Midi keyboard is one of the studio essentials & having the best budget midi keyboard can take your recordings to the next level.
Have no knowledge where exactly? We have crucial guidance for you concerning the best budget midi keyboard money can buy.
Such ubiquitous devices can easily get plugged directly into your laptop or personal computer through USB.
In a few cases, it even operates wirelessly over Bluetooth and allows you to play and record with the DAW’s software instruments & any VST synth plugins you may have installed.
Few also double up and offer control over the hardware synths, making them a central performance hub for studios.
You even can opt for the portable compact MIDI keyboard that fits well in laptop bags, or you even can go all the way with a full size 88 note model with the weighted hammer action keys.
Most of such options that we recommend even come with added features like pads, knobs, buttons & faders to effectively boost creativity & endow you with more control over your software.
Here, we have listed our picks based on their efficiency and features to assist you in figuring the correct and best buy midi keyboard.
The Studio Genie is dedicated to helping streamers and YouTubers or anyone looking to have their own home studio. The author, Felicity Martinez, have been helping out streamers and YouTubers for years.
The goal is to provide a free resource for anyone looking to build a quality home studio. The reviews below are a result of hours of research and analysis. We provided the pros and cons and ranked each product to help you make a quick decision.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Our Top Picks for MIDI Keyboards
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3
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Alesis V49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard
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M Audio Oxygen 49 IV MIDI Keyboard
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M Audio Keystation 49 MK3 MIDI Keyboard
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AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play USB MIDI Keyboard
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Best Midi Keyboard Reviews & Recommendations for 2021
Best Overall: AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3
The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is an excellent product with a 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller.
It has 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs, and Music Production Software. You are sure to witness an entry point into the world of pro production.
It is preferred by many for being the best midi keyboard. The 3rd iteration of the globe’s legendary bestselling keyboard controller has redefined how creators of this generation produce the music.
All the contemporary producer demands are just here: universal compatibility for instantaneous integration with your favorite host of music production devices.
It is compact-sized, making it just perfect for an ideal companion. With an arsenal of pads & assignable controls, you can finish the command of each aspect of your music production.
For beginners, AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is considered the best cheap midi keyboard. It comes with a 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller having 8 Backlit Drum Pads.
It has 8 Knobs and Music Production Software. It is a comprehensive package with each tool you require to create hit music from the get-go.
For working experts, AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 can deliver any musical task. It has a 10-octave range with buttons of octave up/down & 25 velocity-sensitive keys.
Pads are velocity & pressure sensitive; 2 banks and 8 assignable backlit pads. It also comes with 8 assignable 360-degree knobs.
- Weight: 0.75 kg or 1.65 lbs
- Form Factor: Its Gen 2 Enhanced Dynamic Keybed provides the perfect symphony of drumming and synth sounds on the fly. Its plug & play connectivity feature helps you take your creativity to the next level.
- Connector Type: 1 USB port, 1 1/4 inches of 6.35 mm of TS input for sustain pedal
- It incorporates in 5 years of user feedback for all new and enhanced design and music
- 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch & modulation control
- 25 synth-action mini keys
- 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC styled pads along with note repeat and full level
- 8 assignable q link knobs for taking plugins, mixing, and others
- Dedicated octave down and up buttons
- Inbuilt arpeggiator with an adjustable range, resolution & modes
- USB powered with zero power adaptor need
- Complete size sustains pedal input jack
While the unit is well built & appears to work just fine, it is not best suited for the beginner. There is a requirement to download software to get it working.
Simple instructions involved are not very useful. You may need to download other software to control the licenses, requiring even being paid for.
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 MIDI Keyboard Controller comes with 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs, and Music Production Software.
It is a reimagined generation two enhanced dynamic key bed, which delivers piano key performance best fit for the world’s best keyboard players.
It is the best-weighted midi keyboard guaranteed to get one of the best music from searing synth to grand pianos and lush electric supported pianos.
Listed features make it one of the best mini, midi keyboards for buyers:
- MPC pad power: Adds in the human touch to drum tracks with their 8 pads pulled right from the flagship MPC series. Such bankable velocity-sensitive backlit MPC best delivers perfect touch for the precise melodic & drumming playback.
- Full-on music production software to create beats: Your journey to hit songs begins with MPK mini & a complete music production beginner kit that is the roadmap to your ultimate destination. Begin with DAW-based on legendary MPC workflow, add in drum & sample expansion packs that industry use, & top it well with most versatile virtual instruments today. MPK mini endows you with all tools to reach the level of success you set to acquire. Their features software involves MPC beats, mini grand, AIR hybrid, velvet & assorted MPC expansion packs.
- Sounds: With it, you can be confident in producing sample collections from a few of the finest music designers in the music production game, involving F9 instruments, MSX sound design & others.
Runner Up: Alesis V49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard
The Alesis V49 – 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller comes with 8 Backlit Pads is the best midi keyboard for beginners.
It has 4 Assignable Knobs and Buttons. It also has a Professional Software Suite with ProTools.
First, a performance-linked device offers hands-on expression control for software musicians seeking inexpensive, compact, and MIDI keyboards with expanded features.
New 5 series blends velocity-sensitive keys with 8 trigger/drum pads enabling virtual instruments to be played with a dynamic expression.
The cool blue LEDs best illuminate the pads and the 4 assignable knobs & buttons for the best positive visibility. With this device, musicians can make assignments quickly.
The octave shift key caters to reasonable access to the whole note range. Single USB cable caters both data connection and power to nearly any pc.
The V49 even comes with a parameter utility/software preset that makes the setup a snap & includes a free download for the Ableton Live lite.
Alesis V49 – 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller comes with 8 Backlit Pads. It is the best midi controller keyboard.
It has 4 Assignable Knobs and Buttons, Plus a Professional Software Suite with ProTools.
With about 49 full-sized velocity-sensitive keys & Octave up/down button, you can quickly expand the keyboard to a complete melodic range & play bass chords, lines & melodies.
It is considered to be the best small midi keyboard by many.
- Weight: 2 kg
- Form Factor: With Alesis V49’s intuitive MIDI controller, you can take command of your computer’s music software whereas you will not have to give up your capacity for dynamic performances
- Connector Type: USB cable
- Come with 49 full-sized keys & 8 pads
- It can be well adjusted to fit your style well
- Has powerful software included
While it is value for money, the keys are a little less sensitive as it is tough to figure out the high & low tone in it.
- Has seamless, visual feedback through illuminated knobs & buttons
- USB MIDI and USB power connectivity for PC & MAC
- 4 assignable knobs & buttons for easily manipulating the impacts of plugins & visual instruments
- 8 result sensitive backlit pad, which allow users to launch finger drum or clips
The Alesis V49 – 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is an excellent product with an awesome touchpad. However, their keys are a little hard but get soft with usage.
Their velocity seems real. Perfect for studios.
Alternative: M Audio Oxygen 49 IV MIDI Keyboard
M Audio Oxygen 49 IV is considered the best portable midi keyboard. It has a 49 Key USB with 8 Trigger Pads. It supports a full consignment of production.
Its Performance Ready Controls are ultra-portable and convenient to use. Its velocity-sensitive keys & on-board pitch bend with modulation wheels offer expressive performances.
The presence of DirectLink in it automatically maps the controls to renowned DAWs involving Ableton Live, Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase & others.
It comes with plug & play-functionality & its USB-powered specifications are user-friendly and straightforward.
- Weight: 2 kg 900 gram
- Form Factor: The 49 features synth-action keybed helps you replicate the subtlety and nuance of your performance
- Connector Type: USB powered with plug & play support & USB MIDI connectivity
- Designed of the best material
- Hardy body
- Inclusion of Ableton Live Lite free
- Knobs are good
- The modulators for pitch are also good
- Pad is highly sensitive; thus, you require pressing them very hard to produce a drum-like sound.
The inclusion of 8 trigger pads is for producing beats, 8 assignable knobs for manipulating with the virtual instruments, plugins, DAW parameters, 9 faders for mixing the tracks, and a dedicated octave down & up button that makes the keyboard produce full melodic range.
The product dimension is 24.28X81.38X9.4 cm.
It even has a pro production software package for PC and MAC involved like ProTools, First M Audio Edition, Eleven Lite, Ableton Live Lite, Twist, from SONiVOX twist & AIR music tech Xpand!2.
Before buying, ensure to check and recheck all its functionalities.
Alternative: M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 MIDI Keyboard
The M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 is a compact semi-weighted 49 Key MIDI keyboard controller.
It has Assignable Controls, Pitch, and Modulation Wheels along with a Software Production Suite. It is USB Powered and is considered the best midi keyboard under 200 USD.
Its 49 full-sized velocity-sensitive keys cater to a natural feel, capturing your performance well. Has transport, volume fader & directional buttons for swift control of software.
Moreover, it has ergonomically designed modulation wheels and pitch, sustain pedal input, octave up & down for an expressive performance.
Has immediate creativity, which can easily be plugged in and played with your PC or Mac. This keyboard is compatible with iOS devices.
Its compact design can fit any desk, stage, or studio setup & advanced functionality customizes your controls for effectively recording software.
It has a premium software suite and includes pro tools first, eleven lite, Ableton live lite, hybrid 3, velvet, vacuum pro, Xpand!2, and eight ensembles.
- Weight: 2.2 kg
- Form Factor: Its ergonomically designed pitch and modulation wheels allow you to take command of your virtual instruments
- Connector Type: Hardware interface: USB
- Completely compact size with perfect fit on a keyboard stand
- Is USB powered with zero power adapter required to power up the keyboard
- Has user-friendly controls on the keyboard
- While the keys are semi-weighted, they should have had a little weight to better feel.
- For the keyboard body, plastic material is used, which is of not very high quality.
With it, you can spark initial ideas or even add a finishing touch to your masterpiece music according to production demands.
We assure touch loops 2 GB sample library will not disappoint at all.
Their touch loop equips their customers with the most cutting-edge sound instruments, elements, hardware & software recordings, which are expertly curated by a professional music team and sound designers.
The M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 MIDI Keyboard Controller helps hone your skills as you get trial subscriptions of Skoove and Melodics.
With Skoove, you can learn to play piano with various interactive, high-quality piano lessons for advanced, intermediate, and beginner players.
Melodics helps to fuse in a user-friendly, inspirational, and intuitive interface underpinned with unique adaptive learning, customized challenges, and motivational mechanics that encourage users to learn distinct concepts, techniques, and genres.
Alternative: AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play USB MIDI Keyboard
The AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is the best portable midi keyboard.
It has a Built-in Speaker, 25 mini Keys, and Drum Pads. It provides 128 Instrument Sounds, has a compact mini-keyboard & USB MIDI controller.
It comes with twenty-five velocity-sensitive synth-action keys, pitch joystick controller, OLED display, 128 sounds & 10 drum kits.
The product has inbuilt speakers with 1/8 inch headphone output & battery-powered specifications for practicing or performing your keyboard skills.
It comes with 2 banks of the eight backlit MPC style pads and a note repeat and full level function.
- Weight: 454 g
- Form Factor: This go-anywhere MPK Mini Play is ultra-portable and packed with 128 sounds allows you to take your music on-the-go
- Connector type: USB-MIDI communications to Mac/PC
The AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is a good value entry-level MIDI keyboard for a studio with a bonus of some inbuilt sounds & speakers.
While the speaker sounds a little tiny, running it on the battery means the user can use this anywhere.
Few users find the keys on its keyboards not good at all as they consider them to be of highly cheap quality.
It comes with software like ProTools First, AIR Music Tech Hybrid 3, AKAI Pro MPC essential & SONiVOX wobble.
However, available at lower prices for those looking for a hardy quality with more features, it should not be on your list. But beginners can try it out.
Midi Keyboard FAQ
What does a MIDI keyboard do?
The Midi controller is one of the simplest and easiest ways to sequence the music & play a few virtual instruments on your PC or MAC.
It works well by sending MIDI data to the synthesizer or computer, which further interprets the received signals & splits out the sound.
Are MIDI keyboards suitable for beginners?
Usually, a 49 key controller is the best midi keyboard for beginners.
It has an adequate number of keys that you can use to play with both of your hands without even going overboard & overwhelming yourself with any other options.
Many of the best midi controller keyboards have 49 or 61 keys as it helps strike a good balance between usability and utility.
Should I get a keyboard or MIDI controller?
You can utilize both a keyboard or MIDI controller to make music or produce music in your studio or home studio.
You only require being transparent with their differences, limitations & your interest in music.
Keyboards are excellent to practice, play around with pals, or perform. It even is simple to connect them & you also use your headphones if you require being quiet.
Even like super professional instruments, there are other cheap options found in various sizes.
Anyway, if you relish and love your piano, it will always be good to have a keyboard at home, maybe of Yamaha brand or other brands.
On the other hand, the MIDI controller can be used as a keyboard. However, be aware that you may require the MIDI interface.
The next disadvantage is that you will not have the drum pads suitable to create beats.
MIDI controllers work well in this aspect and help you produce good music. In case you are more interested in making good music, a MIDI controller should be your best bet.
Controllers assist you in efficiently utilizing the production software & also assist you in creating music with expression & art.
You even can always use the MIDI controller as a piano or keyboard. But you require taking into account the controller size when you purchase it as a basis.
You may connect it to the computer before you hit the first key.
Can I learn to play piano on a MIDI keyboard?
The best mini, midi keyboard, or the best budget midi keyboard provide space-saving, more portability, and more affordable choice for someone willing to learn how to play the piano.
There are few trade-offs; for instance, standard unweighted, lipped keys fail to cater similar feel to the traditional piano.
However, for beginners, you for sure tend to learn the basics. However, what is the primary trade-off when you go down this specific route?
And what features must you look ahead in a MIDI keyboard if its prominent intended feature is to play the piano?
Why not buy a piano in this case? If you can buy a piano, then being frank, there is no such good substitute to learn the best real thing.
However, there are various reasons why it may not be convenient.
If you live in a very tiny studio apartment, having a complete piano, even the upright one takes up a lot of space.
It is entirely worth bearing that it can potentially double as a mantelpiece or sideboard for you.
Similarly, suppose you are willing to add a piano to your home music studio region of home.
In that case, you might even be restricted to a smaller room or might not want to use up a lot of space to permit numerous other synthesizers, amps, etc.
Portability & weight
Fact is, the lightest of the pianos still weighs a lot.
Thus, those who think the lack of portability can be an issue can opt for the mini, midi keyboard, or portable midi keyboard as they are way too light and highly portable.
A slightly more minor aspect, which is worth bearing, is that the piano can go out of tune.
Though it does not often happen if you purchase an old dusty piano, which was in somebody’s storeroom for too long, tend to move it from one location to another, this may happen.
It is never a thing to worry about with a Midi keyboard as it is always in tune.
Thus, you can use a MIDI keyboard to play piano tunes, in truth.
MIDI keyboards those using weighing or a spring action in their keys try & emulate the weight and feel of a conventional piano key.
In real piano, the sound is created by the hammer-striking strings that make them vibrate & create the needed sound.
The hammer is well connected to the keys that the player presses through the lever system.
Operating such a lever system takes a lot of force & thus, it endows a specific resistance or weight when you press the key down.
Thus, as much as the weighted digital keys try to recreate a similar feel, beginners will not notice much of a change between the MIDI keyboard and piano.
On the aspect of the best midi keyboard for FL studio or the best midi keyboard for Ableton, our advice is to only go for those products you will need; do not bother getting something with adequate functions compared to what you will need for.
Just stick to what you want as per your choice & take time to learn everything about it.
Note that MIDI keyboards can offer a lot & if you really dig thoroughly & learn how to use all of its features & get a proper hand of simply performing using them, they can be instrumental & also a lot of fun.
Whether you are jamming at the park with pals or creating music in a studio, midi keyboards are a piece worth investing in.