A MIDI keyboard can be a very useful tool for those seeking to produce and edit music at home. The keyboard works with your other digital equipment to produce sound and allows the user to manipulate the music as needed. MIDI keyboards can be an affordable way for those who are just beginning to work with music to learn the trade and develop their skills.
When shopping for a MIDI keyboard quality is important. It’s usually not best to buy the cheapest option as with these type of electronics you tend to get what you pay for. Read reviews before making the purchase to ensure you’re getting a quality keyboard that will function well for your particular home setup. The following is a list of ten of the best MIDI keyboards in 2016 based on reviews.
10. M-Audio Keystation 49 II 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller
This keyboard can be purchased for around $100. It connects to a computer via a USB connection and allows the user to easily manipulate music and digital instruments. The keyboard features 49 full size keys that are semi-weighted and velocity sensitive for optimal sound and great performance. It also has octave range buttons, transport controls and pitch bend and modulation wheels. It includes Ableton Lite Live and SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble, a high quality virtual piano instrument.
9. M-Audio Keystation 88 II 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller
This large keyboard has 88 full size semi-weighted keys and a 1/4-inch sustain-pedal input for excellent performance and sound control. The keyboard allows for a wide range of sound manipulations through the featured octave range buttons and pitch bend and modulation wheels. It also has transport controls and comes equipped with several well known platforms for producing high quality music. It’s priced at around $200. Directional controls allow for ease of use without requiring a mouse or track pad.
8. Akai Professional LPK25 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Keyboard
This keyboard is small and very portable. It is priced at under $70 and features 25 velocity sensitive keys. The board is lightweight and easy to carry in a backpack or laptop bag. It includes editing software for use with PC or Mac and easily connects with a USB cable with no power cord required. The built in arpeggiator provides the user with various musical patterns for inspiration. The keyboard features various tools for editing and producing music including a sustain button, octave up or down controls and tap tempo editing tools.
7. midiplus AKM320 midiplus MIDI Keyboard Controller
The midiplus keyboard is a very affordable option and would work well for beginners as it is priced at around $36. It’s a 32 note velocity sensitive keyboard that features up and down tranpose buttons, up and down octave buttons and both a pitch wheel and modulation wheel. These features all work together to allow the user to have maximum editing and producing abilities. It connects via a USB cable and also has sustain switch interface with no pedal included.
6. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Drum Pad & Keyboard
This compact keyboard can easily fit into a bag and is very portable being 12.4″ long and weighing less than 2 pounds. It has an simple USB connection and comes with downloadable packages for various instruments. It also has dedicated buttons for octave up and down, note repeat and full level. The 25 keys make great sounds while the 8-velocity sensitive drum pads and the 8 control knobs add extra elements of sound that many others don’t have. The keyboard is priced at around $100.
5. IK Multimedia iRig Keys Pro full-sized 37-key MIDI controller
This keyboard is designed to work with Mac/PC along with the iPhone and iPad. It has 37 velocity sensitive keys that are full sized and easy to use. It features 3 full octave ranges, modulation and pitch bend wheels and a volume/data knob. The controls allow for maximum editing ability and the octave up and down buttons make for a great variation in sound options. The keyboard comes with SampleTank 3 SE for Mac/PC for editing and production. It also has an input for an optional pedal or sustain.
4. Akai Professional APC Key 25 Ableton Performance Controller with Keyboard
The Akai Professional Keyboard is unique in that it was the first Ableton Live controller available. It has 25 synth-action mini keys and allows for conventional composing and performing. The keyboard also has 40 tri-colored LED pads to launch clips and it seamlessly integrates with the Ableton Live’s intuitive interface for high quality music production. The unit weighs 1.7 pounds and is small enough for easy travel. It has a USB connection as well.
3. Akai Professional MPK249 49-Key USB MIDI Drum Pad and Keyboard
This MIDI keyboard from Akai is on the higher price range, being priced at $400 and is designed for the true music lover. It has 49 semi-weighted full size keys with pressure sensitivity. It’s an all-in-one controller for performing live and producing in the music studio. It also features 16 RGB-illuminated MPC style pads, 8 control knobs, 8 faders and 8 switches to allow the user to manipulate music as needed.
2. Novaton Launchkey 61 USB Keyboard Controller
The Novaton Launchkey is priced at around $250 and is a bigger unit than many others on the list. It features Novation’s 61 note MK2 version and is versatile for editing and creating music. It has 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs and dedicated nagivation and control buttons. It works with both Mac and PC platforms. It also includes Ableton Live Lite and Novation Bass Station.
1. Novation Launchkey 49 USB Keyboard Controller
This other option from Novation is priced at around $200 and is equipped with 49 keys and also comes with Ableton Lite Live and Novation Bass Station. It features 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs and dedicated navigation and control buttons. It is USB powered and works without cables and drivers.
A MIDI keyboard allows the user to produce and edit music on the go. They keyboards are small enough to carry in a backpack or laptop bag and connect easily via a USB connection. MIDI keyboards provide an easy way for anyone to learn to work with music and create their own.
When shopping for MIDI keyboards it’s important to ensure that the one you purchase is compatible with your device. You should also consider what features you want as some are very simple and others have many different types of controls. For those who are on a tight budget, there are affordable options that are priced under $50, but some of the more complex units can be much more expensive.