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Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers 2018 The DJ Shop Blog

Saturday, 28 July 2018 10:02:53 Europe/London

Best Midi Keyboard Controllers 2018

MIDI Keyboards serve as practical hands-on extensions of your digital audio workstation. Instead of using the piano roll, you can physically play your notation in, perfect for those that come from a traditional music background. If you wish to automate parameters within a synth or effects plugin, assign it to a knob or fader on your controller. MIDI Keyboards are versatile, responsive, and great for sharpening your music theory skills.

We have selected a few of our favourite MIDI Keyboards from some of our leading manufacturers including Native Instruments, Novation, M-Audio and Korg. These have been selected for a variety of reasons such as ease-of-use, advanced features, and price.

M-Audio Code 49

The Code 49 is a smart keyboard with advanced modulation control features in the form of the X/Y touchpad as well as the more traditional pitch and modulation wheels on the side. In addition, this also comes with faders, rotary knobs, and a mini drum pad for you to programme or perform rhythm sections of music in by hand.

M-Audio Code 49 MIDI Keyboard ControllerThe keys feel comfortable to play and offer a new level of creative expression within your music production thanks to the very responsive velocity and pressure sensitive keys.

M-Audio Code 49

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-49Mk2

Native Instruments have come up with an incredible keyboard that comes with one of a kind functionality. The S49 Mk2 has been created to give you hands-on control over every parameter within Native Instruments equally brilliant software plugins. The two hi-res 7inch screens mean you also get advance visual information at a responsive rate. Also, many software manufacturers are developing their VSTs the NKS-standard which gives you the same advance hands-on control as NI’s own software.

Komplete Kontrol S49-Mk2

Regarding build quality, the S49Mk2 comes with pitch and mod wheels as standard as well as a modulation strip for even more responsive control. The semi-weighted fatar keys will feel smooth and comfortable to play to anyone from a classical music background.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49-Mk2 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Finally, the smart play function comes with over 120 selectable modes and scales. You pick your root note, then your scale and you the keyboard’s LEDs show the notes that a most compatible in that scale. Set it to chord mode, and you can play chords with one key – intervals, triads, devils intervals, 7ths, 9ths – the choice is yours.

This function is incredible for producers that struggle with music theory and serves as an excellent method to fine tune those skills and add complex melodic and harmonic structure to your compositions.

Novation Launchkey 25/49 MK2

The Novation Launchkey Mk2 series is known for its fantastic build quality, portability, and feature list. This easy-to-use keyboard is perfect for studio use as well as the touring electronic music performer. The 16RGB performance pads enable you to play drum patterns into your DAW with ease, ideal for use in conjunction with a software sampler.

 Launchkey 49Mk2

The 8 rotary knobs along the top section are great for assigning parameters to for more in-depth automation control.  The keyboard also comes with pitch and modulation wheels that are responsive and feel comfortable to play.The keys are lightweight, yet offer incredible comfort while playing as well as being velocity sensitive so when recording MIDI information, the keyboard will tell your DAW how hard you play to give a more accurate and authentic playing experience.

Novation Launchkey 25,49,61 MIDI Keyboard Controller

The keyboard is designed for simple use and has received praise from many of the world’s top music producers. As if all that wasn’t enough this is one of the most cost-effective MIDI controllers on the market.

M-Audio Keystation 49

For those that want a no bells and whistles, the Keystation 49 or 61 is the perfect companion for producers that have a background in playing keyboard or piano. The full-sized keys make for a great playing experience and record every nuance of your playing style, in terms of capturing accurate velocity and low latency between the keyboard and your DAW.

M-Audio Keystation 49 MIDI Keyboard Controller

The lightweight and slimline design of the keyboard controller means this can fit into practically any decent sized home or professional sized studio. Responsive pitch and mod wheels along with octave selection controls make this one of the most simplistic and popular MIDI keyboard controllers for music producers around the world.

Korg Taktile 25

The Korg Taktile 25 comes with a few unique features including an X/Y pad which will give you advanced automation control over any parameters in your plugin collection. Even better if you have a plugin with a correlating X/Y parameter which can be instantly MIDI mapped to your keyboard.

Korg Taktile 25

The 8 faders on the left of the keyboard can also be assigned to parameters in plugins as well as whole channels in your DAW allowing you to control the volume of the fader. The 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads also make this a great controller for creating drum patterns. All these features have been cleverly designed by Korg to give you hands-on control over a variety controls thus making the music making experience more enjoyable.

Korg Taktile 25 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Along with the Krome derived keybed and keys that will feel comfortable and familiar to play even for more experienced players, you also receive an in-built arpeggiator which when combined with any software instrument can be used to unlock even more creative possibilities within your music production.


These keyboards all provide you with different and unique features. Some are more lucrative than others, however, one thing we can guarantee is that any one of these keyboards will add new hands-on and creative tools to your collection, and give you some new techniques to use within your productions.

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Laura Apps