A MIDI controller does not produce sound itself but only outputs MIDI so that another device or software triggers sounds. With a MIDI controller you usually control your software and associated plug-ins.
There are many different MIDI controllers for different purposes. Some software manufacturers such as Native Instruments have their own hardware MIDI controllers, in order to perfectly control the software that they develop through hardware.
Is a MIDI controller necessary?
No ... but its very useful! Perhaps the start of every music studio is a MIDI keyboard. With a MIDI keyboard you can easily get piano chords in your DAW without just using your mouse.
It is also true that a MIDI controller is primarily useful for improving your workflow and for controlling software in a better way. You will therefore use your mouse less and it gives more feeling when making music.
Link a MIDI controller to software
Many MIDI controllers made for specific software or plug-ins are plug and play. Take for example your Maschine MIDI controllers, which seamlessly connect to the software that comes with it. In addition, MIDI keyboards also work great with almost any software, you connect it and you can play the piano!
There are also MIDI controllers that you first have to adjust the settings properly. This way you can link a certain button to a certain software function, this gives you more freedom to determine the functions of your MIDI controller yourself. In some situations there is also software with your MIDI controller, such as with the Native Instruments Maschine MK3.
Different types of MIDI controllers
There are many different MIDI controllers for sale! Below we made a list with a brief explanation of the types of MIDI controllers of very popular brands and software.
ROLI is one of the most innovative players on the market. They release highly creative MIDI controllers that allow producers to discover new functions such as 5-D Touch with the ROLI Seaboard. ROLI Block and Beatmaker kit are also nice to try!
You have a wide range of MIDI controllers that you can mix with. So you can control the digital faders with a hardware mixer, so that you can quickly make adjustments to your mix.
MIDI-studio controllers for Ableton
Many MIDI controllers have been made for Ableton and also self-released by Ableton such as Ableton Push. This is because Ableton has a focus on live integration. Many controllers therefore work seamlessly with Ableton so that you have fine hardware and software integration to work with in the studio but also on stage.
MIDI controllers with drumpads to control software generated sounds with your hands are very popular. You can quickly trigger sounds with your fingers, you can also do this with a MIDI keyboard - but drumpads often work better to keep the overview and work quickly. Drumpads are also incorporated on a number of MIDI keyboard.