- The Best MIDI Controller You Can Get For Ableton Today 2021
- BEST MIDI FOR BEGINNERS Comes With ABELTON LIVE Novation MK3 Launchkey 49 Unboxing Review
- Ableton Push 2 Review - Best Midi Controller For A Home Studio - Ableton Live Push 2 Tutorial
- Ableton Midi Tutorial
- Best Midi Controllers For Ableton
I found it much easier to create a beat and come up with fresh ideas once I stopped making tracks with a mouse and keyboard and finally graduated to a Midi Controller.
After choosing a good Midi controller, I was able to create beats and experiment with cool sounds.
While there is a wide range of Digital Audio Workstations on the market to help you create music, there are MIDI controllers that are created for Ableton specifically.
Click The Link For The Winner – Novation Launchkey 25 mk2
Ableton Live, one of the most popular and powerful programs you will find in the ongoing “DAW Wars” that producers have been waging since we started recording on computers.But we’re not here to debate what DAW is the best, because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the producer behind the DAW. And the samples they have at their disposal.If you’re an ableton live. From functionality to versatility, the Akai MPK249 has the most seamless integration with Ableton out of any MIDI keyboard we can think of and is worth the investment. This is one of the best budget MIDI keyboards on the market for Ableton and is probably the cheapest one worth a good mention. The Best MIDI Controller You Can Buy for Ableton Today by Sean Davis November 20, 2020. 4 min read When picking the correct Ableton controller for your needs, you first need to take into account what your intentions with Ableton are; would you like to produce, are you using it for a live show to launch clips, or are you doing a bit a both. Ableton’s homage to the style that made sampling an art form and put a new kind of groove on the musical map. Chop and Swing comes loaded with inspired recordings and presets perfect for cutting up and re-combining into fresh new tracks. AKAI Professional APC Key 25 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live with 25 Piano Style Keys, 40 Buttons and 8 Assignable Encoders 4.5 out of 5 stars 2,425 $89.00.
Best Ableton Live Midi Controller
Ableton Push 2
Best Midi Pad Controller Built By Ableton
- The unit is adaptable to different forms of music-making
- Offered with Ableton Live Intro, allowing you to get started
- 11 touch-sensitive encoders, allowing you to customize your sounds
- Multicolor, pressure, and velocity-sensitive pads
- Relatively expensive
- No rotary encoders
This is a handcrafted unit that allows you to make music in your studio and on the go. This was created with the original Ableton DAW.
Granted, this makes it one of the greatest units to integrate with Ableton. It is created by the creators of Ableton, and as such, you are guaranteed that most of the features on the DAW and the controller merge perfectly.
This unit is easy to pair with a MIDI keyboard to give you better control. It sports 64 pressure and velocity-sensitive multi-color pads.
Burp suite wordpress theme. This gives you the chance to play with loops trigger and try out sounds you feel can match. You are also offered 11 touch-sensitive encoders, allowing you to customize your tunes.
With the purchase of this unit, you are offered Live 9 Intro. You will need a few bucks to upgrade to the full Ableton Live version.
Akai APC40 MK2
Best Ableton Controller For Live Performances
- Great for mixing sounds and effects thanks to RGB pads
- Highly portable and offered at a relatively low price
- Gives you control of your Ableton so you save time
- Great interface for use by first-time beatmakers
- No Keys
- No Standalone Options
This is an upgrade of the original APC40.
The new version comes with more features for musicians who had grown in love with its predecessor’s interface.
The unit is designed to integrate with Ableton Live seamlessly. When you have clips in the Ableton session, this unit plays them well.
However, this unit misses the step sequencer in Ableton Push. The pads are not velocity-sensitive, but the unit still operates optimally when you are mixing sounds.
The Akai APC40 MK2 gives you great control of your Ableton so you do not have to keep using the mouse, which can waste time.
With RGB pads, you will find it easy to manage your music making. You can see which clips are playing and which are on standby.
Akai APC Key 25
Budget Midi Controller
- Great unit for playing on the go
- Gives you great control with 40 clip launch pads
- Great price for those on budget
- Integrates with Ableton seamlessly
- Limiting in features
- Only 25 keys
- Small-sized controller
The newest contender, Behringer, has become a serious player in the budget studio monitor category since launching the Nekkst series.
The K8 is the biggest of the range and offers a lot for the money. The Nekkst K8 sound could be described as natural.
The highs are articulated, middle frequencies offer good clarity for vocals and instruments, and the bass is definitely there, but lacking a bit of the punch of a typical 8” speaker.
The Advanced Waveguide Technologyprovides a generously wide sweet-spot.
TheBehringer Nekkst range features front-firing bass-ports, which used together with the speaker’s built-in Room Compensation allows the speaker to be placed close to the wall with no significant blurring to the low end.
The Nekkst K8 features 8” woofer and 1” silk-dome tweeter, enabling the speaker to provide a frequency response between 40Hz-20kHz.
Novation Launchkey 25 Mk2
Best All Round Controller For Ableton Live
- Offered with 50 controls, letting you manage every process of the music-making
- Integrates with Ableton Live and other software with ease
- The unit gives you instant control of your workflow
- Great value for the money invested
- Using the unit with Ableton Live for the first time is challenging
- Limiting with only 25 keys
This is a fully-featured Ableton control surface offered with over 50 controls. This lets you manage your music making.
It sports 16 dual-color backlit launch pads, all which are velocity sensitive, allowing you easy control. You can use this unit to trigger loops and play drums.
With the LaunchKey, playing clips in your Live session is easy.
When integrated with Ableton Live, the unit becomes more than a USB controller keyboard. It becomes a powerful unit that allows you to have more hands-on control of your keyboard and your Ableton DAW.
Besides the integrated functionality, the unit also offers you standard MIDI control. This allows you instant control of panning, track volumes, sends and other volumes.
Novation Launchpad Pro
Budget Alternative Midi Pad Controller
- 64 launch pads, allowing you great control
- Integrates with Ableton DAW seamlessly
- Great to use on the go thanks to its size
- Versatile can be used with other DAWs
- Relatively less flexible
- Made for launching clips inside of session mode
- No keys
At first glance, the Launchpad Pro looks basic.
It’s not, this a great choice for those who are looking for a unit to integrate with Ableton Live, use in the studio or on the go and still save a few bucks during its purchase.
This unit is comparatively small in size, making it easy to carry around. Besides using it with Ableton, this unit can be used with other DAWs, making it flexible and versatile.
The unit comes with 64 RGB backlit velocity sensitive pads.
This lets you change modes quickly and switch the layout of the controller. The pads will change illumination based on the modes and this lets you play notes easily even when the notes do not have keys on them.
Compared to other units on the market, the Launchpad Pro is relatively cheap.
Best Ableton Controllers: Ultimate Buyers Guide
Midi controllers are quickly rising to become one of the most important parts of making music. But there is a problem, Midi Controller brands are rising, making it a challenge for people to choose the best.
The Best MIDI Controller You Can Get For Ableton Today 2021
While there are some controllers designed for use specifically with Ableton Live, some are designed to also use other DAWs. You might need a controller that uses other DAWs, but there are low chances of the Ableton Live failing.
Most Midi controllers these days are designed with faders, knobs, and buttons. With all these options, you have enough hands-on control to speed up your production time and express your creativity.
This includes controlling the Ableton Live DAW directly from your controller. Knobs, sliders and modulation wheels allow you an authentic classic feel.
There are Ableton controllers that are designed with auto-mapping technology that makes the knobs and faders correspond to your Ableton Live.
Musicians will appreciate the size of a 25-key controller as it allows you to use its knobs to modulate different aspects of music making.
If you have enough space and you want to play with both hands or you want to do keyboard splits, consider a full-size keyboard. This will have up to 88 keys.
However, if portability is key for you, choose a compact 25-key controller. If you plan to use your controller on the go, much as you need a full sized keyboard, a compact controller will come handy.
When you watch professional keyboardists play, you will realize how they lay down a lead line and then fasten off with an expressive vibrato. You might also have seen them leaning into a key deeper for an aftertouch event.
It is a handy feature for musicians who need to add expressiveness to their music. Aftertouch is found only on high-end controllers.
It is a feature that you might not notice missing from your controller until you use a controller that has it. Aftertouch is offered in two forms; monophonic and polyphonic.
Polyphonic allows you to vary parameters on each note independently. It is relatively expensive to have aftertouch in Midi control, and as such, it is advisable to take full advantage of this feature.
These days Midi is transmitted via USB in most modern controllers. However, there are advanced units that offer more connection options such as jacks that make your music-making easy.
When you have 5-pin DIN jacks on the Midi controller, it gives you the ability to control external equipment such as hardware synths. CV and Gate outputs give you the ability to modulate classic synth gear.
You will hardly come across a Midi controller that does not offer a pedal jack. However, most basic controllers do not offer a continuous controller pedal.
An expression pedal lets you modulate different parameters in real time and you do not have to take your hands off your keys.
You might have no problem using the black and white pads on your keyboard, but some people do not like them. Velocity sensing pads are becoming common.
The conventional controllers are offered with 8 or more performance pads that allow you to trigger loops and play drums. There are controllers that even sense aftertouch.
Pads are good as they let you control your Midi with ease. However, a horde of pads will take up more space on your controller.
So let’s review what we think the best midi controllers are for your Ableton Live based productions to increase workflow, make a quick track on the fly and using Ableton as an instrument and not just a piece of software.
Is Abelton The Best DAW For Beginners?
Since it was designed, Ableton has stood out from the competition.It is the session view that makes it unique. Instead of rows, the session uses columns.
When you are using Ableton, time does not flow from right to left, but instead, snippets of audio are inserted into each column.
To play the audio, just launch the clip and let Ableton do the hard work of time stretching to suit the bpm.
This means that the clips of Audio will play in time with each other, allowing you to get creative with sounds that were previously unmixable.
This way, you do not spend all of your time in the studio learning the ultra-technical side of electronic music production.
Ableton allows producers to do what they love most, create amazing music and experimental sounds. With a free-flowing session, you can add and remove sounds as you will.
When you are mixing on your midi controller, the unit allows you to apply clips ads one-time shots or loop them continually. This makes Ableton ideal for use when creating music from scratch in your studio.
If you have been making music for a considerable amount of time, it is easy for you to record and loop at the same time in real-time. Ableton Live has opened up a great avenue of music-making possibilities.
You can really leverage the power of Ableton lives software, sounds, and workflow, when you invest in a purpose, made a midi controller, for this unique DAW.
I’m a pretty big Ableton fan. I use it for my own projects, and I also frequently recommend it to my friends in music production. But recommending the right hardware, especially specifically for use with Ableton, can sometimes be more of a challenge. When friends ask, “but what is the Best MIDI Controller for Ableton?” …in this case, I can think of a few answers. But as most decisions related to DAW and hardware, it really comes down to preference and taste.
Keyboard controllers are great for producers that know their way around a keyboard or those that are ready to learn on the go. Other musicians are happier with an 8×8 matrix setup, or rows of touch-sensitive pads.
Portability could be another factor for those that tend to take their production (or live performance) on the go. For others, the equipment might never be leaving their home studio. The best Ableton controller is really a matter of personal taste. Fortunately, there are a lot of choices.
The Basics of MIDI Controllers for Beginners
A quick word if you’re new to using MIDI controllers. You may be wondering: what’s the big deal? Aren’t all controllers the same? Does what I use with Ableton really make any difference vs. any other DAW?
MIDI vs. Audio
First, let’s talk MIDI controllers. In the simplest terms, a MIDI controller exists to make your job easier. The MIDI controller doesn’t synthesize sounds on its own. But it sends the digital information of what is being played—things like what notes are being played, the velocity they’re being played, pitch bend, modulation, and more.
With MIDI you can quickly record and edit everything you just played, and then proceed to change the recording completely with the click of the mouse. You’d have a much more difficult time doing this with audio. Some MIDI controllers have a keyboard, drum pad, knobs, and more. Others may just have one or the other.
A Little Bit About Ableton
Ableton is one of the many DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) options for artists and producers. This is a piece of software is essentially your mainframe for recording, editing, and creating.
If you haven’t worked with it before, I highly recommend you check it out. Watch clips of how it works, get a trial version, just give it a try. At the time of writing this (May 1st, 2020, Ableton is offering a 90-day free trial, instead of their typical 30-day.
Choosing Your Hardware
The important thing to remember here is that all the tools in your home studio are a means to an end.—your MIDI controller, DAW, VSTs, and even the headphones you use. For that reason, it’s useful to know what tools work well together, and more importantly, what tools will best help you with what you hope to accomplish.
There are tons of MIDI keyboard controllers on the market. So here are a few of my favorites when it comes to using them with Ableton. They’re all professional-grade, current, and easy to find on Amazon.
Best MIDI Controller for Ableton: My Top 7 Picks
Here are just a few of the best MIDI controller options for Ableton Live. Below, we’ll go over the following controllers:
- Novation 49SL mkIII
- Native Instruments Maschine Jam
- Akai Professional APC40 mkII
- Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller mk2
- Ableton Push 2
- Akai Professional MPK Mini mkII
- Alesis VI25
Novation 49SL mkIII
Novation designed the 49SL mkIIi with Ableton users in mind. It even comes with Ableton Live Lite loaded, in case you don’t already have it. There’s a 61-key version as well, for anyone who wants a slightly wider range—but for most, the 49-key will work for them just as well. The controls are the same in either case. Fader and backlit pad controls give you a wide range of options.
BEST MIDI FOR BEGINNERS Comes With ABELTON LIVE Novation MK3 Launchkey 49 Unboxing Review
It’s got a great set of keys—you’ll feel like you’re playing a classic synth. It’s got aftertouch and semi-weighted keys as, so it feels natural to play. It’s also possible to divide the keyboard up into zones, assigning a spread of instruments to different keys (especially useful if you’re planning on using it for any sort of live performance).
There are a few downsides; there is, unfortunately, no USB-only power option, so you can’t power it just from your machine. As such, it’s got just a little less portability than some smaller controllers. But for a controller this size, it makes sense that it needs a power source.
The main way that the 49SL MkIII shines is through its ease of use with Ableton Live. For one, the controller comes pre-mapped for Ableton. There’s almost no setup involved. Simply plug and play, and easily control parameters within Ableton with the knobs on the controller.
Whatever you use, the Novation 49SL mkIIi will give you plenty of versatility and allow you to control your plugins and devices with a minimum of fuss. It can be adapted to different styles. If you work in Ableton, this controller will help you stay efficient and stress-free.
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Native Instruments Maschine Jam
Now we’ll get to something that looks entirely different. Maschine Jam is a good example of how much variety MIDI controllers can have.
Instead of a keyboard, you’re looking at an 8×8 color click pad matrix. It looks less like a keyboard and more like an old electronic game from the 1980s—but don’t let that fool you. Maschine Jam has a high-quality step sequencer that can hold its own against any of the most modern controllers.
The Jam is a handy and compact tool. It allows you to control a lot of features all from one place, and it is an excellent tool for Ableton Live.
There are some limitations when it comes to tracking velocity, as the controller lacks velocity-sensitive pads, meaning you would need to make velocity adjustments directly in the program itself—if that’s something you need. Not to say you couldn’t take care of all of that later.
The controller also comes with 29 GB of pro-level sounds and high-quality drum synths, all of which you can control from a single spot. Native Instruments has always done great work with their virtual instruments and effects, and Maschine Jam comes with a selection of some of the best from Komplete 11.
The controller isn’t limited to drums. It also allows you to select scales chord progressions, allowing you to create melodies without knowing how to play the piano. This is great for those who aren’t interested in learning the keys.
The best characteristic of Maschine Jam is as a step sequencer. Take your eyes off the computer and create patterns right on the controller.
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Akai Professional APC40 mkII
This controller is perfect for live performance using Ableton. The original Ableton Performance Controller came out back in 2009, as a product of cooperation between Ableton Live and Akai Professional. That was the APC40, and at the time, it was revolutionary, introducing musicians across the world to the dedicated clip-launching controller.
As the years passed, Akai knew it needed to build on its success. It released the follow-up Akai APC40 mkII, an Ableton Live Controller for the next generation of music producers.
With the mkII, there are a few noticeable improvements over the original. The clip-launching grid has been updated. Now backlit, the 5×8 grid has assignable RGB options that make it customizable rather than fixed in place.
It’s easier than ever to launch clips, and you can perform without having to setting eyes on your computer. Because it’s assignable, you can color code clips for easy access. A shift button allows you to move between different levels and—again—keeps you hands-free from your computer.
Like the original APC40, the mkII comes with nine faders, eight-channel control knobs, and eight device control knobs. The spacing on the mkII is a little better though, particularly when it comes to the faders.
The fact that they’re spread out a little more makes it less likely that you’ll bump or move the wrong control when you’re in the heat of the moment. For anyone who is DJing or using it for any live performance, that’s a huge plus.
It’s Still an APC
One of the remarkable things about the APC40 mkII is that it doesn’t backtrack from its purpose. It doesn’t try to please everyone or compromise quality for the sake of other DAWs. The original APC40 is really built specifically for Ableton Live, and the mkII aims to do the same thing—but better. You don’t need to configure anything when you hook it up to Ableton. Everything is pre-mapped, as long as you’re running at least version 9.1.3.
While it can definitely be used for production, it is one of the most commonly used tool for DJs that use Ableton Live.
The Best Part…It Comes With Ableton Live
The music production suite comes with Ableton Live, 5GB of professional sounds and sample, and two synthesizers. Frankly, the software package on its own is more than worth the price of admission. Fortunately, when you pick up the Akai Professional APC40 mkII, you get a fantastic controller too.
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Novation Launchpad Ableton Live Controller Mk2
Another standout offering from the folks at Novation is the Launchpad. This is a tried-and-true product that’s been on the market for a while, but they updated it. Now we have the Launchpad Mk2 (not to be confused with the Novation Launchkey or the Novation Launchpad Mini).
The Launchpad Mk2 is a pad-based MIDI controller that puts some great music production controls at your fingertips. Like some others on this list, it comes with sensitive pads, RGB light coding, and is designed to work especially well for Ableton Live.
It comes with Ableton Live Lite, which is definitely worth having if you don’t already. USB connectivity makes it an easy hookup for any Mac or PC computer, or an iPad.
The most obvious feature of the Novation Launchpad is its 8×8 light-up button grid and the lack of anything else. No faders or knobs to distract you. If simplicity is what you want in your controller, the Launchpad delivers. Solid build quality makes it a good pick for anyone who thinks they’ll be moving around a bunch, and might subject their controller to a little wear and tear.
Great for Beginners
All in all, the Novation Launchkey is a great choice for beginners, for anyone who is just learning the ropes, or wants to focus on clips. You don’t get a MIDI keyboard, or a lot of other hardware. But you do get a simple, durable controller that works extremely well with Ableton Live. For many beginners, that’s exactly what you need.
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Ableton Push 2
And finally, my personal favorite… The Ableton Push has one advantage that many of the other controllers don’t: it was made by Ableton itself. As a result, buyers can be confident that the product was built with the best Ableton integration in mind. The controller comes with Ableton Live Intro 10, and the device delivers high-quality step sequencing, build quality, and overall device control.
The original Ableton Push came out a few years ago, and quickly became a favorite of Ableton users. But the Push 2 is one of those cases where the sequel really is better—and worth the newer and higher price point. The Push 1 had great pads, but the RGB pads on the Push 2 are in another category altogether. The backlit display supports an attractive array of sensitive pads that are a pleasure to play. Anyone who used a Push 1 will have no problem jumping in, but it’s incredibly responsive for new users as well.
A Perfect Fit for Ableton
Most importantly, the Ableton Push 2 controller was designed by the same company that made the software, and that has huge benefits. Ableton was in the best position to understand what features their users would need. With the Push 2, you really won’t need to touch your computer. There’s nothing better than a truly hands-on and click-free experience while creating.
Additionally, with the Push 2, they were able to draw on several years of user feedback regarding the original Push, and design something that took music producers’ real-world experience into account.
Is it Right For You?
Like many on this list, the Push 2 is not a MIDI keyboard, and if using a keyboard is part of your process, you may need something else (or to combine the Push 2 with another controller).
Some users may balk at the higher price point, and that’s understandable. There are a few others on this list that are less costly, but if you are looking for the best all-around tool for Ableton Live, the Push 2 is your best bet.
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Akai Professional MPK Mini mkII
Ableton Push 2 Review - Best Midi Controller For A Home Studio - Ableton Live Push 2 Tutorial
Another one of favorites here. Because of Akai’s early collaborations with Ableton, they are frequently at the forefront of this particular conversation. With the Mini mkII, you get a compact USB MIDI controller, with 25 synth-action keys on the keyboard, 8 drum pads, and even a few significant improvements over the original MPK.
The Akai Pro MPK Mini is one of the best controllers to have in your collection if you want to stay mobile, as it’s incredibly light and portable. The build quality is solid and it could be an option for a live performance if you’re not able to lug around a lot of heavy hardware.
When the first MPK Mini came out years, many users complained about the lack of easy pitch and modulation control. The mkII takes that feedback into account. One of the most obvious differences between the original MPK Mini and this newer version is the presence of a 4-way thumbstick in the upper lefthand corner of the device. This lets you control the pitch and modulation in real-time. The mkII also brings a solid built-in arpeggiator to the table, as well as two synthesizers in Hybrid 3 and SONiVOX Wobble, as well as MPC Essentials.
Is it Right For You?
So is it the best MIDI controller for Ableton? That’s up to you. While this controller will work great for any DAW, if you’re looking for keys, drumpads, and portability, you’re in the right spot. You get more power from the Ableton Push 2 if you’re strictly using Ableton. But if you need something that will work with Ableton and also other DAWs, you might consider adding the Akai Mini as a second controller, or as an “on-the-go” option.
The Akai Mini also has a keyboard, compact portability, and a lower price point. If these are important considerations for you, definitely check it out.
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Ableton Midi Tutorial
The last controller on our list is the Alesis VI25. Like the Akai MPK Mini, this is a keyboard controller featuring 25 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys, and a surprisingly extensive set of controls and drum pads.
Akai vs. Alesis
One of the biggest differences you’ll see is that the Alesis VI25 has 16 drum pads, while the Akai has 8. All in all, I’d say the Akai’s drum pads are slightly better quality in terms of feel and play, but Alesis gives you more to work with if pads are at the forefront of your production/performances.
Alesis also works well with a wide range of DAWs on Mac or PC, but the additional pads and knobs on the device give you a wider range of choices.
When working with Ableton, it helps to have a number of options, which is why the 8×8 Ableton controllers have become so popular. Alesis VI25 blends the versatility of the 8×8 clip launchers with the playability of a MIDI keyboard, giving a “best of both worlds” feel to anyone who isn’t committed to just one approach.
What it Includes
The Alesis VI25 also includes Ableton Live Lite, so if you don’t already have it, you get that along with the controller. The exceptional virtual instrument Xpand!2 is part of the bundle as well, giving you access to a high-quality selection of professional sounds. You wind up with a lot of tools that will get you making music right out of the gate, without having to wait while you figure out all the setup.
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Best Midi Controllers For Ableton
So what is the best MIDI controller for Ableton? As these things always are, it really depends on what YOU are looking for.
Mobile and Diverse
If you’re looking for keys, drumpads, and a lightweight controller, my personal favorite is the Akai MPK mini.
The Ultimate Ableton Controller
If you’re trying to get lost in the zone and strictly use Ableton, the Push 2 can be a LOT of fun. It can take touching your computer completely out of your workflow.
Find Out What You Want
Don’t forget—buy choosing one, you’re not limiting yourself. No shame in having more than one controller.
Take a look at what you hope to accomplish. If you want to get better with a keyboard, start playing. If you’d like to take a shot a finger drumming, get something with pads. The world is yours.