Every producer in today’s world can use a MIDI keyboard and controller that can be matched with popular DAWs like protools and FL Studios.
MIDI keyboards and controllers have relevance to all musicians, simply because all musicians have the potential to find themselves, to one degree or another, in a situation where they are producing music. A MIDI keyboard is one of the most basic tools you would be using in that scenario.
MIDI keyboards are really a basic piece of equipment that every music producer uses. What most newbie aspiring music producers don’t realize that the best keyboards for making music is not always the most expensive. So what I decided to do was to put together a list of what I believe are some really good beat making keyboards that are not that expensive.
The 5 Best Keyboards for Making Beats
Lets Start With The Akai MPK Mini (MPII)
Akai mini beat making keyboard
The MPK Mini is really cool for a fee reasons. First the it doesn’t cost a lot of money. It can pretty much connect with anything because it comes with a usb connection but most importantly it’s user friendly. This keyboard is perfect for adding extra sounds to your beats.
Another proof that this is a great MIDI keyboard is that it has the most sales on Amazon by a large margin. The price is most definitely why it is very popular but let’s not forget quality also. The fact that it comes with usb connection it can work with any DAW that you decide to use.
Checkout Some Features:
8 different drum pads
25 keys and a multi-directional joystick for pitch and modulation control
I like this keyboard because it can run directly to your interface and it’s small so it can be very portable. It’s super user friendly and for adding basic sounds to your beats this is perfect for beginners and experienced music producers.
Features Include: eight different drum pads, octave controls, the direct USB connection, 25 keys and a multi-directional joystick for pitch and modulation control. For basic music production needs the MPII covers everything, making it an ideal fit for any skill level or production environment.
Since it's so small, and runs a straightforward interface, I like it a lot for live environments and settings where you just need to add intermittent sound effects through a device that's easily portable.
Next Up Is The M-Audio Oxygen MKIV
M-Audio Oxygen MKIV keyboard
I might be showing you a pattern here because the M-audio keyboard is good for beat making and simple to use because it can plug directly into your laptop via USB. With this you will not have to worry yourself with chords and cables.
You do get these key options that come along with the software:
You can get 3 Key Options:
Other Features and Price:
You can mix and alter sounds with 8 different knobs and it does come with a built in fader to help you mix your music even better.
If you are an experienced keyboard player than I would highly recommend that you use the 61 key option but those that are looking just to add some sounds to your music in a quick and simple way the 25 key option will work as well. Plus, you can save money using with the 25 key option. The most difficult thing that I found with writing about music production software is that it’s hard to recommend stuff. Because it really depends on how serious you are about your craft and knowing what your goals are. But what I can say is that beat making keyboard is good enough for any project.
When I compare the oxygen with the MKII the only real difference that I see is that the oxygen keyboard gives you the option to have more keys. But how important is this option for you because I only recommend this for people who are experienced with playing the piano. But it also depends on what your goals are so even if you’re not that experienced but having more keys is something you need to reach your goals you can’t go wrong here. It is slightly more expensive than the MKII beat making keyboard which is why this is not my number one recommendation.
Third on The list Is The Novation Launchkey MK2
Novation Launchkey MK2 music making keyboard
WHO IS THIS BEST FOR: professional music production, adding samples and live performances.
This keyboard was created to work in conjunction with Ableton Live Software. Although I recommend that you only use it with Ableton it does work with other DAW software as well.
Just like the previous 2 keyboards we discussed it can connect directly to your computer with a USB connection. This is why it can be used on most, if not all DAW’s out there. But if you are working with Ableton this is perfect for that and the only keyboard that I would recommend for that DAW.
The most popular version of this keyboard is ofcourse the 49-note but don’t think that you have to go with this option. You can buy smaller or larger packages. That simply depends on your needs and goals.
It does come with 16 colored drum pads and 7 control knobs that make manipulation so easy.
The keyboard does come with sliders on the left side.
What Do I Get If I Buy This Keyboard:
It comes with 4GB of samples from Loopmasters
The lite version of Ableton Live
V-Station virtual instruments
Novation Bass Station
As of right now this is by far the most robust keyboard out of all 3 that I have reviewed so far. But the reason why it’ not number 1 on my list is because it really work extremely well only with Ableton. So because of that I decided to make it #3 on the list.
Let's Review The Alesis VX49
Alesis VX49 music production keyboard
THIS IS PERFECT FOR: Recording studios and live performances
Here’s what like about the Alesis keyboard: it comes with so many different options when it comes to features. But that also means that it comes with a lot of different options when it comes to prices as well. That usually means the price can get high the more options you use.
The mini can usually be found on amazon under $100 but if you elect to go up to the 49 key option the jumps up pretty high. What the V-Series does do for you is give you the option to choose what you want to by and leave options that you may not need.
If you are only looking to only use a MIDI keyboard for beats I would go with the V-Mini.
It does give you the standard options of 25, 49 or 61 keys to choose from.
Also it can come with 16-pad, 8 pad, mini or color screen
Some More Features
It does come with MIDI and USB plugin options. I like that it comes with a TRS input for pedal control. Only on the larger models it does have pitch modulation and octav controls, and drum pads as well.
Last On the List Novation Impulse 49
MIDI keyboard Novation Impulse 49
PERFECT FOR: Acoustic piano, professional recording and live/studio performances
The first thing that I will tell you is that the impulse is a little pricey but it does come with some cool features. The first thing that I like are the weighted keys because it makes it feel like a real piano. For me creating music is all about the feel. So the feel of a real piano may seem small for some but for me it’s a big deal.
You can quickly create your controls that will connect with your DAW because their software will help you do that. The basic MIDI keyboard controls that you need are instantly available after setup. Like the faders,knobs, wheels and pads.
I like the fact that it comes with a LED screen that helps you keep track of everything. I highly recommend this for acoustic piano players because it does have a real feel too it.
I need to let you know that it comes wit multi-functional drum pads.
The 49 key option is best bought new and used because the prices are not that much different
It comes with Ableton Lite
It comes with Loopmasters sample pack of sounds
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