10 Best MIDI Controller Keyboards 2020 — Your Quickest Way to Make Music

Our #2 Rated
Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard
Our #3 Rated
M-Audio, 32-Key, 32 Keys (Keystation Mini 32)
Our #1 Rated
Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls
Our #4 Rated
Novation Launchkey 61 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live, 61-Note MK2 Version
Our #5 Rated
Nektar (IMPACT LX88+)
-
-
-
-
-
-
Nektar DAW integration can be used for most DAWs
Has 32 synth-action keys, very compact and portable
Has compact pad controller for comfortable finger drumming
Has full color RGB pads for matching the color of the clips
Has 88 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys
Compatible with iOS devices, aside from Mac and PC
Includes Ignite software with over 275 instrument sounds on board
Includes free software like Ableton Live Lite and more
Can be easily integrated with the ever popular Ableton Live
Buttons and controls are properly labelled for easier use
Has assignable potentiometer for the freedom to choose MIDI parameters
Octave buttons give more versatility to play bass lines, lead melodies, etc.
Has expanded controls for a great user experience
Work and connect without driver, class-compliant and USB-powered
With “Pad Learn” feature that allows you to assign pads in just one go
Best for composition and performance, this controller is perfect for intermediate and professionals
Simple, yet very powerful and portable, perfect for traveling musicians
Great MIDI controller with user-friendly pads and controls, very easy to use
Perfect for Ableton Live users, comes with intuitive controls and features
Great 88-key keyboard with a lot of features and controls for serious musicians
Our #2 Rated
Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard
-
Nektar DAW integration can be used for most DAWs
Compatible with iOS devices, aside from Mac and PC
Has assignable potentiometer for the freedom to choose MIDI parameters
Best for composition and performance, this controller is perfect for intermediate and professionals
Our #3 Rated
M-Audio, 32-Key, 32 Keys (Keystation Mini 32)
-
-
Has 32 synth-action keys, very compact and portable
Includes Ignite software with over 275 instrument sounds on board
Octave buttons give more versatility to play bass lines, lead melodies, etc.
Simple, yet very powerful and portable, perfect for traveling musicians
Our #1 Rated
Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls
-
Has compact pad controller for comfortable finger drumming
Includes free software like Ableton Live Lite and more
Has expanded controls for a great user experience
Great MIDI controller with user-friendly pads and controls, very easy to use
Our #4 Rated
Novation Launchkey 61 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live, 61-Note MK2 Version
-
Has full color RGB pads for matching the color of the clips
Can be easily integrated with the ever popular Ableton Live
Work and connect without driver, class-compliant and USB-powered
Perfect for Ableton Live users, comes with intuitive controls and features
Our #5 Rated
Nektar (IMPACT LX88+)
-
Has 88 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys
Buttons and controls are properly labelled for easier use
With “Pad Learn” feature that allows you to assign pads in just one go
Great 88-key keyboard with a lot of features and controls for serious musicians

OUR #1 RATED BEST MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARD 2020

Making music and music production becomes easier and handy with MIDI controller keyboards. They come is various sizes, with more controls, pads and knobs on-board, which can easily be connected to Mac, PC or to iOS devices.

Some even come with Bluetooth connectivity for quicker setup. So, you can proceed with making music and beats anytime, anywhere. Yet, there is no single controller keyboard on the market that could better address your needs and your preferences.

So, if you are a serious musician, you really need to burn the midnight candle and do research. Fortunately, we’ve gone that far and take the best notes, so you would not to go to that extremes anymore. Check our list below and learn how to choose the best that is suitable for your needs.

 

10 Best MIDI Controller Keyboards 2020

Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard

Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard
  • 61 Premium midi controller with 61 expressive synth-action keys, on-board pitch bend and modulation wheels for performances
  • Nektar DAW Integration for most popular DAWs

Nektar is a great brand when it comes to MIDI controller keyboard. And, this 2019 one of the most well sought out premium 61-note keyboards is the Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard.

It has pitch-bend and modulation wheels, two multi-colored octave buttons, dedicated transpose buttons and more, with a total of 14 MIDI assignable buttons.

Octave buttons allow you to go up and down the keyboard range in -3/+4 octaves, while transpose buttons allow you to go up to +/- 12 semi-tones of the keyboard range.

It’s packed with the reliable Nektar DAW Integration that helps you connect to most popular DAWs to date. It includes the Bitwig 8-Track DAW that gives you more pleasure when using the controller. Compatible with Mac, Windows PC and iOS devices, easy for you to integrate this with your computer system.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Keyboard is great with nice aftertouch
  • It’s light and compact great for on-the-go musicians
  • The cheapest on the list
  • But give value for your money

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Some users say that the keys are just too loud
  • Free software is not that good
  • Very limited

 

M-Audio 32 Keys 32 Keys Keystation Mini 32

M-Audio, 32-Key, 32 Keys (Keystation Mini 32)
  • Compact MIDI controller to fit in a backpack or laptop case for portable music production
  • 32 synth-action, velocity-sensitive mini keys. Lightweight

If you are looking for a reliable controller keyboard for portable music production, M-Audio 32 Keys 32 Keys Keystation Mini 32 is the one for you. It has velocity-sensitive, synth-action 32 keys with pitch-bend, modulation and sustain buttons for more expressive performances.

With these you’ll can expand your capacity for a more heartfelt and impactful performance.

The pitch-bend, mod and sustain buttons allow you to create dynamic performances or musical productions on your Mac or Windows PC. It’s USB-powered, class-compliant with USB-MIDI connectivity support to connect to iOS devices via Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.

It’s bundled with the Ignite software from AIR Music Technology and the Ableton Live Lite.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Perfect for small studio
  • Plug-and-play connectivity
  • Can easily connect even to phones
  • Sturdy construction
  • Awesome velocity curves feature

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Better with arpeggiator
  • Better if it comes with micro USB which is used in most Android-based phones
  • Especially the black ones

 

Novation Launchkey 61

SALE at $45.00 OFF
Novation Launchkey 61 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live, 61-Note MK2 Version
  • MK2 version of Novation's 61-note USB keyboard controller for Ableton Live
  • 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated navigation and control buttons

Using Ableton Live software is one of the quickest ways to make electronic music. To make beats and music production more amazing, you can use it with the Novation Launchkey 61.

It comes with 61-key synth-style keyboard, 16 velocity-sensitive pads in two rows, eight knobs, navigation and control buttons and more. It is connected via USB wherein you have full control of all the buttons, instruments and mixers to make your music production more interesting.

Even if you don’t use Ableton Live you’ll still get studio-grade beats and music, since it’s also designed to integrate with the major music software with its ‘In Control’ feature. It can connect right away even without software driver or power cable to Mac OS 10.12 Sierra, Mac OSX and Windows 7,8 and 10.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • A perfect device for beginners to really master their craft
  • Keyboard is great to play with
  • Light and portable
  • Can map and works well with Ableton Live

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • The build is quite poorly and cheaply made
  • Steeper learning curve before getting the hang of it

 

Nektar Impact LX88+

Nektar (IMPACT LX88+)
  • 88 note, velocity-sensitive semi-weighted keyboard
  • 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads

An 88-note MIDI controller keyboard gives you a lot of options and controls, like the Nektar Impact LX88+. It comes with everything a professional musician needs to get serious with his career.

It can be easily connected to Mac, Windows PC and iOS devices and quickly be integrated with any DAW via the Nektar DAW Integration.

Make an expressive and perfect performance with its semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive 88 keys, pitch-bend and modulation wheels on board, nine faders, MIDI buttons, eight encoders with four velocity curves and three fixed curves among others.

Controls are fully programmable to send MIDI CC message to be used with any hardware or software. It has eight velocity-sensitive pads with the “Pad Learn” feature that lets you select a pad, play a note on your keyboard and assign it to play the sound the next time you use it.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Good construction
  • Solidly built Keys feel great
  • Integrates with FL studio easily
  • Has cool features and pads are great too

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Some complain of inconsistent keys
  • Mostly the black ones
  • Might have inconsistent friction with the knobs and faders

 

Akai Professional MPK249

Akai Professional MPK249 | 49 Key Semi Weighted USB MIDI Keyboard Controller Including Core Control From The MPC Workstations
  • 49 semi weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys and a premium piano style key bed for unprecedented response and natural feel
  • 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads each with 4 banks for 64 pads the perfect solution for triggering samples, loops, one shots, melodies and more

With an all-in-one keyboard controller like Akai Professional MPK249, it’s easy for you to do music production in studio or on stage. Designed to be compatible with widely used music software, this controller is USB-powered so you can plug-and-play as you go with your Mac or Windows PC.

It has 49 semi-weighted keys which are pressure-sensitive and has aftertouch for a more energetic and lively production.

It also comes with 16 MPC-style pads in four banks, which expand to 64 total assignable pads.  Likewise, it has eight control knobs, faders and switches in three banks, which expand to a total of 24 assignable knobs, faders and switches.

Packed with the VIP software with a very powerful hands-on control solution that helps you play with virtual instruments and effects. It’s designed with deep software integration, great core technologies and workflow – way better than its predecessors.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Works great
  • Very easy to use and playable
  • Hardware is reliable
  • Programmable knobs and switches are something you can trust

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Might run into problems when you download software
  • Takes time to adjust and to learn to play the keyboard well

 

Nektar Panorama P4 49-key MIDI Controller Keyboard

Nektar DAW Controller, white, medium (P4)
  • Advanced MIDI Controller with 49 ultra-expressive synth-action keys and after-touch
  • Customized, deep integration for Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, Innuendo, Reaper, Bit wig studio and studio One

Integrates with Bitwig Studio, Logic Pro, Mainstage, Cubase, Reaper and Reason, Nektar Panorama P4 is definitely a choice of the best MIDI controller keyboards this 2019. In fact, it’s a great semi-weighted keyboard with velocity-sensitive 49 keys and aftertouch.

You can comfortably play with the 12 velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads, 100mm ALPS motorized fader, four zones with controller filters and programmable changes.

In addition to the above-mentioned controls, you can take advantage of the 16 encoders, nine faders and 10 assignable LED buttons. There are 20 preset locations that store all settings, including F-keys maps, links to keyboard and more.

Overall, you’ll get 93-real time controls, which make it a great controller keyboard for leading music software like Logic Pro, Cubase, Bitwig Studio and more.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Indeed can be used in any environment
  • Deeply integrates with most music software
  • Great built quality and not flimsy even when it’s made of plastic
  • Incredible keys

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Pads need to be a little sensitive
  • Resistance on black keys is a bit higher than on the white

 

Nektar Panorama P6 61-key MIDI Controller Keyboard

Nektar DAW Controller, white, medium (P6)
  • Advanced midi controller with 61 ultra-expressive synth-action keys and after-touch
  • Customized, deep integration for Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, Innuendo, Reaper, Bit wig Studio and Studio One

If you want a longer keyboard, go for the Nektar Panorama P6. It has 61-note weighted, velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch for more expressive performance. Aside from the keys, all features are found in the Nektar Panorama P4 49-key MIDI Controller Keyboard.

So, just enjoy the real time 93 controls packed in this 61-note keyboard. This can be easily integrated and mapped to the most popular music software in the world like the Cubase, Logic Pro X, Bitwig Studio, Nuendo and Reason.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Quality build with nice feel of the keys
  • Integrates well with music software like Cubase or Reason
  • Gives great value for money

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Keys have mechanical noise
  • Especially the white ones
  • Action is different between white and black keys
  • Pads may not be responsive
  • Need a forceful touch

 

Roland TR-8S Rhythm Performer Tabletop Synthesizer

Roland AIRA Rhythm Performer (TR-8S)
  • The TR-8S combines the best of its Roland heritage with modern production techniques and professional sound design
  • Design kits with authentic TRS drums, sampled sounds, and effects

If you trust Roland on your musical instruments, you can also rely on Roland Tabletop Synthesizer. It comes with  professional sound design with great production techniques and controls. So, you can easily tap, tune and tweak with hand-on controls for a more enjoyable performance.

You can make alterations of the samples, adjust the decay and tuning. Also, enjoy the effects on board like filters on toms and cymbals, delay on a rim-shot, precision reverb on instruments and more. You can use the buttons or the velocity-sensitive pads to make your production more amazing.

In addition, all the instruments, sample sounds and master effects are saved in the design kits, so you can easily access them during your performance. There’s an SD slot where you can pull out samples and import your mono or stereo sounds via an SD card.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Easy tweaks to make the performance interesting
  • Easy to use with great potentials underneath
  • Additional variation modes and automation
  • Two major plus

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Feels a bit light and fragile
  • Effects lack in character
  • Added depth makes it kind of slow

 

Ableton Push 2 Controller Instrument

No products found.

Designed for Ableton Push 2 Controller Instrument ensures a perfect music production. It’s a great keyboard controller with the new sampling workflows that allow you to slice beats, play and manipulate samples at the tip of your fingers.

Very interesting how you can play or step sequence beats, chords and even automation with this controller keyboard.

You can make use of its large multi-color display and the eight touch-sensitive encoders for controlling the instruments, mixers and live browser navigation.

You make something from scratch with its great hardware and its full-featured software. Simply browse, load or preview from any sound or instrument library and use it for your next music production and performance.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Has solid body with reliable controls
  • Allows better improvisation and mapping
  • Performs incredibly
  • Making workflow a lot smoother

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Kind of expensive and might lack some bells and whistles
  • Not on the product quality
  • It’s difficult to register product for the warranty

 

Akai Professional MPD226

Akai Professional MPD226 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Pad Controller With Full Complement of Fully-Assignable, Production-Ready Controls
  • Ultra portable feature packed, highly playable pad controller with 16 thick fat RGB illuminated velocity and pressure sensitive MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
  • Easily accessible dedicated controls for 4 pad banks provides a total of 64 assignable pads

Built to answer the needs of musicians, Akai Professional MPD226 is made for real players. They have listened to the reviews and what customers really want in a MIDI controller keyboard this 2019.

And, Akai Professional gives you a great instrument with great controls and features without breaking the bank.

Among its features are four faders, control knobs and buttons, arranged in three banks to give you 36 total controls. In addition, it has 16 thick fat MPC pads in four banks that gives you 64 total assignable pads.

You can enjoy this user-friendly controller keyboard since with its plug-and-play USB interface, you can immediately send over MIDI information to your Mac or Windows PC without the need for software drivers. And, it comes with free software so you can make music right away.

thumbs-up-icon

Pros
  • Easily programmable
  • Great pads and controls
  • Small and easy to integrate with other equipment

thumbs-down-icon

Cons
  • Might need more effort to get started
  • Pads need to be triggered twice
  • Some play twice
  • Even if triggered only once

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARDS 2020

Going through this list is not easy, especially if you are not serious enough in finding the right MIDI controller for you. Since you’ve come to end of our review, we’ll give you some tips on how we come up with the list, as well as our recommendation.

Knobs, Switches and Controls — The more controls you have on-board in your MIDI controller keyboard, the better hands-on controls. Sweetwater discusses these controls and how it can affect your performance in making music.

Best MIDI Controller Keyboards 2019

Key Count — Depending on your needs, you might be satisfied with a 25-note keyboard, or a 31, 49, 61 and even 88. However, you also need to consider portability, playability (one hand or two) and space.

Of course, if you are on the go, you don’t want an 88-note keyboard, unless you want to travel with more baggage.

Performance Pads — Playing with pads is more convenient that playing the keys. You can easily trigger finger drums and loops with these performance pads. Yet, there are so many things to check on this aspect alone, including sensitivity, aftertouch, banks of pads for assignability and more.

Automapping — Integrating MIDI controllers with your DAW is both beneficial and cumbersome at some point, especially if you have a hard time mapping the controls to your DAW. So, it might be wise to consider this functionality when buying a new controller keyboard, says Wire Cutter.

Still, a lot is getting confused on how to enjoy the MIDI controller keyboard. Well, this YouTube video gives you a great overview on what a MIDI controller is and how to maximize its use.

The video also includes products and explains its features, so you know what’s the use of each control in this device.

 

OUR CHOICE FOR THE BEST MIDI CONTROLLER KEYBOARD 2020

Both Nektar Impact LX88+ and Akai Professional MPK249 are neck to neck when it comes to price and features. It’s hard to say which one is really the best, given their pros and cons, as well as the features which they excelled.

One is great for home studios with its wide reach, while the other is compact which can be used when traveling.

However, though their performance and playability are almost comparable, one excels in connectivity. And, in this aspect, Nektar Impact LX88+ is really the winner. It’s the most versatile 88-note keyboard which you can connect even to your phones without any problem.

Guitar Tricks Free Trial

Latest Reviews

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.