Menu

Login

New to Audio Assemble?

Register

Already have an account?

Best MIDI Controller

Want to jump straight to the answer? Our choice for the Best MIDI Controller is the Keylab 49 by Arturia!

MIDI controllers are a necessity in almost every studio today. They can be used in every step of the song making process, from songwriting to tracking, and in overdubbing. What is so great about them is new software is coming out all of the time to emulate more sounds of instruments and even voices. With one single controller you can play saxophone, piano, organ, trumpet, bass, drums, guitar, and even add in vocals

Best MIDI Controllers

In these selections we are looking specifically at 2 types of MIDI controllers. The 25 key options and the 49 Key options. These are the best choices for smaller studios and for engineers wanting to save desk and room space. 

25 Key MIDI Controllers

Akai MPK Mini MK3

Best For Mobility

Akai MPK Mini MK3

This Midi Controller is one of the most popular controllers out there. I have seen countless producers and creators use this traveling as well as at home. You have only the standard USB option to connect this to your computer, as well as a sustain pedal connection on the back. One of the most unique connections is the 4-way thumb stick that works as a dynamic pitch and modulation control. 

If you are looking to use this controller traveling and on the go, there is a fantastic case you can grab that holds the Akai MPK as well as the USB cable that you will need available here on Amazon.

Features:

  • 25 Keys
  • 8 assignable knobs
  • 8 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • 6 Virtual Instruments
  • Over 1500 Sounds
See on Amazon

M-Audio Oxygen IV 25

M-Audio Oxygen IV 25

M-Audio creates some of the best MIDI controllers and improves upon every version they release. In this 25 Key MIDI controller, you can connect via USB and you also have a connection for a sustain pedal on the back. This does limit what all you can connect the device to, but makes connections much easier to a computer.

Features:

  • 25 Keys
  • 8 Assignable Knobs
  • 8 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • Comes with a Copy of Xpand!2, Eighty Eight Ensemble, and Twist
See on Amazon

Arturia MiniLab MkII

Best For a Clean and Professional Look

Arturia MiniLab MkII

Arturia makes some of the highest quality controllers out there. Every person I know with one has absolutely 0 complaints and recommends them to everyone who is looking for a MIDI controller. Out of all of our 25 key selections, this one has the most assignable controls to give you as many options as possible to customize your workstation. 

Features:

  • 25 Keys
  • 16 Assignable Knobs
  • 8 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • 2 Touch Sensors for Pitch and Modulation
  • 21 Keyboard Instruments and Synthesizers
See on Amazon

49 Key MIDI Controllers

Alesis V49

Best For an Efficient Use of Space

Alesis V49

An interesting point to notice about the Alesis V49 is that it does not require additional power beyond the USB itself. This is extremely helpful for saving outlets and plugs on a power strip (which I always seem to run out of). With its sleek black and teal design you cannot go wrong.

Features:

  • 49 Keys
  • 4 Assignable Knobs and Buttons
  • 8 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • Includes Mini Grand, DB-33, and Xpand 2
See on Amazon

Akai Professional MPK249

Akai Professional MPK249

Akai is included again on this list for their great work on this controller. One of the best factors that piano players love is weighted, and semi weighted keys. It has the response and feel of a real piano that is missing in many MIDI controllers.

Features:

  • 49 Keys
  • 8 Customizable Faders, Knobs, and Switches
  • 16 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • Comes with Hybrid 3 and SONiVOX Twist 2.0
See on Amazon

Arturia Keylab 49

Best For Overall Usefulness 

Arturia Keylab 49

This is the big brother of the MiniLab MkII we looked at earlier. Arturia included almost every single facet you could need in a MIDI controller. Not only do you have the standard buttons and faders, you also have transport controls for starting and stopping recording. This is easily one of the best options that you will find for a MIDI controller today. 

Features:

  • 49 Keys
  • 9 Assignable Knobs and Faders
  • 8 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads
  • Transport Controls
  • Pitch and Mod Wheels
  • Includes Over 6,500 presets from their V Collection of Keyboards and the Grand Piano Model D 
See on Amazon

Creative Tools

Creating music requires creativity and problem-solving. You figure out new ways to create sounds and sound design. That being said, having good tools to help you out makes that job a lot easier. With a MIDI controller like the Keylab 49 or the Oxygen IV, you gain access to a new type of creativity with the new tools at your fingertips.  

Remember that to fully integrate with your DAW and plugins of choice, there will be some trial and error mapping all of the controls. A great tutorial on custom mapping your MIDI controller in Ableton (but the concept should work across most DAWs) is from Taetro that you can see here. Don’t let it frustrate you, it will take patience and some time, especially if you don’t have experience doing it before.

Soundtrap by Spotify FREE Trial

Soundtrap is available as a completely online DAW powerful enough to produce music at a professional level. The Studio makes projects are available as collaborative efforts for band members or producers. An affordable option, that comes with a 30-day free trial.