Some people who aren’t professional musicians may wonder why 49-key midi controllers are currently so popular. After all, there’s a ton of different keyboards available these days including the sub-49 key models and the above 49 key models. What makes these keyboard great for both musicians and studios is that they are still small enough to be mobile, but large enough for the musician to have access to four octave-sets of keys. Which is why we’ve jumped on the bandwagon and have listed the ten best models currently available. Anyone of the following controllers is designed to give the pianist the features they need while remaining small enough to be transported from one gig to the next.
Our Top Picks for the Best 49-Key Midi Controllers
#1 Roland 49-key Keyboard Controller
Designed for composers who are series about their compositions or for use by professional musicians, this 49-Key Midi Keyboard Controller has all the features needed to get the job done. It comes with 45 assignable controls that really allow the player to make the sound that they want to make. These controls come in a number of different buttons, sliders, and knobs, so the user has good control. It also as 8 dynamic pads for triggering MIDI events or for drumming and it’s capable of working with both MAC and PC computers. And since it’s designed with Roland’s specifications, users can expect quality from this keyboard.
#2 Akai Professiona MPK249 Keyboard
The Akai Professional MPK249 isn’t a controller that’s designed for amateur use. It’s a product that’s designed to put some of the most powerful tools in the hands of professional musicians, and it does it unapologetically. It has 49 semi-weighted full-size keys that are pressure sensitive and have just the right amount of pressure to them. This controller also has 8 faders, knobs, and switches which give the player plenty of control over their sound. Additional features found on this unit include 16 RGB-illuminated pads, and software which include Ableton Live Lite and MPC Essentials. This makes this controller ready for the studio.
#3 Nektar Panorama P4 MIDI Controller
The Nektar Panorama P4 looks like someone has combined a soundboard with a keyboard and labeled it as a 49-key Midi Controller. It not only has semi-weighted keys that are sensitive and have a slight after-touch, but it also has a number of controls which gives the player complete control over their sound. It has 12 pads that have pressure and velocity sensitivity built into them, 16 different encoders, 10 assignable LED buttons and 4 keyboard zones that are programmable with program changes and controller filters. And to think, that’s only the beginning of the features found on this quality controller.
#4 MidiPlus Midi Controller Mini X4
Although it’s compact size is often the reason why some people buy the X4 Mini, once they begin playing it they soon realize that this keyboard also contains quite a few helpful features. It has a backlit LED, 49 weighted keys and is powered by USB, so no external power supply has to be set up for use with it. This instrument also has 4 knobs, which are customizable and this keyboard is Plug N’ Play compatible, so no drivers are needed to set it up. And finally, this instrument has capacitive touch sensors which allow modulation and pitch to be easily controlled.
#5 Alesis V49 USB MIDI Keyboard
Not only is the Alesis V49 an intuitive and easy-to-play MIDI controller, but it’s also one that has a pretty good amount of features for a device in its price range. It has 49 full-size keys that have a beautiful touch to them, and it has a number of knobs, wheels, and buttons which make it infinitely customizable. Not only does this keyboard have modulation and pitch wheels, but it also has 4 knobs and 4 buttons which are assignable. And if that isn’t enough, it also has 8 LED backlit drum trigger pads that are responsive to not only velocity but also pressure as well. This allows the player to really customize their sound.
#6 Korg MicroKey Air 49 Controller
Although this keyboard isn’t equipped with a variety of buttons and gizmos like other midi controllers have, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t offer the same capabilities to its operator. This product can connect wireless to any iPad, iPhone or MAC, and it comes with free software that allows the player to have an exceptional amount of control over their sound. This instrument can also be connected via a USB cable if needed. All of these innovative features make this a compact keyboard that can be taken just about anywhere and has a natural touch mini-keyboard that’s easy to play.
#7 Samson Graphite USB Controller
At first glance, the Samson Graphite looks like a complicated keyboard that has a variety of buttons, faders, wheels, and dials. However, it’s not as complicated as it looks, but it does contain a lot of features which makes it worth checking out. This keyboard has 49-keys which are semi-weighted, so they have a nice feel to them. It also features a large LCD screen that allows the player to know what’s going on at all times and it has both pitch and modulation wheels. Other features found on this keyboard include 9 programmable faders, 16-buttons for DAW and virtual instrumentation control and 8 encoders.
#8 Alesis Q49 USB MIDI Keyboard
The Alesis Q49 is a MIDI keyboard that attempts to take a lot of the guesswork out of playing it, so the composer can concentrate on their musical composition. It has pitch and modulation wheels which allow the player to add musical expression to their pieces and has octave up/down buttons that extend the note range of the keyboard without making it larger. Another key feature found on this keyboard is a single USB cable that not only delivers power to the unit but can also deliver data from the keyboard. And finally, this product comes with Ableton Live Lite software so the player can begin creating the next piece right away.
#9 Novation Impulse 49-Key Keyboard
This high-quality midi controller is packed with a number of exciting features. First of all, it’s USB powered and has sustain and expression pedal inputs along with its MIDI in/out ports for hooking up to external instruments. It also has 49 semi-weighted keys that are very responsive and have a nice touch to them. Another thing that people will notice when they first look at this keyboard is that it’s packed with sliders, buttons, and knobs that give the player the utmost control over their music. It also features multi-function drum pads and an LCD screen so the player can see their settings at a glance.
#10 Midiplus AK490 Controller
Powered by 6 AA batteries or by hooking it up to a USB power supply, this 49-note midi controller is easy to set up and get running. This keyboard features a modulation wheel, a socket for a sustain pedal that can be purchased for this unit separately, and it has a pitch wheel. This product also has velocity sensitive full-size keys that make it a joy to play. This unit’s 5-pin DIN midi connection is easy to hook up to a PC’s sound card or a midi interface. And the final feature worth mentioning about this keyboard is that it has octave up and down buttons for added effect.
49-Key Midi Controllers Guide
Anyone looking for a keyboard does so with convenience in mind. One of the biggest ways you can still get a great sound with a portable size is with a 49-Key Midi Controller. Some of the best products in the range make travel easy and are packed full of features.
However, it is only possible to find a product you will enjoy using when you know what to look for. We have made this decision a lot easier by creating the following guide so you get it right the first time.
What To Look For In 49-Key Midi Controllers
The better 49-Key Midi Controllers are easy to pack away because of their size, but also very light. This makes performing overseas or just traveling up and down the country a lot easier. When the band is unpacking, you don’t have to break your back moving yours from the van to the stage.
Of course, a 49-Key Midi Controller is only as good as the sound it creates. The better options will come with several adjustable sounds and will make it possible for you to create an authentic piano wherever you go.
The speakers will have a lot to do with this as unless you are plugging it in on-stage, you want the sound to be enjoyable when you are practicing.
Many of the best 49-Key Midi Controllers come with 100+ sound options which not only makes your at-home practice time fun, it adds to the potential sounds and songs.
This might be less important to anyone wanting to learn how to play from scratch but the better you get, the more you will want to experiment.
Learning a new instrument can be a daunting task and a lot of people dip their toes into the world of piano by purchasing a 49-Key Midi Controller. What makes the experience a lot more enjoyable is when you have a helping hand for improving.
A lot of products come with learning guides to help you learn new songs and others give you access to a learning app for a limited time. Some will allow you to record as you go so you can playback and see where you need to improve.
This won’t give you the ability to play for long periods without having to intervene but it makes for a convenient way to use the 49-Key Midi Controller. Because they are smaller they require less power which means some only require a few batteries to work.
As long as it can also be plugged into the mains you should have no limits to what it can do and where you can play it.
Any 49-Key Midi Controller that has multiple rhythm options will be great fun to play with and being able to practice keeping time will help a beginner to improve. You might not get so many options when looking at a beginner’s 49-Key Midi Controller but there are still plenty that do.
This might come in the form of a drum pad which will be more important for some people but can undoubtedly add to the fun for anyone.
Easy To Read Display
Because a lot of products come with a variety of playing options, it is important to find one with an easy to read display. This makes it easy to get to grips with and can help you to navigate your way around the different sounds so you unlock as many features as possible.
Not everyone has a budget that stretches as far but this shouldn’t put anyone off buying a 49-Key Midi Controller. This is because there are a variety of options out there and something for all budgets. The main thing to consider is how many options you need as the more you want, the more the 49-Key Midi Controller is going to cost.
Depending on the model, this can open up a lot of fun features such as being able to record as you go and connect it to your phone or laptop. Because of this, you can send a new idea to a friend in a second.
Do 49-Key Midi Controllers Need Touch Sensitive Keys?
To get the authentic feel of a piano you need to ensure the 49-Key Midi Controller you are looking for comes with touch-sensitive keys. Without them, you won’t be able to transfer between the two as easily and it can reduce the number of sounds you can create.
By being able to control the volume you can bring a different ambiance to a range of songs.
What Is The Best 49-Key Midi Controller?
In some ways, the best 49-Key Midi Controller is the one that fits into your budget. However, we like the Roland 49-key Keyboard Controller because of the 45 assignable controls that put the user in control and gives you a tonne of options. It is also great value, easy to use, has pads to play with, and has the reputable Roland brand name behind it.