Looking for Midi Controller Recommendations

Hey all,

I’ve been writing Metal/Hardcore for some 10 odd years and just bought ANA2 with the hopes of getting into writing some EDM and adding some texture to my metal projects.

I have absolutely 0 experience with synths/programming and am on the hunt for a cheaper sub $200 Midi controller that will get the job done.

I’ve used Reaper for the vast majority of my writing and have always been on Windows. Any recommendations or general things I should be looking for to get started?

Thanks in advance!

Hey Chadakkina!

I was in a similar position a few years back, moving from playing bass and synths in metal bands to trying my hand at the production side. I first bought an M-Audio Oxygen series midi controller which did me really well I still use it now. I did also buy an Akai MPK mini to sit on my desk infront of me and I find that’s great for quickly jamming out bass lines and simple melodies. I’m an ableton user so I also picked up the push 2, admittedly I don’t use it to it’s full potential but something like that is also great for playing in chords and drums using the pads. Dependent on what kind of space you have you could probably just get away with something like an Akai MPK mini if you don’t need a full sized keyboard. if you’re looking to just add pads or similar into your tracks that could be an idea.

Hope this was some sort of help.


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Hey there @Chadakkina

First of all : welcome to S.A & the forums :wink:

Hope you’ll gonna enjoy ANA 2, it’s a great sounding synth with nice features, just need some time to get around it’s features ( like any other real hardware or soft-synth indeed ). Next to referring to the manual, if you haven’t been through the ANA 2 tutorials yet, it might be a good place to start. All ANA 2 video tutorials are free to watch on S.A website, just use the magnifier search icon on the top right tutorial page and type in “ANA 2”. You also have a walk through series & many free ANA 2 videos on S.A YouTube channel here : ANA 2 full Playlist .

Back to your question about getting a Midi Controller :wink:

It really depends on what you’d like to control and what you’re aiming at : are you looking for something more playable like a keyboard & controller for midi instruments ? Or is it to get more control on the DAW ( Reaper ) itself ?

Then like @majesticpillow already mentioned, having some pads can also be useful if you plan to trigger drum kits or even play some instruments if you’re not a keyboardist player. Some controller’s pad will only allow to play single notes while others might have some chords & scale features.

Basically, the type of physical controls that you’ll find across Midi controllers are Push Buttons, Knobs & endless rotary encoders, Faders, Pads & of course Keys whenever there’s an integrated keyboard. When it comes to push buttons, it might be interesting to have dedicated controls on the Play/Stop/Record features from your DAW. Faders can be useful to control tracks level, anything that allows you to control Mute/Solo/Pan feature inside your DAW is a nice addition.

So it really depends on what you need and how well the controller will integrate with your DAW. Push & Push 2 are really designed to work specifically with Ableton Live, unless you use a custom script to integrate it with Reaper ( take a look at this video ), they are also not in the same price range.

When it comes to most soft-synth plugins and with ANA 2, next to have Mod Wheel & Pitch Bend automatic assignments on Midi Controllers that have those physical controls, you’ll be able to “Midi Map” features to a physical control of your choice, so for example you could Midi Map the main Filter Cutoff to a knob.

Though I’m not familiar with Reaper and it’s Midi integration possibilities, I think it’s safe to say that most Midi Controllers & DAW Software Manufacturers have made huge progress when it comes to Midi Mapping and integration. Now I also know that Reaper is a very customizable DAW & that the Custom Commands feature can be very powerful and integrated to Pads & Buttons on Midi Controllers, a nice example with Novation Launchpad Mini MK3 in this video.

Brands & range of products to look at IMO :

And it might be slightly over the $200 budget range, but for a Midi Keyboard + additional features, the Nektar Panorama T4 seems to integrate very well with Reaper.

In any case, watch videos, read reviews and if you plan to purchase in a physical shop ask as much questions as you can, but before try to narrow down what is that you really need from a Midi controller & what could benefit your workflow, performance, setup.

Hope this helps :wink:

Cheers !