The Best Midi Keyboard Controllers For Beginners


There are a lot of common misconceptions about midi controllers and their functions. A Midi controller is anything whose primary or secondary function is to send midi performance values to another piece of hardware or software. MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it came out in 1982. It was developed by Dave Smith, while he was designing his Prophet 5 synthesizer. The Prophet 5 was a multi-voice synthesizer and Dave wanted to find a way to use a single front panel of controls to control each of the voices. A single pulse of midi has 16 channels.

Today, we’re here to talk about a certain type of midi controllers, midi keyboard controllers. Here are five midi keyboard controllers that are amazing for beginners:

Akai MPK Mini MkII

This is probably one of the most popular MIDI keyboard controllers on the market for as long as I can remember. Akai has made several variations of this particular model, with different color schemes and such. This is possibly the micro keyboard that rules them all. Let’s start with the software:

  • MPC Essentials
  • Hybrid 3
  • Wobble
  • MPK Mini midi editor

When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is your instructions. All the information needed on how this midi keyboard controller works is there. It’s quite easy to figure out, so once you get the hang of it you won’t be having any problems as far as the technical stuff goes. It, of course, comes with a warranty, and download instructions. It comes with a standard USB cable as well. With that out of the way, you have the main unit.

Right out of the box, it feels very premium, the keyboard has a very nice premium feel. The keys have a healthy amount of responsiveness and they’re very satisfying to play on. It’s practical and can fit in any type of backpack. The good thing about this midi keyboard controller is that you have so much control over it. You have knobs for different purposes, drum pads, it even has an analog stick. It has functions such as note repeat, and the arpeggiator. They come in handy, especially when you’re working on instrumentals and such.

Alesis Q

The Alesis Q25 (25 notes, 2 octaves) midi keyboard controller is one of the better options for beginners. It’s fairly cheap so you won’t be exposed to the inconvenience of having to spend too much money for a good midi keyboard controller as a beginner. It’s pretty well packaged. For a small keyboard, it does have a decent weight to it. A lot of people don’t see the USB cable upon opening it, but it does come with one. The keys are good. They’re not the top of the line, but for its price, it’s very well built. It has pitch and modulation, you can change your octaves, which is a must-have. For the ports, it comes with a 9V charging port, a USB port, a MIDI out, and a sustain port. It’s easy to set up. The sensitivity of the keys, which dictates the volume is very good. Overall an awesome buy for beginners.

Novation Launchkey 49 Mk2

The Novation Launchkey 49 Mk2 is said to be “the essential keyboard controller for Ableton Live”. There are a few things that come with it which are:

  • Ableton Live
  • Novation base station
  • Novation V station

It comes with 9 faders, 8 rotary controller knobs and 16 drum pads. It works well with Ableton, as it’s supposed to. This is the 49 key version, there is a version with 61 keys, but that’s a bit pricier. It has track buttons, midi channels, etc. All of the buttons feel very good to touch, very premium feel. One of the best keyboards to begin with and get yourself going. Same things go for the modulation and pitch wheels, very premium feel and satisfying to use. This is one of the best buys you could make when buying a midi keyboard controller. Very functional, it’s a bit bigger than the ones mentioned previously, but you shouldn’t have any problems fitting it inside a backpack or other types of bags. Taking price into consideration, it’s a steal!

Arturia MiniLab MkII

The Arturia MiniLab Mark II consists of two octaves of piano-style keys, obviously not full-size keys. The keys are quite nice and springy. For baselines, chords it’s perfectly useable. For the context you’ll be using it in it fits like a glove. Eight drum pads, sixteen rotary controller knobs. One of the things I like most about this keyboard is the two touch-sensitive strips. Very stylish. One is for pitch control and the other one is for modulation. It’s used instead of the ordinary wheels, I’d say they’re even more practical than the wheels. I feel like they’re easier to use. It helps it keep the low profile as well. It also has the ordinary buttons, such as octave change, shift to change some of the parameters, button to change the pads from banks 1/8 to 9/16. It has a sustain pedal port and a USB port. if you’re working with this type of keyboard controller, those are probably the only ports you’ll need. The software is very nice and easy to use. I would recommend trying this one out as well.

M-Audio Oxygen 49 MkIV

Another 49 key keyboard, it’s one of the best feeling and the best keyboard as far as functionality goes. One of my favorite ones. It comes with:

  • Ableton live lite
  • Twist
  • Xpand

The way the keys on this keyboard controller feel is unparalleled. The key bed is built to last, and I doubt you’ll have any problems with it if you opt for this one. Nine faders, play, stop, loop, and record buttons as well. octave buttons, select and move buttons (navigation buttons), shift, eight drum pads and eight rotary controller knobs. It’s easy to install the software and get it running. It’s a 10-minute process. It will undoubtedly do any task you put it through without a question. Very well built, premium materials and will serve you for years to come. The Softwares that come with it are pretty easy to use as well. They come with a wide variety of sounds, and you have the option to load your sounds too.

There we go, best midi keyboard controllers for beginners. They’re all good buys, so you won’t have to wonder which one is best. MIDI boards are a blast to get to know and to use. Maybe this could be your job one day, you never know!


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