How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live

Do you use MIDI controllers when you work with Live?

Yes, I'd feel lost without my MIDI controller.
75
59%
I use them sometimes but I also spend a lot of time only with my KB+mouse.
50
39%
No. I feel no need for MIDI controllers and I do all my work only with KB+mouse.
3
2%
 
Total votes: 128

darkenedsoul
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by darkenedsoul » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:52 pm

Mainly draw in notes in Piano Roll for drum parts, synth/piano is a mixed bag but usually manual input. I've got the LPD8, padKontrol (hardly use it, may sell it off), mini-USB MS-20 from Korg Legacy Collection (again, rarely used, MIDI map knobs from it and a little MIDI keyboard) or my Korg M50 synth as MIDI input for recording VSTi or sounds from it itself.

I don't play Live so I see no need for some of these setups people have going. Whatever works for you. But since I don't write music in tons of bars it is easier to just draw in a 1+ bar of a progression, expand as needed, copy/paste to duplicate it, make further edits, play it back, refined it more, adjust velocity (hope we got this *more human* option somewhere like Studio One has?). But that's about all for hardware on my end. The LPD8 is nice for the 8 pads/knobs and mapping to Live devices once set up - nice touch by Gary Boozy if I recall.

Mike
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störgeräusche
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by störgeräusche » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:31 pm

funken wrote:The link is dead, or should I copy the text file in the post?
strange... it works for me, on the mobile phone and on the computer.
do a serach per author, forum member is guille, the thread is called "new remote script for novation nocturn and live 8". don't worry about that, it just works like a charm in live 9.
if not, feel free to PM me and i'll send you the files and the instructions.

good luck
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doc holiday
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by doc holiday » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:45 pm

I started with hardware sequencers, Yamaha qx7 was my first. software has reduced the amount of hardware i use to the point where I don't use much at all, I hate using the mouse though.. it's a pain.

beats me
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by beats me » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:45 pm

Interesting responses. Based on a lot of the posts here you’d think most people are doing these overly elaborate controller setups that they use extensively but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

I fired up my MCU last week looking to mostly just use it for fader adjustments but I found that only having access to 8 tracks at a time kind of annoying if I was adjusting things that weren’t in the same range of 8 tracks and found myself going back to using the mouse more times than I expected.

TeeJayEe
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by TeeJayEe » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:52 pm

I'm curious to hear more about you guys who do it all with the mouse. I like the idea if this workflow as it would mean not having to pack a controller if I'm away from my studio.

I use a keyboard for everything, so it seems very different to do it all by clicking etc.

How do you 'humanise' drums? Surely having them perfectly on beat sound a bit robotic? Or is it better suited to stuff like dance music that typically does have perfectly quantised beats?

Melodies - how do you 'come up with ideas' if you're clicking around in the piano roll?

Chords - as above.

schullermusik
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by schullermusik » Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:38 pm

I have three controllers - a small iRig Keys in front of the Mac, APC40 off to one side, and a Novation Impulse 61 to my right. I use the iRig Keys to demo sounds when I'm working on synth patches and play the Novation when recording.

ilya.soloviev
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by ilya.soloviev » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:47 am

Heavy working for 15 years with KB and mouse only...tried once to use fancy MIDI controller...spent several hours of programming simple drum pattern, then did the same with mouse for 10 mins and threw MIDI controller away. Since that never touched it again.

BTW...watched a lot of Future Music "In The Studio With..." videos and never seen that anybody uses a MIDI controller (im not talking about MIDI keyboard) in serious production...

BoddAH
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by BoddAH » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:59 pm

ilya.soloviev wrote:Heavy working for 15 years with KB and mouse only...tried once to use fancy MIDI controller...spent several hours of programming simple drum pattern, then did the same with mouse for 10 mins and threw MIDI controller away. Since that never touched it again.

BTW...watched a lot of Future Music "In The Studio With..." videos and never seen that anybody uses a MIDI controller (im not talking about MIDI keyboard) in serious production...
Yet it seems we are the only two people on this forum according to the poll...

I find it strange as well. I really started to think I'm some sort of alien but I really don't get it. Unless you're a trained pianist or drummer I hardly see how forcing yourself to perform stuff in real time on a MIDI keyboard or drum pad would be of any help. It certainly isn't for me. I understand that programmed parts can sound "mechanical" and "rigid" but unless you're an excellent instrumentalist the "human" aspect of your playing is much likely to be a major drawback than an advantage. Is everybody on this forum a piano or drum pad virtuoso ?

I spend so much time fucking up my takes and correcting note and timing errors that I simply say fuck it and use what little music theory knowledge I have to write down what's in my head manually.

Faders and knobs are cool I guess but they aren't worth the hassle IMHO when not performing live. It's more straightforward to just draw in your automation or use the mouse.

But heh, to each his own I guess... :mrgreen:

Interesting results anyway.

Timbeaux
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by Timbeaux » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:31 pm

BoddAH wrote:Is everybody on this forum a piano or drum pad virtuoso ?
Me not (iam less then a beginner on piano or guitar). But i like to use my controllers (espacially the Launchpad to make melodies). It is really nice to just jam on em and record the parts u like. Even when they are not quantisized. I can do that later or while recording. So it is (for me) more easy to get new ideas.

Pasha
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by Pasha » Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:45 pm

Keyboard to play/record instruments
I use Launchpad when composing (recording clips) and moving from session to arrangement.
BCF2K when mixing.

Bye
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vitaphone
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by vitaphone » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:33 am

ilya.soloviev wrote:Heavy working for 15 years with KB and mouse only...tried once to use fancy MIDI controller...spent several hours of programming simple drum pattern, then did the same with mouse for 10 mins and threw MIDI controller away. Since that never touched it again.

BTW...watched a lot of Future Music "In The Studio With..." videos and never seen that anybody uses a MIDI controller (im not talking about MIDI keyboard) in serious production...
I have never seen an artist who is in "serious production" who simply uses a compter, mouse and keyboard... Ever.

Im not trying to start a war... But two things im perplexed about your statement...


1: If it took you several hours to program a simple beat with this anonymous "fancy midi controller"... As the kids say these days "YOUR DOING IT WRONG". Or you simply lack the patience to learn a new piece of hardware/software.

2:"BTW...watched a lot of Future Music "In The Studio With..." videos and never seen that anybody uses a MIDI controller (im not talking about MIDI keyboard) in serious production..."

What you might be missing is most of these artist in "serious production" have hardware... And are generally not "in the box" exclusively but aside that point Richard Devine, Mark Ellis, Trent Reznor, Cevin Key, Ralph Hutter, James Murphy, the Dewaele brothers, to name just a few do not simply use a mouse and keyboard... Be it a controller which bridges the gap missing between software and hardware with one of the major missing elements... Tactility and the relationship one develops with and instrument or piece of hardware that cannot be replaced with a keyboard and mouse... A control surface or controller does just that.

Hardware enables the experimentation process be it something complex like the monome for doing things that are not really possible in avante garde way or simply being able to tweak multiple parameters on an synth, eq, compressor or fx processor that are not linked via some type of macro(which is not the same, lacking the human and random element)

There is a vast array of experiences and happy accidents a keyboard and mouse can never provide, or duplicate that tactile hardware provides.

It sounds like you have taken a defensive postion because for what ever reason you dont have controllers.

It's one thing to say one does not need such to make music, but I cant recall the last studio I have been in in the last 10 years (or more) that didnt at least have a digital SSl with motorized faders... which IS a hardware controller.

I would concede you may be able to find professionals whom are 100% in the box with no controllers... But they most certainly are the exception to the rule... Not the other way around.

I would certainly love to see some of these videos of 100% in the box no controllers producers and musicians... I havent seen it and I have a sneaking suspicion if you go back you will find most if not all are using more then a keyboard and mouse somewhere in the workflow in the "serious production" end of things.

Again I'm not trying to start a war with the generation or those who have the personal preference to not utilize technology available but the assertion that professionals prefer working without tactile contact is not accurate... even remotely... which again... one is not required to adhere to standards or the consensus of a "professional" environment to make or mix music.

vitaphone
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by vitaphone » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:10 am

^^This.

Just one of many things one cannot do with simply a mouse and keyboard.

Did you see my post Funk?

BoddAH
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by BoddAH » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:43 am

Great feedback in this thread.

To be fair I do a lot of things on my iPad which could be considered a controller (minus the tactile feedback, velocity sensitivity, etc.).

Maybe I should give my traditional controllers some more time, a fair chance. I have actually spent some effort setting up everything nice and tight with remote scripts, etc. The problem is that I never really integrated them into my workflow and when I use them once in a blue moon it naturally feels awkward.

Theo Void
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by Theo Void » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:59 pm

It's funny that you bring this up because I was just thinking the same thing. I'm totally obsessed w/ controllers! I go online and drool over them like it's porn and even go to guitar center and spend hours looking/playing w/ them. I'm pretty sure everyone here can understand that.
I own an APC40, Launchpad, Axiom25, Traktor Kontrol F1, x1 and S2. The Traktor stuff I can justify because I do use it in live situations and MIDI maps I use make the whole experience super fun.

But when it comes to producing I basically only use the Launchpad. It plays notes and I have a script that includes a step sequencer and device control. The device control pretty much renders the APc40 useless since I really only use (in a production sense) for the auto-mapped device control(8 macros.) Plus a lot of time I'm not at my desk when producing so I end up using my mAcbook keyboard to audition notes and then just draw notes and automation.

Even when I'm at my massive control console(my desk) surrounded by all these awesome multi-colored controllers, I find myself not even using them, or feeling like I need to and wasting music making time on fucking w/ controllers.

That said, I still love them because I'm pretty decent at drumming w/ my fingers and am halfway decent at playing the keyboard so just jamming out and recording the results is one of my favorite things to do. Like someone above said, the "happy accidents" happen much more than you'd think plus actually "playing" an instrument, which I definitely consider controllers to be, connects one to the music on a whole other level. It's so much more personal and feels more like something I created than it would if it were purely programmed. Sure, you could shut the grid off and "humanize" things(which I also do) it doesn't replace playing it! I started on guitar so I value the "playing" factor. SO........I may be minimizing my set-up very soon BUT.........Fucking PUSH is calling my name!!!!! :D

BoddAH
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Re: How many of you actually use MIDI controllers?

Post by BoddAH » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:58 pm

I'm currently watching a lot of Tom Cosm's tutorial videos.

I don't know if that's actually how he produces 100% of the time but something interesting I noticed is that he seems to program all of his MIDI stuff without any MIDI controller.

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