The Best MIDI Controllers for Running Tracks with Ableton in 2023

The best MIDI controller depends on your setup. These are the best options for drummers, guitar players, dedicated playback techs — anyone running tracks.

MIDI controllers have come a long way in the last 20 or so years. They used to be just giant keyboards, until M-Audio came along and revolutionized things (they really don’t get enough credit for that).

Fast forward to 2023, there are endless options for almost any context. I’m breaking down the best MIDI controllers for running stracks on stage that I’ve found. These are broken up into three categories:

  • Best MIDI Controllers for Guitar Players
  • MIDI Controllers for Drummers (there’s really only one option here, and it’s universally used and loved)
  • Tabletop MIDI Controllers (for anyone who can set their MIDI controller on a flat surface)

If you want more great gear recommendations, snag my 2023 Gear Guide 👇

Check out my review of the LioBox here 👇

PS. What’s your favorite MIDI controller and why? Drop a comment and let me know!

0:00 What’s the best MIDI controller for running tracks?

0:13 The History of MIDI Controllers for Running Tracks

2:32 Download My Full Gear Guide at

3:02 MIDI Foot Controller #1: Looptimus by Loop Community

3:55 MIDI Foot Controller #2: MC8 by Morningstar

4:38 MIDI Foot Controller #3: Oakboard Floor Vista by Oaktone

6:11 MIDI Controllers for Drummers: SPD-SX and SPD-SX PRO by Roland

7:05 Tabletop MIDI Controllers #1: Oakboard Mini by Oaktone

8:22 Tabletop MIDI Controllers #2: Oakboard Slide Duo by Oaktone

9:49 Tabletop MIDI Controllers #3: LIOBOX by GooRoo

11:50 What’s the Best MIDI Controller?

13:34 Download My Free Gear Guide and Subscribe for More Helpful Content

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  1. Hi looking at the history of controller. The Moog Tori’s was the first. Korg made a set of bass peddles called the Korg MPK-130. Rush used these on most of their trout from the mid 80’s till their final tour in 2015. Their miditeck was named Jack Secret. You can find interviews with him on how they used sample,sound and even ran Abeltion liver on their their last two tours. Kieth McMillion mad a similar device called the 12 step.