What is the best controller for FL Studio?
When you have a lot of work to do on a regular basis, you’re not going to want to use a regular mouse and keyboard in your DAW, no matter what kind it is. That’s why we’re going to talk about the best MIDI controller for FL Studio today.
While many parties are vying for a piece of the action, there are currently only a few key contenders at the top of their game who are in high demand. So, let’s just get right to the point and say that in this article, a few companies will be mentioned a little more than others.
Because it can theoretically be set to control anything and everything, the job of a MIDI controller is almost infinitely definable. As a result, knowing what you want out of it is critical in order to select the best option for you, which we will discuss further in our buyer’s guide.
The LX25+ model from Nektar is the first to be dissected. Nektar is a market leader in MIDI control these days. Despite being designed for use with the Nektar DAW, it can be used with a variety of other programs. It’s a well-made product with a clear and decisive layout that ensures easy access to everything. It also has a nice variety of control types to choose from.
It has semi-weighted keys that span two octaves, giving them a less synthesized feel and a more natural response. It has an octave and transpose button, as well as two pitch and modulation bend wheels. It has eight back-lit, velocity-sensitive beat pads, four of which are set to velocity curves and three of which are fixed. 4 can be mapped for retrieval, and you can clip and save scenes with the touch of a button, eliminating the need for complicated menus.
A miniature fader bar and eight rotational pots, which mirror the Nektar dials but can control everything from oscillation settings to resonance and cut-off, or be mapped as individual channel controls, are also included. It connects via USB and, if desired, is also compatible with Android devices. A foot-operated switch can be connected via a 1/4″ jack auxiliary input.
It’s a versatile piece of equipment with simple transport and navigation buttons and a clear display. It’s simple to use because it syncs directly to your DAW and comes with a free DAW as well as a number of useful software patches to experiment with.
+ Range of controls on offer.
+ Navigable layout.
+ Syncs on startup.
With the LX25 still fresh in your mind, let’s take a look at the 49+ version, which offers a bit more than just a larger piano playing area. It includes essentially all of the features listed above, all of which were designed for ease of use with the company’s proprietary DAW. You also get 8 individual fader-style sliders to use as channel controls, freeing up the pot dials to be used exclusively for equalization and chorus controls, making workloads more effective to handle.
Naturally, you get 49 weighted keys instead of 25, making this an excellent choice for those who use the piano or keys as an instrument rather than a VST control. It also includes a few additional menu control buttons that make navigation a breeze and give you more control over the pads in general. It has 26 real-time controls to help you streamline your live work processes. Like the smaller model, the velocity-sensitive pads are back-lit with color-coding, and the I/O options are the same, allowing for an additional footswitch connection.
+ 4-octave keyboard.
+ 8 pads/8 pots/8fader-style sliders.
+ Full set of navigation keys.
Now it’s over to Akai for another professional option designed specifically for FL studios, and it even comes with a downloadable version of FL20 fruity edition. It’s a pad-filled MIDI controller that’s ideal for beatmakers and sample-heavy producers. Despite having 64 RGB back-lit triggers, the layout is well-organized; they are arranged in four rows of 16, and are an effective command center for your DAW, syncing automatically.
They allow you to program one bar of 16 beats or four bars of 4 beats in real time. Their crowning achievement is scale-locking and mode selection, which enables those with less music theory or practical melody-playing skills to develop chords and other sounds without using traditional keys. You can select a channel using shift and the selection dial, which is clearly indicated on the LED screen. With the four assignable ‘Touch-Capacitive’ knobs provided, you can adjust the volume, panning, filter, and resonance.
It also has dedicated buttons for step, note, drum, and perform, as well as a separate metronome and secondary actions of accent snap tap and overview.
+ Developed for FL studio use.
+ Improvise rhymester directly from your FL channels.
+ Beat by beat pad layout.
Why We Liked It – It’s a great piece of gear that effectively eliminates the need to use a regular computer keyboard while using FL Studio; well done, Akai – You deserve kudos.
Improved workflow – Whichever controller you choose, it should allow you to work quickly and efficiently. If you primarily work with samples or clips, a pad controller may be preferable to a keyboard. Something like an MPC or Launchpad might be best if you’re more of a finger drummer than a keyboardist.
Back to the Nektar range for another 49-key instrument-based option from the GX series, which has a decent range of important functions despite being a little more basic than some of the more modern options out there. This MIDI keyboard was designed primarily for use with Steinberg (Cubase) and is focused on VST instrument playback, so it has fewer bells and whistles. However, it is compatible with FL studios and works flawlessly as a VST remote, and it can be mapped to use for other applications.
The keys are realistically weighted and have a natural, velocity-sensitive response. It comes with a programmable potentiometer that can be used to control almost any parameter. The first 14 are MIDI assignable and have some auto-mapped primary functions built in.
Pitch and modulation wheels, octave transposition, and a dedicated set of navigation controls are all included on the keyboard, which also allows you to pause play and record without using a mouse. It comes with a copy of Bitwig 8-track DAW and Steinberg Padshop Pro at the moment.
+ Easy to use.
+ Instrument based.
+ High-quality weighted keys.
Why We Liked It – It’s a stripped-down traditional MIDI keyboard controller with great quality keys and all the essential controls you’ll need to relax and control your favorite DAW from afar.
This next review will be fairly brief, as it is essentially an expanded version of the Nektar Impact LX49 +, which we discussed in our previous post. We included it because the price difference between the two is so small, and the advantages, if you’re a gifted pianist, are well worth the upgrade. It essentially adds more keys to the table, which is ideal for pianists looking for a more liberating environment to improvise on.
Many MIDI controllers with keys can be a little restrictive for an instrumentalist to play with, and despite the inclusion of octave selection buttons, they don’t allow for authentic sweeps across more than one or two octaves, but having 61 keys gives you more than half a piano to play with, and significantly affects what you can and can’t translate to a digital audio workstation.
If you want a rundown of the additional 8 trigger pads, 8 fader-style sliders, and rotary dials, you’ll have to go back and look at products 1&2.
+ Nearly full-size piano space.
+ A mixture of additional tactile controls (pads, pots, fader-style sliders, wheels, buttons.)
+ Full-range comprehensive professional MIDI controller.
Why We Liked It – It has a lot of features and provides a lot of space for traditional instrumental VST control while remaining reasonably priced.
Another basic MIDI controller option is M-Keystation audio’s Mini. Keeping things simple is sometimes the best option. It’s a low-profile compact piano with a 32-key piano core and MIDI-assignable keys. They are small in size, but they are speed-sensitive. Because of the smaller size, the company can fit just over two and a half octaves in an area that would normally only hold two. It is relatively easy to configure with the majority of major DAWS, though some more obscure options may require a driver download.
It has octave range buttons for more than 32 notes, pitch bend and modulation buttons instead of larger wheels, a dedicated volume dial, and a real piano sustain function. The transport controls have been reduced, but you can record, play, and stop directly from the device, eliminating the need for a mouse.
The Keystation Mini comes with XPand!2 and a premium ProTools edition designed specifically for M-Audio products.
+ Simple functionality.
+ Compact model.
+ 2.6 octaves of keys.
Why We Liked It – This is another MIDI remote option that would be ideal for a beginner due to its simple design and ease of use. The keys are on the small side, which is a plus for those who need something to carry around with them.
Now for an Alesis alternative that, once again, meets the multi-medium requirements that the vast majority of us seek. It’s a high-end MIDI keyboard with 49 full-sized keys for an authentic playing experience. It’s ideal for VST control. The keys are velocity-sensitive to allow for expression, and they are square-fronted, which is a critical flaw in some models.
The keyboard has a good range, but the standard octave up and down buttons, as well as pitch bend and modulation control wheels, help. It also has 8 velocities/pressure-sensitive pads to cover all of your beat-making needs. For visual feedback, they are back-lit. They’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and are prepared to launch your video.
In addition, there are four fully assignable knobs and four assignable buttons that work together to allow users to activate filtering and adjust just about anything within their DAW software. It syncs quickly and includes an exclusive Alesis version of ProTools as well as a number of other premium software downloads, including a decent piano VST.
+ Great combination of different controls.
+ Velocity and pressure-sensitive for expressive creation.
+ High-quality square-fronted piano keys.
Why We Liked It – It offers a lot of flexibility in terms of DAW control, the piano part, as well as the pads, have a good durable and realistic feel, and it’s reasonably priced.
Following that, we’ll take a look at Novation’s full-range control surface, which includes multi-functional drum pads, fader-style sliders, and buttons on top of a keyboard. The keys are only semi-weighted, but thanks to Novation’s Aftertouch Impulse technology, which allows users to capture the expression they play with, they are extremely responsive.
It has a clean design and a custom LCD screen to assist with navigation. It is simple to set up and use thanks to its Automap 4 control software, which is tailored to Ableton (which it comes with along with a bonus set of plug-ins) but can be reconfigured to run in FL Studio without issue with a little mapping.
The 8 velocity-sensitive pads can launch clips and even tweak more melodic tasks like warping arpeggios, in addition to handling your beats. They, too, use Aftertouch technology and are sensitive to the player’s style of play. They have colored LEDs on the back and work in real time. There are nine fader-style sliders and six dials, all of which can be MIDI-assigned to channels or plugin settings and can handle incremental filtering of virtually anything you’ve patched.
It has the standard transpose, as well as pitch bend and modulation wheels, and transport buttons. The I/O ports can also be used to connect external MIDI instruments.
+ Full set if DAW controls.
+ Aftertouch Tech.
+ Multifunctional and fully assignable.
Why We Liked It – It’s a very versatile option, and while configuring the transport mapping takes a little time, the piano roll auto-syncs right away, and it’s suitable for FL Studios.
Sticking with Novation for another less chaotic option for those who may be overwhelmed by the impulse models, we have the Launchkey range, which is not only easier to learn but also reasonably priced. It has a 25-note compact keyboard with two octaves of playability and octave selection buttons for instrument control.
They work in conjunction with 16 backlit velocity-sensitive beat pads, as well as track and scene selection buttons. The pads handle clip launching and allow users to work in real time with a looped section to create a beat beat by beat. The use of 16 keys instead of 4 (on a smaller 25 key model) allows the user to have much more control over their bars.
There are also eight MIDI-assignable rotational dials that provide a good deal of manual manipulation for your DAW. They were designed with Ableton in mind but can be mapped to match FL studio use with relative ease.
+ Good mix of tactile options.
Why We Enjoyed It – It’s a cost-effective option, and while it doesn’t come with a lot of glitzy extras, it does give you some control over your environment and doesn’t go overboard.
Another smaller 25 note option from the Vangoa Worlde team, which makes for another versatile remote in a space-saving package, is our final contender. It’s a visually appealing model with a practical and straightforward layout. The Tuna is a jam-packed piece of hardware that can be used in a variety of ways.
Despite its compact size, it still manages to fit eight pads, eight sliders, eight dials, and two intuitive touchpad sliders for pitch bend and modulation. Additionally, you’ll find dedicated transport and mode control buttons, which make interacting with your DAW a breeze.
They respond to velocity, and the piano part’s notes can be adjusted by an octave. Additional parameters can be assigned to the keys, giving users fair and flexible control over their preferred DAW.
+ A versatile range of tools.
+ Easy to use.
+ Compact and lightweight.
Why We Liked It – It has a lot of practical applications, it has a lot of tactile options, it’s fully assignable and easy to map, and the touchpad sliders are very accurate.
What is the difference between a MIDI controller and a MIDI keyboard?
It’s a piece of hardware based on previous MIDI keyboard/synthesizer and sequencer models, and it’s designed to replace a traditional keyboard and mouse computer peripheral for music production. For those who don’t know, MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface.
What exactly is FL Studio?
Fl Studio is a digital audio workstation software that was first released as Fruity Loops if you go back far enough in time. Which station has evolved into an all-in-one hub for managing the music-making process from beginning to end? It is used by those at the top as well as those just starting out in the industry because of its flexibility and potentially infinite possibilities. It’s a simple program to manage, but the management is better suited with the right controller, which is why we’re talking about MIDI today.
Is a MIDI Controller Required for FL Studio?
Technically, your DAW can be operated without the use of a MIDI controller, but you’ll find that your turnaround time will be much longer, and you’ll have to learn how to map your keyboard to the software first. Some people can eventually play a computer keyboard like a piano, but the keyboard you have was designed for typing and does not have any consideration for velocity in its design.
When a band performs a piece of music, there are always nuances within it that give it character. Electronically produced music is always at risk of sounding too synthetic or cohesive. This is the dynamics of how softly an arpeggio is played or how heavily a chord is hammered in its most basic form. With a computer keyboard, this is difficult to replicate.
It can be translated without the need to go in and draw the velocity by hand with a mouse, which can be done but is very finicky, using a MIDI controller designed to pick up the velocity more astutely. Controlling a VST drum kit to create an authentic-sounding beat and relying on the split-second reflexes of a computer mouse or keyboard for something as important as the tempo are both better done with a piece of kit designed for the job.
When it comes to filtering adjustments in terms of your EQ, mastering your DAW with a mouse can take a lot more patience, especially if you don’t have a mouse wheel to help a little. It can be difficult to click and select a virtual dial and adjust levels if you don’t have a mouse wheel to help a little.
What Kind of MIDI Controller Do You Have?
As you may have noticed, the two most common types of MIDI controllers on the market are instrument-based (piano/keyboard) and pad/button-based (also known as alternative MIDI controllers). Depending on your instrumental skills and knowledge, as well as the style of production you prefer, the two types of producers assist the producer in very different ways. If you prefer VST instruments over samples, you should look for a MIDI controller with at least 32 keys that is as realistic as possible.
If you do a lot of rhythm and bass work and sampling, pad-triggering may be the best option for you. If you’re still undecided, the best option is to go with a mixed-medium option that gives you the best of both worlds. Even if this means you’ll have to settle for a keyboard with fewer piano keys, you can always upgrade later with a MIDI keyboard designed solely for instrumental use. However, for a complete newbie, an overly complex model is probably not a good idea because learning the ropes can take some time.
What to Look for in a FL Studio MIDI Controller
As it really is down to the individual, their needs preferences, and, of course, budget, what to look for should have been largely spelled out in the previous guide sections. FL Studio is a popular DAW that is used by both professionals and amateurs. Any MIDI controller will improve the user’s control over software plug-in suites, VSTs, and plug-ins, and the good news is that a decent MIDI controller doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg these days.
In general, the more money you spend, the better the quality of the response and the versatility of the controller will be. The beauty of MIDI control is that it can be used in a variety of situations.
Once you’ve decided on the best type of MIDI controller for your needs, all you really need are some transport keys and a rotary dial to control the amount of whatever you’re selecting. You’ll need a channel select unless you want to do it with your mouse, and then all you really need to think about is the number of MIDI-assignable triggers, whether they’re keys, pads, pots, or fader-style sliders.
So what is the best controller for FL Studio?
As you can see from our choices, the market has a lot to offer when it comes to controlling your audio workstations; it all depends on the type of control you prefer.
Some of us value the tactile experience more than others and have a need for an authentic control, with the extreme side being the need for knobs to dial a virtual knob and a select few who will not accept anything less than an authentic control in its place. Your requirements are crucial; for example, if you’re a beatmaker, you’ll benefit far more from a variety of trigger pads than others. Hopefully, today’s guide has made that clear, and we are confident that our recommendations accurately reflect what is available to you.