Hardware Overview: The Nakedboards Controllers


    Background

    My MIDI days stretch back a ways now - far enough that I remember trends and styles coming and going. My very first ever controllers were an Edirol PCR-30 and BCR2000. The Edirol was forgettable, but the BCR2000 is still sought after, albeit bulky. I swapped out the BCR for the classic Evolution UC33e which was - in its time - a classic controller amongst Max users along with the Doepfer Pocket Dial. (This was awesome, but it needed a midi interface and power supply.)
    For me, the clear winner for the better half of a decade was the UC33e. I then switched to the Novation Control XL which Andrew Benson covers nicely here.
    Recently, I’ve been wanting something simple but with a lot of sliders/pots, plug & play and basically zero config. I was browsing Instagram when the Nakedboard MC-8 caught my eye on my friend Marcas Fisher's Instagram post.
    Wow! I hadn’t seen such a neat controller in a while.
    With some digging, I was able to find out that it’s made by a Russian company called Nakedboards. Not only do they make this stylish 8-slider controller, but they make another excellent controller in the same size format called MC-24.
    These two pair up nicely, so of course, I grabbed them both!

    Setting Them Up

    When they turned up, I was impressed - simple and sturdy. I have no qualms about throwing these into the gig bag and heading off for a show, knowing they’ll be just fine on arrival. Another big plus (and something I’d like to see more makers embrace) is the USB B connector - you know - the big one!
    The reason I prefer this connector is it actually holds tightly once you insert and connect it. It’s going to take a really drunk guy to crash the stage and disconnect this from your computer. In recent times, many controllers have been released with the small USB Mini B and the even more regrettable Micro; while these connections have there places, they’re actually anxiety inducing for me on stage.
    Here’s the kicker: these things are zero config. No drivers needed, just plug and jam. Plugging these into Max 8 (see what I did there?), I can hit the Mappings button, move a slider and/or dial and I am instantly on my way.
    I was able to map these in a relatively short time, and - realistically - this wouldn't take too much longer in Max 7.
    The MC-8 is sleek, with a nice white gloss enclosure and a really excellent amount of throw for each slider. I’m unsure of the mechanical specs for the sliders, but they’re quite smooth, with just the right amount of resistance. What I’m most impressed about is the ease in which I can find these sliders in sub-par lighting conditions. All in all, for $100 you cannot go wrong.
    The sibling to the MC-8 is the encoder-based MC-24 and - you guessed it - there are 24 encoders. The MC-24 uses the same enclosure as the MC-8, which means that things are a little tighter to fit 24 pots on there, but nonetheless it's not too cramped. With 3 rows of 8 encoders matching up perfectly with the positioning of the sliders, this means we can pair these two up and have something that not only looks great, by is highly functional. And the thing I like most is that my muscle memory has developed very quickly.

    Conclusion

    These controllers are built tough, and zero config setup means no hassles. I’d be happy taking them on any project or performance from big to small. A great, cost-effective solution for Max users looking for a trusty toolbox controller.

    • May 02 2018 | 4:19 pm
      Too bad their "ordering " window is not secure. I'm not entering my info in that.
    • May 02 2018 | 5:08 pm
      Nice! My UC33e and BCR2000 are still going strong, but it's good to see there are new options. I would like to replace the BCR2000 with something smaller and with endless rotary encoders.
    • May 02 2018 | 7:38 pm
      I just ordered. i did not have to put any information into the unsecured order form. I simply submitted my name and email address and they sent me an email invoice to pay through paypal
    • May 03 2018 | 2:24 am
      Why choose these over Novation Control XL? (a genuine question, I'm searching for a good midi controller with lots of knobs.)
      And I think MC-24 has 24 knobs instead of endless encoders?
    • May 03 2018 | 9:53 pm
      Would be nice to have some real details on these units. What is the throw on the faders? What is the feel on the knobs? Are they all just plastic as they look?
      Also, yeah, those don't look like encoders to me. knobs <> encoders
    • May 04 2018 | 8:57 pm
      Oh, and, er, why can't we tag messages as spam? This board needs an upgrade.
    • May 04 2018 | 11:46 pm
      u can only tag your own posts. #becauseitsbetter
    • May 14 2018 | 11:38 pm
      The "insecure" ordering window only asks for your email address and which item you're interested in. Not much worth sweating about.
      I own the MC24 and absolutely love it. Yes, they're knobs, not endless encoders.
    • Jul 30 2018 | 6:16 am
      I've really tried, but can't see the value in all the devices with controls made for the analog world. If they don't have endless encoders and *moving* faders– and the vast majority of them don't– then as soon as an assignment changes, they're in the wrong position and cannot be 'picked-up again' with predictability. As much as I really want to use these things to solve the problem of physical control, they usually end up just being toys.
    • Jul 31 2018 | 3:32 am
      I also prefer encoders to knobs in most settings. However in a live situation I found sometimes knobs are more immediate than encoders.
      If you want controllers with encoders, I have no hesitation in recommending faderfox's offering.