Midi controllers under $150 with lots of knobs

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.

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Apologies if this isn’t the appropriate thread for this, but I’ve been looking for a “lots of knobs” solution and although I think a Launch Control would probably suffice, I already have a Novation Remote 25 which is slightly damage and was wondering about the possibility of converting that into something which will solve my issues instead. I’d like to change the sliders for rotary pots and was looking to replace them and the existing rotary dials for some standard B10k. Excuse my ignorance, but: would this work? Is it literally a case of connecting the wires to the potentiometers? Has anyone done this before?

I can’t say for sure with the controller, but typically yes. Sliders are just linear potentiometers — just make sure the match the resistance and taper, which is usually printed right on them.

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Brilliant! Thank you - can’t wait to crack it open!

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I really like this one: https://nakedboards.org/mc24.html

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I’m in the same position, looking for a cheap controller with a lot a knobs (at least 24). My use case is csound/supercollider development, so endless encoders are a must have, both during development (code -> test -> knob twist -> debug -> restart) and playing (starting a file/patch with parameters already in place).
I’m considering buying an Arturia Beatstep (non pro) and coding a solution to use the pads as bank selectors for the 16 knobs.

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This might be slightly off topic and a stupid question… but is anyone aware of a controller with at least 10-12 knobs that can be mapped per channel in Ableton?

Use case would be creating a tactile way to manipulate the EQ section of a UAD console (SSL, Neve, API etc.) plugin. Ideally would like to be able to navigate to different tracks using arrow keys on keyboard (or the buttons on my APC/Push) and have the EQ controls assigned to the same encoders across all the channels with only the active channel being changed. I can of course do this on the APC but the controls are pre-mapped and there are only 6 encoders for APC and 8 for Push.

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What you seek is somewhat hampered by Ableton’s support for such things. First, support for re-mapping to some function on the selected track (or bank of tracks) is limited to controllers with Live Remote Scripts - and then usually in the way that the remote script has designed (typically mapping to the common controls always on a channel: volume, pan, sends). Some scripts can map to more: Mine, for example, can map to the macros on the selected track, selected chain, and first EQ3 device.

Second, you want to map to a plug-in, not a native Live device. The only way that you can do that generically with existing remote scripts is by mapping the rack macros to the plug-in’s parameters. But that limits you to 8. You’d need a remote script that was specificially written for that plug-in to be able to connect to more.

Good new is… exactly such a thing exists: https://www.softube.com/console1

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Welp. That was a stupid question lol. I somehow forgot about this. Still, was hoping for something in the $150-200 range but if it fits the bill, then I guess this is the way to go.

EDIT: interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that the Console 1 is compatible with UAD channel strips. You have to use Softube emulations.

Just ordered one; should be here in a week or so. Thankfully it comes with the 3.5mm to 5-pin adapter so I don’t have to hunt one down.

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this doesn’t rlly fit the thread criteria but does anyone have any particular experiences to share with the kenton killamix from this totally whack website.

specifically want to use it for two-way bindings with a max patch

korg nanokontrol mk2 is almost unbeatable in terms of controls per $.
i had one for more than 10 yrs. treated it very roughly,never had an issue

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EDIT: interestingly enough, it doesn’t appear that the Console 1 is compatible with UAD channel strips. You have to use Softube emulations.

If you have a look at their FAQ page, there’s a list of plug-and-play supported UAD plugins. Scroll down to “Which UAD powered plug-ins are supported and what do I need to use them with Console 1?”
They also have Apollo Central for Console 1, which is free:
https://www.softube.com/apollo#/

I see used Console 1s being sold where I live quite regularly for about $250. Well worth it :—)

60 knobs : https://bastl-instruments.com/instruments/60knobs

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They do support a lot of UAD plugins but none of the Unison channel strips which is really a bummer. I’m working on cobbling together a working channel strip through grouped effect racks and seeing if I can develop some muscle memory as to where things are. I really like the UAD channel strips (and have some $$$ invested in them) so would like to stick with them if I can.

Does Console 1 support controlling the UAD plugins within the UAD Console? My understanding is that the UAD Console lacks any kind of external control options (which is a super bummer for live control of Unison plugins), but that when the plugins are controlled by a DAW, then obviously you can MIDI map via the DAW.

Yes - you can midi map within the DAW with a few severe limitations. The flow of mapping per channel would disappear which to me would be the whole appeal of the Console (flip between tracks, the controls automatically map to the Unison plug/channel strip active on that channel). The other limitation seems to be between UAD and Softube and how they implemented the software. According to the UAD forums, you would need three separate instances of a UAD unison plug in order to map Console 1 to the three respective sections (preamp, eq, dynamics). There are Unison plugs that use so much DSP that I can’t run three instances. I’m not sure how eager they are to fix it - Softube offers their own plug versions of the Unison strips for sale so they would prefer you just purchase theirs. I’m also sure that UAD doesn’t feel compelled to redesign their entire plugin around the Console 1 limitations.

Of course, all this is taken from the UAD forums - I have no actual experience with Console 1 myself but would love if it worked the way it seems it should.

What would be great is a like a 64 knob controller over USB-midi in a format that could be expanded (chained or otherwise easy to sit side-by-side) for 8 knobs/channel for 8 channels or more. Obviously, anything is possible - just trying to keep this within the $150 constraint of the OP.

Hopefully this isn’t too much of a topic drift, but I’m looking for a pad/slider/knob thing to use with supercollider. I have an Akai APC mini, which works I guess but isn’t really ideal and not that fun to use with SC. I mostly need some pressure sensitive pads and knobs or sliders to sling around and trigger/modulate the random crap I’m trying to throw together. I’ve been looking at the Akai MPD218, anyone have thoughts on it? How good is the MIDI support for it? How do the pads feel? What else should I look at?