Olin Batista and Flamingo pay homage to old-school French house vibe with “Amazon 63”!
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.
One reason to pay special attention to Novation’s new synths is that the designer is Chris Huggett.
Three oscillators, five effects slots, two filters, six envelopes, three LFOs, 36 wavetables. For $200 more, you can get an UltraNova which has bigger keys, touch sensitive knobs (and twice as many) and aftertouch.
Now just look at that thing, I mean sure the inner parts do count more than the exterior, but I really think that Novation presents here one of the best looking and practical compact synth design I have seen: the wood pannels, the big knobs, the parameter slider, the wheels, everything works brilliantly together visually. This thing is seriously bad*ass looking, and the synth engine sounds like it would pack a punch (even the autone-coder would be fun)- but why is it such a huge step backward from my ancient X-Station where interface is concerned? Wish they went with a categories (pad, bass, lead, etc.) rather than genre, which seems pretty useless.
I just ordered the full size Novation Ultranova from B&H Photo for $590, plus it has a rebate for a gig bag. CDM is an online magazine for creative technology, from music and DJing to motion and more. CDM by Create Digital Media GmbH is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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With 88 pro-quality weighted keys, the A-88 sets a new standard for streamlined, portable MIDI controllers. Featuring Rolanda€™s acclaimed Progressive Hammer Action design with Escapement, the A-88a€™s Ivory Feel-G keyboard provides the functions, appearance, and texture of keyboards found on our flagship pianos. The A-88 is the perfect MIDI keyboard to get the most out of your software-based pianos, soft synths, and sound modules.
If youa€™re looking for grand piano action without the weight and bulk, look no further than the A-88. As iPad music apps continue to evolve and improve, youa€™ll want a pro-quality keyboard to play them. The KS-18Z keyboard stand is attractive, easy to transport, and sturdy enough to hold even the heaviest 88-key keyboard securely.
This well-built, real-feel pedal comes with a non-slip rubber plate a€” essential when performing on hardwood or slip-prone surfaces a€” and an extended cable (2.2m) for stacked multi-keyboard setups.
Durable expression pedal for use with keyboards or other Expression-compatible instruments to control a range of functions and effects parameters. This contains information on the A-Series Keyboard ( A-49, A-88) driver compatible with Microsoft Windows 10.
If you have questions about operating your Roland product, please check our Knowledge Base for answers to the most common questions. In addition, we have a library of Ownera€™s Manuals and Support Documents that you can download and reference. One of the better quality digital audio workstations (DAW) out there is Reason by Propellerhead. There’s a few elements to take into consideration when sifting through the numerous pieces of equipment out there.
The Novation Impulse worksA very well with Reason, not only for virtual instruments and effects but also as a controller with the knobs and faders, not to mention the additional pitch and mod wheels.
One of the biggest factors in finding a MIDI controller specifically for Reason is the ability to map the controls. Even though you obviously already have your DAW picked out with Reason, some additional software never hurt anybody.
What you’re getting with the Novation Launchkey 49 is a solid build of keys and pads.
If you have some different preferences, want to save some money or even go a bit bigger in terms of overall builds, controls and software bundles, here are some recommended options. You can find it in numerous key counts as well, such as the Mini 32, 61-key, or the whopping 88 key controller.
Grab this if you have an extra $100 and want a step up from Novation’s Launchkey, our ultimate choice for best. This is the BMW of MIDI keyboards, as some say it is a bit steep in terms of price but if you really do the math, it has pretty much everything a MIDI keyboard controller can provide you. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive updates on our latest reviews, guides, information and news!
The fact that you did not even mention it really lowers any credibility this article may have had.

I was in a Facebook group and they posted a link to this website so I clicked on this article. Guys, another way to look at this is maybe these are the best controllers they have had access to. All launchkeys are solid, however if you want to take a step up, we’d go with an Akai. Music equipment researchers: recording gear, headphones, synthesizers, samplers, drum machines and various other music equipment addicts. 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. But the sound engine here is unmistakably Novation-esque, and Novation has a feature set that should be competitive with other synths in this price range. I prefer the UltraNova (or, better, a SuperNova II) but I’m sure the $200 savings will make a difference to a lof of musicians. There are only a few, strangely chosen parameters in the matrix, and they took up space with a stupid preset selector knob. Its Ivory Feel-G weighted keyboard a€” a trusted asset found on high-end Roland workstations and digital pianos a€” brings a new level of grand piano luxury to the portable MIDI controller market.
Ita€™s equipped with advanced sensor technology, and the white keys feature a comfortable, moisture-absorbent surface that feels like real ivory.
It provides clean connections via its recessed rear panel so you can place a computer monitor or laptop in the perfect position for creating music. The elegant Ivory Feel-G keyboard plays like a true grand, with superb action and natural resistance-gradation from the low to high keys. In order to fully optimize your studio setup, whether it’s home, semi-pro or professional, is investing in a solid MIDI controller. First of all, we chose a 49-key model because it’s the most popular key count within the MIDI keyboard realm. In terms of actual key make, they are synth-weighted, which means that they are a bit more springy than normal semi-weighted or real piano keys. This is basically a piece of gear that lacks keys or pads but has all of the other additional functions a MIDI controller typically has.
The biggest determinant of this is the pad quality as well as the ability to use an SD card for easy uploading of sounds into the controller.
It also comes in at the Impulse 25 as well as a 61-key model that’s in increments of $100. If you have the money, the MPK249A has full-sized, semi-weighted keys with aftertouch, 8 assignable faders and control knobs, pitch bend and mod wheels, octave controls, an arpeggiator, and a great aesthetic look with RGB pads (which are standard quality many have reported). We like to review, guide, and provide new information to our fellow music equipment junkies. 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. USB bus-powered operation allows for a clean, simple setup, while the two knobs, two switches, and D-BEAM controller are all easily accessible and intelligently arranged to make your workflow fast and fluid.
For quick control over your external instruments, the A-88a€™s dedicated Dual and Split buttons let you instantly access layers and zones. If you’re interested in a different count, it also available in a 25-key with the Launchkey Mini or the 61-key with the Launchkey 61. You just can’t beat a MIDI keyboard that has pads and additional controls for only $200!
The Launchkey works very well with Reason, as backed up by numerous positive reviews around the net. These are actually preferred by a lot of producers because it means that the keys bounce back up quicker for when you play.

This is very specific in terms of what you’ll want, so if you need additional controls of Reason with out traditional keys and pads we would go with this.
M-Audio kept it simple here withA full sized, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys, a transport control for a few control aspects, a sustain pedal input, pitch bend and mod wheels, as well as the SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensemble VST for good measure.
Otherwise, we have a a great article called the top 10 best MIDI keyboard controllers if you’re still looking around.
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.
So it is that Novation has a 37-keyboard that combines lots of sound and effects from the company’s UltraNova into a compact body, bringing the price at dealers to about $500 bucks US.
This one is for the street lover…200 Buck is a lot of money saved for new fun,portability,but still ultranova engine!
For players looking for great weighted-keyboard action in a portable package, the A-88 is the best MIDI controller available. Other settings can be accessed via the Function button, which lets you use the keys to perform additional tasks printed above the keyboard. You can also map the A-88a€™s controllers automatically to SuperNATURAL instruments such as the INTEGRA-7 sound module or JUPITER-80 and JUPITER-50 synthesizers. We’ve used Reason numerous times (and loved it) and have done a lot of research around the net to find the best midi controller, interface and keyboard available today. They go either up or down in price in increments of $50, so it’s up to you if you want save some money or go a bit higher. This all does come down to preference, but the keys are very standard and you will be happy with them.
It featuresA a track select and marker advance parameter, is USB-to-MIDI (and powered), A and has numerous knobs, switches and faders for each of the eight channels.
This is our recommended Reason MIDI keyboard controller if you don’t necessarily need pads or a crazy amount of other control options. You can read our review of the MPX16 controller for more information, or you can check out their original Akai MPX8 which is about half the price. 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. The keys are also velocity-sensitive which is always a plus, giving your tracks a bit more of a natural feel. The MPX16 features some very nice feeling pads if you don’t necessarily need keys or extra control and can map very well with Reason.
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. The only downside would be the lack of aftertouch with them, although we don’t think this is a make or break or anything.
However, you get a slightly less better build and a bit 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. Check out their new V-model as well if you need an even cheaper option (no pads with them, however).

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