Best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners – Latest Edition!

Best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners
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Being a beginner and new to the world of music production can offer many challenges when looking for one of the Best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners.

Not only it is challenging but also easy to get lost in the MIDI controller keyboards if you do not know what you need from a MIDI instrument or keyboard based on your current needs and future requirements.

Therefore, in this article, let us see some of the best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners that are versatile and offer a high value for money.

There are multiple aspects related to a MIDI keyboard that you need to know before buying one. Let’s go over them in the next section.

MIDI Keyboard Buying Guide

Here are few general things to keep in mind when buying best beginner midi keyboard.

1) Number of keys

The first thing to note is how many keys you need in the MIDI keyboard. This may differ for many people depending on the use cases and production requirements.

A MIDI keyboard can offer the following:

  • 25 keys,
  • 31 keys,
  • 49 keys,
  • 61 keys,
  • 88 keys.

For example, producers looking to come up melodies, bass lines, and drum patterns can go with a 25 or 35-key MIDI keyboard.

On the other hand, artists and producers who want to make melodies, bass-lines, practice their piano playing skills or learn music theory will need a 49 or 61-Key MIDI keyboard controller.

Therefore, the number of keys you choose in a MIDI keyboard depends on your current requirements, skills, and future goals.

2) Knobs, Faders, and Pads

Knobs and faders in a MIDI keyboard controller are great controls to consider when buying a MIDI keyboard controller.

They let you control multiple aspects of DAWs as well as VST instruments such as an attack, volume, automation, panning, cutoff filters, etc.

Therefore, you can control multiple DAW and VST elements right from the MIDI keyboard without switching back and forth between the MIDI keyboard and DAW.

Also, pads are a great add-on to a MIDI keyboard as you can assign sounds to them and start creating drum patterns and beats.

This way of making drum beats is quite intuitive and natural than using a piano roll editor inside of a DAW.

3) After touch

After touch is a great feature that changes sound depth according to how hard you press a key once it is fully down and engaged.

Here is a video to know more!

4) Inputs / Outputs

The connectivity ports or inputs and outputs on a MIDI keyboard controller are equally important aspects to consider.

Most of the time, artists and producers must remember to take note of the connectivity ports a controller keyboard offers. 

A MIDI keyboard controller may offer the below-mentioned ports:

  • USB,
  • Sustain,
  • Headphone jack,
  • MIDI input, MIDI output, or both.

5) Budget

Last but not least, you also need to allocate a proper budget for your studio equipment and, in this case, for the MIDI keyboard controller.

The price of the MIDI keyboard controller mainly depends on the number of:

  • Keys,
  • Faders,
  • Build material,
  • Encoders or Knobs,
  • Inputs and outputs,
  • General keyboard controls & features.

However, some of the best keyboard controllers for beginners will fall into a price range of $99 -$499.

Therefore, it is best to keep a budget in your mind and then look for keyboards that fall within your budget.

Best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners

Here are top seven best MIDI keyboards for beginners.

1) M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

Product Features

> 49 velocity sensitive keys,
> comes with after touch,
> 8 assignable knobs,
> 9 assignable faders,
> 16 RGB pressure sensitive pads,
> Smart chord, smart scale and Arp Mode,
> Comes with sustain, MIDI and USB port.

A deeper analysis

The M-Audio oxygen Pro 49 USB MIDI keyboard is one of the best MIDI keyboards for beginners. It packs various valuable and unique features that can simplify the production process for any producer.

The Oxygen Pro MIDI keyboard comes with 49 keys, so it offers an excellent option for anyone to practice their piano playing skills and basic music theory. The keys are velocity-sensitive, thus, offering an even more natural sound in a live or recording studio setting.

Also Read: Best MIDI Keyboards for Music Production – Top Picks for this Year!

Remember, the sixteen backlit RGB pads extend the keyboard’s capabilities in a production environment. You can assign a whole drum rack to it or alternate between instrument and drum sounds. The pads have an excellent feel to them and feel high quality.

The Oxygen Pro also packs other valuable features like the smart chord, scale, Arp mode, and buttons to control basic DAW features from the controller directly.

Lastly, this MIDI keyboard also packs a valuable software plugins that can set you on the music production and recording journey.

Pros

> Effortless DAW setup,
> Includes a good software bundle,
> Smart scale mode offers a unique way of freestyling.

Cons

> Lacks a well documented manual,
> Build quality could have been better.

2) Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard Controller

Product Features

> 49 velocity sensitive keys,
> 9 faders,
> 16 velocity-sensitive pads,
> Arp, chord and scale mode,
> packs a great software bundle,
> Includes sustain, MIDI and USB Port.

A deeper analysis

The Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard Controller has improved pad sensitivity, solid build and new features compared to its previous generation. Nonetheless, Novation has added some valuable qualities to music production or studio environments.

With Novation’s launched 49 keyboards, you get all the essential features. It includes nine faders, RGB pads, and eight assignable knobs. Assign these knobs and faders to a premium VST plugin, and you have a hardware emulation of that software!

The key point is that you cannot find a better Abelton or Logic controller in this price range.

The launch key fully integrates Logic, Ableton Live, and great functionality with pro tools, reason and Cubase. It packs a punch when controlling your DAW through the keyboard, making the entire process smooth and straightforward.

Features such as Arp, swing, gate, and more on the top panel make it stand apart from other MIDI keyboards. These features become useful in music sessions when you want to challenge and explore your creative side.

However, I am not fully satisfied with the key-bed quality, which is much better in Keylab and M-Audio Oxygen Series. But, considering the price range, I would not complain as other features make it a high value for money MIDI Controller keyboard.

Pros

> Daw integration with Logic, Abelton and Reasons,
> Comes with MIDI output port,
> Huge number of features and controls.

Cons

> No after-touch.

3) Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard

Product Features

> 49 keys,
> 9 encoders or knobs,
> 8 assignable pads,
> Comes with pitch & mod wheels,
> Includes Arturia’s premium plugin sounds,
> Includes MIDI, sustain and USB port.

A deeper analysis

The Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard is another best budget MIDI keyboard with an elegant design and robust build quality. It offers 49 velocity-sensitive keys, nine assignable knobs, faders, and eight drum pads.

You get all the essential features and buttons to control your music production and DAW controls from the keyboard itself, which is crucial in the creative process. You can record, loop, pause and play right from the keyboard without switching back and forth to your DAW.

A great thing about the Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard is that it comes with Arturia’s Premium VST plugins, such as Analog Lab 5. And considering how much the Analog Lab 5 costs, it is a steal deal at this price.

With your purchase of the Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard, you get more than 6000 sound presets that the Analog Lab offers, which is also free! This is one thing that got me excited about this MIDI keyboard.

The connectivity ports offer many options, such as sustain, MIDI, and USB ports. These controls come in handy in a live setting or recording studio environment where you can control another synthesizer using the MIDI connection.

Arturia’s Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard offers quite a high value for money. When you compare it to other MIDI instruments in this price range, you will not find many MIDI keyboards like it.

Pros

> Elegant all-white design,
> A great setup with Analog Lab,
> Wide range of features and useful controls.

Cons

> No after touch.

4) Nektar Impact LX49+ USB MIDI Controller Keyboard

Product Features

> 49 velocity-sensitive keys,
> 9 faders,
> 8 encoders or knobs,
> 8 pads,
> Includes front panel buttons to control DAW features,
> Separate pitch bend and mod wheel,
> Compatible with major DAWs,
> Includes foot pedal and USB port.

A deeper analysis

Another excellent keyboard controller on our list is the Nektar Impact LX49+ which comes with 49 keys, nine faders, eight knobs, pads and other generic features. This MIDI keyboard is affordable, offers excellent value for money, and is great for music production and live performances.

A thing that makes Nektar Impact LX49+ is that it comes loaded with mapping to control DAWs such as Logic, Cubase, Bitwig studio, studio one and more. However, there is no control mapping with Ableton Live.

Furthermore, the keyboard is excellent for beginners and intermediate music artists looking for a MIDI keyboard in their recording setup. It offers multiple keys, pads, and knobs to develop musical ideas and practice piano skills.

This keyboard’s downside is that it lacks a MIDI port, and the software bundle does not have premium software units.

Pros

> Good build quality,
> Latency free Pads,
> Made for Modern producers and budding musicians,
> knobs and faders are made of good quality material.

Cons

> lacks MIDI port,
> The keys are slightly compromised.

5) Alesis V61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

Product Features

> 61 velocity sensitive keys,
> 4 assignable encoders or knobs,
> 8 velocity sensitive pads,
> Has pitch and mod wheels,
> Includes MIDI, sustain and USB Port
> Comes with Production software bundle.

A deeper analysis

Another great MIDI keyboard for a home studio with easy setup and many functionalities is the Alesis V61 Keyboard.

This keyboard packs a simple design with all the features and controls cleanly. You get controls, buttons, and pitch/mod wheels on the left-hand side, whereas the rest of the keyboard body houses velocity-sensitive keys.

If you have zero experience in music production or are starting to make or learn music, the Alesis V61 is an excellent choice. It has 61 keys that are enough to know and produce music without getting overcrowded with unimportant features.

Also, for intermediate to advanced-level music artists, it offers useful features such as eight velocity-sensitive pads, knobs, and mod/pitch wheels.

The keyboard is easy to set up and offers crucial ports such as sustain, MIDI out, and USB, ensuring that the Alesis V61 meets all the requirements.

As a bonus, it also bundles helpful softwares such as expand, MPC beats, and Ableton Live Lite.

Pros

> Loaded with tons of unique and useful features,
> Keys feel great and high quality when played,
> Durable build material.

Cons

> Software bundle is not much premium.

6) Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 Controller Keyboard

Product Features

> 32 Keys,
> 8 touch sensitive knobs,
> Arp, scale and loop modes,
> Four directional push encoder,
> includes sustain and USB port,
> compatible with all major DAWs,
> Pitch and mod wheel touch strips.

A deeper analysis

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 is one of the most affordable keyboards you can find in the native instrument keyboard collection and offers numerous helpful features for music producers.

The design is quite pleasing and in a black theme, as seen in other Native Instrument products. The build quality of the outer body, knobs, and keys also feels premium.

You get eight endless encoders/knobs, one navigation knob to control DAW features, and touch strips to adjust modulation and pitch. The left-top of the keyboard contains regular features like play, pause, arp, record and more.

It houses a total of 32 keys for reaching multiple octaves without transposing the keys. Even after offering 32 keys, a good thing is that the keyboards remain highly portable and travel-worthy.

The back panel of the keyboard houses a USB and sustain port. There is no MIDI out port which is a bummer as it hinders you from controlling other keyboards or synthesizers through this keyboard.

One thing that you need to note is that it lacks pads. So, if you want to make beats, check out other MIDI controllers.

Pros

> Solid build quality and beautiful design,
> Four directional push encoder to control DAW features,
> Great software bundle.

Cons

> Lacks MIDI ports,
> No pads.

7) AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

Product Features

> 25 Keys,
> 4 encoders or knobs,
> 8 velocity sensitive pads,
> In-built speakers,
> Internal sound bank,
> 4 way joystick for pitch & modulation,
> Major DAW compatibility,
> includes sustain, headphone and USB port.

A deeper analysis

AKAI’s first and second-generation MPK Midi keyboard controllers were bang-on and appealed to a massive portion of the music community. Now, with the MPK Mini MK3, this famous MIDI machine has got better and more aligned with the needs of music producers and artists.

In such a compact MIDI Controller, there are 25 keys, four knobs, eight improved pads, pad controls, and a screen for additional functionality.

Also Read: Best MIDI Keyboard controllers under $100!

Considering the price of this keyboard and looking at the features that it offers, AKAI MPK MK3 is one of the most valuable MIDI keyboard controllers.

Remember, the build quality has significantly improved, and MK3 looks aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. The pads are also more durable and make less noise than previous-generation keyboards.

On the back panel of the keyboard, you can see a sustain and USB port to connect and power up the MIDI keyboard. However, there is no MIDI out, which I would have loved to see on the MPK MK3.

Nonetheless, I recommend the AKAI MPK Mini MK3 Keyboard to anyone new to the production world, wanting to make beats, come up with melody ideas and learn a few piano-playing skills.

Pros

> Loaded with useful features,
> Easy to setup,
> Solid build quality.

Cons

> lacks MIDI port.

Conclusion

All in all, these were some of the best MIDI Keyboards for Beginners. However, do feel free to mention additional MIDI Keyboards for Beginners in the comments down below.

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