[This is a resurrection from DJFv1. It is a post from Damon Chambers on August 8, 2007 at 3:50PM. It as true today as it is was then... -KLH]

To: Anyone new to digital DJing or midi controllers

I've seen the same question asked several times a week. I'm going to start compiling or just delete every thread i see with someone asking about the "best" midi controller.



It's the same with DJ mixers or VST instruments or anything else.

There will never be a best controller. The way YOU want to control something isn't going to be the same way someone else wants to. There probably will never be a perfectly setup MIDI controller for any software you chose simply because there are too many variables. Companies put out products geared for certain pieces of software and design them as best as they can. But invariably a software update or feature they left out will bug you or pester you and the controller will not be what you want.


1. Sit down and actually write out what you want to do with the software you are using. Draw a diagram, write it up, do whatever. Just make sure you know your software in and out and THEN you can pick a controller. It's important to know your software well because if you buy a controller now and don't know your software, you WILL outgrow it. You will find more features that you need more buttons and knobs for and you may not have them. Knowing your software means you are an educated buyer.

2. After you do that, you WILL realize that there is no end-all be-all to controllers. You probably will have to buy two or three separate controllers to actually do what you want, and there is nothing wrong with that. I personally hate the Behringer company, but their MIDI controllers have been very popular as budget controllers and I see a lot of people use them in their setup. Faderfox (http://faderfox.de/) have somewhat pricey yet EXTREMELY portable solutions and are extremely popular. Once you know or even have an idea of what all you want to do with your software, you can start looking at different controllers and their designs and go from there.

Off the shelf controllers not for you?

3. If you have money, time, and a creative mind, you can even design and build your own controllers. This will yield you the best results and get you EXACTLY what you want.


That site actually shows you how to make your own hardware controller.


If you have not heard of JazzMutant and the Lemur and Dexter, go check it out. If you have the money for it you can have one of these units. IMO, this is the best option for customizable MIDI controllers.

If anyone has anything to add, please do. I would like to see the "best MIDI controller" discussions come to an end. If you want opinions and experiences from anyone about certain controllers, by all means ask.

If you don't really know what you want to do with your software, go learn your software and quit jumping way ahead of yourself with trying to buy a controller. Go read your manual and dig in to your software and find out what you want before asking everyone what you should buy.

[EDIT: Minor edits were made. -KLH]