Which is the best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio?
This is a very tricky question given that there are so midi keyboards out there, which therefore makes this question tough to answer and even harder when it comes to deciding which MIDI keyboard you should buy.
The market has a fair amount to offer and 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.
Factors to take into account include size and portability, additional controls, octave controls or other types of controls, key number, size and feel, plus the overall look and design of the device – and that’s naming a few.
MIDI keyboards are also useful for those of us who have a heavy workload on a regular basis and can not rely on just a typical mouse and keyboard to do the job of creating music.
Confusing? It doesn’t have to be. The simple answer is that it depends on what you are looking for.
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 software? We love FL Studio and have been using it for a while. FL Studio was started as Fruity Loops and created by Image-Line back in 1998. It’s simple, user-friendly and one of the best DAWs (digital audio workstation) used by music producers around for no-nonsense music production.
FL studio is one of the most popular and best up and coming DAW’s and is really giving the big 3 major DAW’s a run for their money, particularly among EDM and hip hop producers. FL studio has one of the best interfaces for recording, editing, and mixing digital audio.
FL studio is also cool in the sense that it supports the most important key features from digital piano roll, time stretching and sampling.
It’s also super-easy for connecting MIDI devices on both macOS and Windows. One thing worth mentioning is that although the article is about midi keyboards we often have midi keyboards that include controllers. So you this list will also include some of the Best midi controllers as well.
And if you are looking to take your music production and DAW experience to the next level, let take a quick look at the best FL Studio MIDI keyboards that you can buy today. You will forget why you needed a mouse and keyboard in the first place.
Akai MPK Mini MK3 Best Portable MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio
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We have to put this one at the top of this list. A truly versatile controller, 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 for fl studio that you can buy from Akai.
This MIDI keyboard and controller is very useful as it is a lightweight , nice and portable mini keyboard.
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 which feel good to the touch, 8 backlit multi functional drum pads, 8 assignable knobs and an aesthetically ergonomic and eye-catching design that makes this MIDI keyboard stand out from the rest.
At under 100lbs and with
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.
The hardware controls provide the freedom to write and record from anywhere.
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 full size Keys – The ideal number for jamming out melodies, making music 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.
- Touch sensitive pads
- 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.
- No MIDI Output
- Slight learning curve involved as it is not a basic controller and keyboard combo
M-Audio Keystation 61 MKV
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If you are interested in dynamic performance then the M-Audio Keystation 61 is all that you need. 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.
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On a budget and not too worried about choosing the best brand names? The MIDIPLUS AKM320 is budget-friendly, simple and reliable. This MIDI keyboard is very good at a great price. It does not have much in the way of knobs and other control options, and is therefore very beginner friendly.
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.
Novation Launchkey Mini – Best compact midi keyboard
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The Novation Launchkey Mini is a very popular MIDI keyboard and works great with FL studio and strikes the right balance of features that you want from a compact MIDI keyboard.
With its very compact build, the novation key
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. If you want a smart portable option
- Size – With 25 keys and a size that measures 7 inches by 13 inches, the Launchkey Mini is a desk-friendly and portable option 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. Clip launching optimized pads ensure users can collaborate on a loop in order to create awesome beats.
- 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.
- Connectivity – Fully USB bus-powered and class compliant; works without drivers or power cable; included software for Mac and PC.
- 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.
Arturia Minilab MKII – Best Value for the Money MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio
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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.
M-Audio Oxygen 49 IV – Premium Pick
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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.
It therefore offers the best of both worlds, as an amazing stand alone keyboard and as a good MIDI keyboard controller. It is probably my best pick.
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 size 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.
- Keys – full sized and highly responsive to the touch.
- 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.
Nektar Impact LX25 – Editor’s Choice
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The Nektar Impact LX25+ is another great example of a 25-key, all-in-one MIDI keyboard controller allowing you to be in full control of FL studio, 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 you to hook up a 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/pads which are suitably velocity-sensitive, they are set to 4 velocity curves and 3 are fixed.
- 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.
- Full integration with FL studio
- 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.
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If you lack desk space or just love the look and feel of a smaller sized, 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. In fact I was very impressed by the fact that the keys felt like a real piano.
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 Studios 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, pitch wheels 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.
lets discuss key features of the things that you need to be aware of when purchasing a MIDI keyboard controller for fl studio.
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.
Controls mean you do not need a mouse to use the program and gives you full control of the music production software.
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. If drums are your thing then consider a solid drum pad controller as part of your choice of keyboard.
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.
Whilst not a separate category, it is also worth mentioning that a high quality MIDI keyboard should offer flexibility and be easy to use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Advantages of using a MIDI keyboard with FL studio
A computer mouse or keyboard does not do justice when working on elements such as tempo, especially when creating original beats.
It is quite natural and saves time. It especially makes the quantization and and velocity sound natural and far less machine-like.
You can mess around with FL studio and could find one or 2 nice melodies that you probably would not find with a computer mouse.
It can be challenging to master your DAW just using a mouse unless you have a mouse wheel. But even this is not sufficient to perform all of the tasks that you have to.
Do I need a MIDI keyboard for FL Studio?
Many people may be wandering, if a person can get an electronic/software based keyboard on your PC at no cost, why would need a MIDI keyboard for FL studio?
The simple answer is that first of all your electronic/software based keyboard application is suitable for typing, whereas a MIDI keyboard actually picks up velocity more Sharpley than a computer.
Also a quality MIDI Keyboard should be easily able to record baselines and drum patterns.
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 (digital audio workstation), 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.
A MIDI keyboard also allows you to gain tactile control over all of the virtual instruments in FL studio.
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.