MIDI control surfaces are essential for getting your electronic music off the screen and into the realm of performance. No one wants to watch a musician look at their laptop, and it’s not much fun to play that way either, so a decent MIDI controller can do wonders for your tracks in the live environment.
Geared towards Studio One’s new live performance options, but as comfortable as a Live controller.
The powerful Atom is a compact, USB-powered pad controller, which lets you make quick choices on the fly and create detailed, layered live arrangements. Its velocity and pressure sensitive pads also add natural musical expression.
Take things to an ultra-modern level with a Live Controller on your mobile or tablet.
The app is extremely customizable, letting you sculpt your interface to control only the settings you need, or you can choose from 60 pre-built templates. A show with your phone? Alexander Graham Bell would be amazed.
Improving the studio and the stage, the KeyLab series is a robust and well-built keyboard with 16 performance pads that allow the triggering of samples and beats.
It has plenty of inputs, while its DAW control chops are impressive, meaning you can leave the laptop hidden in plain sight, while you flip the card like Jean-Michel Jarre.
Novation reigns supreme when it comes to pad controllers, and the latest iteration of the Pro seals the deal with some impressive new features, including a more streamlined build, bigger pads, and a built-in step sequencer, not to mention ‘better control of Ableton Live (and any other DAW, for that matter). The pads are colorful and it looks cool as hell.
Control DAWs via 25 auto-mapped commands, plus performance boosting capabilities (read the cheat!)
The Oxygen Pro is simply designed to make you sound good. Its built-in arpeggiator is another fun addition.
If you are using Ableton Live, the obvious choice of controller is Ableton. The widely used Push 2 is literally a hardware extension of software, with a high-resolution display to keep you visually in the know as you hit the expressive pads.
Sample a slice, bring in third-party plugins, and improvise with new musical elements to your heart’s content. A solid choice.