Best 49-Key MIDI Controller: 6 Models Compared

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Are you looking for the best 49-key MIDI controller that you can use for music production, live performance, or just for fun? This article will help you to find the good one that fits your needs. Keep reading to find out more about these keyboards!

Perhaps you have a question: Is a 49 Key MIDI Controller good enough? We would say yes, it is good enough, especially if you want to do simple mono lines, chords, simple bass lines, and triads, or trigger samples. However, if you need to do bigger chords, with both hands, then you should have a 61-key keyboard.

Best 49-Key MIDI Controller – Our Top Picks

So, in this article, we will assume that you just need to do simple things for making your music, and a 49-key keyboard is ideal enough to handle your needs at the moment. Okay, then let us help you to find the best 49-key MIDI Controller. There are some models that many users consider as the best 49-key MIDI Controller on the market, they are:


#1. Native Instruments KOMPLETE KONTROL S49 MK2


komplete kontrol s49 mk2

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This is a very good option for every kind of player. This version has new color screens in the center which show different things depending on whether you’re using the keyboard with the KOMPLETE KONTROL software, MASCHINE, or DAW.

When you look around the screens, you will notice that the layout is also redesigned. This version has a lot more buttons and you will have more access to more key features. There are two huge mod and pitch wheels that add expression to the notes you’re playing.

KOMPLETE KONTROL software will probably be the main software you’ll use. Switching through sounds is extremely easy, and recording sound is also a piece of cake. Of course, you can switch to DAW or MASCHINE whenever you want to.

Switching through libraries is very easy and you’ll have no problems with finding the right one for your new song. You’re able to hear the sound of every preset while you’re browsing. The KOMPLETE KONTROL software is the main part of this keyboard and you should use it as much as you can.

Pros

  • Very easy to use.
  • Good quality, sustainable.
  • Fun to play with.
  • Users say it has the perfect action.

Cons

  • Not the best integration with Ableton.
  • No transpose.

#2. Akai Professional MPK249


akai MPK249

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This is yet another great keyboard by Akai. This professional series has everything you need. Core technologies, enhanced workflow, and great software integration will help you with having the best workstation possible.

Every keyboard in this series, including this one with 49 keys has a very good interface that will help you to shuffle through instruments, DAWs, and effect plugins. Also, another great thing about it is that it has semi-weighted action and aftertouch, 8 assignable switches, faders, and knobs, as well as RGB pads and transport buttons. You can expand the number of your switches, faders, and knobs up to 24 and the number of pads up to 64.

This keyboard is compatible with Ableton Live Lite which will allow you to create music the best way possible. This software is a MIDI environment and it enables producers and musicians to remix, record, compose, edit, and improvise musical ideas. This is one of the strongest aspects of MPK249. You can’t go wrong with this controller.

Pros

  • Fast delivery time.
  • Good build quality.
  • Improves sound very well.
  • Very easy to use.

Cons

  • No lights next to knobs.
  • Unclear instruction manual.

#3. Akai Advance 49


akai advance 49 midi controller

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This is a controller that has all the key factors you need from a keyboard to have. Full-color display, unrestricted manipulation and fantastic playability of all virtual instruments, and friendly hardware controls. The version with 49 keys is a full MIDI controller workstation that allows you to use all of the software instruments easily.

This controller is also aesthetically pleasing with its RGB pads on the surface. Modulation and pitch wheels are rubberized and they provide you with direct, simple note manipulation. The knobs are easily gripped and you can make adjustments with dramatic or granular effects. A lot of users consider this keyboard to be ideal for both studio and live performance.

You will also be provided with the Virtual Instrument Player app if you decide to buy this keyboard. This app allows you to access an instrument from your collection whether you do or don’t have DAW. This is a very good way to use virtual instruments when you’re performing live or when you’re just having a recording session in your studio.

Pros

  • A lot of knobs and pads.
  • Very versatile keyboard.
  • Easy to use.
  • Very functional.

Cons

  • Could be too much for a beginner.
  • Expensive for some users.

#4. Alesis VI49


alesis vi49 midi controller

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This model by Alesis will allow you to experience playing on a full sized keyboard with semi-weighted action, and all of that in a very compact keyboard that is able to integrate into all of desktop music making setups.

This midi controller has 49 keys that are square-front and full sized. You will also be getting visual feedback from your knobs and buttons if you decide to buy this keyboard. There are 36 assignable buttons and 12 assignable knobs, as well as mod and pitch wheels for more control. This model has everything you need to perform, produce, and create music.

The VI generation is now including semi-weighted action keys that most of the people find comfortable and choose this type as their way to go. There is an internal clock included with this keyboard that offers you sync, drum roll, and tempo capabilities. A standard MIDI output and power supply are optional, it’s totally up to you.

Pros

  • Semi-weighted action.
  • Comfortable when playing.
  • Includes editor software.
  • Very easy to use.

Cons

  • Some users find it bulky.
  • There are reports on bad latency.

See also: Best Midi Keyboard


#5. Arturia Keylab Essential


arturia keylab essential 49

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If you’re an experienced player, you probably know that making music nowadays can be quite challenging and frustrating. A lot of things to learn, a lot of distractions. However, this keyboard will allow you to focus on what is important and stay on your way.

People say that the heart of this controller is music. The manufacturer carefully chose every aspect of this controller in order to provide you with the best experience possible while performing or creating.

You will be able to spend more time performing, creating, and playing and less time with your mouse and keyboard.

Since you will be doing tedious tasks, your inspiration may slip very easy and your concentration can drift away easily. This keyboard will allow you to aim your creative process and express your feelings through music better.

You will be buying a set of music software with this keyboard and we all know that this is the only requirement for you to start composing, experimenting, and recording awesome music. You will probably stick with this keyboard for the longest time since users report that it has that effect on people.

The keyboard has the maximum compatibility and will give you the full control of the music. Integrating with DAW software and virtual instruments is a piece of cake with this midi controller. Clever controls are there to help you navigate through the whole system.

Loop, record, play your recording, save. Simple as that.

Pros

  • Simple, yet effective build.
  • Full DAW control.
  • Large and comfy pads.
  • Good data screen.

Cons

  • Only one color available.
  • Some users don’t like the color scheme.

#6. Novation Launchkey


novation launchkey 49

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This 49 keys version is same as the other ones in this series. It’s easy to use, quick, and you can perform and produce electronic music with Ableton Live. All you have to do is to plug the USB and you are ready to use all of the knobs, keys, faders, and RGB pads.

You are immediately ready to lay your hands on all of the instruments, mixer, effects, and take a better look at your session view. There are 16 pads in total, there are two rows of eight to be more specific. One row is launching clips and the second one is stopping them.

They are also going to match the color of your clips thanks to the RGB LEDs. You will also be getting V Station and Novation Bass Station virtual instruments to enhance your experience.

This keyboard is designed with a purpose to let the users shape their sound the way they want to. Knobs are used for effects and tweaks while faders help you control the mixer. The keyboard is very easy to play, it’s fast, but also lightweight and portable.

The keyboard is able to integrate with Fruity Loops Studio, Cubase, Pro Tools, and many more. There is no manual mapping included.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Semi-weighted keys.
  • Functional.
  • Improves sound.

Cons

  • Pads not very comfortable.
  • No full MainStage integration.

Conclusion

This article will definitely help you to decide what is the best 49-key midi controller for everyday use as well as live performing and recording. There is something for everyone on this list, so hopefully, you will choose what product fits you the best!

See also: Best 61 Key Midi Controller