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Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio 

Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio

Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio

Are you in the market for a new MIDI keyboard to add to your home studio setup? If so, you may be wondering which one is right for you. There are a lot of different options available, and it can be tricky to decide which one is best for your needs. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the things you need to consider before making a purchase. We’ll also recommend some of our favorite MIDI keyboards for home studios. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, read on to learn more, Let’s get started!

Presets-Packs-for-dance-music-production

What is the role of a studio control keyboard?

A MIDI control keyboard (or MIDI Controller) is a keyboard that does not produce sound but transmits instant commands to a device capable of using these commands to produce sound (synthesizer, sampler, module, or software equivalent of VST Plugins and VST Instruments). Although the control keyboard has no sound of its own, it has a great influence on the nature of the playing, and the possibilities of expression it opens and thus have a decisive effect on the final product coming out of your studio, such as on the comfort and enjoyment during work.

There are a few questions you should answer before choosing a control keyboard: What size of keyboard do you need? How important are you to have nubs and pads on the keyboard? How important is the quality and touch of the keyboards? Control keyboard with weighted keyboards? Keyboard with half-considered keyboards? Let’s try to answer these questions one by one:

 

Do I need a control keyboard?

A keyboard is a basic control tool for software synths and is basically what makes your computer a musical instrument. Even if you are a musician who creates electronic music and does not completely control keyboard playing, if you are serious about creating music, buy a keyboard and learn how to play! The better you can play in real-time the music you create will come out more diverse and interesting (and no, clicking on the mouse, and moving Cubase from place to place on the screen of cubes is not exactly playing).

If you have an organ, organic, or synth with keyboards – they can be a suitable replacement for a control keyboard – at least in the first step. (Note: You will probably need an interface too to connect them to your computer, most will not connect to USB). Many of the old keyboards provide high-level keyboards than what would give a new basic control keyboard from the store. Sometimes it’s worth buying an electric piano or an old synthesizer cheaply as a keyboard too and also get a device that can produce interesting sounds of its own.

Choosing A Midi Keyboard

Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio

How many octaves do you need on your Midi controller keyboard?

Control keyboards come in sizes between two and seven and a quarter octaves. If you are a guitarist, keyboardist, or electronic music creator who does not intend to put more than one on the keyboard at once, a two-octave control keyboard may be right for you. Another advantage of such a control keyboard is that it is small and will not take up much space in the studio. Such a small control keyboard may also be good as a second and more portable keyboard in the studio (next to a larger and heavier control keyboard), which allows, for example, two players to record together, or one player to comfortably control two instruments. Such a keyboard is also very convenient for drum programming.

 

But in most cases, it is recommended to buy a larger control keyboard of three, four or five octaves. The difference in price is usually not very big, so you can choose the keyboard you want according to your real needs. A five-octave keyboard is enough for most roles and situations. Keyboards and pianos are advised to purchase a keyboard similar to a piano with seven and a quarter octaves and eighty-eight keyboards so that the keyboard does not limit their playing abilities.

The Touch, Easy Keyboards and Equivalent Keyboards:

 

Apparently, every keyboard from Midi is supposed to be the same as its friend – as we mentioned, they have no sound and only transmit a digital command according to the volume of pressing a keyboard and the like. But there is a big and significant difference in the sense that the keyboard conveys to the player, which affects the quality of the playing, the enjoyment of the playing, and the musical expression ability that the keyboard allows.

Keyboards with weighted keyboards are keyboards whose keyboards are heavier and more massive, sometimes with imitations of the piano hammers mechanism. These keyboards are designed to give you the feel of piano playing and will suit professional keyboards and piano players. These keyboards are not necessarily better and are not recommended as a sole studio keyboard. For example, it is not very nice to program drums, to play Hammond Organ, or to control the synth using a control keyboard with weighted keyboards. In these cases, the plastic feeling and lightness of a simpler (and cheaper) control keyboard is far more pleasant.

Semi-transparent keyboards are in the sense of the soft and light keyboards and the heavyweight keyboards. There is no hammer-like mechanism here, nor the heavy feel of a piano keyboard, and yet these keyboards usually allow more feel to the playing.

You should also check the response of the control keyboard to the click volume. Basically, the desired condition is that we need to press as much as possible on the keyboard to reach maximum velocity – this will allow maximum dynamics in the playing (note that this last issue is not related to whether the keyboards on the keyboard are heavy or light). While in advanced control keyboards, you can choose the Curve of the response to the click volume, but don’t let that confuse you – the Curve is the slope between the weakest and most powerful point of power. If you press relatively weakly on a keyboard and the keyboard transmits a maximum velocity value, the Curve change option will not compensate for this control keyboard not allowing playing dynamics.

Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio
Nobes, faders and other controllers:

In addition, keyboards may be on keyboards from knobs, faders, modulation wheels, pitch bands, percussion pads, and more. A musician who creates electronic music needs controllers – as many as possible and as many types as possible. The various controllers allow you to control and play synth parameters and electronic tools in real-time. In addition to how many and which controllers exist, It is very worthwhile to examine their quality and feel.

Drum Programming Controllers can be a nice and effective help for those who like to program and play electronic drums in real-time. A musician who does not make electronic music can in most cases settle for the Modulation Wheel and the Pitch Band that exists on almost every control keyboard. The classic musician will be more interested in whether you can connect the Foot Pedal and Expression Pedal keyboards.

 

Connecting a control keyboard to a computer: USB or MIDI?

There is a trend in simple new control keyboards to give up the Midi port and settle for a USB port that bypasses the standard Midi interface and interfaces directly. Here is the place to note that still the best and most reliable way to connect a control keyboard to a computer is through a dedicated interface and not directly on USB. On a keyboard that has both a USB port and a MIDI port, the keyboard can be supplied with power from the USB and sent from the MIDI port.

 

 

 

Control keyboard which is also a sound card?

An integrated control keyboard with a professional sound card can sound a cheap solution that kills several birds at once. I do not recommend it. For me, it is always preferable to have a dedicated device that does its job from a combination device that does it all. Even when considering future studio upgrades, it is best to have a modular home studio built of good components and separated from each other. This keyboard is a keyboard and a card is a card. Let’s leave it like that!

 

Choosing A Midi Keyboard

Choosing A Midi Keyboard For Your Home Studio
 

Some additional parameters to consider before purchasing a control keyboard:

 

The Aftertouch option is an excellent tool that is absent from simpler control keyboards.

The Velocity Off parameter is another interesting parameter that can only be found in a small portion of the control keyboards.

Do the Pitch Band and the Modulation Wheel sit on the same wheel? It’s annoying to me, there are those who can’t do it otherwise!

The Split option allows you to split the keyboard in two, and control with each half of another instrument – can be effective and important for some musicians in certain situations, especially with a larger control keyboard.

Controls on the control panel for pedals like Foot Pedal and Expression Pedal.

How heavy is the keyboard? An unpleasant 30-pound keyboard to carry around for performances! Some of the more elaborate keyboards have built-in synthesizers and various VST Instruments virtual controllers – which can be very convenient.

How much space does the keyboard take? In a home studio, the place is an important resource. An oversized keyboard may take up much of this space.

Our Recommendations:

A good control keyboard will become your best friend in the studio. Use the information that is here, in your hands and ears and go out and find the keyboard that is right for you. Don’t just rely on my recommendations here, go to the shops, touch, feel, and decide. These are the keyboards we like:

Top 5 Most Recommended MIDI Keyboards

Akai Professional MPK261 61-key Keyboard Controller
 
Akai Professional’s MPK controller keyboards have become standard equipment in many professional MIDI rigs. The latest MPK261 rocks improvements in every major area, from its new RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads to the superb action of its aftertouch-enabled 61-note keypad. The MPK261 gives you boatloads of workflow-enhancing features such as MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and an arpeggiator for complex rhythmic and melodic manipulation. With its assignable faders, buttons, and encoders (eight each), 16 performance pads, transport controls, LCD screen, and USB/iOS modes, the MPK261 gives you absolute control over your software.

Features

  • 61 semi-weighted, full-size keys with aftertouch
  • 16 RGB-illuminated MPC pads derived from the MPC Renaissance (each with 4 banks)
  • 24 assignable Q-Link controllers include knobs, faders, and switches (8 of each)
  • New control layout with backlit LCD screen
  • USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input and output
  • Comprehensive transport and parameter controls for hands-on DAW integration
  • MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and arpeggiator for advanced rhythmic and melodic manipulation
  • MPC Full Level, 16 Levels, Tap Tempo, and Time Division assist with dynamics and tempo
  • Pitch bend, modulation, and octave controls for expressive recording and performing
  • One sustain/footswitch jack, one expression pedal jack
  • USB bus power for plug-and-play connectivity

There are few more frustrating things than when you want to sit down and make music but find yourself sinking all your time and effort into finding inspiring sounds or, worse yet, getting your system to work at all. Arturia’s KeyLab Essential 61 is a virtual instrument workstation that’s perfect for preventing exactly that sort of problem from derailing you. Between the controller’s top-notch keypad, comprehensive hands-on controls, and total integration with the thousands of sounds in Arturia’s Analog Lab software, KeyLab Essential just plain works. It’s an amazing experience that lets you take your ideas and turn them into fresh tracks in no time.

Features

  • A powerful MIDI keyboard controller built around Arturia’s Analog Lab and V Collection instruments
  • Play effortlessly on a highly responsive 61-note keybed with separate modulation and pitch wheels
  • Other hands-on controls include 10 encoders, 9 sliders, a 6-button transport section, and 4 command switches
  • Perform with 8 pads, Chord Play mode, and a sustain pedal input for added expression
  • Connectivity includes MIDI and USB connections, with MCU and HUI control compatibility onboard
  • Included Analog Lab virtual instrument provides over 6,500 sounds from 17 Arturia V Collection instruments

With the Novation 49SL MkIII, you’ll take control of your projects like never before. Experience first-class action, thanks to an expressive synth-style semi-weighted keypad. Command your synths and modules with ease, courtesy of MIDI In, Out, and Out 2/Thru; Analog Clock Out; and two sets of CV Pitch, Gate, and Mod outputs. Harness the full power of any InControl- or HUI-compatible DAW using the 49SL MkIII’s pads, buttons, faders, and knobs. Beyond that, you’ll find that building mind-blowing arrangements is easier than ever, thanks to an internal 8-track sequencer, a built-in arpeggiator, and scales, modes, and zones. You also get backlit pitch and modulation wheels, along with full-color LCD screens for at-a-glance visibility of your parameters. Complete with customizable mappings for effortless setup and recall, the 49SL MkIII is a must-have music production tool.

Features

  • 49-key keyboard controller
  • Expressive synth-style semi-weighted keybed
  • 10kHz scan rate supplies a super-dynamic feel
  • Aftertouch can be assigned to any parameter you’d like
  • On-key RGB LED feedback allows you to see scales, modes, and zones instantly
  • Internal 8-track, pattern-based sequencer
  • Built-in arpeggiator and selectable velocity curves
  • Velocity-sensitive RGB pads with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Backlit pitch and modulation wheels
  • Customizable mappings for both your hardware and software
  • Comprehensive hardware connectivity including MIDI In, Out, and Out 2/Thru; Analog Clock Out; and 2 sets of CV Pitch, Gate, and Mod outputs
  • Deep integration with Ableton, Logic and Reason
  • HUI compatibility with Cubase, Pro Tools, Studio One, and REAPER
  • 3-year warranty
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Smart Keyboard Controller

Native Instruments’ retooled Komplete Kontrol S49 MK2 includes powerful new features such as high-resolution full-color displays, pitch and mod wheels, a four-directional push encoder, and more, along with unrivaled integration with your Komplete instrument collection. The Komplete Kontrol S49’s smooth-playing Fatar keybed is a joy to play, and its purpose-built browser section makes navigating NI’s tag-based preset system quick and intuitive. Logical controls, including a transport section, provide you with hands-on command of your DAW and real-time control over your instruments. Beyond that, the full Komplete Select software bundle adds a full array of production-ready sounds to your sonic toolbox.

Features

  • Kontakt 6 Player Tab-based preset browsing and hardware interface
  • Reaktor 6 Player Powerful player for all “Made for Reaktor Player” instruments
  • Massive Virtual analog synthesizer
  • Monark Iconic mono synth
  • Drumlab Sampled / synthesized percussion
  • The Gentleman Classic upright piano
  • Reaktor Prism Polyphonic synthesizer
  • Scarbee Mark 1 Electric piano
  • Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass Sampled Rickenbacker 4003 bass guitar
  • Retro Machines 20+ legendary vintage synths
  • Vintage Organs Sampled classic organs
  • West Africa World percussion library
  • Mod Pack — Phasis Draws inspiration from classic phasers but adds powerful new features
  • Replika Three high-fidelity delay algorithms
  • Solid Bus Comp Bus compressor and more
  • True School Fuses traditions of old- and new-school beatmaking
  • Velvet Lounge A bridge between classic soul music and 21st-century production techniques
  • Deep Matter Captures the authentic vibes of Berlin’s underground sound
Novation MiniNova 37-key Synthesizer with Vocoder

Small yet beastly, Novation’s MiniNova 37-mini-key synthesizer/vocoder gives you robust performance controls that let you tweak and warp 256 great-sounding onboard presets – and your voice – in real-time. Under the bonnet, MiniNova sports the same potent synth engine as its big brother UltraNova. String synth engine modules together in the 20-slot modulation matrix to create monster patches. Jam to patterns you create with the onboard arpeggiator. Connect MiniNova to your computer via USB and use it as a MIDI controller. Want boatloads of synth in a pint-sized package? You want Novation’s MiniNova.

Features

  • Massively powerful mini-synth with UltraNovasound engine
  • Voice-tune and classic vocoder effects
  • Tweak and warp your sounds in real-time
  • 256 amazing sounds onboard, instantly searchable
  • Layer up to five effects per voice
  • Comes with editing software and a software patch librarian
  • Run guitars andother instruments though the vocoder and effects
  • Also functions as a 37-key controller keyboard with MIDI I/O
  • 3-year warranty

Conclusion

Midi controllers continue to be a popular choice for musicians of all levels. They are affordable, portable, and give you the ability to control your sound and software with ease. In this blog post, we’ve outlined some things to consider when purchasing a midi controller keyboard for your home studio. Whether you’re just starting out or are looking for an upgrade, we hope this information will help make your decision easier. What do you think about this blog? Let us know in the comments below!

Top 5 Most Recommended MIDI Keyboards

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