What is a MIDI Controller?
If you are going the software route with your DJ setup and you plan to get serious you definitely need to be considering how you will control your software. A MIDI controller is a USB/Firewire device that is used to communicate with your DJing or production software. These controllers feature different layouts, controls and features depending on your needs. We have split the page into two sections.
What is a DJ MIDI Controller?
DJ Controllers are controllers which are specifically designed for use with a DJ software. These controllers normally feature what you would find in a turntable/mixer combo except condensed down into a smaller package. Normally you will find a familiar layout when browsing DJ controllers.
Live MIDI Controllers can be used with production software or even with DJ software. This category can include controllers with a wide range of layouts and features. From a simple grid of buttons all the way to a keyboard with knobs and wheels.
DJ MIDI Controllers
DJ controllers are common places for a beginner to start learning to DJ. Most DJ software support a wide range of MIDI mappings for different brands of DJ controllers. As a beginner DJ you can invest as little as $80-$100 in a controller and be able to start learning to mix. This doesn’t mean that a controller is a beginner only tool. There are higher quality controllers out there which feature things like 4 EQ channels and built in soundcards/audio interfaces. Beginners and aged professions shopping around for the right DJ controller can both be satisfied.
Some CDJ’s even allow you to plug them in via USB and use them as MIDI controllers.
Live MIDI Controllers
If you are in the market for a live controller, the first question you should probably ask yourself is “Do I know which program I will be controlling?” Starting by knowing what you will be using your controller for is imperative. For instance you might know you want to write melodies so you start investigating piano style MIDI controllers. You might be interested in creating hip-hop beats in which case you might be more at home on an MPC style 16-pad finger drum style machine. Whatever your need there are many, many controllers out there to suit your needs. Take a look at our collection and you might find something you need or at the very least find something that will spark your interest and generate some ideas.