In addition to the computer itself, a good MIDI keyboard is the central element of any musical equipment. She is responsible for translating creative ideas. If your budget is limited, consider inexpensive keyboards to suit your needs. To help decide, we selected the best of all available, from companies such as Akai, Alesis, Nektar and Arturia. Each of them is suitable for beginner musicians. The most expensive item costs only $ 140, and the cheapest – $ 53.
MIDI keyboards fall into two main categories: portable devices with 25 keys and large desktop options with 49 or more keys. Of the mini versions, due to the huge number of functions and compact body, AREFYEV studio recommend Akai MPK Mini Mk2.
Meanwhile, M-Audio will become the champion of larger keyboard controllers. If you are looking for a budget 5-octave MIDI controller, the Keystation 61 MK3 is the obvious choice, while for more features we would choose the Oxygen 49 Mk4.
Let’s move on to the top 10 cheapest keyboards in 2019:
1. Akai MPK Mini Mk2
This is a pocket wagon from Akai. Starting Price: $ 73. Powered by USB bus. 8 MPC note pads, 8 assignable rotary encoders. Software: Hybrid3 by AIR MusicTech, SONiVOX Wobble and Akai Pro MPC Essentials.
Akai MPK Mini Mk2 is an old, but nice model, not inferior to the position of modern innovations. She still holds the pinnacle of sales with excellent build quality at an affordable price. Among the distinguishing features: 4-way joystick for pitch and modulation, built-in arpeggiator and note repetition functions, a large number of knobs and fantastic pads in MPC style. If you need a small, lightweight MIDI controller to drop it in your laptop bag, then this model will live up to your expectations.
2. Nektar SE25
The cheapest midi keyboard. Starting price: $ 53. Number of keys: 25. Connectors: Micro USB port and pedal input. Management: 6 function keys; assignable buttons PB1 and PB2 to change pitch, transpose, volume and pan. Software: Bitwig 8-Track.
It is also a compact device that is convenient to take with you on the go. Nektar SE25 firmly demonstrates that you don’t have to sacrifice the features and usability of the game for the sake of size and portability. Where else can I get integration with Bitwig, Cubase, Garageband, Logic, Nuendo, DigitalPerformer, Mixcraft, Reason, Reaper, Sonar and StudioOne for the money?
3. Arturia MiniLab MkII
A handful of vintage virtual synthesizers in miniature modern packaging. Starting Price: $ 106. Number of keys: 25. Connectors: USB port and input of the sustain pedal. Management: 2 strips with modulation of pitch, 16 encoders (2 clickable), 2 blocks of 8 touch pads with backlight, sensitive to speed and pressure.
Like all Arturia products, the MiniLab MkII is a beautiful, well-built and functional MIDI controller that provides ample room for customizing the 500 Analog Lab virtual vintage synthesizers it comes with.
4. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32
Starting price: $ 115. Number of keys: 32. Control: 2 touch bars for changing pitch / modulation, 8 touch control knobs, OLED display, 4-position push-button encoder. Software: NI KOMPLETE and FX: Monark, ScarbeeMark I, ReaktorPrism, KompleteKontrol, Maschine Essentials, KompleteStart, AbletonLive 10 Lite.
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol is the industry’s leading software and hardware product line. Thus, the ability to buy them at such a good price using the Komplete Kontrol M32 MIDI controller is really very attractive. The M32 has a large number of keys spanning 2.5 octaves (F2 to C5).
5. Novation Launchkey Mini Mk2
The best low-cost MIDI keyboard for Ableton users with limited workspace. Starting Price: $ 93. Number of keys: 25. Connectors: Micro USB. Controls: Octave shift, 16 speed-sensitive backlit keys, 7 function keys and 8 rotary encoders. Software: AbletonLive Lite, Novation BassStation, V-Station, Loopmasters samples.
Excellent integration with LiveNo, but without pedal support. The device is designed for users of DAW Ableton. The recording and playback buttons work perfectly right out of the box, and eight rotary knobs are automatically mapped to the most commonly used parameters in the selected plugin or instrument. If you need larger keys, the full-sized NovationLaunchkey 25Mk2 is available for $ 133.
6. M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3
Maximum keys for minimum money from M-Audio. Starting Price: $ 139 Number of keys: 61. Connectors: DC Power, USB-port, MIDI Out, pedal input. Software: ProTools First M-Audio Edition, AbletonLive Lite, AIR MiniGrand, AIR Velvet and Xpand! 2.
The version of Mark 3 listed here offers a full-sized half-weighted five-octave board of the quality you expect from M-Audio, as well as the ability to control transportation in DAW using special buttons.
7. M-Audio Oxygen 49 Mk4
Want more features? Pay attention to the Oxygen 49 Mk4. Starting price: $ 125. Number of keys: 49. Control: Pitch Bend / Modulation, 8 speed-sensitive pads, 8 assignable rotary encoders, 9 assignable faders and 9 switches. Software: Ableton LiveLite, Sonivox Twist, XPand! 2.
All three versions (25, 49 and 61-key) offer an excellent compromise between features, range and price. Compared to Keystation 61, with 49 you lose an octave, but you get much more functionality. With this impressive set of knobs, buttons, and sliders highlighted by the transport controls in the DAW program and eight premium drum pads, this compact yet powerful MIDI controller that you should like.
8. Korg Microkey Air 37 Bluetooth
Starting price: $ 119. Number of keys: 37. Software: KORG Gadget, Module, Legacy, M1 Le with special service pack, UVI DigitalSynsations, AAS Ultra AnalogSession, AAS Strum AcousticSession, AASLounge LizardSession, Propellerhead Reason Limited.
The KorgMicroKey series of MIDI controllers has long been popular with musicians. MicroKey Air is based on the original, but with the addition of wireless via Bluetooth. The 37-note version shown here packs a decent 3-octave range into a slim design for just $ 120. Although there are also 25, 49 and even 61-note versions. The Bluetooth feature is easy to set up and provides wireless connectivity to laptops, PCs, and even iOS devices. When used, on average, about one hour a day, two AA batteries provide about a month of uptime.
9. Alesis V49
One of the best cheap MIDI keyboards for small desktops. Starting price: $ 101. Number of keys: 49. Software: V Editor, AbletonLive Lite, xpand! 2 from AIR MusicTech.
The Alesis V49 controller offers a decent balance of full-sized, firmly spring-loaded half-weighted keys and assignable hardware controls for a small amount, making it the perfect best cheap competitor. Build quality is impressively stable, and the downloadable V Editor software lets you change the appearance of the keys if necessary.
The unusual layout gives this controller a unique look and ultra-thin profile, which is ideal for people with a small workspace.
10. Swissonic EasyKey 61
Stylish and affordable with no frills, a full-sized 5-octave board. Starting Price: $ 110. Connectors: Sustain Pedal, MIDI Out. Management: Pitch Bend, Modulation, 1 rotary encoder, 1 slider, Octave Shift. Software: Thomann StudioStarter Kit LE.
Despite the fact that it lacks additional functions, power is available via the USB bus, a 5-pin MIDI output, an input for the sustain pedal, pitch wheels and modulation. Thus, if all you really need is the ability to play two-handed parts with a minimum of fuss, EasyKey 61 offers the basic equipment for creating musical works.