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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Dec 17 > BUYER’S GUIDE

BUYER’S GUIDE

We couldn’t list every controller, but we’ve extended the Buyer’s Guide to cover pretty much everything we’ve reviewed over the last four years that’s still available…

BUDGET

AKAI APC KEY 25

Price £69

This small and incredibly cheap keyboard manages to cram a hell of a lot of controls into its tiny footprint. There’s a small keyboard, eight rotaries and loads of launch-pad buttons for Ableton Live.

WE SAY “A lot of people who use a Live controller will also have a MIDI keyboard connected, so with the Key 25, you’re killing two birds with one stone. Even though the keys are small, they’re still perfectly fine for synth melodies, basslines and beats.”

IK MULTIMEDIA IRIG 37 PRO USB

Price £78

A mini keyboard with maxi keys and probably the best playing you’ll get on a small keyboard. There are few other controls, though.

WE SAY “The keyboard isn’t top quality, but very playable. It’s good for the money and better than some models costing a lot more, or with smaller keys. ‘Players’ may be willing to forego mobile and just go big.”

NOVATION LAUNCH CONTROL

Price £79

A USB MIDI controller with 16 rotaries and eight launch pads and little else, but it does the job and you can pick it up for less than 50 quid in some stores.

WE SAY “We found it to be a very useful addition – it will be the primary parameter and studio workflow controlling mechanism and it also works a treat with Ableton Live

ARTURIA MINILAB MKII

Price £89

Another tiny keyboard that manages to pack a lot in for the asking price.

WE SAY “With the Analog Lab Lite software, this is very usable. The build quality is not weapons-grade, but it’s solid enough. Plus, it feels better made than the Mk I, and a really great purchase for anyone lacking space or wanting to dip their toe in the world of DAWs, plug-ins and a matching hardware keyboard.”

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About MusicTech

Making music is an expensive pursuit. From monitors to microphones, DAWs and plug-ins: before you know it, just getting your creative space in order has made a serious dent in your bank account. But it really doesn’t have to be this way. In Andy Jones’ in-depth cover feature this month, he dives head-first into this ocean of free software, highlighting the best of the best and detailing how to use it effectively to build a track – for free! Elsewhere this issue, we’ve got the first in a new A-Z series, detailing some of the oft-used, key terms that you’ll likely hear and need to understand in the music-making world. Alongside all this, we’ve got our usual range of reviews, tutorials, tips and a complete guide to the vast high-tech world of controllers. We’ve also, very excitingly, teamed up with the best studio in the world with this issue’s free Abbey Road calendar. We hope you enjoy the issue.
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