While most people will only really need to worry about Windows or OS X, a MIDI controller that provides drivers with greater operating system flexibility also generally produces a better quality driver in the first place. SRC = Sources, number of gear owner and user opinions analyzed to produce a product's Gearank Rating. The Novation 49SL MKIII is the newest product from Novation and also their most advanced. However, that does not mean that you are simply stuck with using the DAW offered. In particular it has a channel strip control with a 100mm motorized touch sensitive fader above the 2 mod wheels which responds to the volume of the selected track in your DAW - select a different track and the fader will automatically move into the correct position. The class compliant feature allows this controller to connect to any computer system or device. It was considered a workstation in itself by an expert review and is highly recommended for studios centering around electronic music production. If you would like to read the meta-reviews of the controllers that were in the 2016 version but didn't make the list this year, then check out: Submitted by Jason Horton on Feb. 2, 2017. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews. Summary. Just keep in mind, if a MIDI controller comes with a DAW package, it will likely work best with that DAW and may present issues when using a different DAW. Users say build quality and materials could be better. Basically, once the DAW and the MIDI controller are synchronized, how accurate are the actual analog controls on the MIDI controller when used to alter the mapped function of the DAW? Unless you are looking to shell out some serious cash, the Akai MPK 249 is arguably one of the best all... 3. The unit itself is designed and built well with many praising its aesthetics. It also comes bundled with a DAW and great sounding software synth sounds. Modulation and pitch wheels are rubberized and they provide you with direct, simple note manipulation. I ranked the 49-key version of the Novation Launchkey at #4 in my earlier guide to the best 49 key MIDI controllers. However, like a number of the lower priced MIDI controllers on our list, the Nektar provides these features at such a low cost by skimping on the keybed. The way the MIDI controller maps its controls, encodes those controls, and even updates its drivers can all influence whether it will offer an easy experience or a frustrating one. The reason so many of the rating values you see above are similar is because we have only recommended the keyboards with the highest ratings. This affects its overall roadworthiness. Keep in mind, as operating systems update, you will want your MIDI keyboard controller’s drivers to update as well, depending on the changes made to the OS. For one, they are ultimately an analog port from a piano which often leaves non-pianists ignoring them altogether. Looking for an affordable MIDI keyboard? Submitted by Jason Horton on May. Specifically, it seems like they divvy up the various features over different products such that if in a single package, the Alesis would be one of the best MIDI controllers available. M-Audio Keystation 49/61 MK3 M-Audio ’s Keystation MIDI keyboards are some of the best-selling in the world, and for good reason. Though, the synth keys will generally come with the least expensive products. The most often positively cited feature in reviews is the deep level of integration with the major DAWs listed above - customer reviews often use the adjective "amazing"! Most MIDI controllers come with the files necessary to automatically map the functions and keys directly onto your DAW. Unfortunately, the Oxygen series present as a bit underwhelming. The best 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controllers in 2019 include: Alesis VI49 On the contrary, some of the most advanced and expensive MIDI controllers will still only provide a semi-weighted key action. A MIDI keyboard controller is an essential piece of music gear in today’s home studio. This is similar to how a retailer's 5 star ratings are not the opinion of the retailer, but the opinions of the people who have bought it. Basically, once the DAW and the MIDI controller are synchronized, how accurate are the actual analog controls on the MIDI controller when used to alter the mapped function of the DAW? A couple of users report some dissatisfaction with the keybed saying it's a bit noisey. 25 keys may not be enough for 2 handed playing with their octave range and 61 to 88 Key controllers may take up too much of your space, especially if you're running a home studio setup. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 - 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller for Mac and PC with Assignable Controls and Software Production Suite Included 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,363 £68.00 £ 68 . However, a quality arpeggiator on your MIDI controller can increase your workflow and make subtle adjustments on the fly not only a breeze, but a pleasure. You can also plug the P4 directly into other MIDI hardware such as synths and control them directly without a computer. Akai Professional MPK249 | 49 Key Semi Weighted USB MIDI Keyboard Controller Including Core Control From The MPC Workstations, Best MIDI Foot Controller | Ultimate Guide 2020, Best MIDI Controller For FL Studio | 2020 Buyers Guide, Ableton Push Alternatives | Ultimate Guide, Best Midi Pad Controller 2020 | Ultimate Guide, Ableton Push 2 Review | The All In One Mini Controller, Best Midi Keyboard for Garageband | 2020 Updated, Pro Keyboard Performance - 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys and a premium piano-style keybed for unprecedented response and natural feel, Beat Making Essentials - 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads each with 4 banks for 64 pads - the perfect solution for triggering samples, loops, one-shots, melodics and more, Assignable Control - 24 assignable Q-Link controllers comprising 8 control knobs, faders and switches engineered for hassle-free DAW / virtual instrument mapping, Your Studio Centerpiece - Take command of your peripheral MIDI equipment courtesy of an onboard USB-MIDI interface with 5-pin MIDI input & output, Core MPC Tools - MPC mainstay controls included - MPC Note Repeat, arpeggiator, MPC Full Level, Tap Tempo and Time Division, Comprehensive Production Software Package for Mac and PC included - Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech & SONiVOX Twist 2.0 (downloads). Best MIDI Controllers. Both users and experts found the the keys to be responsive and have a rigid feel. 89 out of 100. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works. Whether that’s fully-weighted or semi-weighted will depend on your style of music and your budget. It includes everything you need to get started with MIDI controller-focused music production including a DAW and virtual instruments. We are picking out our overall top 10 MIDI controllers available in 2020. Instead of mechanical keys, it employs the company's proprietary "keywave" design: A set of raised portions where keys would be but are more "squishy" than stiff. Submitted by Jason Horton on Apr. I entered my original comments under the wrong assumption that Gearank provides comparison reviews without understanding "How Gearank Works" - I was researching online for midi controller reviews and came upon your site. Unfortunately, changing many of those settings will be a pain since you have to scroll through many of the control options rather than change them with a single analog. Many consider it like learning a new instrument because effects like vibrato, pitch bends and other effects are in play aside from just playing notes. It does not play the VSTs as a standalone. PRICE. With one single controller you can play saxophone, piano, organ, trumpet, bass, drums, guitar, and even add in vocals. In my research, most "best" list from other sites includes "M-audio Code" and "Novation Launchkey MkII". We believe this helps consumers save time by only presenting the products with the best reputations. However, numerous MIDI controllers offer various arpeggiator controls to adjust the effect, chord structure, rhythm, etc without having to return to the mouse and keyboard to make tweaks. 90 out of 100. In this instance, the keys will utilize a spring or even a modified hammer design to replicate the feel of playing a piano. Today’s MIDI controller market is flooded with an abundance of different options like keyboards and pads available at every imaginable price range. Novation LaunchKey 49 MK2. Many companies have failed at making truly special 49 key keyboard controllers, but the following 5 keyboard controllers are the best of the bunch. Semi-Weighted – This is by far the most common type of key action in the MIDI controller market. Not only do the keys use a hammer to provide a fully-weighted action, but the resistance of the hammer will be more or less depending on which octave the key sits on the keybed. Though, it is actually becoming relatively infrequent that a manufacturer will both making a MIDI controller with this key action. All I know about the M-Audio CTRL-49 is what I've read about it and some videos from NAMM - it certainly looks good and packed with features and I'll be looking forward to seeing how well it is received when it finally hits the stores. Don't let the "Essential" wording fool you: The Keylab Essential 49 has numerous features that help accelerate your workflow and productivity. The best midi controller keyboards have all these features. We provide further explanation in How Gearank Works. That is not to suggest other factors are irrelevant, but without an internal databank, a MIDI controller relies on the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) more than many other pieces of music production hardware. For this update, we began by updating the Gearank scores of all the 49 key MIDI controllers in our Music Gear Database to better reflect the most current market sentiments, then we looked to see which newer keyboards we should add to our short-list for consideration. Arguably, this is the best option for established and first time players. 90 out of 100. If you decide to do an update, a couple of other items that impact my buying considerations are whether the keyboard has a port for an expression pedal, and also the weight of the keyboard for those of us who are looking for portability. Another issue with the touch pads that also seems to plague the keys is a hit-or-miss velocity. Some MIDI controllers may offer an excellent map of the DAW’s functions, but their actual controls do a poor job of controlling them in as easy a manner which can lead to a host of frustrations–though not outright failures in most cases. Our selection criteria included all controllers that are widely available from major US-based music equipment retailers, this is to ensure we only recommend items that you can readily buy online or at any good local music gear stores. The Novation Launchkey 49 Mk2 has increased it's Gearank score to 86 which means that we can now recommend it. The 25 key options and the 49 Key options. Keep in mind, the Novation may provide a bit more value, but that is in a large part due to the fact that it is also almost half the price. It looks like there's a misunderstanding about what a Gearank Rating score is. 30, 2020. 3, 2017. First, the Novation comes with a fairly impressive touch pad at this price point. In this case, pretty much everything about the keys is less than ideal. Personally I think the most important factor of 49 note midi controllers is the feel of the keys. Best 49 Key MIDI Keyboard Controllers Novation 49SL MkIII. Submitted by Jason Horton on Jul. Key Size & Weight. People who are used to using a keyboard who have actual experience with an analog piano are likely to place a prime importance on the quality of a MIDI controller keybed. It is a little known secret in the music production industry that Novation has become a veritable king of value. The majority of musicians will agree that the Novation LaunchKey 49 MK2 claims that title. 13, 2016. Moreover, the responsiveness of the various controls–whether they be keys, pads, knobs, or anything else–will heavily impact the ease and speed at which you can craft music. Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically. This is the lowest quality key action and is most likely to be found on the least expensive MIDI controllers. If you're looking for a different experience with keys and are looking to explore new dimensions in expression with your keyboard playing, the ROLI Seaboard Rise 49 is the key (no pun intended) to unlocking new creative directions. Everything was easily mappable according to most positive reviews. 89 out of 100. Keystation controllers have been around for some time and you’ll never find a MIDI controller review article without one, or at least you shouldn’t. For instance, assuming the button features a durable enough design to be pressed repeatedly without wearing down the activation, a non-slip or rubberized surface is about all that is required. For a traditional piano, the strength of the stroke can produce a wide range of volumes and timbres. Of course, unless you demand an exact replica of a real piano’s key action, you likely will not be able to justify the significant cost of this type of key action. The Korg 49 Key MIDI Controller is a versatile and convenient MIDI controller. Our final MIDI controller is definitely designed with the consumer seeking the best price in mind. The 2017 version of this guide has now been published above. If you only want to control computer software then all of the options above will do that, although some offer more control options than others. Depending on the MIDI controller, the buttons can carry a whole host of effects.In fact, the basic buttons of a MIDI controller are often some of the most customized controls–excluding transport buttons. • • • • •, As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Further details: The Best 49 Key MIDI Controller Keyboards, What To Consider When Buying A 49 Key MIDI Controller, Portable Keyboards - MIDI Enabled Under $500, list of 49 key controllers in our Music Gear Database, 16 of the 49 Key keyboard controllers in our database, The Best Drum Practice Pads & Mutes: Single/Snare + Sets, The Best Drum Thrones - Round - Saddle - Backrest, The Best Guitar Patch Cables & Pedal Couplers, The Best Budget Guitar Pickups: Singles < $100, Sets < $150. Submitted by Jeff (not verified) on Mar. Midi Controllers have become increasingly popular to help expedite the workflow of music producers. The versatility of the 49 key configuration allows it to maintain a position as one of the more favored MIDI controller configurations. In this regard, the quality of the controls are generally less determined by the actual analog feel and more by the quality of the drivers in the MIDI controller itself.