MIDI – which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface – is an interface that transmits information (such as the velocity, volume and panning of your performance) to another device.
In other words, it allows electronic musical instruments, computers and other similar devices to be able to communicate with one another. They all speak the same “language” thanks to the MIDI technology!
Since more and more musicians are using a digital setup, the MIDI controller keyboard has become a standard part of their gear, which is why we help you find the best midi keyboard below based on quality and price.
Things to Think About
Before you select a MIDI keyboard, here are a few things that you should consider:
- Number of Keys. You can find 25-key, 32-key, 37-key, 49-key, 61-key or 88-key boards, the latter being the standard number of keys that you would find on a modern piano.
You needn’t assume that just because a piano has 88 keys that you need that many, too.
Choose a keyboard based on the amount of space you have and think about the variety of music that you need to play. If you aren’t already a trained pianist, then it might be in your best interest to get a keyboard with fewer keys.
- Keyboard Type. Do you prefer a weighted or non-weighted keyboard? By this, we’re talking about the amount of pressure that’s needed in order to push down the keys.
- Weighted Hammer. These help simulate the action and feel of a real piano keyboard. If you’re used to playing the standard piano with 88, then a weighted hammer action keyboard is probably a great choice for you.
- Semi-Weighted. This has slightly less resistance than the previous one and offers you a little more spring in the release.
- Synth (non-weighted). This feels very light when you play (similar to when you play an organ, for example) and work great for those who play instruments other than the piano.
Top 10 Midi Keyboards Comparison Chart
What Else You Need to Know
Sometimes they are referred to as MIDI keyboards and others may call them MIDI controllers.
While they are have a lot in common and may look the same, there are a few differences that we’d like to point out:
- MIDI Controller. This is designed to send control signals (via MIDI) to another device (such as a sound module). They help you control the sound you make. They are less expensive than a MIDI Keyboard.
Number three on our list above is a good example of this. It is slim and sleek, perfect for those who don’t have a lot of space!
- MIDI Keyboard. While keyboards can also do this, they actually have the sound module built in. You hear what you play and you can still control the sounds thanks to the MIDI controls.
Top 3 Best Midi Controllers/ Keyboards Reviews
This nice little 49-key USB MIDI keyboard is a great tool for any composer to have. The velocity-sensitive keys feel great when you play, whether you’re experienced at playing a keyboard or not.
It features 8 MIDI assignable knobs, 9 MIDI assignable sliders (not something you find in many keyboards in this price range), along with 6 dedicated transport controls, a DirectLink mode which automatically maps controls to common DAW functions and has dedicated transport and track select buttons for streamlined session control.
It is easy to use right out of the box and offers you quite a few features for the price you pay. We highly recommend it! One of the best midi keyboards on our list.
This is another 49-key MIDI controller you should check out.
This costs less than the previous model because it has less features, the main one being that it does not create sound on its own as a keyboard would. The velocity-sensitive keys offer you an expressive sound, it has pitch and modulation wheels to capture musical expression as well as four pots and one fader in order to do some parameter tweaking.
The keys give you great feedback as you play and overall, this would work very well in a home studio if you’re looking to furnish it with some decent equipment. A great find for a very reasonable price!
Tip – Remember that aren’t any drivers available for this keyboard. While it is a universally accepted USB device, some computers may not recognize the keyboard. Without a driver, you’re pretty much out of luck if you find yourself in this situation.
or netbook? Try the Korg NanoKey2 Slim-Line keyboard.
This low-profile MIDI keyboard features a low profile with velocity-sensitive keys that offer you a lovely responsive touch for the size. They keys are set farther apart to help prevent you from hitting the wrong note, it offers you versatile control over the pitch (which you can shift up or down in octave increments) and it also has a variety of buttons (such as pitch bend, modulation button and sustain button).
Aesthetically, some will appreciate that it comes in either black and white to match current electronics. It also comes in as a regular and drum pad controller!