Do you enjoy nerding out on sonic creations? If you’re ready to invest in a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller, keep these tips in mind.
Software Is Key
When considering a MIDI controller, remember that you’ll get the best results by using software that synthesizes with the controller. Many manufacturers also create software that perfectly syncs with their products – and that’s essential. If you like working with Pigments software, by Arturia, for instance, it’ll work best with Arturia controllers. The features of the board will be perfectly mapped to the software. So before you make your purchase, be sure the MIDI controller is compatible with your preferred software.
Consider the Hardware
You need your controller to fit how your brain and body work. Consider the layout of the controller and whether or not it makes visual and spatial sense to you. Also keep in mind its functional design. You want something that is easy for you to adjust and work with. Knobs, pads, buttons… Choose the design that works best for you.
Space & Portability
MIDI controllers come in all different shapes and sizes, some that plug in, some that operate with batteries and Bluetooth. Will you be using yours in your home office? Is space an issue? How many keys do you want? Do you need something portable? Typically, the smaller, more portable MIDI controllers have less features, but are prized among users for their compact size. It all depends on your space needs.
Your Level of Experience
If you’ve never used a MIDI controller before, you’ll want to look for one that’s got a lot of functionality as well as compatibility with various DAW software, without being overwhelming to a beginner. (The Akai MPK Mini MkII is a favorite among producers.) But if you’re leveling up, you can invest in a controller with lots more hardware.
Do you want weighted keys? How about hammer action? Considering the time you’ll be spending on your MIDI controller, it’s essential to have one that feels comfortable to your fingers and provides you with the options you desire.