Synthesizer Software For Midi Keyboard – Sure, right now all you need to create music is a laptop and a DAW, but there may come a time when the A keys through the “;” be the same on your laptop keyboard as a barrier to your creativity. Fortunately, you can get affordable MIDI keyboard controllers that give you more than just a few extra notes. Although all the controllers on this list have a keyboard at their heart, many offer adjustable pads, knobs, and sliders galore at an attractive price.
Here are our favorite MIDI keyboards under $300, covering all your needs from portable keyboards for mobile production to a MIDI powerhouse for a compact studio.
Synthesizer Software For Midi Keyboard
Lumi Keys ROLI Studio brings a new dimension to the producers arsenal by pairing the expressionism with the MPE capability of a marine keyboard with a traditional keyboard.
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Side rocker keys to shake the strings, hit them to play electric piano chords or press them to draw frets on the fretboard. These are just a few examples of MPE Studio Edition’s talents.
Meanwhile, an illuminated keyboard provides useful information directly, highlighting the correct keys of the scale, notes played by the tuner, and more.
There is one limitation of the console: the short note range, which covers only two octaves. However, if you have enough cash to splash, you can plug in a second unit for a full console.
The Keystation 88 is definitely one of the most affordable ways to get your hands on an 88-key console, and it comes with full-size and semi-heavy-duty keys to boot.
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While you won’t find features like touchscreens or on-screen performance, M-Audio was thoughtful enough to include DAW controls—which can be remapped—so you don’t have to reach for a keyboard every time you want to. Reach your mouse. put and take .
It also comes with very useful software: Pro Tools First and Ableton Live Lite DAWs. MPC Beats and five AIR Music virtual machines, plus a selection of sample packs.
Connectivity: USB, 9V DC 500mA power supply (sold separately) 1 x 1/4″ TS (sustain pedal), 1 x 1/4″ TRS (expression)
The MKV 61 is M-Audio’s largest and most popular oxygen console, now in its fifth edition. This update brings a new digital audio platform integration, smart and simple arrangement/scaling, while keeping everything in a light and sturdy build.
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A five-octave keyboard has the advantage that weightless keys can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your needs. Although it doesn’t offer a real piano feel, it’s perfect for playing percussive sounds like drums and synthesizer beats. It also offers eight backlit pads, eight knobs and nine dimmers to enhance its productivity capabilities.
The controller’s wide note range, along with smart chord and scale features, make the Oxygen MKV 61 a great composition tool. And it has a price that should be affordable for most people.
Nektar’s Impact GX Mini may be small, but its adjustable controls make it easy to adapt to your workflow. It also has a clever solution for traversing more octaves than you’d find in a compromise.
This two-octave keyboard controller features velocity-sensitive micro-keys and modulation joysticks that can be mapped to MIDI. The second function feature allows you to temporarily raise or lower the keyboard by pressing a button.
Awesome Animoog Midi Controller
The third edition of Novation’s Launchkey Mini series is designed for Ableton Live, but can easily be mapped to other DAWs. This device is built with 16 speed-sensitive RGB pads, eight adjustable knobs and 25 small speed-sensitive keys. Combine this with motion and mod controls and touch strips, and you’ll find that using your DAW and plug-ins with the Launchkey Mini is a breeze.
Arp mode and fixed chords are also a boon, allowing you to experience a little more than you might expect with 25 keys. These modes allow you to play multiple notes simultaneously, either as a user-defined chord structure or as an arpeggio that can be held infinitely. By holding Shift and adjusting the Launchkey Mini’s controls, you’ll find that you can control these modes with arpeggios, swing, and key timing. The Shift key also allows you to indicate what the RGB panels are showing, which is especially useful when viewing an Ableton Live clip. The Launchkey Mini Mk3 is perfect for anyone with limited studio space or looking for an affordable option for playing small pieces live.
The latest addition to Arturia’s popular KeyStep range is the KeyStep 37. Designed with three octaves of slim, speed-sensitive keys, this compact console features a significant number of MIDI controls, synth outputs, and a built-in display, making it the nerve center for studio or live performance. There are four assignable MIDI rotary knobs on the top panel for quick access to your DAW parameters, with a set of transport controls next to them to control the entire workstation.
The KeyStep 37 lets you get creative with a 64-step polyphonic sequencer, plus eight different built-in amp modes. The humble controller also packs in 12 different chord modes with the Strum feature for a more interesting way to move chords. Scale mode also keeps you in the original mode and adjusts the overall size of the keyboard with five different scale modes to choose from.
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Connectivity: USB (MIDI and Power), 5-pin MIDI I/O, Sync I/O, CV (Mod, Gate and Pitch) outputs, Sustain pedal input, 12V DC power.
Measuring 388 x 135 x 16mm, the MIDI keyboard is perfect for tucking into a backpack for ideas on the go or in the park. The XKey 25 CME isn’t full of knobs, pads, and gadgets, but its sleek, light, and sturdy aluminum design looks like it came straight out of Apple headquarters.
The feel of the game is completely different from anything else on this list, with travel per key equal to that of Apple’s first-generation aluminum keyboards. This unconventional layout allows for fast playing, but the full-size, velocity-sensitive keys have polyphonic backtouch for expressive modulation – perfect for dreamy, complex pads. In addition, there are pressure-sensitive pads for bending and pitch adjustment, along with an octave up/down and a fixed knob.
XKey is USB MIDI compatible, so it can be easily connected with a USB cable to a variety of music platforms for desktop and mobile applications. For twice the price, you can stir wirelessly.
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The Launchkey 37 Mk3 is definitely an upgrade over the Launchkey Mini (above), a more comfortable controller with full-size keys, RGB pads and real mode wheels. It’s also designed with more touch controls for DAW and instrument navigation, as well as the addition of a small display that gives you real-time parameter information. Arpeggiator and Chord Launchkey Mini modes are also found on Launchkey 37, and it comes bundled with Ableton Live 10 Lite and more to get you up and running in no time.
In our review, we said, “If you’re looking for a well-designed, feature-packed keyboard controller, we urge you to consider the new Launchkey. The keys are incredible, and the whole device feels great.” Tired of texture or losing your love for settings, turn on the Chord and Arpeggiator Launchkey modes and you’ll soon be in full flight again. Seamless Ableton Live integration is also a standout, while other features works flawlessly in other DAWs.Launchkey MK3 offers much more than a standard keyboard control, another win for Novation.”
At just $100, Nektar’s Impact GX49 is ideal for artists and producers looking for more musical freedom on a budget. 49 full-size velocity-sensitive keys are the main focus of the GX49, with only eight buttons for DAW control, which can send primary and secondary messages for a total of 14 controllable parameters.
Nektar’s Impact GX49 excels in tight DAW integration with Bitwig, Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer, Reason, Reaper, Logic Pro X, GarageBand Studio One, and Cakewalk by BandLab. Once you connect your keyboard to your computer and let the GX49 do the rest, it’s as easy as installing the correct DAW template. These transition controls are automatically mapped to your DAW, freeing you from the limitations of a mouse and keyboard. The GX49 is an incredibly affordable studio keyboard, especially considering its specs.
Korg Ms20 Mini Analog Monophonic Synth
As the brand’s best-selling MIDI keyboard, Akai’s MPK Mini deserves a place on this list – especially with the recent unveiling of the MPK Mini Mk3. The Mk3 features 25 micro keys, eight velocity-sensitive classic MPC-style pads for finger drum movement, and eight endless rotary encoders for parameter control on your instruments and effects. A rotary joystick on the top left lets you play with modulation and pitch, with a volume control just below that.
The MPK Mini Mk3 gives you visual assistance via a small OLED display, which provides real-time parameter values while processing. As with all these keyboard controllers, you can set the MPK Mini manually