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best midi keyboards

Top 5 Best MIDI Keyboards in 2024

MIDI keyboards are essential tools for music production, allowing musicians and producers to create music with ease. These keyboards are versatile and can be used to create a wide range of sounds, from classic piano to electronic dance music.

When looking for the best MIDI keyboard, there are several factors to consider. One of the most critical things to consider is the number of keys on the keyboard. A keyboard with more keys allows for more complex compositions and a wider range of notes.

Another essential factor to consider is the keyboard’s sensitivity and responsiveness. A keyboard that can detect subtle differences in touch can help musicians create more expressive and nuanced performances.

After researching and testing various MIDI keyboards, we have identified the top options for musicians and producers. In this article, we will explore the best MIDI keyboards on the market and help you choose the perfect one for your needs.

Best MIDI Keyboards

We know that finding the right MIDI keyboard can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available in the market. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best MIDI keyboards that will suit the needs of beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. Whether you’re looking for a compact MIDI keyboard for your home studio or a full-sized one for live performances, we’ve got you covered. So, without further ado, let’s dive into our top picks for the best MIDI keyboards.

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

If you are looking for a compact and versatile MIDI keyboard controller, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a great choice. With its wide range of features and included software, this keyboard is perfect for both beginners and professionals.

Pros

  • The 25 mini keys are velocity-sensitive and perfect for playing melodies and chords.
  • The 8 backlit MPC-style pads are great for programming drums and triggering samples.
  • The 4-way joystick provides dynamic pitch and modulation control, while the built-in arpeggiator lets you create complex patterns easily.

Cons

  • The keys may feel a bit small for users with larger hands.
  • The included software may not be suitable for everyone’s needs.
  • The USB cable could be longer.

The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a complete package that includes everything you need to start making music right away. The compact size of the keyboard makes it easy to carry around, while the USB power means you can use it anywhere without the need for an external power source.

One of the standout features of this keyboard is the 8 backlit MPC-style pads. These pads are perfect for programming drums and triggering samples, and they are velocity-sensitive, so you can create dynamic performances. The 4-way joystick is also a great addition, providing dynamic pitch and modulation control that can be used in a variety of ways.

The built-in arpeggiator is another highlight of the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3. With adjustable resolution, range, and modes, you can create complex patterns easily and quickly. The 8 360-degree knobs are also assignable to all your music studio plugins, making it easy to tweak synth controls and more.

Overall, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a great MIDI keyboard controller that offers a wide range of features and excellent value for money. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this keyboard is sure to meet your needs and help you create great music.

M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3

If you’re looking for a MIDI keyboard controller that’s easy to use and provides a natural feel, the M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 is an excellent option.

Pros

  • The 61 full-size, velocity

AKAI Professional LPK25 – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

If you’re looking for a compact and portable MIDI keyboard controller, the AKAI Professional LPK25 might be the perfect fit for you.

Pros

  • The LPK25 is incredibly compact and lightweight, making it easy to take with you on the go.
  • The Gen 2 Dynamic keybed provides an excellent playing experience with careful attention to velocity response.
  • With the built-in arpeggiator and clock, you have creative control of any of your sound sources like software instruments, synthesizers, or USB-enabled modular gear, all by one USB cable.

Cons

  • The mini keys might feel a bit cramped for some users who are used to playing on a full-sized keyboard.
  • The LPK25 only has 25 keys, which might not be enough for more complex compositions.
  • The LPK25 lacks some of the more advanced features found on larger MIDI keyboard controllers.

Overall, the AKAI Professional LPK25 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a compact and portable MIDI keyboard controller. With its responsive keys, built-in arpeggiator, and clock, it’s a versatile tool that’s perfect for songwriting, beat-making, and DJ remixes whenever inspiration strikes. However, if you’re used to playing on a full-sized keyboard or need more advanced features, you might want to consider a larger MIDI keyboard controller.

midiplus AKM320 Midi Keyboard Controller

If you’re looking for an affordable and compact MIDI keyboard controller, the midiplus AKM320 is a great option.

Pros

  • The 32-note velocity-sensitive mid-size key keyboard is perfect for those who don’t need a full-sized keyboard but still want to play with expression.
  • The pitch and modulation wheels, octave buttons (up & down), transpose buttons (up & down), and volume slider make it easy to control your music.
  • The AKM320 is powered via a single USB cable, which makes it easy to connect to your computer and start playing instantly.

Cons

  • The sustain pedal is not included, so you’ll need to purchase it separately if you want to use it.
  • The keys may feel a bit stiff at first, but they loosen up with use.
  • The overall build quality is not as sturdy as more expensive models.

We found that the midiplus AKM320 is a great value for the price. The compact size is perfect for traveling, and the velocity-sensitive keys and pitch/modulation wheels allow for expressive playing. However, the lack of a sustain pedal and the slightly stiff keys may be a drawback for some users. Overall, we recommend the midiplus AKM320 for those looking for an affordable and compact MIDI keyboard controller.

M-WAVE Bluetooth 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads

If you’re looking for a versatile, compact, and wireless MIDI keyboard controller, the M-WAVE Bluetooth 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 8 Backlit Drum Pads is an excellent option.

Pros

  • The keyboard is USB-powered and has 25 mini velocity-sensitive keys that allow for precise control over virtual synthesizers and beat production.
  • The controller is wireless and can be connected to your device with Bluetooth. The built-in 2,000 mAh battery can work for about 16 hours, making it ultra-portable and easy to take with you to the studio, cafe, or hotel to compose music.
  • The M-WAVE keyboard is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS, and with all digital audio workstations like Ableton live, Fl Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro X, Bitwig, Reason, Studio One, and GarageBand.

Cons

  • The keyboard’s keys are mini, which may not be suitable for those with larger hands or who prefer full-sized keys.
  • The 8 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads may feel a bit stiff for some users.
  • While the M-WAVE keyboard is compatible with most digital audio workstations, some users may experience connectivity issues with certain software.

The M-WAVE Bluetooth 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 8 Backlit Drum Pads is a powerful and smart keyboard that can help you create music on the go. The keyboard’s 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads, 8 assignable rotary encoders, and 2 capacitive touch stripes pitch bend to all your music studio plugins for mixing, tweaking synth controls, and more.

One of the best features of the M-WAVE keyboard is its smart chord and smart sound function, which allows users to choose quickly through the keys. This feature is very suitable for setting up during performance and practice.

In conclusion, the M-WAVE Bluetooth 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 8 Backlit Drum Pads is a great choice for those looking for a compact, wireless, and versatile MIDI keyboard controller. It’s perfect for songwriters, beat makers, and music producers who want to create music on the go.

Buying Guide

When it comes to buying a MIDI keyboard, there are a few key features to look for that will help you choose the best product for your needs. In this section, we will go over some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a MIDI keyboard.

Size and Number of Keys

One of the first things to consider when choosing a MIDI keyboard is the size and number of keys. MIDI keyboards come in a range of sizes, from compact 25-key models to full-sized 88-key keyboards. The size and number of keys you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the type of music you plan to create. If you plan to use your keyboard for playing piano parts, a full-sized keyboard with 88 keys may be the best choice. However, if you are looking for a more portable option, a smaller keyboard with 25 or 49 keys may be a better fit.

Connectivity Options

Another important factor to consider is the connectivity options of the MIDI keyboard. Most keyboards will connect to your computer via USB, but some models may also include MIDI inputs and outputs for connecting to other MIDI devices. Additionally, some keyboards may include Bluetooth connectivity for wireless use. Make sure to choose a keyboard with the connectivity options that will work best for your setup.

Built-in Controls

Many MIDI keyboards also include built-in controls such as knobs, sliders, and pads. These controls can be used to adjust parameters in your music software, making it easier to create and manipulate sounds. When choosing a MIDI keyboard, consider the types and number of built-in controls and how they will fit into your workflow.

Aftertouch and Velocity Sensitivity

Finally, it is important to consider the aftertouch and velocity sensitivity of the MIDI keyboard. Aftertouch allows you to apply pressure to the keys after they have been pressed, which can be used to add expression and dynamics to your playing. Velocity sensitivity measures how hard you strike the keys and can be used to control the volume and intensity of your playing. Look for a keyboard with adjustable aftertouch and velocity sensitivity settings to ensure that you can customize your playing experience.

By considering these key features, you can choose the best MIDI keyboard for your needs and create music with ease and precision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What features differentiate entry-level MIDI keyboards from professional models?

Entry-level MIDI keyboards typically have fewer keys, fewer features, and a lower price point than professional models. They may have limited or no aftertouch, velocity sensitivity, or programmable controls. Professional models, on the other hand, often have more keys, more features, and a higher price point. They may have aftertouch, velocity sensitivity, programmable controls, and other advanced features that are essential for professional use.

Which MIDI keyboard brands are most recommended for live performances?

Some of the most recommended MIDI keyboard brands for live performances include Akai, Novation, and Roland. These brands offer high-quality keyboards with features such as velocity sensitivity, aftertouch, and programmable controls that are essential for live performances.

How do I select a MIDI keyboard suitable for a beginner?

When selecting a MIDI keyboard suitable for a beginner, it is important to consider factors such as the number of keys, the price point, and the ease of use. A keyboard with 49 or 61 keys is often a good choice for beginners, as it provides enough keys for basic playing while still being easy to handle. Additionally, a keyboard with a lower price point and simple controls can be a good option for beginners who are just starting out.

What are the best options for MIDI keyboards on a budget under $100?

Some of the best options for MIDI keyboards on a budget under $100 include the M-Audio Keystation Mini 32, the Akai LPK25, and the Korg NanoKey2. These keyboards offer basic features and functionality at an affordable price point.

What should I consider when choosing a MIDI keyboard for music production software like FL Studio or Ableton?

When choosing a MIDI keyboard for music production software like FL Studio or Ableton, it is important to consider factors such as the number of keys, the presence of programmable controls, and the compatibility with your software of choice. Additionally, a keyboard with aftertouch and velocity sensitivity can be useful for creating expressive performances.

What are the advantages of a full-sized MIDI keyboard compared to smaller, more portable options?

A full-sized MIDI keyboard offers the advantage of a larger playing surface, which can be beneficial for playing complex pieces or for performers with larger hands. Additionally, full-sized keyboards often have more programmable controls and advanced features than smaller, more portable options. However, smaller options can be more portable and easier to store, making them a good choice for performers on the go.

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