For many people, choosing the right Midi controller may be a huge task for them, especially for those who are new to music production. Also, there is a lot of different variations of Midi keyboards available in the market now. They come with different features. Some units have it all in term of functionality. However, some others come with more of a barebones approach. Before you make your decision, it’s important to consider some important features. Let’s take a look at this post, we will give you these features. Also, you will get an overview of the list of the best Midi keyboards under $300 available out there.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Midi Keyboard
The first important feature to look at when choosing the best midi keyboard is the number of key you want. Determine if which keys you want to choose from 25, 49, or 61 keys. Pay attention to your studio desk size. Then, you can choose one that fits actually in your studio.
This is actually a dynamic control function. Thanks to this feature, you can physically manipulate the sound from your controller after engaging the key. If you want to use physical pressure differences in order to adjust the strength of the release accordingly, you just need to press and hold down the note.
Midi Sync/ CV Gate
This factor is to send Midi info data between devices for recording applications while you are using the hardware synths or drum machines.
The control voltage normally aims to control the transmission of pitch. And, the gate is to control if the note is on or off.
When being into live hardware recording, it’s important to make sure you own the right Midi functionality within your controller.
Mackie Control Universal
It makes a specific device become the master Midi keyboard for a DAW. The MCU allows you to control up to 16 devices or plugins from the only one master device. Some DAWs came with functionality problems when using MCU protocol in the past. That’s why you need to do your due diligence in order to determine what the DAW supports.
This feature shows you the amount of different pressure sensitive outputs. Typically, a standard keypress comes with 127 points of velocity. Therefore, you can get expressional playing. Although there are various plugins that can control and map velocity themselves, there are still 127 points of velocity in the industry-standard.
A lot of controllers are designed with the integration of weighted or semi-weighted keys. This purposes to simulate your feeling of playing a normal acoustic piano. A lever mechanism allows the hammers on each key to be linked to the key.
This can be essential feature in an electronic controller because this is a combination of it with the use of velocity in order to make a more natural feeling when you play. Because of no resistance on the keys, it may be more difficult for those who are playing on an acoustic piano to achieve the right feeling when playing a note.
We can see the option for an expression pedal in some Midi controllers. This means they are able to attach a sustain pedal via a 0.25 inches TRS lead. Also, these products can send as well as receive info within the keyboard.
When compared to the sustain pedal seen on an acoustic piano, the digital sustain pedals have the same way of working. You can easily buy them from many music retail outlets.
Top Four Best Midi Keyboards under $300
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49
The Native Instrument Komplete Kontrol A49 is a sleek and understated midi keyboard. It comes with a huge host of useful features as well as functions. In fact, it is designed for producers with any skill levels.
It has the smart play feature that helps you to lock the white key to a specific scale. Also, you can get more confidence and expression when playing live with this product. Moreover, it allows you to create diverse chord progressions without effort. Plus, it helps to keep up musically when playing with different more fluent musicians.
It comes with the touch-activated pots/knobs. Therefore, you just need to be able to pay attention to the details of that pot’s effect on the screen.
The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol allows you to switch between various velocity modes. Besides, it’s also possible to fix velocity anywhere.
Other features of this device include an arpeggiator, an auto-quantize button, the standard pitch and modulation wheel combo, as well as DAW transport control buttons. Therefore, you can control record and also play functions from the controller itself.
Novation Launchkey 49
The Novation Launchkey 49 comes with 25 and 61 key variations. This unit also comes with a deep and specific integration with Ableton Live production software. Thus, it includes 8 fully mappable pots/knobs.
It’s designed with a healthy 16 velocity besides pressure-sensitive drum pads that may be mapped for any function such as finger drumming, launching clips, and controlling fx. In addition, there are 9 mappable faders, so you can mix-down your tracks with ease. Also, this feature allows you to control your effects in real-time.
Thanks to velocity-sensitive and semi-weighted keys, you can play with a more dynamic feeling.
Nektar Panorama T4
Actually, this product is the newest of the Panorama Midi keyboard from Nektar. It is known for 49 and 61 key options available. Many people choose this device because of its stylish swept-back look. Also, they can get a streamlined feel from this option.
The Nektar Panorama T4 promises to give the users an aesthetic and pleasing experience. It is designed with the large LED screen that shows you all essential info about your current preset or patch. Also, it has the 4 soft button underneath, so you will get a feeling of a little less lost when you peruse through the on-board menus.
With this device, you can switch between instrument control and DAW control due to the mode buttons to the right of the LCD screen. This product comes with all aftertouch and velocity sensors in term of the keys. They can be combined with the semi-weighted aspect of the keys. This feature ensures to offer quite a luxurious feeling when playing.
Additionally, this keyboard is equipped with 8 mappable velocity besides pressure-sensitive beat pads. They give the users a total of 16 pads.
Note repeat functionality comes with gate, swing, trigger rate, and accent. There are midi clock sync capabilities as well.
The Akai MPK49 is the last Akai on the list. It brings a great range of helpful features. It offers you the inclusion of 12 MPC pads in addition to velocity as well as aftertouch sensitivity. You will receive a total of 64 real MPC pads from the Akai MPK49.
When it comes to midi-effects, this device is designed with full MPC note repeat capability. Due to the inclusion of MMC protocol, you can control transport functions within the Daw as FFWD, Pause, Play, REC, Stop, and etc.
There are 8×360-degree rotation mappable pots found in the bells and whistles. Each of these mappable pots comes with 3 banks that you can get a total of 24 pots from them. Plus, the device has a fairly large LED display to program on.
When choosing a Midi keyboard, there is a lot of features and sounds. Also, they come with the additional software, so you need to download or purchase. For this reason, it’s a great idea to give a priority to consider the hardware quality and the feel. Then, consider the additional features. The fact is that not all software work similarly with every keyboard and vice versa. Last, hope our guide is useful for you, and it can help to narrow down your choices.