10 Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners to Professionals 2023

Probably everyone was in such a situation. You need to program the drums, and all you have nearby is a MIDI keyboard – not a very suitable tool for creating beats, especially if you are more a percussionist than a pianist.

A much more suitable option is to switch to the more traditional format of pads located in a 4×4 matrix. Such an interface makes it possible to place a set of sounds of a standard drum set in a more natural position under the fingers than when controlling a keyboard, giving you a much more intuitive set of tasks that you need to pay attention to

Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners
Midi Pad Controller

Also, some controllers of this type have an extensive library of sounds and instruments, while others are exclusively percussion.

When choosing a pad controller, there are several criteria that you need to pay attention to. A fairly wide range of pads and controls is simply a prerequisite, and the pads must be high-quality and responsive to touch to cope with the powerful, expressive, multi-layer selected instruments that are available to us today. The controllers should be easy to configure so that you can configure the location of the pads to start the selected set of sounds, they simply must have a USB connector, and you should also not lose sight of the presence of power and processing MIDI data. Based on these data, you can select the TOP 10 Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners.

Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners

  1. Native Instruments Maschine Studio
  2. Arturia sparkle
  3. Ableton Push
  4. Akai MPC Element
  5. Korg padKONTROL
  6. Novation Launchpad
  7. Native Instruments Maschine Mikro
  8. Alesis Performance Pad Pro
  9. Roland Octapad
  10. Vestax PAD-One

10 Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners

Native Instruments Maschine Studio

Maschine Studio and Maschine 2.0 are the latest “repetitions” of the hardware and software of the famous Native Instruments Groove Production Studio combo. While Maschine Studio is seated at the very top of its line of controllers, Maschine 2.0 works with the entire spectrum: Maschine, Maschine Mk II, Maschine Mikro and Maschine Studio.

Maschine 2.0 is a completely rewritten software, presented in a fresh, completely new look, with a new sound engine with support for multi-core devices and a lot of improvements to the workflow, and, of course, with many new “toys”. Support for multi-core devices is simply a great solution: a project that loads the processor to the limit on our i7 iMac in Maschine 1.8 barely reaches the 40% mark in Maschine 2.0.

Native Instruments Maschine Studio

At Maschine Studio, attention is drawn to a pair of luxurious full-color displays with a resolution of 480×272. Most of the time they just show you a more beautiful version of what you can see on the Maschine / Mikro monochrome screens – but they also show a lot of additional things that their predecessors simply could not display.

Our favorite feature in Maschine 2.0 is Drumsynths. This is a collection of five dedicated drum and percussion synthesizer plugins (kick, snare, hi-hat, tom and percussion), with which you can use a number of sound generation methods (virtual analogue, physical modeling, etc.).

Maschine Studio is a large, spacious controller that leaves behind a sense of solidity and quality.

Arturia sparkle

Arturia SparkLE combines the traditional interface of an old-school drum machine complete with TR-style step-input buttons and an incredibly capable software tool. This version has a powerful sound engine for merging analog and physical modeling with samples of electronic drums, acoustic drums and the ability to import user samples to a step sequencer equipped with eight pads that are sensitive to speed / force.

These pads have 64 tracks for recording, each with 64 moves available in 4 banks that can be chained to form settings, just like on an MPC or Maschine.

Best Midi Pad Controller For Beginners

The hardware controller was trimmed, with the expectation of traveling producers, musicians performing live, as well as to save studio space. The buttons and 8 square pads are made of translucent rubber, pleasant to the touch and highlighted in the same way as in MPC Studio and DSI Tempest.

In general, a sense of quality pervades SparkLE completely, and this is very important, given its low price. It is a powerful tool with functionality and sound quality that go far beyond its low price.

Ableton Push

Ableton Push is another result of the Ableton / Akai collaboration, but not an update to their previous APC at all. This is a completely different fruit, with an LCD display, fast and pressure-sensitive pads and a sleek, minimalistic and, perhaps, not so plastic design.

Push looks good – low profile and impressive size. Naturally, the weight does not lag behind, amounting to three kilograms, but throwing it in a backpack, you will not feel much heaviness, it is just on the verge between portable tools and those that are better to keep in the studio.

At the heart of the unit is 64 pads. Groups of buttons on three sides, a large LCD display at the top and nine knobs in a circle. The text on the buttons is almost impossible to read even in the afternoon, which is rather strange.

Ableton Push

By pressing the Session button in Push and the pads highlight, you can see the colors and position of the clips in the set. Press the pads to launch the clips and use the buttons on the right to launch the Scenes – this is if you switched from using other controllers.

So far so good. Open a new set of Live, then all the fun begins. It is possible to add tracks, as well as download any device from Push. You can add Audio, MIDI, and return tracks, although audio tracks are not that important; This is a programmable device.

Push bridges the gap between sequencing with MIDI equipment from the past and using state-of-the-art music software while remaining mobile and flexible.

This controller offers an intuitive workflow with a modern, minimalistic look – plus an impressive level of control over the Live mode.

Akai MPC Element

If you like to control your station using the Akai MPC miniature pad, the MPD range of MIDI USB controllers clearly deserves your close attention.

Element is equipped with 16 translucent color pads that are sensitive to speed and pressure, placed traditionally 4×4, which can be switched between 8 banks.

Akai MPC Element

It comes free with the MPC Essentials software download, which works autonomously, or as a plug-in for 32- and 64-bit systems. Included is a library of sounds at 1GB, you can also import samples and embed them on any pad. You can create up to eight banks of pads, and you can assign four samples and four insertable effects to each pad.

Delivered in a compact package with a built-in cover to protect the control surface, MPC Element is an affordable USB-powered controller that allows you to use it to control MIDI programs that you already have.


Although at first glance padKONTROL may seem like the simplest device of all in this ranking, it has one or two aces up your sleeve that will interest you.

An input for a pedal to start a kick or a hi-hat is just the beginning, then more, the connection of the superb X / Y pad from KORG’s Kaoss Pad, the X and Y axes can be combined in your program with the parameters of your choice.


Due to its simple appearance, padKONTROL has become one of the most simple to configure and use devices that we have selected for this rating. Although it comes with its own editing software, installing it is, of course, not necessary – instead, you can just plug in a USB cable and start tapping right away.

Power and data transfer are made using a USB cable, although there is also a side connector for connecting additional power in case the laptop battery does not provide enough “juice”, or if you want to lighten the load on the USB splitter.

Assigning pads to start MIDI recordings is simplicity itself, press the pad you want to assign and turn the control knob to change the value of the recordings. You can do this by hitting the pad, scrolling through the recordings and listening to the sounds that you assign, which really speeds up the work if you do not know exactly which sounds to play with which recordings.

A versatile device from one of the largest manufacturers on the market, padKONTROL appeared around 2006, and this fact should be enough to add confidence to potential customers.

Novation Launchpad

Designed by Novation in conjunction with Ableton, Launchpad is famous for its primary intended function of launching clips in the latest ever-popular Live Workstation.

Launchpad S is the latest incarnation of the controller, featuring bright LEDs on 64 pads, with a faster refresh rate and the plug-and-play option for use with the iPad through the Apple Camera Connection Kit. The controller also best midi keyboard for fl studio, and will come with custom controls overlay.

Novation Launchpad

Launchpad S is portable and fully connected to the bus when connected to USB. However, if you are looking for a truly mobile Launchpad, this year also saw the release of the new Launchpad Mini, which takes over the full-size Launchpad S and embeds it in a smaller, open iPad size.

In fact, best mini midi keyboard, the Launchpad Mini integrates seamlessly with the Launchpad iPad app and also offers direct control of Ableton Live and FL Studio 11 on desktop platforms. As on the standard version of Launchpad, you get 64 three-color pads that can be used both to launch loops and samples, and to control effects.

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro

The truncated sibling of the full-sized Native Instruments Maschine, the Maschine Mikro has a unique meaning – especially when you consider that it comes bundled with Maschine 2.0, its own powerful step workstation, as well as a 6GB sample library and copies of Komplete Elements and Massive’s acclaimed synthesizer.

Maschine also comes in AU, RTAS, and VST formats, so you can access content using a plug-in in your workstation; but the software also acts as a plugin in itself, which means that you can access all third-party effects and sound sources through it. Pretty smart thing!

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro

Being almost the same width as a 13-inch laptop, the highly portable Maschine Mikro controller looks pretty and impressively hard, looking at it you immediately calm down, realizing that a minute after you start tapping on the pads, it will not fall apart .

Maschine Mikro is not just an excellent standalone executor; thanks to the included Controller Editor, it can also be easily configured to work as a common control surface for your software.

As it was customary in hardware controllers, the lack of encoders and sliders puts it a little lower in the eyes of users – and yet, the playability of the pads makes it an ideal option for drums, so judging by its ability to perform this task alone, the mighty Mikro has no equal.

Alesis Performance Pad Pro

Together with the Roland Octapad, the Alesis Performance Pad Pro is one of two devices presented in here that you can actually play with your sticks.

With 4×2 large pads set apart, the Performance Pad comes with a built-in library of 500 drum sounds that can be retrieved into an open access system or recorder, as well as a stereo mini-jack input for connecting an MP3 player.

Unusually, but the MIDI output is fed through a five-pin MIDI DIN jack – unlike all the other devices described on these pages, there is no USB connector for easy connection to a workstation on a Mac or PC, so you have to connect it via an external MIDI interface

Alesis Performance Pad Pro

The Performance Pad Pro is designed with the appropriate casing strength allowing you to play with your sticks, but unlike the Octapad, the pads do not rise too high above the main surface of the casing – as a result, the shiny black plastic trim on the edges can be quite vulnerable to marks and scuffs when your enthusiasm begins to exceed your talent.

Speed-sensitive pads are not as sensitive as we would like. With a light tapping of the wands, you will achieve nothing but silence, and minimally quiet sounds begin to sound only at medium speeds. Also, there is probably no way to adjust the sensitivity of the pads differently from the three predefined speed curves – soft, medium and hard, or by choosing one of eight fixed speed levels.

In general, Performance Pad Pro is a pretty good option if you want to make a little noise, and it is much better suited for the scene than for the studio.

Roland Octapad

Roland Octapad has been with us since 1985, after the debut of the original version of the PAD-8.

Several generations later, this latest SPD-30 model combines a traditional eight-pad, stick-accessible interface with many built-in sounds and effects, an audio input and a freeze looper. It is equipped with both standard MIDI ports and a USB connector, and in addition, you can connect a USB memory card to increase the size of the stored data.

The SPD-30 is powered from the network through the built-in adapter, and the only thing that is additionally in the box is a printed instruction. Other manufacturers, please note: this comprehensive and informative “volume” is a real breath of fresh air compared to the belated thoughts that come with some of the other products covered here.

Roland Octapad

When used, the V-Drum-derived pads are very tight and play great, and are also large enough to make it hard to miss. The device is also equipped with five inputs for connecting external trigger devices, such as kick pedals and pads of the snare drum, hi-hat and cymbals.

Assigning notes to the pads as soon as you connect the SPD-30 to your station is easy thanks to the large, bright LCD display and wide navigation controls. You just click on the pad and turn the knob to set the number of the recording that the pad sends to your program, and the pad sensitivity options are enough to satisfy even the most fussy percussionists.

Yes, it may not have any assignable knobs or faders in it, but if you ever waved a wand in anger, this thing will cause a smile from ear to ear. This is just fantastic.

Vestax PAD-One

As the smallest member of the list, PAD-One has 12 backlit silicone pads, unlike the usual 16, which gives it a shorter, more bullish shape.

Thanks to Akai, there are four pad banks available, making the overall performance of the pads grow to an impressive 48. The pads are pleasant to the touch, resilient, tactile, resilient and responsive. At rest, each pad is lit in green, and when struck, flashes orange to indicate MIDI data transfer.

Vestax PAD-One

PAD-One is fast as the wind in setup, just plug in a USB cable to power and transmit MIDI data. As for the other connectors, it has a six-pin MIDI Out and a connector for additional power from the network.

The anodized metal finish gives the PAD-One a solid, rugged appearance that blends perfectly with the latest versions of MacBook laptops. Unless the encoder knob seems a little cheap, and the miniature Edit button is more like a hairpin. The X / Y pad used to control the tempo and speed of the scroll function also seems very cheap to use.

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