Best MIDI Controller for VCV 200$ - 400$?

(Mgrant) #1

I would like some physical knobs, dials, sliders, and things to play with.

Price range, $200 would be great but I’d go up to $400 if I really had for something special. has an impressive list of controllers.

I’m stuck between buying a keyboard with some controls and buying a mixing controller with sliders and lots of knobs.

These things that look like mixers, is there something special about them that I should avoid them as module controllers? I mean they have buttons to arm and mute tracks. Are these just buttons which are assigned some midi code that could be repurposed to trigger something? Or is a mixing board like controller just the wrong sort of thing to control things inside VCV Rack?

The Berhinger controllers have motorized sliders. Does this make any sense within the context of VCV? If I understand correctly, these sliders might be used as simple MIDI inputs today. In 1.x, when you can bind MIDI directly to knobs in a module that support that, will moving the knob on the screen move the motorized controller? This is important and useful if you load a patch up, the sliders on the physical controller should magically set themselves. But will it work like that in VCV rack in 1.x? Is it worth it to invest in something with motorized siders or is it just a waste? Honestly it looks cool but sometimes these things look cooler than they actually work in reality!

Some of these controllers have LEDs that show you the position of the knob. Does this work in VCV? Or is that something which is outside the software so it works regardless?

Lastly I found this kickstarter called Palette which are like MIDI lego blocks that you can build your own controller. They’re way expensive. They look great though. I love the notion that you could more or less physically arrange them like the module on the screen.

(Andrew Belt) #2

No, Core MIDI-Map doesn’t support this, because there is no choice for a MIDI output device, so it can’t send feedback to the MIDI device. Someone could theoretically fork that module in their own plugin (with their own panel) and have MIDI in and out displays.

(trbl.w//.dr3ams:) #3

I tried a few different things with VCV, and the question you need to ask yourself is: what are you trying to achieve ?

  • Is it for writing music or performing live ?
  • Do you intend to play the instrument (such as a keyboard) or do you want a sequencer ?

My recommendations:

  • keyboard: Arturia Keystep
  • sequencer: Arturia Beatstep Pro
  • mixer / controller : Novation Launchcontrol XL
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(Mgrant) #4

It’s not specifically for performing live but I might do. It’s to use the synth as an instrument itself. I’m not creating new types of pianos, it’s more about getting cool sounds and perhaps being able to save the settings off so they are reproducible.

I’m looking more for the physical experience of having things I can tweak in real-time, easier than using the mouse.

What about the lit dials? Is there some communications mechanism to set the LEDs around the knob to display the position that the software thinks the knob is in? Or is this in the end the same as the motorized sliders?

I remember the last time I played with midi knobs and VSTs that the knobs always seemed to be out of synch with the software. It was definitely quite the same experience to using a real piece of hardware!

(Andrew Belt) #5

Yes, correct.

(Mixer) #6

I bought myself a Korg Nanokontrol2. It’s probably the cheapest option and it shows, but it makes playing with VCV much more fun.

Have you considered a Behringer BCR2000?


Yes, BCR 2000 can be a good candidate, but consider also the Midilar project. Customizable master module, with printed PCB dedicated to control basic synth functions and effects.

(Latif) #8

You might wanna buy a simple small controller (behringer/korg) to see and try out whether that way of using a controller does suit your work flow, before buying a bigger / expensive controller.

There are also controllers being built by people here in the community that are tailored specifically to the corresponding module in VCV.
Maybe that might be more appealing to you.

(Artola) #9

BCR2000 is long discontinued, but works for me. However, it was built to a price-point and feels it. I also have a KiwiTechnics Patch Editor in my studio and just made this with it today:

Also picked up a KeyStep32 last weekend and immediately moved my NI controllers to the side! $99 at Chuck Levins and the truck pulled up with a new supply as I walked in the door there.

  • Paul “Uncle Chrome” Artola
    Ellicott City, Maryland
(Artem Leonov) #10

IPAD 2018 + Touchosc. It works as smooth as hardware controller.
BCR great also and I have this but a bit heavy)

(Soothsayers) #11

Is there not a cheaper in production control like the BCR2000? I mean i find insane… it is so obviously that no one makes one like it? Please someone just make a cheap controller with lots of knobS! ike lots not 8 or 4

(Andrew Belt) #12

You can’t get much cheaper than the production cost of MusicTribe in Nanlang, China.

(Soothsayers) #13

Do they make the BCR2000 or something? Point being… we need a controller with tons of knobs doesn’t need crazy functions or anything just knobs!

(William Walter 3rd) #14

an akai midimix gives you 24 knobs and 9 faders and costs less than 100 :slight_smile:

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(Robb) #15

I’ve got an Akai MidiMix and I find it really useful. The Mute and RecArm buttons can be programmed with CC midi codes or notes, so you can access them wtih Midi-CC or Midi-Trig, depending…

(Lars Bjerregaard) #16

I have the MIDImix, and yes… you get an awful lot of knobs, but… I can’t recommend it because the knobs are absolutely horrible. I do use the faders all the time though. In hindsight I should have gotten the “Novation Launchcontrol XL”, which other people recommend as good quality with good knobs. We had a whole thread about it over in the Facebook group. So what I learned: Don’t get the cheap stuff! :slight_smile:

(Phil Golden) #17

I have a Nekter Panorama P1. Can honestly say it was a great investment! DAW integration is really good with Nekter products (product support is pretty good also), the controls feel and perform really great, solid! If its just a controller I would highly recommend a P1 but if you want a midi keyboard also I would go with something from the Panorama Range you will not be disappointed.

@LarsBjerregaard Sorry wrong quote please ignore, Not sure how to remove reply to? :thinking:

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