Reaching for the mouse to control your plug-ins isn’t particularly satisfying. Standard MIDI controllers tend to require a tedious mapping process for each plug-in and give very little feedback. Could the MP MIDI Controller, which appears to be in the final design stages, be the solution? The makers have placed 32 encoders on top of a large screen and combined it with a host plug-in that runs inside your DAW. They say that the MP MIDI Controller works with any VST3 and AU plug-ins and makes controlling them a much more pleasant and intuitive experience. Sounds awesome – let’s take a look.
MP MIDI Controller
If you don’t want to control your plug-ins and virtual instruments with the mouse, you have several options. There are standard MIDI controllers, which need to be mapped for each individual plug-in and don’t provide any visual feedback. Then, there are more advanced controllers with some sort of DAW integration, such as the Nektar Panorama series, which can display plug-in information. Their displays tend to be small, however, and you’ll still find yourself having to look at the computer screen. Finally, you can go for systems like Softube Console 1 or Quantica Audio Modula, but these are closed ecosystems that limit your choice of plug-ins.
The MP MIDI Controller seeks to overcome all of these limitations. It’s a sleek-looking hardware controller that consists of a large 21.5-inch IPS screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, on top of which there are 32 endless rotary encoders. It looks like the encoders sit on top of the screen, rather than next to it, which should make them feel like they’re part of the software. The controller pairs with a host plug-in that runs in your DAW and can host any VST3 or AU plug-in.
MP Host Plug-in
According to the developer, the software runs on Mac or PC in VST3 and AU formats and comes in two versions for audio effects and virtual instruments. It scans your plug-in folders and makes all of your compatible plug-ins available in the MPH host plug-in. Each instance of the MP Host hosts one plug-in at a time, and settings are stored with your DAW project for total recall. When you open the plug-in, its settings are instantly transmitted to the hardware controller, which displays the plug-in in the center of the screen and lets you control its parameters using the encoders. Complex plug-ins with many parameters can be spread out over up to four pages.
The MP MIDI Controller does indeed look very promising. If it’s as stable and crash-proof as the developer claims, and integrates seamlessly with popular DAWs, I think it has great potential!
Price and availability
We’ve reached out to the developer to find out about the price and release date of the MP MIDI Controller. According to them, it’s been in beta testing for three months now and is about to go into manufacturing. The price hasn’t been announced yet, but we’ll keep you updated once we find out more.