[LAU] small usb/midi controllers

Justin Smith noisesmith at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 21:56:11 EST 2008

I recently got an m-audio oxygen8 and a behringer bcf2000. they both
work with alsa midi via usb, as simple as plugging them in, no
configuration needed on my machine or the remote machine.

The oxygen8 is about $100us new and has a two octave keyboard with
large keys that have a nice feel, eight knobs, a spring-return
pitch-bend wheel, and a mod wheel, and 6 midi transport control
buttons, plus a midi out jack and a plug for a sustain pedal.

The bcf2000 (should be about $200us) has 8 motorized continuous
controller sliders, which send a cc when moved, and move when you send
a cc to it. it also has 32 virtual knobs, eight accessable at a time,
also settable via cc, with an led ring indicator on each, and a
continuous turn knob, with multiple programmable settings for the
rings (one looks like a good panning control, another volume, another
trim maybe?). there are actually four groups of eight knobs,
switchable with four buittons, and one group of knobs actually
visible. each knob also doubles as a button that sends a note on/off
on press/release (I think?) and has a pair of lit on/off buttons below
it. Also there are some transport controls, learn functionality, and a
number of factory presets for working with various daws. it also has
plugs in the back for a sustain pedal and an expression pedal, a midi
in, and two midi outs.

The bcf2000 can do SO MUCH, I have had it for a month and have barely
started looking into what it can do. It also broke on the way home
when I first got it (I shoved it kind of ogrishly into an overpacked
bike bag so I could bike it home), one of the fader buttons did not
work. Then I moved to a new place, again shoving it kind of crudely
into a bag for the move, and UNBROKE the damned thing, so now it is
good as new. But it is a behringer, so I am treating it with kid
gloves from here on.

Both do exactly what they are designed to do, with minimum fuss (I
have been writing custom software to use the bcf200 using preset 2
"generic mixer" preset, and have not tried using it with ardour yet,
though I did find instructions for doing so online - I would be
tempted to just make a pd patch or midish script to convert the output
of the bcf2000 to something existing software can use, rather than
learn it's arcane preset loading and editing procedure).

Some company also made some cheap very tiny controlers, a drum pad, a
set of sliders, and a keyboard, each under $50 (though I don't know
anything about durability or how well they work).

On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 4:30 PM,  <tfric at learnkanji.ca> wrote:
> Hi,
> I am interested in getting a midi controller with lots of knobs and sliders
> for controlling soft synths, effects and my Roland Sonic Cell. The
> keyboard I use doesn't have any controls but the keys (not even
> pitch/modultation).
> I've been looking at the 2 octave keyboards from novation, m-audio,
> behringer and roland specifically. I also like the korg nanoKontrol.
> Can anyone recomend something that works well with Alsa? Does anyone know
> of any problems with using these through usb?
> Thanks
> _______________________________________________
> Linux-audio-user mailing list
> Linux-audio-user at lists.linuxaudio.org
> http://lists.linuxaudio.org/mailman/listinfo/linux-audio-user

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