Yeah I prefer keeping vcv as the brain, although omri’s vids can show how to make the midi controllers all work together in a nice way if you want the more powerful ones like beatstep or keystep to control the clock.
I’d go for any of those mini keyboards, they all have lots of knobs & pads to let you control things without harassing the mouse. For me, the lx25 due to its (smallish) size & physicality.
I’ll take a look at the nektar but I’m fairly sure that Beatstep pro is about 195 in most places (Amazon have it at 230 which is more than I’d be willing to pay). Scan have it for £195. Not that it makes that much difference.
yes, I have a Minilab too. And a keystep… . both work well! But lately I also have been using a Microsoft Surface Dial (works with any Windows 10 PC!) Once you get the hang of using it, It’s quite nice! You can control the rate of rotation depending on how fine you want the control to be. The nice part about it is that it doesn’t require any setting up of knobs or MIDI controls beforehand! You just put your mouse over any knob (or slider) and just start turning the dial! The only Caveat that is a bit of a habitual learning curve is that you MUST remember to click (depress) the dial before moving your mouse away from the knob. If you forget, you find that the control is still enabled and you knob goes banannas!
everything that sends midi cc messagges works fine with vcv rack.
connect the device, run rack, load a midi-cv module, select the device (nektar …), connect the cables and play it!
to map (let’s say) a pad, just load a midi-cc or a midi-gate module, select the device (nektar …), select (let’s say) the first top left box (single left mouse click) and then press a pad, you will notice that now the number of the cc message has appeared in the box, and it will be mapped to the first top left cable. repeat for other pads, knobs, faders