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Best / Good / Ideal MIDI Controller For Orchestral Expression Purposes?

tc9000

Absolute Member
After watching Paul and Christian (aswell as everyone else) playing in expression and vibrato on MIDI controller faders, I gave it a try using my old Akai MPD24. Yep: its great, but my MPD is not the right shape for me to be comfy, and its a bit old and glitchy. So:

1. What devices do you all use for playing in expression and vibrato when recording strings (etc)?

2. In my mind, I imagine a small, fairly cheap MIDI controller, with nothing more than two or three long throw faders, expressly (sorry!) for this purpose - anyone know of anything like this?

Thanks!
 

greggybud

Active Member
2. In my mind, I imagine a small, fairly cheap MIDI controller, with nothing more than two or three long throw faders, expressly (sorry!) for this purpose - anyone know of anything like this?
If you do a search, the usual few controllers come up. They are expensive ($700-$1000) and some no longer made. To my knowledge you won't find a "cheap" MIDI controller with 2 or 3 long mm faders for the express purpose of cc controlling. If you do, please share!

Or you can go the route of Naked Boards stuff, but it's a far cry from long mm faders.

Good luck!
 

Sunny Schramm

Senior Member
These are really interesting - good quality for a decent price:
(there are some Versions and its expandable if you want):
At the moment I use the Korg Nanocontrol 2 for expression/dynamics. For the price really good - faders are kind of small but really smooth and easy to setup:
 
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shawnsingh

Senior Member
Yeah I think most of the fader devices these days are made for Mackie emulation first and midi control as a secondary afterthought. Presonus faderport and Behringer x touch are other options too

You may already be aware of mdp226? I've been using the akai mpk261 keyboard, I make use of the pads for keyswitching and faders for cc. Mpd226 would probably be my choice if I ever change midi controllers and still want faders and pads

Maschine jam has touch faders, can be configured as a midi device. It can also receive midi to visualize values on its led meters with every fader, but I think DAW support for forwarding CCs of the selected track is not well supported these days. I wish it were possible to visualize a bank of CCs on meters, that would be fun and useful.

Also I think TEC breath controller has become popular to control a few CCs like dynamics and vibrato for strings.
 
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tc9000

tc9000

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These are really interesting - good quality for a decent price:
(there are some Versions and its expandable if you want):
At the moment I use the Korg Nanocontrol 2 for expression/dynamics. For the price really good - faders are kind of small but really smooth and easy to setup:

Yeah those icons look lovely - v tempting!

I'm going to give the nanokontrol a try - the price is great and although the faders are small, I think it's small size will make it easier to position in a comfy place... thanks!
 

Studiodraven

New Member
These are really interesting - good quality for a decent price:
(there are some Versions and its expandable if you want):
At the moment I use the Korg Nanocontrol 2 for expression/dynamics. For the price really good - faders are kind of small but really smooth and easy to setup:
I’ve been really tempted by the NanoKontrol. I’m on a student budget, so the price is perfect. However I keep finding conflicting info on whether it works well with Cubase 10.5 or not; some videos say it does, others say it doesn’t. It’s getting a bit frustrating.
 

Sunny Schramm

Senior Member
I’ve been really tempted by the NanoKontrol. I’m on a student budget, so the price is perfect. However I keep finding conflicting info on whether it works well with Cubase 10.5 or not; some videos say it does, others say it doesn’t. It’s getting a bit frustrating.

no problem with cubase 10.5.20 or sample-libs here at all. great little config-tool and midi-learn works also perfectly for me.
 

Drjay

Member
A couple of days ago I came across this post:
https://vi-control.net/community/threads/diy-100mm-midi-fader-control-box.95082/

If you are willing to do some diy. Haven’t tried it, but the explanation looks good and it is pretty simple (although this largely depends on your experience with electronics and microcontrollers).
My recommendation would be Lemur on iPad. You don‘t have the haptics, but apart from that the sky is the limit.
 

Locks

Penguinologist
I'm surprised by the market gap for a simple affordable midi controller with maybe just 2 sliders and a knob or two or whatever. Just a simple no thrills unit with a design like this would be ideal! Excuse my photoshop skills. Something I could easily take on the train.

midi.png
 

wickedw

Member
These are really interesting - good quality for a decent price:
(there are some Versions and its expandable if you want):
At the moment I use the Korg Nanocontrol 2 for expression/dynamics. For the price really good - faders are kind of small but really smooth and easy to setup:

I've been using the platform x + for approx 2 years now, and I can definitely recommend it. I disabled the motorised faders, etc. Just using it as a simple fader box and it's never given me any problems.
 

Locks

Penguinologist
What do you think the ideal length for "expression" faders would be? I was looking up some linear potentiometers for a DIY effort and they seem to typically have a travel length of 60 or 100 mm.
 
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tc9000

tc9000

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I'm surprised by the market gap for a simple affordable midi controller with maybe just 2 sliders and a knob or two or whatever. Just a simple no thrills unit with a design like this would be ideal! Excuse my photoshop skills. Something I could easily take on the train.

View attachment 32709

If only Icon could do a massively cut down version of the Platform X with say 2 or 3 unmotorised faders and a price point of about 75 quid...

Mind you I guess this '2 or 3 faders for expression + modulation control' is a bit of a niche area. Also, as I look into this I can see that maybe 8 faders could be useful...
 
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tc9000

tc9000

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What do you think the ideal length for "expression" faders would be? I was looking up some linear potentiometers for a DIY effort and they seem to typically have a travel length of 60 or 100 mm.

I (bear in mind my breathtaking lack of expericence here!) would go for the 100 mm. I've spent a few hours playing around with 60mm faders and though these work fine, there were a few curves that I felt I didn't have quite enough fine grained control over. It seems like in many cases I don't use the full range of the fader, but instead move between a smaller working range. For this reason, I suspect the 100 mm is going to be better. Of course, a long throw 100 mm could be too long and get tiring, but I havent experienced anything like this with 60 mm. That said, I've not actually tried 100 mm faders yet.

I hope my nanocontrol isnt too small (I think its got 50 mm faders).
 
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tc9000

tc9000

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The Palette Gear modular controllers look pretty good, but my god they are expensive for what they are!

Agreed! This looks perfect (interestingly, they went for 60 mm):


Anyone know if this can be used standalone? And how much it costs?

Edit: hmm it does say 'Add-On' :blush:
 

greggybud

Active Member
If you do a search, the usual few controllers come up. They are expensive ($700-$1000) and some no longer made. To my knowledge you won't find a "cheap" MIDI controller with 2 or 3 long mm faders for the express purpose of cc controlling. If you do, please share!

Or you can go the route of Naked Boards stuff, but it's a far cry from long mm faders.

Good luck!

Guess I should have listed them as these are professional controllers that should last.


 

Locks

Penguinologist
Agreed! This looks perfect (interestingly, they went for 60 mm):

I'll have to get myself in front of a fader and cut off the length and see what works best. I'm feeling like 60 mm might work well for me. I feel like most of the time my hand movements for expression are pretty subtle. I guess it would depend on your playing style. Someone who throws all their energy and emotion into their playing might be well served by a 1-meter long fader ;).
 

Rory

Amateur Auteur
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