10 Best MIDI Controller Keyboard List According To Experts Choice

There was once a time when a normal analog musical setup was considered the benchmark in the musical industry. Guess, innovation (read MIDI keyboards) hit the music industry in the right places. These days, the migration to the digital setup or at least a setup inclusive of both the analog and digital is an ongoing process.

That modernization is all down to the presence of MIDI controllers that help along in the production procedure for musicians everywhere. MIDI keyboards and controllers are gaining quite a surreal popularity adhering to its essentiality and overall usefulness. With Midi keyboards offering a fine option for interference that helps integrate the host of parameters, the possibilities with it remain endless.

The market is flooded with options under MIDI keyboards. In fact, these pieces are also known by as MIDI keyboard controllers and offered by many brands. However, before diving deep, we should be aware of the fact that all MIDI keyboards are essentially controller while many MIDI controllers don’t necessarily be a keyboard.

Best MIDI Controller Keyboard 2018

Nevertheless, with that said and done, it provides you with the list of best MIDI keyboards for those enthusiastic musicians all around. Go get your piece and invigorate your musical ecstasy. Here’s us with the ‘10 Best MIDI Keyboards’.

1) Novation Impulse (Top Pick)

The first pick of our list is the one from Novation Impulse, one of the best ones among the MIDI keyboard controllers available in the market. Here’s what we make of this one

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

Novation has been a known name in the musical industry and justifies its tag with this one. It has a solid build quality featuring host of external functions. The padding on this one is done nicely for use. The piece is almost designed to perfection and comes with fine price metrics priced eloquently that that of its nearby competitors.

b) Functionality

The device is powered by USB and comes with AutoMap software for major DAW’s and easy MIDI controls. It also has Ableton Live Lite, Loopmasters sample pack and offers Novation Bass Station synth. It further has assignable options like 8 knobs, 9 buttons, 9 knots and more.

c) Key Counts

It comes in 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key counts. Its keys are semi-weighted and ultra-responsive to use for.

Any Downsides?

Well there’s one with this one, that is a lack of software bundle. But that won’t prove to be a major issue.

2) AKAI MPK2 (Best Alternative to Novation Impulse)

Placed at second in our list is the one from AKAI with its MPK2 model. Certainly a great option as against the Novation Impulse. Read along to hear our views on this one.

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

The only way Novation Impulse took away the top plaudits from AKAI professional is by offering its product at less than that of what AKAI offers for. AKAI professional has always been the top names in the industry and still garners enough command in the market. Their original MPK series remains a clear favorite for many of musical professionals out there. This one from them is a new updated edition of their previous hit piece and comes with a solid base of performance.

b) Functionality

This one comes equipped with quite a large software bundle which spells good news. It further has options like that of Ableton Live Lite and MPC Essentials software. And for people who aren’t quantified with these, there’s also Hybrid 3.0 virtual synth and SONiVOX Twist 2.0 integrated within. The padding on this one is equipped with backlit in form of RGB and is pretty darn sensitive to velocity. It also has octave controls and is further equipped with high-resolution LCD screen too. The pitch bend and mod wheels also work charmingly well.

c) Key count

It comes in 4 different variants as Mini 25-key, 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key. It has 8 assignable faders, control knobs, and buttons.

Any Downside?

It does tend to be on the higher side when compared to the Novation piece but it’s definitely worth it.

3) Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series  (Best Features)

Completing the podium finish on our list is the Komplete Kontrol S-Series from Native Instruments, which as it suggests is a fine piece to have for.

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

If you’re on the lookout for a fine MIDI keyboard controller, this one shall serve you right through. It comes with quite a heavy specs sheet that offers euphoric feel upon the use. It does tend to be higher on the price barometer but gauzing it against the offerings it presents, it does feel quite a steal of the deal.

b) Functionality

This one features semi-weighted faster key bed and comes with aftertouch in all its variants. It’s built exceptionally well and comes with the rugged body. The keyboard is synced to be used with Komplete VST bundle, a software bundle offered by Native Instruments. In fact, each of the keys and buttons works in tandem with your system. However, it’s not that you cannot use with other VST, you can simply use with all models. It has parameter mapping and offers nifty light guide lights us for specific keys. It also features multi-purpose touch strips, scale mapping, and arpeggiator.

c) Key Count

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series comes in four different variants as 25-key, 49-key, 61-key, and 88-key.

Any Downside?

Does tend to fade away in comparison to the bigger boys of the segment.

4) M-Audio Keystation (Best Budget Option)

A proper budget retreat for people seeking a fine MIDI keyboard, M-Audio Keystation takes the plot at fourth place in our list. Here’s our verdict on the same-

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

One of the best options for those seeking a perfect budget treat in MIDI keyboards, this one has been a top-seller among the charts. Looking at it, this one is great for guys who can work their way without the aid of those additional fancy padding or control options.

b) Functionality

It’s a simple enough MIDI keyboard and comes with what a normal MIDI keyboard possess, i.e. keys, mod wheels, functions and those pitches that are quintessential.  The build quality is impressive enough and offers synth-action which does tend to be a little springy to delight. It also has eighty-eight assembles that helps generate the orchestra levels of output albeit with the aid of SONiVOX. M-Audio Keystation comes in full-sized capacity except for the mini version and has velocity-sensitivity keys. There’s also the pitch bend and mod wheels along with it. You can further enjoy the transport controls and sustainable pedal input along the chores.

c) Key count

It comes in four different variants as mini-32 key, 49-key, 61-key and 88-key options.

Any Downside?

It’s pretty simple and basic MIDI keyboard and won’t likely entice people seeking a greater function from their MIDI keyboard.

5) Behringer U-Control UMX (Best Trustworthy piece) 

Here’s something which you can always trust by with, ‘Behringer U-control UMX’. Read along for our review of this pretty little piece.

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

Behringer remains a known name among the brands offering musical instruments in the modern day era. In fact, they are one of those brands upon which you can give a straight nod when getting yourself one of theirs MIDI keyboard. This one from them is one of the unique propositions around and comes with great build feature that lends longevity for the keys. The controllable options are also plentiful with this one.

b) Functionality

This further features a high number of virtual instrument sounds (100 to be precise). It doesn’t stop by there with altogether 50 different options of VST effects ingrained within.  The keys on this one are nicer to touch and offers almost the case as presented in the Akai and Novation brands. The keys are pretty sensitive towards velocity and offer quick options. It is also equipped with additional option of audio interference that can be mixed up with external controls and a host of other functions. The quality of offers is certainly unbeatable and offers USB interference for connection with Mac and PC’s. There’s also the option of rotary controls and assignable switches with 8 and 10 of them respectively.  You can further use 128-octave tone range shift and MIDI out function on this one.

c) Key Count

It comes in three different variants as 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key variants.

Any Downside?

Tends to lack the impetus offered by Novation Impulse or by that of AKAI MPK2

6) Novation Launchkey (Best Budget Retreat) 

Another one from Novation in our list, this one is a minimized version of the top Impulse model but is nevertheless a fine option to boast for. Here’s what we make of it-

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

It’s generally one of the mid-range options around and will save you quite a few bucks if you’re to go for this one. This model marketed as the Launchkey comes with smaller drum pads than those of Akai models or the Oxygen model from M-Audio. But the thing that works in its favor is the option of faders and buttons that can be assigned as needed. It also comes integrated with mod wheels and has pitch bend options. Its build quality is as impressive as it can get and a fine balance of stability can be achieved with this one.

b) Functionality

It comes equipped with software bundles like V-Station from Novation itself, VST from Bass Station and much more. It comes with keys that are velocity sensitive (16 of them to be precise), DAW mapping software from InControl technology, software suites, keys that are synth styled and 8 of each fader, buttons, knobs and more. You can also avail octave up/down options and transport controls with this one. This one works great for those using the MIDI keyboard with an iOS based connection like that of iPad or Mac.

c) Key Count

It comes in four different variants as mini 25-key, 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key.

Any Downside?

Does feel lacking in some aspects as compared to its high-end offerings from Novation.

7) M-Audio Oxygen (Best 25-key MIDI Keyboard)

Making another entry into our list is M-Audio, this time with its budget friendly yet high-performance rendering piece. Care to read its review-

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

This one comes with options like pads, necessary faders, assignable functions, encoders and much more. Such is the sales number for these, that they are often termed as the best options for those seeking a 25-key MIDI keyboard.

b) Functionality

M-Audio Oxygen has fine keys that offer a full-fixed functionality and comes with velocity sensitivity. The keys are further assigned with synth based action mode. The transport control on this one works with any of the DAW available in the market. It also comes with software bundles like SONiVOX Twist and Ableton Live Lite. You can further avail 8-trigger pads, 8-assignable knobs and altogether 9 assignable faders too. It has a built-in mapping with it. It’s quite a budget friendly option and can be a perfect fit for those who want to enjoy the best of options whilst not shedding any extra dollars.

c) Key Count

It comes in four different variants as 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key.

Any Downside?

It’s best suited for the 25-key variant whilst the 49-key and 61-key fade away in competition with others.

8) Arturia KeyLab (Best Analog-based MIDI Keyboard)

Not many know of this name, Arturia in the MIDI keyboard stream, but these tend to be one of the best picks of the lot many times. Here’s our verdict on this one-

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

People remember Arturia as one of those makers of modern day sounds and synths in analog modes. But they have moved along quite well and bring a different take on the MIDI keyboards. Their products come equipped with a bundle of software, i.e. analog based. It has more than 5000 synth sounds rendered from their much-loved synths like that of CS-80V, SEM V, Prophet V and more.

b) Functionality

The keys on this one are pretty nicely built and offer great functionality, along with semi-weighted option. The keys are further velocity sensitive and offer aftertouch too. It comes with 10 each of those encoders and switches. This analog-based MIDI keyboard also has 9 sliders to go along. The MIDI keyboard from Arturia KeyLab has preset sorting that can be done by way of type, instrument, and characteristic. It also has 16-velocity sensitive backlit pads and 6 transport switches.

c) Key Count

It comes in four different options as Mini 25-key, 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key.

Any Downside?

As it comes with a different take on the MIDI keyboard, this won’t materialize for those seeking greater functions from their piece of device.

9) Korg microKEY (Best Simplistic MIDI Keyboard)

A fine piece of MIDI keyboard controller to have for, this one is a simple yet high feature rendering piece. Read along for our verdict on this one.

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

It has many presets going its way as being a budget-friendly piece, offering simplistic usage options and more. It comes with a rarest of MIDI controller you’ll ever likely see in form of 37-key model and has a further lineage of 49-key going along. The keyboards are exceptional and great to use for. It’s lightweight and certainly portable one.

b) Functionality

The keys on this one are velocity sensitive and offer nice consideration. It can be powered with USB negating the need to connect it to power adapters. It can be integrated with a free download of Korg Kontrol editor but doesn’t come bundled with other price adjusting software. However, that shouldn’t be an issue if you’re looking for something functional and portable as Korg microKEY is a supreme in that baton.

c) Key Count

It comes in three different variants as micro 25-key, 37-key, and 61-key.

Any Downside?

It seems to lack options when it comes to offerings with only three models on display at present.

10) M-Audio Axiom AIR (Alternative High-end option)

Another one from M-Audio, this one helps conclude our list of the best MIDI Keyboards. With this one being a fine option from M-Audio, we just couldn’t leave it out. Let’s ride along for its review, shall we?

What to look for?

a) Basic Overview

This one is a high-end option for them and constitutes of 12 trigger pads that work charmingly well. The MIDI keyboard comes with 8 knobs and 3 banks offering variety of control options. It also has 9 faders to go along with.

b) Functionality

Its keys are synth-action based and come with aftertouch function. It also has roll buttons along. The keyboard comes equipped with Pro Tools Express and Ignite by AIR which helps you along. In fact, if you already have the DAW setup ongoing, this will add dime a dozen to your functionality. It’s perfectly compatible with both Mac and PC.

c) Key Count

It comes in four different variants as mini 32-key, 25-key, 49-key, and 61-key.

Any Downside

It does tend to be on the higher side of price spectrum.

MIDI keyboard is a great piece to have in the modern day. In fact, it has already become a necessity for the current crop of musicians. The value of MIDI keyboards is going to go down anytime sooner and thus its time you get yourself one of these. It will certainly add up to your musical professional career.

That’s all from us on this one. We’ll be back with another one the next time. Till then it’s us bidding adieu.

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