Best portable controller for OP-Z (not keyboard)

There is great topic about compatible MIDI keyboards to work with OP-Z: Compatible midi keyboards that work direct from the op-z

But my question is about best portable companion controller for OP-Z with 4-8 faders and/or knobs to be able to map to different track on a fly (to change track parameters); easy to use via USB or 3.5 OpLab MIDI.

Currently most portable (and affordable) seems is Korg NanoKontrol2.

Any recommendations? Thanks.

I use the Korg NK2 for contolling mirack on the ipad, I really like it for that. Although I had to paint some white stripes on the knobs, to actually see their position. It also seems to draw quite a bit of power. I yet have to try it with the OP-Z.

Just be aware that the knobs on the NK2 are not endless encoders like on the OP-Z, which is better anyway as they will be assigned to a single MIDI CC.

Thanks, @RoutineDiscount! Also seen that it draws too much and can drain OP-Z quickly. Probably there is an option to use it via powered hub.

If you are willing to use a powered hub then the Launch Control XL is my preference.

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I have the Korg nanokey Studio and it is great with the OP-Z for performance. You can do combinations that are not possible with OP-Z interface.

8 knobs which can be assigned to individual tracks. I use it for filters on each audio track.

8 pads that can be assigned in different ways. I use that for punch-in effects.

A kaoss-style x/y pad. Very expressive, I don’t have the best touch with it yet, it will take practice. Enjoying hooking that up to master filter and resonance!

25 keys and an arpeggiator. Great for live playing and drum fills.

Plus a sustain button that can be assigned to any parameter.

You also have 8 scenes, so you can switch configurations as you like. I have a second scene for the tape track and all the parameters.

It works directly plugged into OP-Z via usb. No idea how much it decreases the battery by though. It also works via powered usb hub, but I have find that sometimes a bit more tricky to connect. Never tried Bluetooth.


How do you set up the nanoKey studio for this, and are the midi mappings persistent?

There is an application you download from Korg for your laptop where you set up the nanokey studio. The software is pretty easy to use. It was my first attempt at using midi CCs and it was fine.

The only bug I remember was with punch-in effects on the performance track and maybe the octave wasn’t right… but don’t hold me to that, I do remember having some confusion with that particular parameter and the pads on it.

When you’ve set up your midi CCs on your scene you upload the settings to your Nanokey studio and then it is good to plug in to your OP-Z. Pretty simple really.

The settings/scenes persist when you turn it on/off. As far as I know, you can only configure it through the software though.

Hope that helps.

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Earlier today stumbled across these which look very nicely done and are modular so you could build custom interfaces:

PBF4 might be interesting if you want faders

(No idea if they are as good as they look or if they work with OP-Z)


Thanks to the answers here I’ve found really great gear:

  • Korg NK2
  • Korg NK Studio
  • Launch Control XL
  • Intech Studio’s PBF4
    What is most valuable – I see that all this gear is widely used, so there shouldn’t be any problems getting info on how to solve a particular problem.

The one interesting device I’ve found myself is FaderFox UC4 - Universal Controller. It is a bit pricy but seems like it could be a great pair for OP-Z. I like the idea that it is autonomous, and could be controlled/setup without the need to connect to a PC even. Any thoughts on UC4?

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UC-4 looks great. As you say quite pricey. I also liked having some velocity sensitive keys so went with NanoKey studio.

No computer needed to configure is a big plus.

I think there is a YouTube video of someone getting into using UC-4 and OP-Z which might help you decide.

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Thanks! Yes, seems simple. Will try this weekend.

As it turned out there are a few videos on YouTube from different artists who use this combination:

Looks pretty great!