Best Midi keyboard for Maschine

Best Midi keyboard for Maschine – The keyboards also play nicely with Maschine software, either on their own or alongside a Maschine controller. Regular MIDI keyboards can be used with Maschine, but they can’t easily play kits as each sound lives in a separate slot across a Group. The A-Series has a Key Mode toggle which flips the keyboard from playing chromatically on a single sound slot to triggering one sound per key across a kit. Cleverly, the Arpeggiator becomes a Note Repeat in this mode.

OVERVIEW

The keyboards even have a dedicated Ideas mode button, which lets you navigate between Scenes and Patterns. You can create new Groups and Patterns, but disappointingly you can’t duplicate.

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ROUND UP

The keyboards have no built in MIDI ports, but are capable of stand-alone operation over USB. I connected the A49 test unit to a Teenage Engineering OP-Z (which has built-in USB MIDI hosting) and it worked sans computer.

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1.Novation Launchkey

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2.Nektar

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3.AKAI Professional MPK

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4.QuNexus

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5.K-Board Smart Keyboard

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6.iRig Keys 2

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7.IK Multimedia

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8.Alesis V61

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9.Arturia MiniLab

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10.Korg Midi

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Best Midi keyboard for Maschine – BUYER’S GUIDE

Number of Keys: Perhaps the most important factor in choosing the best MIDI keyboard is selecting the correct size for you in terms of number of keys. The smallest keyboard you can buy has 25 keys. After that it’s 49, 61, and 88 (full size pianos have 88 keys, so that’s the max). Another size you might see out in the wild is 37 keys.

Based on data from our website, 49 keys seems to be the size the majority of producers go for. That’s big enough to be able to play melodies across 4 octaves, yet won’t take up too much space on your desk. You might choose 61 to have that extra octave, but it comes down to budget and personal preference. We lean on the side of 49 keys if this is your first one. People that go for 88 key keyboards probably have a piano playing background, and can’t stand having anything that feels different.

If you’re looking for maximum portability, you’ll want to look at compact 25-key MIDI keyboards.

Portability: If your studio space is especially small, you travel and produce music on-the-go, or just prefer to play and record simpler melodies with one hand, you’ll probably want a portable controller with 25 or 37 keys. Be aware that just because a controller is 25 keys doesn’t necessarily make it portable. An Akai MPK225 25-Key controller has a pretty big footprint, and might not fit into your backpack. Then again, the slim M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 travels very easily.

Budget: Always important, your budget will dictate what keyboards you should be looking at from what brands. The biggest things that affect the price are the brand name (e.g. Akai is pricier than Behringer), number of keys, and the number of extras like pads, faders, buttons, etc. If you’re on a tight budget you’ll need to decide which of the above are most important to you, and which you can do without. Roughly, you can spend as little as $50 on a MIDI keyboard, or as much as $500 (and up).

Keyboard Feel: Acoustic pianos have set the standard for what a keyboard should feel like. Keys that feel as heavy to the touch as real piano keys are known as fully-weighted. The next grades down from that are semi-weighted, and unweighted (also called synth-action). We might catch flak for saying this, but for a MIDI keyboard for your studio, having fully-weighted piano-like keys is not crucial… unless of course you’ll be playing a lot of piano. Semi-weighted keys feel very nice, and will provide great response as you play fast synth passages.

Most MIDI keyboard controllers available today have semi-weighted or synth-action keys. You’ll also read about keys being velocity-sensitive, which just means they respond to how soft or hard you play a note. If you barely touch a key, it will register that you played a note very softly, whereas if you smash a key, it’ll register the note with max strength. Velocity sensitivity is pretty crucial, since it will capture your playing dynamics and could make for more interesting recordings.

Extra Controls: These are things you get in addition to keys. Think pads, knobs, faders, buttons, wheels, etc. Just looking at a MIDI keyboard should give you an idea of how many extra controls you’re getting. A controller like the M-Audio Keystation 49 looks pretty sleek and spartan, with a handful of buttons at best. Some controllers look like the command center of a spaceship, like the Akai MPK249.

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WRAP UP

Whether you’re a hobbyist music producer who is just getting started or your skills in the studio are advanced, chances are at some point you’ll be looking for the best MIDI keyboard for your budget. A MIDI keyboard is an essential building block of a music studio, along with your computer/laptop, DAW, audio interface, headphones and/or studio monitors. What’s the best MIDI keyboard is a tough question to answer, since they more or less all look alike and manufacturers update the models fairly often (e.g. the Akai MPK*49* suddenly becomes the Akai MPK*249*… you can see how that gets confusing). Well, fear not. Equipboard is here to demystify the process of choosing your next (or first) MIDI keyboard.

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