Recommended MIDI Controllers for Ableton Live Looping (All Instruments)

This website is built around the idea of a specific, powerful looping solution that uses Ableton Live. That being the case, I’m going to speak to what I think works best in the context of this integrated solution.

For ease of use, I use a hand controller and a foot controller. You can see both in action in the video on the home page of this site if you haven’t watched it yet.

Hand Control

best midi controller for looping in Ableton

The Akai APC40 MKII Midi Controller

This controller works really well for triggering loop recording in Ableton, quickly arming/disarming tracks, controlling volume levels, panning, and effects parameters. It’s fairly large: 16.5″ wide x 9.75″ tall, and the buttons are good sized and have a good feel. I prefer this over Ableton’s Push because this device has volume sliders (and it’s significantly less expensive).

Foot Control

three pedal USB footswitch

iKKEGOL Upgraded USB Triple Foot Pedal Switch Control 3 Three Key Footswitch

This USB footswitch can be used with AutoHotKey (PC only) to control Ableton in some very handy ways. Personally I use it to start/stop playback, to undo or redo a loop recording, and to undo/redo session takes in Ableton. See the video below for examples of how it can be used to dynamically control your loop making process.

Behringer FCB1010 Midi Foot Controller

Behringer FCB1010 Midi Foot Controller

This MIDI foot controller is a more expensive (and more versatile) alternative for foot control. It can be used with Mac or PC and combined with Bome MIDI translator to perform the necessary functions.