Experience with MIDI controllers in dt?

I’ve read what the dt manual says about MIDI HW controllers.

Normally i edit few images at the time in dt, but I have two tasks fast approaching where I will need to process large number of images. As I currently have an offer on a Loupdeck+ at a nice price, and as the Behringer X-Touch mini anyhow is relatively cheap, I wonder what can really be gained by using HW controllers (and should I get one)?

Does any of you have experience with both the Loupdeck+ and the X-Touch Mini and can compare them?

General experiences with just one of them is also appreciated.


I can’t speak to the loupedeck, I have never tried it.
However, I do have a Behringer Xtouch mini and it is to my taste a little underwhelming.
The buttons are mushy and I find that using the normal keyboard works better for me.
On the other hand, the knobs can be useful for adjustments, I have one set up to control exposure and that works great.
I guess it depends on your preferences and workflow.
Good luck :blush:

I use a Behringer Xtouch mini. Easy to set up (I think it was recognised out of the box), and for me it speeds up the basic edits. I use mainly the knobs (need to get a template to add labels to the buttons, so I remember what they do ;).

In order, I mapped the first 5 knobs to exposure, filmic white relative, filmic black relative, filmic contrast and color calibration temperature. That’s after I aply a style which has the basic modules I always use/don’t use (e.g. it switches off the highlight recovery).

That setup makes basic editing quite fast, partly since you don’t have to switch between modules and/or module groups. But e.g. tone equaliser or highlight corrections remain more time consuming, and I don’t see a good way to use the Xtouch for those types of edits.

I don’t have any experience with the Loupdeck. Also, I’m using Linux, no idea how those MIDI controllers work under Windows

Thanks, Thomas and rvietor, valuable input and much appreciated.

Well, rvietor, the designers of dt actually have thought of that last part by replicating all said controls on the Quick Access Panel … :wink:

You wanted experiences with such HW, that’s what I gave you.
If the quick access panel is enough for you, then by all means use it, and don’t go for the extra HW.
One advantage of not switching modules is that small corrections can be done with the HW while staying in a completely different module.

But I can’t tell you what would work for you, as I don’t know your habits, nor the type of images you work on.

Yes, I can see that point. Thanks!

I got a loupe deck plus some weeks ago and it’s just perfect for easy and fast use developing images.

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I got loupedeck+ yesterday. Setup took some time but after some hours of experimenting I got most of the things set up. At the moment I don’t know/haven’t decided what to set in the main control wheel and clarity knob. Also some buttons are not used yet.

Build quality is only decent. Everything works and dialing values is easy and accurate. I would like it to be better build quality, but price would probably go way off with better dials and buttons.

I need to set it to relative encoding by turning one of the knobs slowly left 5 times, every time I start darktable. Now I need to use it and see how much this will speed up things.


Hi @mver, what is your experience after a few months?

Thanks for the suggestion!

I considered getting an xtouch mini, but finally I configured the function keys F1-F5 to adjust the five basic sliders that you mention, together with the mouse wheel. (I moved the color marks to F8-F12).

For example, when I keep F1 pressed, I can use the mouse wheel to modify exposure in steps of 0.1 EV. Double pressing F1 resets the slider. A simple press toggles the color picker.

This works really well, perhaps even better than an external controller, because it doesn’t take up space on the desk, and allows me to keep the left hand on the keyboard.

Personal preference, I guess.
For me, using both hands for one action seems more troublesome. And putting the controller on my right still leaves my left hand for the keyboard. To each his own.

It is still connected to my computer and I use it at least a little bit every time I edit some images. If you plan to get it, you need to have enough table space, as its size corresponds to the keyboard. If there is little space and you need to remove it and connect when you edit images, it may easily be dusted in the cabinet.

I would say that this is not a must have and I would not get this to adjust only couple of images.

If you often have to adjust a large amount of images and you have to make small changes to many of them after copying / pasting the changes to the other images of the set, then I could recommend this.

I find also its price quite expensive compared to the build quality.