I’ve been searching high and low for the perfect MIDI keyboard controller for Cubasis 3 and I must say NOTHING seems to tick all the boxes.
I’m really curious to hear how Cubasis 3 users are integrating MIDI keyboards or control surfaces into your workflow. What do you like about it? What are you using and what AREN’T you using on your MIDI controller that maybe you thought was important initially?
If anybody has some suggestions for me based on my criteria below, I’d love to hear it.
Price isn’t really a concern if I’m getting everything I wanted. For instance, the Roland Fantom in many ways is the closest example to what I’m looking for: quality construction, great sound engines, nice screen, full set of sliders, knobs and most importantly (and pretty much unique among every option) a set of controls dedicated to the synth engine.
However, IT IS massively expensive and ultimately not nearly as compact and portable as I’d like. (61 FULL SIZE keys is doable but my goal is 49. Mini keys are off the table or I’d just stick with an interface and my extra Korg Minilogue and an audio interface. But I’m looking to keep things as streamlined as possible and would much prefer something class compliant, which sadly the ML is not.)
The problem with most MIDI controllers is the controls are incredibly generic and don’t really make sense from a synthesis workflow. (I understand making a MIDI controller synth friendly is probably an awkward proposition but I think the way the Fantom does it could be a way forward for a future controller keyboard. If there were a 49-key version, I think it would already be en route to me. Although the same could be said of MOD X, which is also on my radar.)
The other issue with MIDI controllers is they have no sound engine inside. I’d really like that bonus tbh. And for instance the Yamaha MX49 would fit the bill pretty well (class compliant, synth engine, 49 full size keys) … but it has no sliders for integrating with the DAW. (Question is: do I really care about that when the touch screen is right there? Or does having mixer control on the board allow you to have other info on the screen, etc. ?)
MIDI controllers like Artual Keylab 49 Mk II is very nice and Novation SL 49 III but in the end they also have no sound engine, no dedicated synth controls and in particular one of the Keylab’s bigger features is the software which doesn’t have iOS version. (Also, in the end, these seem a little overblown for what I need but not out of question.) The Nektar Panorama 49 is also intriguing me (not the least of which because it has a nice screen. In 2021 I really have a problem buying a MIDI controller with one of those ugly segmented LED displays that shows only the most basic of info or patch numbers.)
After going through every option imaginable I also came to the conclusion that a Modal Argon 8 (37 full size keys, synth engine — wavetable at that which would be new to my hardware setup — and class compliant) as well as some kind of control surface with knobs and sliders like the Studiologic SL Mixface Control Surface or similar.) However, I have my doubts about 37 keys as 49 seems like the absolute minimum to try and play two-handed and I’d still need an audio interface since the Argon 8 doesn’t do USB audio; sounds great though.)
So if you read all the way through, and have any ideas or suggestions or comments, I’d appreciate it!