Looking for a MIDI keyboard to enhance your music production? Then check out our recommended list of the Top 10 MIDI keyboards on the market right now.
Novation Launchkey 49
A solid performance keyboard boasting a huge range of features and controls with 4GB of samples included.
MIDI keyboards are a valuable asset when it comes to music production. These devices provide a wide scope of features and controls which can simulate piano keys, strings, guitars and other classic orchestral instruments. On top of this, you can create complex drum loops, synth patterns, and make some highly-interesting sound design elements to implement into your tracks. All by twisting and tweaking a few knobs and buttons! Each MIDI keyboard is different. This is why we’re going to run through an affordable selection of options to help you pick a model which is right for you.
Note: This list is specific to MIDI keyboard controllers. If you are looking for a keyboard synthesizer only, some of these products may not suit you needs. If you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for check out: the difference between MIDI keyboards and keyboard synthesizers first.
In this article, we’re going to review the following MIDI keyboard controllers:
- Arturia MiniLab MKII
- MIDIPLUS 32-Key AKM320
- Nektar Impact LX25+
- Alesis V49
- IK Multimedia iRig Keys Pro
- Novation Launchkey 49
- M-Audio Keystation 88 II
- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32
- M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
- Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII
Why Should I Purchase a MIDI Keyboard?
We guess you’re probably at a stage in your productions where you may feel the need to add some extra flavor to your projects. That’s exactly where MIDI keyboards come in. They allow you to explore the wonderful world of live-sounding instruments and synths without having to go out and purchase these items and hardware individually. This not only speeds up your workflow, but gives you full creativity when it comes to the building blocks of your tracks and the endless possibilities when it comes to enhancing your live performances.
MIDI keyboards give you a solid, compact workstation which you can drop samples into, and mimic these instruments and sounds to an exceptional degree! These sounds can then be hooked up to your DAW to manipulate further: drop them into a sequencer or sampler, edit and remix loops, build melodies, drum patterns, add oscillators, mess with envelopes – you really can do so much more using this powerful all-in-one tool! Which is why MIDI keyboards are an absolute must for any producer serious about making beats.
How We Chose:
What we look for in a top-quality MIDI keyboard comprises of the below factors:
- Quality and durability
- Feel of the keys
- Responsiveness of the controls
- DAW compatibility
- Software included
- Ease of setup
MIDI keyboards seriously cut a lot of the extra work and carve out more time for you to play around with new concepts and ideas as a result. They let you pay more attention to the details and micro elements in your tracks that would otherwise prove very limited through your DAW alone. We concluded that every single unit we tested in this list has their own unique qualities and features, and most if not all, would be suitable for both beginners and professional musicians.
However, we have to say that the Arturia MiniLab is our undefeated champion for the best MIDI keyboards. Not only did it take minutes to set up and was compatible with all the popular DAWs we tested it with, we found the keys to be a complete pleasure to the touch. Even before we messed with the velocity curves! This was also something we found to be quite fiddly and long-winded with the other models. The responsiveness of both the trigger pads and transport controls were also impressive, while the overall build quality of the keyboard feels sleek and made to last. All in all, the MiniLab is a beautiful, fully-loaded controller with one of the most affordable price tags on the market. We wouldn’t hesitate to add to our own set up, let alone recommend it for anyone else’s!