DAW Controllers - All in one or multi-device?

General tyre kicking question here for those of you using one (or more) DAW controllers.

My interest in this started by looking at the fact that there are plenty of cheap(ish) MIDI controllers on the market. It looks like especially in the Ableton arena, manufacturers are limited in what they can do to protect the premium positon (and integration) of Push with Ableton. For example, the Novation Launchpad has the pads but not the pots. The APC Mini does have faders but doesn’t have pots or the velocity sensitive pads. This means that if you’re on a budget - you may need to decide whether to get a few specific devices for specific purposes or stick to one and deal with the trade offs.

It seems that (old and new) you can group the controllers into: mini keyboards, pads and control surfaces (faders, pots & transport controls). Then there’s the “hybrid” pad style controllers, whether that be Maschine or Push (and to some extent the new MPCs) that give a very specific workflow. In between those two levels there’s higher end keyboards that come with pads, faders and encoders. These it seems like the trade off is deep software integration (Push/Maschine etc) vs a more general control surface that can be mapped how you want (eg: Keylab etc.)

As you’ve developed as a producer, have you settled on one box for everything or do you prefer a couple of devices that you bring out for different phases of the production process? Obviously this is one of those questions with no perfect answer, especially since most people don’t have unlimited money. That means making trade-offs, and I’m interested to hear how you worked through those trade offs for your own space and budget.