As you progress in music production, you will find that gear matters when creating songs. One piece of equipment that should never be overlooked is the MIDI controller. MIDI: Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Mostly you connect this to your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and use it as an instrument. Sure a computer keyboard and mouse could get the job done, but this piece of gear makes your life much easier.
Why do I need to buy a MIDI controller?
A lot of beginners overlook a MIDI controller and don’t buy one, but the truth is, buying one is just a small investment going towards something a lot bigger. You can find decent MIDI controllers for around 100 dollars. If you are on a tight budget, there are still options as you can find some online as cheap as 30 dollars. They’re not the best, but they are still better than your computer keyboard and mouse.
What do I need to know before buying one?
A mistake that tons of people make is that they don’t need one if they can’t play the piano. It is still important to have a keyboard for notes. You don’t need to know what the notes are, or be able to read music. It just sounds better when you play your melodies on a keyboard. It gives you a lot more options later on, as well. What if you decide to buy a controller that has no keyboard on it, because you can’t play now, however later on in your career you learn how to play the piano? You just spent money on a different MIDI controller, and now you have to spend even more on a new one with a keyboard.
This type of MIDI controller is an important aspect of any music producers collection. Another point that you should consider is certain add-ons. For example drum pads. You can program these to play a sample or sound, and use your fingers to play the beat physically. Another is sliders and knobs for mixing. You can also program these to do different things such as fade in, fade out, reverb, delay, echo, etc.. Figure out what you want/need, and use that information when selecting a controller.
So what should I consider buying?
Some recommended brands to check out are M-Audio, Akai, Novation, and Fatar. All of these companies carry a wide variety of quality MIDI controllers, and they aren’t costly. You don’t need to bust out 500 dollars as a novice producer for a piece of equipment that you can get for 100 dollars. As you progress you may want to upgrade, but that’s in the future. As of now, the best options for a beginner are going to be the cheaper ones.