In recent years, more and more creative people are starting to compose music directly on their personal computer or laptop. Indeed, it is possible to master music software without the involvement of additional equipment. Even using an ordinary keyboard and mouse, you can get a fairly high-quality full-fledged track, but using any external controller makes this process much faster and more convenient. The most effective tool in this regard is the midi keyboard. With its help, you can not only enter musical text, but also keep under full control what is happening in the music program.
However, not all novice music authors understand what such equipment is, so they often make quite serious mistakes when buying. We decided to help our readers solve this problem and developed a rating of the best midi keyboards. This article will highlight the key performance characteristics of the most popular models, and we will also give some useful tips that will surely help you when buying this product.
How to choose the right midi keyboard in 2022?
Another name for this device is a key controller. When buying, many users are guided by design and a number of other external attributes, but they are actually secondary. First of all, you should pay attention to the number of keys, their overall dimensions and the size of the controller itself. There are many solutions in this regard: there are very compact and even portable devices on sale, but you can also find stations equipped with a full-size piano keyboard, pads and various outputs that allow you to control analog equipment.
You should definitely ask what program for working with music this or that model is optimized for. In principle, manufacturers claim that their products can work with absolutely any music software – this is partly true, however, some models are only suitable for introducing a melody into the program, with the help of others it will be possible to control various effects, make adjustments, scatter the sound through the channels, and so on. Further.
Most midi keyboards are equipped with mechanical keys, which makes them look like a real piano. The number of keys must be selected depending on the existing musical skills. In particular, devices with 61 or 76 keys will suit people who have already mastered the piano and can play accompaniment and melodic line. If the music that the user composes does not contain complex harmonies, keyboard parts and a large number of voices distributed over registers, then it is most convenient to use more compact models – 49, 32 or 25 keys.
The keyboard is usually connected to a laptop or computer via a classic USB connector, as a rule, it has built-in software – drivers and the necessary application are installed independently immediately after connecting the product and turning it on. The vast majority of modern models have an additional interface that allows you to connect various kinds of additional equipment, such as a microphone, headphones, and so on. Be sure to pay attention to the signal delay – the smaller it is, the better. Cheap devices have a decent delay: in some cases it can reach 0.5 seconds, which is not very convenient when playing some complex or polyphonic melody.
When we chose products to be included in the rating of the best midi keyboards, we were guided, first of all, by the moments that we told our readers about a little higher. However, we did not limit ourselves to these factors: we took into account the price-quality ratio of models, as well as user reviews. We tried to include not the most expensive options in the review so that our readers can afford to purchase any of the presented models without compromising their wallet.
Versions for beginners
3 Roland A-49
This device is equipped with a full-size keyboard with the most comfortable mechanics. A midi device is perfect for users who have at least basic piano skills. The keys are made at a high quality level, they have slight rounding along the edges. The mechanics are carefully weighted, so pressing occurs with a certain effort, just like on a real musical instrument. The aftertouch is almost silent and very soft – no knocks or clicks were detected.
For the greatest ease of use, buttons are provided on the case with which you can adjust the tone, there is also a joystick modulator. The design also has an optical control system, thanks to which you can simulate pressing the pedal. Some novice users often experience certain difficulties when connecting to a computer. As a rule, drivers are installed automatically, but if this does not happen, you will have to do it manually – for such moments, a software disk and instructions are included in the kit.
- The keys are virtually indistinguishable from the keyboard on a real piano;
- Made from very high quality materials;
- There are additional control buttons;
- The optical system allows you to simulate a pedal.
- Drivers are not always installed automatically;
- Not suitable for users without piano skills.
Midi keyboard Roland A-49
2. KORG microKEY2-37
This company is widely known to musicians all over the world as a manufacturer of very high quality musical equipment of various kinds. The assembly here is just on top, the device is perfect for beginner composers, besides, the products are not too expensive. The model belongs to the second generation, besides it is compatible with devices such as iPad and iPhone. The panel has a special socket through which you can connect a universal or damper pedal. The keyboard is able to work absolutely with any music applications on various operating systems – Windows, Android, iOS. It does not need to download additional software.
The keyboard has 37 keys, with both black and white keys reduced in length, height and width. Despite their rather compact overall dimensions, the vast majority of users talk about their convenience. The keys are pleasant to press. There are only three octaves, however, they will be quite enough for beginners. The mass of the product is only 1 kg, the body is strong, assembled without backlash and squeaks.
- Quite acceptable cost;
- Reduced size of keys;
- Insignificant weight of the tool;
- Excellent build quality;
- Long service life.
- The range is only three octaves.
Midi keyboard KORG microKEY2-37
1. M-Audio Keystation Mini 32
The company that released this keyboard is today one of the most popular companies involved in the manufacture and sale of musical instruments. The assortment of the enterprise includes midi-keyboards of various price categories, so each user will be able to find the most suitable option for himself. The device is characterized by compact overall dimensions and low weight, which makes it ideal for use in a home studio or even for performances. Users studying sound production or sound engineering often prefer this particular model.
Such a controller can be completely customized to your own style of performance. The design provides not only keys, but also regulators that can be configured. If necessary, the model can be connected to Apple products. The keys are pressed very easily, without extraneous sounds.
- Excellent value for money products;
- Suitable even for public speaking;
- The controller, if necessary, is configured for an individual style of play.
- Not all users like overly soft keystrokes.
Midi keyboard M-Audio Keystation Mini 32
Midi keyboards for professional musicians
4.Arturia KeyLab Essential 61
The device was designed specifically for those users who do not like to be distracted from the process of creating music. Most of the controls on the chassis are auto-adjusted, making it easy to navigate throughout your project. The keyboard software includes a Chord mode that allows you to create chords by pressing a single key. This mode often helps when recording music or during performances, because due to the rush and excitement, not every musician can play clear and even chords.
The unique DAW Command Center software is included with the controller. Thanks to this program, it will be possible to easily and quickly set up all the buttons and faders, however, there are a number of applications that come with this keyboard – Analog Lab, Ableton, UVI Grand Piano model D. There is a similar model on sale, which has a smaller number keys – its capabilities will be quite enough for a small performance or recording music.
- Advanced software;
- There are a number of additional features;
- Compact overall dimensions;
- Suitable not only for recording music, but also for performances.
- The white plastic housing gets dirty quickly.
Midi keyboard Arturia KeyLab Essential 61
3. Novation Impulse 61
This product is more like a full-fledged instrument than the usual midi-controller. The keyboard here is semi-weighted, it has an aftertouch function. The unique High Rate Scan technology was used in the production. With its help, the instrument is scanned 10,000 times per second. With a similar approach, knobs and keys respond instantly with every touch, allowing for the most expressive performance possible. The musician will be able to convey to the public all the feelings and emotions embedded in the melody.
The entire interface can be easily configured manually using the dedicated Automap software. It is quite enough to make a single adjustment, after which productivity will increase many times over. The user does not have to search for the required functions on the display for a long time – it will be enough to turn the desired handle or press the appropriate button.
- Proper tuning increases productivity;
- All elements on the body are subject to adjustment;
- Excellent build quality and workmanship.
- There are only eight pads – not enough for a professional musician.
Midi keyboard Novation Impulse 61
2. Novation Launchkey Mini
The instrument is perfect for performances – its bright and multi-colored pads literally attract the attention of others. The keyboard itself is characterized by compact overall dimensions. The pads are quite soft, easy to press, and also react to the speed of pressing. Largely due to their sensitivity, the user will be able to fully convey the dynamics of the sound.
The device is easily compatible with most well-known programs – Ableton, Reason, FL Studio, ProTools, Cubase and many others. However, on the case it will not be possible to find a wheel responsible for adjusting the tone and modulation. There is also no special software that could be used to fine-tune the device.
- Bright pads look perfect in a dark club environment;
- Compact overall dimensions and low weight;
- The musician will be able to easily convey all the dynamics of the sound.
- The keys are small in size;
- There is no wheel, due to which it would be possible to adjust the modulation and tone.
Midi keyboard Novation Launchkey Mini
1. Native Instruments Kit Kontrol M32
A truly excellent tool for creating electronic music. The controller is equipped with 32 unweighted small keys – the same ones used in synthesizers. They are very sensitive to pressure. There are also controllers on the dashboard that are responsible for adjusting the modulation and changing the pitch. If necessary, the user can connect the pedals. Unfortunately, they are not included with the device, they will have to be purchased separately. The company that developed this keyboard also paid a lot of attention to the software.
Thanks to seamless integration and Smart Play technology, the manufacturer has managed to provide intuitive control of effects, samples, loops and other features of the gadget. The instrument weighs only 1.45 kg, so you can easily take it to any performance or recording studio. Connects to a personal computer using the most common USB cable.
- Intuitive control of all effects;
- Insignificant weight;
- Ideal for performances and recording.
- The keys are too easy to press, sometimes there are clicks.
Midi keyboard Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32
Midi keyboards for home recording studio
3. AKAI MPK Mini MKIII
The Japanese company is engaged in the production of top-level musical instruments, and at a very reasonable price. This latest generation of the highly popular controller compares favorably with previous versions with an improved dynamic keyboard that is able to capture even the slightest nuance of performances. The device is equipped with only 25 keys, it has 8 pads and a number of other controls.
Rotary controls are devoid of limiters, are located as conveniently as possible. The design is characterized by compact overall dimensions, the weight is only 800 grams.
- Improved keyboard compared to previous versions;
- Small overall dimensions and weight;
- Well thought out arpeggiator.
- It will take some time to get used to the instrument.
AKAI MPK Mini MKIII Midi Keyboard
2. Native Instruments Kit Kontrol S49
As professional musicians write in their reviews, this controller leaves a very pleasant impression of working with it. His keyboard is equipped with an ample number of full-size keys, powered by premium synth action from Fatar, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of professional-grade keyboards. The unit looks pretty stylish. The design and production quality is at the level of the world’s best enterprises, so this midi keyboard will be a real decoration for both home and professional studios.
I would like to pay special attention to the functional side of this device. It can be easily combined with any Native software products. Before directly loading a musical instrument, you can use the preview function, which greatly saves time.
- Very stylish design;
- Excellent build quality;
- Very wide functionality;
- Suitable for home or professional studios, can be used for live performances.
- It is quite expensive.
Midi keyboard Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49
1. Arturia MiniLab MkII inverted black
It has compact overall dimensions and a sound range of only two octaves, but such features will be quite enough for use in a home studio. The case is decorated in black color, which gives the device additional style and attractiveness. The keys of the controller are unweighted, characterized by increased sensitivity to touch. The model has 8 pads with an attractive LED backlight that looks very nice in the dark, the manufacturer has equipped the design with 16 encoders, pitch and modulation ribbon controls.
In order to switch between octaves, there are corresponding buttons. Along with the keyboard, the user receives a fairly large set of software – Ableton Live Lite, Anoalog Lab Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D. The weight of the device is only 1.5 kg, so you can take it with you to a rehearsal base or to a recording studio .
- Compact overall dimensions and low weight of the device;
- Great for home use;
- All processes are under the strict control of the user;
- You can switch between octaves using special buttons.
- The glossy keys get scratched and chipped fairly quickly.
Midi keyboard Arturia MiniLab MkII inverted black
In conclusion, a useful video
Our ranking of the best midi keyboards in 2022 is coming to its logical conclusion. We have tried to provide comprehensive information on each model in the most accessible language so that each user can choose the best product for themselves. If certain questions still remain, then you can always ask our specialists in the comments to this article – be sure that none of them will be left without attention.