Why are there no small MIDI controllers with 8 encoders and nothing else?

Most DAWs seem to have standardized on 8-knobs control macros in a 4x2 layout, which is in itself a reasonable thing.

So why are there no small USB MIDI controller boxes with 8 encoders in a 4x2 layout on the market? Why does something that seems like a no-brain product simply not exist?

Would the price point be wrong? Do people really rather have this on a keyboard or pad controller? Why is the closest thing a big rubberized €280 DJ product with 16 encoders and LED rings that aren’t needed when you’re looking at the screen anyway (not bashing this product; it’s great for what it is)?

the Faderfox UC-4 would be the closest I think. You get 4x2 encoders, plus the 8 faders (which are never wrong imho), it even has a built-in Ableton mode.


Yup, that’s still too big IMHO. :slight_smile:

Suggestions are interesting, but please take the question literally as well. As a designer, I am honestly wondering why this thing does not exist. What do you think?

A few years back, I had the Native Instruments ‘4Control’.

It was sturdy not plastic, had 4 continuous control knobs and two switches (that could be assigned to latch)

Great for live stuff, and with the travellizer.ens, was literally a mac based ‘Clouds’.

You can also look for the cheapy, evolution ‘u-control’, 16 knobs, usb, lcd screen, etc (bigger tho)

I feel akai or someone did a smaller thing.

Kenton Electronics did and it was metal enclosure.also LIVID code v2.

Novation Nocturn yes also. Had it too and def small. (the little one)

Well a launchkontrol gives you 2x of em: http://global.novationmusic.com/launch/launch-control#

If you were subtweeting the nocturn, you can find them under $100 if you dig for it https://global.novationmusic.com/midi-controllers/nocturn?reload=3#

I guess it would have a bit of a limited market. If you look at most controllers, it’s become really hard to find a feature-specific one and that’s because it would be a bit of a hard sell.
Everybody has different needs, a different workflow and considers certain things more essential than others. Add to that that there’s a lot of different DAWs, millions of plugins, etc. It’s really hard to do something specific as that, sell it for a low price and still sell enough to pay the shareholders, the manager’s bonuses etc :slight_smile:
The more features you add the more likely that at least 50% of them will be needed, and if you have more overlap, you also get more overlap in the potential customer’s needs.

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I was referring to the Midi Fighter Twister.

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Yup, I just think maufacturer’s have for the most part thought the two trains of ‘beatmakers’ or ‘riffmashers’ has been what they chose to jump on as a base market coverage. So many of the same things.

But I hate personally having to clutter my desk and drag out said products just to get ‘hand’s on’…

As a designer I also wonder: why not design your own? :slight_smile:
I guess there’s other people who would need it too.

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I hadn’t noticed the 2X4 thing myself… Does it have to be 2X4 though? If not, then there is the Kenton Killamix controller. Although it also has a couple of extras…
Otherwise… Make one! Doepfer, Livid instruments have the core parts you need. There are also Arduino options.

It’s something I was considering. The thing is that when something like this doesn’t exist, there often is a good reason for it.

It’s the most common layout for macro controls in DAWs like Live and Bitwig.

I owned one once. It’s nice, but not very compact.

Third picture down shows a 4x2 slider arrangement.

Nice, but those are not encoders. :slight_smile:

Looks like the most straightforward way to DIY this might be the Teensy-LC since it’s relatively inexpensive, has enough pins to connect 8 encoders directly and Teensyduino comes with a MIDI over USB library.

Isn’t this really close to what you want?

4x4 is the best I can do so far.


Does it have enough digital pins? Eight gray-code encoders needs sixteen.

Of course, you could read them with a mux relatively straightforwardly. And I’d probably go with something like an Atmega 32u4 - USB bootloading, you can write in Arduino for it, and just have the chip on a bare board. I could probably be convinced to sketch something up…

(I have been thinking about something somewhat similar - namely, a 16r controller, something like a Doepfer Pocket Control for 2018, and based on my work on 16n).

Of course, what I’d really like is an easy source of the sine/cosine endless-pots as used on the new Elektron boxes; much prefer them over notched encoders.

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Yes, that’s the nice thing about it. It has 17 interrupt pins and then you have 9 pins left for buttons if you use clickable encoders.

Seems like the less straightforward option if you want MIDI over USB at first glance. The nice thing about the Teensy would be that it would be trivially easy for a not-so-technical person to use the Arduino IDE to program the thing.

OTOH, the goal is to make this as compact and as simple as possible. It really is supposed to be nothing more than a dumb 4x2 encoder box to control the macros in your DAW.

Nice! Really nice!

Have been looking for those too. If I make this, I will use encoders without notches, which are also annoyingly hard to find.

Pretty close, but still bigger and more fully-featured than needed.

And also rather ugly. :slight_smile:

I tried one of those and they’re really nice and solid. They’re pretty big though. I really just want a tiny accessory for my laptop for when I’m using Bitwig without any outboard gear.

So - 32u4 can, iirc, just be compiled as a HID MIDI device relatively straightforwardly - it’s basically what’s in an Arduino Due, and those work as HID devices relatively easily. Anyhow, I was spitballing on the train to work, rather than confirming based on what’s in the world. But I have some time off at the moment so I might see what I can rustle up.

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