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The best MIDI keyboard controllers are becoming more and more popular today as technology continues to advance and musicians everywhere are slowly beginning the process of transitioning to a digital arrangement (or a hybrid of analog and digital settings). I know people who still follow analog equipment for mixing and composing, but still use MIDI control for various productions in their studio. Let’s go to the 10 best MIDI keyboard controllers available today – both for those who want the best quality or on a budget and want to sell.
Best Usb Midi Keyboard Controller
First things first. There are several important questions to consider when choosing your MIDI keyboard controller. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before you look outside:
The 11 Best Midi Controllers For Logic Pro X (2023)
For more information about this type of purchase, we recommend reading Sweetwater’s How to Choose MIDI Controllers. Or if you want an alternative to MIDI, read our 10 best digital pianos or 10 best synthesizers articles.
According to some, a MIDI keyboard is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a studio setup. Below is our list of the top 10 MIDI keyboard controllers available today. Most of these come in different graphics, offer different features and pads and some software programs. Look through them and find the ones that fit your budget and preferences. If you need some sounds for your editor, please check out our Best VST Plugins post.
The first MPK series of MIDI keys from Akai Professional took the market by storm and quickly became one of the favorites when it comes to MIDI music equipment. They’ve come out with a new update to their beloved keyboard, and they’re pretty solid in terms of durability and overall features it has to offer, not to mention a great software package. Apart from the small, all major models come with Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3.0 virtual synth, SONiVOX Twist 2.0 and MPC Essentials software (a near perfect DAW – we like to buy a reliable software).
Their key signature is one of the most solid we’ve seen so far, and the keyboards are RGB backlit and fast – they know what they’re doing. You have many options in terms of number of keys and price, from a small 25 keys to a full 61 keys. Better than the Novation keyboard, but if you’re looking for for a better software package, an arpeggiator, and a better build, go to the MPK2. It’s one of the best MIDI keyboards out there, and the user reviews don’t lie.
Akai Professional Mpk Mini Mk3
: They’ve come out with their new “Advance” MIDI keyboard, so we’ll see how it goes before switching to their MPK2 series. Wait!
This is one of our favorites and is currently our top pick for the best MIDI keyboard controller available today. At Novation Music we’re scratching our heads at how a driver of this caliber can be built solidly, with pads and other features at nearly half the price of the competition. . The Impulse is one of the best MIDI keyboards on the market today, and we’ve rated it as #1 for reasons: build, keypad make, etc., and the money ratio is pretty close. .
The only drawback is the lack of software, but nowadays many companies are trying to use the integration of DAWs and VSTs (Units).
For that matter) to ensure a “boost” or higher price for drivers. Impulse comes with Ableton Live Lite and two great VSTs. It doesn’t work as well as the Akai, but it does the job very well. It won our Best MIDI Controller for Logic and several others.
Best Midi Controller Keyboards For Reaper
We love this keyboard from M-Audio because of its low price for those on a budget. It’s perfect for those who don’t need pads or other fancy buttons – it keeps with just the keys, a pitch and mod wheel and a few other features. Plus, M-Audio has kept the Keystation on the go. We had the II roller a few years ago, and now MK3 is on board with better stability and features.
Just the right stuff at the right price. We don’t use knobs and faders, and don’t touch our pads much. We are only concerned with the keys for a MIDI keyboard, but when we implement it in life, we usually break our second board (MPK2) for that. So, this is best for home studios that don’t need a bunch of standard buttons, but just a good keyboard to play some MIDI data. The key brand is solid for the price and has a synth-action (more springy than semi and full weight, which I like) and comes with a nice software of AIR Music Tech Mini Grand, AIR Music Tech Velvet, AIR Xpand! 2, and the amazing Pro Tools (M-Audio Edition), and Ableton Live Lite. They’ve paired this iOS with a compatible box (sold separately), so if you make music on your Apple phone, this is great too.
Here’s the latest heavy-duty player from the beloved Native Instruments, and when we first heard about the release, we were excited. Before you let the price drive you, check out the specs and overall feel of this MIDI keyboard. We highly recommend only grabbing this if you’re using NI’s popular Komplete VST suite, because it works really well for that program. As such, every button and smart side function is designed to work with the VST on your computer. Don’t get us wrong – you can use this model with other VSTs; However, it’s not worth the money and it’s safer with a high-end MIDI keyboard that has pads and faders, or a low-cost one to save money.
Launchkey is one of our favorites. It’s a step up from the excellent Impulse we talked about earlier, so we recommend going with this one if you want to save a hundred bucks or so. The drums are smaller than the Akai or Oxygen (which bothered us at first, but we got used to it), but it has faders and buttons (no knobs), and the pitch curve and mod wheels. The overall build is good and solid as expected from Novation (not as good as Akai but still solid) and comes with the Novation V-Station and Bass Station VST (PC and Mac) and their Novation apps for the iPad as well. It’s a big plus if you use iOS for music (which seems to be very popular right now). This also won our Best MIDI Keyboard or Controller for Reason award.
The Best Midi Keyboards Of 2023
M-Audio is back with a new line of MIDI keyboards that aren’t budget-friendly, but worth the price if you’re looking for more than just a few keys and pads. Comes with some very nice velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch, we also have 16 velocity-sensitive pads that can be assigned, but can be fixed to color LED, CC or numerical values . The standard pitch knob and mod wheels are there too, but there are plenty of faders, knobs and buttons you can choose from if you’re into automation (great for live playing too).
As for software packages, let’s take a look at what we have here. Ableton Live Lite, Loom (add-on VST synthesizer with features like morph pad – especially for creating your own synth software), and Sonivox Hybrid 3 (more synth software). For us, the software is better, but nowadays not many people buy MIDI keys just because of the software package. Overall, this keyboard is for those who want an advanced build and features instead of just the keys.
This keyboard from Korg Instruments is much easier than the M-Audio driver we mentioned earlier in the article. This is the most reasonable price as one of our favorite budget options, and what’s smart is that they offer a 37-key model, although the popular 49 doesn’t have it. The keys are velocity sensitive and they are good considering the price. It’s USB-powered, so you don’t need to plug in an adapter, and you get an octave shift and transpose key, along with a smart pitch bender and mod wheels. Super affordable and very easy. It doesn’t come with any premium editing software, apart from the free download of KORG KONTROL Editor. For a look, here’s a keyboard from Korg. Grab this if you want a decent keyboard that won’t take up half of your entire desk, or