How do they work? Controller keyboards have to be one of the most powerful and essential pieces of studio equipment you can aquire for your setup. From inputting musical data to triggering samples and helping with mixing down, they’re purpose built to improve workflow and liberate you from otherwise complicated MIDI patching and routing. Here’s a few things to keep an eye out for when considering which model is right for you.
Some people require feather touch keys for ease and speed of use but often for the likes of a trained pianist - only fully weighted, hammer action keys will suffice.
Although the same could be achieved with a pot, a fader to us most naturally can be assigned to control the volume of a track (or of course any other controlable parameter) again saving time with not having to point and click with the mouse!
they’re purpose built to improve workflow
Playing rhythmically with your favourite virtual drum instrument on a keyboard can sometimes be a little, un-satisfying. Fortunately these days most MIDI controller keyboards offer a few nice and squidgey velocity sensitive pads for you to hit, much better. Some even double as an integrated step sequencer - cor blimey!
Pots Having a few onboard potentiometers (check me out eh?!) can be really handy when it comes to controlling or automating panning and effects, much quicker than using the mouse. Infinite rotary faders are the most useful as they can be mapped to control different parameters over multiple presets without effecting the values of the previous parameter.
What size? Most models come in 25, 49, 61 and even 88 note variations, so if space is an issue or you need the full range - not a problem.