Best Midi keyboard for Live Performance – There are genuine reasons for buying every controller for live performance on this list. As always you should base your decision on which one suits your needs most.
Think about your budget, your workspace, and what style you play most. Do that till you eliminate any unsuitable keyboards then you should be left with a smaller list to choose from.
The answer to this question is pretty simple. The two most important factors are the key counts and the keyboard action type. Be aware of all the different key counts available on the market and select the one which suits your needs.
I have presented to you the current best MIDI controllers available today. I hope you found exactly what you were looking for, and if you did, let me know in the comments below!
1.Akai Professional MPD226
Pros & Cons
- Pro Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable feature-packed pad controller with 16 Thick Fat RGB illuminated velocity and pressure sensitive MPC pads
- Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for 4 pad banks provides a total of 64 assignable pads
- Assignable Control - 4 assignable faders, 4 assignable Q-Link knobs and 4 assignable Q-Link buttons with a total of 36 assignable controls accessible via 3 banks
- Feature Packed - Classic MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, 16 Level, Full Level and Tap Tempo controls for immersive expressive performances
- Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Drum Synth 500 by AIR Music Tech
- The MPC Production Experience - Includes MPC Beats Software complete with the finest features and essential production tools from the Akai Professional MPC Series
- IOS Connectivity Covered - Control your iOS apps and open up a world of pad control capability using the Camera Connection Kit (sold separately)
2.M-Audio Oxygen 25
Pros & Cons
- Compact, ultra portable performance keyboard controller with 25 full size, synth action velocity sensitive keys and on board pitch bend and modulation wheels for expressive performances
- 8 velocity sensitive trigger pads for beat production and clip launching, and 8 assignable knobs for manipulating virtual instruments, DAW parameters and plugins on board LCD screen provides instant parameter feedback
- Dedicated octave up and down buttons increase the keyboard to the full melodic range and transport buttons let you control your DAW without reaching for the mouse
- Innovative DirectLink automatically maps controls to popular DAWs including Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase and more
- Class compliant, plug and play functionality and USB powered specification for simple user friendly setup
- Comprehensive production software package for Mac and PC worth over dollar 100 included; Ableton Live Lite, SONiVOX Twist and AIR Music Tech Xpand
Pros & Cons
- Get hands on with Ableton Live - Have a seamless music making experience with Ableton Live and your Launchkey Mini. Have all the tools at your disposal with deep and intuitive Ableton Live control — including device macro control, track select, record, capture MIDI, clip and scene launch, stop/mute/solo, volume, pans and sends.
- Get creative easily with arpeggiator - Easy to use but deeply controllable, Launchkey Mini’s creative arpeggiator allows you to change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, gate and more to add a whole range of diversity to your ideas and melodies.
- Play chords with one finger - Lay down chords for your track quick with fixed chord mode. Play a chord with one finger by assigning a fixed shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard.
- Launchkey Mini goes anywhere with you - Send apps and program changes to your hardware synths with MIDI Out, or add keys to your Groovebox directly over MIDI. Launchkey Mini’s lightweight and compact design means it goes anywhere you do. The hardware is bus-powered which is great for travelling and jamming on the go.
- Finest-tech at your fingertips - The Launchkey Mini might be small in size but it’s packed with features. The 25-key device has 16 velocity-sensitive RGB, eight rotary controls, pitch and mod touch strips, and sustain input. Our finest mini keymech to date is also included.
- DAW Integration - In addition to Apple Logic and Ableton Live, Launchkey Mini also has excellent integrations with Reason, as well as any HUI compatible DAW, such as Cubase, Pro Tools, and more.
Pros & Cons
- Benefits: The Arturia KeyLab MkII 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller is an expressive, versatile studio controller that works seamlessly with your DAW, virtual instruments, hardware, and modular gear
- Features: It features dynamic performance and studio controls, including a high-quality 49-note keyboard with aftertouch, 16 RGB backlit pads, 9 faders, 9 rotary knobs, and dedicated DAW and transport controls
- Construction: Encased in durable, tour-ready aluminum and decked out with wiggle-free knobs and faders, Arturia has created a controller designed from the ground up to not let you down
- Controls: KeyLab MkII features 9 rotary encoders, 9 faders, 16 backlit RGB performance pads, and a selection of fully assignable buttons to give you unfettered access to your virtual instruments, effects, and recording environment
- Software: KeyLab MkII comes complete with thousands of sounds in 3 incredible software titles - Analog Lab, Piano V, and Ableton Live Lite - and works seamlessly with them to let you create music without barriers. Say �hello� to your ideal creative companion for the studio and stage
5.KeyLab MKII 49
Pros & Cons
- Item Package Dimension: 34.399999964912L X 14.599999985108W X 4.799999995104H Inches
- Item Package Weight - 16.7000163465 Pounds
- Item Package Quantity - 1
- Product Type - Audio Midi Controller
6.Native Instruments Komplete
Pros & Cons
- Smart keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments and effects
- Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch, fully weighted, hammer-action keys
- Pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments and effects, plus hundreds of Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) plug-ins from leading manufacturers
- Includes required PSU
- Includes KOMPLETE 12 SELECT and MASCHINE Essentials.1/4 inch TRS connections for expression and sustain pedals
7.Studiologic Numa C
Pros & Cons
- 88-keys, TP/9 Piano semi-weighted action with after touch; dual switch detection system
- USB port allows to transmit and receive digital audio; high quality built-in speakers amplify the sounds of your computer or tablet
- 128 voices of polyphony and 88 onboard sounds with a selection of acoustic pianos, electric pianos, synths, organs, guitar & basses, drum kits, and more
- Tone wheel organ with drawbars
- Featherweight and portable cabinet -- small and compact; everything you need in just under 16 pounds
Pros & Cons
- Aux output for dedicated record, streaming, or confidence monitor feeds
- Updated user interface for fast, trouble-free operation
- New high-quality audio preamps and converters for crystal-clear sound
- Direct control of select PTZ cameras from JVC and Panasonic over LAN
- Automatic audio mixing and video switching functions to support single operators
Pros & Cons
- MIDI Keyboard with 61 full-sized, velocity sensitive square-front keys, perfect for playing Virtual Instruments
- 8 velocity- and pressure-sensitive backlit pads for beat production and clip launching
- 4 assignable knobs and 4 assignable buttons interface with your music software. Seamless, visual feedback via illuminated buttons and knobs
- Octave Up and Down buttons let you access the full keyboard range and Pitch and modulation wheels deliver expressive, creative control
- Premium Software Included - Includes Ableton Live Lite, Xpand!2 virtual instrument software by Air Music Tech and MPC Beats
10.MIDI Controller Bundle
Pros & Cons
- Music Production Bundle – Universal sustain pedal and professional USB MIDI keyboard controller with drum pads and assignable DAW controls – perfect for musicians and performers
- V61 | Music Production Essential – Plug-and-Play USB MIDI Keyboard with 61 full-sized, velocity sensitive piano style keys, perfect for playing Virtual Instruments
- V61 | Make Better Beats - 8 velocity- and pressure-sensitive backlit drum pads for beat production and clip launching
- V61 | Total Production Control - 4 assignable encoders and 4 assignable buttons interface with your music software
- SP-2 | Genuine Piano Style Sustain - Universal sustain pedal with chrome foot pedal for a piano style pedal action; polarity switch for compatibility with all electronic keyboards / MIDI Controllers
- Premium Software Suite - Includes ProTools | First Alesis Edition, Ableton Live Lite 9 and Eleven Lite, plus Mini Grand, DB-33 and Xpand!2 virtual instrument software by Air Music Tech
Best Midi keyboard Controller for Live Performance
Pros & Cons
- The PSR-E373 is an ideal portable keyboard for beginners and hobbyists
- Packed with over 622 stunning sounding instrument Voices and a wealth of accompaniment Styles
- 11 Super Articulation Lite Voices (SALite), inherited from the powerful PSR-S models, are now included, which give you even greater expressive, real time, control (e.g. String Scratches/Guitar Slide noise), adding to the realism of the Voice
- Smart Chord lets you play great-sounding chords from simple Pop triads to complex jazz 7th chords with just a few fingers
- Power adapter sold separately
Best Midi keyboard for Live Performance – BUYER’S GUIDE
There are three different types of key actions which all serve different purposes. The three different key action types of a MIDI keyboard are discussed below.
This is the most common key action found in most MIDI keyboards. The synth-action keys use a spring and are made up of plastic. There is no weight attached to the keys of a synth-action MIDI keyboard, but when you press or release a key, it returns to its original position with the help of a spring, making it pretty fast.
As the name suggests, the keys of a semi-weighted key action MIDI keyboard use a lightweight attached to the end of every key. In this case, the keys aren’t made of plastic. The semi-weighted key action keyboards are not as fast as the synth action, but give you a slightly more realistic feel that is somewhat close to a traditional piano.
Fully-weighted key action keyboards are as close as you can get to the keys of a traditional piano. The fully-weighted key action type is mostly found in digital pianos. The feeling you get from them isn’t the exact same as that of a real traditional piano, but it’s fairly close. The fully-weighted action type is less common in MIDI keyboards, but some MIDI keyboards with a high price tag come equipped with them.
Do you want a keyboard for studio use or will you and your new keyboard be traveling to gigs regularly? If this is the case, you’ll want a portable keyboard. As mentioned earlier, there are MIDI keyboards that come in compact sizes and easier to travel with. The smaller the keyboard, the more portable it is.
Do you want other sounds from your keyboard beyond the standard piano sounds? There are MIDI keyboards on the market that come with drum pads, so if you are looking to compose some beats on your MIDI keyboard, these are the ones to go for.
The Extra Features
There are some MIDI keyboards that come equipped with extra features such as faders, buttons, knobs, arpeggiators, and more. These features fall into the category of performance control. The most noticeable thing about keyboards with these features is that the more features a keyboard has, the higher the price. It’s essential to determine what features will be useful to you and then go for the appropriate MIDI keyboard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are MIDI controllers good for live performances?
As long as the sound quality is good and you know how to use it, then yes. Check out this list of the best MIDI controllers for live performances.
Are MIDI controllers any good?
It all depends on the model and your skill level. For more help, check out this list of the best MIDI controllers on the market.
I use Ableton and Cubase to compose music. Do I need a MIDI controller?
Yes, a MIDI controller is required, but it also depends on what exactly you need to compose. Check out our top picks for MIDI controllers for Ableton and Cubase.
Whether you are an aspiring musician or a pro, a good MIDI controller can make the difference for your live performances. No matter your music style or performance venue, this versatile tool is an essential gear for the music world of our days.
The MIDI controller is an interface that enables you to edit and customize a broad variety of sounds and electronic musical instruments.
The market has plenty of offers, so how do you know which one is best for you? We compiled a list of the best MIDI controllers for live performances to help you out.