10 Best Travel MIDI Keyboards in 2020 — Top Picks and Reviews

Our #2 Rated
M Audio Oxygen 49 IV | 49 Key USB/MIDI Keyboard With 8 Trigger Pads & A Full Consignment of Production/Performance Ready Controls
Our #3 Rated
Arturia Keystep Controller & Sequencer
Our #1 Rated
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
Our #4 Rated
Novation Launchkey 25 MK2 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live
Our #5 Rated
M-Audio, 32-Key, 32 Keys (Keystation Mini 32)
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Includes more than 500-sound library
Nice and tidy 32-note slim keys
Doesn’t require drivers or power adapters when connecting to computers
Layout of the controls is very easy to familiarize
Comes with Ignite software from AIR Music Technology that gives more than 275 instrument sounds onboard
Integration with VIP software to have access to virtual instruments and effect collections
This is a keyboard controller + synthesizer rolled into one
Bundled with professional software and readily downloadable virtual instruments
Easy to map to DAW session view, while having full hands-on control of the MIDI keyboard
Comes with Ignite software from AIR Music Technology that gives more than 275 instrument sounds onboard
Transport controls help you execute functions in your DAW session from the controller
Great connectivity includes MIDI, CV/Gate, DIN Sync, and Sync
Portable and fits into the musician’s laptop-toting backpack
USB bus-powered, no need for power cables or any driver installation
Octave buttons provide flexibility to play bass lines, lead melodies, etc.
For music producers and composers — playable, flexible and integrates with your DAW effortlessly
Versatile, compact controller and synthesizer that gives you more options to play around with your music
Ultra-compact, plug-and-play device bundled with reliable software that you can use wherever you go
Make music in a breeze — great controls with the amazing bundled software and other tools
Simple, yet very powerful and portable MIDI controller, perfect for making beats on the go
Our #2 Rated
M Audio Oxygen 49 IV | 49 Key USB/MIDI Keyboard With 8 Trigger Pads & A Full Consignment of Production/Performance Ready Controls
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Includes more than 500-sound library
Integration with VIP software to have access to virtual instruments and effect collections
Transport controls help you execute functions in your DAW session from the controller
For music producers and composers — playable, flexible and integrates with your DAW effortlessly
Our #3 Rated
Arturia Keystep Controller & Sequencer
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Nice and tidy 32-note slim keys
This is a keyboard controller + synthesizer rolled into one
Great connectivity includes MIDI, CV/Gate, DIN Sync, and Sync
Versatile, compact controller and synthesizer that gives you more options to play around with your music
Our #1 Rated
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
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Doesn’t require drivers or power adapters when connecting to computers
Bundled with professional software and readily downloadable virtual instruments
Portable and fits into the musician’s laptop-toting backpack
Ultra-compact, plug-and-play device bundled with reliable software that you can use wherever you go
Our #4 Rated
Novation Launchkey 25 MK2 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live
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Layout of the controls is very easy to familiarize
Easy to map to DAW session view, while having full hands-on control of the MIDI keyboard
USB bus-powered, no need for power cables or any driver installation
Make music in a breeze — great controls with the amazing bundled software and other tools
Our #5 Rated
M-Audio, 32-Key, 32 Keys (Keystation Mini 32)
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Comes with Ignite software from AIR Music Technology that gives more than 275 instrument sounds onboard
Comes with Ignite software from AIR Music Technology that gives more than 275 instrument sounds onboard
Octave buttons provide flexibility to play bass lines, lead melodies, etc.
Simple, yet very powerful and portable MIDI controller, perfect for making beats on the go

OUR #1 RATED BEST TRAVEL MIDI KEYBOARD

Love to make beats but so busy to sit around and dwell inside your home studio? How about having a travel MIDI keyboard with you?

So, the next time you have an inspiration, you can easily make it into a new music piece

If you’re planning to own a MIDI keyboard, you’ve come to the right place. We have a few recommendations here to get you started.

We include the pros and cons, as well as tips for you to really pick the one that suits your needs.

Of course, we’ll share with you our best bet, right at the end of the discussions.

We only give you a quick and precise description of every product — specifically on the features. Read on and learn more!

 

10 Best Travel MIDI Keyboards in 2020

Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII

SALE at $14.28 OFF
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII LE White | White, Limited Edition 25 Key Portable USB MIDI Keyboard With 8 Backlit Performance Ready Pads, 8 Assignable Q Link Knobs & A 4 Way Thumbstick
  • Total Control Wherever You Go: USB MIDI keyboard controller with 25 velocity-sensitive keys and octave up / down buttons to access the full melodic range – perfect virtual synthesizer control
  • Express Yourself: Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation MIDI control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes

Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII has 25-velocity sensitive keys with dedicated up/down buttons to make you achieve a full melodic range keyboard. It has 4-way thumbstick for the pitch and modulation control.

Comes with an arpeggiator with resolution, range, and modes that are adjustable. It has a few hardware controls that let you compose and record with the effect plugins, virtual instruments and DAWs anytime.

It has two banks of eight backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads, eight assignable Q-Link knobs and ¼-inch input for sustain pedal if you use one.

This machine is already bundled with software and downloadable virtual instruments for you to easily make beats and music whenever inspiration strikes. It’s plug-and-play and can be connected to a Mac or Windows PC with a USB cable.

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Pros
  • Functions well
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Budget-friendly and the cheapest way to learn digital music making

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Cons
  • Build seems poor and flimsy
  • Paperweight
  • Complicated software setup
  • Need to be resourceful and have self-study

 

M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV USB Pad

SALE at $29.96 OFF
M-Audio Oxygen 25 IV | USB Keyboard and Pad MIDI Controller Featuring Pad/Velocity - Sensitive Keys
  • Compact, ultra portable performance keyboard controller with 25 full size, synth action velocity sensitive keys and on board pitch bend and modulation wheels for expressive performances
  • 8 velocity sensitive trigger pads for beat production and clip launching, and 8 assignable knobs for manipulating virtual instruments, DAW parameters and plugins on board LCD screen provides instant parameter feedback

Whether you are using the popular Ableton Live, Pro Tools or Cubase, you got everything ready for integration with M-Audio Oxygen 25 MK IV USB Pad.

The DirectLink helps you map the parameters from the keyboard to your favorite DAW, so you can make tweaks to the mixers, editors and transport windows. It comes with 25-note, full-size synth-action, velocity-sensitive keys, eight velocity-sensitive pads, assignable knobs, and transport controls.

With built-in customizable mapping presets you can easily interface it with the effect plug-ins and virtual instruments. The transport controls allow you to initiate play, stop and record to your favorite DAW from your keyboard controller.

With Pro Tools and Virtual Instrument Player (VIP) you can experience more versatility and flexibility with your music production.

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Pros
  • Pads seem nice
  • Velocity-sensitive and keep up with aggressive tapping
  • Keys are nice to touch with a decent tactile feel
  • Plug and play connectivity without the need of any driver

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Cons
  • Buttons require more force to engage
  • Encounter some problems mapping this keyboard to the DAW

 

Arturia KeyStep

SALE at $9.01 OFF
Arturia Keystep Controller & Sequencer
  • Slimkey keybed with velocity and aftertouch Arpeggiator mode features up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order, double up, double down modes Sequencer mode features 8 polyphonic step-sequences with Rest, Tie, and Legato note entry Rate control and tap tempo slave the REC, PLAY, and STOP buttons for performance control over the sequencer and arpeggiator Sustain HOLD button or sustain pedal jack Chord play mode SHIFT button selection addresses
  • KeyStep is a new breed of portable musical tool combining the functionalities of a keyboard controller with a polyphonic step sequencer to control both analog and digital devices

A 32-key slim keyboard with a lot of features, the Arturia KeyStep is something you can rely on with your music craze. It comes with polyphonic step sequencing, pitch and mod strips, chord and arpeggiator modes, and so much more.

You can also take advantage of the ‘Chord Play’ function which allows you to play a chord and trigger it with any single key across the keyboard.

The arpeggiator provides arrangement to complex notes. The onboard polyphonic 64-step sequencer is quite an amazing performance tool. This controller plus sequencer equipment gives you various connectivity options including MIDI, CV/Gate, DIN Sync, and Sync.

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Pros
  • Keys are wonderful
  • Solid-feeling and all parts are well-built
  • Amazing features at a very affordable price

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Cons
  • Pitch and mode strips are harder to manipulate than the wheels or joystick
  • Need to connect to a computer to set the length of the sequencer
  • Sometimes velocity isn’t accurate

 

Novation Launchkey 25 USB Keyboard

Novation Launchkey 25 MK2 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live
  • MK2 version of Novation's 25-note USB keyboard controller for Ableton Live
  • 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated navigation and control buttons

Novation Launchkey 25 USB Keyboard is primarily designed for Ableton Live, but still compatible with other software with its ‘In Control’ function. It has a 25-key synth-style keyboard, 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, eight knobs, nine faders, navigation and control buttons.

These pads are laid in two rows of eight — the first row to launch clips and the second row to stop them — matching Ableton Live session view.

Designed to help you shape your beats, however you like, it has eight reliable rotary knobs make tweaking of the effects and instruments easier.

Lightweight, very easy to play with keys and pads that are velocity-sensitive for more expressive performances. It’s USB-powered, so you won’t need any power cable or driver to use it. Start making music with everything you need onboard.

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Pros
  • Very light and portable
  • Keys are quite good
  • Knobs and sliders are great
  • Automapping is amazing

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Cons
  • The build is quite poor
  • You can feel plastic on the frame
  • Pads may seem unresponsive at times
  • Need force to trigger
  • Velocity curve is inconsistent

 

M-Audio 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

Keep up with the world’s high demand for making music through mobile and computer-based recordings with the M-Audio 32 Keys Keystation Mini 32. It’s a simple, yet powerful MIDI controller that is designed for portable music production, sequencing music and more.

Featuring 32 velocity-sensitive with synth-action keys, pitch-bend, sustain and modulation wheels, along with the buttons and controls on-board, you can really expand your playing capability in a very expressive way.

It’s USB-powered, class-compliant and has USB-MIDI connectivity for easier setup and integration for Mac or Windows PC. You can also connect it to your iOS devices via the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, which you need to acquire separately.

Bundled with AIR Music Technology’s Ignite software with more than 275 instrument sounds onboard and the Ableton Live Lite, surely you have something worthwhile to do while you’re stuck in the traffic or waiting for a delayed flight.

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

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

 

CME Xkey 25 Note Gun Metal Gray

CME, Xkey Air 25-Key Bluetooth MIDI Controller
  • Full Size Piano Keys, Ultra Mobile Award Winning Keyboard
  • Only 0.6 inches thick and weighs less than 2 lbs. – Goes wherever you go

Don’t want to have dangles when making music on-the-fly? Well, you can do it now with CME Xkey 25 Note Gun Metal Gray that has both Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

It has 25 keys giving you enough playability, yet still have those features from the original Xkey. Even if you connect it wirelessly, it can survive up to 10 hours of battery life.

Adjusting most settings of the Xkey like the sensitivity, timing, and velocity requires you to download the Xkey Plus app on your phone or computer. The key layout follows the traditional piano’s octave range, so you won’t have a hard time adjusting since it’s already in your finger memories.

Keys and buttons have customized pressure sensor underneath that’s connected to an intelligent circuit board. This circuit board will produce details of your performance at lower power consumption. So, you can survive long hours of usage even without charging the controller.

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Pros
  • Great portability without compromise
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Very easy to set up

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Cons
  • Micro-USB connection is weak
  • Keyboard freezes sometimes
  • Needs unplug and plug again

 

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A25

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A25 Controller Keyboard
  • Smart, streamlined keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments and effects
  • Semi-weighted custom NI keybed

Make great music from a smart and streamlined keyboard like Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A25. You get to enjoy this compact 25 semi-weighted keys with 8 touch-sensitive control knobs, OLED display and some onboard instruments and effects. It’s packed with Maschine Essentials, Monark and more.

Express yourself through your performance with his best-in-class keyboard which you can connect to your computer or laptop via USB. And, since it supports full integration with KOMPLETE and NKS plug-ins, as well as leading music software like Logic Pro X and Ableton Live, you know making music is more fun.

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Pros
  • Sturdy and solid construction
  • Pitch and mod wheels are great
  • Good grip and resistance
  • Has great integration with other software

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Cons
  • KOMPLETE Kontrol features are still lacking
  • Smaller screen than the S series
  • Less backlighting of the buttons

 

QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller

QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller
  • Smart sensor keys detect pressure, velocity, and tilt with polyphonic after touch
  • 2 cv/Gate inputs; Gate and 3 CV outputs (16-bit)

Playable, portable and affordable keyboard is what most MIDI keyboards want to convey to their customers. However, there are only a few of these keyboards that live up to their word, and one of the few is QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller.

You have full control of your analog synthesizers by using finger pressure and tilt to easily manipulate filter, pitch and more.

With USB connection and plug-and-play capability, you can connect it to Mac, Windows PC, Linux, iOS and Android devices. It’s a perfect centerpiece of your home studio or a reliable travel companion for making great music.

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Pros
  • Great to play with
  • Portable
  • Reliable MIDI keyboard for travel and studio
  • Keys are smooth and responsive

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Cons
  • Velocity sensitivity could be inconsistent
  • Some complaints about the high price
  • Given its limited features

 

ROLI Seaboard Block

SALE at $49.96 OFF
ROLI Seaboard Block Wireless Keyboard Controller
  • Every movement is musical | shape sounds with 5D touch on the seaboard Block’s expressive surface. Strike, glide, slide, press and lift off with your fingers to bring your musical ideas to life
  • Explore a universe of sound | Seaboard Block pairs with desktop and mobile software that include hundreds of sounds, from strings and synths to drums and guitars. They’re all custom made for 5D touch

Look no further if you are looking for the smallest, portable and award-winning travel MIDI keyboard. You just found the ROLI Seaboard Block with all the features you need (plus useful bundled software) and it’s named as the “future of the keyboard.”

It comes with 5D Touch technology, you’ll be able to touch surface strike, glide and slide controls and effects to be able to produce great solos and simple melodies.

You can access your sounds either from your mobile phone or computer with the software included (NOISE, BLOCKS Dashboard, Equator Player and MaxMSP). With its 25 keywave with two-octave playing surface and more than 100 sounds, this wireless and portable keyboard is a tool in making music on-the-go.

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Pros
  • Very expressive multitouch keyboard
  • The 5D Touch technology is very powerful
  • An affordable
  • Yet great ROLI

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Cons
  • Steep learning curve for this new performance paradigm
  • Some users may find the keys a bit smaller

 

Nektar Impact LX88+

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

Although an 88-note keyboard controller is quite big for traveling, we explained why Nektar Impact LX88+ is part of our list of the best travel MIDI keyboards in 2020.

Designed for players who prefer to have an extra reach, this keyboard has 88-note velocity-sensitive with semi-weighted action keys, pitch-bend, and mod wheels on-board, including faders, buttons, encoders, and velocity curves.

To control the MIDI hardware, you can use the built-in MIDI out and the MIDI programming options.

This MIDI keyboard currently supports DAW integration for Cubase, FL Studio, Garage Band, Logic, Nuendo, Digital Performer, and some other music software. All buttons and controls are properly labeled, so you don’t keep looking into your manual or memorize how they’re going to be assigned.

You can maximize the four velocity curves if you’re still discovering your style or use the three fixed velocities if you want a consistent output. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows PC, and iOS devices.

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Pros
  • Solid construction Reliable build to carry around
  • Keys are nice and feel great
  • Comes with outstanding features
  • Especially the pads

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Cons
  • Some say the keys are inconsistent
  • Especially the black ones
  • Knobs and faders have inconsistent friction

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TRAVEL MIDI KEYBOARD

Music inspirations just strike whenever and wherever, so it’s wise enough to get ready and have an instrument with you when that happens. Having the best travel MIDI keyboard in 2020 is really a good thing to have with you wherever you go.

Yet, it’s hard to really have a small, portable, yet feature-packed keyboard. So, we give you tips that will somehow help you assess your needs and preferences. In this way, you’ll be able to spend your money wisely — and not wasting a single dime.

Best Travel Midi Keyboards in 2019

Budget

Your budget is the main consideration when it comes to buying anything, not just travel MIDI keyboards.

The price of the keyboards depends on a lot of factors, including the number of keys, the size, the features and more bells and whistles that will add more color and life to your music production.

The higher your budget can be, the more amazing MIDI keyboard, you get — but, this is not true for all. There are also cheaper products that are way better than expensive ones.

What we mean to say is, every other aspect mentioned here is just minor considerations because the budget is that one factor that can change everything.

Number of Keys

Commonly, travel keyboards have 25 keys. But, some players prefer 32 keys or 37 because they think the 25-key model is just too small for them.

Choosing the number of keys is dependent on your preferences and your willingness to add extra weight on your baggage as you travel.

Inputs and Outputs

This is an important consideration when choosing a compact keyboard. While most gears are equipped with a USB port, you really need to familiarize these ports carefully. Sweetwater has more explanation, especially when you want to connect the keyboard to other instruments.

Keyboard response

Choose a keyboard that you’re comfortable playing, not just carrying.

There are a few things you might want to check out for the keys, explained The Hub. You got to consider if the keys are velocity and pressure-sensitive, weighted and have an aftertouch effect.

This YouTube video gives you more options for your travel MIDI keyboard. There’s no fuss, nor flattery words – just commentaries and a few more tips to pick the best for your music production.

OUR TOP CHOICE

You won’t be buying all these 10 MIDI keyboards, you’ll either buy one or two of the products on this list.

So, in terms of extra features, connectivity and portability, we have a tie — CME Xkey 25 Note and QuNexus Smart Sensor Keyboard Controller. Both of them allow you to make music and beats easily anytime, anywhere.

But, if we are to choose only one, we go for CME Xkey 25 Note. Why? It’s portable, versatile and flexible. You have the option to connect it via Bluetooth and it allows you to make music up to 10 hours before changing.

With the Xkey, all you need to do is start making music wherever and whenever the inspiration strikes.

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