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Which is the best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio?
There are so many out there, which makes this question tough to answer and even harder when it comes to deciding which MIDI keyboard you should buy.
MIDI keyboards come in different sizes and shapes with different controls. On top of that, there’s a whole range of brands out there to choose from.
The simple answer is that it depends on what you are looking for.
Factors to take into account include size and portability, additional controls, key number, size and feel, plus the overall look and design of the device – and that’s naming a few.
Confusing? It doesn’t have to be.
No matter whether you are a bedroom producer just starting out, a music studio owner or a professional DJ looking for your next piece of live gear, this best MIDI keyboard guide has got you covered.
Using FL Studio? We love FL Studio. It’s simple, user-friendly and one of the best DAWs around for no-nonsense music production.
It’s also super-easy for connecting MIDI devices on both macOS and Windows.
And if you are looking to take your music production and DAW experience to the next level, here are the best FL Studio MIDI keyboards that you can buy today.
We have to put this one at the top of the list. Akai Pro’s third-generation release of their best-selling MPK Mini is the best yet and, put simply, the ultimate MIDI keyboard and controller that you can buy.
Akai is no small company. They’ve released some of the best music production hardware on the market and the MPK Mini MK3 is no different. It features 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 backlit drum pads, 8 assignable knobs and an aesthetically ergonomic and eye-catching design that makes this MIDI keyboard stand out from the rest.
What’s more is that Akai has gone the distance by designing the MPK Mini MK3 with built-in program mapping for FL Studio 20.
Really, what more do you need?
- Akai – You can’t go wrong.
- Perfect Size – At 7 inches by 12.5 inches, it’s portable and will sit nice and snug on your desk.
- 25 Keys – The ideal number for jamming out melodies and finding the right chords.
- Sleek Design – The all-black MPK Mini MK3 looks incredible and even better with its red backlit lights.
- Affordable Mid-Range Price – With all the amazing features, including built-in FL Studio mapping, you can’t complain.
- Mini Keys – Not the best option if you have big hands.
- No Pitch Bend And Modulation Control – A common feature of most keyboards, but it isn’t available here.
- Music Production and Beat Maker Essential - USB powered MIDI controller with 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys for studio production, virtual synthesizer control and beat production
- Total Control of your Production - Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes
- The MPC Experience - 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style MIDI beat pads with Note Repeat and Full Level for programming drums, triggering samples and controlling virtual synthesizer / DAW controls
- Complete Command of your Virtual Instruments and FX - 8 360-degree knobs assign to all your music studio plugins for mixing, tweaking synth controls and more
- 1500 plus Sounds and Everything You Need for Pro Production - Complete Music Production Starter Kit including MPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments and 2GB of sound content
Many of us want a MIDI keyboard that can also double as a digital piano. If you are looking to learn the piano, or just love the feel of weighted piano keys, it’s a no-brainer that your MIDI keyboard should provide an experience that’s as close to the real thing as possible.
In that case, you want to seriously consider the M-Audio Keystation 61 MKV.
The Keystation line is now in its fifth generation thanks to its reliability and popularity. And it’s no surprise, seeing as M-Audio is behind it. The Keystation MKV comes with the option of 49, 61 and 88 keys, and piano players will be glad to know that the keys are weighted.
On top of that, the Keystation boasts a simple, minimalistic design, pitch and modulation controls, plus the option to plug in a sustain pedal.
- M-Audio – Some of the most trusted music production gear you can buy.
- For Piano Players – 49, 61 and 88 weighted keys make the Keystation an ideal buy for piano players, piano students and anyone who wants full control over their songwriting process.
- Design – Thin, wide, minimalistic design – perfect for any home or studio setup.
- Price – Grab 61 keys for the same price as the 49-key Keystation.
- Lack Of Controls – Want drum pads and assignable knobs for creating beats and controlling VSTs on FL Studio? This isn’t the MIDI keyboard for you.
- Ultimate expression | 61 full size velocity sensitive, semi weighted keys provide a natural feel that captures every subtle nuance of your performance
- Total control | volume fader, transport and directional buttons for easy control of your software, plus ergonomically designed pitch and modulation wheels, octave up and down buttons and sustain pedal input for expressive performances
- Immediate creativity | easy plug and play connection to your MAC or PC: No drivers or power supply required; compatible with ios devices via the Apple to USB camera adapter (sold separately)
- Your studio centrepiece | compact design fits any desk, studio or stage setup perfectly and advanced functionality customizes your controls for your recording software
- Premium software suite included | protools first, ableton live lite, eleven lite, velvet, hybrid 3, loom, vacuum pro, eighty eight ensemble, xpand 2
On a budget and not too worried about choosing the best brand names? The MIDIPLUS AKM320 is budget-friendly, simple and reliable.
What does it have? This affordable MIDI keyboard packs 32 velocity-sensitive keys, pitch and modulation control, and sustain pedal input capability into a simple, user-friendly and desk-friendly device at just 4 inches by 18 inches.
If this is your first time buying a MIDI keyboard, the MIDIPLUS AKM320 is a great option for starting out, offering all the basic features for a price that you’re not going to worry too much about.
- Simple – Has all the necessary features in a simple design for beginners learning how to produce music on FL Studio.
- Sustain Pedal – Connect a sustain pedal if desired.
- Budget-Friendly – The AKM320 won’t break the bank.
- 32 Keys – Not a common number of keys for keyboards, which might not feel right for anyone who is used to 25 or even 49 keys.
- 32 mini-keys velocity sensitive keyboard
- Pitch, modulation, octave, transpose function
- Sustain interface (Not include sustain pedal)
- USB B-type to connect computer (include USB cable)
- Plug and play with Windows, Mac devices
The Novation Launchkey Mini strikes the right balance of features that you want from a compact MIDI keyboard.
At a glance, it has 25 keys (velocity-sensitive), 16 backlit drum pads, 8 knobs, and pitch and modulation control.
What makes the Novation Launchkey Mini stand out is the drum pads. With 16 of them, this is the MIDI keyboard for FL Studio producers who want full control over their beats – both live and for producing.
On top of that, all 16 drum pads are backlit as well as multi-colored.
- Size – With 25 keys and a size that measures 7 inches by 13 inches, the Launchkey Mini is desk-friendly and portable if you want to use it live.
- Drum Pads – 16 multi-colored backlit drum pads make this MIDI keyboard an unbeatable choice for producers who center their songs around the beat-making process.
- 8 Assignable Knobs – Despite all the drum pads, Novation has included 8 knobs for greater functionality.
- Sustain Pedal Input – Connect a pedal for that piano-like control.
- Pitch Control And Modulation – While the Launchkey Mini features pitch control and modulation, these are basic sliders located at the top right-hand corner of the keyboard, which might not make long-time keyboard players feel at home.
- Get hands on with Ableton Live - Have a seamless music making experience with Ableton Live and your Launchkey Mini. Have all the tools at your disposal with deep and intuitive Ableton Live control — including device macro control, track select, record, capture MIDI, clip and scene launch, stop/mute/solo, volume, pans and sends.
- Get creative easily with arpeggiator - Easy to use but deeply controllable, Launchkey Mini’s creative arpeggiator allows you to change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, gate and more to add a whole range of diversity to your ideas and melodies.
- Play chords with one finger - Lay down chords for your track quick with fixed chord mode. Play a chord with one finger by assigning a fixed shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard.
- Launchkey Mini goes anywhere with you - Send apps and program changes to your hardware synths with MIDI Out, or add keys to your Groovebox directly over MIDI. Launchkey Mini’s lightweight and compact design means it goes anywhere you do. The hardware is bus-powered which is great for travelling and jamming on the go.
- Finest-tech at your fingertips - The Launchkey Mini might be small in size but it’s packed with features. The 25-key device has 16 velocity-sensitive RGB, eight rotary controls, pitch and mod touch strips, and sustain input. Our finest mini keymech to date is also included.
Arturia is another well-known name in the music production industry that consistently delivers world-class products. And for music production on trusty FL Studio, both beginners and pros won’t be disappointed with the Arturia Minilab MK2.
First of all, it’s a great-looking device. At 9 inches by 14 inches, it will sit nicely on any desk setup and won’t prove too much trouble to take on tour. Secondly, it boasts 25 keys, 8 backlit drum pads and 12 assignable knobs – a complete package when it comes to MIDI control on any DAW.
If that isn’t enough, the Minilab MKII also sits at an affordable mid-range price that will see you out in the long run. It’s a piece of gear that you will fall in love and go back to time and time again.
- Arturia – A manufacturer you can rely on for quality and longevity.
- Complete Package – 25 keys, 8 drum pads, 12 knobs and both pitch and modulation control.
- 12 Knobs – Enjoy greater control over VSTs and mixer parameters.
- Design – Ergonomically designed and pleasing to the eye, the compact, silver Minilab MK3 is a pleasure to own and use.
- 25 Keys – We might be nitpicking here, but the Arturia Minilab just isn’t the ideal buy for piano players and anyone who wants to learn to play.
- Portable and Compact - MIDI Controller
- The most responsive keyboard experience in its category
- 500 of the V-Collection 8 presets / 21 Keyboard Instruments and Synthesizers / fully mapped right out of the box
- The perfect solution to get started with music production
- 16 Assignable Encoders to control your DAW
The M-Audio Oxygen lineup is the best all-round MIDI keyboard range on this list. Why? Because it offers piano sizing and all the MIDI controls you need for beginner and pro music production on FL Studio.
The M-Audio Oxygen 49 – which sits nicely in the middle of its 25-key and 61-key siblings – is a little costlier than most MIDI keyboards. But this is because it features velocity-sensitive keys in addition to 8 backlit orange trigger pads, 8 knobs and 8 faders.
Of course, that’s a lot to put on one keyboard dashboard, but it’s the perfect MIDI keyboard for those who want full control with enough keys to rival standard keyboards and small digital pianos.
- Versatility – The M-Audio Oxygen comes in 25-key, 49-key and 61-key options.
- Packed With Features – On top of having 49 or 61 keys in the higher-range models, the device still boasts 8 drum pads, 8 knobs and 8 faders.
- Pitch Bend And Modulation Control – Standard keyboard features just where they should be.
- M-Audio – You can’t go wrong with M-Audio.
- Non-Weighted Keys – You would think that at 41 or 61 keys the Oxygen MIDI keyboard would feature weighted keys, but unfortunately that isn’t the case.
- Price – The higher-range 49-key and 61-key Oxygen models are costlier than most due to the extra features.
- Compact, ultra portable performance keyboard controller with 49 full size, synth action velocity sensitive keys and on board pitch bend and modulation wheels for expressive performances
- 8 velocity sensitive trigger pads for beat production and clip launching; 8 assignable knobs and 9 assignable faders for manipulating virtual instruments, daw parameters and plugins on board lcd screen provides instant parameter feedback
- Dedicated octave up and down buttons increase the keyboard to the full melodic range and transport buttons let you control your daw without reaching for the mouse
- Innovative directlink automatically maps controls to popular daws including ableton live, pro tools, logic, cubase and more
- Class compliant, plug and play functionality and USB powered specification for simple user friendly setup
The Nektar Impact LX25+ is another 25-key, all-in-one MIDI keyboard controller but with a slightly cheaper price.
What might attract FL Studio music producers to this device – on top of the affordable price tag – is the functional design, which features 8 knobs and 8 backlit drum pads complete with the pitch bend and modulation controls positioned beside the keys.
Aside from that, the Nektar Impact LX25 allows foot pedal input in a compact, user-friendly design that measures 10 inches by 18 inches.
- All The Features You Need To Get Going – Great for first-time producers, the Nektar Impact LX25 features 25 keys, 8 knobs and 8 backlit drums.
- Sustain Pedal Input – Plug in a footswitch or foot pedal for greater control over your notes.
- Affordable – Looking for a ton of features without overspending your budget? The LX25 is a great option.
- Size – 10 inches by 18 inches? For a 25-key MIDI keyboard, it’s larger than most of its competitor models.
- Build Quality – Nektar products are reliable and cheaper than most, but this comes at the cost of overall build quality and design.
- Premium midi controller with 25 expressive synth-action keys, on-board pitch bend and modulation wheels for performances
- 8 Hyper-Sensitive backlit pads
- Mac, PC and iOS compatible
- Software instruments automatically mapped to controls
- Includes Bitwig 8-Track DAW
If you lack desk space or just love the look and feel of a smaller, more compact MIDI keyboard, then the Alesis V-Mini is for you.
Sitting at 5 inches by 12 inches, the Alesis V-Mini MIDI keyboard is a tightly packed piece of hardware that still manages to get the job done.
Not only that, but it looks like a high-end product for its size.
The V-Mini – designed by long-running music equipment manufacturer Alesis – features 25 mini keys, 4 backlit drum pads and 4 assignable knobs. It’s basic, but it’s everything you need if you are just starting out on FL Studio or just want every key feature in a streamlined design that you can fit under your arm.
As an addition, the light-blue backlit lights are a nice touch that make the device look and feel premium. With Alesis behind the design, you can bet that it also performs like a premium product.
- Compact Design – The Alesis V-Mini is among the most compact MIDI keyboards on the market, perfect for taking around the block.
- Features – Despite its size, the Alesis V-Mini doesn’t exclude mainstream MIDI controller features with 4 backlit drum pads and 4 assignable knobs, plus pitch bend and modulation control.
- Price – Pick up a high-end Alesis product for a price that isn’t daunting.
- Mini Keys – The Alesis V-Mini is not a keyboard for big fingers and hands… or learning to play the piano.
- Compact USB powered design lets you create anywhere
- 25 expressive velocity sensitive, Synth action mini keys
- 4 backlit velocity sensitive drum pads; 4 backlit assignable knobs
- Dedicated octave, pitch bend, modulation, and sustain buttons
- Includes xpand 2 virtual instrument software by air music tech
Buying a MIDI keyboard for the first time or as a gift? One of the most important things to consider is the keys – as the size of the keys, feel of the keys and overall number of keys contribute to several advantages and disadvantages.
The first factor is size and portability. In general, MIDI keyboards will either feature standard or mini keys. Mini keys will make the device more compact, ideal for transporting between studios or performances.
The second factor is the number of keys. For bedroom producers and beginners, having 25 keys will not matter. However, for piano players and those looking to learn their way around a keyboard, 61 keys – at the very least, 49 – should be considered.
The last factor is the feel of the keys when pressed. When looking at MIDI keyboards, you will find that some keyboards feature weighted keys. Weighted keys respond differently when pressed, replicating the responsive feel of pianos. For piano players, this is mostly mandatory.
In addition to the keys, modern MIDI keyboards will feature a number of additional controls that line the top of the keyboard, including drum pads (or triggers), knobs and faders.
These controls can be assigned to specific virtual knobs and faders within DAWs such as FL Studio, allowing hands-on control and live feedback without having to use a mouse or touchpad.
As for drum pads, these can be assigned to various sounds (not just drum hits) and tapped simultaneously to create and record live drum beats.
For FL Studio users who create their music using a lot of VSTs, live drum programming or even perform live, these additional MIDI controls are essential.
However, for FL Studio users who simply prefer to play the keyboard through a number of different VST synths without beat creation or much music production involved, then a basic MIDI keyboard will suffice.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Connect My Keyboard To FL Studio?
Thankfully, connecting a MIDI keyboard to FL Studio is a simple process that, nowadays, is done through USB. Most modern MIDI keyboards are “plug in and play”, which means that the MIDI keyboard will work on FL Studio, or any mainstream DAW, from the moment you plug it into the USB port.
If you do, however, own an older keyboard or digital piano, you might find that connecting it to FL Studio will require the use of MIDI cables. In this case, you would need MIDI cables to plug your keyboard into a MIDI interface, which would then connect to your laptop or computer through USB.
Can I Learn Piano On A MIDI Keyboard?
You can learn piano on a MIDI keyboard to some degree. However, this depends on the number of keys the keyboard has, as well as the size of the keys and whether the keys are weighted. In general, the best way to learn the piano on a MIDI keyboard is with a MIDI keyboard that has at least 61 full-size weighted keys.
Full-size pianos have 88 keys, so the more keys that your MIDI keyboard has, the better. In addition, piano keys are weighted. This provides a different response when the keys are pressed. In general, you want a MIDI keyboard that replicates the feel and size of a piano to make sure that anything learned on a MIDI keyboard is transferable to any piano.
Last update on 2022-01-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API