Gear Of The Year 2017 – The Best Controller

Having a tangible controller when sat in front of your DAW opens up so many opportunities. The best controller goes one step further…

Winner – Arturia MiniLab Mk II

Price £99
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In truth, it’s been a quiet year for controllers. Native Instruments’ second incarnation of Komplete Kontrol came too late in the day for inclusion, but is surely a strong contender for next year’s award for Best Controller. Yet even though it’s not been a bumper year, this diminutive little keyboard won this category by something of a landslide.

The latest MiniLab continues the music-technology gear trend of products getting smaller. Despite its size, it still manages to pack in enough pads and rotaries to wrestle with most of your plug-ins and has a more robust build than its predecessor. Another trend these days is ‘the software bundle’, and Arturia is more generous than most, including Analog Lab Lite which is a collection of 500 sounds from the likes of the MiniMoog, Solina String machine and other classic analogues.

Highly Commended Controller – Nektar LX 49+

Price £139.99

Nektar’s range of controllers aims to offer tight integration with DAWs with minimum fuss setting up, and they also offer great value for money. The LX49+ has nine 30mm sliders, nine assignable buttons, six transport buttons, and eight velocity-sensitive pads with four-LED colour options. A fantastic controller.