Digital Piano Reviews

Best Cheap MIDI Keyboards – 2020 Reviews

Cheap MIDI keyboards are inexpensive keyboards which can be purchased for under a $100 and can sometimes be purchased even cheaper than that. However, what they should actually be called are inexpensive MIDI keyboards because cheap implies that they’re low quality and that’s not the case. There are plenty of controllers in this price range that provide good quality but do it without busting the bank.

To show our readers some of the keyboards available in this category, we’ve selected ten of the best ones currently available. The following models have many of the features that people look for in a low-price MIDI keyboard, are of good quality and aren’t expensive at all. Let’s take a closer look at these models and see what’s available.

Our Top Picks for the Best Cheap MIDI Keyboards

#1 Novation Launchkey Mini USB Controller

Many of the tools a person expects out of a quality MIDI controller can be found on this product. It has 16 backlight drum pads that are multi-colored and just so happen to be velocity sensitive. It also has 8 knobs that allow the user to tweak the instruments in a number of exciting ways. A great thing about this product is that it also comes with a nice selection of software that can be used for MACs and PCs. Some of the software that’s included with this model include XLN Audio Addictive Keys, V Station Virtual Instruments and Ableton Live Lite.


#2 Korg Slime-Line USB Keyboard

Designed with a low-profile that allows it to sit neatly in front of a PC, this controller is easy to set up and use. It has 25-keys, supports numerous MIDI software titles and has a sustain button that’s suitable for entering piano parts into it. Additional features that can be found on this keyboard include 8 channels and each of these channels come with a fader and a knob. The keys on this product are velocity sensitive and their placement is designed to improve the user’s accuracy and performance. All of which makes this cheap MIDI controller one worth taking a look at.


#3 Monoprice MIDI 49-Key Controller

A number of great features can be found on this controller. It has 49-keys which are extremely sensitive, 4 rotary encoder knobs and a slider. It also has 2 assignable pedal inputs, modulation and pitch bend wheels, and a MIDI out port. This product is also powered from the devices USB bus, so an external power source isn’t needed, but it can be used with an optional power adapter if the user desires. And since this product is Plug N’ Play compatible, no drivers are needed when it’s used with MACs or PCs. All of which makes it a great product to use.


#4 IK Multimedia iRig Compact MIDI Controller

Designed to have out-of-the-box compatibility with a variety of different devices, this MIDI controller is extremely versatile for anyone to own. It comes with cables so that it can be used with iPads or iPhones, with Android phones, or with MAC and PCs. And since it’s powered by the device, it doesn’t need an external power supply to function. This controller has 37 velocity sensitive mini-keys that deliver 3 full octaves, and it has volume control as well. Other features located on this device include pitch bend and modulation wheels, octave up and down buttons, and apps for both iOS and Android devices.


#5 Midiplus AK490 MIDI Keyboard Controller

This low-cost MIDI keyboard controller has several features that should be discussed. First of all, it has 49-note and velocity sensitive keys which are laid out in a piano style for easy use. It also has a MIDI DIN jack for sound output and a sustain switch jack that can accommodate an optional sustain pedal that’s sold separately. This controller also has modulation and pitch wheels, as well as octave up and down buttons. The most important thing about this keyboard, however, is that it has a nice solid feel to it and isn’t flimsy like some keyboards in its price range tend to be.


#6 Akai Professional MPK Mini MK11

This USB MIDI controller has some of the features found in more expensive models but at only a fraction of their cost. Some of the features that can be found on this unit include 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys, 8 MPC-style backlit pads, 8 fully assignable Q-link knobs for mixing, and a 4-way thumbstick. This controller also has a nice look to it that makes it look more expensive than it actually is. Although it’s software setup is a bit of a pain, once that’s overcome, then this controller is pretty easy to use. It’s a great model for individuals looking to stick their toe into the world of digital music making.


#7 Midiplus 32-Key MIDI Controller AKM322

This Midiplus AKM322 is very much like the AKM320, except that it has a few more features. This means that this keyboard is just as light as the other one, but it is more versatile. It has 32 velocity sensitive keys, 11 function buttons that are LED backlit, 3 rotary knobs and DAW transport controls. This deluxe model also features a scale-model feature that helps the player hit the right key every single time they play. This product is also a product that’s fully USB powered, so the user never has to fuss with power packs or external power supplies when they want to play.


#8 Akai Professional 25-Key Keyboard LPK25

This 25-key USB MIDI keyboard controller might not cost an arm and a leg, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t packed with features. It mini-keys are velocity sensitive, it has Plug N’ Play capabilities, and it’s powered entirely by a USB connection, so no external power source is needed. This controller also comes with sound edition software that can be used on either a MAC or a PC, so the user can customize their MIDI commands to suit their own purposes. Additional features worth checking out on this keyboard include octave up and down setting, tap tempo control and a sustain button.


#9 Midiplus 32-Key MIDI Controller AKM320

This inexpensive MIDI keyboard is not only lightweight, but it also has a small footprint as well. This allows it to be taken to class, the studio or anywhere else where it’s urgently needed. This keyboard is also packed with a number of versatile features which makes it handy for anyone. It has up and down octave buttons, a volume slider, 32 velocity sensitive mini-keys, and a USB interface. It also has a sustain pedal input and pitch and modulation wheels. All of which makes this lightweight keyboards ideal for those learning how to play the keyboard or for anyone who needs an inexpensive MIDI keyboard for use at home.


#10 M-Audio 32-Key Keystation Mini

Not only is this a cheap MIDI keyboard, but it’s also portable and easily transportable as well. It only weighs around a pound and is only 17-inches long. That’s the perfect size for placing into a backpack or into the backseat of your car. Portability isn’t the only feature worth mentioning on this controller, however. It also should be noted that this product has a number of worthwhile features, too. For example, it has 32 velocity sensitive mini keys that are just the right size for children or those with small fingers. It also has sustain and modulation buttons, as well a pitch bend. And it’s also conveniently powered by a USB cord.





Cheap MIDI Keyboards Guide

For anyone looking to have a bit of musical fun or someone wanting to create new sounds for a project, a Cheap MIDI Keyboard can be a great purchase and just because they don’t cost a lot, shouldn’t mean you have to settle for a sub-par product. This is only when you know what to look for as some MIDI keyboards represent better value than others.

We have created the following guide to make sure you make an informed decision as there are a few things to make sure the product you choose is capable of.

What To Look For In A Cheap MIDI Keyboard

Amount of Keys

The likelihood is that you aren’t going to get your hands on an 88-key, concert piano-style keyboard when you are looking for a cheap MIDI keyboard. Still, there are enough products to give you a good amount with everything from the smaller, compact, 25-key options to 49, and sometimes even more.

Integration

A cheap MIDI keyboard still needs to be compatible with the software you intend to use it with. Otherwise, it just isn’t going to be as useful. Some products are better when it comes to integration whilst others are better for just playing without connecting to the software.

One thing to consider is how easily it connects and if you need it for using alongside plugins etc.

Functions

The different options will serve you better than going for more keys without being able to create the sound you want. Some cheap MIDI keyboards can give you 100’s of different sounds and voices to make them incredibly versatile which should be more important than having more keys.

Being able to bend the pitch and try different synth sounds, even playing with modulation is part of what makes a MIDI keyboard so appealing.

Weighted Keys

The more authentic it feels, the better the quality from a cheap MIDI keyboard. Not only will it feel like a proper full-scale concert piano, but it also means that you can switch between the two with ease.

Also, consider the key size. Serious performers will undoubtedly want to use full-size keys whilst the more casual enthusiast could make do with mini keys.

Percussion Pads

These are great for opening up the options you get from using a cheap MIDI keyboard. Yes, it makes the whole instrument more fun to play but it can also help you to create a lot of sounds and the beats can be one of the main traits you look for in your new MIDI keyboard.

USB Ready

This helps with tracking and recording your songs and makes it easy to share them with other people. Being able to plug in your phone will make keeping track of your music simple and seamless so look for one that has the right ports for your needs.

Warranty

A lot of people are mistaken thinking that a cheap instrument might break faster than a more expensive product. With fewer functions there is less that can go wrong and you should find that if you buy a cheap MIDI keyboard, most of the time they should last a long time. However, there are still products that come with a year’s warranty and some a little longer to protect your purchase.

What To Consider Before Buying A Cheap MIDI Keyboard

Music Style

Are you looking to use a cheap MIDI keyboard for synth powered songs or just want to make the most of the percussion functions? The style of music you want to create will determine what you need out of it and should be one of the first considerations before buying.

Budget

This might mean you want to find a MIDI keyboard for under $100 but if your budget will allow it you might be able to get a slightly better quality product by adding a little bit more onto your total.

However, if money is a big factor then you can still find a great product for next to nothing. MIDI keyboards are often considered to be one of the cheapest instruments.

What Is The Best Cheap MIDI Keyboard?

Typically, the best cheap MIDI keyboard is the one that fits nicely within your budget but also has the functions you need. Still, there is no denying that the Novation Launchkey Mini USB Controller is one of the better products out there which is why it is our top pick. It  is easy to take from place to place and comes with some great software to open up a lot of recording potential among many other features.

Conclusion

There are loads of great MIDI keyboards that won’t break the bank and anyone can find something fun to use within their budget. The more serious musician will want to spend a little more to get some extra features but even still, this shouldn’t set you back a lot.

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