The Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers - All Prices

The Highest Rated MIDI Controller Keyboards

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With electronic elements finding their way into different music genres and birthing new ones, the once niche MIDI controller is now one of the most important pieces of gear for any studio.

And of course, with transport and plugin control, with some of the more advanced models you can do your production work on a DAW without having to constantly grab your mouse or look over at your computer screen.

With this popularity, hundreds of MIDI Controllers now populate the market. It can get overwhelming selecting one that caters to your exact needs. Do you need a controller with clip launching features or one that has weighted, hammer action keys for piano-like response? See the Things to Consider section below if you need answers to those questions.

This July 2022 edition presents the highest rated MIDI controller keyboards in all price ranges and will help you select the best one for your needs.

The Best MIDI Keyboards

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $200

Arturia MiniLab MkII with 25 Slim Keys

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 3550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$99
Arturia MiniLab MkII
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated MIDI Keyboard Controller Under $200 along with the Akai MPK Mini MK III.

Cons

  • Knobs feel cheap
  • Touch strips feel like a compromise
  • Pads a bit small

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Lots of encoders and pads
  • Synth action keys feel great
  •  

Once I decided using a keyboard would be a better approach than programming individual notes, one of my main requirements was a small form factor so I had to limit myself to 25 Keys. I'm not a piano player so I figured that I wouldn't need more keys than that. Other than that, I was in the market for an affordable but versatile 25-Key MIDI controller.

It was down to choosing the Arturia Minilab MKII and the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKIII. I chose the Arturia because I didn't like the "joystick" mod wheel and pitch control on the MPK Mini MKIII. While the Minilab MKII doesn't have a traditional modwheel, the touch strips made better sense to me.

The unit was plug and play and my DAW (Presonus Studio One) instantly recognized it as a new device. Arturia provides a software suite that automatically maps to the encoders and pads. Manual mapping for other software synths and samplers is also easy to do.

I already have a software synth by Arturia called "Pigments" and the MIDI Controller works excellently with it. Other software like Native Instruments Kontakt also integrates well with it.

Buildwise, the MiniLab MkII feels solid. Even though it's made of plastic, I didn't feel any excess plastic residue and everything feels solid with no internal rattle when I shake it. The keys are finished nicely and the resistance is just right for synth action. There were some keys that were fractions of an inch higher or lower than the others but it's not really a major issue.

The knobs felt a bit flimsy to the touch but the potentiometer rotation is smooth and consistent across all knobs. The pads felt a bit small but I rarely use them. Still, if you like making beats on pads, the layout and size might not be the best especially for harder hitters.

What I don't like about the Minilab MkII is the fact that I had to settle with touch strips instead of pitch and mod wheels. I would have preferred even a smaller integration of the two wheels as long as it's mechanical. The strips work fine but I do feel it lacking in precision especially when my left hand's fingers are calloused from guitar playing.

Even years after its release, the MiniLab MkII is still popular and can be seen gracing the desks of prolific and talented musicians all over the world.

Specifications

  • Keys: 25 Slim Synth Action Keys
  • Pads: 8 RGB Pads
  • Controls: 16 Encoders, Octave, Pitchbend, Mod Touch Strips
  • Octave: 4 Octaves (+/-)
  • Zones: 1
  • Automap: Yes (On some DAW Software)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Control Hardware Directly: No
  • Compatibility: OSX 10.7 (Up), Windows 7 SP1 (Up)
  • Power: USB Bus Powered
  • Dimensions: 14" x 8.7" x 2"
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano, Analog Lab Lite

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Gearank Raphael Pulgar 93/100
MusicRadar Computer Music 90/100
ask.video Matt Vanacoro 92/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK III

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 8200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$119
Akai Professional MPK Mini MK III 25-key MIDI Keyboard Controller
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated MIDI Keyboard Controller Under $200 along with the Arturia MiniLab MkII.

Cons

  • The small keys are a put-off if you're used to full-size keys

Pros

  • Solid, durable build
  • The pads are nice and big
  • Great as a portable controller to use with a laptop

The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKIII is a feature rich, compact, 25-key MIDI Controller for the producer on the go.

Despite its diminutive size, the MPK Mini MK III features 25 synth action mini-keys and 8 backlit performance pads with note repeat.

A 4-way pitch and modulation joystick and 8 assignable knobs rounds out the controls.

The unit also features tap tempo and an arpeggiator.

Inspiration can strike anywhere and any time so get the MPK Mini MK III if you want something you can bring along with your laptop setup.

Specifications

  • Keys: 88 Fully-weighted, velocity sensitive Fatar Keybed with aftertouch
  • Pads: 16 x RGB Backlit Performance Pads
  • Controls:9 x Rotary Encoders, 9 x Faders, Pitchbend, Mod Wheel
  • Octave: up/down
  • Automap: no
  • Connectivity: USB, MIDI In/Out , 1 x 1/4" TS (sustain)
  • Control Hardware Directly: no
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.8.5 or later, Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • Power: USB Bus Powered
  • Dimensions: 12.5" x 7.13" x 1.75"
  • Weight: 1.65 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: MPC Beats Software

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Simon Sherbourne 96/100
ask.audio Hollin Jones 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $500

Novation Launchkey 49 MK3

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$230
Novation Launchkey 49 MK3
At publication time this was the Highest Rated MIDI Keyboard Controller from $200 to $500.

Cons

  • The keys feel a bit cheap

Pros

  • Ableton Live integration is very well done
  • The knobs, faders and pads are all well-built

Novation has taken user feedback on its Launchkey MK2 series and implemented improvements in the MK3 series.

Aside from being a keyboard controller, it also includes Ableton Live clip launching pads that double as performance pads.

The Novation Launchkey 49 MK3 features new compositional tools like new scale modes, chord modes, and a mutate feature that rearranges your patterns to form new musical ideas.

The new iteration now features MIDI out via 5-pin MIDI DIN Connection - this enables control of analog synths.

The only issue is the keybed - the synth action keys are quite light which won't suit you if you are used to hammer action keys, but they're still better than most other low-cost synth action 49-key competitors.

If you're looking for a controller that's fully integrated with Ableton Live, but versatile enough to be used with other DAWs, the Novation Launchkey 49 MK3 is a great pick.

Specifications

  • Keys: 49 Synth action, velocity sensitive keys
  • Pads: 16 x RGB, Velocity-sensitive Pads
  • Controls: Pitchbend, Mod Wheel, 8 x Rotary Knobs, 9 x 45mm Faders, Transport (Play, Stop, Record, Loop)
  • Octave: up/down
  • Automap: Yes (Ableton Live)
  • Connectivity: USB, MIDI Out , 1 x 1/4" (sustain)
  • Control Hardware Directly: yes
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later, Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • Power: USB Bus Powered
  • Dimensions: 31.06" x 10.16" x 3.03"
  • Weight: 6.68 lbs..
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Virtual Instrument and Sample Plug-in Bundle

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Robin Vincent 90/100
MusicTech Alex Cummings 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Novation Launchkey 61 MK3

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$280
Novation Launchkey 61

Cons

  • The light-weight keys feel a bit cheap

Pros

  • Great integration with Ableton Live
  • The knobs, faders and pads are all well-built
  • Overall weight is low making it highly portable for a 61-key option

The largest of the Launchkey MK3 series, the Launchkey 61 MK3 carries over the features of the lineup including performance pads, assignable faders and knobs, and the new compositional tools for scale and chord modes

One improvement since the Mk2 version is that they've moved the pads to the left which I think is a more natural position for them, particularly if you're mainly a one handed player like me.

With 61 keys, two handed playing becomes easier, especially for people accustomed to the piano.

Other than that, it is basically the same as the Launchkey 49 above, just with more keys.

Given its feature and key count, the Launchkey 61 MK3 is an incredible value option. Get it if you want an affordable, fully integrated, large format controller for Ableton.

Specifications

  • Keys: 49 Synth action, velocity sensitive keys
  • Pads: 16 x RGB, Velocity-sensitive Pads
  • Controls: Pitchbend, Mod Wheel, 8 x Rotary Knobs, 9 x 45mm Faders, Transport (Play, Stop, Record, Loop)
  • Octave: up/down
  • Automap: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, MIDI Out , 1 x 1/4" (sustain)
  • Control Hardware Directly: yes
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later, Windows 7 SP1 or later
  • Power: USB Bus Powered
  • Dimensions: 31.06" x 10.16" x 3.03"
  • Weight: 6.68 lbs..
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Virtual Instrument and Sample Plug-in Bundle

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Robin Vincent 90/100
YouTube loopop 84/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Arturia KeyLab 49 mkII

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$449
Arturia KeyLab 49 mkII 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller

Cons

  • It's not cheap so I would have liked to see a bigger screen at this price

Pros

  • The semi-weighted keys have a nice feel to them
  • Solid, roadworthy piece of gear
  • Analog Lab comes bundled free

The KeyLab 49 has a few things in common with Arturia’s flagship MatrixBrute synth; namely the latter's velocity sensitive aftertouch keybed.

With 9 faders, 9 encoders, 4 CV outputs, 5 expression control inputs, including great bundled software, the Keylab 49mkII is nothing short of feature-packed.

All housed in a sturdy aluminum body that I'd be happy to take on the road.

It also comes in the two colors pictured above, so you won't have any problem getting one that fits with the aesthetics of your studio.

In addition to an excellent keyboard, you also get Arturia's Analog Lab bundled with it for free, which usually sells for $199. This plugin has way too many sounds and presets to describe here, but you can download a free trial copy to test - the piano sounds don't disappoint!

With its excellent keybed as the star, the KeyLab 49 is sure to satisfy the most sensitive of touches; a feat in itself for a MIDI Controller.

Specifications

  • Keys: 49 semi-weighted, velocity sensitive with aftertouch.
  • Pads: 16 x Back-lit RGB Performance Pads
  • Controls: 16 Encoders, Octave, Pitchbend, Mod Touch Strips
  • Automap: Yes (On some DAW Software)
  • Connectivity: USB, 1 x 1/4" (sustain), 1 x 1/4" (expression), 3 x 1/4" (aux), MIDI In/Out/USB, 1 x 1/8" (CV in), 4 x 1/8" (CV out, Gate out, Mod 1, Mod 2)
  • Control Hardware Directly: Yes
  • Compatibility: OSX 10.7 (Up), Windows 7 SP1 (Up)
  • Power: USB Bus Powered
  • Dimensions:31.2" " x 11.7" " x 2.1"
  • Weight: 13.8 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano, Analog Lab Lite

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Simon Sherbourne 90/100
Strong Mocha Thorsten Meyer 100/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $1000

Yamaha MX61 Music Synthesizer V2

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$770
Yamaha MX61 Music Synthesizer V2

Cons

  • Its large number of features require a lot of learning time

Pros

  • Extra value of being both a Synth and a Controller
  • Integrates well with most popular DAWs
  • Low weight makes it quite portable
  • Good range of quality built in sounds
  • Built-in USB audio allows digital recording

The Yamaha MX61 V2 is a hybrid synth/controller.

It is a full-featured synth with circuit-level modelling thanks to Yamaha's VCM (Virtual Circuit Modelling) FX module and MOTIF sound engine.

As a MIDI Controller, it features MIDI via USB or 5-Pin connection.

As a DAW controller its assignable knobs allow you to control plugins directly from the keyboard as well as providing essential transport controls.

It also acts as a class compliant USB audio interface which allows you to record the on-board sounds directly to your DAW.

At only 10.6 lbs. it's easy to pick up, and despite having a plastic enclosure I would be happy to take it on the road; with a proper case of course.

If you want a MIDI Keyboard that doubles as a synthesizer or vice-versa, the Yamaha MX61 V2 is an excellent choice and would fit a variety of needs, especially once you get past the learning curve.

Specifications

  • Keys: 61 Synth-action, touch sensitive keys
  • Pads: None
  • Controls: Pitchbend, Mod Wheel, 4 assignable knobs + Multifunction AI Knob, Octave, Transpose, Synth controls
  • Octave: up/down
  • Automap: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB, MIDI In/Out ,1 x 1/8" (aux in), 2 x 1/4" (main out), 1 x 1/4" (Headphones), 2 x 1/4" (sustain, controller)
  • Control Hardware Directly: yes
  • Compatibility: OSX 10.7 (Up), Windows 7 SP1 (Up)
  • Power: 12V DC power supply (included)
  • Dimensions: 38.7" x 11.7" x 4.4"
  • Weight: 10.6 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Cubase AI included, FM Essential iOS synth app

Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$999
Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII MIDI Keyboard Controller

Cons

  • Keys feel slightly spongy compared to the more expensive Kawai VPC1

Pros

  • The Fatar keybed is one of the best in this price range
  • CV/Gate lets you control old analog synth hardware
  • Has both 5-Pin and USB MIDI
  • Solid metal build

The Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII is a full-size MIDI Controller with 88 Fatar weighted keys.

It also features a complete suite of controls, pads and faders that are all fully assignable to any parameter in your DAW.

Other nifty features include a music sheet/ipad stand and a laptop extension shelf.

If you're into old modular analog synths you'll appreciate the 4 CV outputs and it even comes with 1 CV input. And with both 5-pin and USB MIDI you can connect to and control just about any electronic music gear.

Arturia's Analog Lab is bundled in for free and it not only includes some great sounds but also allows you to save patch playlists.

And perhaps one of the features that you'll appreciate the most, setup is easy and straight forward with most DAWs.

If you're accustomed to playing piano and would love to have a similar response in a MIDI Controller, the KeyLab 88 is a solid pick and is peerless at this price point.

Specifications

  • Keys: 88 hammer action, Weighted Fatar TP/100LR Keybed
  • Pads: 16 x RGB Backlit Performance Pads
  • Controls:9 x Rotary Encoders, 9 x Faders, Pitchbend, Mod Wheel
  • Octave: 2 Octaves (+/-)
  • Automap: Yes
  • Connectivity: 1 x 1/4" (sustain), 1 x 1/4" (expression), 3 x 1/4" (aux pedals), MIDI In/Out/Thru/USB, CV; Pitch out, Gate out, Mod 1, Mod 2, CV in,
  • Control Hardware Directly: Yes
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later, 64-bit , Windows 7 SP1 or later, 64-bit
  • Power: External AC adapter
  • Dimensions: 50.9" x 12.7" " x 4.4"
  • Weight: 32.4 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Analog Lab Software

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Strong Mocha Thorsten Meyer 100/100
Sound On Sound Simon Sherbourne 93/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Over $1000

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2

90
GEARANK

90 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$1199
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2

Cons

  • Those who play hammond style organs will find its piano action isn't the best for organ slides

Pros

  • Best for integration with NI Komplete Software
  • The Fater keybed strikes a good balance between piano-like hammer action and synth action feel
  • KOMPLETE SELECT is included free

The Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2 is a controller that fully synergizes with Native Instruments' KOMPLETE virtual instrument and audio library.

Despite being made specifically to control KOMPLETE, it is also capable of being mapped to other software and can function as a general DAW controller. It comes with KOMPLETE SELECT bundled for free, which is a useful addition if you're not already part of the NI KOMPLETE ecosystem.

The full 88-key Fater keybed gives a sense of familiarity to piano players while offering premium feel and response to users accustomed to synth action keys. The fast recovery of the keys aids in performing faster staccato phrases especially for synth sounds, although note that they have a slightly heavier feel than other hammer-action keyboards in this guide. Note that this is a step up from the smaller 49 and 61 key versions that only have semi-weighted keys.

One of the big improvements over the MK1 version is the addition of two big LCD screens which enable you to make selections without having to go for your mouse or look at your computer screen - this saves a lot of time when doing production work.

The transport controls work with Ableton Live, Logic X, GarageBand, Cubase Artist and Nuendo.

For the best combination of Native Instruments integration and acoustic piano playing feel, there is no substitute for the Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2.

Specifications

  • Keys: 88 Fully-weighted, velocity sensitive Fatar Keybed with aftertouch
  • Pads: 16 x RGB Backlit Performance Pads
  • Controls:9 x Rotary Encoders, 9 x Faders, Pitchbend, Mod Wheel
  • Octave: 2 Octaves (+/-)
  • Automap: Yes
  • Connectivity: 1 x 1/4" (sustain), 1 x 1/4" (expression), 3 x 1/4" (aux pedals), MIDI In/Out/Thru/USB, CV; Pitch out, Gate out, Mod 1, Mod 2, CV in,
  • Control Hardware Directly: Yes
  • Compatibility: OS X 10.11 or later, 64-bit , Windows 7 SP1 or later, 64-bit
  • Power: External AC adapter
  • Dimensions: 50.9" x 12.7" " x 4.4"
  • Weight: 32.4 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, Analog Lab Software

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Nick Magnus 84/100
AudioTechnology Preshan John 92/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$2399
Kawai VPC1 Virtual Piano Controller
At publication time this was the Highest Rated MIDI Keyboard Controller Over $1000.

Cons

  • No DAW control features

Pros

  • The keybed gives the closest response to an acoustic piano currently available in a MIDI controller
  • Very quiet keys - you can record in the same room as vocalists with no issue
  • Very expressive keys - captures subtle dynamic differences well
Note: This is strictly a MIDI controller and does not offer any DAW control features.

Instead of piling on controls, screens and faders, the VPC1 aims to replicate the feel of a true, hammer-action piano, not dissimilar to their acoustic piano offerings.

That forms Kawai's design philosophy for the VPC1: a product designed for piano players that prefer to use the best virtual piano instruments.

Kawai F30 Triple Pedal Foot Controller
Kawai F30 Triple Pedal Foot Controller

The graded hammer action changes the weight of the keys as you go up the keyboard similar to how an acoustic piano works enabling you to capture a more realistic piano feel to your recordings.

Kawai has provided an interactive demonstration of the key action - see it on their website.

It also comes with the F30 grand piano style foot controller as pictured.

If you own a studio or are a piano player that desires the most realistic feeling Piano format MIDI controller on the market today, look no further than the Kawai VPC1.

Specifications

  • Keys: 88 RM3II Wooden-key, Graded-hammer Action with Counterbalancing
  • Pads: None
  • Controls: None
  • Connectivity: USB, MIDI In/Out , 1 x Damper, 1 x Sustain, 1 x Soft (Includes Triple-pedal Unit)
  • Compatibility: OSX 10.7 (Up), Windows 7 SP1 (Up)
  • Power: USB Bus Powered, AC Adaptor
  • Dimensions: 54.33" x 16.75" x 7.33"
  • Weight: 65 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano, Analog Lab Lite

Hands On Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Audiofanzine David Studhalter 100/100
YouTube PianoManChuck 85/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things to Consider When Buying a MIDI Keyboard Controller

Keybed: Key Size, Weight, Action, Velocity and Aftertouch

Not all keyboards follow the standard piano size and action because it's not always applicable, especially when considering portability. This is the reason why compact controllers come with slim size keys, which requires some technique adjustment for those who are used to standard size keys.

Key weight and action refers to how hard you have to press the keys to trigger a sound. Synth action keys have the softest playing feel, while fully weighted (hammer action) ones need a bit more force, similar to an acoustic piano. Others offer something in between, which they call semi-weighted. Velocity sensitivity refers to how the keys respond to the dynamics of your playing or how forcefully you press the keys. While Aftertouch adds effects depending on the pressure you apply as you hold down a note.

Your choice of size, action and sensitivity will boil down to your budget and preference, which is usually similar to what you are used to playing.

Number of Zones

Zones let you split the keyboard into multiple sections which each transmit on separate MIDI channels. An example of this type of usage is when you have one sound module for bass sounds and another for piano or synth sounds and you split the keyboard so that your left hand plays the bass sounds while your right hand plays the other sounds. These days many MIDI controllers do not have this feature built-in, but DAWs and some plugins will allow you to set virtual zones to your preference. Note that you need this feature on the keyboard to do it when directly controlling hardware without a computer in the loop.

Mod Wheels, Pads and other Control inputs

If you're looking for more control over your notes, you'll want a controller with pitch bend and modulation. Other features like encoders, buttons and faders allow for even more expressive control over parameters in real time, and they can be used to control your DAW software and plugins.

Controlling Hardware Directly vs Connecting to Computers

Most are now using MIDI controllers to trigger virtual instruments in computers, and this is done mostly via USB, but there are some that allow for wireless use via Bluetooth. To trigger other hardware like analog synthesizers, you'll need a controller with a 5-pin MIDI cable connection.

Auto-Mapping & Software Integration

While most MIDI controllers have auto-mapping, they are usually limited to specific software. And since DAWs and plugins can be very different - it will benefit you to get a MIDI controller that is designed to integrate well with your preferred music production software, otherwise you'll have to manually map the keyboard to your software.

Transport Controls

Transport controls allow you to gain control of essential recording and playback controls right on your MIDI keyboard, this usually includes play, record, stop, forward, rewind - much like old tape machines.

Motorized Controls

Some controllers come with motorized knobs and faders, which mechanically move to match the current settings in your DAW. This is a convenient feature to have, but since it requires additional moving parts it adds to the overall weight and bulk of the unit, and will generally add to the cost.

Power Supply: USB, Batteries & A/C Adapters

If you are going for portability, look for MIDI keyboards with built-in rechargeable batteries. If you're going to use the controller on a fixed setup and you want to reduce cable clutter, then go for those that draw power from USB. If you're going for units that draw power from wall warts (AC Adapters), you'll need to ensure that you have enough nearby electrical ports to plug into. Note that if you chose USB power with an iPad then you may need to get an additional powered USB hub due to the iPad's lower power output than standard USB allows for.

Dimensions & Weight

Balancing portability and functionality is tricky yet important if you want to be musically productive. If you're going to make music while on the move, you're going to want to sacrifice some features and go for something light and compact. On the flipside, you should go for bigger controllers if you're style of music requires you to play conventional piano style music - these are ideal if they are simply going to stay in your home studio.

Best MIDI Keyboard Controller Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2018 and the current edition was published on July 4, 2022.

Since we have published guides for top rated MIDI keyboards based on their number of keys, we decided to focus on finding the best MIDI keyboard controllers within popular price ranges. To achieve this, we gathered a huge amount data from relevant reviews, ratings and discussions that totaled to over 59,900 sources for 106 MIDI keyboards. The sources were then processed by the Gearank Algorithm to produce rating scores out of 100 that we used to rank the controllers within each price bracket. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

I use my Arturia MiniLab MKII with virtual instrument and sample libraries like NI Miroslav Philharmonik 2, Kontakt, Absynth, Toontrack Superior Drummer 3, Toontrack EZKeys, Spitfire Audio, Roland ZENOLOGY, and a few other smaller VST instruments.

Contributors

Jason Horton: Supplemental writing, Editing and Illustrating.

Media

Main/Top Image: Created by Gearank.com using photographs of the Kawai VPC1, Arturia KeyLab 88 MKII and NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2.

The videos have been embedded in accordance with YouTube's Terms of Service.

The individual product images were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation.

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