Selecting the Best Midi Controller

These days, the kind of studio recording projects that would have traditionally required about a dozen participants can be handled by one person. It's no longer a case of hiring multiple instrumentalists and a full team to get the job done - 'faking' it is the way to go.

Well, perhaps 'fake' is a bit of a strong word, but still - virtual instruments and software modelling represent the future of home-studio recording.
In essence, the only thing you need to build and operate your own private recording studio is a basic audio interface, a decent amount of talent and a high-quality MIDI controller. In this instance, it's the third of these three we'll be advising on today.

The good news being that over the past few years, MIDI controller technology has advanced like never before. While at the same time, prices continue to plummet. Not that this means there aren't still plenty of duds you'd be wise to avoid at all costs. Some MIDI controllers are way better than others, though bagging the best your budget can stretch to doesn't have to mean compromising on quality.

So without further delay, we personally recommend any of the following MIDI controllers as top picks of the bunch right now:

Ableton Push 2 - £599

First up, and not that it'll come as a huge surprise, the Ableton Push 2 has been designed to work pretty flawlessly with Ableton Live. When these two premier powerhouses come together, what you're looking at is the perfect combination of high-end hardware to create incredible music and the full-scale software suite required to add those finishing touches. Designed to nurture creativity, the Ableton Push 2 is more responsive and adaptive than ever before. The long and short of it being that if Ableton Live is your software package of choice, you won't do better than the Ableton Push 2.

Native Instruments Maschine Studio - £629

That said, if you've not yet tooled-up with a quality software package and need to get all bases covered in one go, you might want to give the Native Instruments Maschine Studio a thought. For one thing, the controller itself is no less than stunning, delivering the perfect balance of rich features and a simplified user interface. In addition, the kit comes complete with the legendary Maschine 2.0 software package, giving you the biggest library of sounds and beats to work with. The total package for a very respectable price.

Novation Impulse 49 - £234


On the more affordable end of the pricing spectrum, the Novation Impulse 49 serves as the perfect control centre for any creative recording environment. A good choice to pair with just about any quality software package, though particularly impressive when used in conjunction with Ableton Live. Ultra-responsive, highly versatile and surprisingly rugged for such an affordable controller.

Akai LPD8 Wireless Laptop Pad Controller - £59.00

Last but not least, the Akai LPD8 Wireless Laptop Pad Controller had to be given a mention for its superb versatility and simplicity. Compatible with iOS and Mac OS X via Bluetooth and Mac OS X and Windows via USB, the Akai LPD8 can be used in conjunction with pretty much any and every software package across the board. Battery or USB-powered for exceptional convenience and a true bargain for every DJ and home studio.

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