Best 61 Key Midi Controller – Top 8 Models

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Best 61 Key Midi Controller Reviews – Midi controllers are used for a lot of things nowadays. With the introduction of music software variety in the last 20 years, midi controllers have become one of the main parts of producing music.

Buying guide

Let’s take a look so you can decide what is the best 61 key midi controller for you.

Keys

midi keyboardThis aspect is very important. You need to choose a midi controller that will serve the purpose for you. Do you play with both of your hands? How big is your studio? Are you going to take your controller outside of your studio?

This is why you want to decide how many keys you need and how many you can have on a controller. Usually, controllers can have up to 88 keys and as little as 25.

Keyboard Action

This is also one of the important things you want to look at when you’re buying a midi controller. You definitely want your keys to give proper feedback when you press them. You have to feel comfortable while you’re using the product, whether you’re in a studio recording a song or playing a live show.

If your keyboard is not working the way you’re used to your productivity and creativity will both be at lower levels. The type you want to get for yourself is definitely determined by the particular style of music you work with and what you are accustomed to. There are three basic types:

#1. Synth-action

This controller is something similar to an electric organ. The keys are very light and you can move them pretty quickly. Also, keys will be in their original position very fast after they’re pressed. Experienced players know that this is very important when you’re playing fast solos and arpeggios.

This type is a good option if you’re not a pianist, but you want to add a MIDI to your studio.

#2. Weighted hammer

best midi keyboardUsually, controllers are trying to replicate a piano keyboard and its mechanical action. However, this is not an easy thing to do since a controller doesn’t have hammers and strings. This is why manufacturers usually add something else that will mimic the piano’s action.

Some manufacturers do it just for the “feeling”. This type of keyboard is ideal for those who already know and are used to piano action. Hammer weighted keyboards will provide you with the realism of a piano.

#3. Semi-weighted

These controllers are very similar to the weighted ones. They are different in a way that they have a slightly springier release and a little less key resistance. These keyboards are also very popular with a lot of musicians.

If you’re not looking for a true piano experience and you really don’t care that much about synth action keyboards, you can definitely try to use this one and you won’t make a mistake.

Live shows

The main thing why people buy MIDI controllers is live shows. You will be making cool sounding effects through your software a lot easier with a controller with 25 keys. DJing is a lot easier and you can’t even be a DJ these days without a MIDI controller.

Best 61 Key Midi ControllerOur Top Picks

To help you find the best 61 key midi controller, we have written these comprehensive reviews.


#1. Native Instruments KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 MK2


native instruments sk61

This controller will allow you to have more enjoyable music-making experience. You will be able to sketch your ideas, preview and browse sounds, your performance will be at a faster level, and you will also have tweak parameters.

  You can buy the KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

Navigating through your project will never be easier and you will be able to mix it in no time. This version has a color screen supported with high-resolution that will help you to mix, tweak, and browse a lot easier.

The second generation of this controller also has updated controls and knobs added to it, which will provide you with a more ergonomic feel and look. You will also get project navigation, and sound browsing is supported with a push encoder.

You will still be able to experience the same integration with hardware and software as you were able with the previous version, and the whole manufacturer’s instrument set is still there. This controller has the potential to become one of the leading midi controllers available on the market.

Pros

  • Easy to use.
  • Navigation is not a problem.
  • Newer generation.
  • Easy browsing.

Cons

  • The connection could be confusing.
  • Not the most functional.

#2. Akai Advance 61


Akai Professional Advance 61

This controller gives you unrestricted manipulation and unprecedented playability of almost any music making software. It has a very interactive, yet pretty functional, full-color display. Akai is usually complemented a lot for its performance and its hardware controls that anyone can use.

  You can buy the Akai Advance 61 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

This version fuses the live playability of a keyboard workstation with the power of software instrument, enabling you to create music easier, yet better than ever before. There is no dividing line between hardware and software instruments.

This product is enabling you to transform plugins from your computer to a playing experience.

The surface of the keyboard also has a display that’s in high resolution and in a full-color mode. This will allow you to have feedback and control of all of your software. This version has a software named Virtual Instrument Player included.

It enables you to control your whole library just by using it. It can operate as a single application on Windows or Mac, or inside a digital audio workstation.

Pros

  • Very good and quality controller.
  • Easy to use.
  • Universal compared to other controllers.
  • Improves sound by a lot.

Cons

  • Some people find it complex.
  • Not the best for beginners.

#3. Akai Professional MPK261


akai professional mpk261

This keyboard controller also includes a performance pad. Akai did a very good job by combining core technologies, enhanced workflow, and deep software integration to this workstation. As with other MPK models, this one also has a huge interface that you can use to manipulate DAWs, effect plugins, virtual instruments, and a lot more.

  You can buy the Akai MPK261 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

This controller is a semi-weighted type and it has 8 switches, knows, and faders. There’s also a pad included with transport buttons onboard and RGB feedback. As there are three banks included, your switches, faders, and knobs are expanded to 24 each.

This model has a keybed very similar to a premium piano. The keys are, however, full-sized and they will provide you with a very natural feel and unprecedented response. You will be able to cycle through octaves without any problems.

This controller will allow you to compose music with such an easy, yet with elegance and pristine.

Pros

  • Very attractive keyboard.
  • Improves the sound a lot.
  • Made with good quality materials.
  • More functional than other keyboards.

Cons

  • No sustain pedal jack.
  • Some notes have hard springy pushback.

See also: Best 88-Key Keyboard


#4. Roland A-800PRO


Roland A-800PRO

This controller is perfect whether you want to use it in your studio, while you’re doing a live show, or anywhere else where you might need a MIDI controller. Roland combined its best engineering with legendary ease of use by Cakewalk.

  You can buy the Roland A-800PRO from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

This keyboard has almost all the features that you need to make your music properly and perform the best you can.

Roland, as a manufacturer, has been on the top of the food chain in the music industry for 30 years. This is what you’re paying for, and you can be sure that you won’t make a mistake by buying this product.

This keyboard has a well-developed key mechanism that will provide you with a huge range of expressive dynamics while you’re performing. It is also very responsive and the reaction to touch is immediate, meaning you won’t have to deal with delays and unwanted sounds.

This version is also enhanced to reduce low mechanical noise on keystrokes and eliminate vertical shake. You are also able to tune this keyboard the way it fits you the best. This is a really quality instrument and will serve the purpose no matter your skill level.

Pros

  • Trusted manufacturer.
  • Very easy to use.
  • Suitable for beginners.
  • Can be used for different purposes.

Cons

  • No power cable included.
  • Only a USB cord.

#5. Novation Launchkey 61


novation launchkey 61

This controller is offering you one of the easiest yet quickest ways to perform and produce music with Ableton. All you have to do is to plug the USB and knobs, faders, keys, and pads will pop up immediately.

  You can buy the Novation Launchkey 61 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

From then on, you will have the full control of your mixer, instruments, session view, and effects. The controller has two rows of eight pads and they totally match the session view of your Ableton. One row is launch and the second one is stopping the clips.

They are also going to match the color of the clips thanks to the full-color RGB LEDs feature.

This controller is giving you a ton of possibilities. It will let you design the music and its sound the way you want to. There are eight knobs that will help you to tweak your effects and instruments, and the nine faders will help you to control your mixer manually.

This keyboard is very easy to play, it’s fast, and it is considered to be lightweight, which is a big plus if you need to carry the controller around.

Pros

  • Very functional keyboard.
  • Easy transportation.
  • A very good choice for Ableton.
  • Semi-weighted action controller.

Cons

  • Some users report that the quality is poor.
  • Pads sometimes don’t feel right.

#6. Alesis VI61


alesis VI61

This controller by Alesis will allow you to experience a very compact sized keyboard with semi-weighted action that will work with almost all music production software. The keys are perfectly designed and users usually like them.

  You can buy the Alesis VI61 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

There are 16 pads with pressure and velocity sensitivity as well as 48 assignable buttons and 16 assignable knobs. Mod and pitch wheels are also a part of this keyboard and will further help you with control.

The keyboard is also aesthetically pleasing thanks to the illuminated knobs and buttons. This keyboard has everything you need to create, perform, and produce music. It’s made for every purpose.

This series of the keyboard is when Alesis added semi-weighted keys. The layout of this controller will put you in charge and you will have command over everything you’re doing in any music-making software.

There is an internal clock added in the controller and it offers sync, tempo, and drum roll capabilities.

Pros

  • Functional keyboard.
  • You have a lot of control.
  • Semi-weighted action.
  • Capable with a lot of software.

Cons

  • Users have problems with Ableton sometimes.
  • Touchpads are stiff.

#7. M-Audio Code 61


m-audio code 61

This keyboard combines all the performance and production power you are going to need to get the most from your MIDI gear and music software. This controller also has a custom keybed, so if you are looking for something new, maybe you should try this product.

  You can buy the M-Audio Code 61 from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

You are able to split the whole keyboard into four different zones. Every zone is assignable and you can maximize the functionality and flexibility of your setup to the maximum. This keyboard also has 16 RGB pads that serve the purpose.

The faders, knobs, and buttons are coded by colors. This will help you when you need to indicate what’s the currently active mode.

Another interesting and important thing is that you will be granted an access to the best tools for music making such as Hybrid 3.0, AIR Music Technology Loom and Ableton Live Lite. All mod and pitch wheels, buttons, faders, and knobs are assignable.

Pros

  • The key action is heavier.
  • Knobs feel very good.
  • Pads have great action.
  • Good build quality.

Cons

  • Crashes sometimes.
  • Connection options are not the best.

#8. Korg MicroKEY Air


korg microkey air 61

Korg is the manufacturer with probably the best keyboard series on the market. This series will also help you to leave the cables behind. This interesting, functional, and well-made controller is also supporting Bluetooth Smart.

  You can buy the Korg MicroKEY Air from  Amazon or Guitar Center 

You are also able to connect to a lot of music apps such as GarageBand, KORG Module, and KORG Gadget, or any other music software capable for MIDI controllers. Besides, you will experience very low latency but high stability, and you won’t have any problems with wires and strings.

The batteries will last for about a month if you’re using the keyboard for about one hour every day. All you need for this keyboard to run is two AA batteries.

Pros

  • Suitable for travel.
  • High utility keyboard.
  • Solid build.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • No 88 key model.
  • Not a lot of features.

Conclusion

Hopefully, when you consider everything from the buying guide and when you take a look at all of the products, you will decide what is the best 61 key midi controller for your needs. Whether you need something for producing or performing, there is something for everyone on this list.

See also: Best MIDI Keyboard