A powerful and versatile music production tool, the MIDI Controller is an asset to everyone, including music amateurs and students to professional composers and producers. These devices can be purchased in various sizes and shapes and are suited to all levels and budgets.
In a nutshell, a MIDI controller generates and transmits musical data to various electronic instruments. These span from keyboards to drums. Similar to how keyboards trigger notes, MIDI devices traditionally trigger sounds. In some cases, they control the parameters of sound effects.
In this article, we highlight a handful of our favorite MIDI keyboard controllers. All are suited to those who wish to create music digitally.
1. LUMI Keys Studio Edition
Described as one of the most expressive and certainly the midi controller options to make the list, the LUMI Key Studio Edition is the first keyboard of its type to feature per-key pitch bend and polyphonic aftertouch.
In addition, those who invest in this device will also be privy to whole-key illumination – guaranteed to spark new playing and composing concepts.
Light-guided composition not only looks great, especially when on stage, but it’s a great way to learn how to play. Why? You can follow the lights when practicing new chords and songs.
2. Novation Impulse
This keyboard boasts several noteworthy features, including an impressive build quality, which is not to be overlooked. The best part? It’s pocket-friendly! Included in the price are sustain and expression pedal inputs, MIDI out and in ports, and semi-weighted keys.
There are also various assignable inputs to enjoy. These include nine faders, nine buttons, and eight dials. On top of these features, you’ll discover an Ableton Live Lite, a Loopmasters sample pack, and USB bus power. The beauty of this? There is no need for an adapter.
3. The Lightpad
The Lightpad boasts a pressure-sensitive touchpad, which embraces micro key touchback. The result? A tactile playing experience. In a nutshell, this allows you to feel the effect of your touch on the pad. This ensures a more controlled playing experience, allowing you to get to grips with the keys.
Powered by the Noise app, a complimentary app that can be downloaded on your tablet, phone, or computer. This app assists you in programming chords, arpeggiators, and sonic parameters.
In addition, those looking for an even more advanced player experience can purchase multiple touchpads, attaching them via built-in magnets to fashion a custom setup. The result? A multipurpose interface.
4. M-Audio Oxygen
If you are looking to spend a little more and the pad-only configuration is too restrictive for your musical needs, the M-Audio Oxygen is a great shout. This “hybrid” solution comes with SONiVOX and Ableton Live Lite software. Another benefit? It auto-maps smoothly onto almost all DAW set-ups.
Other notable features include its velocity-sensitive keys, which boast a tactile feel, which makes playing a joy.
5. Akai Professional MPK MINI MKII
Designed with jet-setting producers in mind, this compact keyboard, which spans just 12.4 inches and boasts only 25 keys, manages to cram an array of features in despite its smaller size. These include combined input for both mod and pitch, an integrated arpeggiator, eight assignable control knobs, and eight velocity-sensitive drum pads with two banks.
In addition, you’ll be privy to dedicated toggles, perfect for repeat, octave, and full-level changes, which are guaranteed to heighten your output.
This spherical arrangement, which features circular touchpads, makes this one of the most contemporary-looking keyboards on our list. Some say it resembles the design of a basketball court.
Each touchpad is crafted from rubber stretched over a plastic frame. This design is sensitive enough to determine how much pressure you’re exerting on the pad.
Other features include tailor-made proprietary software.
7. Alesis V1
The Alesis VI is another option for those on a budget. Despite the pocket-friendly price, it boasts an impressive set of features. These comprise full-sized, semi-weighted keys with aftertouch functionality, a title or 16 multi-colour RGB backlit pads, 36 assignable buttons, and 12 knobs.
Other features include pitch bend and mod wheels. Also included is a USB power source.
The Bottom Line
Keyboards are an asset to amateur and pro musicians, composers, and producers. It is little surprise that they’ve been central to Western musical composition for almost 500 years.
Now more than ever, these tech-savvy devices are being embraced. This is down to various advancements that make MIDI Controllers lighter, speedier, and more tech-savvy than ever before. From light-up keys to extremely compact options, there is something to suit all. There are also various budget-friendly options to consider, meaning investing in such a device won’t break the bank, yet it will enhance your player performance and musical enjoyment.
Read more:- Best Piano
With research suggesting listening to or making music affects the brain in ways that may help promote health and manage disease symptoms, this is a great hobby to take up!
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