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Although at first glance the padKONTROL might appear to be one of the more rudimentary machines covered here, it does have one or two sizeable aces up its sleeve.
The pedal input for triggering kick drums or hi-hats is one of them, and the inclusion of the excellent X/Y pad from KORG’s Kaoss Pad is another, the X and Y axes being assignable to the parameters of your choice within your software.
Owing to its simple layout, the padKONTROL was one of the easiest devices reviewed here to set up and use. Although it comes with its own editor software, there’s certainly no obligation to install it - instead, you can just plug in a USB cable and start tapping away.
Power and data are handled by the USB cable, although there is a DC power socket on the side of the device in which to plug an optional mains power supply if your laptop battery doesn’t provide enough juice, or you want to draw power from the wall in order to lighten the load on a USB hub, say.
Assigning pads to trigger MIDI notes is simplicity itself - just hit the pad that you want to assign and turn the rotary encoder to change the note value. You can do this while hitting the pads to flick through notes and hear the sounds that you’re assigning, which really speeds things up if you don’t know off the top of your head which sounds are triggered by which notes in your software instrument.
An accomplished all-rounder from one of the biggest manufacturers in the business, the padKONTROL has been around since 2006, and this fact alone should be enough to instil confidence in prospective buyers.