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MIDI Controller Suggestions

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  • MIDI Controller Suggestions

    Because the BlueBox is controllable with a MIDI controller, I'm wondering which controllers work best. In the shortlist I have:
    • Faderfox UC4 (recommended, see #2)
    • Studiologic SL Mixface (recommended, see #3)
    • Novation Launch Control XL MK2 (okay, see #2)
    • Korg nanoKONTROL 2 (okay, see #2 and #4)
    • AKAI Professional midimix (not recommended, see #5)
    • Korg nanoKONTROL Studio
    Does anyone have any experience with the controllers mentioned or any other suggestions? I'll keep this list updated.
    Last edited by trycatch; 01-26-2021, 07:43 AM.

  • #2
    I've used Korg nanoKontrol and Launch control XL. Both are great controllers, but the best controller I've used is the Faderfox UC4, check it out, you can configure the controller without the need to connect it to a computer ad it has several types of control including: a crossfader, 8 faders, 8 knobs with push button, and 8 buttons.
    Its more expensive han the ones you listed, but in my opinion is totally worth it.


    • #3
      I purchased the studiologic SL Mixface specifically to use with the Bluebox and I have to say I am really pleased. It is a pretty expensive controller but the killer feature for me is that I can set the min and max CC values for the faders which means that I can dial back the maximum so that when the fader is completely up / full the channel on Bluebox goes up to only to 0db or even less if needed. You can also save all the settings on the device as named presets. This makes it much easier for live performances as most midi controllers do not have a 0db marking on them that would correspond to 0db on the Bluebox and I'm usually fumbling in the dark so fader all the way up is pretty easy to remember. On top of that the faders and encoders are really nicely buttery smooth. My only complaint is that you cannot dim the LED's and they are kinda bright..

      Last edited by uproden; 01-20-2021, 09:12 AM.


      • trycatch
        trycatch commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you so much for your post! That looks like a perfect match. Didn't even know that existed. Now I just have to decide between Faderfox and Mixface. :-)

      • charliehughjones
        charliehughjones commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi uproden - my MixFaceSL just arrived and I got it working with Ableton (Phew) but am having trouble getting my Blue Box to recognize it. Probably a simple thing but what did you do to set it up? Thanks

      • bram2000
        bram2000 commented
        Editing a comment
        nice. FWIW all of the faderfox controllers also allow setting of min/max CC values for any given control.

    • #4
      There is a youtube video regarding using the Korg nanoKONTROL with the Bluebox, seems to work very well.

      I have a ROLI Block and a Launch Key that I am going to try to set up to work as external faders/control for the box, I'll report back if they work, just got the Bluebox in today.


      • musicator
        musicator commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello I can't see this video for setting blueblox and nanokontrol2 , I have tried it works ok but for exemple for pushing solo button it learn solo on but the button does not stay lit, my question is how the blueblox learn the button stay lit , sorry for my bad english ! Thanks

      • haslloween
        haslloween commented
        Editing a comment
        musicator and others - for having the buttons stay lit, you'll have to use the KORG KONTROL Editor and change these buttons from "Momentary" to "Toggle".

    • #5
      I attempted to use an AKAI MIDImix with my Bluebox but was v disappointed with the results. Apart from the cheap feel of the MIDImix faders and controls (especially the super slippery, low profile knobs) none of the buttons 'latch' - if you map them to Mute, Solo or Rec on the Bluebox they don't work as you'd expect... they just momentarily select the function then unselect it when you release the button - which is completely useless.


      • trycatch
        trycatch commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, this is valuable information. I have now updated the original post.

    • #6
      I find launch control xl to be a good controller overall, with good controls and a solid build, but has some serious shortcomings running in midi controller mode. My biggest complaint is that the button leds do nothing unless externally controlled, making mute and solo controls not very usable. It does have multiple user profiles though, so can be programmed to control pretty much everything available on the Bluebox.

      Nanokontrol 2 has the advantage that the leds can be set to latch on, making it much more usable for mutes and solos. Downside is the fiddly little sliders, and no multiple profiles, which means having to choose what subset of controls to map.

      These are the only 2 I've tried thus far, and while useful, I find there's much more they could do, e.g. having MMC to use the transport controls. I've put a request in the wish list to add HUI support in Bluebox, which would make these, and lots of other controllers that support it, much more powerful and essentially automatic.

      For the moment I'm not going to spend any more money on midi controllers just to discover what disappointments they bring.


      • #7
        I have another proposal - Arturia Beatstep (enough without "pro"). Although it is larger and heavier than the nanocontrol (which I have and use with the bluebox), it has one huge advantage – it has far more knobs to assign. For example, you can assign in bluebox:
        - volume
        - FX1
        - FX2
        - cutoff
        - resonance
        - others by preference (pan, out, gain etc)

        With 8 channels and four effects, for example, we need 32 knobs/sliders. And here comes Arturia Beatstep with the ability to change the midi channel/project (in which we can have assigned a completely different CC to the knobs).

        If you have much free midi channels, just teach bluebox to change the parameters on different channels. If you have few of them, then make projects in which the knobs will send different CC in different projects.


        • spitlo
          spitlo commented
          Editing a comment
          I bought a Beatstep Pro yesterday and so far, I’d say it’s a perfect match. Since I have a blackbox as well, having different types of controls in the same unit is very convenient. I can put it in "Drum" mode and use the pads for drum programming, then switch to "Control" mode while listening back, and use the pads for mute/solo and the knobs for FX1/2 or whatever.

          I’ve only used the knobs and the pads so far, if anyone has a similar setup I’d love to get some tips on ways to use the rest of the controls.

      • #8
        I suggest MIDI Fighter Twister for both Blackbox and Bluebox.


        • #9
          … +1 for the faderfox uc4. One of the most versatile controllers out there.


          • #10
            Ok, I have new option! I connected Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth Midi adapter via MIDI Merger and use android application ( This allow me to put 64 knobs on one tablet screen (and more "pages" of knobs, switches, pads etc). This is quite good option if you need control a lot of parameters in one place. It may control another devices from the same screen too.
            For iOS there a lot more applications working via Bluetooth Midi.


            • #11
              Originally posted by jayneural
              I suggest MIDI Fighter Twister for both Blackbox and Bluebox.
              This is working great for me as well, though I wish I knew the power consumption for it and what kind of headroom i may be taking up or not. So I'm suggesting if this becomes more of a comprehensive list, it would be great to know what the max current can be drawn from the boxes out the Device input..


              • #12
                USB is always 5 Volts. USB 1 and 2 can provide up to 500 mA* and this is per the MIDI 1.0 spec.


                • #13
                  Originally posted by Steve
                  USB is always 5 Volts. USB 1 and 2 can provide up to 500 mA* and this is per the MIDI 1.0 spec.
                  AH! thanks for enlightening me!


                  • #14
                    Has anyone tried the Bastl 60 Knobs with Bluebox? Seems like one could get a lot out of that if it plays nicely.


                    • #15
                      BASTL makes interesting gear. Please report back if you try one a 60 knobs. I use the nakedboards MC-24 and MC-8 and they both work well over USB and TRS though they are TRS-A.


                      • dc_Sux
                        dc_Sux commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Those nakedboards look interesting. Is there a way to use them both at once with the bluebox? Usb hub? 3.5mm Midi merger? Or do you just use them separately?

                      • Steve
                        Steve commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Mostly, I use one at a time per device. But you could add them with a MIDI hub or thru box. I use the Retrikits RK006 or the iConnectivity Mio2 for this purpose. The Nakedboards offer USB and TRS MIDI.