The Best MIDI Keyboards and Controllers

A keyboard can be essential for musicians, producers, or anyone who composes in the studio. This is the link between your ideas and the digital realm, which makes it a vital part of your music production arsenal.

This article will guide you through the confusing maze of the top MIDI keyboards available on the market. We’ll also give you some tips on what to look for when buying your first MIDI key.

In a hurry?

Here are the top five MIDI-compatible keyboards and what each one has to offer.

Arturia MicroLab 3 Portable design with encoders and pads. Check the current price.

SubZero ControlKey49S 49 Key Slim MIDI Controller Keyboard Slim key design 49-note keyboard. Check the current price.

Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3 Arpeggiator onboard and chords in one note. Check out the current price.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol Keys with micro-sized encoders on board. Check the current price.

Akai Professional MK25 MK2 Laptop Performance Keyboard Ultra-compact 25-key design for portability. Check out the current price.

What is a MIDI Keyboard?

It’s a great idea to learn what a MIDI key is before you buy one.

MIDI stands for Digital Music Instrument Interface. It is a protocol that allows musical instruments to communicate.

The MIDI keyboard converts your physical key presses to digital signals and sends your melodic ideas directly to your computer.

What does this actually mean? When you press a key on your MIDI keyboard, a virtual software or hardware instrument is triggered.

This process transforms computer-based plug-ins into an interactive playing experience. The MIDI keyboard transmits a signal to your Digital Audio Workstation, which records and reads the note.

These data don’t actually contain sound; they are information about your note – pitch, duration, velocity. This data is then interpreted by your DAW or hardware connected to it in order to produce the sound.


The Arturia MiniLab 3 boasts a compact and portable design, making it an ideal companion if you need a MIDI keyboard to take with you on the go.

Its 25-note slim-key keyboard is both responsive and expressive, providing an accessible platform for you to develop your playing skills. Plus, equipped with 16 RGB backlit performance pads, the Arturia MiniLab 3 offers extensive control options, allowing you to experiment with beats and rhythms easily. They also add a visual element to your performance, lighting up your creative process.

The MiniLab 3 offers seamless integration with popular music production software, and it’s this compatibility that ensures you can dive right into creating music without needing to navigate complex setup procedures.

While the lack of aftertouch might be a downside for some, the MiniLab 3’s affordability and beginner-friendly features more than makeup for it.


The G4M KB-iii 61 Key Keyboard is ideal for beginners thanks to its 61 full-sized keys that are touch-sensitive and designed to respond just like an acoustic piano. If you’re transitioning from traditional piano playing and want to explore more sounds in your DAW, the KB-iii is perfect.

It also offers an extensive library of 618 unique sounds and 200 rhythm styles. This vast collection allows you to experiment with various musical genres, making the learning process interactive and fun. Whether you’re into pop, rock, jazz, or classical, there’s something for everyone.

It’s also easy to transport, making it great for taking to and from the studio. The G4M KB-iii 61 Key Keyboard offers a balance of versatility, convenience, and affordability – the perfect beginner MIDI keyboard.


The Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3 is the perfect stepping stone for beginners in music production. Its 25-note velocity-sensitive mini-keyboard ensures expressive playing, while 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads offer a responsive and dynamic platform for you to experiment with beats and rhythms.

The compact and portable design of the LaunchKey Mini MK3 is a major plus, but this doesn’t compromise the functionality of the keyboard. Its interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, ensuring a smooth workflow even for novices.

With eight rotary knobs, you have precise control over various parameters. Even better, the keyboard comes with a copy of Ableton Live Lite – perfect for beginners getting to grips with the basics of Ableton.


The SubZero ControlKey49S 49 Key Slim MIDI Controller Keyboard is an excellent entry point for beginners in the world of music production. It boasts 49 touch-sensitive keys that respond to the intensity of your playing, providing an expressive and dynamic control that mimics the feel of traditional pianos.

Its slim, lightweight design makes it perfect for musicians on the move or those working in limited space. Despite its compact size, it does not compromise functionality, acting as a versatile MIDI controller that can enhance your workflow.


For those embarking on their music production journey, the Akai Professional LPK25 MK2 Laptop Performance MIDI Keyboard is perfect. With 25 velocity-sensitive keys, it allows you to introduce dynamics into your music based on how hard you press the keys. Not only is this great for creating expressive pieces of music without having to do much editing in your DAW, but it also develops musicality.

While offering such great responsiveness, the Akai Professional LPK25 is compact. It can fit into your bag and be taken with you on the go.

Whether you’re heading to a gig, the studio, or simply working from home, this MIDI keyboard is ready to travel with you. Featuring USB connectivity and power capabilities, the Akai LPK25 allows you to easily connect it to your laptop with no external power source required.

While the LPK25 MK2 might not offer enough keys for more advanced users, its affordability, portability, and user-friendly features make it an excellent starting point for beginners.


The MK-6000 Keyboard with USB MIDI by Gear4music is a fantastic starting point for budding musicians. It’s equipped with 61 touch-sensitive keys, allowing you to get creative and dynamic with your playing. These keys respond to the intensity of your touch, giving you control over the volume and tone of each note.

Better still, thanks to the polyphonic recording function, you can capture multiple notes at a time and create rich, layered compositions.

Despite its compact, lightweight design, the MK-6000 doesn’t skimp on features. It boasts 300 voices and 30 demo songs, offering a wide range of sounds and styles to play around with. Best of all, the MK-6000 comes at an affordable price, making it accessible for beginners.

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