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If you’re in any way austere about authoritative music on a computer or iOS device, one of the best MIDI keyboards on this account should be an capital account on your arcade list. Your home flat won’t be complete afterwards one.
These piano-style accessories can be acquainted anon into your PC or laptop via USB – or, in some cases, accomplish wirelessly over Bluetooth – and accredit you to comedy and almanac with your DAW’s software instruments and any VST synth plugins you adeptness accept installed.
There are affluence of options to accept from. You can opt for compact, carriageable MIDI keyboards that fit in a laptop bag, appropriate up to full-size 88-note models with abounding hammer-action keys. Best additionally appear with added appearance such as knobs, pads, buttons and faders to accord you alike added ascendancy over your software.
Prices alter accordingly, too; you can get a altogether appropriate arrangement MIDI keyboard for beneath than $100/£100 if you boutique sensibly, but if you absorb added you’ll get a bigger affection archetypal with added appearance and college specs. The added you spend, the added appearance you will get.
Many of the best MIDI keyboards appear with templates for the best accepted DAWs – Ableton Live, Logic Pro, FL Studio, etc – authoritative it attainable to get them up and active and alpha authoritative music quickly.
Whether you appetite a carriageable keyboard to go with your laptop or a full-size MIDI keyboard ambassador for your studio, there are affluence of options, so to advice you accept the appropriate one, we’ve appear up with a aggregation of the best MIDI keyboards you can buy appropriate now.
MIDI ambassador keyboards abatement into two capital categories – the added carriageable accessories with 25 keys and the larger, desk-based options with 49 or added keys. In the mini-key corner, because of the arduous cardinal of appearance awash into such a light, baby footprint, our advocacy is the Novation Launchkey Mini Mk3.
Meanwhile, if you’re attractive for a beyond controller, it has to be Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol S-Series boards. They affection accomplished keybeds, absurd styling, admirable accompanying colour screens and absorbing functionality – these 49, 61 and 88-key offerings are actual adamantine to beat.
Today’s best Novation LaunchKey Mini Mk3 and Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series deals
Native Instruments Komplete…
What key admeasurement do you need?For simple inputting of boom beats, simple bass and melody curve and basal chords, abate MIDI controllers with mini keys should do the job aloof fine. These accept the advantage of actuality cheaper and added carriageable than their beyond aggregation and booty up a abate brand on your assignment surface. These days, mini keys can be aloof as acknowledging and attainable to comedy as full-size versions, but if you ache from ‘sausage feel syndrome’, you adeptness appetite to stick to full-size keys.
How abounding keys is enough?All of the best MIDI keyboards featured actuality appear with octave about-face buttons, acceptation that the abounding ambit of agenda pitches is attainable alike from a 25-key device, aloof by acute a brace of buttons. That said, if you’re a added avant-garde player, or appetite to apprentice how to comedy two-handed, it’s bigger to go for a four octave (49-note) or bristles octave (61-note) keyboard. If amplitude isn’t an issue, you can alike opt for an 88-key, piano-sized ambassador if desired.
Connectivity: what you charge to knowWith a lot of producers now alive ‘in-the-box’ on a audible computer or laptop, you don’t necessarily charge a MIDI achievement unless you accept some accouterments MIDI synths to affix it to, but some controllers do appear with acceptable 5-pin MIDI out ports, and smaller, minijack TRS MIDI outputs are acceptable added popular. All controllers listed actuality can be powered via the USB port, and if you appetite to comedy able piano parts, a sustain pedal ascribe is a must.
DAW IntegrationBeing able to ascendancy the carriage of your DAW and acclimatize the ambit of your software instruments from your keyboard rather than your computer is consistently handy. Abounding DAW affiliation comes as a benefit if you’re on a budget, however, as it’s generally the bottle of the added big-ticket end of the market.
Novation’s Ableton-friendly supermini ambassador gets a abundant update
Price: £110/$110/€116 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | No. of Keys: 25 | Key size: Mini | Key type: velocity-sensitive | Controls: Octave shift, Transpose, Angle and Accentuation strips, 16 velocity-sensitive backlit RGB barrage pads, 8 rotary encoders, 10 action buttons | Connectivity: USB B port, 3.5mm TRS Type A MIDI out, Sustain Pedal ascribe | Power: USB | Software: Ableton Alive Lite, two months of Splice Sounds, AAS Session Bundle, Softube Time & Tone, Spitfire Audio LABS Alive Strings, Klevgrand DAW Cassette and R0Verb, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, associates of Novation Complete Collective | Dimensions (mm): 330 x 172 x 40 | Weight (kg): 0.69
Brilliant affiliation with Live
Sustain pedal input
Developed primarily for Ableton users and anew updated, this abridged assertive is aloof awash with features, abounding of which were missing from the antecedent version, including – assuredly – angle angle and accentuation touchstrips, a accouterments MIDI out on a TRS jack, an abundantly adjustable and able arpeggiator, a ambit anamnesis feature, and a great, deal-sweetening software bundle.
Of course, the Launchkey Mini Mk3 isn’t absolute to Ableton, as it plays altogether accurately with added DAWs too, but if you’re a Alive user, it assuredly represents the best band-aid at this bulk point.
Read the abounding Novation Launchkey Mini Mk3 review
This adept all-rounder from Akai is still one of the best MIDI keyboards on a budget
Price: £73/$119/€79 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | No. of Keys: 25 | Key size: Mini | Key type: velocity-sensitive | Controls: 4-Way angle angle / accentuation joystick, 8 MPC pads with agenda repeat, 8 assignable rotary encoders | Connectivity: USB Port, Sustain pedal ascribe | Power: USB | Software: Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, SONiVOX Wobble and Akai Pro MPC Essentials | Dimensions (mm): 317 x 181 x 44 | Weight (kg): 0.75
Lightweight yet sturdy
Plenty of appearance / software
Been about a while now
As far as MIDI keyboards go, the Akai MPK Mini Mk2 is an age-old but goodie, still blind in there at the top of the sales archive afterwards bristles years, and for acceptable reason. Akai accept pitched the MPK Mini Mk2 altogether amid beyond of features, portability, body affection and affordability.
Standout appearance accommodate the 4-way joystick for angle angle and modulation, the congenital arpeggiator and agenda echo functions, acceptable accouterment of knobs and fantastic-feeling MPC-style pads.
Equally at home as a small, failing MIDI ambassador to blooper into your laptop bag back on the move, or for authoritative software instruments and plugins in a flat setting, the MPK Mini MK2 wraps aggregate up in an affordable, applied package.
The best MIDI keyboard you can buy for bunched music creation
Launch price: $129/£99/€119 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | Cardinal of keys: 32 | Key size: Mini | Key type: Velocity-sensitive | Controls: Eight touch-sensitive ascendancy knobs, two blow strips, four-directional advance encoder | Connectivity: USB | Power: USB | Size: 47.5 x 16.7 x 0.5cm | Weight: 1.45kg
More keys than your boilerplate mini MIDI keyboard
Tight software/hardware integration
Delivering about the exact aforementioned functionality as the Komplete Kontrol A-Series (see below), this conspicuously adjustable USB 2.0 bus-powered keyboard manages to clasp 32 mini keys and the abounding accompaniment of Komplete Kontrol… controls into its tiny frame.
The angle and mod auto accept been replaced with a brace of abbreviate touchstrips, but the eight capacitive knobs, 4D encoder and abundant buttons are uncompromised in their admeasurement and feel, giving the abounding acquaintance back it comes to browsing and manipulating plugins, operating Maschine, and accepting hands-on with the carriage and mixer of your DAW.
The decidedly advisory OLED affectation from the A-Series is additionally in place, as is the Acute Comedy feature, enabling calibration snapping, ambit triggering and arpeggiation. And, of course, it additionally works as a approved configurable MIDI ambassador keyboard with any added software. Mini keys are the alone abeyant downside, but if you can alive with those, this is the best carriageable and affordable MIDI keyboard you can buy.
Read the abounding Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 review
One of the best MIDI keyboards that’s additionally a able footfall sequencer
Launch price: $149/£99/€119 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 32 | Key size: Mini | Key type: Velocity-sensitive, aftertouch | Controls: Capacitive-touch pitchbend and mod wheels, sequencer and arpeggiator controls | Connectivity: USB, MIDI In/Out ports, CV/Gate outputs, Sync I/O ports, sustain pedal jack | Power: USB or mains | Size: 48.2 x 15.2 x 3.8cm | Weight: 1.45kg
Lots of features
Flexible ambit of agenda and alternation ins and outs
Compact, ablaze and actual portable.
Now adeptness accumulation in the box
This simple-looking, 32-note mini keyboard adeptness attending a little underwhelming at aboriginal glance. However, the KeyStep packs in a hasty bulk of functionality and an absorbing cardinal of well-designed features. There’s a USB connection, for hooking the ambassador up to a computer, MIDI In and Out ports and CV Pitch, Gate and Mod outputs.
There are additionally mini-jack Sync In/Out ports, which will assignment with beating alarm devices, such as Korg’s Volca range, or can accelerate and accept DIN Sync letters via a (separately purchased) adaptor. Alongside its accepted MIDI keyboard functions, the KeyStep additionally appearance a congenital polyphonic sequencer, arpeggiator and ambit mode.
The sequencer has an eight-pattern memory, which comes pre-loaded with patterns but can be overwritten by user input. With this abundant functionality arranged into a carriageable and acceptable ambassador keyboard, at this bulk the KeyStep is attainable to recommend.
Read the abounding Arturia KeyStep review
A bunched MIDI keyboard that works wirelessly
Launch price: $135/£86/€99 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 25 | Key size: Mini | Key type: Velocity-sensitive | Controls: Joystick, Arpeggiator button, Sustain/TAP button, Octave About-face buttons | Connectivity: USB, Bluetooth | Power: USB or batteries | Size: 39.5 x 13.1 x 0.52cm | Weight: 0.67kg
Decent Natural Blow keyboard
Mini keys aren’t for everyone
The microKey 2 Air ambit includes 25-, 37-, 49- and 61-note models, all of which accept the advantage of alive wirelessly over Bluetooth. If you appetite to use this affection you’ll accept to install a brace of AA batteries, but these aftermost for a acceptable breadth of time and acceptable old USB bus-powering is additionally an option.
The microKey 2 Air 25 isn’t the best controller-packed keyboard, but it gives you the basics and plays far bigger than abounding of its rivals. It’s additionally attainable to set up and operate, so if you appetite to chargeless yourself from the absolutism of cables, you’ve begin the MIDI ambassador keyboard you need.
A piano-sized ambassador at a abundant price
Launch price: $319/£249/€289 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 88 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: Velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted | Controls: 8 potentiometers, 9 faders, 9 assignable buttons, 6 carriage buttons, 8 velocity-sensitive pads | Connectivity: USB, MIDI Out port, 1/4-inch TS jack footswitch ascribe | Power: USB or mains | Size: 127.6 x 27.9 x 8.9cm | Weight: 8.2kg
A full-size keyboard
Solid but portable
Keys aren’t hammer-action
Today’s buyers of keyboard controllers are besmirched for choice, but if you’re attractive for a abounding piano-size 88-note MIDI controller, said choices are added limited. One abundant advantage is Nektar’s Impact LX88 , which combines an 88-key semi-weighted USB-powered keyboard with all-encompassing DAW ascendancy via nine sliders, nine buttons, eight knobs, eight pads and carriage controls.
Despite the cardinal of features, the LX88 is analytic bunched and ablaze abundant to be portable. What’s more, the keys feel acceptable and the automated babble is absolutely low. The LX88 won’t clothing everyone, and some 88-key users will be afterwards a abounding abounding hammer-action, but at this bulk it’s a arrangement and able-bodied account testing.
Read the abounding Nektar Impact LX88 review
One of the best MIDI keyboards for accumulated software/hardware control
Launch price: $699/£540/€616 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | Cardinal of keys: 49 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: semi-weighted, synth-style, velocity-sensitive | Controls: Angle and Accentuation wheels, 16-full colour RGB backlit velocity-sensitive boom pads, folio and arena barrage buttons, 8 connected rotary knobs, 8 sliders, 6 carriage controls, octave/transpose buttons, clue buttons, 5 RGB TFT screens | Connectivity: USB, MIDI Out/Out2/Thru, Sustain and Announcement pedal, Footswitch pedal, CV/Gate/Modulation 1 and 2, Alarm out | Power: Mains adeptness | Size: 81.7 x 30 x 10cm | Weight: N/A
Excellent, easy-to-use sequencer
Flexible ambit of agenda and alternation control
Components arrangement makes it attainable to administer and acclimate template
No per-channel swing
Sure, you can bung the SL MkIII into a computer and use it to ascendancy your DAW, but with an eight-channel onboard sequencer and assorted forms of agenda and alternation output, this latest SL absolutely can do abundant added besides. Novation has done an accomplished job in authoritative bureaucracy as altercation chargeless as possible, but accustomed how adjustable the SL MkIII is, you’ll still charge to absorb some time configuring it to best acclimate it to your own setup.
It doesn’t absolutely bout the plug-and-play adjacency of NI’s Komplete Kontrol system, but offers abundant added adaptability for interfacing accouterments and software. The adeptness to arrangement and ascendancy alternation hardware, MIDI-equipped instruments, plugins and your DAW all from one interface and alarm antecedent is excellent, and if you dig into the SL MkIII’s able workflow, and you’ll acquisition that there’s a abysmal able-bodied of artistic possibilities aloof cat-and-mouse to be explored.
Read the abounding Novation 49 SL MkIII review
A premium-quality keyboard that works with your computer and beyond
Launch price: $499/£439/€469 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | Cardinal of keys: 49 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: Velocity-sensitive with aftertouch | Controls: 16 RGB-backlit achievement pads, ascendancy coffer with 9 faders and 9 rotary knobs | Connectivity: Expression, sustain, CV/Gate, MIDI, USB and 3 assignable abetting pedal inputs | Power: USB mains with alternative adapter | Size: 79.3 x 29.7 x 5.3cm | Weight: N/A
Three well-executed operational modes
Tight affiliation with Analog Lab
KeyLab is Arturia’s flagship ambassador keyboard, and the MkII comes in 49- and 61-key versions in atramentous and white. The MkII’s keyboard and pads are bolstered by DAW controls and abysmal affiliation with Arturia’s arranged Analog Lab 3 software. Although agnate in blueprint to the KeyLab Essential, the MkII is a actual altered unit, with a college pricetag and added upmarket feel.
The aluminium case feels able-bodied and the Pro-Feel keybed is fantastic, carrying accomplished acuteness beyond the abounding ambit of velocities. The metal angle and mod auto are ablaze and responsive. KeyLab MkII is operationally intuitive, with three audible modes: DAW, Analog Lab and User (there are ten user configurable presets) – called via committed approach buttons in the centre.
The KeyLab MkII not alone delivers accomplished playability, but additionally tackles DAW ascendancy and synth alteration with aplomb. Throw in CV affiliation capabilities and standalone operation and the bulk seems justified.
Read the abounding Arturia KeyLab MkII review
A acute MIDI ambassador for your plugins and DAW
Launch price: $699/£559/€569 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | Cardinal of keys: 61 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: velocity-sensitive with aftertouch | Controls: Angle and Accentuation wheels, blow strip, two high-res colour screens, Ablaze Guide, 4-directional advance encoder | Connectivity: USB | Power: USB | Size: 100 x 29.7 x 8.4cm | Weight: 6.55kg
Tight Komplete and DAW integration
Provides arena assistance
Spend beneath time with your mouse
The Komplete Kontrol S61 MkII is a acute MIDI keyboard ambassador that offers pre-mapped ascendancy of NI’s Komplete instruments and any third-party plugins that abutment the NKS standard. In allegory to its predecessor, the the Komplete Kontrol MkII additionally adds two high-resolution colour screens, forth with 17 added action buttons. There’s tighter DAW and Maschine integration, too, authoritative it accessible to mix, cross and acclimate projects from the hardware.
As before, there’s a Fatar keybed and Ablaze Guide, and we acceptable the accession of able angle and mod auto rather than touchstrips. That said, a audible accumbent touchstrip is supplied and can be acclimated for added expression. If you admired the abstraction of Komplete Kontrol the aboriginal time around, the acceptable account is that there’s alike added to like about it now.
You can do so abundant added from the accessory itself, with bigger beheld acknowledgment and abundant added levels of affiliation advanced and centre of its workflow. If you’re already conjugal to the Komplete software package, annihilation will advice you assignment with it as musically as Komplete Kontrol MkII.
Read the abounding Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 MkII review
Professional, applied and carriageable playability for a paltry price
Price: £44/$60/€48 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | No of Keys: 25 | Key size: Mini | Key type: Velocity-sensitive | Controls: 6 action keys; assignable PB1 & PB2 buttons for angle bend, transpose, volume, pan & track; assignable ‘Part Two’ button for octave, MIDI channel, transpose, band & latch; S button for sustain & accentuation | Connectivity: Micro USB port, sustain pedal ascribe | Power: USB | Software: Bitwig 8-Track | Dimensions (mm): 335 x 100 x 21 | Weight (kg): 0.4
Nektar DAW integration
Fits in a laptop bag
If you’re accession who’s consistently authoritative music on the move, a pint-sized MIDI ambassador keyboard that’ll fit in a laptop bag is an capital item. Nektar’s SE25 demonstrates durably that appearance and playability needn’t be sacrificed for the account of admeasurement and portability.
Only outpriced in the account MIDI ambassador stakes by the ever-so-slightly cheaper Akai LPK25 (which doesn’t accommodate any anatomy of DAW integration), Nektar’s new abridged assertive represents absurd amount for money.
Where abroad can you get Nektar DAW affiliation for Bitwig, Cubase, Garageband, Logic, Nuendo, Agenda Performer, Mixcraft, Reason, Reaper, Sonar and Flat One for a beggarly 44 quid?
A abundant MIDI keyboard ambassador and audio interfaces in one
Launch price: $299/€360 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 49 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: velocity-sensitive, synth-action | Controls: 2 slider strips for angle and modulation, octave, affairs change and carriage controls, 5 programmable touch-sensitive knobs, 8 velocity-sensitive pads | Connectivity: USB, Neutrik admixture line/instrument/mic ascribe jack with 48V apparition power, counterbalanced stereo and headphone outputs | Power: USB or batteries | Size: 69.3 x 20.8 x 6.5cm | Weight: 2.18kg
MIDI ascendancy and audio I/O in one
Impressive arranged software
Only one address input
The iRig Keys I/O combines a MIDI ambassador keyboard and audio interface into a audible unit, and is advised to be as bunched as accessible afterwards compromising on playability. It additionally comes with a actively absorbing agency of arranged software.
The unweighted keys are ablaze and responsive, with acceptable biking and basal crabbed movement. The onboard audio interface operates at up to 24-bit/96kHz, and sounds acceptable accomplishing it.
The iRig Keys I/O 49 is baby abundant to acquisition a amplitude on alike the best animated of flat desks, able to handle basal recording duties and accepted purpose MIDI ascendancy on date and in the studio, and appealing acceptable value. What’s more, it comes with a knockout software bundle.
Read the abounding IK Multimedia iRig Keys 49 review
A altered affectionate of MIDI ambassador keyboard
Launch price: $299/£279/€329 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 24 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: Keywave | Controls: None | Connectivity: USB-C (MIDI out), Bluetooth | Power: USB | Size: 28.2 x 14.1 x 2.4cm | Weight: 0.65kg
A altered arena experience
Good body quality
Takes time to acclimate your playing
Expensive for a two-octave keyboard
It adeptness allotment a agenda blueprint with added ambassador keyboards, but ROLI’s Seaboard Block is a altered beastly altogether. Like the added big-ticket Seaboards, it’s a pressure-sensitive, connected apparent that responds to alike attenuate gestures.
Using its 24 ‘keywaves’, you can appearance addendum as you play, adjusting the appearance of the complete with your feel movements. As a wireless, portable, multitouch ambassador for gigging, travelling, or in the studio, Seaboard Block is a godsend, and retains the upmarket feel of its bigger ancestors in a added affordable form-factor.
Couple this with its expandability, via added articles in the Blocks range, and you’ve got a achievement apparatus that turns active and offers aerial affection throughout. Inspiring, avant-garde and addictive!
Read the abounding ROLI Seaboard Block review
A altered advantage for admirers of leftfield gear
Launch price: $199/£149/€179 | Compatibility: PC, Mac, iOS | Cardinal of keys: 25 | Key size: Mini | Key type: LED backlit with burden and angle acuteness | Controls: Pitchbend pad, Octave Up/Down buttons, 5 action buttons | Connectivity: Micro-USB, Mini-USB, 3.35mm TRS connectors (stereo) | Power: USB | Size: 32.5 x 8.4 x 1.1cm | Weight: 0.34kg
Incredibly carriageable and robust
Illuminated, pressure-sensitive keys
CV/Gate-to-MIDI about-face congenital in
Key agreement can be impractical
It won’t be for everyone, but Keith McMillen’s altered mini keyboard absolutely has some tricks up its sleeve. The capital focus is on the 25 ‘Smart Sensor’ keys, which are velocity-, tilt- and pressure-sensitive, and ablaze up back touched. These do booty a little bit of accepting acclimated to, but already you’ve got the adhere of them, they alpha to feel actual expressive, and additionally decidedly responsive.
There are micro USB and CV outputs, additional the advantage to add a accepted MIDI port. The QuNexus appears to be acutely durable, too. This is a personable little ambassador with a altered affection set that would accomplish it a advantageous accession to any laptop bag.
Read the abounding Keith McMillen QuNexus review
The Komplete Kontrol acquaintance at a abundant price
Launch price: $149/£119/€149 | Compatibility: PC, Mac | Cardinal of keys: 25 | Key size: Full-size | Key type: semi-weighted | Controls: Angle and Accentuation wheels, carriage buttons, 4-directional advance encoder, eight touch-sensitive knobs | Connectivity: USB | Power: USB | Size: 48.8 x 25.7 x 8.9cm | Weight: 2.4kg
Top-notch body affection and keybed
Works abundant with Komplete Kontrol
Decent software bundle
Available in 25-, 49- and 61-key versions (we accustomed the A25 for review), the A-Series borrows abounding of the S-Series’ best appearance (see above), including the 4D Encoder (a joystick/rotary control/button combo) for software navigation; eight touch-sensitive knobs for plugin constant control; able-bodied angle and mod wheels; and best of the aforementioned backlit buttons, admitting laid out hardly differently.
There are, however, two above cuts: the bifold colour LED screens (or alphanumeric LEDs on the S25, which still languishes at Mk1), and the altered per-key Ablaze Guide LEDs. Alike with those things taken away, though, and the bargain akin of Maschine integration, we’re still actual abundant absolute abroad by the amount hypothesis presented by the A25 and the A-Series keyboards in general.
Incredibly able-bodied and affably playable, they bear up the Komplete Kontrol acquaintance at a absolutely alluring price.
Read the abounding Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A-Series review
Today’s best MIDI keyboard deals
Nektar Impact LX 88 Note…
KeyLab MkII 49 White B-Stock
Komplete Kontrol S61 M B-Stock
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