MIDI Controller for Software Synthesizers

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
Gabriel Garcia
KVRer
19 posts since 18 Feb, 2015 from Argentina

Post Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm

I'm looking for a MIDI controller to be used with software synthesizers.

Basically what I want is a controller with some faders and knobs (maybe some pads/buttons as well) to control some of the software synths I already own (none in particular).

I'm thinking of at least 8 faders to be mapped to 2 ADSR envelopes, and 8 knobs. It might include a keyboard (2 or 3 octaves) but it's not a must, since I already own a keyboard.

A google search led me to the Worlde Tuna Mini, but I don't like the touch modulation "wheel", and I would prefer 1 more octave. Something similar without the keyboard, could be Arturia's BeatStep, but I would prefer some faders as well.

chk071
KVRAF
25420 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:46 pm

Plugins and a DAW. On a operating system. Which runs on a computer.

pottering
KVRian
833 posts since 14 Dec, 2014

Post Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:18 pm

Korg NanoKontrol2?

EnGee
KVRAF
6335 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:14 pm

I didn't like the endless knobs on Nektar P4 (I guess it is the same on P1). They have 'smart' function that starts slow but if you make them fast, they turn very fast. I really hated it and tried to make it 'normal' but I couldn't. Maybe I missed something.

Knobs speed aside, there are positives and negatives (IMO) for the nektar mappings. They have almost all the known synths mapped which is a positive thing. The negative thing is that you need to go to keep changing pages till you find the one that has the parameter you want to tweak. Of course you can do your own mapping, but it takes time and patience (I don't have!).

I still have the NanoKontrol2 and although I don't use it that much because I already have a midi keyboard which has all the functionalities of NK2, it is a nice choice (and much cheaper than P1). You can use it as a "mixer" (Mackie Standard) or you can use it as midi CC which you can midi learn your synth to the knobs/sliders and control them. Personally, I used it sometimes as mixer, and sometimes as Midi CC controller. You need to unplug the cable and then while insert it, you press a combo of two buttons (as written in the manual) to have the mapping you want.

I use knobs and sliders mostly when I record automation. My most used controllers for automation are the Mod and Pitch wheels. For editing and making my own sounds though, I only use the mouse! It is much more convenient.
Here, I have saved you some money in the end I think :hihi:
My Setup: Windows 10 with Ryzen 1600x and nVidia GTX 1060 / Live 10 Suit with Push 2/ MODX 6 / MiniBrute 2 and KeyLab MK II / iTwo and HS7 monitors

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antic604
KVRAF
5899 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Post Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:00 am

Gabriel Garcia wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
...to control some of the software synths I already own (none in particular).
If the synths you own support NKS standard, then good idea would be to have a look at Komplete Kontrol range, because otherwise you'll end up having to map the synth parameters to buttons / knobs / sliders every time.

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/c ... keyboards/

Or perhaps a Maschine controller, if you already have good keyboard?

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/p ... /maschine/
MPC One / A4 Mk1 / OT Mk1 + Bitwig 3 / Reason 11 / Studio One 5 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604

Gabriel Garcia
KVRer
19 posts since 18 Feb, 2015 from Argentina

Post Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:52 am

EnGee wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:14 pm
I use knobs and sliders mostly when I record automation. My most used controllers for automation are the Mod and Pitch wheels. For editing and making my own sounds though, I only use the mouse! It is much more convenient.
That's what I'm aiming for, mostly for recording automation ;)

Also I like the idea of using them as a mixer, might be useful. And the transport buttons are cool to have too.

All the suggestions have some cool features, I'll have to decide exactly what would fit my needs better. The Kontrol series from NI is beautiful, and the M32 is not as expensive as I thought it would be, and the size is perfect for me.

chk071
KVRAF
25420 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:59 am

it's a nice keyboard, great keys as well.
Plugins and a DAW. On a operating system. Which runs on a computer.

User avatar
thecontrolcentre
KVRAF
28109 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:20 pm

Gabriel Garcia wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:43 pm
Basically what I want is a controller with some faders and knobs (maybe some pads/buttons as well) to control some of the software synths I already own (none in particular).

I'm thinking of at least 8 faders to be mapped to 2 ADSR envelopes, and 8 knobs. It might include a keyboard (2 or 3 octaves) but it's not a must, since I already own a keyboard.
https://www.jrrshop.com/novation-remote-zero-sl

EnGee
KVRAF
6335 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:11 pm

Gabriel Garcia wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:52 am
EnGee wrote:
Mon Sep 14, 2020 6:14 pm
I use knobs and sliders mostly when I record automation. My most used controllers for automation are the Mod and Pitch wheels. For editing and making my own sounds though, I only use the mouse! It is much more convenient.
That's what I'm aiming for, mostly for recording automation ;)

Also I like the idea of using them as a mixer, might be useful. And the transport buttons are cool to have too.

All the suggestions have some cool features, I'll have to decide exactly what would fit my needs better. The Kontrol series from NI is beautiful, and the M32 is not as expensive as I thought it would be, and the size is perfect for me.
Well, I would go for Arturia keystep instead. See Cuckoo review in YouTube. It has excellent build quality and keys sensitivity. NI has great hardware but not that flexible when comes to midi learn ... etc. You need to use their komplete control or maschine to take advantage.

I had M32 and sold it (also maschine mikro). Anyway, which DAW you are using? My current midi controller is Arturia keylab mk2 and it's great with most DAWs because it use standard Mackie mappings, but that might be expensive in Argentina (I lived in Uruguay for some years so I know ;) )

For Studio One, for example, I use mostly the PC keyboard because the shortcuts are so easy to access and are similar somewhat to Cubase.

The other DAW that very intuitive in workflow and shortcuts is Bitwig. Anyway, I use Live now as my main DAW and shortcuts are not bad. So, it also depends on what DAW you are using.
My Setup: Windows 10 with Ryzen 1600x and nVidia GTX 1060 / Live 10 Suit with Push 2/ MODX 6 / MiniBrute 2 and KeyLab MK II / iTwo and HS7 monitors

vitocorleone123
KVRian
759 posts since 30 Jun, 2014 from Pacific NW

Post Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:51 pm

Supplement whatever hardware you get with an iPhone or iPad - lots of MIDI control options.

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