Midi controller suggestion for Ardour on Linux

I’m planning on buying a small midi keyboard (around 25 keys) to record midi in Ardour running on my Linux machine.

I wanted to ask the community if there is any specific brand/model that works better with Ardour/Linux combo. Nowadays, Linux interfaces pretty well with most of the stuff that I connect to it, but I don’t want to waste some features of the midi controller.

I was thinking about Oxygen 25 from M-Audio mainly because of the pads that I could use to record percussion more intuitively. But any suggestion is welcomed :smiley:

I had the Oxygen 49; every feature worked just fine (pads, knobs, sliders, transport) on Ardour/Linux
I think the pads were OK but could have been a little more sensitive/progressive to better capture the nuances.
I used the very first (MK1) version so it may have improved with newer versions.

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That’s nice, thanks. If you have anymore suggestions on that range feel free to share.

By the way, does the keyboard needs to connect to the audio interface or can it connect to a USB port? Would any way work?

In the times of Jack I would say that everything might need to be connected to the audio interface in order to work. But now I’m using pipewire so it might work. Any thoughts?

I’m pretty sure that any modern MIDI controller keyboard can be plugged in directly via USB: mine is probably seven or eight years old, and does that without any issues. You should be able to route the connector using either JACK or Alsa to your DAW or other music-making software (I assume PW supports this as well).

I still own several sets of actual MIDI cables, but haven’t wired them up to anything in a decade: the last device I owned which wouldn’t do MIDI-over-USB was a Yamaha PSR keyboard from around 2002.

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Thanks @tseaver. By the way, nowadays which output is used more, MIDI or USB? Is either of them more efficient that the other. I’m a beginner, I haven’t discussed this yet with other producers.

Given that many cheaper audio interfaces don’t have MIDI ports at all, I would be willing to bet that MIDI-over-USB usage dominates MIDI-over-5pin usage. I seriously doubt that there is any perceptible latency difference between the two. Given that the USB 2.0 standard is performant enough to handle multi-channel, high bit-rate audio streams, tiny MIDI packets cannot possibly cause any strain.

Short answer: just use the USB port, unless you have other MIDI-only gear you need to communicate with.


Thank you @tseaver. I’m completely enlightened :smile:

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