Midi controllers under $150 with lots of knobs

Looking for a small, inexpensive controller for Max with lots of knobs, at least 16+. Besides Midi
Fighter Twister (which is more than i want to spend) what are my options.?
I do not DIY but I’m more than willing to try if it’s an easy to assemble kit.

20 knobs characters


exactly what I needed. thanks!

Good ole korg nanokontrol. Always popping up for $15.




Seconding the novation launch control XL. I know that the Launchcontrol XL leds can be programmed via sysex messages, thats how Expert Sleepers FH1 can host the LC XL and use its LEDs to give sequencer feedback.
I havent used Max before, but if it can output sysex messages, you could program the LED colour/brightness on the Launchcontrol XL for extra feedback

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Another cosign for the Launch Control XL. If you don’t want the faders there is also the non-XL version which has less knobs.

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Recently ordered the naked boards mc-24 to use with norns. Haven’t gotten it yet, but it looks like it’ll be a good pairing.

I used to have a Behringer BCR2000 a long time ago. It could be programmed and understood sysex, but it was a little hard to understand and kind of bulky. 32 knobs though!


very interested in hearing how this goes as I’m looking for a similar controller for norns.

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i’ve got a faderfox lv3 for like 30€


i really like the faderfoxes - solidly built - i have a uc3 and prefer sliders to knobs - not seen many for <$150 though

i made this mess with one today


if anyone here wants a launch control xl I’m replacing mine with a naked boards controller soon because the xl isn’t #minimal enough for me


Faderfox is probably my top choice but too expensive. I do like those a lot though! The NakedBoards MC-24 can’t get here until sometime in January so I guess I’ll pass on that. I’d probably try that otherwise, only $100 & 24 knobs! I’d get the mc-08 fader one as well…

I was looking at maybe getting two Behringer X-Touch-Mini’s (that would give me 24 endless encoders, 2 banks of eight on each one) but I had overlooked the Novation Launch Control XL for some reason, so now I’m torn. :stuck_out_tongue: Especially after seeing someone already did something like this: https://cycling74.com/tools/novation-launchcontrolxl-controller-mapping Looks like I’d be up and running really quick w/o all of the configuration. Plus, Max 8 has easy midi mapping, I assume it wasn’t always as easy…right now, between these two, either one would be fine.

Are endless encoders really that important to have? I have no idea what resolution the X-Touch-Mini encoders are…7bit or 14 bit…the XL gives me everything laid out, which I prefer, and with faders and the Max community seems to have several articles/tutorials on it…that’s a big plus in a way.

FWIW, I’m a 2 month user of Max (I decided to buy the full, standalone license on a whim, could not be happier about the decision) so my knowledge level is very beginner. And I’m not too knowledgeable on MIDI either. So the controller doesn’t have to be plug-and-play but I’d like it not to have too many issues to get up and running. Thanks to everyone for the replies…give it all a little more thought and then pull the trigger. :stuck_out_tongue:


I could possibly be interested in your XL, message me with any details/photos if you’d like.

I used to have one of these back in the day. Kinda miss it. I see them in Reverb and eBay for around $75-$150


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What module is your fader fox connected to?

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FaderFox: Another FaderFox fan here: I use a UC44 in performance and it is the main control work horse of my performing rig. They are more expensive, but very well engineered, very flexible, and built to last. The PC4 is only ~$200 and very compact for 24 knobs.

endless encoders: These are really only important if you are going to “bank” the controls, like shifting the same controls between tracks 1~8, then 9~16. I use a controller with encoders because I want ~50 controls in a small space, and so I bank a set of 8 encoders.

encoder resolution: Encoders work in one of two different modes:

In delta mode, they simply send +/- delta values over MIDI. Then it is up to the receiving end to scale that and add it to the current value. In this mode, standard 7 bits is plenty and what all the ones I’ve seen do.

In follow mode, the controller tracks the current value, and applies the delta from the encoder to it, sending the new current value over MIDI. Here, 7 or 14 bits are options depending on the device. This form is useful if (a) the encoders are banked, as the controller will track the current value in each bank separately, and/or (b) the host sometimes also adjusts the value (say a patch change, or an on screen version).


It’s a uc3 connected to an FH-1 like this video.


something I’ve noticed when mapping software is that regardless of whether I’m using dedicated pots or mapping encoders (an arc, in this case) I pretty much just get lost if there’s more than 16 or so parameters mapped at a time. curious if anyone else gets that or it’s just a me thing.

So, the $64,000 question: pots or encoders…?

IMO, pots feel so much nicer to use… but you do have the whole jumping value issue to deal with. Encoders are better for discrete values though.

It’s also one of those questions that it’s easy to rationalise an answer to, but you won’t really know which you prefer until you try them both.

I have a Faderfox PC4 that I got used on eBay (for a bargain price of £75!).

I don’t use any of the programability, mine just outputs CC1-24 on channel 1. (And I only really use it with SuperCollider with a bit of custom code to quickly map it to a synth param.)

It’s nice and compact, and slides back underneath my monitor stand when not in use. I’m pretty sure I’ve never used all of the knobs at once. But the excess means you can lay things out logically rather than having to try to cram everything in.