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Old 17th July 2019
Here for the gear

Hardware DAW controller: Yes or no?


I recently switched to Ableton Live for electronic music production and I'm confused about should I get a hardware controller or not?
Producing in Ableton is very complex, with hundreds of knobs, sliders, XY areas, effects, drag/drop fields...
I somehow can't immagine a hardware controller that would speed up the process compared to a mouse. On screen you exactly see where you are and what are you "grabbing" with a mouse, while with a controller you usually have to dig inside many buttons to get to a specific control, not to mention you don't have a direct visual feedback.
So the options are:
- Full DAW controller based on Mackie Protocol (ex. Behringer X-Touch). They are fully integrated but lack custom mapping.
- Full DAW controller based on MIDI (ex. Behringer X-Touch Compact or mini). They are not so nicely integrated but you can program them as you wish.
- One channel DAW controller (ex. Behringer X-Touch One), which is a somehow upgrade to a mouse.
- Matrix based controllers (ex. Novation Launchpad) which I think are more focused on live performance.
- Using just a mouse.

What do you use and why has that made your production faster?