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Author: admin | Category: Yamaha Electric Piano | 31.03.2014

First thing’s first: you need to take a few valuable questions into consideration when you’re choosing your MIDI keyboard controller. The original MPK series of MIDI keyboards by Akai Professional took the market by storm and quickly became one of the favorites in terms of MIDI music equipment.
Alesis has been making their way into the MIDI keyboard game more and more lately, especially with their Q and QX models of controllers. M-Audio makes an appearance again with a keyboard that is very budget friendly, but this has pads, some necessary faders, encoders and other assignable functionality. This keyboard by Korg instruments is even more simpler than the M-Audio controller we mentioned earlier in the article. Arturia music instruments is typically known for their synths and other modern day analog sounds, but this gives MIDI keyboards a slightly different spin. It comes with their Analog Lab software that was 5,000 synth sounds taken from a range of their classic synths (Prophet V, SEM V, CS-80V to name a few), so if you’re looking for some awesome synth sounds this MIDI keyboard controller is the way to go. By far the most common type of MIDI controller in the production environment, the keyboard-style controller basically features an array of between 25 keys (2 octaves) and 88 keys (full piano array). Even easy-to-use DAW programs like Dubturbo typically feature a virtual MIDI keyboard in their user interface. The simplest keyboard style MIDI controllers have only keys, while other versions add features like programmable sliders, knobs, and switches to adjust things like tone, reverb, etc. A vital quality of any keyboard controller is the keyboard action – the manner in which the key responds to playing. Many controllers have 88-note keyboards that replicate the mechanical action of a conventional piano keyboard. Similar to a weighted action, but with less key resistance and a slightly springier release, semi-weighted actions are popular with some players. Below we’ll walk you through the best keyboard-style MIDI controllers for dubstep producers out on the market today. Top-of-the line all-in one MIDI controller (hence the price – you get what you pay for). Korg has a great line of ultra-portable controllers, they’re great for simple setups for parties – you can literally DJ out of your backpack. To sum it all up, for those looking for portability and low cost – go with the Korg NanoKey or Korg MicroKey – these are a great option if you want to show off at a party but don’t want to look like a tool carrying a huge professional controller.
MIDI keyboard controllers are becoming more and more popular today, seeing that technology continues to improve and musicians everywhere are slowly beginning the migration process of switching to a digital setup.
Fore more information on this aspect of shopping, we recommend reading Sweetwater’sA how to choose your MIDI controller article. Some say MIDI keyboards are one of the most important pieces of music production equipment when building a studio. The original MPK series of MIDI keyboards by Akai Professional took the market by storm and quickly became one of the favorites in terms of MIDIA music equipment.
We love this keyboard by M-Audio because of it’s lower retail price for those on a budget. This keyboard by Korg instruments is even more simpler than the M-AudioA controller we mentioned earlier in the article. There are numerous options, such as: mini-compact 25, 32, 37, 49 (the most popular), 61, or even 88 (the highest — the equivalent to a real piano).
Whether it’s synth-action, semi-weighted, full-weighted or equipped with aftertouch, it all comes down to preference. Most of these come in different key counts, provide various additional functions as well as include pads and some decent software bundles. Novation music makes us scratch our heads in confusion with how a controller of this caliber can have such a solid build, include pads and other external functions at almost half the price of it’s competitors. They’ve come out with a brand new upgrade of their beloved keyboards and they’re very solid in terms of stability and overall assignable functions, not to mention a rather hefty software bundle. It’s absolutely perfect for those who don’t need pads or other fancy controls — it keeps it simple with only keys, a pitch and mod wheel and a few other functions. Stated to be one of the best 25 key MIDI keyboards in our opinion previously, the Oxygen’s keys are very nice quality, being full-sized, velocity-sensitive and synth-action. It’s a step down from our all-time best Impulse previously spoken about, so we recommend going with this if you want to save a hundred dollars or so.
These are very affordable and what’s nifty is their offering of a rare 37-key model, although it isn’t available in the popular 49 count. This MIDI keyboard is exceptional in terms of lightweight and portability. We think this justifies the higher price if it’s what you’re looking for because it’s also a controller with 10 encoders, 9 sliders and 10 switches that are assignable. Keyboard MIDI controllers are favorable in music production for obvious reasons: once a voice is programmed into the keyboard, it’s easy and intuitive to create melodies, bass lines, and chords by triggering different notes.
However, the difference between clicking the virtual keys versus physically pressing them on a keyboard is huge. You, the player, need to feel comfortable using the controller, whether live on stage or in your songwriting or recording studio.


Trigger pads are great for drum sequencing and performing, and eliminate the need to purchase a separate pad-style controller in the future. It has been around a while and easily integrates with Pro Tools and all the major DAW platforms. Drum pads are higher quality than that of the M-Audio Axium, and you can feel the difference in their response. They work fine for production too, although they don’t come with all the extra knobs, pads, and features you’ll find in the larger models listed above. I know people who still abide by analog equipment for mixing and mastering, but still use their MIDI controller frequently for various functions in their studio. Whether it’s synth-action, semi-weighted, full-weighted or equipped with aftertouch, it all comes down to preference. A lot of keyboards coming out nowadays include drum pads, typically within the 8-16 count range with 3-4 possible banks.
Such as knobs, faders, buttons, arpeggiators, mod and pitch bend wheels, or various other performance controls.
Akai, Alesis, Arturia, Novation and Korg are quite popular, but there are also some lesser known brands who make high-quality MIDI controllers.
Or if you want an alternative to MIDI, read our top 10 best digital pianosA or 10 best synthesizers article. Novation music makes us scratch our heads in confusion withA how a controller of this caliber can have such a solid build, include pads and other external functions at almost half the price of it’s competitors.
Stated to be one of the best 25 key MIDI keyboards in our opinion previously, the Oxygen’s keys are very nice quality, being full-sized, velocity-sensitive and synth-action. It’s a step down from our all-time best Impulse previously spoken about, so we recommend going with this if you want to save a hundred dollars or so. In our opinion they’re one of the top 5 best brands when it comes to affordable gear. The Impulse is one of the best MIDI keyboards in the market today and we’ve listed it at #1 for a reason: build, key\pad make, etc and budget ratio is almost-perfect. You’ve got 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads, semi-weighted full-sized keys with aftertouch.
Transport controls work great with any DAW out there and it comes with Ableton Live Lite and SONiVOX Twist software. The drum pads are a bit smaller than the Akai or Oxygen (which bugged us at first but we ultimately were able to get used to it), but it does have assignable faders and buttons (no knobs), as well as pitch bend and mod wheels. The U-Control UMX is rather unique, featuring a solid build of keys and a few assignable controls. Not to mention the very nice key make, which are semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive and have aftertouch. You are seriously limited in the level of complexity you can create in a virtual keyboard, and if you have any experience playing the piano, you can appreciate how difficult it would be to do things like play in two different octaves simultaneously in a virtual keyboard interface.
Don’t underestimate the impact of having a less-than-ideal keyboard on your creativity and productivity!
Manufacturers use different methods of applying weights and springs to mimic a piano’s action. The M-Audio Axiom 61 is a controller with a semi-weighted action and MIDI trigger pads, rotary encoders, and sliders. The sliders and rotary knobs allow you to control pretty much any parameter within your DAW software.
The main difference between this and the Axium, above, is that this one is missing weighted keys and the trigger pads, but hey, with an extra $100 in your pocket, who’s complaining?
This MIDI controller is one of the best out there – theres nothing in your DAW software you wont be able to manipulate with this controller. For a full sized keyboard and for those with deeper pockets, go all out with the AKAi MPK49 or M-Audio Axiom49. Most of these come in different key counts, provide various additional functions as well as includeA pads and some decent software bundles.
You’ve got 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads, semi-weighted full-sized keys with aftertouch. The only downside would be the lack of software bundle, but nowadays a lot of companies are trying to use the inclusion of DAWs and VST’s (ones they make for that matter) to justify an ‘upgrade’ or merely a higher price for the controllers. Their key make is some of the most solid we’ve felt thus far and the drum pads are RGB backlit and velocity-sensitive — they know what they’re doing.
The key make is solid for the price and is synth-action (a bit more springy than semi and full-weighted, which I like) and comes with a nice orchestra-type of VST in the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble.
A slight downfall is the lack of a mini version of this keyboard, but the 25-key isn’t too bad with it’s price. Overall build and stability are great as expected from Novation (not as good as Akai but still solid) and it comes with Novation V-Station and Bass Station VST (PC and Mac), as well as their Novation apps for the iPad, so it’s a huge plus if you use iOS for music (seems to be getting more popular lately).


It is USB powered so you don’t have to hassle with an adapter and you also get an octave shift and key transpose button, alongside the nifty pitch bend and mod wheels. The keys are synth-action and have aftertouch and you’re able to create your own velocity curves if you want to get fancy.
The type of action you prefer is usually determined mostly by what you are accustomed to, and also by the particular style of music that you play, which may call for one type of action over another.
This can be an important advantage when trying to play very fast parts such as lead lines or fast arpeggios.
This piece of equipment is a true all-in one MIDI controller, really great bang for your buck.
If your on a tight budget, and willing to deal with synth action keys and no tap pads, go for the classic M-Audio Oxygen. Overall build and stability are great as expected from Novation (not as good as Akai but still solid) and it comes with Novation V-Station and Bass Station VST (PC and Mac), as well as their Novation apps for the iPad, so it’s a huge plus if you use iOS for music (seems to be getting more popular lately). It is USB powered so you don’t have to hassle with an adapter and you also get an octave shift and key transpose button, alongside the nifty pitch bend and mod wheels. The keys are synth-action and have aftertouch and you’re able to create your own velocity curves if you want to get fancy. You have a lot of options in terms of key-count and price, ranging from a mini 25-key to a full on 61 key. Not a crazy software bundle here and it doesn’t give you all that pizzazz with knobs and faders, but if you don’t think you’ll have use for those (pretty much only live performers do), this is the one for you. Grab it if you don’t care about software and can sacrifice a little build for a cheaper price but still want pads that will get the job done. It comes with 100 virtual instrument sounds and 50 different VST effects, although some of these are just a bit preset-sounding in our opinion.
Lastly, a huge hit with this keyboard is the inclusion of Pro Tools Express and Ignite by AIR. If you need some sounds to go with your controller, remember to check out our top 10 best VST plug-insA post. It’s also got the standard assignable buttons and knobs but unfortunatelyA no faders. Grab it if you don’t care about software and can sacrifice a little build for a cheaper price but still want pads that will get the job done. A bit more expensive than the Novation keyboard but if you’re looking for a better software bundle, an arpeggiator and an overall better build, grab an MPK2. Just an overall solid keyboard and we recommend you grab this if you want to keep it simple and cheap. The keys are relatively nicer, not as good as the Akai or Novation but they still do the trick (you get what you pay for).
Doesn’t come with any price-adjusting software bundle either, besides the free download of their KORG KONTROL Editor. If you already have your DAW setup going, it isn’t necessarily a must; however, if you want to switch over to Pro Tools and join the industry standard with it, we recommend trying it out. Synth-action keys are perfect for musicians who aren’t pianists by nature, such as guitarists wanting to add MIDI functionality to their setup. A bit more expensive than the Novation keyboard but if you’re looking for a better software bundle, an arpeggiator and an overall better build, grab an MPK2.
Doesn’t come with any price-adjusting software bundle either, besides the free download of theirA KORG KONTROL Editor. However, you get a slightly less better build and a bit lower-quality of a software bundle and no faders.
However, you get a slightly less better build and a bitA lower-quality of a software bundle and no faders.
It also comes with it’s own audio interface for some external control of the volume and other functions.
Grab this if you want a convenient keyboard that doesn’t take up half of your entire desk, or if you travel with your gear a lot. It also comes with it’s own audio interface for some external control of the volume and other functions. Grab this if you want a convenient keyboard that doesn’t take up half of your entire desk, or if you travel with your gear a lot. Check out their new V-model as well if you need an even cheaper option (no pads with them, however).



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Comments

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