I am looking for recommendation for a pad controller for Cubase 12 that will work well with Groove Agent and also the new MIDI remote manager. I would like 16 pads, 8 knobs to assign to quick controls, preferably 8 buttons to select pad banks, and some more buttons so I could do things like switch between pattern and instrument mode in Groove Agent. Any other fun features would be appreciated.
I was very impressed by the work that @Nico5 and Jef Gibbons did integrating Cubase 12 with Maschine, but I would prefer a controller a little less expensive and easier to program.
In my local market, used Maschine MK2 controllers (without a license for the Maschine software) can regularly be had for the equivalent of approximately USD/EUR 150. So if that’s within your budget, you may wish to read on:
The MK2 is almost as feature rich as the MK3, but quite a bit less expensive. The major differences to the MK3 are, that the MK3 adds an audio interface, a touch strip, colour display, a few more buttons, and the rotary encoder is slightly more fancy.
But all the important stuff is there on the MK2, like 8 pages of poly pressure sensitive pads 8 pages of knobs and buttons and a number of buttons that can send a good variety of midi messages.
However, last time I did a deep dive into Groove Agent 5 remote control (about a year ago), I found that some stuff couldn’t be controlled via VST automation and needed Groove Agent 5 specific key commands (i.e. NOT Cubase key commands). Not sure if some of that has improved in the minor updates since then.
So while in theory a Maschine controller is a perfect front end for Groove Agent 5, in practice I couldn’t quite get to that perfect state. (And the issue was Groove Agent 5, not the controller).
But all that being said, I’ve been running a Maschine MK2 controller as my favourite pad controller on my studio desk for a long time.