The Best New MIDI Instruments & Controllers Of 2015


Best of 2015: This year has seen the introduction of a huge number and a huge variety of MIDI controllers & instruments.

We asked readers to choose the best new MIDI instruments and controllers of 2015, and you chose the Seaboard RISE – a multidimensional polyphonic controller that lets you change the sound of each note in three dimensions, with left/right, up/down, and in/out movements of your finger.

Ableton’s Push 2 took the second place slot, with another multidimensional controller, the Roger Linn LinnStrument, following in third place.

Check out the picks below, and let us know what you think of the state of MIDI controllers in 2015!


best-new-midi-controller-2015The Best New MIDI Instruments & Controllers Of 2015

  1. Seaboard RISE 26.55%
  2. Ableton Push 2 18.07%
  3. Roger Linn LinnStrument 13.9%
  4. CME Xkey 10.13%
  5. Akai Pro Advance Keyboard Series 3.53%
  6. Zivix Jamstik+ 2.59%
  7. Novation Launchpad RGB, LaunchPad Pro 2.51%
  8. Keith McMillen Instruments K-Board Pro 4 2.12%
  9. Roland AIRA MX-1 Mix Performer 2.04%
  10. M-Audio Code Series Keyboard Controllers 1.57%

See the poll results for full details.

17 thoughts on “The Best New MIDI Instruments & Controllers Of 2015

    1. The Haken Contiuum would have been left out of the equasion because its not new….. its simply the best though…. the Haken Continuum has the highest audio quality on board, has a fully programmable matrix synth engine which can control all 3 Axis in higher definition than any seaboard can claim, and is the only one all the rest are chasing…..

    2. I am in exactly the same situation with exactly the same set up. Let me know how it goes for you. I was wondering how the Linnstrument will interface with the prophet 08 and the Evolver. Would you mind letting me know? Thanks!

  1. Does the Prophet 08 have an MPE mode for use with the Linnstrument?

    I hope 2016 is the year MPE takes off, it’s started well in 2015, even the KickStarter Parva 8-voice analogue synth supports MPE. And the we can really make good use of all these super controllers!!

    1. Would also like to know if the Prophet 08 has MPE support. Looking at getting myself an 08 desktop module to play my Linnstrument with – would rather that than the 12 desktop module b/c of the knobs.

      1. No, the Prophet 08 does not support MPE. Here is an email that Roger Linn sent me that explains that no analog synth yet has this standard. ”
        “LinnStrument works fine with every MIDI sound generator on the planet in normal one-channel mode. You mentioned MPE. MPE is a standard that its currently being reviewed by the MMA and at some point will be approved. At this time, there is no MPE standard. However, the main advantage of MPE—polyphonic 3D expression– is already served by sound generators that contain channel-per-note capability. The Recommended Sound Generators page on our site contains a list of such sound generators, as well as a more detailed explanation of the coming MPE standard. You can access that page from the LinnStrument Support page on our site. At this time, I am not aware of any hardware sound generators that possess channel-per-note capability. I can tell you that no DSI synths have it. There are some multi-timbral hardware synths, and I know some DSI synths have 2 or more parts, but that’s not very useful because you must set each timbre to the same sound (so that all notes played will sound the same) and any sound changes must be made exactly the same to each timbre (so that all notes played will sound the same.”

  2. Holding off Rise and Linnstrument until more software and hardware supports MPE out of the box or inside the box as case may be.

    Yeah, you can things yourself like cutoff but also still pricey.

    1. Your comment caught my eye as I was looking at the CME x-key as a replacement for an Akai LPK25. Is your objection to the x-key being on a “best controllers” list, or is the hardware not that great for a small keyboard controller?

  3. None of them can hold a candle to the haken continuum, which not surprisingly is in the photo…
    I would say this is a sad collection of cheapish efforts

    1. That explains why the Hakens are such a hot seller, I guess.

      The Haken is an interesting instrument, but terrible for playing traditional keyboard music. It’s inferior for homophonic music and polyphonic music, that needs fast, clean articulation, both.

  4. Perhaps if you want to play polyphonic music with traditional fingering you’ll just use a regular keyboard. As far as homophonic music, the Haken is perfect, you have subtle power under each finger, with enough precision for artistic expression. You can poke, stroke and massage anything you desire.

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