Anyone who wants to work with virtual instrumentation or record sound using DAW software is probably going to want to get the best MIDI controller they can find. A model they can connect to their computer or phone, so they can have control over the sound they need. Of course, looking through all of the models available can be a tedious chore and very time consumer. To solve that problem, we’ve gone ahead and researched the best models available and have listed them for our reader’s convenience. Now anyone can find the right controller for them without having to pour over half a dozen different sites.
Our Top Picks for the Best Midi Keyboards
#1 Novation Launch Key 61-Key USB Keyboard
Equipped with 61-keys, 16 RGB velocity sensitive pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated control buttons, this MIDI controller is designed to provide the power and versatility that professionals demand. This device easily plugs into any MAC or computer via its USB port, and it’s completely Plug N’ Play, so no special drivers have to be installed. This product also comes with software that can be used with either a MAC or PC. The software that comes with it includes Ableton Live Lite and XLN Audio Addictive Keys. This software combination and this MIDI keyboard are a great match that produces excellent results.
#2 Novation Launchkey 49-Key MK2 Keyboard
This controller is designed to be plugged into a USB port, so the operator can be up and running quickly. This product is also designed with an intuitive layout and come with software for MAC or PC use. The software package that comes with this product includes Ableton Live Lit and XLN Audio Addictive Keys. These software packages allow the user to mine the full potential of this controller to use it to transform their sound any way they desire. Some of the other features found on this device include 8 knobs, 16 RGB pads, and an easy to read LED display.
#3 Akai Professional MPK249 Keyboard
his MIDI keyboard is designed to be a professional tool and an all-in-one solution. It comes with 49 semi-weighted keys that are equipped with pressure sensitivity and has 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads. This controller also has 8 switches, 8 control knobs, and 8 faders, along with a 5-pin MIDI input/output. All of these features come together in a unit that’s as suitable for live performances as it is for in-studio compositions. And since it’s designed to be primarily used with a computer, this product isn’t powered by an external power source but is instead powered by the computer’s USB bus.
#4 Novation Launch Key Mini Controller
Designed to be used with Ableton Live Lite software and featuring a 25-note velocity sensitive keyboard with quick synth-action, this controller is good for both music production and performances. It has 16 backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads, 8 knobs and a number of control and navigation buttons that give the user complete control over their sound. This product not only comes with an assortment of features but also comes with some nice software which makes it handy to use. Some of the software included with this product include XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Novation Bass Station and an assortment of Loopmasters samples.
#5 Roland 32-Key Keyboard Controller
One of the biggest complaints that many people have about some other MIDI keyboards is that they aren’t practical to take with them because they are too big and have too many keys to be practical. This Roland MIDI controller solves this problem, however, by features just the right amount of keys for most people. This model is equipped with 32 velocity sensitive keys and comes with an assortment of compact controls. In fact, it has 45 assignable controls in the form of buttons, knobs, and sliders. It also has 8 dynamic pads that allow for convenient and quick MIDI triggering.
#6 Alesis V49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard
This easy to use and very intuitive device allows anyone to take their sound editing to the next level. It features 49 full-size keys that are easier to press than some of the mini-key models, and it’s USB powered with sustain pedal input. This device also features 4 assignable knobs and 4 buttons, modulation wheel, pitch wheels, and 8 drum trigger pads. These drum trigger pads are backlit by LED lights and respond both to pressure and to velocity. Any music producer who needs to keep control over their virtual instrumentation is going to want to take a look at this model.
#7 M-Audio Keystation 49
With a size of approximately 31.88 by 7.67 by 2.95-inches, this controller may not be the smallest one available, but it is one of the easier to use models. It comes with 49 full-size keys that provide synth-action and are velocity sensitive. It also features transport controls that allow the user to control the digital audio workstation without having to use a mouse or other input device. The other features which this product has include modulation wheels and pitch bend wheels, as well as a 1/4-inch sustain pedal input. Overall, it’s a controller designed to easily get the sound editing work at hand done quickly and efficiently.
#8 Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII
Although this product isn’t as expensive as some of the professional controllers offered by Akai, it does offer a robust set of features which should make it a useful tool for most people. This USB powered device is compact enough to be carried anywhere and has a small footprint that allows it to easily fit on a desk. It has 25 velocity sensitive keys, 9 velocity sensitive MPC-style backlit pads and 8 assignable Q-link knobs for mixing. And since it comes with Akai Pro MPC Essentials, Hybrid 3 and SoniVox Wobble, the user can get started with it right away.
#9 IK Multimedia iRig Compact Controller
Compact MIDI controllers can be a real lifesaver, as long as they’re not too small to get the job done. Having one that can easily fit on a crowded desk can really make the user’s life a whole lot easier, and that’s why this controller is so useful. It’s only 21.25-inches by 6-inches by 2.5-inches, so it can easily fit on my desks so it can be hooked up to a PC or a MAC. Weighing in at under 2-pounds, this product is also lightweight enough to be tucked into a backpack and taken to school, work or anywhere else a 37 mini-key controller is needed.
#10 Midiplus AK490 MIDI Controller
49 velocity sensitive keys, a MIDI-out Din jack and a sustain pedal socket for hooking up a sustain pedal are only a few of the features that can be found in this product. It also has pitch and modulation wheels and has octave up/down buttons. This product can be used with a computer that has a Pentium 3 800 MHZ CPU or higher and can be used with any MAC that has a G4 733 MHZ CPU or higher. It comes with a USB cable and an owner’s manual, so it’s easy for the user to jump right in and begin using it to craft sound to their personal needs. And it can be powered by the USB bus or 6 AA batteries can be installed into it.