Best MIDI Keyboards for Music Producers
MIDI keyboards come in different shapes and sizes, prices and some are used for simple note input, while others can control specific hardware in your studio. There’s a MIDI keyboard on this list for everyone, whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to upgrade. We’ll look at five of the best MIDI keyboards for music producers in this blog.
1) Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 – Best For Beginners
I considered the form factor, ease of use, and price when deciding on the best MIDI keyboard for music production. As a result, I believe Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol M32 is the best MIDI keyboard for composing music for beginners. Native Instruments has a long history of producing high-quality hardware that prioritises creativity and workflow. What’s interesting about the Komplete Kontrol M32 is that its features don’t appear to be all that impressive. When all of the specifications of the keyboard are combined, the result is a fantastic user experience.
The software that comes with this keyboard includes a copy of Ableton Live Lite, which is a good DAW to get started with, and a collection of Native Instruments products packaged as Komplete Kontrol. Komplete Kontrol essentially combines all of your Native Instrument sounds into a single plugin that you can control directly with the Kontrol M32 MIDI keyboard.
2) Arturia MicroLab – Best For Portable Use
If portability is what you’re looking for, the Arturia MicroLab is the way to go. Arturia has created a simple product, which is something that few companies dare to do these days. When you first look at the MicroLab, you might not expect much, but this budget-friendly MIDI keyboard has many surprising features. For starters, it has a compact design, with a USB cable that neatly wraps around the MIDI keyboard’s body when not in use, reducing the number of cables that get tangled in your luggage.
This MIDI keyboard comes with a large software package to help you get started if you need some creative inspiration or need some help getting started in general. Bitwig Studio 8-Track is the DAW that comes with the Arturia MicroLab; it’s a limited version of Bitwig Studio, but if you don’t already have one, it’ll come in handy. In addition, Arturia has included their Analog Lab Lite software, which includes over 600 synth and keyboard sounds.
3) Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 – Best Software Integration
The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S controller series is designed for advanced producers already familiar with the Native Instruments ecosystem. If you already use Native Instruments software such as Kontakt, Kontrol, Reaktor, and others, the Komplete Kontrol S49 is the perfect companion for your workstation—it has some of the tightest software integration available. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 is one of the best midi keyboards for EDM.
Full-colour displays on this MIDI keyboard enable you to see much stuff, including mixer channels for Maschine or your DAW, your MIDI editor, a preset browser, and more. Eight touch-sensitive knobs beneath the screen give a wealth of contextual functionality, such as the ability to change programme settings. To know more about DAW controllers, read our guide on top MIDI-enabled DAW controllers.
4) Novation SL MkIII – Widest Set of Features
The Novation SL MkIII is a fantastic MIDI keyboard with advanced hardware features for producers who aren’t too attached to any particular software ecosystem and want a MIDI keyboard with hardware features. What’s impressive about the SL MkIII is that it has many of the same features as the Native Instruments Kontrol S49 keyboard but the functionality isn’t limited to a single group of plugins. This level of sophistication in MIDI keyboards is relatively new. In the past, MIDI controllers were more of a studio add-on than a focal point. With that out of the way, let’s look at what makes this product the best option for producers with a large-studio gear collection.
The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 features deep software integration with a minimum setup. If you don’t mind putting up a few things yourself, you can have a custom-tailored production experience with the SL MKIII.
5) PreSonus Atom SQ – Most Unique
The PreSonus Atom SQ is one of the year’s most impressive products, at least in terms of MIDI keyboards. PreSonus has established Studio One as a major player in the DAW market, competing with Pro Tools, Logic, and Ableton Live for professional audio work and music production.You must keep creativity at the forefront of everything you do, whether you’re writing and mixing records for The Weeknd or figuring out how to make it as an independent artist. PreSonus’ Atom SQ is an earnest attempt to provide Studio One users with a creative, hands-on tool.
The Atom SQ is based on PreSonus’ original Atom MIDI controller. The Atom SQ can sequence drum parts straight into Studio One pattern clips thanks to a one-to-one integration. If you use this product with Studio One, you have complete transport control, including undo, loop, count-in, and session save functionalities.