What midi Controller/Keyboard are you using?


Still learning the wonders that VCV Rack bring and I wondered what/if you are using as a midi controller/keyboard?

I’ve been watching Omri Cohen’s great videos and love all ambient arpeggio/drone stuff and would like to link VCV up to a midi device to control.



Hi aj ! Welcome to the community :slight_smile: You are right ! getting a controller really opens up new possibilities. I think it’s specially nice to have knobs to have hands on control :wink:
I would advise a Beatstep pro : @Omri_Cohen has one, myself i have a first gen beatstep.

Also if you already have synths, you could use them as controllers, i often do that with my Microfreak, many synths nowadays have knobs that send midi messages.
If you need any more advice / recomendations, you can ask :smile:
Cheers !

I’ve got a Keystep and an MPD32 but, to be honest, I haven’t spent much time using them in Rack. I have a template set up for all the controls to be assigned but most of the time i just get stuck in to it with a mouse and explore things I would never come up with, somehow that’s easier to settle in to rather than the hassle of plugging the controllers in! I’ve been lazy basically.

I also have an Electribe 2 which I am hoping to start using alongside Rack but using as a controller is a bit redundant for me with the MPD32.

all these things work absolutely fine. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

some have minor issues but there’s nothing there that fails to work with vcv.

I can give more details on any particular ones.


OMG! Look at all that.

The ones I have been looking at are:

Quite reasonible:
Arturia MiniLab MkII
Arturia Keystep
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MKII

More expense:
Arturia Microfreak

What do you think?

I’d love to relax making some ambient music with VCV rack and a small midi controller (my first) and use the knobs for arpeggios and the keys/pads for melodies.

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I have a Behringer FCB1010 and a Behringer BCF2000, old school for sure but both work very nicely as Rack controllers.


They’re all awesome and would all work fine.

Personally I’d go for the minilab cos LOOK AT ALL THOSE KNOBS :stuck_out_tongue:
But I don’t think you’ll have any serious complaints with any of them.

A microfreak would be amazing, seems a little overkill to use as a midi controller :wink:
But you get lots of expression and options with it.

You’ll need to watch if you’ve got any specific requirements or preferences. I dislike rotary encoders and short knobs, which rules out both the Minilab and MPK respectively, but that’s just me. And my space is limited so I don’t use the keystep much until I’m actually playing a melody or an arp as it doesn’t have any knobs on it and the smaller keyboards give me more utility.

So watch what applies to your particular brain and go for it.

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Sure a lot of choice, just seen the Nektar Impact LX25+

Looks quite nice

Yeah if I was going to buy another small (not super cheap) keyboard … it would probably be that one.

Found this review, all quite close.

for me: lx25 has full size keys, normal tall knobs with physical stops, reasonable pads and physical, tactile pitch & mod wheels.

You just need to work out what’s important for you personally.

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Thanks Jim, for that price I don’t think I can go wrong.

I can’t image how good VCV Rack will be with that! All that arpeggioness with delay/reverb effects :slight_smile:

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oooh, does it have an arpeggiator?

Say, is a Beatstep viable? I’ve been trying to influence a loved one into buying me the Beatstep Pro but the Beatstep is so much cheaper.
I really feel that I need to do more research on this stuff rather than just spending my (or someone leses) money. What are the Akai things like?

discord is complaining I’m chatting too much on this topic :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I went for a basic beatstep because I planned on using it more as a knobs and pads controller than a sequencer. That said, it’s still pretty fine as a sequencer. If you’re ok with the rotary encoders and the space it takes up, it’s great. I do love the pads on it.

Oh I thought the VCV rack could do that but I control from the midi keyboard?

i’m really happy about my beatstep too !

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vcv definitely can do arps - that’s how I do them. the keystep and the mpk can do that on the keyboard itself as well.

I don’t think the lx25 has that feature onboard. but if you’re doing it in vcv, it doesn’t matter - and you won’t have to worry about syncing the clocks between vcv and the keyboard.

So how dumb am i going to feel getting a Beatstep Pro? Because I could get a beatstep and an Akai mpc mini for less.

You can tell I’m new. I was assuming VCV would be the brain, I didn’t know some of the Midi controllers could do sequencing and arp. If only there was one that did it all.

Yeah the Arturia BeatStep Controller/Sequencer is nice too.

What is a good all rounder in your opinion?