For a compact MIDI controller, the Blackstar is hard to beat at this price point. It’s a flexible and well-thought out piece of kit that even has decent software – normally where equipment manufacturers trip up.
It’s built like a tank, and ships with Ableton Live 10 Lite, since it’s an Ableton-approved device.
After some fiddling with the editor, getting it to control Ableton is straightforward. Moreover, for heavy pedal users, the footswitch MIDI controller is a natural fit.
Perhaps an engineer or producer would find it less intuitive, but for a guitarist it makes sense. Of course, it can be used as a general-purpose controller to manage any MIDI-enabled devices or even amps, live or at home.
Though its capabilities as a live looper controller are touted by Blackstar, it’s not an area we can comment on. Ableton tends to fill the DAW niche for us rather than as a live scratch-pad. Once we’ve got a track down, we bounce out a backing track version as a WAV rather than leaving things too much to chance.
One of the Live Logic’s less obvious features is the ability to accept two expression pedal inputs. This allows for continuous control over midi parameters. It requires a little bit of setting up to get the real value from, but having real-time control over a VST parameter at your feet is definitely underrated.
All in all, there are no downsides other than the number of footswitches, should you need more. It’s affordable, robust and – for something this powerful – surprisingly straightforward.
- PRICE: $179 / £129
- POWER: 9VDC
- SWITCHES: 6, assignable to momentary or latching
- INPUTS: Midi in/out,
- EXPRESSION: 1/2, Mode, USB
- CONTACT: Blackstar