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

rnb_2

Rick Baumhauer
While it's impossible to get everything as conveniently-located as on a T-series or P-series keyboard, there are solutions to positioning the P1 optimally. This took many hours of research and shopping around, plus taking too much advantage of Amazon's generous return policy, but I'm happy with how I got things arranged.

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I had to find some sort of stand to raise the M32 above the Korg, of just the right height, and eventually found one that was also a 4-port USB3 hub with 2-port USB charger. The stand for the P1 took even more research and hunting around - it's exactly the right size, only requiring a bit of foam stripping to keep the P1 from sliding forward due to the unfortunate angle of the front of the bottom case. The angle of the stand is adjustable if you need more vertical space between the stand and whatever it's hovering over.

The P1 and T-series are mostly equivalent in DAW control - the P1 has more physical buttons, but I think the T-series has the same functionality via a sort of "shift" button. If you're on a PC, though, the P1's transport buttons can also act as function keys for further configuration (no longer works on the Mac, unfortunately for me). The P1 also has an extra set of 8 knobs right above the faders, in addition to the set of eight that correspond to the eight on the T-series.

On the downside, I did lose the pads on the T-series, and neither of my keyboards have aftertouch, but I'm far from skilled on the keyboard, and I have the little ROLI Block (my gateway back into MIDI madness) if expressiveness is that important.
 

mjsalam

Active 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.
I have a P1 - I find the faders are incredibly not smooth...like they are travelling along sandpaper. Wondering if its just my experience?
 

Studiodraven

New Member
I have a P1 - I find the faders are incredibly not smooth...like they are travelling along sandpaper. Wondering if its just my experience?
I bought one last week after reading the reccomendations in this thread, and the faders feel fine. Maybe it's just yours? :(
 

PerryD

Senior Member
I am very happy with a Behringer X-Touch Compact. I got mine as an "open box" for less than $300. Nice, motorized 100mm faders that can easily be assigned to any CC. It also has many knobs and switches that are assignable.
 

mjsalam

Active Member
Definitely looking for something with a smaller footprint. The Nakedboard MC-8 looks great...also the Intech stuff looks really good. If I were to nitpick the Nakedboard looks a bit thick/tall in the videos. The Intech faders I'm not sure I like the style of the faders themselves...that tall horizontal style thing vs the more flat type..(not sure what the word is for the particular part of the fader I'm talking about is).
 

gpax

Senior Member
Hi @gpax ... I'm considering buying a couple of fader modules from Intech. Wanted to get your thoughts/opinions? The faders do look short...this is probably the only thing giving me pause. Thanks!
You may not like these, then. The current product is that of a small two-person startup with dreams of future production and eventually using better materials (and they have been honest about telling me this). My search continues as well.
 

TimCox

Active Member
I’ve been using the Korg Nanokontrol for years. I’m on my third one in 7 years so be advised that they’re not built to last but do the job well
 

djburton

New Member
Making a note here as I’m in the process of adding a motorized-fader DAW controller to my rig (for Cubase and Studio One). Having a really bad initial experience with the Icon Platform M+ and will likely return it (too bad - seems solidly built). I am now targeting a Faderport 8 for this purpose.

I will, however, be keeping my Novation Launch Control XL for MIDI control, used only in User Mode (it’s primary design is as an ableton Live mixer). 8 60mm faders, 24 knobs, 16+ buttons, all fully assignable to any CC using Novation’s custom template software. Relatively small footprint.
 

ReelToLogic

Still have my reel-to-reel
What about a an expression Pedal? Do they get the Job done to Control volume/expression/Dynamics? I currently have a Roland with the lame Sticks and thats not gonna work.

I play orchestral lib Instruments in with two hands so pedals would be an idea?
I used a $20 Nectar NX-P foot pedal to create an expression pedal in my homemade MIDI CC controller as shown in the thread below. It does work great for two hand playing however foot dexterity is not as good as the hands/fingers so it takes some practice.

https://vi-control.net/community/threads/built-a-midi-cc-controller-that-includes-a-foot-pedal-for-cc1-or-other-cc.106616/

If someone just wanted to add a foot controller I think it would be easy to build one using the $20 Nectar unit and a Teensy controller. It would only require 3 wires and then cut-and-paste some simple code. And it might all fit inside the Nectar unit - I'm tempted to try building one myself just to see...
 
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chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
Surely a Native Developer somewhere has MIDI Devices made to assist cheap expression pedal or foot switches?

You shouldn’t have to ride values of 0-127 with you foot hoping for smoothness of CV Audio.

A Native MIDI Device if one exists, should be able to do as many assignments and commands as possible, all of their lag processing values, etc. by simply pushing the pedal forward.

I have these devices in my DSP audio/MIDI interface and use them for moving drawbars on a Hammond B3 emulation. Real Hammond players use a hand to do this, which means one less hand to play parts. I do various combinations from 3-18 drawbars (both Keyboards on a Hammond) by pushing the pedal back and forth.

The CC’s in question are assignable and could easily do Swells, vibratos, volumes, ganged groups of faders, etc. The devices use lag processors to decide the speed/rate of selected CC’s start/stop destinations, etc.

I use FC7s, FS-6, FS4/5’s, actually 8 pedals can be used simultaneously if needed, but 5/6 on my Master controller is plenty. Thanks to these devices I can actually use any 88 note controller with a cheap M Audio expression pedal and get the same results.

Haven’t used Reaper for years, but SWS and 3rd party developers can make you something if it doesn’t already exist.

MIDI is our friend.
 
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Pier

Senior Member
Surely a Native Developer somewhere has MIDI Devices made to assist cheap expression pedal or foot switches?
I only know of these two:


Unfortunately, AudioFront does not sell through Amazon and their shipping costs (at least to my country) are quite high. A single input would cost about $120 including shipping.


The MIDI Plus device cost about $40 + shipping. Still expensive IMO for just a single MIDI expression pedal input.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
I only know of these two:


Unfortunately, AudioFront does not sell through Amazon and their shipping costs (at least to my country) are quite high. A single input would cost about $120 including shipping.


The MIDI Plus device cost about $40 + shipping. Still expensive IMO for just a single MIDI expression pedal input.
I have the 4 way. Excellent devices for adding extra 1/4” Pedals to a less featured controller. Bome Box is an even deeper option.

For example my Main MIDI Controller is 8 x pedals and 8 x zones. But for less demanding gigs I use a lightweight Casio because I like their action, but need more than 2 pedals.

Im referring to a Software solution to add features to any Exp Pedal.

Below is my project window where I need the MIDI Data from my hardware controller, sent out of my audio/MIDI Interface to a Hammond B3 FPGA Module.
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These are from 2002, long before I bought into the DSP Hardware Platform.
Big Fader is the actual CC# for the single FC7 Expression Pedal.
That CC controls a total of six other CC#’s sent to the B3 Module.
smaller faders are start (placement of value 0-127 starting point) and stop (target destination of value 0-127).
‘Below those are inversions, curve modifiers, knob show in msec. lag processor values, etc.

In other words, I just step forward to full, on expression pedal, it sends the corresponding values, and their rate/speed, pulling back on expression pedal returns it to the original B3 drawbar combination. I can have 128 of these as the snapshots of my project window (top picture) reset volumes, FX parameters, MIDI devices, MIDI routings, etc. All on a single Prgm Chng message from my controller.

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While my hardware rig is different than an all software set up, having these devices in a DAW would be very handy for recording and post production, as it automates so many processes. That equates to far fewer takes and overdubs during a session.

SWS/Reaper might have similar tools, I’m not sure, but they run an open environment that benefits from outsiders and additional talented developers. I can’t imagine using a DAW where every little trick you need is decided by a person already overwhelmed chasing the latest OS or fixing bugs.

Just my 2 cents.
Cheerz
 
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surfer boy

New Member
The Vmeter is unreal for smooth touch. Super affordable $59

They are waiting to see if there's enough interest from the public to start there next wave of production though, since they are currently not selling new. Let's vote and bring em back! 👇

 

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Pier

Senior Member
The Vmeter is unreal for smooth touch. Super affordable $59

They are waiting to see if there's enough interest from the public to start there next wave of production though, since they are currently not selling new. Let's vote and bring em back! 👇

Do you have one?

How precise is the touch surface? Do you get "steps" when moving the finger slowly?
 

Pappaus

New Member
My solution was borne from cheapness and stupidity. - But it works for me. I bought the APC Mini because it was cheap, I saw it in A Guy Michelmore video, and I believed the person at the music store who told me it was programmable. The AKAI website also said the faders were “programmable”.
i then rewatched the Guy M. Video where he said it was “a nice piece of kit but not programmable”. I could reprogram my libraries but To make it work but decided to get the Bome Midi Translator. Now the faders are completely programmable and I can program the buttons to be any note,cc, or even a series of keyboard sequences that can be used for macros or to use keyboard shortcuts. I use it for Studio One and Dorico. It is easy to switch settings for buttons. And so I ended up paying about $179 And I could have probably got something nicer. But it works for me.
 
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