Home

Best MIDI KeyboardsWelcome to My Best MIDI Keyboard

 

The best MIDI keyboard resource on the web!

 

 

The world of midi instruments is constantly growing, and there are some amazing devices available these days! However, shopping for the best midi keyboard can be a daunting task. There are so many high quality, and extremely complex, products on the market that it’s hard to know where to start, let alone know which is the best midi keyboard for you.

 

This site is full of in-depth reviews, up-to-date content and midi information, helping you make the right choice in your keyboard selection.

 

Now is your chance to navigate through the site: Check out our selection of MIDI Keyboards, as well as our MIDI Controllers and our new page for Synthesizers.

 

Below is an interactive chart that is designed to assist you in comparing different models of the best MIDI keyboard controllers.

 

Listed are:

  1. The products (Click image for Amazon product details page)
  2. Product Name (Click for Amazon details page)
  3. Key Features
  4. Specs
  5. Rating and Price *
  6. MBMK Review

 

 

The Best MIDI Keyboards

 

MIDI Keyboard:
Model:
Features:
Size (W x D x H):
Rating and Price:
MBMK Review

Akai Professional MAX49
49 Semi-weighted keys with aftertouch, pitch bend and mod wheels, 8 touch faders, 12 performance pads, 3 pedal inputs, bundled with Ableton Live Lite, Ignite and Pro Tools!29” x 12.5” x 3”

12lb
4/5

$$$$$
Akai Professional Max49 Review

CME XKey
25 Chiclet keys with polyphonic aftertouch, octave toggle, pressure sensitive pitch and mod buttons, sustain button15.3” x 5.3” x .62”

1.32lb
4.75/5

$$
CME Xkey Review

Akai Professional MPK Mini
25 semi-weighted keys with Aftertouch, CV/Gate outputs, 4 touch faders, 8 performance pads (4 memory banks each), Ableton Live Lite, Ignite AND AkaiConnect software included17.1"x13"x3.2"

7.3lb
4.75/5

$$$$
Akai Pro MPK Mini Review

Novation Impulse 49
49 Semi-weighted keys. 8 drum pads, 9 faders, 9 assignable buttons, pitch and mod wheels.
USB Bus Powered (Optional AC)
33.3" x 13" x 3.9"

11lb
4/5

$$$$
Novation Impulse 49 Review

Novation Launchkey 61
61 Synth-action keys. Pitch, Mod, 9 sliders, 8 knobs, 16 drum pads, pedal input, Dedicated transpose and track buttons.
USB Powered.
41.3" x 15.1" x 6.3"

13lb
4.5/5

$$$$
Novation Launchkey 61 Review

Alesis Q88
88 Semi-weighted keys. 1 fader, pitch and mod wheels
USB bus-powered (optional AC adapter)
53" x 9.4" x 4"

22lb
3.5/5

$$$
Alesis Q88 Review

* Prices are approximate of Amazon.com and are subject to change. $ = $49 or less, $$ = $50 – $99, $$$ = $100 – $199, $$$$ = $200 – $399, $$$$$ = $400+

 

For more keyboards and reviews click HERE!

 

What is a MIDI keyboard controller?

 

Let’s back up one step and ask ‘what is midi?’.

 

MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It was developed in the early 80’s as a global standard for electronic music composition and performance. Before MIDI, electronic instrument sounds were produced with synthesizers, which had finite musical options. A MIDI controller allows the musician to access virtually unlimited sounds when connected to a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW.

 

The most popular/best MIDI keyboard controllers are piano style keyboards. These range from ultra-compact 25 key models to full scale 88 key keyboards. Modern MIDI controllers connect to a computer running DAW software such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro or Garage Band, through a usb cable.

 

Most smaller keyboard models are entirely powered by usb through the workstation computer. All you need is a laptop, DAW software and a portable midi keyboard to compose music whenever and wherever you feel inspired! The variety of options to choose from today is incredible.

 

Other MIDI controller styles available are drum trigger pads, guitars, and even some creative MIDI wind instruments!

 

What kind of musician are you?

 

The easiest way to discover which is the best midi keyboard for you is to ask yourself where you are as a composer?

Are you a music professional in need of a full sized keyboard for your digital recording studio?

Are you an amateur composer with a laptop?

Are you a DJ who needs a compact keyboard for gigs?

 

Thinking about what your current or future needs are will make the process of elimination easy.

 

While investing in a great MIDI keyboard that suits your needs is never a mistake, overpaying for an up-sold product should be avoided! The best midi keyboard for you doesn’t need to break the bank!

 

What bells and whistles are you looking for?

 

Some of the best MIDI keyboards are bare bones while others are stalked to the T with extra features. These can be used to enhance your music composition control, manipulation and overall experience.

Some common additions are:

 

Pitch and Mod wheels -

These two toggles allow you to bend the pitch and modulation with a touch of your fingers, drastically effecting the sounds signals being transmitted to the DAW. While these are great features for in-studio effects, they can be really handy during live performances as well!

 

(An alternative to the pitch wheel or stick is having built-in aftertouch in the keys. This frees up your hand to play two handed melodies. A great feature which comes at a price and is generally most appreciated by professionals who require both hands to play.)

 

 

Faders and knobs -

Often times keyboards which include these will come with automapping, automatically assigning effects to the faders and knobs on your controller from your DAW. Working with actually physical knobs and faders allow you hands on control over the effects you can use live.  Otherwise you are left to edit them post recording, which can be a hassle.

 

 

Trigger Pads -

Pads can be preset to different effects, loops and sounds, often percussive in nature. Many keyboards with pads will come with two or more memory banks, allowing you duplicate the amount of preset effects available at your fingertips! These require room though, thereby making your controller bulkier and heavier. Something to consider.

 

 

Sustain -

On an actual piano, sustain is achieved through a foot pedal. The pedal is held down and the damper continues to stay off the cord after the key is unengaged. To use a sustain pedal with a midi keyboard requires some external extension, however, sustain buttons are far more common and mimic the effect of the pedal without all the extra parts!

 

 

Different keys, different experience.

 

Not all keys are made equal! 

 

Classic MIDI controller keys are not designed like a regular piano’s keys. Without the hammers striking the cords to produce the note, the keys bounce back quickly. If you are not a concert pianist this may not be an issue. However, if you are used to playing a real piano, switching to a MIDI keyboard might be a bit of a shock to your fingers!

 

Clearly, spring loaded keys were not everybody’s cup of tea. Hammer Action (like a piano), and Semi-Weighted keys have been developed.

 

Hammer Action, or ‘weighted keys’, feel the most similar to a real piano. This is achieved by, you guessed it, adding a hammer, or placing weights in the keys to give them a more natural feel.

 

Semi-Weighted keys don’t pretend to be piano keys, although, they provide a little more resistance than regular spring loaded keys. This feeling is preferable to some players which is why both weighted and semi-weighted keys are very popular features in midi controllers.

 

Some ultra-compact keyboards which use pad style keys are none of the above. Usually a simple pad, some models (like Keith McMillen’s QuNexus) are designed with velocity sensitive keys, creating a unique experience and raising the bar for ultra-portable midi keyboards!

 

 

MIDI Keyboard Models:

 

Below you will find a brief overview of the most popular midi keyboard sizes and who would be best suited for them. Check out the links provided to compare the best MIDI keyboards of each size!

 

Ultra-portable MIDI keyboards:

 

Recently, the popularity of ultra-compact MIDI keyboards has risen amongst those working on the go or with extremely limited space. These keyboards are often small enough to transport in your laptop bag and are usb powered. Just plug and play. Some models are even iPad/tablet compatible!

 

While these bare bones controllers are clearly not up to the same key standards as the ivories on a concert grand, great strides have been taken in developing velocity sensitive keys and pads, further engaging the user experience.

 

These are the best MIDI keyboards for musicians who:

  • Compose on the go
  • Have extremely limited/no studio space
  • Want to lay down simple bass lines or percussive tracks / Sequencing
  • Are on a tight budget but need to make some tunes

Want to learn more about ultra-portable MIDI keyboards? Check out the top rated ultra-portable MIDI keyboards!

 

25 key MIDI keyboards:

 

The smallest piano style keyboards available are the 25 key models. Covering two octaves, almost every model has an ‘octave up/down’ button to allow you to cover all the notes you require. While some are ultra-portable, others have full-sized, semi-weighted keys, giving the user a more natural and expressive piano feel.

 

Often, 25 key controllers will include some of the extras; pitch and modulation wheels, pads, knobs and or faders, for example. While some of very high end models will be a little pricey, in general, these little keyboards will relatively inexpensive compared to some of the larger versions. Almost all 25 key keyboards will be exclusively usb powered, keeping it simple.

 

These are the best MIDI keyboards for musicians who:

  • Are just starting out
  • Are tight on space
  • Are on a budget
  • Are working on simple projects

Want to learn more about 25 key MIDI keyboards? Check out the top rated 25 key MIDI keyboards!

 

49 key MIDI keyboards:

 

49 key models are great because they are still compact enough to be considered portable, yet working with 4 octaves creates greater freedom for the user experience. It’s very possible to find a great value, low cost 49 key model, but it’s also possible to shell out the dough for some high end keyboards!

 

These are the best MIDI keyboards for musicians who:

  • Require less restrictions than the 25 key models
  • Want a portable keyboard
  • Are tight on space
  • Are tight on cash

Want to learn more about 49 key MIDI keyboards? Check out the top rated 49 key MIDI keyboards!

 

61 key MIDI keyboards:

 

At 61 keys, two handed playing is accomplished with relative ease and relatively few restrictions. Although these controllers are larger and less portable, they give the player great range and control.

 

These are the best MIDI keyboards for musicians who:

  • Like to play two handed
  • Are professional level/serious about music production
  • Have a studio with space to support a larger keyboard

Want to learn more about 61 key MIDI keyboards? Check out the top rated 61 key MIDI keyboards!

 

88 key MIDI keyboards:

 

Full range piano keyboards are a must for those who need the ‘real deal’ experience! 88 key models can either be great, basic keyboards, or decked to the T with extras and range in price from under $200 to over $2000!

 

These are the best MIDI keyboards for musicians who: 

  • Have plenty of space
  • Are professional level/Have a recording studio
  • Are willing to invest in a long term product
  • Require a full keyboard that doesn’t cause restrictions
  • Perform live
  • Are learning to play piano

Want to learn more about 88 key MIDI keyboards? Check out the top rated 88 key MIDI keyboards!

 

Other Info

As you can see, there is a lot of information to consider while shopping for a new midi keyboard:

  • Keyboard size
  • Key design type
  • Price
  • Bells and whistles (faders, knobs, pads, aftertouch)

 

Purchasing the best MIDI keyboard for your needs will make your experience as a user so much more satisfying and I hope that this site will been able to assist in your decision making! Please browse around and check out our different, specialized sections for more great information, reviews and product links!

 

If you have any questions or comments to improve the site, please submit them in our ‘comments’ section below, or contact me directly! I love to get feedback to continuously improve My Best MIDI Keyboard!

 

Thanks and Enjoy!

- Webmaster Warren

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Warren

    I’m the content writer for HomeRecordingHome.com.

    Thanks for checking out our site the other day. After you left a response, I checked out your site and was stoked on what I saw. I like the no-frills approach and the amount of solid information. Less time searching for the right keyboard and more time playing! Anyway, to say thanks for giving us some of your time, I did a little shout out for your site. You can see it here:

    http://homerecordinghome.com/my-best-midi-keyboard-is-your-new-best-friend/

    We’re hoping to see you around a little more. If you ever have any feedback or ideas for us, feel free to share. Thanks again.

    Cheers
    Ben

  2. MIDI says

    Nice, discovered 2 great websites / music production resources at once (homerecordinghome and mybestmidikeyboard) – I just found this site through the comment on my best midi keyboard lol. There’s actually a lot of good info on both sites, thanks guys (I’m sharing this with both of you lol…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *