Ableton is one of the most popular DAWs in the world and works competently as session recording software and as a live performance tool.
If you are looking for a best ableton controllers for that purpose it can be difficult to find a high-quality one as there are so many options on the market and it leaves you so confused. To find the right Ableton driver, you need something that can balance this recording and performance aspect of the DAW.
This article hopes to provide information on this question to help guide you through the buying process, which for newcomers can be a bit overwhelming.
Features that we consider important to the purchasing process include weight, key, warranty information, and materials. You should take the time to research before committing to a purchase.
In a hurry? Here are quick links of our top 7 recommendations of best ableton controllers:
- Ableton Push 2 Controller
- AKAI Professional APC40MKII
- Novation Launchpad Pro Ableton Live Controller
- Nektar Panorama P4-Controller Keyboard
- Akai Professional MPD226
- Alesis V49 MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Arturia MiniLab MkII 25 Slim-Key Controller
Whatever your budget, here you can find an ideal choice of the best controller for ableton live and all other areas of your life that demand pristine performances.
Check out my personal favorites and see what arouses your interest. My list of the best ableton controllers includes affordable, expensive, beginner-friendly controller.
Let us help you make the decision to purchase an in-ear monitor to begin your music career. These are some of the best controller for ableton you can buy today.
Table of Contents
Best Ableton Controllers – Detailed Review
Its review time! We have chosen some of the good keyboard controllers brands that will meet the needs of most musicians. Use this list to get the most out of your next instrument purchase.
We invested a lot of time and effort in compiling this guide. We’ve spent 68 hours searching for the best ableton controllers on the market, and we’ve used various sources, such as reviews and reviews from professional musicians, to provide the information you need.
You can blindly trust us because the more research you do, the more knowledge you get. We investigate for our loving controllers as for the best.
Therefore, we must choose one that fits perfectly. We visited many controllers stores, talked to various professionals and manufacturers, and finally got our top seven.
Here, we will provide a review of the best controller for ableton live in detail so you can shop knowing everything. Let’s get started.
Ableton Push 2 replaces the outgoing Push 1 model. It solves many of the problems that plagued the original Push.
You get a slimmer profile, a revamped design, a higher resolution screen, newer buttons, and better integration with Live 10.
Of course, it’s still expensive and an over-the-top feature for beginners, but if you have money to spare, this should be your first choice for Ableton controllers.
If you want to be faithful, or if you’re an Ableton purist by heart, then the Ableton Push 2 may make more sense for you.
If ever there was an Ableton controller designed specifically for professional musicians, this might be the one.
Push 2 is ready to plug and play out of the box with Ableton Live 10. It does a great job of editing samples and is highly responsive even in complex workflows.
Its 8×8 grid is nothing you haven’t seen before. However, it is the rest of the user panel that makes the difference.
With Push 2, you can take full control of multiple tracks and perform simultaneous editing, looping, and monitoring without having to remap the pad grid.
The built-in display provides an accurate display of what is happening by displaying various readings such as reverb, delay, effects, synths, modes, etc.
The only downside is that this midi controller isn’t cheap. All of its features and superior sample rates come at a price that many beginners don’t love.
The Akai Professional APC40MKII Ableton Live Performance MIDI Controller is meticulously crafted for a dexterous explanation.
It includes landscapes, samples, and one-shots that ultimately create and perform a song from scratch using 40 responsive triggers.
It also includes RGB lighting that is radiant and provides visual feedback and displays three clip states, which are record, playback, and upload. So you can perform without looking at the computer.
This is the MKII iteration of the first dedicated midi controller developed for Ableton Live. It has a slim and compact profile; it is lightweight but also well built and durable. This makes it ideal for use both on the road and in the studio.
With the 5×8 clip launch grid, it’s easy to track up to eight tracks in Ableton Live. It is essentially a live session view for the controller.
I also noticed the multi-colored pads of the MKII. This makes the buttons more distinctive and easier to spot. They also match the colors of the Ableton Live clip, leaving users with less room for error.
Pad feedback is very sensitive when it comes to color-coding and displaying the correct state of the clip. The controller also features eight-channel faders and an equal number of device controls.
Of course, the device is pre-programmed or pre-mapped for Ableton Live, so it’s ready to go right out of the box.
The system requirements are nothing worth talking about. However, at a minimum, it is recommended to have an ASIO driver on your system if you want to avoid delays.
The Novation Launchpad Pro is an upgrade to the original Launchpad, which was an Ableton Live-ready controller.
It is characterized by its 8×8 grid of 64 backlit pads. The RGB lighting is on point and everything is set to match the color of the pads in your live session view.
With a seemingly cheaper build than the Ableton Push, there are a few reasons why many producers choose to buy the Launchpad Pro over the Push.
Launchpad Pro is smaller and easier to transport. It’s easy to put the Launchpad in a bag and go on a trip with it.
Additionally, the Launchpad Pro is designed to work with other MIDI equipment, software samplers, and DAWs. While Push is aimed exclusively at Ableton Live, you have more flexibility with the Launchpad, which works perfectly as a pad MIDI controller on other third-party VST instruments like Native Instrument’s Komplete series.
With 64 RGB backlit press and speed buttons along with 32 RGB backlit round mode buttons, you can easily switch modes to quickly change controller layout when playing drums or instruments.
The pads light up according to different modes so you can easily play notes like a chromatic scale even if there are no keys for them. It’s also cheaper compared to Ableton Push, so this could be an option for many aspiring growers.
The Nektar Panorama P4 really comes to life once you enter its reason-centric world and frankly there are cheaper alternatives if you just need its generic control features.
If you use Reason and are looking for an all-encompassing controller, then the Panorama should be the perfect fit.
It’s not cheap, especially since it doesn’t offer audio input/output functionality, but it does its job well.
The keys are semi-weighted and responsive. They don’t have the goofy spring action of normal synth keys and mimic the weight of a real piano keyboard. The end result is a keyboard that is far more fun to play than it has the right to be.
Another feature that I love is the motorized fader. It works seamlessly with Ableton and allows you to create intelligent automation.
In addition to the above, you also get full DAW controls, including extremely useful Mute and Solo buttons.
And of course, all the standard pad/fader/knob settings are shown here as well. 12 pads, 16 encoders, 10 assignable LED buttons, and 9 faders.
If you’re looking for an Ableton controller that you can also input notes into, the Nektar Panorama would be an amazing addition to your music desktop.
The Akai Professional MPD226 controller was the best and most popular drum pad controller.
The Akai MPD 226 is a comeback of the predecessor model, although this time it features a sleek black casing and a 16-pad backlit setup.
To take full advantage of the small interface, the manufacturer included four control buttons, four switches, and four faders, each capable of assigning a particular control.
The pressure and velocity-sensitive attributes only enhance the natural sound you get when you’re playing – it will send data depending on how soft or hard you hit the pads so it’s not robotic, giving each hit its own flavor or volume.
The pads are also RGB-illuminated, giving the unit a standout appearance in your recording studio or if you intend to be on stage.
The unit features 16 high-quality MPC drum pads, 64 assignable pads accessible via four banks, and 36 assignable controls as well.
The other buttons are also illuminated and there is a small screen for easy navigation. The whole device is very slim to adapt effortlessly to any type of configuration.
However, due to the compact design of the device, the drivers are understandably too small and could be problematic for some users.
The Alesis V49 is another USB MIDI keyboard controller. It is also perhaps your best option to get the most out of your Ableton Live with the least amount of money possible.
The 49-key model gives you access to a 2×4 grid matrix, four control knobs, and two wheels for pitch and modulation.
What’s also good is that all the buttons are configurable.
The Alesis V49 is an excellent controller that has everything a music producer requires.
With a semi-weighted 49-key configuration that gives you enough keyboard to produce musical samples, it also includes eight additional pressure- and velocity-sensitive drum pads for triggering sounds or programming drums.
On top of that, the unit also comes with four buttons and four knobs that can be assigned to any virtual instrument, plug-in, or control on your Ableton Live.
If you tour music regularly or have a small studio, you will definitely find this controller to be enjoyable.
It has a lightweight and compact construction while remaining remarkably solid.
In addition, it has a software editor that allows you to edit and modify MIDI messages sent to the computer.
For example, you can modify the sensitivity of the keys, change the function of the sustain pedal, play with the drum pads, and more.
It’s also worth noting that many beginners mix the Alesis V49 controller for gear with built-in sounds, which is not the case.
However, this controller does not come with an LCD screen, which is a bit disappointing.
The Arturia MiniLab MkII 25 Slim-Key Controller is a MIDI controller that is designed with the traveling musicians in mind.
It is a very compact and portable controller, which means that it can be placed on your desk without taking up a lot of space.
The solid, well-built casing allows the device to withstand a few bumps and its small size makes it an ideal controller for creating music on the plane, in the cafe, on bus trips, in tight spaces, and more.
It comes with two banks of pressure- and velocity-sensitive backlit pads that are useful for triggering live clips on drum samples or Ableton Live.
The device also comes with 16 rotary encoders that can be easily assigned to pan pots or used to record remarkable automation.
Ableton Live users will love this controller as it has a very smooth and easy integration with this software. Although it has no external power outlet, it is still a decent unit.
However, you may not like the pitch and modulation touch strips that come with this controller, as most users prefer the physical wheels.
Perhaps the manufacturer included touch strips to maximize the space on the device. The Arturia MiniLab MKII controller also features some Lite and VST editing software, namely UVI Digital Grand Piano Workstation, Analog Lab Lite, and Ableton Live Lite.
At only around $100, there aren’t many MIDI controllers better than the Arturia MiniLab in its category.
Best Controller for Ableton Live Buying Guide
When choosing an Ableton controller, you may want to consider some of its elements. This is primarily interface-wise as that’s all that matters to make your music creation journey more comfortable.
In this buying guide, we will inform you of the various details to which you should pay special attention. Just like every note can make a difference: every feature of the flute can also have an impact on your playing experience.
Control Panel Interface
Today most controllers come with buttons, knobs, and faders. With all of these options available, you have enough direct control to speed up your production time and fully display your creativity.
Mod wheels, sliders, and knobs allow you to have a real classic feel.
Also, there are some controllers that come with auto-mapping technology that allows the faders and knobs to match your Ableton Live.
If you look at the options mentioned above and their images, you will see that the basic design is almost similar.
However, if you look closely enough, you are sure to find some differences that can help guide you in your purchasing decision.
Some controllers have built-in keyboards that are a nice addition for those who love composing as well as mixing. Here, the key action must be carefully considered.
Simply put, the key action is the feel of the keys when pressed. The keyboards can be full-action, semi-weighted, or synthesized. Synth-action keys use springs instead of weights to bring the key to its previously pressed position.
Consequently, they are much faster and feel much lighter than semi-heavy keys that have weights attached to each key to giving them a heavier feel.
On a medium-heavy keyboard like the Alesis V49, each press has more resistance and recovers when the keys are released, which is similar to how a piano feels.
The full-weight keys feel exactly like those on an acoustic piano and are seen more often on digital pianos than on controllers.
Weight and dimensions
You will also have to decide which one to choose between a full-size controller or a compact model.
For example, due to the fact that most people who buy 25-key controllers don’t use them to play the piano seriously, it’s not surprising that compact keyboards continue to rapidly gain popularity.
Each person who purchases this device has a different intended use. Some would like to use them for performances, while others would prefer to use them at home for composition.
If you need to take it with you, it is much better to go for a smaller and lighter model.
You may also want to look for additional features when purchasing your controller for Ableton Live. Cables, backlights, and LEDs are helpful items to consider when making your purchase.
However, you should be aware that the more additional functions a controller is equipped with, the more expensive it will be.
Therefore, you may want to rethink some features that may end up being useless in the long run.
Price and Warranty
If you log in to Amazon and check the price for each of the options mentioned above, you will find prices below $100, while others count even above $750.
Wherever you have a budget of around $1000, the full list is available for you to choose from.
However, most people do not have that luxury, and as such, you should be content with getting the best value for money.
As a buyer, consider the price, as well as the length of the warranty, and see if the device is worth spending money on. If not, go for cheaper options.
Additional Tips on Buying a Controller for Ableton Live
It doesn’t matter which instrument you choose; Quality, durability, and performance are the most important factors in finding the best Ableton controllers.
If you really want to buy the best controller for Ableton Live, you should consider the following factors when making your final decision.
What is an Ableton Controller?
Ableton Live, released in the early 2000s, is one of the best DAW programming options for producers and musicians. The software seeks to provide users with an option that is perfect for both home production and live performances.
The application comes with an easy-to-use interface, which enables a simple workflow that has a parity of efficiency and versatility.
Due to this balance, users can produce professional-quality songs and also remix and rearrange during live performances.
Music composers basically use an Ableton controller and it’s probably one of the best purchases you can make if you’re serious about music.
Some people are good with various instruments, recording, punching, and compiling different types of sounds; however, this can be difficult at some point.
Ableton controllers help you record, compose and sample your musical composition, all while sitting at your computer.
However, you will need to combine the control with the appropriate software, and with the addition of a personal computer, you can begin your musical exploration.
These drivers look different; however, they all have the same basic design. The layout is ultimately a rectangular array filled with buttons, so they’re pretty easy to spot.
Why You Need an Ableton Controller?
Some would argue that having a controller that has already been reassigned for Ableton Live makes using the program too convenient to pass up. Others would argue that it is the software’s potential as a live stage instrument that makes a controller mandatory.
However you look at it, a midi controller is essential if you plan to use any DAW software as a hobby or for a living. Pre-assigned buttons and pads make it easy to keep track of your work in Live Session mode.
Not only that, but it can also help speed up your composing, mixing, and mastering times.
Can You Use an Ableton Launchpad Without a Computer?
If you are wondering if you can use Ableton push without a computer, then the answer is yes.
The trick is to use Audio 4 or iConnectivity MIDI instead of the computer.
Then when it comes to the MIDI processing part, you can use an Android or iOS device or even an Arduino.
There are some launch pads that will only work without a computer if you use standalone mode and it is only available on your recent models.
You can load your samples onto some hardware, activate a drum machine, or any other non-computer application you can think of.
So, which are the best Ableton Controllers for right now?
The best controller for Ableton Live really depends on what type of controller you are looking for, what level of performance you are on, and how you want to use it. Our best choice for the best Ableton controllers is the Ableton Push 2 Controller.
We chose this one because it gives you everything you need for a pleasant Ableton Controller playing experience – great design is needed to go with the gear and most importantly, wonderful authentic sound. This combination of price, quality, and appearance makes this controller our best option.
However, today, there are many inexpensive, high-performance controllers on the market that come pre-mapped and ready to use with Live.
Ableton controllers offer fantastic features and you need to take some time to learn about all the features and benefits it provides.
We hope we’ve clarified your decision to choose a MIDI controller to use with Ableton Live.
However, keep in mind that different musicians and producers have different approaches to playing and performing with a MIDI controller. Get creative and create your own workflow that works for you.
We spend unlimited hours selecting these Ableton controllers for you. All of these controllers are very excellent in use and highly rated throughout the market. Its performance and characteristics are remarkable.
You can blindly trust us because the more research you do, the more knowledge you get. We investigate for our loving flutes as for the best.
Finally, if you want high-quality materials, impeccable craftsmanship, and a world-class tone, you should go for a professional flute from any of the best MIDI controller brands.
Whatever your wishes, you are now a more educated buyer and you will definitely be more satisfied with your instrument.
We hope this guide has helped you choose the best Ableton controllers to spark interest in your new musical career!