For modern musicians and producers, MIDI controllers have become an integral part of the digital music production process due to the growing awareness of the latest in this area and the increasing use of the richness of the sound of virtual instruments.
So, here in this article let’s know more about the best keyboard midi and buying guides.
- 1 What is Midi Keyboard?
- 2 Types Of Keyboard Mechanisms
- 3 How MIDI Keyboard Device Works:
- 4 How To Choose Best Midi Keyboard?
- 5 10 Best Midi Keyboard
- 5.1 AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3:
- 5.2 Alesis V61 – 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard:
- 5.3 M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3:
- 5.4 AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play:
- 5.5 AKAI Professional LPK25 – USB MIDI Keyboard:
- 5.6 Alesis Q88 MKII – 88 Key USB MIDI Keyboard:
- 5.7 M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 – USB MIDI Keyboard:
- 5.8 M-Audio Oxygen 25 IV | USB Keyboard and Pad MIDI Controller
- 5.9 Nektar SE25 | USB MIDI Controller:
- 5.10 Korg, 61-Key Midi Controller:
- 6 Conclusion
What is Midi Keyboard?
A midi keyboard is a type of keyboard instrument that allows the musician to play the keys using the sounds stored in the computer. MIDI is a language by which a musical instrument and a computer understand each other.
Midi (from English midi, musical instrument digital interface – translated as Musical Instrumental Sound Interface). The word interface means interaction, and exchange of information.
The computer and midi keyboard are connected to each other by a wire through which they exchange information. By selecting the sound of a certain musical instrument on the computer, and pressing a key on the midi keyboard, you will hear this sound.
The usual number of keys on midi keyboards is from 25 to 88. If you want to play simple melodies, then a keyboard with a small number of keys will do, if you need to record full-fledged piano works, then your choice is a full-sized keyboard with 88 keys.
You can also use a midi keyboard to type drum sounds – just select a drum kit on your computer. Having a midi keyboard, a special computer program for recording music, as well as a sound card (this is a device for recording sounds on a computer), you will have a full-fledged home recording studio at your disposal.
Types Of Keyboard Mechanisms
The most important quality of any key controller is the mechanism of the keyboard, that is, how each key responds to being pressed. As a performer, you want the controller to be comfortable – whether you’re performing on stage, writing a song in the bedroom, or recording in the studio.
Don’t underestimate the impact a “near-perfect” keyboard can have on your creativity and productivity! The type of movement you prefer is usually largely determined by your habits, as well as your playing style, which may favor one type of movement over another. You have to choose one of three main keyboard mechanisms:
Weighted Hammer Mechanism:
Numerous regulators have a 88-key console that copies the mechanical activity of a normal piano console. It’s hard on the grounds that the regulator has no strings or mallets.
Producers resort to different techniques for utilizing loads and springs to emulate the system of a piano. Others add mallets to draw nearer to duplicating the valid “feel” of the piano.
For instance, the CME UF8 utilizes a weighted piano-style console with four different speed bends to choose the most agreeable feel.
Assuming your most memorable instrument was the piano, or on the other hand in the event that you make for the most part piano music, the reasonable weighted hammer activity console is great for you.
Partially Weighted Mechanism:
Like a weighted system, yet with less drag and a somewhat more springy key delivery. Partakes in specific fame among entertainers. On the off chance that you needn’t bother with the sensible reaction of a piano console and don’t require spring synth activity, attempt a somewhat weighted console.
The console on synth mechanics feels more like an electronic organ. The spring keys are not difficult to press and exceptionally receptive to your touch. They likewise return to their unique position a lot quicker. Numerous console regulators.
The keys on the synth activity are ideally suited for non-piano players, for example, guitarists who need to add MIDI usefulness to their unit.
How MIDI Keyboard Device Works:
The lion’s share of these keyboards is not capable of generating sound. However, in the vast majority of cases, a keyboard synthesizer or terminal is capable of operating in the mode of controlling the sounds and parameters of other devices.
This is portable Midi keyboard controller is . It fits in a laptop bag. And universal – too, because it allows you to virtually use the entire range of modern musical equipment and software.
Modern controllers have an Automap feature. She installs knobs and knobs to exactly match the hardware or software application. That is, you can control the sequencer on your computer using only one musical keyboard. No need to go to a computer and mouse!
Each key controller has its own keyboard mechanism. By this, it is necessary to understand how the key responds if it is pressed. And anyone who needs such a device needs to choose one of three types of keyboard action: weighted hammer action, partially weighted action, and synth action.
Note that keyboard controllers may have additional functionality. In addition to MIDI control, they also offer audio interfaces that have built-in analog-to-digital converters.
They are essential when recording with DAW software on a computer. And in this case, there will be no need for an additional audio interface. Just plug the microphone into the M-Audio Ozonic type controller keyboards.
How To Choose Best Midi Keyboard?
Choosing your MIDI controller is not always easy. A wide range is presented to you. Here we give you what you should focus on when choosing.
Types of Buttons and Keys:
Most controller buttons worth their salt, as you may have noticed, are velocity sensitive.
For maximum comfort in use, controllers with backlit buttons can also help you, especially if they offer visual cues.
There are different brands of keys. It’s up to you to have a clear idea of what you want.
Generally, when you buy this kind of tool, you certainly want it to be a kind of extension of your DAW. This offers more convenience and can boost your productivity as you no longer have to use your mouse and keyboard.
Thus, you can opt for controllers with buttons and faders, which will allow you to control the effects and the various modifications possible on your DAW.
Height and Weight:
Depending on your use, the size of your workplace, whether you move around a lot or not, and the size and weight of your pad are essential points to consider.
If you are someone who needs portability, a machine with 2×4 buttons or 4×4 buttons can serve you much better than a keyboard with 61 mini keys.
Nevertheless, wider controllers are much more practical because they offer greater precision and a lot of maneuverability.
Their Compatibility With The DAW:
It is also important to know the compatibility of your controller with the DAW you are used to using.
Indeed, it would be a shame if the two could not be connected together, as this will force you either to waste time adapting them or to get used to another DAW.
It should be noted that the vast majority of manufacturers try to make their devices compatible with all software interfaces on the market.
In some cases, the manufacturer itself provides a suitable DAW for your controller. But that makes it impractical and too airtight.
Obviously, manufacturer software for setting up your device is normally provided when you purchase it.
Several modern controllers require a MIDI-to-MIDI jack. However, USB is the most common direct connection to computer workstations or functional music applications on tablets and smartphones.
Others also allow a wireless connection, especially if they are portable.
You must therefore take into account the various connection possibilities offered by the controller in front of you.
The question of the budget is the most important directing you in your choice.
For a range of prices, you will be presented with several choices. You’ll find some controllers under $100, some $500, and some cost more.
The price generally increases with the number of keys. In addition, some accessories such as additional software also increase the price.
A key response can be a huge factor in choosing a controller. Players who want to bring out every detail in their performance will prefer a piano-style weighted action controller. It all depends on the level of the pianist.
Those who are not familiar with the resistance of a piano action, on the other hand, may be interested in semi-weighted keyboards which offer less resistance. The budget, nicer and lighter controllers feature unweighted keyboards.
The player must ensure at the time of purchase that the keyboard meets his expectations in terms of playing comfort and response.
MIDI response is another aspect of the controller. The ability to perform dynamic and expressive parts depends on the velocity response of the keyboard.
This can determine how the player should operate to achieve loud, clear, and crisp notes. It is necessary for the controller to provide the user with the opportunity to adjust the velocity response curve to suit their playing style.
The actual response obtained depends, in addition to the response curve, on the physical weight and action of the keys themselves.
That’s why it’s important to audition the controller yourself using familiar sounds to make sure it’s right for you.
Most modern keyboards include pads between 8 and 16. Whether you want your controller to have these or not is up to you.
A drum machine can also be integrated into the keyboard, depending on your preferences.
Depending on the type of music you make or your style or your musical personality, certain functions may be necessary for you (aggregators, faders, buttons, etc.).
The mechanism must match the application of the controller. If piano realism is important to you, choose a hammer action. For many players, a partially weighted keyboard is a good fit for the perfect combination of resistance and springiness.
Keyboards with synth mechanics are often seen as more comfortable for non-keyboarders, and they are usually less expensive.
10 Best Midi Keyboard
Choosing a MIDI controller may seem like a daunting task at first glance. But the most important thing is to understand what goal you are pursuing.
If the keys are not the most important instrument in your track, you just write beats or disappear on tours, then a controller for 25 keys may well be enough. And if your tasks are at the level of Hans Zimmer, then it is better to take a more serious model, with 76 or 88 keys.
When choosing the right tool, we recommend considering the following points: keyboard mechanism, number of keys, connectors, controls, and build quality. The bundle also matters: from soft to sustain pedal input. So, see below the 10 top and best midi keyboards.
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3:
Among the large and expensive professional synthesizers, which the world-respected AKAI Professional specializes in, it is somehow unexpected to meet a whole line of compact and very affordable midi keyboards microKEY.
This is already the 2nd generation, which received support for the iPad and iPhone, as well as a special jack for connecting a universal or damper pedal.
Thus, the keyboard is able to immediately work with any music applications for Windows, Android, and iOS and does not require downloading additional software.
There are 37 keys in this model, and all of them – both black and white – are reduced in length, width, and height. Despite their compactness, users as note the convenience and pleasant tactile sensations when pressed, even for those who are used to playing the piano.
Octaves, like all small-sized controllers, are only 3, but this is quite enough for a beginner. Another important point: the device is assembled soundly, the case, despite its lightness (about 1 kg), is very strong, when pressed, it does not creak or play.
Our favorite is the chord detection system allowing novices to find the right harmonies for all their creations. In terms of design, the rigid hull with reduced weight and not very wide dimensions allows it to have great mobility.
Despite being fourth in our buying guide, this heavyweight in the midi keyboard controller division is not to be overlooked. And if you really don’t have the time or inclination to deal with installing or adding software to get you started.
The MIDI Keyboard Controller’s velocity-sensitive keys, combined with pitch and mod wheels, are another way to pique the interest of musical geniuses or amateur producers. Artists who value simplicity will appreciate the fact that the USB cable can be used for both data and power transmission.
If you take the time to appreciate why we’re ranking this option among the best midi controllers, you’ll be happy to find that it earned its merits for a number of reasons.
This is because computer-based digital audio makes working with sound for the musical projects you’re working on much easier to achieve.
And while it’s a little heavier than most of the competition on this list, there’s no need to think it’s going to be difficult to carry around.
On the contrary, this state-of-the-art MIDI controller is not only packed with features sought after by professional and casual musicians, but also one of the most portable MIDI controllers.
Our handy guide to the best tailgate speakers features more such products.
Alesis V61 – 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard:
This controller was created for those who do not like to be distracted while making music. Many of the controls here are set up automatically so you can easily navigate through the project.
There is also a Chord mode where you can create chords with a single keystroke. This add-on will help speed up the recording process and help out during the performance. Indeed, because of the haste and excitement, chords often turn out to be not clear and even enough.
Includes DAW Command Center software. With it, you can easily and quickly set up buttons and faders. There are other programs that come with the controller: Analog Lab, Ableton, and UVI Grand Piano model D.
If you want to save money, you can buy exactly the same model, but with fewer keys. It will be enough for a small performance or recording melodies.
Virtual instruments and effects of all kinds can be added to soundtracks to create new songs and above all live up to the expectations of great imaginations.
Being perfectly sensitive to velocity and aftertouch, the 49 keys allow the play of a range of bass lines, chords and melodies.
Requiring only a simple USB connection to a PC or Mac to power up, the MIDI option is also automatically activated once the connection is made. No need to be a computer expert to be able to use this device in all versatility. It will be perfect if you want to combine it with an online piano lesson or with a teacher.
M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3:
This model is more like a full-fledged instrument than a regular controller. The semi-weighted keyboard has a post-touch function. The unique High Rate Scan technology was used in the manufacturing process. It scans the instrument 10,000 times per second.
Thanks to this, the knobs and keys respond instantly to every movement. The performance will be as expressive as possible, you will be able to convey all the feelings and emotions in your melody.
All controls are easily configurable by hand using the Automap software. It is enough to do this once, and your productivity will increase several times.
You no longer have to search for the necessary functions on the screen for a long time, you can simply turn the desired knob or press the button.
The midi keyboard works perfectly with Ableton, but it can be difficult in the FL Studio editor. Also, users attribute a small number of pads to the disadvantages (there are only 8 of them).
Equipped with a DAW that allows you to create different types of creations optimized by plugins that expand its functions, the Keystep 37 BK is equipped with a 37-key keyboard for compositions that meet your expectations.
Achievable in the greatest of comforts, the sensitive velocity keys and with aftertouch promise easy handling. In addition, the sequencer integrated within this design provides creatives with a polyphony of 8 voices with different silences and modes.
AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play:
The Japanese brand AKAI produces top-level tools at a reasonable price. The third generation of the popular midi controller features an advanced dynamic keyboard that captures every nuance of your performance.
There are only 25 keys, and there are 8 pads and other important controls. I am glad that there are no limiters on the rotary controls, and they are located as conveniently as possible. This is one of the great midi keyboard controller.
The model turned out to be incredibly compact and light – its weight does not exceed 800 g. Power is classically supplied via a USB bus from a computer or laptop.
Buyers note in the reviews a thoughtful arpeggiator, fast synchronization with sequencers (there are difficulties only with FL Studio), ease of use, and high-quality assembly of AKAI MPK Mini MKIII.
But you need to get used to this tool, at first, the semi weighted keys and joystick can move a little tight. But the sensitivity is very good, and everything is configured in a matter of minutes.
With a large capacity, it is intended to be the undeniable control center for all your musical creation projects. Thanks to its intelligent keyboard, one of the best MIDI master keyboards on the market can play all types of songs, modify structures, capture achievements and this, while betting on high quality.
Including the sounds of various instruments, the software that accompanies the MIDI keyboard also promises greater freedom of imagination during creative sessions. Everything is accompanied by complete features and tools that ensure comfort and satisfaction during use.
AKAI Professional LPK25 – USB MIDI Keyboard:
Even those who have never played music could use this AKAI Professional LPK25 – USB midi controller. His colorful pads are eye-catching, especially in a dark club environment.
That’s why the AKAI Professional LPK25 USB MIDI Keyboard is perfect for performances. But the keyboard has other advantages as well. It is very light and compact.
The pads are soft, easy to press, and respond to the speed of pressing. Thanks to their sensitivity, it is possible to fully convey the dynamics of the melody.
The device is compatible with all popular programs: Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, ProTools, and Cubase. Among the shortcomings, users highlight the small size of the keys and the lack of wheels for changing the tone and modulation.
There is also no special software for editing settings. But many musicians do without these features, so for them, this will not be a disadvantage.
However, not only is this contender in our list of the best MIDI controllers far from science fiction, it’s also a game-changer for musicians.
Melodists who’ve been all over the rave scene saying they don’t like this model’s backlit pad feature are probably cutting corners on the truth. And just because this Controller is bright and cheerful doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Music lovers who are serious about recreating some of the most popular beats from this magical era of popular music will be impressed with this model’s features that allow us to have fun with music samples from years past.
If you’ve embraced the modern dance music genre, you’ll enjoy getting carried away by the fantastical light.
Of course, musicians who wish to make their lives much simpler can enjoy what is a very delicate piece of music that communicates. At just 1.98 pounds and 9.4 inches in length, it’s obvious you’ll need to pack this compact little MIDI controller in your bag before heading to a show.
Be sure to check out our list of the best headphone amplifiers for more great items like this.
Alesis Q88 MKII – 88 Key USB MIDI Keyboard:
Alesis Q88 MKII – 88 Key USB MIDI Keyboard is one of the top manufacturers of electronic music production tools. The midi keyboard has 88 unweighted, small-sized synth-type keys. They are pressure sensitive.
There are also modulation and pitch bend controls. If necessary, you can connect pedals, they are not included in the kit.
The company pays special attention to software. Seamless integration and Smart Play provide intuitive control of effects, loops, and samples.
The professional instrument weighs only 1.45 kg, so you can easily take it with you to a performance or recording in the studio. A USB cable is used for the connection.
Buyers like everything in the model, except for the keys. Due to the lack of hammer action, they are pressed too easily, and there are clicks, as is often the case with budget midi controllers.
With its mini format, the Launchkey MK3 has been specially designed to be able to accompany its purchaser on all planned trips. With 25 small keys, this model has everything you need to start creating great songs on Ableton Live software.
Extensive library of tones, arpeggiator function, high sensitivity pads, all well controlled with device macros and mixer controls.
The numerous software packages supplied with the midi master keyboard for purchase promise deep musical explorations and performances.
In addition, the multiple plugins for the DAW allow the addition of several other interesting features according to the opinions of buyers.
M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 – USB MIDI Keyboard:
M-Audio is one of the most popular musical instrument companies. They have midi keyboards in different price ranges so that everyone can afford such a purchase.
Keystation Mini is very light and compact, suitable for live performance or home studio. If you are attending sound production or sound engineering courses, you can take this model with you to class.
The controller can be customized to suit your performance style. It has not only keys but also assignable controls. It is also possible to connect Keystation to the iPad.
If we talk about the shortcomings of this model, some users complain about too small and soft keys. They are easy to press, and there is no resemblance to a conventional piano or synthesizer. But you can get used to it with time.
The complexity of the operation of musical creation devices can put off many budding musicians. Carrying on its case only the essentials of a good beatmaker, the latter has only a minimum of connectivity for a highly limited footprint.
With its USB power supply which allows software control, a class driver integrated into the system for quick installation and a Midi socket will simply make the use of your entire creation pack satisfying.
Special mention for the HUI protocol which allows the keyboard to adapt to all versions of software used.
M-Audio Oxygen 25 IV | USB Keyboard and Pad MIDI Controller
According to professionals, the MIDI controllers of the M-Audio Oxygen 25 IV | USB Keyboard and Pad MIDI Controller leave a very pleasant impression when working with Komplete instruments.
The keyboard features a matching number of full-size keys with premium synth action from Fatar, the leading manufacturer of professional keyboards.
The device looks very stylish, its design and workmanship are made at the level of the best world companies, so it will easily decorate any studio.
The functionality of the device is also impressive. It integrates beautifully with all M-Audio products. Before downloading a musical instrument, it is possible to listen to it, and this saves the creator a lot of time.
Screens are viewed at a glance no need to look at the monitor, everything is in one place. In general, with the acquisition of a model, work becomes easier and faster, and the creative process reaches a new level.
Musicians who appreciate the simplicity of midi controller functionality as well as portability will not be disappointed with this 25-key MIDI controller from Korg.
And if you need speed, this baby’s velocity-sensitive keys will have you wondering why it took you so long to pick up this music data communicator.
Indeed, the ease of installing this low-profile midi keyboard in a computer setup is another big selling point for this model.
Control buffs will be impressed with the DAW software provided by Korg on this wonderfully compact MIDI controller.
The eight channels incorporated into this impressive design feature one fader, one knob and three switches; this helps the user to create a more natural mood for the pieces they put together.
Musicians who tend to be unorganized at the best of times could overcome this negative aspect of their music-making process with the ability to use a marker button to help them notate every important part of the songs they’re working on.
Indeed, using this state-of-the-art model should help musicians develop as professional music producers. Don’t forget to combine it with a cool AUX cable from our list.
Nektar SE25 | USB MIDI Controller:
With this Nektar SE25 | USB MIDI Controller keyboard, you can easily dive into the creative process. The instrument is equipped with everything you need: 88 semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys, 9 faders, 8 encoders, and integration with many DAWs.
The midi keyboard controller is a powerful yet easy-to-learn controller. Nektar doesn’t use software “intermediaries” so you can work in your own sequencer.
Packed with all the essentials to ensure a satisfying creative experience for all levels of beatmakers, the MPK Mini MK3 presents itself as the ultimate compact master keyboard.
Ideal for all types of projects, the basic functions and those required to add melodies, bass lines and simple chords are all integrated.
It offers deep DAW integration and numerous performance features. Feature-rich, it has keys that are great to feel, responsive/expressive, and quieter than those built into the original version.
Equipped with 16 backlit RGB pads, 9 faders and 9 assignable encoders, connectivity is not left out with its four outputs and a CV input, which makes it an ideal tool for anyone who uses analog equipment. or modular.
In addition, there is a 5-pin MIDI input/output, as well as sockets for sustain pedals, expression pedals and three AUX pedals.
Very few controllers offer this kind of connectivity to your external hardware. The whole thing is maximized by an 88-key gaming keyboard.
It is seen to be perfectly adapted to all game and performance situations and is able to satisfy all levels of requirements. Special mention for its ultra-compact design allowing it to be transported anywhere.
Ideal companion in the studio and during live performances, a beginner can also take advantage of these reduced dimensions to learn at any time.
Korg, 61-Key Midi Controller:
The Korg, 61-Key Midi Controller is one of the best midi keyboard controllers that looks incredibly stylish with a black finish. The keys are unweighted, but the touch sensitivity is quite high.
There are also two banks of 8 pads with multi-colored illumination, 16 encoders, and pitch and modulation ribbon controls. Separate buttons are provided for switching between octaves.
Along with the midi keyboard, buyers receive an extended set of software: Analog Lab Lite, Ableton Live Lite, and UVI Grand Piano Model D.
The manufacturer pays special attention to the controls. Technologies are constantly being improved for even more accurate and convenient control of all processes.
If you dream of a master keyboard that allows you to have undeniable control so that your creations can meet all your requirements, the MPK 249 is undoubtedly the perfect model for you.
With its 16 pads; 8 faders; 8 potentiometers and other buttons, this MIDI keyboard has a total of 72 controllers that can be set via MIDI commands or even DAW sound plugins.
To optimize everything, an LCD screen offers a global view of all the settings made. In terms of connectivity, the MPK249 has a USB/Midi connection, two inputs for receiving pedals (including 1 sustain) and a Midi output on a 5-pin Din connector for the use of additional sound modules.
The reviews praise the compactness of the tool. Weighing only 1.5 kg, the midi controller will fit into a small bag for going to the studio.
The only thing you can find fault with is the hard pads and the quick appearance of scratches on the glossy keys.
Choosing a MIDI controller primarily depends on what you’re going to use it for. So, if you are a beginner, you will be advise to choose an entry-level device that is easy to use to get used to the principle and concept.
As you use it, you will feel limited and will certainly want to discover new features. Likewise, your needs won’t be the same if you’re someone who has to travel a lot and need a portable controller or if you’re more into studio production.
Thus, you will need to anticipate and analyze your needs before buying a MIDI controller.
Q. How to connect a MIDI keyboard to a PC?
A. Connecting a MIDI keyboard to a PC is quite feasible and to do this, several solutions are available to you. First, the simplest method remains the connection via USB. Just connect it to a USB input on your PC and you’re done! Failing that, at least one Joystick port is required for easy hookup. In this case, the use of a specific cable is necessary, including a MIDI IN and OUT socket to be connected to the keyboard and a connected one to be installed on the Joystick port.
Q. How to use a master keyboard?
A. Using a master keyboard is easy and does not require any specific knowledge. To do this, start by connecting your keyboard to a PC using a USB cable and directly launching the integrated sound software (DAW). Create a MIDI track in the program in order to be able to add a plugin composed of virtual instruments. These plugins will be fully control by your keyboard, which will provide diverse sounds. Then modify and personalize your songs using the various buttons and functions.
Q. Who are MIDI master keyboards for?
A. Due to its main role and its specific functions. The MIDI master keyboard has dedicated to those who want to create their own musical tracks virtually.
Q. How to connect a master keyboard to Ableton?
A. To connect a master keyboard to Ableton. It will be required to connect the MIDI out port to the MIDI in connection to the keyboard. If the USB port has supported, the connection will be even easier.