10 Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers 2021 Reviews & Buying Guide

We are looking at the best MIDI keyboards available in 2021 as well as providing our thoughts on what we think about being our leading 10.

To help you select we have actually consisted of small MIDI keyboard reviews with everyone together with our advantages and disadvantages.

So usually nowadays, residence recording is a one-man job.

Since as modern technology improves, as well as extra things can be “faked” with digital tools and software modeling.

Jobs that used to require an entire team of individuals …

Can currently be made with just you, a simple audio user interface … and also your reliable old MIDI controller.

Of course, some controllers are FAR BETTER than others …

10 Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers 2021 Reviews

This is why in today’s post, we’ll check out 10 of the best MIDI keyboard Controllers on the marketplace to see just exactly how they contrast.

1. AKAI MPK Mini MkII – A Personal Favorite

Since the first version of the MPK Mini, it has actually been one of the most prominent MIDI controllers on the marketplace. In spite of its little stature, this little MIDI keyboard is a manufacturer’s desire.

The primary marketing point of the MPK Mini MkII is the authentic Akai MPC drum pads. There are 8 pads that can be used for triggering drums, examples, or patterns. Examples can be designated to financial institution A or bank B meaning you properly have the use of 16 pads (8 at a time) and also you can change between banks quickly during a performance.

The MPK Mini MkII features 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keys with octave up/down performance. While 25 tricks do not exactly supply a substantial range it’s ample to put down chords and also lead lines.

There are 8 assignable handles that enable you to modify parameters like a cut-off, resonance, etc, in real-time. Some other nice performance attributes are a powerful arpeggiator as well as a note repeat trigger. Instead of a wheel, Akai has actually opted for a thumbstick to manage pitch bend and also inflection which is very user-friendly.

Like a lot of Akai controllers, you obtain a respectable software program package with the MPK Mini MkII that consists of MPC Basics, Sonivox Wobble, as well as Air Music Technology’s Crossbreed.

Between the included software program you have some powerful production devices and some actually high-end synth, bass, and piano sounds. All of it is brought together using Akai’s VIP 3.1 platform that makes accessing all of your plugins/VST’s a wind.

This is top of our checklist because it’s the extra pound for extra pound champ of MIDI controllers. Despite its small stature, this is one of the very successful as well as most flexible controllers readily available.

For a manufacturer or beatmaker, the MPK Mini MkII is a powerhouse that lets you do almost whatever in the workshop, on the move, or on phase. Include the included software and also the value for money is obvious.

  • Authentic MPC pads.
  • Intuitive thumbstick.
  • Arpeggiator.
  • Note repeat.
  • Fantastic software bundle.
  • 8 assignable knobs.
  • Sustain pedal input.
  • Small keys take some practice.

2. M-Audio Hammer 88 – Best Weighted Keys

The Hammer 88 by M-Audio is an outright beast of a MIDI keyboard controller. It’s likewise one of the most straightforward in our top 10 since it’s nothing more than 88 secrets with superb hammer action really feel.

What you get with the Hammer 88 is a genuinely reasonable piano playing experience. It’s targeted at artists who mainly play the piano yet still desire the choice to control every one of their VST’s.

This level of realistic look in the weight, as well as the action of the tricks, isn’t usually discovered in a MIDI controller so M-Audio is absolutely loading a void in the market right here.

A master quantity fader in addition to pitch bend and inflection wheels are the only onboard controls. The quantity fader can be appointed to regulate various other criteria of your plugin/VST so there is some convenience there.

As you would certainly expect from a key-board with such a practical piano feeling, the Hammer 88 has 3 pedal inputs for sustain, soft, and also an expression for even more realism.

So, it has no surprising attributes as well as not much versatility but it’s still among our premier MIDI keyboards. If you are a pianist or author who desires a practical piano really feel in a MIDI controller you won’t improve than this. It’s the best weighted MIDI keyboard on the marketplace today.

It’s terrific for studio work as well as live efficiency if you don’t mind something a little larger than the ordinary MIDI keyboard.

Inevitably, you are trading features and flexibility for accuracy and also realism. If you want to make that profession the Hammer 88 lacks a question among the very best MIDI controllers available.

  • Incredibly realistic/responsive feel.
  • 88-keys.
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • Three pedal inputs.
  • Assignable fader and wheels.
  • Limited functionality.
  • No drum pads

3. Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 – Best All-Rounder

The KeyLab Fundamentals collection is a streamlined version of the effective KeyLab collection. The KeyLab Important 61 is just one of the slickest-looking MIDI keyboard controllers on our list.

This set is everything about control, managing as much as feasible without leaving the keyboard. The goal is, obviously, to increase your process as well as in song production that is necessary.

The Keylab Important 61 has transport controls that function perfectly with all major DAW’s. It likewise has 9 assignable faders and also 9 assignable handles which can regulate a significant quantity of specifications in real-time. This suggests much less time clicking a computer mouse and also more time at the keyboard. The pitch bend and also inflection wheels are also assignable.

There are additionally 8 very good backlit, velocity-sensitive pads not quite MPC-quality yet excellent nevertheless. You can set entire tracks with keys, drums, examples, and so on all from the KeyLab and this additionally makes it an extremely powerful online efficiency tool.

Arturia has actually included a Chord function that lets you activate intricate chords by pushing a solitary note, making the structure much easier/faster.

Arturia has a tendency to give respectable software packages with the Keylab array although the exact VST’s do vary from time to time. Currently, you get a copy of the Mini V synth as well as the stage 73 V electrical piano.

This is simply a top-quality MIDI controller in every feeling. It’s well developed, functional, easy to use, and also comes with some wonderful VST’s. If you are trying to find a keyboard to be the facility of your studio arrangement that the KeyLab Vital 61 is for you.

Arturia says the KeyLab will have you investing much less time directing and also clicking at a computer which’s absolutely true. That control and also process are why the KeyLab series has been several of the best-selling MIDI key-board controllers for many years now.

  • Sleek yet solid design.
  • Lots of assignable controls.
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • 8 drum/sample pads.
  • Professional grade VST’s included.
  • Drum/sample pads are a little small.

4. NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MkII – Best All-Rounder (Runner-Up)

In recent years Native Instruments has actually come to be a name that manufacturers of all degrees are extremely familiar with. Their virtual tools are used anywhere, from room demos to chart-topping hits.

It’s fairly common for a producer/musician toddler to stick with a certain brand name and if you are a NI plugin user then there’s no much better companion than their Komplete Kontrol S88.

NI’s Komplete tools are pre-mapped to the Kontrol S88 so there is no messing about to ready up. When you use your VST’s there are 2 color screens to aid you to locate and pick whatever you require rapidly.

Each secret can likewise be brightened by RGB lights in different colors to reveal different split groups, and so on. For example, if you have drums mapped to certain tricks and synth noises to others, drums could be purple as well as synths yellow. It’s not a feature that will certainly make you buy this key-board but it is among several small details that add up to make your job much easier.

It has 88 hammer-action secrets with a rather persuading feeling, the weight offers adequate resistance to be meaningful. The keys have aftertouch which often tends to works best on semi-weighted or lighter secrets but it’s still a good attribute to have.

There are transport controls that work with all significant DAW’s, 8 assignable handles, and pitch bend/modulation wheels. Below the wheels, you will certainly locate a touch strip which can be extremely helpful depending on the sound/instrument you are using.

The major issues with this keyboard are that as a sensible playing experience it’s not comparable to the Hammer 88 and as a total control center the KeyLab Crucial tops it.

Nonetheless, if you are a devoted Native Instruments individual after that the convenience of use for you will outweigh every little thing else. Quite a basic decision on this set, if you primarily make use of NI plugins after that get this, if you don’t then look in other places.

  • Very good hammer-action keys.
  • Aftertouch.
  • Touch strip, pitch bend, and modulation wheel.
  • RGB color indicators.
  • Pre-mapped integration with all Complete instruments.
  • Two high-res colour screens.
  • Komplete Kontrol and Komplete 12 Select included.
  • No drum/sample pads.

5. Akai MPK Road 88 – Best for Touring/Gigging

Simply launched earlier this year the Akai MPK Roadway 88 is the ultimate touring/gigging MIDI controller. The MPK Road 88 is really built right into a personalized hard trip situation so it’s travel-ready then simply turn the lid and it’s ready for the stage.

It includes Akai’s special Model-A keyboard which is possibly someplace between an acoustic piano and also a Fender Rhodes, very good for gigging.

As the name recommends it has 88 secrets as well as they include a very nice aftertouch attribute that is really valuable for body organs and also synth voices.

In terms of onboard functions, it does not have way too many, there is pitch bend and also modulation wheels, transpose switches as well as a master quantity. Akai has actually been extremely specific about what this keyboard is though, it’s a rugged, road-ready controller with an extremely practical crucial action. It was never ever intended to be anything else.

It features a 4-output soundcard so you can route your digital instruments to screens, mixers, etc, all at once with no issues. On top of that, it comes prepared with some excellent virtual instruments like AIR Music Technology DB-33, AIR Songs Tech Velour, and AIR Music Technology Mini Grand for Roadway 88.

This one is a piece of cake, if your job usually as well as you intend to access your VST’s with a realistic feeling key-board, this is the very best on the checklist.

If you play more synths than pianos then you may desire something with lighter tricks. If you like to utilize pads and also samples etc in real-time performance then it’s not the one, or if you want a reasonable feeling but mainly for residence usage after that the M-Audio Hammer 88 is a better fit.

For a direct 88-key MIDI controller with a beautiful vital activity for gigging you can’t cover the MPK Road 88 with its Model-A keyboard and built-in trip situation.

  • Realistic hammer-action keys.
  • Incredibly rugged and durable.
  • Custom built for a gigging musician.
  • Travel-ready case.
  • Three pedal inputs.
  • Not ideal for home studio use.
  • Limited functions.

6. Novation Launchkey 49 MkII – Best for Ableton Users

The Novation Launchkey 49 resembles the M-Audio Keystation 49 in lots of means, it’s unlikely to be the first choice if money is no item however it needs to be on the checklist. We are checking out the 49-key version with 16 velocity-sensitive pads.

Novation is familiar with drum pads so as anticipated they are respectable high quality here. The only problem is that they are a little smaller than Akai’s MPC pads however it’s not a big concern. That apart, the pads are responsive and you do obtain 16 to make sure that a whole lot without having to switch financial institutions, especially for a tiny keyboard.

Above the pads are 8 totally assignable knobs and settling the features are pitch bend as well as inflection wheels, shift buttons as well as master volume.

Ableton Live Lite 9 is included with the Launchkey 49 and if you are an Ableton user currently then a Novation controller is most likely the way to go with you. Although the Launchkey functions quite possibly with other DAW’s, it was purpose-built for Ableton and also integrates with it better than any other controller.

The Launchkey is for manufacturers who make a lot of tracks and also want that rapid operation, once again, especially with Ableton. Likewise included in the bundle is Novation Bass Station software synth, Novation V-Station software synth, Addictive Keys, 4GB of content from Loopmasters as well as also some totally free key-board lessons from Melodics.

The Launchkey 49 is a lower-priced MIDI controller so in all sincerity, you can’t truly go wrong with it. There are a few points that could be much better, but there isn’t anything particularly that misbehaves regarding it.

If you desire a less costly MIDI controller with pads this is a good telephone call due to the fact that it has 16 as opposed to simply 8 like a lot of similar-sized controllers. If Ableton is your primary DAW as well as you want something that you can get tracks going swiftly with then you’ll be really delighted with the Launchkey 49.

  • Fantastic for Ableton users.
  • 16 high-quality pads.
  • Low price.
  • Lightweight.
  • Key action could be better.

7. M-Audio Keystation 49 MkIII – Best Beginner Controller

Keystation controllers have actually been around for a long time and also you’ll never locate a MIDI controller review article without one, or at least you shouldn’t. They aren’t commonly regarded as high-end MIDI controllers yet they offer great value for cash that makes them hugely preferred.

The Keystation 49 has 49 velocity-sensitive secrets, nothing also fancy however they are full dimension and more than responsive adequate. It’s not the most robust casing either however it’s light sufficient to take anywhere and also it will certainly survive a couple of bumps quickly.

Now the excellent things, the Keystation 49 features transportation controls that aren’t usually in such a small cost controller. Besides the transportation controls, there are pitch bend and also modulation wheels, and also a master volume, all of which are assignable.

The high quality of the wheels isn’t wonderful and doesn’t feel as precise as it could be yet you need to keep whatever in context.

By context, we indicate think about what you obtain for your cash. You get an extremely reliable MIDI controller from a relied-on name, you get transport controls to integrate with your DAW and also it’s light enough to travel quickly.

The Keystation probably isn’t going to top any kind of checklists however it should always be there because anybody who has actually utilized MIDI keyboards for some time has actually probably owned one at some stage and also had no issues.

You know precisely what you get with the Keystation, it’s never ever mosting likely to be viewed as the best yet it’s still among the very popular. The factor is that they are cheap, easy to use, as well as do every little thing you require to make songs.

If you can’t make songs with a Keystation then you probably don’t need every one of those extra functions anyway, this is a perfect beginning factor for any musician.

  • Low price.
  • Lightweight.
  • Transport controls.
  • No pads.
  • Not the most versatile.

8. Roli Seaboard Block – Best Alternative Choice

This is a little outdoors selection on our list. For anyone that isn’t yet known about the Roli Seaboard Block, it’s a soft pressure-sensitive surface with 24 increased secrets which can be adjusted in numerous ways.

Roli calls this their 5 dimensions of touch strike, press, move, slide and also lift. In straightforward non-technical terms, the keys are squishy.

The idea is that you form your sound in a much more all-natural as well as instinctive method. Think of it like when you have fun with an instrumental VST, you naturally shake your finger on the key expecting vibrato yet nothing occurs, with the Coast, it does. The included Equator software application has many audios that are just right for this.

Roli has a couple of various designs, the Seaboard Block is the cheapest and tiniest with 25 secrets. Nevertheless, there’s a spin, it’s called a block due to the fact that you can develop with it. Each side of the Coast block has little magnetic adapters that let you attach much more Seaboard Blocks to expand the playing area or Roli Lightpad Bocks.

Some people assume the Coast Block is a gimmick and also more of a plaything than a real tool. The problem is that it can not replace a normal keyboard, for piano/keys playing you require proper tricks. Roli isn’t attempting to replace the keyboard however, it’s a totally various thing.

Some keyboards have aftertouch so you can get a little vibrato or expression however aftertouch just does something at once. With the Seaboard you can utilize vibrato, bend, modulation, cut-off, and also a lot more all from one fingertip.

As a manufacturer, this is useful time conserved messing about within effects or VST’s setting parameters after the fact when you might play everything as you need to in real-time.

After the preliminary weirdness of it, it in fact starts to really feel all-natural and extremely expressive, well worth having.

  • 5D touch.
  • Versatile and expressive.
  • Equator software.
  • It’s expandable.
  • Learning curve.
  • Not as well suited to piano/keys sounds.

9. Studiologic Numa Compact 2x – Best Hybrid

The Numa Compact 2x is a hybrid, so it’s excellent as a MIDI controller however it additionally has some incredible onboard audios so you can utilize it without a computer system. Undoubtedly, consequently, it may not remain in every person’s top 10 listings yet it should not be marked down just because it’s not just a MIDI keyboard.

It has 88 semi-weighted secrets with aftertouch yet even for a semi-weighted keyboard, it’s extremely lightweight without a doubt. So it’s easy to get to jobs or practice sessions without needing to take a laptop computer. The onboard noise engines have some magnificent pianos, body organs, and also synths that sound excellent through the integrated speakers.

So, whatever above is actually just an added bonus due to the fact that as a MIDI controller it has a whole lot’s to supply also. There are 9 drawbars for the organ noise engine yet they can be assigned to control specifications from either the onboard results engine or your DAW/VST. It likewise has an extremely great OLED screen which is useful on stage or in your home.

Studiologic has opted for joysticks rather than wheels when it involves pitch bend and modulation, they are very accurate and responsive to make sure that will be an individual choice concern.

It’s a hybrid but does not be fooled right into believing it’s a jack of all professions, master of none. The audio engines in this key-board might match that of far more costly tools quickly as well as it has all the MIDI capability that you require.

It may be an outside selection yet having all the MIDI functions and also the alternative to play without a computer system is well worth taking into consideration.

  • 88-keys.
  • Amazing built-in sound engines.
  • Nine assignable drawbars.
  • Built-in speakers.
  • Two on-board effects engines.
  • OLED display.
  • Very lightweight for it’s size.
  • Aftertouch.
  • Two pedal inputs.
  • Pitch and modulation joysticks.
  • Keys are a little light for piano playing but are better suited to organ and synth.
  • No drum/sample pads.

10. Alesis V61 – Best Budget Controller

The V61 from Alesis is exactly what you desire if you are on a limited budget plan. It has 61 semi-weighted tricks, they are quite light yet they are a complete dimension. The body itself is really slimline and not much wider than the secrets themselves.

In spite of being so slimline, it still manages to fit in 8 pads located to the left of the keyboard. The pads are great by any type of typical, receptive, and also well sized. Close to the pads, there are 4 assignable knobs as well as a pitch bend and inflection wheel.

Regarding performance goes, the keys are a bit as well light however much better than the majority of you’d locate in the rate range. You would certainly battle to discover a likewise valued keyboard with 61 keys and 8 pads so there can’t be way too many complaints.

It’s not going to blow you away but the mix of 61 keys, 8 drum pads, and also the low price make it our finest budget plan MIDI controller.

  • Low price.
  • 8 drum/sample pads.
  • 4 assignable knobs.
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • Keys are too light.
  • Not the most robust casing.


Finally, there are real factors for purchasing every controller on this list. As always you ought to base your decision on which one fits your requirements most.

Think about your budget, your work area, and what style you play a lot of. Do that till you get rid of any type of unsuitable keyboards then you need to be entrusted with a smaller checklist to choose from.

Ideally, our small MIDI controller testimonials can help you out, take pleasure in!