works fine with DAWs active… No complaints, other than the factory preset for Live isnt the best. No clip navigation.

also the microKONTROL came iwth a bunch of Lites, Live, Reason, and some Korg softsynths which are fun. Synths are demos with static every so often, and the Lites are old…\

Edit: was reminded today of a quirk in the micro; the ribbon connections inside sometimes work loose due to frenzied play, the LCDs turn off, and controls dont work properly… Ive opened the thing so many times for that reason… Its sitting here with the bottom cover off :P

Didn’t had so wonderful experiences with microKONTROL. I had hard time installing drivers. For some reasons it sometimes disconnects from my DAW’s. Some faders work sometimes and sometimes they don’t. Keys are too small for me for live playing. Some day almost all the right half of keys stopped working… If i knew what was awaiting me when I was buying it i wouldn’t grab it. Also my electribe sx’s display broke after like 2 years and i had to repair it in korg’s service center paying fat cash for it because they refused to sell me a display(i would put a new one myself). I own 3 korg devices and 2/3 had broken at some point. So i reckon korg’s stuff is quite cheap but quite unrealiable.
As for midi controllers i would recommend nanokeys for note inputing in step editing, since i can’t get used to inputing notes via pc keyboard. Also, in my opinion microKONTROL’s only good point are pads. Therefore i would reccomend you padKontrol instead.

I have a simple swissonic 49 keys master device. It never failed on me ever. I have it since, 2003 or 2004 i reckon and i payed 89 euros for it, including postage services.
Ofcourse, it only has a pitchbend and modulation wheel, so it doesn’t come packed with controllers. It does have velocity sensitive keys and also these still work perfectly. (no broken velocity sensors)
But it works and it works with plain old MIDI din cables. (No USB)

So cheap and reliable does exist.
However featurewise, it doesn’t have plenty to offer but it is definately a whole lot better than your computer keyboard…

Everybody, thanks for your answers, tips, and 10 page reviews ;D
Fresh out of cash so i’ll stay with the 8 knobs on the mini mpk for now… They’re bindable 4 different ways so it’s not bad really!! (4 pages, annoying shortcut to reach these programs but alright. And variable ranges on top of this is genius! Some are set 1-4 like PE/mixer/KZ/SE, some 0-127, anything) Big ups to Akai
Just 3 things i miss, more keys, pitchbend/modwheel, and the fact that it’s not endless knobs. All Novation controllers seem to have this, would be sweet to just rotate on from 127 to 0 or bind them ‘delta’…

Korg Kontrol49 all the way… actully the Novation and Akai’s are pretty sweet too…