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Browse Midi-Controllers for VJs & Visual Artists

In the VJing industry, there is another question, alongside inquiries about what kind of laptop is needed for VJing, and VJs also ask, “What is the best MIDI controller for VJing?” And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner VJ or an experienced one looking to upgrade your equipment.

But let’s immediately clarify that this question is a bit incorrect. The determining factor here is not just the controller but rather a set of functions, parameters, and methods that you most frequently use in one or another VJ software.

And if you ask the question, “What is the best MIDI controller for Resolume, Modul8, or Arkaos?” – you still won’t find a good and suitable answer. It all depends on the set of functions you use the most in these VJ software programs. Therefore, first, understand for yourself which functions you use the most. Is it mixing through faders, effects on knobs, or functions on buttons and pads?

Finding the best midi controller for VJ’s and narrowing it down to one or two can be difficult. Each artist has their own playing style. Artists also use different software tools to play live visuals. Having narrowed down a few key elements. LIME ART GROUP prepared the best list of midi controllers for VJS.


Why do you need a midi controller?

There are different tasks. Some lead a stationary lifestyle and function more as a media server operator at concerts, changing images in compositions every 3-5 minutes with faders. In this case, for such a VJ-operator, the length of the fader track will be important. On the contrary, others hit buttons and pads with great force. Such a VJ would need a large number of pads to connect the necessary functions. And yet another twists knobs, exploring various effects that the VJ program can provide. In this case, large, thick knobs and their quantity will be important.

Over many years of work, we at LIMARTGROUP have prioritized the convenience of a VJ’s work. This means that the buttons on the MIDI controller should be large enough, and the controller itself should be stable and immobile. Often, this is possible if the controller has a large size. But, on the other hand, its drawback is its large weight and additional difficulties in transportation. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable to carry a large number of heavy gadgets with you.

There are many reasons to use a midi controller, top amongst them is being able to control. As a VJ an external midi controller is one of the most important pieces of hardware you will own. Midi controllers allow you to control various options at the same time. Giving you the ability to mix content in sync with the DJ. To control speed, clip triggering and opacity at the same time gives great freedom. Without a midi controller for vjing, you are at the mercy of a keyboard and mouse. When playing a live set it’s difficult to control all elements without a controller.

Therefore, in this updated article, we have decided to categorize the selection of MIDI controllers into three formats: Large, Medium, and Small. Naturally, each VJ should assemble their setup based on the quantity and format of their orders and projects. However, we recommend that if you are professionally engaged in VJing, consider purchasing one MIDI controller from each category. This way, you will be more mobile and, during large projects, can use all three controllers in one setup simultaneously.

In our company, we personally have three MIDI controllers: Nektar Panorama P1 and two Akai APC40. Akai APC40 is no longer available for sale, and they are not being produced anymore. However, due to its stability and large buttons, we believe it is one of the best controllers for VJs. This controller is the most versatile, offering a substantial number of faders, knobs, and buttons that are convenient for your fingers. Therefore, if desired, you can find this controller in the used market or on specialized websites in your country.

By the way, soon on the website, various products for VJs will be uploaded.

What to keep in mind when buying a midi controller for VJing?

3 things are important to keep in mind when buying a midi controller for vj(ing).

  • Buttons – to trigger clips, if that’s your style.
  • Faders – for quick effects and layer opacity.
  • Knobs – for some more effects and controls.

Buying a midi controller with piano keys is usually not useful for a visual artist.

Big companies don’t make midi controllers for VJs :(. Most midi keyboards are being designed for musicians. That’s why you need to adapt a controller to your needs. Buying a midi controller with piano keys is usually not useful for a visual artist or vjs. They take up extra space and bulky to carry/set up behind the console. If you want to piano trigger clips, you can set up your keyboard as a midi controller and use them to trigger clips. Keeping this in mind, that we are looking for controllers without piano keys. Plenty of sliders/knobs for effects control and buttons to trigger effects/clips. Let’s get down to talking about the best midi controller for VJs.

But let’s move on to the list of our MIDI controllers.

Best midi controllers for VJs & VJing

Large and stable:

Akai APC40 best midi vj controller

Akai APC40

Having seen many VJs use this keyboard, the Akai APC40 is a popular choice.
It has many sliders for which you can map to layer/effect opacity. The knobs on top are perfect for master controls like logos/speed/effects. Live performance becomes easier when using an Akai APC40 midi controller.


  • Designed in partnership with Ableton for Ableton Live
  • Unique clip matrix with multicolor lighting displays current clip status
  • No mapping required; every knob, button, and fader is customizable
  • Solid, professional feel with rugged, metal chassis and premium controls
  • Comes with Ableton Live Akai Professional APC40 Edition software
  • Works with standalone editions of Ableton Live
  • USB plug-and-play connection for Mac and PC
  • Premium controller with rugged, metal chassis


Behringer X-Touch Compact VJ Midi Controller

Behringer X-Touch Compact

X-TOUCH COMPACT offers precise control over your preferred DAW, instruments, effects, and lighting systems. With the smooth operation of 9 touch-sensitive and fully automated motorized faders, along with 16 rotary encoders featuring LED collars and 39 illuminated buttons, this Universal USB/MIDI Controller provides a versatile and dynamic interface. Break free from the mouse-click paradigm by utilizing X-TOUCH’s preconfigured presets or tailor your own setups, empowering you to master on-the-fly adjustments like never before!

Livid-Instruments midi controller vj

Livid Instruments OHM RGB

Livid Instruments makes quality midi controllers. This is one of the best midi controllers for VJs. Giving you ample options to customize your set. 81 assignable buttons make clips triggering a breeze. A cross-fader for those who love to use A/B Deck to play out visuals. Plus the 8 faders and 12 knobs spoil you for choice. Another good midi controller for VJs.


  • USB powered and completely driver-free
  • Use up to seven colors to create custom visual layouts
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Heavy-duty aluminum construction

Livid-Instruments-DS1 vj midi controller

Livid Instruments DS1

This is one of my favorite midi controllers. Reminds me of the Behringer BCR 2000. The perfect amount of knobs and sliders for controlling various aspect live visuals. Leaving the clips triggering to be either mouse or keyboard controlled. A simple midi controller for VJs that does the trick.


  • 44 rotary knobs
  • 25 RGB backlit buttons
  • 9 60mm faders
  • 4 push buttons
  • Rugged Design

Medium-sized and mobile:

Novation-Launch-Control-XL-MK-2 vj midi controller

Novation Launch Control XL MK2

The novation launch control XL has enough knobs and sliders. You can fine-tune and map your entire performance using this midi controller. With 16 buttons, 8 faders and 24 knobs you can’t go wrong. From regular sets to performing at mega-events, this midi controller will be perfect. This is a great midi controller for VJs.


  • 24 rotary pots with 300-degree motion
  • 24 multi-color indicator LEDs – one for each pot
  • Eight 60mm Faders
  • 16 assignable multi-color backlit buttons
  • 8 assignable backlit buttons
  • 2 backlit template select buttons


Nektar Panorama P1 VJ Midi COntroller VJing

Nektar Panorama P1

Nektar Panorama P1 is a small lightweight Midi controller, that you can carry in a 17″ laptop bag. Comes packed with powerful controls, a digital display gives you Midi info. You can store 20 presets individually, giving you more than 1200 combinations. This is a versatile Midi controller that will surely take your VJing skills to the next level.


  • 16 Encoders
  • 9 45mm faders
  • 10 LED buttons
  • 28 buttons

Akai APC40 MKII VJ midi controller


APC40 mkII is a newer version of the APC40. A great Midi controller for VJs. It has just the right amount of faders, knobs, and buttons to give you perfect control over your set. The layout of this keyboard matches the popular VJ software Resolume. So if you are a Resolume user you will find this Midi controller to be very intuitive while performing.


  • 5×8 clip-launch matrix with RGB feedback for clip status and color coding
  • Assignable A/B crossfader for dynamic mixing on the fly
  • 9 channel faders, 8 control knobs, and 8 device controls
  • USB-powered and plug-and-play connectivity for Mac and PC
  • Easy to use layout

Akai MPD 232 vj midi controller

Akai MPD 232


  • 64-part, 32-step sequencer to control pad events
  • 16 Thick Fat RGB illuminated velocity and pressure sensitive MPC pads
  • 64 assignable pads accessible via 4 banks
  • 8 assignable faders, 8 assignable Q-Link knobs, 8 assignable Q-Link buttons
  • 72 assignable controls accessible via 3 banks
  • Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, 16 Level, Full Level and Tap Tempo
  • 30 presets total, with configurations for most popular DAWs
  • iOS compatible using the Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
  • MIDI In and Out jacks for controlling external gear
  • Dedicated Transport controls
  • Includes Ableton Live Lite, Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Sonivox Big Bang Cinematic Percussion and Big Bang Universal Drums


Korg nanoKONTROL Studio VJ midi controller

Korg nanoKONTROL Studio

The Korg NanoKontrol is perfect for those who travel a lot. A small form and lightweight controller. With enough controls to give you the performance edge, but not too big to carry. It features 8 faders and 8 rotary controls. Four buttons for each fader and full transport controls and assignable jog-wheel.


  • USB and wireless for more visual freedom.
  • 8 knobs, 8 siders, 32 buttons
  • Transport buttons
  • Jog Wheel


Small and lightweight (though not always convenient):

korg_nano vj midi controller

Korg NanoKontrol2

Each of the eight channels is equipped with a knob, fader, and three switches, specifically designated for pan, volume, and solo/mute/record functions. This layout proves exceptionally convenient during the recording of automation across multiple channels. The inclusion of a marker button further streamlines the process, allowing for quick assignment of markers at crucial points in your song, enhancing efficiency during recording and song production. When working with a software synthesizer, you have the flexibility to assign parameters to these controllers for effortless manipulation. For instance, you can utilize the faders to govern the ADSR of an envelope generator and employ the knobs for regulating the filter’s cutoff frequency and resonance, among other functions.

Akai MIDImix VJ midi controller

Akai MIDImix

Featuring Akai Professional’s renowned build quality and advanced engineering, this device seamlessly integrates a high-performance mixer with 8 individual line faders and a master fader. With 24 control knobs arranged in groups of 3 per channel and a 1-to-1 mapping with Ableton Live (Ableton Live Lite is included), it offers a powerful setup. The ability to send all mixer settings to your DAW with a single button press provides unparalleled management and precise control over your DAW’s functionality. This capability allows you to mix and modify your projects in real time, offering a broader range of creative options and significantly enhancing creative flexibility with MIDImix.

modue2 vj modular midi controller


Additionally, an interesting project called Modue is planned on Kickstarter. The idea is not new and has been used in space technologies for over 50 years – the idea of modularity. You can modularly combine the necessary set of functions. I don’t know how convenient this system will be, but as an additional feature – a controller for special effects or to impress other contractors at an event, such as sound operators or lighting artists – it might be a perfect fit.

touchosc vj midi controller

TouchOSC – for Mobile

And, of course, don’t forget that your mobile phone or tablet is also a potential controller. By using the TouchOSC app, you can create fantastic video mixes without leaving the club’s bar. This feature is also very useful.

These are the best controllers in the market currently, for VJing. Comment below with your favorite MIDI Controller. And don’t forget, that for delighted performance You need not only a pro VJ hardware but also Visual Content, Visuals and VJ Loops which you can download in our LIME ART GROUP VJ Shop. Create Art. Make Show. Be a VJ!


Best wishes from Vienna,
Thanks for your attention, faithfully yours,
Alexander Kuiava – Founder & CEO LIME ART GROUP


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One Comment

  • me says:

    Video art is two-dimensional. Why in the world would the best controller have only one-dimensional controls?

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