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Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards

For any serious music producer, a MIDI keyboard controller is an invaluable tool. It allows you to easily control sounds and notes from your music production software (DAW), as well as controlling many different aspects of a sound, directly from the keyboard.

This saves you from awkwardly and repetitively using your computer keyboard and mouse. Check out the Top 10 MIDI Keyboard Controllers below.


Akai Pro
MPK25

Akai Pro
MPK25

Akai Pro
MPK25 MPC

Novation
LaunchKey 25

Alesis
Q49





Our User Rating
4.2 Stars
4.1 Stars
4.1 Stars
4.2 Stars
4 Stars
Keys2525252549
Velocity Sensitive
Drum Pads881216N/A
Features
  • 4-way thumb stick for dynamic pitch and modulation manipulation
  • 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with Note Repeat & Full Level
  • 8 Q-Link knobs for controlling virtually any MIDI-assignable parameters in software
  • Sustain
  • Octave Up / Down
  • Arpeggiator
  • Tap Tempo
  • Four programmable memory banks
  • 8 Q-Link knobs for controlling virtually any MIDI-assignable parameters in software
  • Sustain
  • Octave Up / Down
  • Arpeggiator
  • Tap Tempo
  • 25-key semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch
  • 12 velocity and pressure sensitive MPC
  • 4 pad banks, allowing instant access to 48 samples
  • 2 banks of 16 assignable Q-Link controls; 12 knobs, 4 buttons
  • Built-in arpeggiator and dedicated transport controls
  • MPC Note Repeat, Swing, Full Level, and MPC 12-Level
  • Tap Tempo and Time Division controls
  • Modulation and Pitch Bend wheels
  • 2 assignable footswitch inputs
  • Launchkey & Launchpad apps for iPad and the powerful Novation V-Station and Bass Station synth
  • 26 assignable controls
  • 16 velocity-sensitive multi-color launch pads
  • Major DAW control parameters
  • 'InControl' Technology connects hardware controls directly to all major DAWs
  • Pitch and Modulation wheels
  • Octave Up and Down buttons
  • 49 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
  • Access to advanced MIDI functions
  • Data entry slider enables quick editing
  • PortsUSBUSB
  • USB
  • MIDI Out / In
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Expression Pedal
  • Keylock
  • USB
  • USB
  • MIDI Out
  • Sustain Pedal
  • Dimensions7."1 x 12.4" x 1.8"6" x 13.6" x 1.2"18.7" x 12.1" x 3.3"15.5" x 9" x 3"32" x 7.5" x 2.5"
    Weight1.6lbs2lbs7.7lbs1.6lbs5lbs
    Accessories
  • USB Cable
  • Akai Pro MPC Essentials
  • SONiVOX Wobble
  • Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech
  • USB Cable
  • Ableton Live Lite Akai Edition
  • USB Cable
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • One Gigabyte Loopmasters Sample Pack
  • USB Cable
  • Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition
  • Ignite music creation software
  • USB Cable
  • Warranty1 year1 year1 year1 year1 year
    Price**CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE**

    M-Audio
    Keystation 61

    Novation
    LaunchKey 49

    Akai Pro
    LKP25

    Korg
    MicroKey 37

    Arturia
    MiniLab 230401





    Our User Rating
    4.6 Stars
    4.1 Stars
    4 Stars
    4.1 Stars
    4 Stars
    Keys6149253725
    Velocity Sensitive
    Drum PadsN/A16N/AN/AN/A
    Features
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels provide dynamic performance capabilities
  • 6.3mm (1/4-inch) sustain pedal input for expressive performance
  • Transport controls let you control your DAW without reaching for the mouse
  • Supports iOS connectivity with the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit
  • Launchkey & Launchpad apps for iPad and the powerful Novation V-Station and Bass Station synth
  • Professional synth-styled keyboard with up to 50 hardware controls
  • 16 velocity-sensitive multi-color launch pads
  • Major DAW control parameters
  • 'InControl' Technology connects hardware controls directly to all major DAWs
  • Four programmable memory banks
  • Sustain
  • Octave Up / Down
  • Arpeggiator
  • Tap Tempo
  • Octave Shift
  • Key Transpose
  • Pitch Bend & Modulation wheels
  • 8 MIDI Presets
  • 16 MIDI Channels
  • Octave Up / Down
  • 16 parameter control knobs
  • Shift button
  • Pitch Bend & Modulation
  • Ports
  • USB
  • MIDI Out
  • Sustain Pedal
  • BUS / USBUSB
  • BUS
  • 2 x USB
  • USB
  • MIDI Out
  • Footswitch
  • Dimensions9.4" x 38.6" x 3.6" 28.3" x 15.1" x 6.3"3.8" x 13.4" x 1.1"22.2" x 5.5" x 2.1"16" x 9" x 12"
    Weight10.7 lbs8.6lbs1lb2.2lbs2.9lbs
    Accessories
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble
  • USB Cable
  • Ableton Live Lite
  • One Gigabyte Loopmasters Sample Pack
  • USB Cable
  • USB Cable
  • Editor software for Mac and PC
  • KORG KONTROL Editor
  • USB Cable
  • Analog Lab software (includes real hybrid synthesizer with a collection of 5000 sounds)
  • USB Cable
  • Warranty1 year1 year1 year1 year1 year
    Price**CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE****CHECK PRICE**

     

    Table Info


    • Our User Rating – This is our own opinion based on our product research on our own and other user’s testing and feedback. Click on one of the featured products and you’ll be brought to Amazon’s product page, where you’ll find genuine customer reviews which we recommend you to read.
    • Best Value / Top Rated – Products that we feel  stands out in a specific area such as value for money or reputation have been given one of our awards.
    • Velocity Sensitive – These are keys that will play a sound quitter or louder depending on how hard or soft you hit them. It’s different from semi-weighted keys, which are designed to feel like real piano keys.
    • Drum Pads – If a MIDI keyboard controller has drum pads integrated, then you can assign different sounds to each drum pad which is playable when tapped.
    • Price – To find out the price of any of the MIDI keyboard controlelrs, just click on the Buy Now button or Check Price and you’ll be directed to the official product page on Amazon.com. I didn’t put up prices because they constantly change and there are so many sellers offering different prices.
    • Compatibility – All MIDI keyboard controllers are compatible with the latest and modern versions of Windows and MAC. They are also compatible with a large majority of DAWs that accept MIDI inputs including Fruity Loops, Cubase, Pro Tools, GarageBand, Ableton Live, Reason, Sonar, Reaper, Logic Pro and so on.

    What To Look For When Buying A MIDI Keyboard


    There are many different MIDI keyboard controllers to choose from, and many of them are great. However, it’s important to buy one that will the most suitable for you. Leonard from Kosmic Sound gives some useful tips on what you need to look for when making your purchase.

    Leonard Kosmic - MIDI Keyboard ControllerBrief Overview Of MIDI Keyboards

    If you’re an electronic music producer, you’ll definitely need one of these in your studio. Even if you’re not, but you perhaps do a lot of recording but don’t own a piano, and you want to use a software synthesizer to make keyboard piano sounds, organs and other things, a MIDI controller will be your input method of getting the information into your computer. Also, many of them will have things such as rotary encoders and faders so this helps with automation.

    The Different Elements

    Keys – “Firstly let’s take a look at what you might find on a standard MIDI controller…First and most obvious are the keys. You’ll get different sizes, so there are 25, 37, 49, 61 most commonly, some manufacturers will do fully weighted 88-note controls but they’re not very common and the main reason you don’t see them a lot is because they’re not very portable.

    There are three considerations to address with the keys.

    • Desk Size – “The first and most obvious one is the size of your desk. Obviously you won’t go and get yourself a 61 note controller if you’re in a tiny little space. So get a keyboard that suits your environment.
    • Your Keyboard Skills – “The other thing and probably most important is whether or not you’re a keyboard player. If you are a keyboard player and want to play long lines of music with both hands, then having a little 25 note keyboard isn’t going to be much use to you.
    • Key Weights – “One other thing you’ll notice with keys is there are essentially three different types – Non-weighted, semi-weighted and fully weighted…If you’re used to playing a real piano, then playing on a non-weighted keyboard might be a little bit distracting for you.

    rotary-encodersRotary Encoders – “You’ll usually find a combination of these on your controllers. Some of the smaller ones don’t have any, but if you need to do any automation of parameters such as cut off, resonance, things with filters, delays, even panning, you might want to get some encoders on your keyboard…Faders are the other ones you’ll commonly find, especially if you need to do live automation of volumes on each of your channels.

     

    drum-padsDrum Pads – “These are velocity sensitive. They send a note message basically, so you can program these to work anyway you want. Really good for drumming in percussion parts, but you can actually use them to play in different material as well if that’s what you want to do.

     

     

     

    Connections – “Most of the [main] connections will be the standard square shaped USB connection, you may also find an old 5 pin din MIDI connector on there, that’s if you want to connect to external MIDI devices. Occasionally you’ll find ¼ inch jacks for foot controllers, sustained pedals and expression pedals.

    The above points are just some of the main things you need to consider when selecting a MIDI keyboard controller for your home studio. I highly recommend that you watch the entire video below to get a deeper insight into some of the more technical aspects of a MIDI keyboard.

    BEST VALUE – Akai Pro MPK25


    Final Verdict 4.1 Stars

    Akai Midi Keyboard ControllerIf you’re looking for a compact MIDI keyboard controller that has a good amount of features without breaking the bank, then the best candidate is the Akai Pro MPK25.

    It has 25 velocity sensitive keys, 8 backlit pads with 2 banks (giving you 16 notes in total) and a built in Arpeggiator that allows you to sync to the global tempo or have your own tempo via the ‘Tap Tempo’ button.

    The Octave up/down buttons that give you a full range keyboard and the Sustain button provides extra expression when playing certain keys.

    The Akai Pro MPK25 is designed for making music on-the-go as it only measures 13.6 inches wide, 6 inches in height and 1.2 inches in depth. At only 2lbs, it’s one of the lightest MIDI keyboards around. Connect it with the supplied USB cable to any laptop or iPad with a music production software/DAW, and you’re ready to create some magic.

    Click Here To Check Out The Akai Pro MPK25 Now

    Check it out in action below: