What Would You Want In Your Dream MIDI Keyboard Controller?

What would you want in your dream MIDI keyboard controller?

Here’s a demonstration of one possibility – Claude Woodward’s unique Claude Controller. The Claude Controller is a sophisticated MIDI controller that lets you use 36 wheels, 2 joysticks and a pedalboard to instantly modify various aspects of a synth sound, as you play.

While Woodward’s MIDI controller is still under development, his demonstration showcases the benefits of controller designs that put a variety of synthesis parameters under realtime control.

Woodward says that he hopes to be producing controllers, based on his design, in the near future.

What do you think? Are today’s MIDI keyboard controllers too limiting? And what would you like to see in a keyboard controller?

10 thoughts on “What Would You Want In Your Dream MIDI Keyboard Controller?

  1. I’m mostly an unrepentant keyboard PLAYER, so a good touch-to-response factor is #1 with me, even when I’m playing some LFO-drenched item with a funky envelope structure. #2: do exotic routings like those possible with a Buchla Thunder make musical sense to non-synth-freaks? Most people aren’t prone to totally reinvent their listening habits, so aside from those of us who appreciated Richard Lainhart, how would you go about guiding 36 wheels in reaching a crowd? Will they get a sense of you playing or just be amazed at the wad of sound without really connecting with it? If you can put things in an approachable context, then its all legit.

  2. High-resolution velocity sensing, where the keyboard itself can respond to a wide range of velocity strikes, and the user can not only set the maximum and minimum values for velocity, but adjust the response curve using break-point curves.

    Polyphonic after-touch, because we need a per voice controller, and it is one that you can use without taking your hands off the keys. Alternatively, a per-note controller that uses the surface of the key itself and a touch input could also be cool.

    I pitch-wheel, a mod-wheel, a small ribbon controller by the wheel, a larger ribbon above the keys. Four programmable buttons by the wheels, and 10 programmable faders.


  3. My dream controller would be:

    -Light in weight
    -Grey (colour)
    -Have a pitch and mod wheel (with led feedback to indicate velocity and increase of a parameter)
    -25 keys with aftertouch and octave +/- buttons
    -16 knobs. 8 of them endless. But no faders
    -X/Y pad
    -A screen showing me which parameters have been assigned to the knobs

  4. MIDI control is usually very crude if you just use it to partition a parameter in 127 steps.
    A better way is to use the MIDI knob as an offset from the current value.
    Large MIDI value means big jump, small value means really really fine tweaking.
    This is however more a task for the synth makers, to use the input wisely.

    Poly-Aftertouch is second, but the controller must be smart enough to not flood the MIDI stream with events (there’s always SOME part in the setup that bogs down around the specified 1000 events per second)

    1. Good points. However after-touch is implemented, high-velocity notes should not trigger it.

      And your idea about scaling CC makes sense. Program the knob to be either absolute or relative, then have a since that will allow logarithmic or linear control.

  5. CV, gate, and trig out. Duophonic with glide. Built in VCA, and ADSR+AD(trig) envelopes to control the VCA. Roland style pitch bend with a classic modulation wheel. Large ribbon controller along the keys for Vangelis style divebomb pitchbends. Runs off of 1 AAA battery.

    It should also have wireless MIDI with the reciever having a MIDI to CV converter. Plus no usb plug.

  6. My old Korg Trinity and Yamaha AN1x both had ribbon controllers, which I really miss on modern keyboards. You could run some very expressive live filter modulation with them, which you just cannot achieve with a mod-wheel. I’ve looked around, but very few modern MIDI controllers seem to have them.

  7. A 49 key akai keyboard with a 4×4 grid of drum pads and an apc40 built on a top panel that can tilt up moog style. With after touch, and an xy pad by the mod and pitch wheels. Oh and some kind of built on laptop stand!

  8. If someone left me a blank cheque and capable hands, something like splicing together the entire Evo for the keys section, with an ondes martenot style strip below, an 8×8 launchpad style button grid centrally, livid instruments’ knobs/leds from the cntrl:r, I really like the idea of touch strips but have no first hand experience with them, being able to jump intervals rather than just slide is attractive. A qwerty keyboard somewhere wouldn’t go a miss. It could be a functioning powered usb hub too and 2i2o audio interface. Some sort of iPad size touch display to the right, avoid email-djing like led feedback on mackie c4/novation remote sl and for lemur/touchAble possibility creatively. The ability to assign note ranges or octaves to different midi channels for different instruments, a built in arpeggiator, ability to control the curve of velocity, knob/slider movements etc. Can’t think of much more I’d need/want to not need anything else. Would not mind quite a few wheels, for similar usage as sliders though. Frankenstein-esque thing.

Leave a Reply