A question I get asked most often by new DJs is “What are some good midi controller options for beginners?” Beginners will usually also ask which software to produce or DJ with.
For DJing, I would suggest using turntables, CDJs, or another DJ controller. The midi controller options for beginners I am discussing here are for music production. Usually people create their music in the lab with a midi controller before DJing it in front of an audience.
The most basic midi controller is a midi keyboard aka a miniature controller with a piano roll. This is not the only type of midi keyboard but most music production involves midi notes on a piano roll, so it’s a great piece of hardware to start with. Having a keyboard is essential for playing out notes for melodies in your music.
A popular sequence-style controller is the Novation Launchpad. This controller is used to control Ableton Live or similar software to launch clips and sound samples. You can also use a controller like this to change volume, pan, add effects, or anything else you need to do.
With sequence pads, you are somewhat limited by the layout of the buttons and would not have the same control you would otherwise have if you had knobs and sliders. Be sure to lookout for these things when weighing midi controller options for beginners.
Beat pads are my favourite type of midi controller because I am personally into drum and bass music. Beat pads are good for drumming out notes. You can also be creative and use beat pads for playing cues and samples.
For people new to DJing and/or production, I always suggest a multi-function controller. This way you have the ability to do everything on one controller. An all-in-one device like this is one of the best midi controller options for beginners.
Having the ability to use the beat pads, keys, and knobs/faders will have you quickly learning what you are comfortable with for your style. A multi-function controller is a great starter option.