Best Midi Keyboard Reviews – All of you who are planning to start with music production will need a few things, as you may know. They are headphones, studio monitors, DAW, and a computer. Something is missing? Actually, one of the most important essentials wasn’t mentioned here.
You will also need the Best midi Keyboard. These devices are essential and they are considered as a building block for your music production operations. Below, we will assist you by offering a buyer’s guide alongside the 10 best models available at the moment.
Table of Contents
- 1 Buyer’s Guide
- 2 The Best Midi Keyboard – Top 10 Picks
- 3 Conclusion
Now we will have to explain what the Best Midi Keyboard is. In the lack of a better word, it is a controller that comes with knobs, keys, and buttons and it allows for you to control another device. That’s why these units are also known as midi keyboard controllers. For instance, you will use them to control software on your computer.
We will stay focused on midi keyboards with black and white piano keys. For most of you, they will be the most appealing choice and they are definitely the most desirable one. We must add that they generally don’t make any sound when keys are pressed. They are used to control other devices solely.
When looking for a new midi keyboard, there are a few factors that must be taken into consideration. They can help you in making the best choice and end up with a unit that will be more than just helpful. Let’s discover those factors.
The first factor you will want to take into account is the number of keys. Here we can see a few differences. The lowest number is 25 keys and those keyboards are designed for beginners. Slightly better option is 49 key unit. Those models are appealing due to the fact they are functional but relatively easy to use.
Bigger models come with either 68 or 88 keys. 88 keys are present on professional pianos, so we can deduce that these keyboards are essential for piano users. An interesting fact is that most piano users prefer 88 key keyboards and they don’t like other variations.
Weight and portability
You will want your new midi keyboard to be as portable as possible. This is usually related to the number of keys, but not necessarily. Look for models that can be easily stored in a backpack or a case and carried. Also look for practical models that allow for you to prepare them for carrying within seconds.
This factor cannot be generalized. Simply said, there are a lot of differences available on the market. Some MIDI keyboards will cost you $50 while others will cost $600. More expensive models are usually desirable by professionals and they come with advanced features. Affordable models are great for beginners, but they don’t have advanced features.
One of the most important elements of a new MIDI keyboard is the keys. At the end of a day, it all comes to the design and the feel of the keys. You can get a keyboard with semi or fully weighted keys. Fully weighted keys are designed to look and feel the same as the keys on professional pianos. Semi-weighted keys feel slightly differently.
New models come with the ability to sense the pressure of a key. For instance, if you press it slightly, it will register as a soft press and make the sound shorter. This is a very desirable feature.
Number of controls
Regardless of the fact are you a professional or a beginner, you will need specific controls implemented in your MIDI keyboard to use it properly. More buttons, knobs, and controls, in general, help you by eliminating the need to use a computer mouse. MIDI keyboards with fewer controls will require to use the mouse more frequently. These controls will vary, but they can be used for controlling the tones, volume, samples, DAW and etc.
Almost all MIDI keyboards will work with DAW without any issues. However, some of them are designed and made especially for improved DAW compatibility. Others are not. They are partially compatible. If you are looking for the easier MIDI keyboard to use, you will want advanced DAW compatibility. If you are planning to get an affordable model to use occasionally, decreased DAW compatibility is acceptable.
The Best Midi Keyboard – Top 10 Picks
There are lots of best Midi Keyboard models you can choose from, each with various functions and features. So choose wisely!
#1. Nektar Panorama P6
The P6 is the Best midi Keyboard we were able to discover. It is well-made, comes with great features and it is suitable for professionals. The unit has 61 key which is sufficient for most users. It is compatible with Cubase, Logic Pro, Bitwig Studio and others.
Some of you will want to know that the model comes with 12 pads, 28 buttons, and 10 LED buttons. Using the MIDI keyboard is relatively simple and easy although you will need to invest some time into analyzing the layout. We must add that the keyboard looks nice, modern and the quality is exceptional.
3.5 inches display
The display on this unit is 3.5 inches in diameter and it is based on TFT technology. We can say that it is well-made and it displays all the important data you are going to need. The visibility is slightly better than similar models have so we can add that the display is outstanding.
The keys are paired with the latest technology so they are sensitive to the pressure and the speed you are pressing them. You get at your disposal 5 sensitive curves which allow for you to choose the one that is desirable at that particular moment. The overall feel is very rewarding.
- Sensitive keys.
- Advanced compatibility.
- Complicated to use.
#2. Akai MPK261
The MPK261 is definitely a choice worth considering as soon as possible. This unit is based on the latest technology and it comes with exceptional features. We liked the ability to choose it in different versions. For example, you can have it with 25, 49 or 61 key layouts. Just to add, we tested the biggest model and we were impressed with the overall quality. In addition, it is also a decent value for money.
The keys are weighted and semi-weighted making them easy to use and increasing the response and feedback they have to offer. In a nutshell, they are superb. You also get different connection capabilities and the compatibility with the best software.
Enhanced MPC functionality
The MIDI keyboard we have here offers 16 pads which allow for you to create sequences easier than ever. Add advanced features and the fact the keyboard is accurate and you can get the superior feeling and better than even MPC functionality. Don’t forget that this unit is known for the best MPC functionality at the moment.
Great production software
The keyboard comes with all the essentials you are going to need for editing your music. Ableton Live Lite and MPC essentials are included so you can start using the keyboard for the most demanding operations as soon as you get it.
- Available in different versions.
- Production software capabilities.
- MPC Essentials.
- Weighted keys.
- No adapter.
- Customer support.
#3. Behringer Motor 61
This particular model has been one of the most desirable units on the market for a long period of time. It is loaded with smart technology and it offers you the ability to use the keyboard for almost any purpose you have on your mind. The keys are weighted and they offer an advanced response. You also get 8 drum pads that are accurate and well-designed.
Overall, the Motor 61 is advanced unit suitable for beginners, semi-professionals, and professionals who need advanced features, extraordinary quality and so much more. Even the display is impressive on this model and looks great.
Illuminated rotary encoders
You get 8 rotary encoders on this keyboard. But, all of them are illuminated, they are accurate and precise whenever you use them. You literally can see the effort this manufacturer invested in making the rotary encoders.
The system is unique for this brand and you won’t be able to get it with any other keyboard. Basically, it will illuminate a key or use some other factor to symbolize the action. Users can choose between illumination, volume, sound and etc. The system works very well and it is a real pleasure being able to use it every single time when you use the keyboard.
- Aftertouch system.
- Sturdy keys.
- Rotary encoders.
- Edit mode.
- iOS compatibility.
- User manual is complicated.
#4. Roland A-800PRO
At the first sight, we were impressed with the A800. This keyboard is based on the latest technology and it offers a lot of useful features and quality. After all, this brand has been with us for 30 years so we expect the best quality, period. An interesting advantage of the tested model is the price. It is loaded with useful features, but it is still a great value for a moment.
There are some features that make it even more desirable. For example, the ports are located on the side, so they are easy to access and use. The list of features is longer than usual, so you get the ability to use the keyboard for any purpose you have on your mind. The support for operating systems starts with Windows 7 and Snow Leopard (Mac OS).
45 controls that can be assigned to do anything
There are 45 controls you get on this keyboard that are fully assignable. You get knobs, keys, buttons and so much more and each one can do anything you tell it to do. Although the feature is more than just mandatory for professionals, it is a desirable one for beginners as well.
The adapter can be used but it isn’t necessary. It is available as optional extra only. Instead, you will use a simple USB port to power your new keyboard. In the lack of a better word, this is the main advantage and all keyboards should use the same principle.
- USB powered.
- 45 assignable controls.
- Value for money.
- Superior quality.
- Small display.
- Won’t work on older operating systems.
#5. Novation Launchkey
The Novation Launchkey is a masterpiece in this price range. It has been with us for a long period of time and it helped millions of users become professionals. You will like the fact there are 61 keys and all of them are velocity-sensitive. Add additional knobs and keys and you get a professional MIDI keyboard that will be suitable for any task you may have on your mind.
This is another model that is powered via USB port so there is no need to use a power cable. Another important system is InControl. Basically, it allows for you to use all the controls easier than ever before and eliminates the need to use a computer mouse. We tested it and it works perfectly.
16 advanced pads
As you can see, there are 16 pads which are velocity-sensitive and which are one of the main advantages this MIDI keyboard has to offer. They are used for creating dynamic drum beats and they are very effective. We liked the attention to details and the ability to use the pads for professional operations.
Full Ableton Live compatibility
All of you who are interested in Ableton Live and MIDI keyboards that are 100% compatible will like this particular model. It comes with the full Ableton Live support as soon as you get the unit. There is no need to adjust anything and to waste hours making the compatibility successful.
- Superior Ableton Live support.
- 16 velocity-sensitive pads.
- Portable model.
- Attention to detail.
- Value for money.
- Requires latest MAC OS.
- Camera connection kit for iOS isn’t included.
#6. Korg MicroKey
For some of you, this particular unit will be the best possible choice and the one to get right now. This MIDI keyboard is well-known and very popular at the moment. One of the main advantages is the minimalistic design. Yes, it still comes with 61 key but the keyboard is slim and made to be as practical and portable as possible. When it comes to the price, it is one of more affordable units out there.
All future owners will get a massive base of the free software bundle. It includes the KORG Legacy Collection package and it will transform this Best midi Keyboard in a powerful tool. Of course, there are a few more advantages the tested model has to offer. Let’s reveal them right now.
All you have to do in order to start using the keyboard is to connect it using USB port and you are done. There is no need to install a driver or anything like that. We tested this claim in the real world and we must agree with the actual claim obtained from the manufacturer. Your new MIDI keyboard can be ready and used within minutes.
Now you can use the iPhone as well
One of the more interesting abilities is to use an iPhone as a sound source. The connection process is simple and takes just a few seconds. After that, it will be transferred into a powerful sound source and ready to meet all your requirements. Even better, this is a Bluetooth connection, so there is no need for cables.
- Doesn’t require drivers.
- Bluetooth MIDI connection.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Lack of advanced features.
- Minimalistic design may be an issue for some users.
#7. Alesis VI61
The first thing we will have to reveal is that this MIDI keyboard has 61 key and all of them are pressure and velocity sensitive. The value for money is decent in the lack of a better word and as such, we can reveal that the unit is a very desirable model at the moment. What’s more, this keyboard is popular among beginners and professionals at the same time. Additionally, you will like the LCD display and the illuminated keys and buttons.
In the package, you get the Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition and MIDI editor software so you are ready to start using the keyboard as soon as you get it. This is another reason why we believe it is ideal for the beginners and those who look an affordable, starting device.
Assignable knobs and buttons
The keyboard is excellent when it comes to the assignable knobs and buttons. As a matter of fact, you get 16 assignable knobs and 48 buttons. Let’s just say that you will never need additional keys and knobs if you get this model. Assigning the control is easy and intuitive, although isn’t extremely simple.
Pitch and Mod wheels
One of more advanced capabilities is simply known as Pitch and Mod wheels. What this means is that you get the ability to use specialized wheels that allow for you to easily control some of the most important features of the keyboard. The wheels make it simpler and quicker.
- Assignable knobs and buttons.
- Pitch and Mod wheels.
- Comes with Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition and MIDI editor software.
- Simple connectivity.
- LCD display.
- Obsolete design.
#8. Arturia Keylab
The tested model is a very popular version on the market and the one that can be more than just the right choice. As you can see, this model is available in white color and it looks modern and sophisticated. You get 61 key, 6 transport switches, 9 encoders, 4 command switches, and one wheel. Using the keyboard is relatively simple and it is suitable for beginners and those who look for an affordable MIDI keyboard for advanced use.
We must add that this unit is a new model on the market and as such, it is loaded with the new technology and clever features. You won’t have any issues using it for more sophisticated editing purposes and you will appreciate the slim design. It isn’t very portable, but at the end of a day, this MIDI keyboard will get the job done as quickly as possible.
One of the main advantages has to be the free software that is included in the package. All of the new owners will get Analog Lab software, Ableton Live Lite and UVI Grand Piano model D. It is impressive how the manufacturer was able to include this software and still make a keyboard affordable. In addition, you also get 5.000 TAE sounds included, which is an appealing addition.
The MIDI keyboard comes with MIDI out, USB and a sustain pedal. As you can believe, the connectivity is advanced in the lack of a more appropriate word and it is simply impressive. We must add that the display is included as well, but it is a two-line module, so the visibility isn’t great.
- Free software.
- Easy to use.
- 5000 TAE sounds.
- Isn’t very portable.
See also: Best Synthesizer Keyboard
#9. Nextar Impact LX49+
For those who look a MIDI keyboard with 49 keys, this is definitely a model to consider. It is well-made, comes with all the essential features you are going to need and so much more. The main advantage is the price and the quality balance. This unit is affordable, yet it is loaded with all the essentials. The quality is on the highest level possible so we can assume that all of you will be more than just happy by getting this unit.
The keys are truly amazing. They are made using the latest technologies so they offer perfect feedback and they are comfortable to use, even after a long period of time. We must add that all the keys are synth-action powered. And yes, you also get a small display at the top section which displays useful and essential information. It isn’t a colored display but doesn’t forget that this is one of the most affordable models we were able to discover.
The number of pads on this keyboard is 8. However, they are paired with a backlight and they are hypersensitive. All of this means that the pads are advanced feature of the keyboard and they can be used for any purpose you want. The feedback they offer is superb and probably one of the best in this price range.
Compatible with all operating systems
The keyboard is fully compatible with Windows, Mac and even iOS operating systems. Connectivity of this kind is considered as a must at this moment and we must say it is one of the advantages of the tested unit. You won’t experience any issues regardless of the fact with which operating system you want to connect the keyboard.
- 8 hypersensitive pads.
- Advanced connectivity.
- Comes with Bitwig 8-Track DAW.
- Value for money.
- Some elements are made of cheap materials.
- Complicated setting up process.
#10. M-Audio Code 61
The last model on our list is a very desirable unit which is slightly different compared to keyboards we tested. First of all, it is available in 2 different options. You can choose between 49 and 61 key version. However, the price isn’t a major difference, so we opted for 61-key variation and we believe that most of you will do the same thing. After all, you get advanced capabilities and you will be able to use it for more advanced usages.
On the left of the keyboard, you have the ability to use 16 assignable pads. Add 8, 360-degree encoders and you get limitless possibilities. All the keys and buttons on the keyboard look great and they are pleasant to use. Of course, there are a few more advantages of this model we must mention right now. Don’t forget that the tested model is considered suitable for professionals as well.
With the keyboard in question, you get the access to the latest VIP3.1 software. It is a masterpiece in the lack of a better word and it can be used for any editing purpose you have on your mind. It is a real pleasure being able to get this feature especially if we know that the price is more than just affordable. Keep in mind that this advantage is available regardless of the fact which variation of the keyboard you chose.
2GB Sound Library
Yes, the manufacturer offers you the ability to access 2 GB of online storage which is designed to be used by all potential owners. Here you can find specific tones, sounds and so much more.
- 2GB Sound Library support.
- Free software.
- Available in 2 versions.
- Attention to detail.
- Lack of key labels.
- Complicated pads to use.
In the end, we must tell you our verdict and which model is simply the best. Our favorite is the Nektar Panorama P6 and we are proud to say it is the Best midi Keyboard you can have today. It is the most advanced unit, with superior portability and even better display. Add advanced features and you will be more than just happy every single time you have to use your new keyboard. We give it 4.8 out of 5-star rating which is an impressive score.
See also: Best Keyboard Workstation