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

Locks

Penguinologist
I've been using the free MIDI Touchbar software lately which is a good option if you have a relatively new Mac Book Pro. Especially useful if I'm working away from my keyboard. Really smooth controls! Especially good when I'm getting into the details and trying to put together some performative automation.

It's totally customisable so I have it set up with two main faders for modulation and expression and then a few extra faders in little submenus for some CC signals and a few buttons which I rarely use at all. Love it!

Touch Bar Shot 2020-11-03 at 5.08.09 pm.png

Touch Bar Shot 2020-11-03 at 5.08.21 pm.png

Touch Bar Shot 2020-11-03 at 5.08.26 pm.png

I'm an Ableton Live user so it fully integrates with my DAW (I think it does the same for Cubase and Bitwig). So you can quickly access controls for any device. Here I can control whatever track I have open or any device I have selected (e.g. sampler settings or reverb controls etc.).

Touch Bar Shot 2020-11-03 at 5.23.42 pm.png

Touch Bar Shot 2020-11-03 at 5.23.49 pm.png

As a side note. The Ableton Live Sampler (and the simplified version called Simpler) are fantastic. I've been getting a lot of mileage from them lately. Incredibly useful for making very quick sampler instruments in productions.
 
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Locks

Penguinologist
I went with a mounted Amazon tablet that cost me $30 during last year’s Black Friday sale with a custom Touch OSC map. Very smooth midi.

That kind of setup is great because you'll forever be able to customise it to your current needs!
 

nowimhere

& I love this place
I have a presonus fader port 8. I'm pretty sure there is someway to do that with it, but I have no idea how :( Does anyone else here know how?

Like, I found a line on a cheap kenton electronics control freak studio edition but I don't want to have to get that if my faderport can already do the job.
 
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pixelcrave

Ivan (hobbyist / apprentice / beginner)
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:


I can see why MPD24 is a bit awkward for you, but as someone else mentioned here, you might want to check out MPD226. You can see from the picture below that, unlike MPPD24, the location of the faders are closer to you (less reaching out). I got this used, and the drumpad is a bonus I guess... Also my workspace is super small yet it still fits just fine.

Cheers,
Ivan

keyboard-setup.jpg
 
OP
tc9000

tc9000

Absolute Member
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I can see why MPD24 is a bit awkward for you, but as someone else mentioned here, you might want to check out MPD226. You can see from the picture below that, unlike MPPD24, the location of the faders are closer to you (less reaching out). I got this used, and the drumpad is a bonus I guess... Also my workspace is super small yet it still fits just fine.

Yeah - its such a shame the MPD24 faders are at the top of the unit... plus it's a chonky WEDGE of a thing. To be fair to it, it works well for what it was designed to be - a big, solid MPC-like controller. The MPD226 does look much more elegant and functional though... very nice setup :inlove:
 
OP
tc9000

tc9000

Absolute Member
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I gotta say though, I've really settled into my little nanokontrol2. Sure, it's small and a little plastic-y, but it does exactly what I need it to do. I can afford bigger and better units, and I know these would give me more control... I guess must have the hands of a small hobbit.
 

ed buller

Senior Member
The Bentley:

1604535449899.png

best

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scoringdreams

Optimistic Member
Looks like my original post went to the Monogram thread by accident. I’m reposting...

Intechstudio is a new startup in Hungary. I ordered two modules because of their low footprint/slim design. They connect magnetically, on all four sides, and come in four configurations. They are still working on the editing software, so for now I use the cc it generates in “learn midi” mode.

The throw on the faders may not be long enough for some, but for my small hands they are great for finally getting multiple faders where I need them, without more studio bulk.


This looks really good. Sadly my NakedBoards MC-8 has yet to break down so I can't replace anything yet.

To contribute to the thread, I also recommend AudioSwift if you are on a mac, and have a trackpad to spare...carry less gear, use a trackpad if it works for you!
 

LudovicVDP

Active Member
I have a presonus fader port 8. I'm pretty sure there is someway to do that with it, but I have no idea how :( Does anyone else here know how?


You mean using it to send Midi CC?
You need to press the two Shift buttons together (provided you installed the last firmware updates). Doing so, you will toggle between regular controller / Midi CC

In Midi mode, all your faders send Midi messages.
Only thing is that the Midi CC are fixed (first fader= CC1, 2d fader is CC 11 or something...)

Look for the Faderport thread on the forum. It's all there.


EDIT: Done it for you


 

Paul Jelfs

Active Member
Another good option , if you want LOTS of different Midi CC controls (Up to 20 Snapshots with 9 Faders and 16 Pots + 8 Buttons) is a second hand Panorma P1.

The Faders are 60mm , however the midi control options with this thing are insane. I purely use it in Midi mode, but you can also control you DAW with it.

I have snapshots set up for Orchestral Tools, Spitfire, VSL, Cinematic Studio, Audio Bro etc as they all have their own Midi CC values. Like I said you can save at least 20 snapshots, so you don;t have to resave all the Midi CC values in different libraries to just 8 controllers.

Any kinda of midi message etc it can do. There is also the Faderfox that has 12 faders and 20 snapshots but the P1 is ALOT cheaper and does the job, takes up little space.
 

Paul Jelfs

Active Member
Or if your rich you could buy a Yamaha Nuage Control Surface, and get me one while your at it......Promise I will say thank you :thumbsup:
 

rnb_2

Rick Baumhauer
I'll second @Paul Jelfs comments on the Panorama P1 - I came to it via a very circuitous route, having bought a Panorama T6 after much research - and loving it - but wanting something to use at my second computer (the T6 is not something I wanted to carry up and down stairs every day), purchased a P1. After messing around for a few days, I realized that I liked the P1's flexibility and screen way more than the T6, returned the T6, and now carry the P1 between my computers as needed.

If I'm honest, I feel like I'm only barely scratching the surface of what it can do, but I've liked what I've figured out so far. I love the DAW integration with Logic and Studio One, and it comes with a utility to customize the control of 3rd party plugins in Logic, as well. It's definitely not a budget option, but I have no hesitation recommending it if it suits what you're after.
 

Paul Jelfs

Active Member
I must have had just about every controller going for Cubase under 2k (Hey I have a problem - Dont judge me! :laugh:) and the P1 has worked best for me.

The ICON X can also be great , combined with DTOUCH or DFADER (A software program for Cubase) for 100mm and motorized faders, but nowhere near as in depth midi wise, and you may have trouble getting the ICON X to work
 

Pier

Senior Member
I'll second @Paul Jelfs comments on the Panorama P1 - I came to it via a very circuitous route, having bought a Panorama T6 after much research - and loving it - but wanting something to use at my second computer (the T6 is not something I wanted to carry up and down stairs every day), purchased a P1. After messing around for a few days, I realized that I liked the P1's flexibility and screen way more than the T6, returned the T6, and now carry the P1 between my computers as needed.

If I'm honest, I feel like I'm only barely scratching the surface of what it can do, but I've liked what I've figured out so far. I love the DAW integration with Logic and Studio One, and it comes with a utility to customize the control of 3rd party plugins in Logic, as well. It's definitely not a budget option, but I have no hesitation recommending it if it suits what you're after.
Could you expand on why you prefer the P1 to the T6?

I'm torn between buying a T4 or a P1...
 

bvaughn0402

Active Member
I was going to do a Nakedboard, but I did their checkout system and never got a message from them to finish the order and pay. So I opted for a used Behringer setup.
 

rnb_2

Rick Baumhauer
Could you expand on why you prefer the P1 to the T6?

I'm torn between buying a T4 or a P1...
It's a combination of things, some of which were spelled out in my earlier post (i.e., the T series keyboards are BIG, and not easily portable).

What it came down to for me is that I was happy with my existing keyboard - a Korg microKEY 49 - but it had nothing beyond keys and pitch/mod wheels. The T6 gave me the sliders and knobs, but was not particularly portable, and I was trying to set up two workstations: one for daytime upstairs while my wife does work-from-home downstairs; the other for downstairs for after she goes to bed upstairs. I tried using the T6 in one location and the Korg + P1 in the other, but found that configurations couldn't be migrated easily between the T6 and P1 (at least not at my skill level). So, it was easier in my case to migrate the P1 and a small keyboard (I ended up adding a NI KK M32 to the Korg, giving me 80 keys total range when used together) between workstations.

Beyond the things that were specific to my odd needs during quarantine, there were the qualitative differences between the T-series and P-series. You get a lot for your money with the T, but you can see and feel where cost has been cut compared to the P. The buttons are hard and clicky vs soft-touch; the sliders are a harder plastic; the monochrome screen isn't nearly as nice as the color screen, particularly when you're trying to do custom text labels for settings and the blocky monochrome LCD letters are hard to read. Also, it didn't bother me because I'm usually working with headphones, but the T-series keyboards are on the noisy side.

If you already have a keyboard you're happy with, I think the P1 makes a nice add-on, but if you want an all-in-one solution and portability isn't a concern, the T-series gives a lot of capability for the price.
 

Pier

Senior Member
It's a combination of things, some of which were spelled out in my earlier post (i.e., the T series keyboards are BIG, and not easily portable).

What it came down to for me is that I was happy with my existing keyboard - a Korg microKEY 49 - but it had nothing beyond keys and pitch/mod wheels. The T6 gave me the sliders and knobs, but was not particularly portable, and I was trying to set up two workstations: one for daytime upstairs while my wife does work-from-home downstairs; the other for downstairs for after she goes to bed upstairs. I tried using the T6 in one location and the Korg + P1 in the other, but found that configurations couldn't be migrated easily between the T6 and P1 (at least not at my skill level). So, it was easier in my case to migrate the P1 and a small keyboard (I ended up adding a NI KK M32 to the Korg, giving me 80 keys total range when used together) between workstations.

Beyond the things that were specific to my odd needs during quarantine, there were the qualitative differences between the T-series and P-series. You get a lot for your money with the T, but you can see and feel where cost has been cut compared to the P. The buttons are hard and clicky vs soft-touch; the sliders are a harder plastic; the monochrome screen isn't nearly as nice as the color screen, particularly when you're trying to do custom text labels for settings and the blocky monochrome LCD letters are hard to read. Also, it didn't bother me because I'm usually working with headphones, but the T-series keyboards are on the noisy side.

If you already have a keyboard you're happy with, I think the P1 makes a nice add-on, but if you want an all-in-one solution and portability isn't a concern, the T-series gives a lot of capability for the price.
Thanks a lot for your reply.

I’m almost convinced to get the P1. I feel it’s more flexible as I could use it with other keyboards or in a different position/angle on my desk.

In terms of DAW control both units have the same features, right?

I’m mostly interested in the instrument integration with Bitwig, not so much the mixer aspect. Other than having automatic access to the marcros, it seems I could control some synths (The Legend, Repro, etc) without having to focus on my PC so much. Other more complicated synths like zebra will always need a mouse for making patches.

Edit:

I'm going back and forth over this decision.

The one thing I'm worried about the P1 is that the posture when playing the keyboard at the same time will not be great. With the T4 the controls are much closer to the keys and it makes more sense ergonomically. Damn I wish the P4 wasn't that huge.
 
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