• Kate Brunotts

5 Best Motion MIDI Controllers For Producing

Updated: Jun 29

What if you could control the sound of your DAW with a flick of the wrist or movement of your finger? Well, with motion-based MIDI controllers, you can!


These specialized MIDI controllers are the future of music production, so they’re definitely worth looking into. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up some of the best motion-based MIDI controllers out there so that you can start making music with movement ASAP. Below, we’ll share some of our favorite motion controllers and discuss why you should consider incorporating these tools into your workflow.




What Is A Motion-Based MIDI Controller?

A motion based MIDI controller is similar to a standard MIDI controller in that you can map any parameter in your DAW to a control on the hardware device. However, instead of just allowing trigger movements like pressing a key or turning a knob, motion-based MIDI controllers are affected by moving the controller in 4D space.


The specific way you move a motion-based MIDI controller will vary from one device to the next, but the premise is that moving around the controller ins space will affect your sound based on its mapped parameter. This can produce some pretty cool effects that you might not be able to recreate in a 2D space.


Why Should I Use Motion-Based MIDI?

Motion-based MIDIcontrollers provide a number of advantages that can’t necessarily be recreated through use of a traditional controller. Here are just a few reasons why it makes sense to incorporate motion-based MIDI into your production.


  • You’ll be able to create a more “live” sounding track. Arguably the greatest benefit of motion-based MIDI controllers and MPE style controllers is that they capture additional expression information giving everything you create a more live, organic sound. This can help reduce fatigue for your listener and help you to produce more complex compositions without adding a ton of work to your production flow.


  • It’s easy to pick up regardless of your experience level. By turing production into a physical process, motion-based MIDI is one of the most intuitive ways to produce music. Whether you just started producing or work as a seasoned professional, this technology is super easy to use.


  • You can easily work through writer’s block or generate new ideas. Since creating new sounds with motion MIDI controllers is a breeze, you’ll be able to break through writer’s block simply by moving your controller in a different fashion. These controllers can be an invaluable resource for taking your beats to the next level.


  • Motion-based MIDI is a powerful performance tool. As a DJ or producer, there are a limited number of ways to make a live performance interesting. Motion based MIDI kicks this up a notch so that you’ll have no issue capturing your audience’s attention.


  • You’re able to transform old equipment. Even the coolest vintage synth can get old after a while, but motion MIDI controllers make it a lot easier for you to spice up an otherwise dated sound. Simply map some effects to the MIDI controller, and watch as a couple of movements bring your sound back to life.


5 Best Motion MIDI Controllers

Without further ado, here are some of the best MIDI controllers currently available for any production enthusiast. Each of these controllers varies in price, interface, and expression, so there’s something out there for everyone.


1. Genki Wave Ring

2. Controlla XYZ

3. OWOW AirDrum

4. GripBeats

5. Neova Ring


1. Genki Wave Ring: $250

The Wave ring by Genki is a motion based MIDI controller that’s perfect for controlling sound wih the tilt, roll, and flick of your hand. With 6 simple gestures, this controller is pretty intuitive and predictable, making it a great pick for producers searching for solution for live performance.


Genki provides an easy set up software to customize your controller, along with 3 programmable buttons for additional controls – For instance, it may be helpful to toggle the “record” button while you’re experimenting with the Wave ring. With over 8 hours of battery, this unique MIDI controller is super playable and portable.




2. Controlla XYZ: Free

We’ve got to toot our own horn because Controlla works as an MPE MIDI controller you can use virtually anywhere. Our iOS app transforms your phone into a controller, so there’s no need to run out and buy a new piece of gear. Instead, our app makes it easy for you to control in-DAW parameters just by moving around your phone.


You won’t have to suffer through excessive programming to get the sound you’re searching for. Did we mention that Controlla is entirely free? You can sign up to be an early user below as a part of our private alpha.




3. OWOW AirDrum: $123

Are you the kind of producer who is constantly air-drumming out your next great beat idea? If so, you’ll definitely want to consider investing in this motion-based MIDI controller by OWOW. The compact controller fits in the palm of your hand and can be mapped to custom X, Y, and Z axises for intuitively laying down a drum sequence.


You can also switch from one sample to another with the controller, allowing you to test out sounds in your kit without having to reach for your mouse. OWOW also makes a whole series of motion MIDI instruments, so this may just be one piece in your evolving collection.




4. GripBeats: $199

If you’re looking for a convenient motion MIDI controller that won’t break the bank, this controller watch from GripBeats is certainly worth checking out. The wearable MIDI controller packs playing power onto your wrist, though you can also enjoy the device’s 32 individual pressure sensors while playing on a flat surface.


You can calibrate GripBeats to your personal preferences within the free app which also serves as a mobile recording station. It’s also nice that you can select preset gestures for certain parameters so that you can have more control over your sound in a 3D space.




5. Neova Ring: $329

This is another ring-style MIDI controller that allows you to map certain motions to effects or sounds in your DAW. Neova Ring comes with a hub with 5 preset buttons so that you can easily flip from one configuration to the next. Neova comes with a VST so you can quickly customize your playing experience all without leaving your DAW. As a bonus, the VST has a wide range of built-in sounds and presets so that you can start using this fun tool right out of the box.





As you can see, there are plenty of ways to add a little motion to your MIDI patterns. Hopefully, this guide will make it easier for you to find the motion MIDI controller of your dreams. Happy producing!



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