The best midi fader controllers are hard to come by.
Something that when you look at it, is hardly surprising. What with every music producer pledging their allegiance to different DAW + new genres of music springing up from all over the place, finding a controller that gels with your workflow is more difficult than ever!
All of which makes DAW surface controllers in themselves, a bit of a minefield. Some have faders – some don’t. Certain controllers come with umpteen assignable buttons, while others do practically everything through a screen. Heck, some are even designed specifically to integrate with certain DAWs. So really, when it comes down to tracking down the ‘best’ midi fader controller for your setup, there’s a LOT of variables to consider.
Not that you should let that get in the way though. We know just how important it is to have some analogue feel when producing music. So if you’re eager to track down which midi fader controller is the best, then keep reading & we’ll help you make that decision.
After something specific about midi fader controllers? Or just curious what a midi fader controller actually is? Use the menu below to find all the answers you need in a couple of clicks…
The best MIDI fader controllers @ a glance…
14 of the best MIDI fader controllers you can buy
Selecting a midi controller with faders, from all the DAW surface controllers out there, is (let’s be honest) quite the challenge. Aside from the fact that there’s virtually dozens to choose from, there’s also the question of: how many channels you need, whether you’re after something portable & what budget you have to spend.
But don’t worry yourself. See, we’ve done 90% of the work for you & compiled a list of what we believe to be the best midi fader controllers out there today. All you have to do, is read on…
1: Presonus Faderport midi control surface
2: QCon Pro G2 midi fader controller
3: TC Helicon Go XLR DAW surface controller
4: Korg nanoKONTROL 2 compact controller
5: Akai Professional APC40 MKII DJ controller
6: Novation Launch Control XL MKII controller
7: iCON Pro Platform M+ surface controller
8: Mackie MC Series fader controller
9: Behringer X-Touch fader controller
10: Nektar Panorama P1 fader controller
11: PreSonus ioStation 24c midi fader controller
12: Avid S1 control surface
Cheap MIDI fader controllers (around £100): the best DAW surface controller for beginners…
Any beginner searching for a midi fader controller is likely just on the hunt for 2 things. Something that’s rich in features, yet not all that expensive. Exactly why when we saw this midi fader controller from Akai, we knew that with 99% of beginners, it’d be an instant hit…
13: Akai MIDImix DAW fader controller
Got an unlimited budget? Try this midi fader controller…
In the case your budget is slightly larger – perhaps you’re kitting out a professional studio? – the type of functionality you’ll be after is likely to be more than what you find on the average controller. More channels & parameters for instance.
If that’s the case, we’d say this high-end boutique mixing console from Roland is right up your street…
14: Roland Mx-1 boutique mixer
Which MIDI fader controller is best? Our editor’s choice
As you’ve probably gathered, pinning down the best midi fader controller is NOT easy.
Hence why our verdict has remained quite broad, as which midi fader controller is best, all depends on how you produce. But with that being said, we have managed to whittle them down to our favourites 2 to be exact.
So if you’re an experienced producer who’s after ultimate control over both your DAW, mix & software instruments, then we’d say it’d be best to invest in what’s arguably the most advanced midi fader controller on the market – the…
QCon Pro G2 = Best Midi Fader Controller For Pro Prods
A fader controller that’s earned itself a healthy reputation for being one of the most advanced & pro level pieces of kit on the market. And you can see why.
This DAW controller has pretty much everything! Right from the LCD display to those motorised faders, the whole unit feels so well thought out & put together. the word ‘deluxe’ springs to mind. Plus, in terms of feel & to work with, this interface puts a lot of of cheaper DAW controllers to shame too. The build quality is second to none!!
What’s more, the integration you get with this controller is also superb. For Ableton users especially, tweaks with the mouse will quickly become a thing of the past. All of which makes it an ideal centrepiece to your studio setup.
And yes, it’s not the cheapest DAW controller out there, BUT considering just how much control it gives you over your studio setup, we’d say it’d more than repay itself in terms of the quality of your final track + all the positive impacts it’ll have on your workflow.
With that though, not everyone has such a healthy budget. So if you’re yet to reach the stage where you can justify such an advanced controller, then we’d say you’d be hard pushed to go wrong with the…
Presonus Faderport = Best Value Midi Fader Controller
That’s because as far as budget DAW controllers go, the Faderport is up there with the best. Yes, it only has 1 fader (opposed to 5+) so if you’re after multiple faders you may want to look elsewhere – the Akai MidiMix for instance.
However, when we produce, we generally don’t find ourselves lunging for multiple faders all at once, even when mixing & mastering. Hence why we’d say it’d be wiser to downsize on faders & trade that larger footprint for higher build quality. Something you can tell Presonus have heavily focused on with the Faderport.
Alongside other fader controllers, really does show. The whole unit feels solid & the fader (aside from being motorised) has some good resistance to it, which for us, made it more accurate. What’s more, the transport controls are all intuitively laid out in such as way that even a complete novice should be able to understand.
Combine this with the slim form factor + small footprint & as far as all-rounders go, the Faderport is up there with the best. In fact, the only reason we see that you wouldn’t buy this controller is its bigger brother, the ioStation 24c – essentially the same controller, only with a built in audio interface & a few extra perks.
Food for though, especially when considering what you get, the upgrade isn’t actually that much £££. Food for thought.
Enjoy this review of the best midi fader controllers and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Music Kit Reviews, as well as the lowdown on all things Music Production. Recently, we also published a rundown of the Best 25 Midi Controller Keyboards + another on the Best Rack Mount Mixers, which may also be a good read.
Or, if you’ve still got as burning question about midi faders, keep reading to discover even more about why control surfaces like midi mixers are 100% worth your time…