Choosing the Best MIDI Keyboard – Our Top 3
If you are a musician, then it is highly likely that you play a range of instruments. Most musicians are able to play at least basic chords on a keyboard; especially if they are used to playing live. Keyboards, whilst capable of producing a range of sounds, can still be quite limiting.
However, with a MIDI keyboard, you can completely transform the way that you play music. You can play a wide range of instruments, compose your own pieces and really simplify recording and playing live simply by using software with your keyboard as a MIDI controller.
If you don’t currently own a keyboard that can be used as a MIDI controller then there is no better time than right now to buy a MIDI keyboard setup. In order to give you a few ideas of what’s on offer at the moment, we have tested and reviewed what we think are 3 contenders for the best weighted MIDI keyboard on the market right now. Please read on below for our top picks.
1. Nektar Impact LX88+ USB MIDI Keyboard Controller Review – The Best Choice
Features: 88 Keys – Semi-Weighted – Velocity Sensitive – 8 Pads – 8 Encoders – 8 Faders – DAW Integration – MIDI – USB – 127.6 x 27.9 x 8.9 cm – 8.16kg
- Lightweight and slim; perfect for the studio.
- The semi-weighted keys have a really nice feel and are not too springy.
- The rubber buttons are nice to the touch and easily accessible.
- Fantastic integration for multiple Digital Audio Workstations, including FL Studio and GarageBand (installers are included in the software).
- It is packed with all of the MIDI keyboard features you could possibly need.
- The wheels and pads are strategically placed to be easy to access.
- It is very affordable and you get more than your money’s worth.
- The pads could perhaps be a little bigger.
The Nektar Impact LX88+ Review
Number 1 on our list of the best weighted MIDI keyboard goes to the Nektar Impact LX88+. We have tested a range of different models and without a doubt, this one gives you not only the best features but also the best value for money. First of all, we’re going to take a quick look at the design of this MIDI keyboard.
First of all, what really impressed us with the design of this model is that although it has got 88 keys, which most MIDI keyboards don’t, it still remains compact and lightweight. We found that this not only made it perfect for studio use, but also meant that it was portable enough for live performances too.
We took a quick look at the keys themselves as this is often where MIDI keyboards fall short. With the Nektar Impact LX88+, this is not the case. The keys are semi-weighted which won’t give you a completely realistic piano feel, but they are not too springy so they are pretty close for a MIDI unit.
The rubber buttons are all very easily accessible and one thing that we liked is that they are nice to the touch. You can get a good grip on them which we found really helpful for quick changes when performing live. The wheels and pads are all strategically placed so that they are very easy to access. If we could make one improvement it would be that the pads could be a little bigger.
When we tested out the Nektar Impact LX88+, the one thing that really stood out for us was the incredible integration for multiple different Digital Audio Workstations. This MIDI keyboard has the installers for all major DAWs including FL Studio and GarageBand which we really liked.
The main thing that we were so impressed with was the sheer amount of features that you get with this MIDI keyboard. It really does have all of the features that you could possibly need for both recording and performing live.
The Nektar Impact LX88+ is packed with everything that you could possibly want from a MIDI keyboard and offers fantastic value for money which is why it is number 1 on our list today.
2. Novation Launchkey 61 Weighted MIDI Keyboard Review
Features: 61 Keys – Synth-Weighted – Velocity Sensitive – 16 Pads – 8 Encoders – 9 Faders – DAW Integration – MIDI – USB – 104.9 x 38.4 x 16 cm – 3.5kg
- Really nicely designed; the bright orange underneath is a nice touch.
- This MIDI keyboard is very lightweight so it is perfect for live performing.
- The velocity sensitive pads are easily accessible and perfect for percussion.
- There is no extensive configuration process.
- The iPad integration is great for music studio apps.
- There isn’t a standard MIDI connection; only USB.
- It feels a little flimsy for the price range.
The Novation Launchkey 61 Review
Next on our list is the Novation Launchkey 61. This one is quite different from the previous entry on the list, but it still offers a lot for the money that you can expect to pay. As we did with the previous model, we’re first going to take a look at the design of this MIDI keyboard.
Upon first picking it up, we have to admit that we did feel that it perhaps felt a little flimsy for the price that you can expect to pay for it. However, it is also worth noting that it is very lightweight and compact so it is perfect for the studio and live performances.
One of the things that we really liked about the Novation Launchkey 61 is the bright orange underneath. We really felt that this was a nice touch. Although there are only 61 keys, we certainly didn’t feel that this took anything away from the quality of this MIDI controller.
The keys are synth-weighted so they feel a little different to the previous keyboard on our list, but high quality nonetheless. The velocity sensitive pads are all very easy to access and we found them perfect for adding percussion to tracks when recording.
We also really liked the fact that there is no extensive configuration process with the Novation Launchkey 61 and like the previous entry on our list, you can also integrate this MIDI keyboard with FL Studio.
Our favourite feature was the integration with the iPad. We found that we were able to use a range of different music studio apps with the Novation Launchkey 61 which was great fun. The only thing that we didn’t really like was that there is no standard MIDI connection, only USB.
However, for the money that you can expect to pay, this keyboard is fantastic and has a lot to offer in the studio especially so we would certainly recommend it.
3. Chase P-40 Digital Piano Review
Features: 88 Keys – Fully Weighted – MIDI – USB – 129 x 34.5 x 15 cm – 17kg
- Nice design with fully weighted keys which feel very realistic.
- Integration with a number of different studio softwares.
- Perfect for the beginner who wants to get into producing.
- None of the features of a high end MIDI controller keyboard.
- Not great for portability or the studio.
The Chase P-40 Digital Piano Review
Last on our list today is something a little different. If you are brand new to the world of producing and want to get into producing music with a MIDI controller then the best way to bridge the gap is to opt for a digital piano with MIDI capabilities and the model that we have chosen is the Chase P-40 Digital Piano.
As we have already noted, this is a digital piano and not strictly a MIDI controller keyboard, although it can be used as such, so you won’t get the endless list of features that you would usually get. However, it is good for a beginner who wants to learn how to use a MIDI controller for producing.
In terms of design we really liked that this keyboard has the full 88 keys and they are fully weighted which we found gave them a very realistic feel. However, it is important to note that this isn’t a very portable keyboard and it is quite big so there may be issues with performing live or fitting it into a studio.
It can be integrated with a number of different studio apps which is another plus and it offers great value for money. If you are a beginner then we would certainly recommend the Chase P-40 Digital Piano.
We hope that after reading our verdicts on these three weighted MIDI keyboards that you are now able to choose the right one for your needs and get the most out of it.