Novation Impulse controller
Take the Helm, Captain
No doubt about it: your computer is often the engine that drives your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and the hub that hosts your music software titles. But that means sitting in front of your computer can sometimes feel the same as sitting with Scotty down in the engine room. Having a well-equipped keyboard controller puts you back on the bridge in the captain’s chair—with intuitive, expressive, and instantaneous control over nearly all aspects of your music creation station.
Navigating your way through the current selection of keyboard controllers can seem a bit overwhelming at first, so American Musical Supply has put together this guide to help you zero in on the features and functions that best suit your personal needs, whether you are the music director on a world tour or playing GarageBand during study hall—or anywhere in between.
The controller keyboard was born as a MIDI master keyboard; it was a way to control multiple sound modules, keyboard instruments, a hardware sequencer, and other gadgets from a single performance platform. Over time, the keyboard controller has evolved to serve a more computer-centric role, unifying soft-synth sound manipulation, DAW recording and mixing control, plus keyboard composition and performance—all in a single integrated hardware device.
While most keyboard controllers aim to be general purpose in nature and adapt to the needs of the user, there are certain controllers that serve a more specific function. For example, there are a number of 88-key controllers that are focused on providing a compelling piano experience, and that may lack some of the other common “non-piano” controls—mixer surface, drum pads, etc. Other keyboard controller packages may include built-in sounds, or in other cases their control surface may be uniquely integrated to the included software synthesizer, such as with certain Arturia products. You may also discover keyboard controllers with audio connections that can serve double-duty as an audio/MIDI interface for your computer. And don’t forget the strap-on keytar-style controllers for achieving the ultimate in onstage mobility!