The best MIDI Keyboard Controllers in 2021

The best MIDI keyboard controllers

The best MIDI keyboard controllers

Having the best MIDI keyboard controllers is a fundamental part of building a home studio in modern-day. The combination of physical touch from a keyboard and the limitless editing prospects of MIDI is a producer’s dream.

MIDI controller basics

This article is dedicated to the best MIDI  keyboard controllers. A MIDI controller is an interface that allows you to edit and control sounds and data from devices that work with MIDI, like your VST plugins, DAW, etc. MIDI is the language that allows electronic music and computers to link by sending information about the exact notes you play and how you play them.

How MIDI works

Pronounced middy, MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital InterfaceIn other wordsMIDI is a digital language used by computers and some electronic instruments to share information with each other. MIDI data is up to be composed or edited on the computer itself or performed directly on an electronic music instrument.

History of MIDI

Back in the 1970s when electronic music was vastly popular, each instrument manufacture had their own musical programming language, which made it inconvenient and at times impossible to use instruments created by multiple manufacturers. To create a solution to that problem, MIDI was founded. A large team of designers from distinct music companies came together and created MIDI.

Types of MIDI Signals

  •  Pitch signal, giving information on how high (or low) we’ll perceive each sound
  •  Duration signal, giving information on how long the note will continue
  •  Velocity signal, the volume of each sound

To help you find the best MIDI keyboard controllers for your home studio, we have divided them for you into 3 different price ranges.

  1. Budget all-in-one 
  2. Middle Range
  3. High End

The best MIDI Keyboard Controllers  

Top 7 Budget models

These controllers contain a mixture of keys, faders, pads, and knobs. Additionally, they’ll go easy on your paycheck.

1. Arturia MiniLab MKII  MIDI Controller

Arturia MiniLab MKII MIDI Controller

Arturia MiniLab MKII  is a small, versatile, and stands out from the crowd. This stylish little limited edition keyboard is just perfect. Everything you love about MiniLab MKII is here: A convenient form factor, hands-on DAW and plugin control, included amazing software and analog Lab integration. Inverted organ-style key colors and flipped black and white casing make Arturia a classic small format controller. Awesome on stage, cool in the studio, and with an unparalleled feature set in such a small controller: MiniLab MKII is a must-have. There are two capacitive touch sensors available on the device. One is for pitch bend, and the other is for modulation. There are octave control keys just beneath these touch sensors, which allow you to shift the range of the keyboard to your desired pitch.

 Pros

  • looks awesome
  • 16 Knobs
  • 1 Pedal Input
  • Software or DAW included: Arturia’s Analog Lab
  • Buttons: Octave Up/Down, Shift, and more
  • 25 Keys (Mini Synth-Action)
  • 2 Touchstrips (Pitch Bend + Modulation)
  • 8 Pads
  • comes with a USB cable and it is powered by the USB, so there is no need to worry about any extra power cables or adapters. 
  • feels better than other small controllers

Cons

  • Plastic construction
  • Keys are too slim for me
  • not too many sound banks

Summary

The Arturia MiniLab Mk II is a cool MIDI controller for beginners that offers all of the most important features for any live performance. In addition, It allows players to express themselves fully thanks to velocity-sensitive controls. It is a very good product at a great price.

2.  AKAI Professional APC Key 25 

AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MIDI Controller Keyboard

What makes AKAI Professional APC Key 25   so great is the great number of pads it has for its size – a whopping 40. Originally designed for Ableton Live. It comes with a collection of software bundles and is unbeatable in portability. It is an incredible addition for Ableton producers and all beatmakers who love pads! APC Key 25 is the only Live-specific mini-keyboard around with so many buttons on it. That’s the same amount of clip control as you get with the recently released APC40, for example, although here we have fewer knobs and no faders. These buttons aren’t velocity-sensitive and are three colours only but you can`t expect more from a controller of this size.

Pros

  • 2 Touchstrips (Pitch Bend + Modulation)
  • Software included: Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Twist, and Toolroom
  • Total Control – Ableton Live USB MIDI Keyboard Controller 
  • Dedicated octave up and down buttons 
  • Effortless Setup – USB powered, plug-and-play setup for Mac and PC and seamless integration with Ableton Live
  • Command Everything – Eight assignable encoders map to Ableton Live to control volume, sends map to virtual instruments, drum machines, and effects for immersive performances
  • Jam, Compose, Create – 40 pad clip-launch controller matrix with tri-color lighting displays for triggering samples, loops, and one-shots
  • Lightweight, highly portable 
  • Includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series

Cons

  • The keyboard feels a little squishy

Summary

Is AKAI APC Key 25 is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers? Well, this unit is a great choice for mobile musicians. It is a hardware recommendation for musicians who are travelling often! Just add some headphones, and if you need a soundcard, try something like the NI or Traktor Audio 2. In other words, that’s all a traveling computer musician needs.

3.  Nektar IMPACT LX25+

Nektar IMPACT LX25+ Midi Controller

The   Impact LX25+  is a compact yet powerful MIDI keyboard controller – jam-packed with features that make it fun to create music and easy to set up. It works with any computer music application as well as offering comprehensive smart controller functionality, not even available on many premium products. With this instrument you are ready to make music in seconds: Plug in the included MIDI cable and let your Windows, OSX or iOS operating system take care of the rest.  What’s more, Impact LX+ hooks up automatically to your DAW: In addition, the included Nektar DAW Integration software turns Impact controllers into fully configured remote controls for 11 popular DAWs. 

 

Pros

  • Solid build
  • Full-sized, medium tension keys
  • Seamless playing and recording — the presence of transport controls make it easy to record and play your music without using your mouse
  • 8 velocity-sensitive drums pads that light up when pressed — perfect for tapping out drum beats
  • Amazing value for this price
  • 25 note velocity-sensitive synth-action
  • 8 velocity-sensitive pads
  • Bitwig 8-Track DAW software
  • USB bus-powered
  • Connectivity: 1/4” TS jack footswitch input, USB port
  • USB Class compliant, no driver is needed for Apple iOS, Apple OSX, Windows XP, or higher, Linux

 Cons

  • Does not map well with FL Studio
  • A bit large and heavy for a 25-key controller

Summary

Nektar Impact LX25+ is most likely the best choice for most producers looking for a simple 25-key MIDI controller for their home recording set-up. When it comes to the features it has the overall user-friendliness of the keyboard. Therefore, this is a great controller for a simple home recording set-up.

4. Alesis V25 USB MIDI Controller

Alesis V25 USB MIDI Controller

The   Alesis V25  is a powerful, intuitive MIDI controller that lets you take command of your computer’s music software without giving up your capacity for dynamic performances. With 25 full-size velocity-sensitive keys and Octave Up/Down buttons, you can expand the keyboard to the full melodic range and play bass lines, chords, and melodies. The Alesis V25 is a powerful, intuitive MIDI controller that lets you take command of your music software with a series of pads, knobs, and buttons.  V25 also features four assignable knobs and buttons for manipulating effect plugins and virtual instruments: open and close filters, adjust volume levels, activate effects, tweak parameters, and more. In addition, the eight velocity-sensitive backlit pads allow you to launch clips or finger drum with exceptional response, and pitch and modulation wheels expand the expressive capabilities of your performing.

Pros

  • Light and compact 25-key MIDI controller 
  • Full-sized, semi-weighted keys
  • 8 velocity-sensitive drums pads – perfect for tapping out drum patterns
  • 4 responsive rotary knobs for tweaking effects and everything else

Cons

  • No transport controls – you won’t be able to control your DAW
  • Needs software to adjust velocity settings 
  • Pads need significant force to trigger medium to high-velocity notes, 

Summary

The Alesis V25 is a great choice for a MIDI controller for beginners. It is a solid keyboard at an excellent price and it comes with 8 drum pads and 4 rotary knobs. You can’t go wrong with this controller. 

5. NI Komplete Kontrol A25 

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A25 MIDI Controller

The Native Instruments  Komplete Kontrol A25   is a smart, 25-key keyboard controller designed for major DAWs, all virtual instruments, effects. The controller includes 8-touch sensitive control knobs, ergonomic pitch and modulation wheels, and a four-directional push encoder for fast project navigation and single-handed sound browsing. It allows you to search sounds across all KOMPLETE instruments by simply pressing the controller’s Browse button, and turning the push encoder to select your instrument and sound. The A25 offers deep integration with MASCHINE software with access to patterns, and tracks.

 Pros

  • The semi-weighted keys are full size, and well suited to most kinds of playing
  • Single-Handed 4-Direction Push Encoder
  • Control Any MIDI Software or Hardware
  • Ergonomic Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • Full VSTi and VST FX support

Cons

  • The display is small. It is a bit difficult to navigate the settings

 

Included Software 

Komplete Kontrol 
The Gentleman: Classic upright piano
Monark: Iconic mono synth
Scarbee Mark 1: Electric piano
Reaktor Blocks Wired: Modular synths
Reaktor PRISM: Polyphonic synthesizer
Reaktor 6 Player: Player for REAKTOR instruments
Kontakt 6 Player: Including 50 instruments
Guitar Rig 5 Player: Custom amp, 17 cabinets, and 13 effects
Maschine Essentials: Full MASCHINE software plus 1.6 GB MASCHINE Factory Selection

 

Summary

For the purchase price, Komplete Kontrol A25 is a fantastic item and probably one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers in this price range. The real strong point of this product is software compatibility. In other wordsIt is a well-built midi keyboard with great features.

6. Akai Professional MPK225

Akai Professional MPK225 Midi Controller

The Akai Professional MPK225 is a compact performance pad and keyboard controller that combines software integration, enhanced workflow, and core technologies from the MPC workstations. It has a comprehensive interface for controlling virtual instruments, effect plug-ins, DAWs, and more. The keyboard interface directly with a Mac or PC computer with USB power and plug-and-play connectivity.

For out-of-the-box music creation, the music production suite of software includes Ableton Live Lite and MPC Essentials.  For instance, MPC Essentials can run standalone and extends the functionality of the controller by adding up to eight pad banks and four samples and insert effects per pad.

Pros

  • 25 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size 
  • Premium piano-style keybed for unprecedented response and natural feel
  • Beat making essentials – Eight RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads each with bank banks for 32 pads 
  • Assignable control – 12 assignable Q-Link controls including eight control knobs and four backlit buttons engineered for hassle-free DAW/virtual Instrument mapping
  • Core MPC tools – MPC mainstay controls included – MPC Note Repeat, arpeggiator, MPC Full Level, Tap Tempo, and Time Division
  • Comprehensive production software package for Mac and PC included – Ableton Live Lite,  SONiVOX Twist 2.0, Hybrid 3

Cons

  • t’s hard to find any

Summary

Engineered to be an all-in-one controller solution, the Akai Professional MPK225 is just a perfect compact performance pad and keyboard controller that combines enhanced workflow, deep software integration, and core technologies from the MPC workstations line.  This is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers in this range.

7. Novation Launchkey 25 MK2

Novation Launchkey 25 MK2 MIDI Controller

The   Novation Launchkey 25 MK2   is the quickest and easiest way to perform and produce electronic music using Ableton Live. The 25-note synth-style keyboard is fast, lightweight, and easy to play.  All controls integrate seamlessly with Ableton Live and can be reassigned to anything. Launchkey 25 is compact and small enough to throw in your bag and take it anywhere. It will work the moment you plug it into your laptop and you won’t need any drivers or power cables as it is bus-powered via USB. Launchkey comes with absolutely everything you need to start making music: Ableton Live Lite, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Novation Bass Station, and V Station virtual instruments, and over 4GB of Loopmasters samples.

Pros

  • Complete plug and play connectivity and control with Ableton Live
  • 25 Semi-Weighted keys
  • 16 Velocity sensitive RGB backlit pads
  • Incontrol System Maps out all controls with all major DAW software
  • Comes with free software bundle and sample packs
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • RGB pads are small and not the best for finger drumming
  • No Aftertouch

Summary

The Novation Launchkey 25 MK2 is a great midi controller that is packed with pads, faders, and encoders and works with all of the main Digital Workstations. It has been created mainly for Ableton Live producers but if you’re just starting out and you have not yet purchased your first DAW then this is a no-brainer for you.

The best MIDI Keyboard Controllers 

Top 6 Middle range controllers

Controllers of this price range have semi-weighted keys for a more realistic interpretation when playing. These controllers have everything you require, knobs, buttons, and faders. Most of these midi keyboards have Aftertouch – data about the amount of pressure you apply on the keys. In other words, if you wish to spend more on a higher-quality controller, this price range is the most suitable for you.

1. Alesis VI49 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Alesis VI49 MIDI Keyboard Controller

The    Alesis VI49 is an advanced USB/MIDI keyboard MIDI controller that lets you control your music software with a series of pads, knobs, and buttons. With 49 velocity-sensitive semi-weighted keys with aftertouch and Octave Up/Down buttons, you can expand the keyboard to the full melodic range and play bass lines, chords, and melodies. You can manipulate plugins and virtual instruments with hands-on controls. You can open and close filters on virtual synthesizers, adjust volume levels in your mix, activate effects, and much more.

 

Pros

  • 16 velocity-sensitive trigger pads with illuminated RGB feedback for beat production
  • Pitch and modulation wheels deliver expressive, creative control
  • 36 assignable buttons and 12 assignable knobs interface
  • Seamless visual feedback via LED screen and illuminated buttons and knobs
  • Production software included: Ableton Live Lite and Xpand!2 by AIR Music Tech
  • USB powered and plug and play support for Mac and PC

Cons

  • Pads aren’t quite sensitive

Summary

The Alesis VI49 is a fantastic value for money, delivering a high-quality product that is well-suited for anyone looking for a reliable keyboard controller for studio use or live gigs.

2. Arturia Keylab 49 Essential

Arturia KeyLab 49 Keyboard Controller

The Arturia KeyLab 49 Essential is everything you need to express your musical ideas, take command of your studio, and perform as you’ve always dreamed. It is a powerful, carefully crafted one-stop solution to creating music, convenient enough for new users, but with features that experienced producers will love. KeyLab Essential gives you everything you need to start creating, performing, tweaking, editing, and releasing your music: a keyboard to perfect your part, a virtual studio, a vast array of sounds to fire your creativity, and finally, all controls to fine-tune your sound. It is sensitive enough to capture the nuance of every performance. KeyLab Essential delivers incredible functionality.

Pros

  • Very good build quality
  • Integrated DAW controls
  • Excellent integration with the Arturia Analog Lab
  • Good MIDI mapping editor and library application

Cons

  • To load and activate all the software might take time
  • No MIDI expression  jack

Summary

The Arturia KeyLab 49 Essential has all the features you would expect. Drum pads, pitch, and mod wheels, octave up/down, encoders and faders. The encoders and faders work great. This is a pretty good controller keyboard that favors solid build quality and a decent set of core features. This unit should definitely be on your shortlist.

3. Novation Impulse 49 USB Midi Controller Keyboard

Novation Impulse 49 USB Midi Controller Keyboard

Novation Impulse 49  includes a unique feature: a roll type of button for drum pattern programming. According to Attack Magazine, it’s “one of the best MIDI controllers on the market.” The pads include an Aftertouch and are backlit. It is exceptionally good for drum programming.

Key features: MIDI in/out, 2 Pedal Inputs, 9 Assignable Buttons, Dedicated Buttons: Octave Up/Down, Play, Stop, Arpeggiator, and more, 9 Faders, 49 keys (Semi-Weighted with Aftertouch), 8 Pads, 8 Knobs, 2 Wheels (Pitch Bend + Modulation), Software or DAW included: Ableton Live Lite, Novation Bass Station, Loopmasters sample library, and Mike The Drummer, DAW integration: all major ones, Other versions: 25 keys, 61 keys.

Pros

  • Ultra-responsive semi-weighted keys with aftertouch
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plug-ins
  • Multi-function drum pads

Cons

  • Lack of a speed dial which is often included in other middle-range MIDI controllers

Summary

Performance-wise, it can be said that Impulse 49 is a great choice. It is a bit more complex in functionality and is better for intermediate to professional users. This is a great MIDI controller for those looking for enhanced functionality in features. Novation Impulse 49 is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers in this range.

4. Akai Professional MPK249 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Akai Professional MPK249 MIDI Keyboard Controller

The   Akai Professional MPK249  is one of our recommended MIDI controllers. The MPK249 lets you control DAWs with presets, virtual instruments, effects plugins, and external hardware. The unit easily integrates with major DAWs and features quality and sensitive Pads.

Pros

  • 49 full-size semi-weighted with aftertouch.
  • 16 Pads which are velocity and pressure-sensitive
  • MPC style (with full RGB) –  4 Pad banks, 64 inputs.
  • 10 Octaves range by using Octave Up and Octave Down controls.
  • Arpeggiator
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite DAW, MPC Essentials software sampler, and the Air Hybrid 3 and SONiVOX Twist virtual synths.
  • USB powered. Also has 5-pin MIDI out and MIDI in, 2 x TRS inputs for the expression pedal and sustain pedal or footswitch input.

Cons

  • The Akai MPK249 is not beginner-friendly

Summary

The Akai Professional MPK249  is a well-designed and well-built keyboard that is surprisingly portable for its size. All controls feel robust crafted, especially the MPC-borrowed pads, semi-weighted keyboard, and sliders. The LCD screen is bright and the pitch/mod wheels have a rubbery feel to them. It won’t impress you with its looks but it won’t give you much room to complain either.

5. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 Midi Controller Keyboard

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 Midi Controller Keyboard

The   Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49    is a smart, streamlined keyboard controller for your virtual instruments and effects. It has full integration with KOMPLETE and NKS plug-ins, plus MASCHINE, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and Ableton Live

Pros

  • Semi-weighted custom NI keyboard
  • Informative OLED display for at-a-glance navigation
  • Single-Handed 4-Direction Push Encoder
  • Ergonomic Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • 8 touch-sensitive control knobs
  • USB 2.0 bus-powered
  • Great NKS hardware and software integration

Cons

  • The display is small. It is a bit difficult to navigate the settings

Included Software 

Komplete Kontrol 
The Gentleman: Classic upright piano
Monark: Iconic mono synth
Scarbee Mark 1: Electric piano
Reaktor Blocks Wired: Modular synths
Reaktor PRISM: Polyphonic synthesizer
Reaktor 6 Player: Player for REAKTOR instruments
Kontakt 6 Player: Including 50 instruments
Guitar Rig 5 Player: Custom amp, 17 cabinets, and 13 effects
Maschine Essentials: Full MASCHINE software plus 1.6 GB MASCHINE Factory Selection

Summary

Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol A49 keyboards have great functionality. This is a serious amount of pro hardware and software for an almost amateur level of money. The A49 sets itself up as a control surface in Logic and has transport controls. You can shuttle the song position, mute/solo the current track, move through the tracklist, turn the metronome, and cycle on/off.

6. Nektar DAW Controller (T4)

Nektar DAW Controller (T4)

The   Nektar DAW Controller T4   Panorama is the first controller to deliver Nektar-level instrument plugin control in any VST/AU compatible DAW. It loads patches directly from the keyboard. You can start controlling parameters immediately, with every change instantly visible on the LED display. Take control of any instrument plugin with one of the many included maps. You can customize and create your own as well. Discover new performance tools like the power chords, hold and note repeat functions. Panorama T4 connects to most DAWs delivering track navigation, mixer, and transport control with either Nektar DAW integration or MCU compatibility.

Pros

  • 49 ‘synth-action Mk II’ key controller with aftertouch
  • 8 pads, 9 30mm faders, 8 buttons, 8 encoders (all MIDI-assignable), 4 navigation buttons, 6 transport, octave up/down
  • Mixer, Inst, Internal and Multi modes
  • 128×64 pixel LCD
  • 1/4-inch expression and footswitch, MIDI Out, USB
  • Compatible with any MIDI software, deep integration with Bitwig, Cubase, Logic, GarageBand, Nuendo, Reaper, Reason, and Studio One

Cons

  • Users of other DAWs not listed above were generally disappointed that the P4 is not deeply integrated with them.

Summary

The Nektar DAW Controller T4  Panorama is a really good choice. if you have one of the listed DAWs above, then you’ll find the Panorama P4 will improve your workflow immensely.

The best MIDI Keyboard Controllers

Top 5 High-End MIDI controllers

This price section is for the experienced users and those of you who want to create something significant. Everything here is top-tier and top quality.

1. Arturia KeyLab 61 MKII Keyboard Controller 

Arturia KeyLab 61 MKII Keyboard Controller

The Arturia KeyLab61 MkII  has rock-solid build quality, superior ergonomics, and expressivity. It provides total control over your virtual instruments and DAW software. The unit has raised the bar for professional MIDI controller keyboards. Onstage or in the studio, you need a keyboard controller that gets the job done. Unlike many keyboard controllers made entirely of plastic, the KeyLab MkII features a lightweight yet rugged aluminum chassis that can stand up to the most grueling tour schedules.

Pros

  • Classy, professional design.
  • 61-note MIDI Controller Keyboard with Aftertouch
  • 5 Expression Control Inputs
  • 16 RGB Backlit Performance Pads
  • 9 Rotary Encoders
  • 9 Large Faders
  • Superb hardware and software experience

Cons

  • Does not come with a power supply, however, you can power it via  USB

Summary

The KeyLab MkII is an awesome controller keyboard that not only delivers great playability but also tackles DAW control and synth editing. Add the CV capabilities and standalone operation and the price seems reasonably justified. The Arturia KeyLab61 MkII is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers in this range.

2. Akai Professional Advance 49

Arturia Keylab 61 keyboard controller

The Akai Professional Advance 49   comes with their Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) software which can run as a stand-alone application. Also, it can run as a plugin with any AU, VST, or AAX compatible DAW. Therefore,   you can control nearly all VSTi’s with or without a DAW running making it ideal for live use. The VIP software lets you edit, control, and mix up to 8 VSTi’s in real-time and the full-color screen provides real-time reporting on plugin parameters. When used as a plugin, you can run unlimited instances of VIP.

Pros

  • View Plug-in Parameters On-Screen
  • Works with virtually every VSTi-compatible plug-in
  • Operates as a standalone virtual instrument player
  • Also operates as a plug-in within any AU, VST, or AAX compatible DAW
  • Organizes your plug-in collection with intuitive browsing by the plug-in, artist collection, instrument type, and more
  • Access, edit, and mix up to 8 virtual instruments simultaneously
  • Pre-mapped to hundreds of virtual instruments
  • May run Unlimited instances of VIP in a DAW

Cons

  • Setting it up is a bit complicated

Summary

The Akai Professional Advance 49 is extremely well-built, with thick rubber coating on the pitch and mod wheels, and the pads are very responsive and you can actually play finger rolls on one pad. Having the VIP software is a great addition. You can access hundreds of plug-ins, but it’s nice to be able to add the ability to use VST plug-ins as well through VIP. The only thing that’s missing is faders. The Akai Professional Advance is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers with 49 keys.

3. Novation 61SL MkIII, MIDI Keyboard Controller

Novation 61SL MkIII, MIDI Keyboard Controller

The Novation61Sl MkIII  is the centerpiece that can be used to control your whole studio, working perfectly alongside your DAW. Make working with your hardware easy and creatively rewarding, and construct your next production in the 8 track polyphonic sequencer, with everything staying in sync. Make controlling your software easy by recording productions from a studio centerpiece. The five color LCD screens give you full parameter feedback, enabling you to see everything you are controlling.  Play and edit your sequences directly from the keyboard. Record your movements as automation into the sequencer, bringing life to your production. Choose an ARP type, set a sync rate, tweak the length, and then use the pads to design your rhythms in real-time. Highly customizable mappings for hardware and software easily control everything. Create your own templates in the software editor, and save them to the keyboard. 

Pros

  • 61-key keyboard controller
  • Expressive synth-style semi-weighted keybed
  • Aftertouch can be assigned to any parameter you’d like
  • On-key RGB LED feedback allows you to see scales, modes, and zones
  • Internal 8-track, pattern-based sequencer
  • Velocity-sensitive RGB pads with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Backlit pitch and modulation wheels
  • Built-in arpeggiator and selectable velocity curves
  • Customizable mappings for both your hardware and software
  • Comprehensive hardware connectivity including MIDI In, Out, and Out 2/Thru
  • Deep integration with Ableton, Logic, and Reason
  • HUI compatibility with Cubase, Pro Tools, Studio One, and REAPER

Cons

  • No per-channel swing.

Summary

With the Novation61Sl MkIII, you’ll take control of your projects like never before. Experience precise action, thanks to expressive synth-style semi-weighted keys. Command and control your synths and modules with ease, courtesy of MIDI In, Out, and Out 2 -Thru. Harness the full power of any InControl- or HUI-compatible DAW using the 61SL MkIII’s pads, buttons, faders, and knobs. Create mind-blowing arrangements easier than ever, thanks to an internal 8-track sequencer, a built-in arpeggiator, and scales, modes, and zones.

4. Korg TRTK49  MIDI Controller 

Korg TRTK49 MIDI Controller

The   Korg TRTK49   is  a USB/MIDI controller that includes 512 program sounds from the legendary Korg TRITON workstation. Equipped with a semi-weighted keyboard, taktile is loaded with functions that make it fun to use, like a touchpad, trigger pads, and an arpeggiator that includes rhythm patterns.

Pros

  • Powerful USB/MIDI controller with our legendary TRITON engine onboard!
  • Built-in KAOSS pad offers control to change or phrase generation; doubles as a trackpad with click
  • Offers a generous assortment of assignable controllers plus full transport control
  • Various assignable controllers (8 sliders, 8 knobs, 8 switches), dedicated DAW transport switches
  • Arpeggiator with rhythm patterns

Cons

  • Does not offer an onboard sequencer

Summary

The Korg TRTK49  offers plenty of real-time controls including pads, dials, DAW transport, wheels, sliders, and touchpad.  The sound engine of this unit provides a wide range of good-quality sounds.  The controller is compatible with Mac, Windows, and iOS devices such as the iPad. This unit is one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers.

5. ROLI Seaboard Block Studio 

ROLI Seaboard Block Midi Controller

The Roli Seaboard Studio  edition is a super powerful new generation Midi keyboard that adds instant expression to your music, pitch bend, timbre, and shapes the sound with natural gestures on a soft, touch-responsive surface. It is designed for triggering sounds and manipulating their waveforms. which is especially good for creating cinematic soundscapes and it is great for playing scorching riffs. The pitch bend system is a real innovation and allows you to play a single note and change its pitch in one fluid motion by sliding your finger up the key and to the left or right along the top-mounted touch-sensitive pad. The 5D Touch design makes this unit an unbelievably expressive. You will enjoy a fluid playing experience when running through chords, solos, or anything in between. 

 

Pros

  • 5D Touch Technology
  • 24 key wave, two-octave playing surface
  • Connects to other ROLI Blocks (sold separately)
  • Includes Roli’s Studio Player software
  • Wireless and portable
  • Effortless integration in a modern studio

Cons

  • No sustain input or DIN MIDI breakout ports

Summary

This is a groundbreaking way of producing an extra layer of expression. Roli`s  USP is a clever MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) system, which takes musical articulation to a whole new level.  Thanks to the 5D technology embedded in the surface, you can bend and slide notes with ease, resulting in an unprecedented level of control. The Roli Seaboard Studio Edition is probably one of the best MIDI Keyboard Controllers that adds instant expression to your music

 End Remarks

Now that you’re familiar with what MIDI is and how it works, it’s time to make the first step to building your own home studio! Determine what type of controller you are specifically looking for to suit your needs, and how much are you willing to spend. The best MIDI Keyboard Controllers  list will help you chose the right keyboard which can greatly impact your chances of success as a producer, so choose wisely and create some magic!

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