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MIDI controller with assignable knobs and buttons... Keyboard Controllers
Old 15th December 2006
  #1
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MIDI controller with assignable knobs and buttons...

I already have an old MIDI keyboard that is fine for music input. However, currently I'm looking for some kind of MIDI controller with assignable knobs and buttons to control various virtual synthesizers and plug-in's. I was looking at some M - audio products such as the oxygen or axiom or Korg KONTROL49. I would love to get some input regarding a purchase.
Old 15th December 2006
  #2
Gear interested
 

All I can say that can't really recommend the Kontrol49, even though it depends a lot on which software you use with it. Ableton Live works pretty good, while Logic is really terrible to set up with this.

There might be people who disagree on this, but the Software ( at least on a mac ) is pretty unstable and not as easy to use as it seems at first glance.

The Keyboard itself is good, so are the pads, but the faders aren't very good.

I saw the Jazzmutant Lemur in a Studio yesterday and thought "Now THAT's a controller.."
Old 15th December 2006
  #3
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Dave Peck's Avatar
 

I can't give a specific recommendation but I can suggest a guideline. One of the most important differences between different types of midi knob-boxes is whether they have standard potentiometers or endless rotary encoders. Standard pots are like the regular knobs on most analog gear, which 'stop' at about the 7 o'clock and 5 o'clock positions when turned fully clockwise and counter clockwise. Endless rotary encoders just keep turning all the way around. For midi controllers, endless rotary encoders work much better.

here's why: Let's say you want to adjust the filter cutoff. The current value of the patch parameter is very low, like 23 out of 127 parameter steps. With an endless rotary encoder, you just start moving the control and the cutoff starts to increase, no fuss no muss. But with a standard pot it will behave differently. If the pot happens to be near the top of it's travel, turning it will either cause the filter cuttoff to instantly jump to the pot's position (LAME, if you want a smooth filter sweep) or you have to turn the pot DOWN until it matches the parameter value (sometimes called 'hooking' the paramter) and THEN you can start to turn it up and slowly sweep the filter. Some controllers with standard pots use the "jump to value' method, some use the 'hook' method, some let you select which method you want, but they cannot provide the same kind of action as an endless rotary encoder.

As you would expect, endless encoders cost more than standard pots. But IMO it's definitely worth it. The whole point of a controller like this is to give you seamless, intuitive control of your synths and a controller that is awkward or unpredictable defeats the whole purpose of getting a controller in the first place.

Another useful feature is LCD displays for the encoders. Get a controller that has displays for the encoders and get one that lets you create your own parameter names for these displays (rather than one that only uses some cryptic abbreviated name provided by the synth that may or may not tell you anything useful). Not much point having 64 controls if you can't tell what each one is assigned to.

DP
Old 16th December 2006
  #4
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dwaynedelario's Avatar
 

Dave I'm liking all this talk of endless rotaries and LCD's. Which controller has such great features?

BTW your dotcom synth looks amazing!

-Joe
Old 17th December 2006
  #5
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Dave Peck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwaynedelario View Post
Dave I'm liking all this talk of endless rotaries and LCD's. Which controller has such great features?

BTW your dotcom synth looks amazing!

-Joe
I don't use these types of knob-box controllers myself, so again I'm not the best source for specific recommendations, but one example would be the Behringer BCR2000 which has 32 endless encoders and is very very cheap, however it does not have displays for each encoder. But with that many encoders, you may find that you can more or less permanently assign parameters to their own specific encoder and write the parameter name on the scribble strip.

And thanks, I'm really loving the dotcom/Nord G2 combination (I'm controlling the Dotcom with the G2). BTW the G2 has eight endless encoders with LCD displays that you can re-name, which is how I know that this is a really really cool feature. It may take some hunting to find a midi knob-box with this, but I think it would be well worth the effort.

DP
Old 17th December 2006
  #6
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the alesis photon x25 is cheap and it has ten enndless rotary encoders. The keybed feels really cheap, thouhg. If you want a nice keybed, I might try one of the novation SL serries. They have lcd displays for all the controllers, and novation makes good keybeds. They are a bit more pricey, though.
Old 17th December 2006
  #7
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Old 17th December 2006
  #8
Old 19th December 2006
  #9
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Old 19th December 2006
  #10
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I tried the photon X25. It would be a really cool little controller if the build quality / manufacturing problems weren't an issue.
I tried 2 different ones and they were both broken, and *every* review I read from an end user reported serious defects (such as controller number and controller value switching places back and forth, like a bad connection ). Also the audio interface seemed to be low quality.
The infared XYZ thing is an awesome idea and very fun to use though, wish it worked !!

The Evolution X-Session is nice if you have ableton, the crossfader is great. Doepfer and Novation are usually very solid.
Old 19th December 2006
  #11
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atma's Avatar
 

the top row of knobs on the novation SL series are notched, the lower row is smooth.
Old 19th December 2006
  #12
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atma's Avatar
 

i've been endlessly searching for a good midi keyboard controller lately as well, it seems like there aren't many great choices--the big novation SL is like 600 $, the smaller ones just don't have enough keys. the m-audio axioms seem like they'd work but they look so goddamn cheap and plasticy. the CME series look pretty solid but they're just too enormous to fit well on my desk. i've heard mixed opinions on the korgs, i'm not sure what to think of them.
Old 19th December 2006
  #13
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gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcat View Post
I already have an old MIDI keyboard that is fine for music input. However, currently I'm looking for some kind of MIDI controller with assignable knobs and buttons to control various virtual synthesizers and plug-in's. I was looking at some M - audio products such as the oxygen or axiom or Korg KONTROL49. I would love to get some input regarding a purchase.
the novation is cool. i got a used novation X station for thw same price of the kontrol midi only.. thingy. i forgot the name.

the cool thing is that you have templetes to assig to diferent knobs.
the M-audio stuff is ok. qualtiy control is awful!!!!
i have broken 4 of those midi controlers. its usuall the keys that stop working. .. one by oe.
but if u get a good working one, you can program those to control specific midi mesages.
so, depending on the software/synth you can asign specific mesages.
Old 19th December 2006
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atma View Post
the top row of knobs on the novation SL series are notched, the lower row is smooth.
thanks, I needed that info-couldn't find it anywhere on novation site.
Old 19th December 2006
  #15
Gear nut
 
ted demen's Avatar
 

i just posted (before i saw this post) a similar thread.
im down to choosing between the behringer bcr2000 and the novation zero.

someone mentioned earlier about the knobs on the Zero and how the top row of 8 are stepped and the bottom 8 are smooth.
abit more info on the knobs: the top 8 are also endless while the bottom 8 are fixed.

ive been told that automap assigns the filter cutoff to the same knob for most VSTi synths but that it assigns it to the bottom end knob shich is fixed and not endless which is kind of weird im my opinion. (ofcourse u can change that but it almost defeats the purpose of automap)
Old 20th December 2006
  #16
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imho, automap sux. also imho, m-audio is crap. novation has far better quality products than either m-audio or alesis. (I like the alesis ion engine better than the novation one, but the novations are far better built.)
Old 1st August 2014
  #17
Gear Head
 
greenforehead's Avatar
This stems from a post in the Aira thread. Sorry for dragging up an ancient thread but as this is one of those "recommend me a..." threads I didn't want to start a new one.

So, I am a completely OTB hobbyist (bit of a noob in many respects) using a MPC1K to sequence a range of external gear. I currently use my Blokey or Mininova as controller where I need to but I now need a cheap dedicated controller to make use of CCs etc.

So can someone recommend me something cheap, say, sub £150?
  • Keys - 2 octave is fine. I need a small footprint (no bigger than the Mininova really).
  • Lots of assignable knobs and buttons for those CCs.
  • Aftertouch preferred but no essential.
  • Mini keys acceptable.
  • MIDI Din rather than USB.

Cheers
Old 1st August 2014
  #19
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Old 1st August 2014
  #20
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login's Avatar
Old 1st August 2014
  #21
Gear Addict
 

novation zero sl for controller or slII in 25, 49 and 61 keys..
Old 1st August 2014
  #22
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what daw? If ableton then push every day every day
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