Best controller for Omnisphere

Omnisphere was launched in 2008 and many music producers praised it for its versatility and software features. Produced by music giant Spectrasonics the software is in a class of its own when it comes to music production. In 2015 the company moved a step higher and introduced to the market the Omnisphere 2.

The browser interface has largely remained unchanged and so many users may notice a slight difference in the design. However, once you start using the software do your realize that a lot has changed inside. If you are planning on making some serious music through the device then it is prudent you get yourself a MIDI controller.

Comparison Table

Model
Keys
Dimensions
Weight
Check on Amazon
64 assignable pads
13.1 x 10 x 1.9
3.09
61 note
37.6 X 11.7 X 2.1
18.19
61 key
9.6 x 38.5 x 3.7
7.49
25 key
11.8 x 19.2 x 3.6
6.61
88 key
60 x 10 x 11
28

Akai Professional MPK2 (25 key)

The Akai MIDI keyboard is one of the most talked about MIDI in the market and for good reason. It is compact, lightweight and versatile enough to handle a variety of DAWs in the market. The best part about the software is its ease of use in mapping. The unit comes with its own VP software and this contains some top VSTs. This gives you a variety of sounds that you would not get in most DAWs.

The drum pads on the Akai are velocity-sensitive but the pads are not that great. This could be attributed to the price you are getting the keyboard for. The drum pads will depend on which key version of the Akai you go with. In our case, the 25 key has 8 pads; you can get 16 drum pads if you go with a version with higher keys.

Connectivity is through USB and MIDI out ports. The Akai comes with 12 assignable Q link controllers that have 4 backlit buttons and 8 control knobs. The backlit buttons can be used for unprecendented DAW, free mapping and virtual instrument. The MPC mainstay controls include arpeggiator, note repeat, tap tempo, MPC full level, and time division.

Key Features

  • 12 assignable Q Link controllers
  • 8 RGB illuminated MPC style pads
  • 25 semi-weighted velocity sensitive size keys
  • USB MIDI interface with 5-pin MIDI input

Pros

  • USB power cable
  • Versatile VIP software
  • Easy to map with software
  • Velocity sensitive drum pads

Cons

  • The pad functionality is not that great

 

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Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 2-49 Key MIDI controller

Even at first glance one can tell that this is a serious MIDI keyboard controller. The 49 semi-weighted key bed is a serious deviation from what you commonly find in the market. In addition, the keys have aftertouch which is a big think for those serious about music.

This is a keyboard for most of your virtual instruments. It comes with mod wheels and ergonomic pitch plus a touch strip to help you in expression control. The Komplete Kontrol comes with full VSTi support.

The MIDI allows music producers to tweak parameters, preview sounds, navigate projects all from the seamless connection between the MIDI and your instruments. You also get control over your pitch through rubberized wheels. The touch strip is ultra-sensitive and this provides a responsive alternative to your plugins.

The new Komplete Kontrol has a high resolution color screen that enables you to edit projects while browsing and previewing your sounds. The unit offers more integration with a variety of DAWs like Logic, MASCHINE, Ableton Live and Garageband.

Key Features

  • Full VSTi support
  • Pro-grade fatar keybeds with aftertouch
  • Mod wheels and ergonomic pitch with touch strip
  • 49 semi-weighted keys

Pros

  • Keys come with aftertouch
  • High resolution color screen
  • More expressive mod and pitch wheels
  • More integration to a host of DAWs

Cons

  • Has a high learning curve besides it been expensive

 

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M-Audio Oxygen 25 4G MIDI Keyboard

The best part about this MIDI keyboard is the fact that it is lightweight which means you can carry it around during live performances. The M-Audio Oxygen comes with 61 velocity sensitive full size keys. It also has 9 assignable faders and 8 velocity sensitive pads that you can use to trigger sounds and samples.

When connected to your DAW you do not need to keep going to your laptop for certain controls as it comes with its own transport controls. You have play, stop and record buttons.

The M-Audio comes with a small LCD screen that you can use to get parameter feedback. The M-Audio comes with dedicated octave up and down. With this you are capable of expanding your melodic range to the fullest.

The directlink in the unit enables it to automatically map out controls in some of the popular DAWs like Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Cubase among others. Power is through a plug and play USB. This makes it easy to understand and connect. The unit also comes with a comprehensive production software that supports PCs and MAC. You will also find included in the purchase AIR Music Tech Xpand!2, Ableton Live lite and SONiVOX twist.

Key Features

  • 8 assignable knobs, 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads suitable for beat production
  • 9 assignable faders suitable for manipulating your virtual instruments
  • Innovative DirectLink that automatically maps out controls
  • Comprehensive production software
  • Class compliant
  • USB powered plug-and-play functionality

Pros

  • The synch action bed is precise and clean
  • Premium software suite
  • More control of your music production
  • Transport controls

Cons

  • Key action not as good as expected

 

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Akai Professional MPD226 – MIDI drum pad

This is a highly portable and popular drum MIDI controller. It offers one 16 thick pads that are RGB illuminated for pressure and velocity. This are triggered during melodies samples, triggering drums, or for some special effects. When you consider the four pad banks you get a total of 64 assignable pads.

The Akai professional also comes with 4 assignable Q link knobs, 4 assignable faders, and this gives a total of 36 assignable controls. The controls are perfect for draw, controlling, mapping to, and virtual instrument parameters.

For the most impressive performances you have MPC swing, classic MPC note repeat, 16 level, and tap tempo controls. You can control the unit through your iOS app. The software suite on this unit is quite amazing and carters for Sonivox big bang, Akai pro MPC, Ableton live lite among others.

The best part about the Akai professional is that the pads are very thick and this makes them ideal for you to enjoy dynamic play.

Key Features

  • 16 thick fat illuminated RGB pressure and velocity pads
  • 4 pad banks that provide a total of 64 assignable pads
  • 4 assignable Q link pads
  • 4 assignable faders
  • Comprehensive software suite

Pros

  • Easy USB connectivity
  • LCD screen for better control of MIDI channels
  • Thick fat MPC pads
  • iOS compatible using camera connection kit

Cons

  • May experience some triggering issues

 

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Native Instruments MASCHINE MK3 drum controller

This is an extremely powerful MIDI drum controller. While the controls are not that easy to figure out the manufacturers have uploaded plenty of YouTube videos for learning. There are a few things that really stand out with these MIDI drum controller. For one the drum pads are bigger than what you would normally have in other MIDIs.

The drum controller comes with 8 high-quality samples. This helps you in playing a variety of genres. The knobs on the MASCHINE drum controller are touch-sensitive and this brings a lot versatility in terms of the music produced.

The Mk3 comes with integrated software/hardware system that includes mixer, sampler, FX among others. It offers the perfect integration for your Omnisphere. You also get smart strip for your pitch bending sounds, strumming notes, and for performing FX.

Key Features

  • 25 GB Komplete select library
  • Integrated software and hardware system that includes arranger, sampler and mixer
  • Touch sensitive knobs for parameter tweaking
  • Pro-grade 96 kHz 24-bit audio interface
  • Operates on both windows and Mac computers

Pros

  • Knobs are touch sensitive
  • 8 GB of cool samples
  • Smart strip for stunning notes
  • Compact design

Cons

  • The user interface needs sometime to get used to

 

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Buying Guide

Factors to consider when purchasing the best controller for Omnisphere

Omnisphere gives users three ways to control their parameters: MIDI learn, modulation and automation. The kind of host that use will determine the kind of parameter you go with. The most common of these is the modulation feature; it allows one to send any kind of MIDI message – aftertouch, wheel, notes, pitch bend etc.

Keyboard Keys

If you have tried purchasing a MIDI keyboard then you have noticed that they do come in a variety of keys. You have 25 key, 61 and 88 key. If you are going to be doing some music production at home then you can start out with the 25 key. As you demand for multiple sounds rises you can upgrade to the 61 and 88 key. At the medium of the keyboard scale is the 49 key.

Software compatibility

There was a time when it was very difficult to configure your MIDI with a DAW. This is because the units would be designed for specific DAWs. Today there is a lot of compatibility and you can be assured that MIDI unit you purchase will work well with your software. Some MIDI will come with VST for out of the box controls.

Transport controls

It is time consuming shifting in between your laptop and MIDI for transport controls. If you want something versatile then get one that gives you full access to various transport controls like pause, stop and other recording controls.

Portability

If you are only going to be using your MIDI in your office then portability will not matter that much. However, you are going to be doing live performances, portability will play a vital role. Keyboards will start with those having 25 keys to really bulky ones with 88 keys. Your choice will also depend on functionality.

Power source

Most of the MIDI are USB powered meaning you just need to connect them to your laptop and you are good to go. However, this can drain your laptop power and you can use a dedicated controller power adapter or use a USB hub.

Price

At the end of the day you will not be able to purchase a MIDI if you do not have the money for it. The price differences between controllers boils down to the quality of the faders and knobs, build material and the key-bed durability. The more budget friendly a keyboard is the more it lacks some key features or is made from substandard materials.

Playability

This relates to how the keys feel when using them. Most people will overlook playability when purchasing a controller. If you want to get it right it may be prudent to carry with you a laptop then connect it to the MIDI and check out the playability.

Quality construction

If you are going to be using your MIDI controller for traveling then one of the things you will need to be on the lookout for is durability. The right MIDI controller should withstand the rigors of constant travel without it breaking down. It should not also be something you will use for a few years then start looking for an alternative.

You should also pay close attention to the kind of drivers in your MIDI. In some cases the MIDI looks perfect on the outside but once you start using it you realize that the drivers are substandard. While there is not specific brand that has all the solutions going with popular brands does make a huge difference as they have had time to build a reputation.

When you are using your MIDI with your laptop there some additions you may need to make like purchasing longer USB cables. In some instances, you will find modern MIDI with Bluetooth connectivity. MIDI may consume a lot of power from your laptop so you may want to consider getting it a separate power cable instead of the normal USB port.

Conclusion

The MIDI provides an interface for the transfer of notes, pitches, velocity and other musical instruments. Most of the modern MIDI will work with a host of DAW in the market. It is imperative that you ensure that there is playability between your laptop and your MIDI before making that purchase decision.

Peter Smith

Welcome to MusicGearAdvisor! 4 years ago I rediscovered my passion for making music and began building my own home studio. As I have gone through my journey I realized that I am just as passionate about the equipment as I am about the music. I started MusicGearAdvisor as a way for me to share my learnings with others so you can get started making music that you dream of.

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