Best MIDI Controller for VCV 200$ - 400$?

yeah, I think by default they often are mapped to notes - for playing drum machines.

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Yup, my alesis percpad sends notes so I use MIDI-GATE for that, have to get velocity data from MIDI-CV though.

MIDI-Gate has a velocity mode on its context menu.

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DOH!!! Thank you :upside_down_face:

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Hmm, on the fence with this. Considering returning…

The key action is so so (velocity sensitive) when pressed down they feel a little bit flimsy, if you pressed hard enough overtime it would probably break the plastic spring underneath. It will work out of the box for incoming notes / arp just fine. But trying to send a clock to the arp is rather difficult. Can’t get it to work in Rack. In other software it was not working for external clock at first then started working for some weird reason when I selected a different device not connected.

For getting a quick melody or tune it is okay but you would not be calling it your goto! The arpeggiator is great fun to use and with the keys having second functions (1/4 note - 1/32T, arp order - random, up, down, inclusive, exclusive, ordered - arp oct x4, preset change) it makes it functional. Would be good if it had an external/internal clock function also. For the £30 I spent on it it is not worth the hassle trying to figure out how to send the clock from Rack


The thread is old … but still. I used to use a custom solution for with a python script. I’m receiving midi information from the Nekatr Impact and using the bank knobs to switch between presets. So when I twist the knob 1 it sends out e.g. midi cc 21. knob 2 22 and so on. When I press bank 2 the python script sends out cc 31, 32 … and so on. You could also combine this with global hotkeys of your keyboard or what ever other controller you have to switch banks for the faders and knobs on each and every controller you have. If this simplistic approach. Have a look here: Python scripted generative Plugin? Looking for feedback, collaborators

Does anyone know if there are cheaper versions of a product like this: ?

Or something like this:

And if there would be any difference if you purely want USB MIDI functionality?


I use this one and love it:

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check out the Midi Fighter Twister

Only 16 knobs but… each knob can also be a button or can be 2 knobs (by having a second knob control when button is down). And then there are 4 banks. So actually it is like 128 knobs…

And it is built like a tank.


Hmm…for about that much money you could also buy a Model:Samples, which can do a lot standalone, although it only has 12 smaller knobs (16 note pads though).

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The Akai Midimix is good for it`s price. The novation LaunchControl XL is very nice and flexible, with only one small flaw: it emits a little bit of high frequency noise.

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I really love my Midilar:

The guy building it was very friendly would highly recommend supporting him.

I own an Original Beatstep, which is quite cheap. It makes a formidable Knob bank for VCV. And there is also a neat little sequencer :slight_smile:. You are only getting 16 knobs, but for less than 100$, and in a unit that still has very nice build quality.


Arduino would be the best choice if serial communication was implemented in Rack. You could’ve easely built your own custom midi controller for a fraction of the cost of commertial ones. Finger’s crossed while waiting for this to happen one day.

Is there an open feature request on this? I might be interested but it is the first time I hear someone is working on something like that.
Writing you own MIDI driver is already possible in Rack v1 if you can live with Rack crashing when you close it.


Why would you need Serial communication? If you use the Teensy platform, it works exactly the same as the Arduino, it’s more powerfull (more inputs and outputs) and has MIDI already built in.

I have started to work on this project in 2019, this year I had to stop it due to the covid and needed to follow other priorities. Right now I can build (almost) any kind of controller I need, it’s 100% modular and customizable.

Still have some things to solve, like wiring, case, and a front panel.

Hopefully in 2021 I will be able to continue this path.


Yes but it costs more. I can get an Arduino Mega clone for about 13€ on Amazon, while Teensy it’s around 30€ and comes with less IO if i’m correct.

The Teensy 3.6 and now the new 4.1 has so much more power and functionalities than the Mega. I have started with the Uno and the Mega, and as soon as I switched to the Teensy, I never looked back. The price difference is around 10€. If you are in EU check this store

Nice! I will keep an eye on this. Thanks. Since we’re talking, how much would it cost to build something like a midilar with a teensy?

This might be really interesting, especially if it would allow for higher resolutions and hopefully lower latencies, so it could be cool for syncing, too.

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