Midi controllers are gaining in popularity with musicians both for its ability to create hundreds of different sounds, and for its easy portability. These convenient Midi controllers are frequently used by everyone from professional musicians to students and DJs, and are available with different features. With so many models to choose from it can be difficult to find the best midi controller for your keyboard. We have created this website with the goal of helping you find the right one, and have also included information on where to buy a midi controller. With an informative buying guide and helpful reviews you are sure to find the best midi keyboard controller that will fit your musical needs and your budget.
What is a Midi Controller
A midi controller is similar to a keyboard controller except that it does not transmit audio sound. The midi controller only sends the data that lets the keyboard know which musical sounds you want to create. The best midi keyboard will help you create amazing drum solos, along with having the versatility to work with all of the modern musical software.
How to choose the best MIDI controller
Set a Budget
There are several different types and manufacturers of midi controllers which can make it difficult to find the right one. Deciding on a budget is one of the first steps, and it will also help you narrow down your choices. To stay within your price range, you should also decide which features are important to you. Even a cheap midi keyboard controller can help you create professional sounding music. Finding models that include the necessary software can also help you stay within your budget.
Types of Midi Controllers
There are several different types of midi controllers and each model includes its own features and design. Finding the one that is best for you will depend on your budget and on how you will use it. The most common type of controller is the midi keyboard controller which not only ranges in price, but also included features. It can be inexpensive and simple with only a few keys and controls, or more versatile and complex with faders and clocks added in.
DJ midi controllers feature more knobs and buttons, and some are even able to mimic the sound of a spinning turntable. While it was designed for use by DJs and sound technicians, it is also gaining popularity with musical composers. Pad midi controllers function in the same way as the keyboards, and commonly used for drum playing and for musical cues. It is designed to lay next to the keyboard and is usually played with your fingertips.
Foot pedal midi controllers keep your hands free for other devices, and it can include several switches that can all be operated by your feet. One of the harder to find midi controllers only has knobs or faders. While these models are popular with some musical groups, it is not a design that is recommended for beginner musicians.
You can also choose a midi interface which simply connects to your computer or any hardware that is equipped with midi capabilities. It can also be used with other types of midi controllers to give you even more options for configuring your live or studio gear. The interface will also give you more midi channels to use, which will give you an almost endless array of possibilities to create and control sounds and instruments.
Number of Keys
The number of keys on a midi controller can vary, and the best one for you will depend on several factors. The amount of space that you have and whether you want to play with one or two hands should be considered, along with deciding if you need the controller to be portable. If you are planning on doing musical splits with your keyboard should also factor in to the number of keys that you’ll need. The most common number of keys on midi controllers is 25, 49, 61, or the standard 88 keys. Occasionally you will find some models that have 32, 37, 73, or even 76 playable keys. Depending on the number of keys, the midi controllers can be anywhere from 20 to 50 inches in length.
Types of Keyboard Action
The best midi keyboardcontroller will make you feel comfortable using it, which is why it is important to consider which type of keyboard action will work best for you. This refers to the way that the keys respond when you press on it, and there are three different types for you to choose from. One important point to remember is that the style of music that you normally play can also affect which type of keyboard action is right for you.
Weighted hammer action will feel similar to the keys on a standard piano. This is usually found on keyboards with 88 keys, and different manufacturers will use various methods to replicate the feel of an upright piano. Some will use springs and weights, while other manufacturers use a type of hammer to mimic the piano’s feel. This type of keyboard action is generally preferred by musicians who spend most of their time creating piano inspired music.
Synth action midi keyboards are generally preferred by musicians that are not piano players. The keys are lighter in weight, and are commonly compared to electric organs. This type of key action is also ideal for playing faster tempos. The keys will quickly return to its original position, and are ideal for musicians who want to add different sounds to their compositions.
For musicians who want a heavier feel to the keys, without the slower response of the weighted ones often turn to midi controllers that are only semi weighted. This still gives you some of the same feel as a standard piano, but with a faster response time that is similar to the models that have synth action.
Consider I/0 Options
Even a cheap midi keyboard controller will transmit your midi data through a USB port, but you might want to consider other options. Being able to use a CV and Gate output will let you use non midi synths, and a simple 5 pin midi DIN jack makes it possible for you to easily connect and control a variety of external hardware and midi synths. All of these can help you create more complex musical compositions.
You might want to also consider adding an expression pedal which will easily let you control the volume, and make your music more expressive. The pedal can be operated by your foot which leaves you hands free to control the keyboard. While most midi controllers do include a standard pedal jack, upgrading to the expressive pedal will give you exceptional control over your music. It will also make it easier for you to assign your own settings to the controller instead of using the ones preset by the factory.
Doing your research before choosing your midi controller is important, and can prevent you from making an expensive mistake. To help you stay in your budget the Akai Professional MPK MINI MKII Midi Keyboard Controller includes everything you need to get started creating expressive music.
It is often considered the best midi keyboard controller for musicians that frequently travel and its compact size is easily portable. The smaller controller is usually priced cheaper than the larger models, and it includes 25 keys that have lightweight synth action. This makes them ideal for playing faster rifts, and the smaller size still feels comfortable under your fingers. You will get all of the professional software that you need to start creating and mixing different sounds, and the midi controller also includes a conveniently placed thumb stick that lets you choose the pitch and modulation of your sounds.
There are eight touch pads at the top of the controller that make it possible to repeat notes, and when you add in the Q link knobs you can create professional sounding DJ sounds. To make the dials even easier to use, you can assign it specific tasks. Turn a knob for a quick mixing effect or a different one to fine tune your plug ins. Most importantly the midi keyboard is easy to use, and its compact design makes it easy to take with you to any venue.
You will love the fact that the Alesis Q49 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller features 49 keys that are capable of delivering an awe inspiring performance. It is ideal for beginners and professional musicians with its wide range of features that include the ability to plug the USB cable into any compatible device. Use it with your laptop or any other digital workstation, and its lightweight design makes it easy to take the midi keyboard with you to the classroom or studio.
The software is included with the controller so you can get started creating new sounds as soon as it arrives, and you can even add expression to your music with modulation and pitch wheels. When you need to go up or down an octave on the side of the keys will increase your musical range, without taking up additional space on the keyboard. You will love what you can create with the output jack that lets you add a sampler or drum machine, and the fact that the controller can be used by itself only adds to its versatility. You can also use an optional 9V power input when you are using the midi keyboard without any additional devices.
The keys are instantly responsive so you can get the clear, crisp sounds that you need, and the full size design is comfortable to play with both of your hands. The midi controller also includes a sustained foot pedal that is able to give you the same style and effect that you normally hear from a standard piano. While this midi controller may be easy to use, it can still give you the professional results that will impress any audience.
Considered the best midi controller for its ease of use and versatility, the Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller frees your hands up for running other devices. It is professionally designed and extremely flexible making it ideal for any type of musician. It can be easily controlled by guitar players, audio engineers, and of course piano players. It also features a durable and protective casing that will last through any type of show or performance.
Professional musicians love that it includes its own power supply that is built into the foot controller. This makes it perfect for traveling and creating new music while on the road. There are 10 pedals that are already preset for guitar amplification, but you can easily program it to suit your musical style. Along with the amp pedals you can also use the two larger ones that can be programmed to any midi channel. This will also give you additional flexibility in your music, along with the ability to add different expressions when it is needed.
You can plug the midi foot controller into your guitar amp, and since there are two output jacks you can switch between them when necessary. You can program the pedals without having to sit down and interrupt your creative flow, and you can also program the controller for several different tempos. While it is designed to work with any guitar amp channel, it can also be used for other applications.
It is important to look professional in the music industry and the Numark NS6 Professional DJ Controller does this with style. The durable metal chassis can withstand hours of heart pounding vibrations from the music, while the high resolution midi controller continues to send all of the data that you need to continue to be a popular DJ on the music scene. It features 4 channel controls and several input arrays that not only include the standard USB port, but also for RCA stereo, ¼ mics, and even two for your chosen turntables.
The 4 channels include a 24 bit digital mixer that you can choose to use with your computer, or by itself. You can layer tracks seamlessly with the midi controller, and you will love that the platters are touch sensitive. This means that you get precise spinning and scratching effects without having to press hard on the platter. Enjoy the clear, crisp sounds and when the midi is plugged into your laptop you and the crowd will enjoy all of your tight mixes.
This midi DJ controller does not need a keyboard to put out incredible sounds and mixes, so you can spend more time enjoying yourself instead of being stuck behind your computer. Keep all of your live shows perfect with the ability to manually adjust any song, and instantly deal with any problems as they appear. While it is intended for professional DJs, an included guide will help novice mixers get started creating their own beats.
Small enough to fit into your backpack the lightweight and portable Akai Professional MPD18 Compact Pad Controller it is able to give you the sounds that you want without feeling mechanically produced. It is designed to be used both in the studio and on the stage, and its durable construction will last through any heart pumping show.
You will love the affordable price of the midi pad controller, and you have a total of 16 touch sensitive pads to play around with. Create sharp drum solos or connect the midi controller to your other gear to see what you can create. The pads are capable of three separate banks which gives you an impressive array of 48 different sounds. Since it can be connect via a USB cable, it saves you the added expense of buying an adapter. This also makes it easier to take the midi pad controller with you when you travel to different locations. The Q link connectors let you control the software in real time, which can enhance your live stage performances. You can also preset your favorite configurations and use the midi controller with both a Mac and a PC.
Compact and easily portable the Novation Launch Control Portable USB Midi Controller can be used with your iPod. It is designed to be used with the Novation Launchpad, but it will also work with all of the major music software programs. This affordable midi knob controller is both durable and affordable, and includes the basic software to get you instantly started.
The bus driven controller gives you more than just 16 dials and 8 launch pads, you get a total of 448 possible controls. Instantly control several instruments and effects without reprogramming, or create and save your own personal preferences. It can also work with your Mac or PC, and will let you control and play your music in real time. You can fine tune samples, tweak volume levels, and fire off clips with the midi’s pads.
Whether you want to use the software or your iPod it can help you create sounds and music that are professional sounding. Create your own settings or use the ones that were factory set and get the full, robust sound that you normally only hear from professional DJs and musicians.
If you are looking for a way to increase your channels you should consider the M-Audio MIDISport 2 x 2 Midi Interface. The sleek black color is a perfect addition to your existing equipment, and its durable steel construction is built to last through live shows, rehearsal and studio recordings. It is compact to fit easily at your work station, and features the 2 in and 2 out midi interface that you have come to depend on.
It will make it possible for you to use 32 input and output channels that are discreet, and with the USB cable you can connect several midi devices to your Mac or PC. It is bus driven so you can use it while you are traveling, along with the fact that it can be used by itself. The addition of the midi channels also eliminates all of the annoying delays that normally plague the devices that use the long midi chains. Another advantage to using the affordable midi interface is that since it is powered by the USB cable it does not require any external power. Use it on the road or for shows at remote locations, the possibilities are endless with this convenient midi interface.
Midi controllers give you the ability to create unique sounds from almost any instrument, and are ideal for students, sound engineers, and professional musicians. Mix and tweak music as it is playing, or add drum solos and musical cues whenever you want to. The possibilities are endless with these convenient controllers. With so many different models to choose from it can be difficult to find the best midi keyboard, or other controller that fits all of your needs. When this is combined with the fact that it is different from a standard keyboard controller it can get even more complicated.
We have created this website to help you find the right one for all of your musical needs, whether you are an up and coming DJ or a new composer on your local music scene. We not only want you to find the best product that fits your needs and budget, we also hope to help you make an informed decision that will only enhance your love of playing and creating unique and innovative pieces of music.
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