Alright, so there may be some weird things happening in the world today; the CATS movie, obsession over stationary bike commercials, bananas taped to walls, etc. The simulation is out of control. On a positive note, it’s easier than ever to find cute puppy videos at any given moment. It’s also easier than ever to use a MIDI controller without the restraints, expenses or fixed nature of a major music studio. This article will break down a series of MIDI controllers that translate beautifully to the modern-day producer’s workflow: portable, versatile, dynamic and great on a budget.
Easy on the eyes and easy on the wallet, the Nektar SE25 boasts an impressive degree of portability and minimalism. For those on a budget, this controller is the cheapest on this list. But don’t confuse price with efficiency; this puppy features 25 keys, octave-selection buttons, DAW integration, built-in sustain and other attributes that keep it robust despite its size and bank account-friendly cost. For someone needing a fairly cheap controller and valuing portability, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option.
This is probably how people in the 1950s imagined pianos looking in those post-2000 utopian illustrations. Well, maybe they weren’t wrong. The Korg nanoKEY2 controller is certainly portable and budget-approved, but its real value stems from a sleek design and innovative interface. Best of all? The nanoKEY2 works with Korg Kontrol Editor software, free from the Korg website. With DAW compatibility and options for mix maestros, this conveniently-sized controller is ready to be a fixture in your home setup.
Responsive, velocity-sensitive and comfortable, this series of controllers come in a variety of colors for aesthetic perfection. Whether you’re a fan of baby-blue, orangutan-orange or bottomless-pit-black, any of these Arturia MicroLab controllers can fit into your home studio’s color palette and visual theme. This could be helpful for social media posts and videos demonstrating your work space. With instant access to virtual instruments and music production software, the value here speaks for itself.
Not every composer, sound designer or performer has the same taste; that’s the beauty of music. On the same principle, not everyone has the same demands for controller keys. The Alesis MIDI Controller series offers users options for 25, 49 and 61 keys depending on what your projects and workflow entail. Whether you’re producing lo-fi hip-hop beats or composing a score for National Geographic’s latest documentary, you’ll find a set of keys here that work for you.
A colorful dancefloor of pads meets 25-keys for a dual-threat MIDI weapon. Because of the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3’s multi-purpose functionality for producers spanning all genres, it’s one of the more versatile keyboards on this list. Factor in its portability and accommodating size configurations, and you’re left with a robust keyboard that caters to most studio needs and production habits. Make a killer hip-hop drum beat with the pads, followed by a haunting piano melody right underneath it on the keys.
You’d be surprised by the amount of musicians, who play “traditional” organic instruments, adding MIDI abilities to their musical repertoire. With that newfound controller knowledge, these same musicians also find themselves honing their production skills. The Arturia MiniLab MKII has the size and specs ideal for your home production studio, with 25 velocity-sensitive keys to noodle on. Equipped with Ableton Live Lite straight out of the box, you’ll satisfy your hunger for a formidable MIDI controller and DAW software to learn/jam on.
Mobility is a huge asset for quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s also rather important for MIDI controllers, as well. Portable and designed to be taken on-the-go, the Axiom AIR Mini 32 is designed for musicians working and recording, well, all over the place. This controller boasts some pretty wild creation software, too – Ignite lets users share their ideas, recordings and tracks with musicians and listeners all at the touch of a button. Export WAV, MIDI and MP3 files to further simplify your sound-sharing process for SoundCloud and more.
Producers can be quite fickle with their gear and software, and for good reason. Nobody wants to adapt to a new workflow or DAW that they may be uncomfortable with. Rest assured that the Nektar Impact LX25+ is custom designed for DAW integration with Logic Pro, FL Studio, Cubase, Garageband, Reason, Reaper, Sonar, Studio One and Bitwig. Phew! Raddle those off five times fast. This controller takes traditional MIDI functionality and gives it a new wave of professionalism and power.
As our society salivates more and more over Bluetooth connectivity for all of our devices, this Korg nanoKEY controller takes note. Bluetooth MIDI grants users the ability to immerse themselves in a musical dream regardless of location or accompanying software. Grab your iPhone, iPad or any similar device and let the magic happen without the hindrance of cables or complicated connectivity. The idea here is simple: easy connection, easy interface, infinite creative possibilities.
If you haven’t had the chance to explore the Native Instruments KOMPLETE catalog, you’re simply doing yourself an audio disservice. Integrated with KOMPLETE software, this controller gives users access to advanced music production tools and editing controls without hassle or confusion. Native Instruments products are robust and designed to elevate your productions to the next level – the KOMPLETE Kontrol A25 MIDI Controller is a perfect companion for the control center used to channel those virtual instruments and sounds.
Ready to take the MIDI leap and maximize your audio workflow? The team at SamAsh.com has everything you need and more.