Your Favorite MIDI Keyboard in 2018 – The Most Unbiased Review of the Popular Devices

#ModelRatingNumber of keysDimensions
Our topCheck
1Arturia KeyLab 25 2514 x 4 x 20 inches4

2Arturia KeyLab 49 4933.3 x 4 x 14 inches3

3Arturia KeyLab 61 6138.2 x 4.8 x 12.4 inches2

4Arturia MiniLab MK II 258.7 x 14 x 2 inches1

5NI Komplete Kontrol S49 4935 x 6 x 14 inches5

6Nektar Panorama P4 4935 x 5.5 x 14.6 inches7

7Akai MPK2 257.1 x 12.4 x 1.8 inches6

8Alesis VX49 4933.7 x 10.4 x 3.1 inches8

9Novation Impulse 25 2522.4 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches9

10Novation Impulse 49 4928.3 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches10

11Novation Impulse 61 6141.3 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches12

12M Audio MIDI keyboard Code 49 4933.9 x 10 x 2.8 inches11

13Novation Launchkey 49 4933.5 x 4.7 x 12.6 inches13

14M-Audio Keystation with 49 497.7 x 31.9 x 3 inches14

15M-Audio Keystation with 61 619.4 x 38.6 x 3.6 inches15

16M-Audio Keystation with 88 889.8 x 53.9 x 3.6 inches17

17Nektar Impact LX25+ 2518.3 x 10.5 x 2.3 inches16

18Akai Professional LPK25 253.8 x 13.4 x 1.1 inches18

19Korg microKEY Air 25 2518.1 x 6.5 x 2.8 inches19

20Korg microKEY Air 37 3725.8 x 7.3 x 3.1 inches20

21Korg microKEY Air 49 4931.5 x 7.3 x 3.1 inches22

22Korg microKEY Air 61 6137.2 x 7.3 x 3.2 inches21

Arturia KeyLab 25
Rating
Number of keys25
Dimensions
14 x 4 x 20 inches
Our top4
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Arturia KeyLab 49
Rating
Number of keys49
Dimensions
33.3 x 4 x 14 inches
Our top3
Check

Arturia KeyLab 61
Rating
Number of keys61
Dimensions
38.2 x 4.8 x 12.4 inches
Our top2
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Arturia MiniLab MK II
Rating
Number of keys25
Dimensions
8.7 x 14 x 2 inches
Our top1
Check

NI Komplete Kontrol S49
Rating
Number of keys49
Dimensions
35 x 6 x 14 inches
Our top5
Check

Nektar Panorama P4
Rating
Number of keys49
Dimensions
35 x 5.5 x 14.6 inches
Our top7
Check

Akai MPK2
Rating
Number of keys 25
Dimensions
7.1 x 12.4 x 1.8 inches
Our top6
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Alesis VX49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
33.7 x 10.4 x 3.1 inches
Our top8
Check

Novation Impulse 25
Rating
Number of keys 25
Dimensions
22.4 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches
Our top9
Check

Novation Impulse 49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
28.3 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches
Our top10
Check

Novation Impulse 61
Rating
Number of keys 61
Dimensions
41.3 x 6.3 x 15.1 inches
Our top12
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M Audio MIDI keyboard Code 49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
33.9 x 10 x 2.8 inches
Our top11
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Novation Launchkey 49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
33.5 x 4.7 x 12.6 inches
Our top13
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M-Audio Keystation with 49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
7.7 x 31.9 x 3 inches
Our top14
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M-Audio Keystation with 61
Rating
Number of keys 61
Dimensions
9.4 x 38.6 x 3.6 inches
Our top15
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M-Audio Keystation with 88
Rating
Number of keys 88
Dimensions
9.8 x 53.9 x 3.6 inches
Our top17
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Nektar Impact LX25+
Rating
Number of keys 25
Dimensions
18.3 x 10.5 x 2.3 inches
Our top16
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Akai Professional LPK25
Rating
Number of keys 25
Dimensions
3.8 x 13.4 x 1.1 inches
Our top18
Check

Korg microKEY Air 25
Rating
Number of keys 25
Dimensions
18.1 x 6.5 x 2.8 inches
Our top19
Check

Korg microKEY Air 37
Rating
Number of keys 37
Dimensions
25.8 x 7.3 x 3.1 inches
Our top20
Check

Korg microKEY Air 49
Rating
Number of keys 49
Dimensions
31.5 x 7.3 x 3.1 inches
Our top22
Check

Korg microKEY Air 61
Rating
Number of keys 61
Dimensions
37.2 x 7.3 x 3.2 inches
Our top21
Check

The task of choosing the best MIDI keyboard controller can become a problem for most musicians. And we are eager to help you! Take your time and patiently read this article to the end, it will erase lots of your questions and worries.

Lots of musicians still use the analog setup but the up-to-date technology is inevitably switching to digital or a hybrid (analog and digital) setup.

MIDI controller is sometimes irreplaceable for various musical productions. With its help the unlimited possibilities emerge, like endless amount of effects and sounds.
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So you need to choose MIDI controller. What you should decide is:

  • Your budget.
  • The number of keys.
  • The type of keys: synth-action, semi-weighted or full-weighted, with “aftertouch” or not.
  • Does your controller need to be portable?
  • Will you prefer device with pads?
  • Do you need faders, buttons, arpeggiators which can substantially change the price?
  • What about the software?
Tip:All these issues have great influence on your choice as well as on the price of your future MIDI keyboard.

If you are just starting your career as world music Superstar we believe that the best midi keyboard controllers for beginners will be Arturia MiniLab MK II, Nektar Impact LX25+, Akai Mini MkII, Novation Launchkey (mini). These are the most worthy ones which entered the market in the early 2018.

And here are the best midi keyboards which could be suitable for experienced and skilled musicians. Let’s start with the top of the price list and honestly describe the devices which can help amateurs, creative people, and musicians to feel themselves real professionals.

Arturia KeyLab

If you want to enjoy the widest rich spectrum of musical instrument sounds, pay attention to the Arturia KeyLab is a two-octave MIDI keyboard controller with pads and rotary controls. It offers preset sorting by type, instrument or characteristic and preset editing. There are models with 25, 49, 61 keys, as well as a mini version of the MiniLab MK II, which is loved most of all as the quality meets the price.


Arturia KeyLab 25

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  • Includes Analog Lab software with 5000 synth sounds. All presets are carefully selected from the Arturia Classic Synths (mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, SEM V and Jupiter-8V) and from Wurlitzer V.
  • Fast preset sorting to your quickly find your sound: by Instrument, by Type (Bass, Pads, Leads), by Characteristics (long, bright, dark ). In-depth Preset Editing available for the owners of the Arturia classic synthesizers (Mini V, CS-80 V, etc.)
  • More than 200 Multi patches organized by musical genres, each made of two different synth patches with effects, layers and splits
  • Keyboard : 25 semi weighted keys with velocity and after touch. Controls : 2 clickable encoders, 6 transport switches, 1 modulation wheel, 1 pitch bend wheel, two banks of 10 encoders, 9 sliders, and 10 assignable switches.
Pros
Metal construction
Clear full-featured editing
Cons
High price

Arturia KeyLab 49

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  • Includes Analog Lab software with 5000 synth sounds. All presets are carefully selected from the Arturia Classic Synths (mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, SEM V and Jupiter-8V) and from Wurlitzer V.
  • In-depth preset editing available for the owners of the Arturia Classic Synthesizers (Mini V, CS-80 V, etc.). Edit your sounds on the original instruments within Analog Lab.
  • More than 200 Multi patches organized by musical genres, each made of two different synth patches with effects, layers and splits
  • Keyboard : 49 semi weighted keys with velocity and after touch
Pros
Compact, light, and well built
Great value
Cons
Maybe: although other DAWs will need work for full functionality
No aftertouch on a keyboard

Arturia KeyLab 61

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  • Includes Analog Lab software with 5000 synth sounds, Includes Ableton Live Lite, Includes UVI Grand Piano model D
    61 keys with velocity
  • Controllers: 1 clickable encoder, 9 encoders, 9 30mm faders, 6 transport switches, 4 command switches, 1 modulation wheel, 1 pitch bend wheel, 8 touch and pressure-sensitive pads
  • Connectivity: MIDI out, USB, Sustain pedal
  • Functions as a universal MIDI controller
Pros
Sturdy build in a lightweight package
Intuitive layout and controls
Cons
No MIDI expression pedal jack
Maybe: MIDI faders could be a little more sturdy.

Our choice for beginners – MiniLab MK II

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  • Compact size, the body width is 32 mm., proportions 35.5 x 22 x 5 cm, so you can conveniently place the controller in a backpack next to the laptop;
  • Analog Lab Lite software support, consisting of 5,000 synthetic sounds taken from a number of classic synthesizers (Prophet V, SEM V, CS-80V);
  • Ableton Live 9 Lite software;
  • Semi-weighted keys with velocity-sensitive post-exposure (this function is not present in mini-mini). As previously, the MiniLab MK II uses 25 miniature keys with synthesizer mechanics and the pressing speed sensitivity. There are three types of velocity curves and a mode with a fixed maximum value. Similar sensitivity settings are also provided for the pads;
  • UVI Grand Piano Model D, which is a sampled concert grand piano Steinway. In its library there are 862 samples in wav format of 2.57 GB, recorded in 192 kHz and, subsequently, converted to 44.1 kHz. The ones, who used it, highly appreciated the sound quality.
  • 16 velocity-sensitive multi-function pads with bright RGB backlighting with an additional switching mode between tabs and between 8 presets with global device settings. Switching is carried out instantly while holding down the SHIFT button and the corresponding pad.
Pros
Low price
Full integration with all Arturia software tools
Cons
Overlay for cardboard regulators and without adhesive backing
Execution of knob

Conclusions

In general, midi controller keyboards Arturia KeyLab satisfied the most customers and the “mini-version” remains one of the most affordable devices equipped with plenty of controllers with its ridiculous price of 80-99 $. Maximum functionality for a low price! We recommend it!


Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series

You see “Germany” and keep in mind that is the best midi keyboard. It is hard to argue that German quality is considered to be a role model for almost everything.

Native Instruments seriously approached creating the best MIDI keyboard that could be connected to Komplete products. The most users’ requirements were identified after some research. People expected professional key mechanics; 100% integration of keyboards and virtual instruments; good design and the high-quality level comparable to the best world brands. In order to satisfy these demands the KOMPLETE KONTROLS-Series were born. The models are presented in different quantity of keys: 25, 49, 61, 88.

The “newborn” devices present perfectly realized concept of perfect quality. The manufacturers used high-quality components and complemented the devices with high functionality and exceptional, solid body frame. For example, now the customer has no difficulties of managing virtual instruments with the help of controllers on the keyboard.

Tip:At the same time, the price remains reasonable and gadgets are not overvalued.
  • Semi-weighted keys by Fatar (in S88 they are fully-weighted);
  • Automapping;
  • Lighting up specific keys for chords;
  • A powerful and fully customizable arpeggiator mode: the backlight indicates which notes are engaged while playing;
  • Easy-to-browse buttons (by Komplete);
  • Two multi-purpose touch strips of.
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Advantages

The KOMPLETE KONTROL devices are compatible with any user-friendly and familiar environment. We mean Ableton Live as well as Logic. User can also use it with ProTools and Cubase. It supports a stand-alone mode too (not connected to any “soft”). The users enjoy the easiness of understanding the plug-in interface, you won’t waste time on studying it.

The device has different numbers of full-sized keys by Fatar: 25, 49 and 61with “aftertouch” function. Key mechanics, tactile feelings are very convenient and responsive. Fatar is the Italian supplier of keys for famous world brands.

The body frame of the device is made of durable plastic. The earlier models are featuring decorative metal inserts above on the sides. There is special plug-in (VST/AAX/AU Komplete Kontrol) in order to achieve correct operation using the KOMPLETE libraries,.

Transport panel is illuminated. Buttons are bright. For example SHIFT button is intended to edit modes.

By pressing the SCALE button, the keypad switches to gamma mode to exclude the possibility of discordant sounding notes. Only the notes which create the fret are lighted.

The indication strips

This is unusual. Instead of traditional pitch and wheels of modulation, touch-sensitive strips are used in the device. The second strip shows the amplitude of oscillations by increasing or decreasing. Push the strip with your finger and you will launch the process. Your second hand becomes free!

Reviews

There are different opinions about working with wheels and strips. Someone considers working with wheels convenient. The wheel is smoothly adjustable, it get the exact necessary position, unlike the strips, where you have to get to the middle, to the zero point for a smooth shift of sound.

The strips have interesting indication and different modes.

Conclusions

All implemented opportunities are aimed to help creativity of newcomers and non-professional musicians. Even small midi keyboard will make you feel a high-professional musician. The devices are good for those who have money, who want to get the high-quality modern keyboard and even for those who do not know the notes. These devices will give a chance to play something meaningful.


NI Komplete Kontrol S49

Download the sounds at the touch of a button as Komplete Kontrol is a universal device which combines the latest innovations.

The automatic mapping function assigns all key parameters of the instrument to sensitive knobs. Everything you need to create a musical masterpiece is right here and now!

Innovative light emphasized switches, zones and other controls in full color, depending on the instrument. For example, the key color corresponds to the color cell in BATTERY 4.

The capabilities of Komplete Kontrol are huge. You decide whether to play chords with individual keys or to use the entire keyboard. It’s easy to create melodies when you press the button of the arpeggiator. You can also change, twist and automate sounds like never before with high flexibility. All this is now available.
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S-series Komplete Kontrol was created and designed for Komplete 10 and Komplete 10 Ultimate, the most powerful tools for sound production and design. The keyboards are compatible with Komplete 9 and Komplete 9 ULTIMATE.

The instrument is equipped with Komplete Kontrol S 25 8 encapsulated encoders with displays. There is also a pair of sensor ribbon sliders, a browser section, an arpeggiator section and ladder settings. Switching capabilities are presented. USB-connector, MIDI IN/OUT and a connector for connecting pedals. Everything is on the rear panel.

  • Unparalleled integration with KOMPLETE 10 and KOMPLETE 10 ULTIMATE.The included KOMPLETE KONTROL software provides unparalleled integration with KOMPLETE Instruments.
  • Supreme-quality Fatar key bed gives superior feel over competing keyboards and high quality encoders offer total control of all key software parameters
  • Light Guide key illumination and Clear View display deliver a unique visual perspective on the creative process
Pros
Semi-weighted action with aftertouch
Not as heavy as other 88 key controllers
Cons
Maybe: the software installation process is horrible
No Drum Pads for finger drumming

Nektar Panorama P4

This midi controller keyboard received the award of the international music press MIPA-2012 in the category “Keyboard controller”.

What makes it different from other controllers? Its unique feature is the authomatized touch-sensitive ALPS fader, which gives you a pro console-like mixer channel to control within your DAW. The system works as quickly as lightning.

The total number of supported extensions reached 38. For example, here are some of them: DR-1 Deep Reverb (production of Synapse Audio), Env Shaper (FXpansion), Uhbik-A (U-He), Echobode (Sonic Charge), Uhbik-Q (U-He)

Support for Bitwig and Logic Pro X has been added recently.
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  • Semi-weighted full-sized Keys (49, 61) sensitive to touch with “aftertouch” function;
  • It offers integration with Bitwig, Cubase, Logic Pro, Reason, Main Stage, and Reaper;
  • It contains 93 controls, parameters to MIDI map on your DAW, which gives you really non-limited possibilities;
  • Connectable pedals;
  • “Scale-Function” for easy change pad assignments;
  • Controller for changing the pitch of the modulation controller;
Pros
Build quality
Sensetive keys
A large number of functions
Cons
No audio I/O
High price

Conclusions

Authomatized touch fader, customizable LCD display, high speed and clear full control, a lot of buttons, faders and knobs. Various software and functionality are also available.


Akai MPK2

Models of this “family” come with formidable software set: Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3.0 virtual synth, SONiVOX Twist 2.0, MPC Essentials software (it is almost like DAW). They are compatible with Mac and PC.

The thumb-controlled pitch-bend works properly as well as modulation joystick.

Tip:The built-in arpeggiator is easy to use, it will let you manage complex synthesizer melodies, shape them with all your fantasy!

Here’s soft that you get with the Mini MkII: Akai Pro MPC Essentials, SONiVOX Wobble, and Air Music Tech Hybrid 3 synth. Mini version has the following dimensions: 12.5″x7.13″x1.75″. This model doesn’t have an “aftertouch” function. This version is really Gem for beginners.

Drum pads are velocity-sensitive and RGB backlit. There are buttons to lower and raise octaves. It is possible to switch the programs of the MIDI keyboard itself.
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Akai midi keyboard with an “aftertouch” function is a bit more expensive than the Novation keyboard but has some better software and is better constructed on the whole. It’s one of the best MIDI keyboards existing nowadays.

It comes with full-sized 25, 49 and 61 keys (they are semi-weighted) and you can also get a mini-version.

  • The pads provide a total of 64 combinations
  • Octave controls for up and down
  • Relatively solid package of software
  • High resolution LCD screen
  • 8 assignable faders for plug-in mixing and tweaking; control knobs, buttons
  • Pitch bend and mod wheels
  • Note repeat, full level and tap tempo buttons
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Customers’ reviews

Some customers would like to have more controllers to be replaced with the pads and, in fact, the accompaniment can also be recorded with keys. Some of the customers found this USB midi keyboard inconvenient in connecting by the port; perhaps the manufacturer should change the USB port location. The customers did not like the moving of the inaudible keystrokes. One person says, some keys have ceased to define velocity. The playing has a sensation caused by the fact that the device is too light, rattling its body frame as a response to keystrokes.
The keys are sensitive, nothing sticks and there is no feeling of cheap plastic, which is appreciated by the experienced musicians. Compact size makes creating music out of the house convenient. There are comfortable regulators. The pads are pretty sensitive.

Pros
Small and compact
Eight velocity-sensitive drums pads
Price-quality ratio
Cons
Maybe: small keys may cause your fingers to feel cramped
No transport controls
This device is definitely worth its money. It is convenient to use as it is compact,it does not require additional power supply, it uses only one usb plug. With this device you can create music anywhere. The keys have good sensitivity. The pads are also comfortable the red lighting is adorable. It sounds perfect.

Conclusions

On the whole it is an on-the-budget option. It doesn’t comprise particularly pretentious materials, but it is lightweight, functional, compact and it looks just cool. The device is very convenient, it takes up little space and you can compose music everywhere. In general, it is an excellent product for a reasonable price.


Alesis VX49

This keyboard is definitely worth your attention. This MIDI device with 49 keys has all you need if you are musician or producer or just adore making music and appreciate the quality sound.

Many users highly estimated the Virtual Instrument Player software. While using it you get the direct access to all virtual tools in the PC, quick sorting and plugin search.

The great advantage discovered by customers is high-resolution color LCD display that conveniently controls DAW and virtual instruments with help of dedicated interface buttons. All plugin set up feedback is displayed on the 4.3-inch screen (1:1).

By taking advantage of 8 instruments you can create new sounds and sets. It can work in the standalone controller mode and also, at the same time, take control under DAW and plug-in.
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The keyboard comprises 49 semi-weighted keys with the “aftertouch” effect. MIDI controller looks smooth and feels pleasant under your fingers. The device is equipped with the following: octave, transport control, role mode and performance buttons. You can also enjoy the convenience of using the device with the functions of time division. Users also highly estimated the arpeggiator.

Dimensions: 115×955×315 mm, weight: 4.3 kg

The gadget has DAW Compatibility and it is USB powered. You can find a USB cable in the set.

  • 8 encoders and 8 knobs rotating on 360° are always ready to work
  • Dedicated encoder with a push function will help you navigate the display
  • Plugin for load, play & control any VST
  • 8 RGB backlighted drum-pads, which are sensitive to force and pressing speed
  • All users are fond of multifunction RGB pad controllers;
Pros
Can function as a standalone MIDI controller
Easy to use and customize
The keys are semi-weighted
Cons
build quality
Maybe: experiencing super/uber frustrating connectivity issues with this device

Conclusions

We advise you to pay attention to this midi keyboard, Amazon offers the used ones for about 295$, and this price is adequate to the rich functionality of the device. We highly recommend it.


Novation Impulse 25, 49, 61

This is a real miracle: the perfectly equipped controller of this class with fantastically solid body frames with plenty of functions and pads being sold twice cheaper than its competitors.

The design and construction are designed to meet all the modern requirements. Its overall dimensions are 846x100x332 mm; it weighs 5 kg. The quality definitely meets the price. Let’s prove it.

Made of heavy-duty plastic it has the best software in the set, and the price could be lower if it wasn’t Ableton Live Lite. It is not as perfect as, for example, Akai, but it tries to show 100% performance. It is compatible with Logic Pro, perhaps you could hardly find the best soft for a MIDI controller and of course you can make your best choice of 25 49 or 61-key gadget.
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The model has 49 keys, eight encoders, nine faders and nine assignable buttons. For comfortable use, the MIDI controller is powered by a standard USB port on a PC or laptop.

For visual inspection, the Impulse 49 model is equipped with a large graphic LCD display which is highly functional. The keys and controllers of the MIDI keyboard can be reprogrammed with the function Automap 4. For convenient work with the Ableton Live music software and drum instruments, the MIDI keyboard IMPULSE 49 has eight electronic pads with dynamic backlight.


Novation Impulse 25

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  • Ultra-responsive semi weighted keyboard with aftertouch
  • Full DAW/plug-in control surface with 8 knobs, 1 fader and button
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plug-ins
  • Multi-function drum pads enable you to warp arpeggios, roll beats and launch clips in Ableton Live
Pros
Easy To Use
Good Quality
Cons
Maybe: does not work “with All Major DAWs and Plug-In Instruments and Effects” as stated

Novation Impulse 49

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  • Ultra-responsive semi weighted keyboard with aftertouch
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plug-ins
  • Full DAW/plug-in control surface with 8 knobs, 9 faders and buttons
  • Includes downloads for: Ableton Live Lite, Novation’s Bass Station synth, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, and a Loopmasters Sample Pack; 2-year limited warranty on manufacturing defects
Pros
Maybe: the feel of the keyboard is stable
Quality of materials
Cons
High price

Novation Impulse 61

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  • Ultra-responsive semi weighted keyboard with aftertouch
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plug-ins
  • Full DAW/plug-in control surface with 8 knobs, 9 faders and buttons. Sustain pedal 1/4 inch jack socket, Expression pedal 1/4 inch jack socket
  • Multi-function drum pads enable you to warp arpeggios, roll beats and launch clips in Ableton Live
Pros
Maybe: feel of the keys
Good price
Cons
Build quality

Customers’ reviews

We found only positive reviews, it is considered by users as an excellent model with high functionality! It provides easy and efficient work with sound synthesis, live performances, etc.

ТIt is a controller, so any knobs of twist and sliders can be added to the device and work in any direction. The work speed increases hugely. There are no analogs like Impulse 61 in its class!
ТThe high-quality keyboard responds to the finger pressure dynamics.
ТIt is absolutely awesome unbreakable thing with a bunch of different features. According to users, the keyboard is slightly overpriced, but the functionality and quality of Novation are worth it. This device can be used for many years.

Some users shared their opinion that white keys are more pleasant than most MIDI keyboards. The black keys are soft, the stroke is small, you have to get used to it.


M Audio MIDI keyboard Code 49

This universal device of unusual design has a large number of various controllers and updated mechanics. It is compatible with the most popular “soft”, using virtual AIR Hybrid and Loom instruments and here are the provided presets:

  • General ASCII – General MIDI
  • “Pro Tools” and “Logic Pro”, “Ableton Live” and “Bitwig Studio” and finally “Cubase” – Hybrid, Loom
You can use any of mentioned midi keyboard software as well as show your individuality and create your own settings and preset.
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  • 49 full-size, velocity-sensitive keys with after touch and four assignable zones for splits and layering
  • Fully assignable XY pad for HID control and a unique way for controlling multiple parameters in virtual instruments
  • 16 fully assignable velocity-sensitive trigger pads for beat production, clip launching, and more
  • 8 assignable 360 encoders for manipulating your DAW, virtual instruments and plugins
Pros
Maybe: revised keyboard works well
Build quality
Cons
High price

Our resume

These devices are assumed to be extremely interesting as they have extendable possibilities and great potential. Emphasis was made on easy working directly from the keyboard and so the access in sequencers became comfy. Plenty of features and flexible settings will bring success in studio and live performance.

The operational change of the controllers’ modes significantly expands the capabilities of the devices. That is why they can satisfy almost every demand.


Novation Launchkey 49

The budget mini midi keyboard with USB interface from the famous Novation brand has 49 keys with the velocity-sensitive technology (the speed of pressing is considered).

This controller works great with the most of the popular programs for running scenes and clips, among them Ableton Live and many others. It is equipped with InControl technology for DAW mapping and has compact body with connectable pedals.
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  • 16 start pads (velocity-sensitive);
  • Compact body frame with connectable pedals;
  • Two control buttons;
  • 8 rotary knobs;
  • Assignable faders;
  • Synth-styled keys;
  • Apps for the iPad.
Pros
Soft keys
Good pads
Cons
No switch on/off the keyboard

Customers’ reviews

A frail design and a creaky body. When one of the keys is pressed, a metallic knock is heard, a feeling that there is no damping gasket or is dislodged.
In terms of compatibility problems have not been noticed, in addition, no drivers are required (Win7 x64 and OS X 10.9.4).
Normal functionality, it works steady, compatible with Cubase, Kontakt and others.

Conclusions

This compact device with dimensions of 770x81x270 mm and weight 3.1 kg will be your true friend in music creating. Nice design, multi-colored pads and affordable price make it to be your best choice if you start your music career.


M-Audio Keystation with 49, 61 and 88 keys and mini-model

Take a step into the world of creating and executing PC-based music with this rather cheap midi keyboard M-Audio Keystation. Despite the price the device offers users full-size and velocity-sensitive keys and a number of controls which expand the range of generated notes, expression capabilities and improve the recording process. Create your musical masterpieces without using a mouse or joystick. M-Audio Keystation also includes a 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) pedal input, which allows you to connect an external pedal to the device, such as SP2, for a full sense of playing the real instrument.

Customers’ reviews

Traveling musicians describe M-Audio Keystation as lightweight and durable device for working at live concerts, producers consider it to be close to the real studio instrument.

These keyboard midi controllers are easy to use and to install. Big bonus is iOS compatibility by the Apple iPad (Camera Connection Kit) which can be purchased separately.
Would you like to hear the sound of the piano CD327 Steinway? You could do it with a premium virtual instrument SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble.
Carefully recorded and skillfully rebuilt, Eighty-Eight Ensemble provides the possibility of composing, recording and executing music by producers and any performers at the world level of the brilliant piano sound. You can create extremely complex, lush sound textures.

Many users liked Xpand, a multi-membrane workstation that offers you 4 active audio slots. Each is equipped with own stand-alone MIDI-channel, music band, mix, arpeggios, modulation and other settings; this is a great way to create individual tracks. After the production the tracks can be brought together. There is a number of carefully selected patches for the program.

Conclusions

This solid keyboard is a brilliant “workhorse”. You can use midi keyboard almost anywhere, there is everything needed for a work. Choose your model with 49, 61 or 88 keys. If you need the compact one, you should pay attention to the mini version.

M Audio Keystation 49

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  • 49 full-size, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels provide dynamic performance capabilities
  • Transport controls let you control your DAW without reaching for the mouse
  • 6.3mm (1/4-inch) sustain pedal input for expressive performance
Pros
Does not require additional power
Tool weight
Cons
Maybe: difficult to use

M Audio Keystation 61

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  • 61 full-size, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels provide dynamic performance capabilities
  • Transport controls let you control your DAW without reaching for the mouse
  • Now Includes Pro Tools | First and Eleven Lite for all new and existing customers, as well as SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble
Pros
Low price
Full-sized keys
Cons
Maybe: sensors of membrane type, like rubber buttons on the remote

M Audio Keystation 88

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  • MIDI keyboard controller for composing digital music and playing virtual instruments
  • Powered by USB connection to computer with features to fully control music software without reaching for mouse;Lightweight design for easy setup and portability
  • 88 full-size, semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys with 1/4-inch sustain-pedal input for expressive performance
  • Octave range buttons; pitch bend and modulation wheels, transport controls. Macintosh- intel mac with mac OS X 10.5 or later; 2 GB RAM PC – PC with windows XP, windows vista, windows 7, windows 8 or windows 10, multicore processor, 2 GB RAM available USB port
Pros
Compact and ergonomic
Building quality
Cons
Maybe: creaking keys
Plastic case


Nektar Impact LX25+ — excellent for beginners

Сompact (weighs only 1,8 kg) and inexpensive MIDI keyboard Impact LX25 + is compatible with computers (Mac/PC) and iOS-devices.

The price of the MIDI keyboard Nektar Impact LX25 + does not exceed 100$. The set includes Bitwig 8-Track software. We assume that it is a very good choice for this money.

This compact controller with the size of 476x267x69 mm can be easily used for live performances. It has pitch-bend covered with rubber and convenient modulation wheels, the device can perform good action by means of the full-size keys, and even experienced musicians will highly estimate the full range of MIDI controls.
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Eight controller pads are well-spaced. The modulation wheel does not return to the previous point, while the pitch wheel does. 8 speed-sensitive pad pads with color illumination and the function “Pad Learn” will make creating music the adorable process in your life.

  • 25 sensitive keys;
  • Octave shift buttons;
  • LED display;
  • Transpose buttons;
  • 8 speed-sensitive pads lighted in four colors,
  • 3 constant values and 4 kinds of velocity curves;
  • 1 30 mm fader
Pros
Seamless integration with most DAWs
Full-sized, semi-weighted keys
Cons
Large and heavy
Maybe: difficult to figure out all uses and modes

Conclusions

Perfect for beginners! Due to customer’s reviews the controller has all the essentials, if you want something cheap to start with, it’s awesome. It gives lots of controllers and great value for little money.


Akai Professional LPK25 Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard

These controllers are constructed like war machines and seem to be absolutely unbreakable. This LPK25 provides a complete brilliant stable wireless connection for your beloved “apples”: Mac, iPhone and, of course, iPad. It also has USB connection ability. The price for wireless version is about 99 $, for non-wireless – 60 $.
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  • built-in arpeggiator;
  • octave controls;
  • input for sustain pedal;
  • integrates with the LPD8 Wireless Drum Pad/Controller.
Pros
Sustain pedal socket plus Note Repeat, Swing and an extra pad bank on the LPD
Intuitive editing software
Cons
No pitch or mod wheels

Our resume

With its low price we assume this keyboard to be the one of the best compatible with iOS and Mac. Enjoy your jamming for up to 12 hours long!


Korg microKEY Air (Bluetooth/USB MIDI Controller)

These devices are sold with approximate prices of 100 $ – 190 $ depending on the key quantity (25, 37, 49, 61). Each of them is featuring Bluetooth, so the question of connecting with Mac and iOS devices will be solved. You can also use a traditional USB cable. We assume it is one of the best modern portable devices and we recommend it.


Korg microKEY Air 25

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  • Connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Mac
  • Lasts a month between battery changes
  • USB Compatible
  • Compact and playable Natural Touch Mini Keyboard
Pros
Easy To Use
Great free software
Cons
Maybe: small keys

Korg microKEY Air 37

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  • Connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Mac
  • Lasts a month between battery changes
  • USB Compatible
  • Lavish array of powerful music software bundled free of charge
Pros
Functional
Great free software
Cons
Maybe: small keys

Korg microKEY Air 49

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  • Connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Mac
  • Lasts a month between battery changes
  • USB Compatible
  • Lavish array of powerful music software bundled free of charge
Pros
Functional
Portable, play anywhere
Cons
Sound quality

Korg microKEY Air 61

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  • Connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Mac
  • Lasts a month between battery changes
  • USB Compatible
  • Lavish array of powerful music software bundled free of charge
Pros
Lightweight
Traditional pitch-bend and modulation wheels
Cons
Maybe: small keys

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