The midi keyboard still remains essential for any music studio setup. Luckily, getting one no longer has to be a massive financial investment.
Midi is the protocol used to activate virtual instruments using note data played on a keyboard. When used to play instruments on the computer, the midi keyboard offers that natural feel and experience and is far more preferable and convenient to use than the mouse. You really do not require any form of professional skills to play the midi keyboard.
Here are certain questions you need to ask yourself before getting a midi keyboard:
- How many keys would you like to have on your keyboard?
- What is your budget?
- Do you want a midi keyboard with midi pads?
- 5. Alesis V25 | 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller
- 4. Akai Professional LPK25 | 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Keyboard Controller for Laptops
- 3. Midi Plus AKM320 midi plus MIDI Keyboard Controller
- 2. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller
- 1. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII | 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Drum Pad & Keyboard Controller
How many keys would you like to have on your keyboard?
The most popular is the 49 keys keyboard but there are several other options out there like: 25 keys, 32 keys, 37 keys, 61 keys and the 88 keys (which is equivalent to a real piano). You can go for any one that suits your purpose best.
What is your budget?
There are several keyboards with varying prices. Understandably, those with a higher number of keys have a higher price tag. Some may come with other software packages which sometimes may have an effect on price and so you should take note of this.
Do you want a midi keyboard with midi pads?
Many keyboards now come with drum pads. This drum pad can be used to play different sounds assigned to it. You may also choose to get a drum machine separately. It is all a matter of choice.
5. Alesis V25 | 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller
The Alesis V25 comes with twenty-five full-size keys and is the perfect keyboard for music producers who want to have control over virtual instruments and plug-ins. Its keys have a square-shaped front and their sensitivity can be adjusted. This square-shaped front prevents dust from getting underneath the keys. It features eight drum pads that respond very well to pressure and velocity.
There are also four knobs and four buttons, modulation wheel and pitch wheel. These features offer expressive performance and control. This keyboard has a sustain-pedal input and is USB powered (simply connect midi keyboard to a computer with USB).
The Alesis V25 gives you full control over music software on your computer without hindering your performance. Another good thing about this instrument is that you can change the pad behavior mode to either latch or momentarily.
One drawback is that the pads may not perform so well compared to some other more expensive keyboards, but then overall, it is a very good and responsive keyboard.
4. Akai Professional LPK25 | 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Keyboard Controller for Laptops
This one is a midi keyboard with twenty-one keys. You will really enjoy playing this instrument as it offers you expressive playing experience with computer-based sequencers, DAW (digital audio workstation), etc. this velocity-sensitive keys midi keyboard is very portable and comes with various software for creating almost every kind of music. With its built-in arpeggiator, you can produce modern music with more flexibility.
The Akai Professional LPK25 with 25 keys is compatible with Mac and PC. It is a plug and play device and does not require any driver installation. It works well with Cubase, logic, studio one, and pro tool. It is also very compatible with Ableton, reaper, digital performer and more. Like many other midi keyboards, this one is also powered by connecting it to your computer using a USB. No additional cable is needed for connection.
3. Midi Plus AKM320 midi plus MIDI Keyboard Controller
This thirty-two note key keyboard features “up and down” octave buttons and transpose buttons. There is also the sustain switch interface, a modulation wheel and pitch wheel. It is also powered by connecting a USB to the computer. Its velocity-sensitive keys make the operation quite easy. With simple interface design, thin and lightweight design, this device won’t occupy much space in the studio and is very convenient to carry around.
It has a dimension of 18.1” x 4.9” x 1.2” and weighs 1.6 lbs. this midi keyboard has many features that make it easy to produce and edit your electronic music and is also the perfect controller to play midi with creativity.
The midi plus AKM320 midi plus MIDI Keyboard Controller is “plug and play” and it doesn’t require any driver to be installed. All you have to do is plug and start playing your music.
2. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller
This is an ideal midi keyboard for creating music. It is also very good for playing those virtual instruments. To power, this device simply connects to your computer using a USB. It has features that allow you to easily control your music software without even touching your mouse. It has lightweight and is also very portable making it easy to move around.
This is a very nice instrument if you are not looking for something too fancy. This keyboard with its great key response will provide any budding keyboard player with so many options that can aid their playing skills.
One trouble with this device though is that it is not “plug and play”, you need to download a file and go into some settings to set up the software and this can take some time. Nevertheless, it is worth the price.
1. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII | 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Drum Pad & Keyboard Controller
It is a very portable keyboard that can easily fit into your backpack and won’t take up much space in your studio because of its small size. It has a length of 12.4 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds. To power this device, you can connect it to your computer using a USB. It features all you need to edit and play your music.
It also comes with virtual-instrument download features. This 25 key midi keyboard has eight rubber drum pads and 8 control knobs. The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII also features the groundbreaking software platform “VIP3.0” that helps musicians achieve powerful and flexible hands-on control for virtual effects and virtual instrument collections.
This keyboard with its velocity-sensitive keys helps improve your creative ability whenever you get inspired. It is a nice piece of an instrument for both beginners and professionals and comes at an affordable price.
- Total Control Wherever You Go: USB MIDI keyboard controller with 25 velocity-sensitive keys and octave up / down buttons to access the full melodic range – perfect virtual synthesizer control
- Express Yourself: Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation MIDI control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes
- Plug & Play: No drivers required, USB powered and ultra portable design lets you create anywhere
- Beat Maker Essentials: 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC drum pads with Note Repeat & Full Level for programming drums, triggering samples and controlling virtual instrument / DAW controls
- Take Command of Your DAW: 8 fully-assignable Q-Link knobs for mixing, tweaking plug-ins and more
- Deep and intuitive Ableton Live control - including device Macro control, track select, record, capture MIDI, clip and scene launch, stop/mute/solo, volume, pans and sends
- Creative arpeggiator – easy to use but deeply controllable: change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, Gate and more
- Fixed chord Mode – play a chord with one finger - assign a fixed chord shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard
- Midi out – take launchkey mini anywhere, send apps and program changes to your hardware synths, or add keys to your groove box directly over MIDI
- Hardware - our finest mini keymech to date, 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, eight rotary controls, pitch and Mod touch strips, and sustain input. Novation now offers a 3-Year Warranty on this and all other Novation products.
- MIDI Keyboard with 49 full sized, velocity sensitive square front keys, perfect for playing Virtual Instruments
- 8 velocity and pressure sensitive back lit pads for beat production and clip launching
- 4 assignable knobs and 4 assignable buttons interface with your music software. Seamless, visual feedback via illuminated buttons and knobs
- Octave Up and Down buttons let you access the full keyboard range and Pitch and modulation wheels deliver expressive, creative control
- Premium Software Included Includes ProTools | First Alesis Edition, Ableton Live Lite 9 and Eleven Lite, plus Mini Grand, DB 33 and Xpand 2 virtual instrument software by Air Music Tech
- Portable and Compact - MIDI Controller
- The most responsive keyboard experience in its category
- 500 of the V-Collection 8 presets / 21 Keyboard Instruments and Synthesizers / fully mapped right out of the box
- The perfect solution to get started with music production
- 16 Assignable Encoders to control your DAW
- Pro Music Production Wherever You Go USB MIDI keyboard controller with slimline footprint and 32 mini piano style velocity sensitive keys for a natural feel
- Customisable Response Mini keys with selectable velocity curves match any playing style inc’l traditional piano, synthesizer, key based beat making; pitch bend / modulation buttons add expression
- Immediate Creativity Simple plug and play connection to your Mac or PC no drivers or power supply required
- Express Yourself Octave up and down buttons for extended keyboard range, Volume knob delivers smooth control and Sustain button adds expressive capability
- Premium Software suite included Pro Tools | First M Audio Edition recording software / DAW and AIR Music Tech Xpand!2 multitimbral synthesizer