When it comes to the "perfect" allround Midi Controller i would heavily focus on color coding and lighting. That is the key to having an adaptive device and as i is said it is way faster than LCD labeling though in the perfect world you would have both.
I have a color code which works for me and i have learned that quite quickly.
Blue= Modulation (Dark blue Envelopes, light blue LFos
Purple=FX and Sound Mangling stuff.
So when the set of banks for a Synth is presented to me i can instantly realize what is presented to me without reading labels.
Maelstroem eg presents me 2 red banks, 2 green banks, 3 blue banks, 2 light blue banks and some others.
That translates to Osc1 and two (red), Filter1/2 etc. etc.
For Thor it is different 3 red bank, 3 green banks 3Darkbue, 2 lightblue, 1 white, 2 purple etc. And so it goes on. If you know a bit what the Synth you just chose has got you know what banks to choose quickly.
Then you go one Level deeper into the Controls that the bank represents to you. If you have something like the Midifighter Twister you instantly can see how many controls are active because they are lit. It has 16 Controls and not every bank has 16 controls so you instantly get a notion what the first and last controllers are and how many active controls there are in total which is a very important information.
Then you can apply kindof the same color Coding again.
Eg Filter: Cutof Resonance Green, Drive/Filter FM Purple, Envelope Amount Darkblue, LFO Amount Lightblue, Filter Type Yellow (all selectors are yellow on my maps) etc.
EG Oscillators, Red are allways the tunings, yellow Oscillator Type and all sonic stuff like wavshaping what have you is purple. It is not allways super stringent but it works really well if you dont use too many colors and the sections (bank selection and controls are not too crammed together) AND you keep the order of things related to the on screen Synth. If it had 16 Displays below the encoders, the combination of a RGB Launchpad and a Twister would be next to perfect. And layout whise i would just put them side by side. Left all the buttons and right the Encoder Matrix, done. You just cant have this button there and this encoder there because to be universal the cant have a fixed position and that be the best position for everything so i rather would put them togther into blocks.
Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
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