MIDI Controller (Knobs & Faders) Suggestions/Reviews?

  • Hello all. I have a minimal digital setup (grayscale 64, KP3, Yamaha MIDI keyboard & Ableton) and have been looking for a control surface to use primarily with Ableton Live. The 64 gives me most of the buttons I need, so I am looking for something with knobs and faders. I have researched controllers from Behringer, Faderfox and the Novation Remote Zero SL Mk II. Of the three the Faderfox LV2 appeals to me the most because of its functionality and its size. The others just seem too huge for my small desktop. Then again, the Faderfox modules don't seem to have changed or been upgraded for a few years, whereas the latest offerings from more mainstream manufacturers have the latest bells and whistles (multi-color LEDs, LCD readouts, etc.)

    The Faderfox price point is a bit high, but it seems like it would do what I want in a very small footprint. Any feedback on this front would be helpful. Advantages? Drawbacks? Things I haven't thought of? Thanks.

  • the controller that i love the most only has knobs but is really great despite its stupid name.

    the killamix mini from kenton has 9 endless encoders, 9 backlit buttons + a joystick. each encoder is also a button that lets you change to a different midi channel (giving you 144 of knobs + buttons) and they are encircled with leds that show you the current position of the encoder.

    they are worth looking into.
    i got mine used for under $150.

  • Thanks. I've never heard of this one. I'll add it to the list.

  • I have to say it, the Behringer BCxxxxx series, really can't be beat on price.

    I love my bcr2000, it's supposed to be nad built quality, but I've never noticed. It does what it says on the can, and for $150 you can't fault that.

    How about a combo until like the BCF2000 that has infinite encoders with LED's round the outside and motorized faders all in one. Again $150 is cheap and cheerful.

  • I've had a bcr for years, no troubles but just too big fir me to lug to gigs. I just this morning received my new Stanton scs 3m touch mixer, and I have good hopes for it ;)
    a good price, and it doubles as a USB hub...visual feedback is key...

  • I am torn between functionality, size and build quality. On one hand I am never going to leave the house with it (no gigging for me), so as long as it isn't a cheap plastic toy it should hold up. On the other hand I like the compactness and solid construction of the Monome and would like to have something equally small and durable. Decisions, decisions.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Keep 'em coming.

  • Have you thought about the Korg NanoControl

    Not the best as far as build quality is concerned... but it works and it is cheap.

  • As some of the options are slightly nicer quality i have had great luck with the Korg nanoseries. I have a similar setup where i am using a monome 64 to trigger clips in ableton but i am using the Korg to control all mute groups and faders. It definitely has the "toy-ish" feel to it but the size is very compact and above all the price is right. I believe i picked mine up for $60. Mine has seen heavy use over the past months and has retained original quality in all the knobs and faders.

    Something to check out at least.


  • I was worried that the Korg Nano series (as well as the Akai LPD8) were not up to snuff quality-wise. But I do like the size and the price. I'm pretty new to all this, especially Ableton, so getting something with too many knobs would probably overwhelm me at first (like the BCR-2000). It might be good to get my feet wet cheaply and move on once I hit the limits of the small device.

  • i know it's not much help, but if you were thinking about the lpd8, i've got an lpk25, and the build quality is pretty good, not like what i've heard about the korg.

  • I have discovered that the combination of monome 40h and Akai APC40 are great together (and may be even better once I upgrade to Live8 and M4L) mostly I use boiiing to write patterns on the 40h and the APC40 to trigger loops in Live. Tho the BCR does have a lot of knobs

  • i'm a fan of the BCR. it is big but i like to have access to everything the knobs are specifically assigned to and not have to scroll to get to it. i know that if i reach for a the certain knob it's going to do what i want it too. a lot of options to assign things. can't beat the price.

  • @divonic

    +1 on the monome + apc40

    I got one pad that knows what to do, and one that needs to be told. It's nice!

  • +1 for the killamix mini! (-1 for the name)

  • I agree that the Killamix looks great, but the price! Ouch.

    The suggestions are all very welcome. I'll just have to figure out what I can afford and what I need. I'm still just scratching the surface with the grayscale 64 so I don't want to complicate things for myself too much, but the tactile, hands-on aspect of the Monome is wonderful and it made me think that a hands on controller for Ableton (and other DAWs) might be helpful. But we'll see. I'm trying to put a track together for the MCRPv3 right now. It is a lot harder than it looks, especially for a n00b like me.

  • Just an update, as I've had a week to play with the scs3m. After wrestling with a dense midi map manual using hex references (which for some reason I had yo specificly request, rather than being freely distributed, weird), I must say I'm quite impressed. Takes midi response from the host to drive the LEDs, and two
    nested banks for each deck. The crossfader in particular is very nicely sized, the upfaders are smaller and shorter. The inbuild USB hub is great, with a small powercord. The upper bank buttons are a little too easy to trigger by accident when jamming the upfaders though...

  • Despite all the suggestions I went with my gut and picked up a Faderfox LV2 on Ebay for a decent price. Once it gets here I can report back on how I like it. Anyone else use one of these? Since my needs are few it seemed like a good all around controller to start with: some knobs, some faders and some buttons, all in a small footprint. I figure this will let me test out what I use the most as I develop my own working style. If it turns out I'm a knobs guy I'll buy more knobs, if I use the faders more often I'll buy some more faders, etc.

  • i had a korg nanokontrol. i liked it. kind of blew it up though. =)

    had the wrong power adaptor on my powered usb hub and when i plugged the korg in it went blammo.

    note that the software korg provides to edit midi is really klunky, but it's fun to use. i've got my eye on a native instruments kontrol x1...

  • Antiphon, hows the faderfox 2 doing? i just saw they released a new faderfox LV3, looks like just the thing i want. too bad i cant find anywhere thats selling it yet...

  • @yorke,

    checked out the new controllers and found this place selling them in the states, just FYI


    EDIT: woops, looks like this place isnt selling the LV3 model yet

  • @Yorke: Still loving the Faderfox LV2, although I haven't used it all that much in the past six months but that's only because I've been off Ableton as well. Just trying to keep the DAW out of my music making for the time being. I was getting too lost in the intricacies of Live and moving farther away from spontaneous composition.

    Kristoffer Lislegaard also uses one. If he's reading this maybe he'll pipe up with his impressions, too.

    The new controllers seem like they offer a great number of improvements, USB connectivity among them, although the battery powered MIDI-only units still have appeal for me. I keep hoping that the older units will be less in demand and the used prices will drop even further! But I don't really need two.

    Like with most MIDI controllers, if I were willing to spend the time I could create a series of custom mappings tailored to my own particular uses, but so far the default mappings work well for me. If anyone picks up a v3 unit please report back with your thoughts and impressions.

  • I just ordered the fadervox lv3 from germany. should be here in a week or so.

  • +1 for faderfox.

    i love their controllers.

    let us know how that lv3 treats you.

  • @raja
    omg sounds awesome where can i get one

  • I wanted a faderfox badly years ago before going with the UC-33. But they wouldn't ship out of Germany. (or maybe it was the island of Europe, I forget.)

    Anyhow does anyone know if that has changed? I don't wish to be bothered with having to go ALL THE WAY to their website.

  • I've just found this on the web:


    what do you think?

  • Im excited about the lv3 being usb bus powered. my whole setup is midi over usb. 128, arc2, FF LV3, mpd18,