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As a huge fan of the Digital Workstation, Pro Tools, I have always wondered what it takes to use such a tool that has been hailed by major music producers in the industry
Last week, I had the opportunity to get my hands on pro tools and test this out
While hooking it up, I noticed that one of the main things I needed was a Midi controller
After searching online and reading in forums, I realised that there was not a comprehensive article showing the best midi controller for pro tools.
Most of the articles I saw online were either terrible articles without any detailed explanations or were plain outdated articles.
Which is why I decided to write this article showing you my choice about the 5 best midi controllers for pro tools and where you can get them.
Related: Here is an article I wrote showing you the 5 best midi controller for studio one
Our Winner After Careful Research
5 Best Midi Controller for Pro Tools
1. Akai Professional Advance 49 Midi Controller
If you are thinking of a quality midi controller that works very well with pro tools, then look no further than the Akai Pro Advance 49 midi controller
This keyboard has 49 keys which is the ideal size for a home studio setting.
25 keys is too few and 61 is definitely overkill for the kind of applications you will be using this for in your home studio.
One awesome thing about this controller is its bright, high resolution built in screen.
This gives you 1:1 real time feedback of key plugin parameters while allowing you make adjustments as you go.
It natively supports most AAX plugins and it also allows you to use this keyboard as an instrument and skip the monitor entirely.
This controller VIP software will catalog all your VST instruments and synths so you can easily select them right off the screen.
It is semi weighted and velocity sensitive which allows you to have an awesome playing experience even if you are used to a full fledged digital piano.
It comes with unique control options such as 8 RGB and 8 endless control knobs which offer great feedback and fine control.
Integration with Pro Tools is relatively smooth and without any issues.
Pro Tools recognizes the controller but you just might fiddle with a few knobs and buttons to get it working correctly.
One major advantage of the controller over others is the small size
So even if you have a small desk or work space, the keyboard can easily fit into your tight home studio work space.
2. Novation Launch Control XL Midi Controller
Next on my list is this awesome midi controller form Novation
This budget friendly midi controller for pro tools is very versatile and adjustable.
The product delivers full integration with Pro Tools via a set of 24 top quality knobs utilizing multi color indicators, along with a set of eight 60 mm faders for precise level adjustment, and a pack of 16 multi color buttons for immediate Track Focus feature.
The controller can be fully customized with the on-board software editor and additional key mixer controls.
It can be combined with the Launchpad S to deliver a combo performance and pick things up to a new level.
Since the item is easy to use, you will soon be able to utilize it to severely improve your performance.
The control you gain from this Novation fella is something you are bound to appreciate very much.
It maps with the channels right away and gives you a very clear sonic image of your work, allowing additional tweaks and improvements.
3. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Controller
Next on the list is the amazing controller from the guys over at Native Instruments.
This is actually one of the most expensive midi controllers out there but I can promise you that it delivers exceptional results when used.
Powerfully speeced and rich with many features, this keyboard is designed for the professional musicians who want to get exceptional sound quality with Pro Tools.
If you are someone that cares about performance and you have the right budget to spare, then you should definitely get this controller.
While most other controllers give you one screen, this amazing product gives you two high res screens
What this means is that you absolutely are in control and can load up two completely separate panels simultaenously.
You can have one screen monitor key plugin parameters while the other is used for browsing through sounds.
If you’re the kind of musician who likes monitor-free immersive playing, you’ll love this feature.
The standout feature for me though is the keybed.
It’s keys have aftertouch experience which goes a long way towards offering an immersive, stage ready performance experience.
While fantastic keys are nice to have, the S49 goes one step further and offers a variable backlit keybed.
The LEDs placed above each key can light up in a different color.
More than a gimmick, this is a fantastic tool for creating distinct keyboard zones and quick access to important controls.
4. Alesis V149 Midi Keyboard
If you are a producer on a budget and you are looking for something cheap and still packs punch, then this particular midi controller is right for you.
The V149 midi controller has a better keybed, more pads and knobs than it popular series, the V49.
Unlike the V49, the keys on Alesis VI49 are semi-weighted and have Aftertouch.
The semi-weighted keys aren’t as good as, say, the NI S49, but they’re a distinct improvement to the V49.
Aftertouch is a nice touch (pun intended).
There are far more control options compared to the V49.
You get 16 RGB pads (instead of just 8 on the V49), a full set of 12 knobs, and a whopping 36 assignable buttons.
There is almost nothing you can control right from the keyboard itself.
You’ll particularly love the buttons and knobs in a studio setting.
In the context of the price, this is a serious value buy.
You get a lot of keyboard for a relatively small price tag.
Budget-conscious producers should put this at the top of their wishlists.
How We selected the keyboards above?
While making you decision to buy any of the midi controllers mentioned above, I need you to understand how we came about this list.
First, you will agree with me that Pro Tools users are a special kind of breed from the normal
They are what we can refer to as “power users”
Most people do not pick Pro Tools as their first DAW of choice.
Rather they only switch over after they have
- Used other DAWs out there and want to switch to something more powerful
- They are learning music production in a formal way and want something that is the industry standard
Based on all these, we picked the above mentioned midi controllers to ensure that you get the best midi controller for pro tools.
Here are some of the things we considered
- Could take the rough and tumble of studio use – reliability was a key factor
- Offered enough control options for a pro user
- Worked effortlessly on both Mac and Windows (though Windows-running studios are increasingly hard to find)
- Support Pro Tools specific formats and mapping, such as AAX support