Best Keyboard For Music Production

Do you have a home studio? Do you need a keyboard for music production? You aren’t alone. You’ve come to the right place. Lots of beginners and newbies are looking for MIDI keyboards to help them produce great music.

MIDI keyboards and controllers is an important tool to all music producers and artists because it unveils the true sound of the music artist. A lot of music producers face a lot of challenges when producing music and this is why they don’t produce professional music. Perhaps, they use an outdated keyboard that produces wack sounds like producers who use low-quality recording equipment.

Even if you are a professional music producer, you must be willing to upgrade your keyboard to one that is compatible and syncs well with different Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) such as Ableton, Boyan, FL Studio, Cubase, etc. That will really help you in producing stunning electronic music.

When it comes to choosing a keyboard for a music producer, you will be overwhelmed by the number of choices. A lot of brands out there claim to have the best keyboard for producing music. When it comes to choosing a keyboard for music production, you should consider a lot of factors before making your final choice. Therefore, the decision of selecting a keyboard for music production is an individual one.

If you are serious about making music, having a good keyboard for the job is very important. Whether you’re involved in electronic dance music or composing an orchestral masterpiece, a musical keyboard can be a great tool for helping you get the job done. I have put together a list of the best keyboard for music production. This guide will walk you through the best MIDI keyboards that will take your music to the next level.

Top 10 Best Keyboard For Music Production

The market is flooded with all kinds of keyboards and finding the ideal one for you can be challenging. No worries, I’m here to help. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a PC or a Mac, amateur or professional, these keyboards were created to get the job done. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best keyboards for music production.

1. Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3

Best Keyboard For Music Production

The MPK Mini MKIII is by a wide margin of the best-selling MIDI keyboards for music production. You can create melodic hit songs and club bangers with the 25 velocity-sensitive keys on this keyboard. It also comes with a multi-directional joystick for pitch and modulation control.

This MIDI keyboard is a quality one; it comes with all the necessary features and functionalities needed by a music producer. You get 8 different drum pads, octave control, and a direct USB connection that is compatible with your favorite DAW. The small and compact design makes it a great travel companion for you to make music even on the go.

For a beginner, this keyboard gives you the tools needed to make hit songs. From the intermediate to the professional, this high-quality portable MIDI controller is capable of delivering on any music task. The dynamic keyboard gives you the ultimate sound and it also takes your performance to the next level.

Features

  • 25 Velocity-sensitive keys.
  • 8 Assignable encoders.
  • Octave selector for 10 octaves range.
  • 4-Way joystick for pitch and modulation control.
  • 8 MPC pads with note repeat and full level function.
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 318 x 181 x 44 mm.
  • Weight: 750 g.
  • USB-B port (Class Compliant).
  • Integrated arpeggiator.
  • OLED display for parameter display.
  • Connection for sustain pedal: 6.3 mm jack.
  • Includes software package (downloads): 6 virtual instruments (Bassline, Electric, Hybrid 3, Mini Grand, Tubesynth, and Velvet), MPC Beats, and 2 GB of sound content.

2. Yamaha MX88

One of the best keyboards out there for producing music is the Yamaha MX88. Apart from music production, it is a great solution for home use, studio, tour, and live performances. That said, it is an excellent tool for music producers and artists.

This keyboard has an excellent design that provides a nice piano feel. It has the look of an acoustic piano and it features a lightweight design. Going forward, the Yamaha MX88 is built with heavier in low keys and lighter in high keys.

 It is designed to produce any genre or type of music and can also be used as a grand piano at shows, tours, and concerts. It features Graded Hammer Standard (GHS) weighted action along with an impressive set of keyboard voices that gives more reliable and percussive Clav sound at ease.

This keyboard provides accurate midrange and pristine high-end for any music environment or concert. It is equipped with a portable music synthesizer 88 sized and sensitive keys that produce up to 1000 voices with motif.

Thankfully, the MX88 is compatible with different computer systems: including PC and Mac. It also works on all types of iOS and Android applications and DAW software programs. The sound and performance of this keyboard make it ideal for producing music.

Features

  • Tempo (BPM): 5-300.
  • Motif sound engine.
  • Looks like an acoustic piano.
  • 128 notes of polyphony.
  • Class-compliant USB audio/MIDI for true play & play connectivity without installing any driver.
  • Display 3 digit LED + 20 x 2 line character LCD (backlit).

3. Arturia MiniLab MkII 25 Slim-Key Controller

best midi keyboard for music production

I feel that Arturia keyboards are underrated because they do not get the attention they deserve. This 25-note MIDI controller keyboard from Arturia is portable and also gives you all the functionality required to make stunning music without hassles. It is integrated with UVI Grand Piano, Analog Lab Lite, and Ableton Live.

With this keyboard, you can craft chords and control every tone of the music with your fingertips. You can easily play different sounds, control keys, pitch, pad, knobs, and modulation with low effort. It assures you of a stellar production as you play with an unbeatable feel.

It comes with 2 banks and eight high-quality velocities, coupled with pressure-sensitive pads with RBG backlit pads neatly placed above the keyboard. The RGB backlighting makes it easy to you to make great music for every situation. Not to forget, it has 16 rotary encoders to modulate any kind of music you want.

The Arturia MiniLab 25 MKII comes in a small size that will fit into most home studios. It can also be used at live concerts and standard music studios. As a bonus, it comes with various software programs including Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano, and Analog Lab Lite, which has over 500 different sounds.

This MIDI controller is excellent for those who need a cheap keyboard for music production. You don’t have to spend all your money on an expensive keyboard. This keyboard boasts superior quality and it will be a great choice for producers who are looking to save space in the studio.

Features

  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 355 x 220 x 50 mm.
  • Weight: 1.5 kg.
  • 25 Velocity-sensitive mini-keys.
  • Portable and compact design.
  • 16 Encoder to control your DAW [2 of them are clickable].
  • 2 Banks of 8 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads with RGB lighting (adjustable colors).
  • Touchstrips for pitch bend and modulation.
  • Sustain pedal connector.
  • USB port.
  • Great for beginners looking to get started in music production.
  • Included software package: “Analog Lab Lite” with 500 sounds in V-Collection 5-quality, “Ableton Live Lite” and “UVI Grand Piano” (software download required from manufacturer’s website).

4. Akai MPK Mini (MPII)

Best Keyboard For Music Production

Akai is famous for its hardware and its keyboard controllers are one of the best-selling products in the market. The Akai MPK Mini is one of the best keyboards for producing electronic music.

It is equipped with a blend of features including a class-compliant USB MIDI performance output, DAW integration with included software with 32 assignable controls: 8 x buttons, 8 x knobs, and 2 faders at your fingertips. The build quality of this keyboard is top-notch, the colors and compact design will surely suit any studio. The small design allows producers to travel and take this keyboard anywhere for convenience.

It has dedicated buttons for Octave Up and Down, Full Level, and Note Repeat. It comes with 25 compact keys and 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads. It is also USB-compatible and can be paired with different iOS devices. This compact keyboard controller easily fits into any desk and I personally recommend it to beginners who are looking to purchase their first keyboard for producing music.

Features

  • 25-synth-action mini-keys.
  •  8 velocity-sensitive rubber drum pads with two banks.
  • 8 assignable control knobs for macro-mapping.
  • Built-in arpeggiation.
  • Class compliant (Mac and Windows).
  • iOS compatible.
  • Include production software package for Mac and PC: SONiVOX Wobble, Akai Pro MPC Essentials, and Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech (downloads).

5. Akai MPK261

best keyboards for music production for beginners

Akai MPK261 is a premium keyboard that improves your musical skill of creating stunning music. It is equipped with a 61 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-sized keyboard for a smooth and natural feel. The premium design and performance of this keyboard provide you with a great response, especially during live performances and recordings.

It features 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads along with 4 banks of 64 pads creates stunning music. With this functionality, you can easily create samples, melodics, loops, and more. It comes with music production software packages that are compatible with all kinds of laptops and computer systems.

It is equipped with Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech, Ableton Live Lite amongst others. With this software, you can control, modify, dub, edit, and tweak music of your choice. The drums pads are super-sensitive and responsive. If you are looking to add a new keyboard to your studio, check out this keyboard. Also, if you are looking for a reliable keyboard to perform music at a live event or concert, the Akai MPK261 will be perfect.

Features

  • Premium design.
  • 61 semi-weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys.
  • 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads.
  • MPC mainstay controls included.
  • 8 control knobs.

6. M-Audio Oxygen 25

best midi keyboard for music production

If you are looking for an ultra-functional keyboard with incredible sound, the M-Audio Oxygen 25MK4 is what you need. It comes with 25 full-size velocity-sensitive keys for you to play chords and create beautiful melodies with excellent precision.

The onboard pitch bend and modulation wheels will surely give you superb sound. It features 8 velocity-sensitive pads at the top right-hand corner, which helps to launch clips from Ableton Live without much effort.  It also comes with 8 tactile knobs for controlling your sound as well as modulating virtual instruments. In addition, it has a fully assignable fader that gives you more control over your mix.

The keyboard is ultra-compact and slick – just as you’ll expect from a high-quality MIDI keyboard. One of the many reasons why we recommend it is that it has a down increase keyboard for full melodic range. It has USB-powered, plug and play support and supports USB-MIDI connectivity.

The DirectLink automatically directs the control of Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and other essential keys and equipment. It can be used in various computer systems including Mac and Windows as well as production software packages. For precise controls, it provides you with dedicated buttons for you to play, stop, pause and record in the DAW environment directly from the keyboard controller.

This M-Audio Oxygen keyboard supports Ableton Live Lite. Through this music production program, you can compose, edit, record, remix, modify and edit easily. Its compact design will fit into studio desks with limited space.

Features

  • 8 Velocity trigger pads.
  • 1 mappable fader.
  • LCD display.
  • Pitch Bend and Mod Wheel.
  • Ableton Live and Pro Tools integrated onboard.
  • Transport button for DAW controls (pause, play, record, stop etc).

7. Novation Launchkey 49 MK2

best keyboard for music production for beginners

The Novation Launchkey 49 provides a lot of features needed to create professional music. It features 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated navigation & control buttons that give you power over the music you create. For music producers and pianists, this keyboard provides a wonderful sound experience in any musical setting or environment.

It comes with production software programs for PC like Ableton Live Lite and XLN Audio Addictive Keys. The Launchkey 49MK2 is a USB keyboard controller built for Ableton’s live performance. It gives you the autonomy to edit, control, modify and adjust your music the way you want. It features 49 note keys, which you can use with your fingertips to produce any type of sound or music.

It has great connectivity options. It is fully USB bus-powered and class compliant; it works well without power cables or drivers. If you are looking for an effortless and easy way to produce electronic music, try out this Novation Launchkey keyboard.

Features

  • 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads.
  • 49 synth-style velocity-sensitive keys.
  • Fully USB bus-powered and class compliant.
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
  • 8 knobs.
  • 8 faders.
  • iOS compatible.
  • USB powered.
  • 7 segment 3 character LED display.
  • Dedicated navigation and control buttons.
  • Include production software package for Mac and PC: Ableton Live Lite and XLN Audio Addictive Keys.

8. Alesis VX49

best beginner keyboard for music production

The Alesis VX49 is an ideal keyboard for music production. It is also a piece of music equipment that can be used for creating professional music and live performances. Keyboards in the Alesis V series are ideal for all production needs. Keyboards in the Alesis V series are available in 25 keys, 49 keys, and 61 keys.

The Alesis VX49 is a 49-key MIDI keyboard controller that is designed to produce incredible sound. It is equipped with the latest technology that gives you the opportunity and benefit of creating the masterpiece that you’ve conceived in your mind. It enables hands-on video and audio production in almost any modern Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).   

It features a 4.3-inch high-resolution full-color screen coupled with dedicated interface buttons. It also provides you with a virtual instrument player software load to play and control any VST plugin. Additionally, it comes with 8 drum pads, 8 knobs, and 8 switch pads. This keyboard will be perfect for beginners as well as professional music producers.

Features

  • 4.3-inch high-resolution full-color screen.
  • 49-key MIDI controller.
  • 8 performance-ready 360-degree knobs.
  • 8 drum pads.
  • 8 switch pads.
  • 8 knobs.
  • USB port.
  • Includes Virtual Instrument Player software-load.

9. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol

The Komplete Kontrol M32 keyboard gives you everything that you need to start making music. It comes with a powerful software package with drums, synths, basses, effects along with Ableton Live 10 Lite. The sleek and compact design allows you to express your musical skill easily.

The organized Komplete Kontrol software makes you browse and find sounds and instruments faster. The solid, portable design is perfect for those who want to produce music on the go. If you travel a lot or you own a mobile studio, this keyboard will surely fit your lifestyle. It is easy to set up as well as to dismantle or pack away.

As a producer, you can get inspiration from anywhere. The keyboard gives you a wide range of effects and instruments from Native Instruments to create your own sounds. The quality keybed lets you fine-tune your sounds and also explore new sounds with your fingertips.

Features

  • 32 compact keys.
  • Compact and portable design.
  • USB 2.0 bus powered.
  • 8 touch-sensitive control knobs.
  • Two touch strips for intuitive expression.
  • Micro-sized keyboard controller.
  • OLED display and touch-sensitive knobs.
  • Synth-action, custom NI keybed.

10. Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard

The engineers behind Arturia have given a listening ear to the yearning demands of those in the community of music production and sound engineering. Music artists and performers look out for three vital things in a controller keyboard: software instrument integration, efficient navigation of presets, and a powerful DAW control.

The Arturia Keylab 49 is a sleek controller keyboard that is tailored to suit the needs of every producer. The KeyLab Essential provides your fingers with all the pads, sliders, and knobs to create good music. New users and beginners enjoy using this keyboard and even professional producers will be satisfied with the exciting features this keyboard offers. It features Analog Lab software with 5000 synth sounds and UVI Grand Piano Model D software.

This keyboard gives you the best value for the money. Now that you have this keyboard, you have everything that you need to start making music, editing, modifying, performing, and tweaking your sounds. The varieties of sounds and the virtual studio give you a free hand to brainstorm and record your ideas.

Features

  • Hardware 61 keys with velocity Controllers.
  • Includes Analog Lab software with 5000 synth sounds.
  • 8 touch and pressure-sensitive pads.
  • 1 clickable encoder.
  • 9 encoders.
  • 1 modulation wheel.
  • 1 pitch bend wheel.

What is a MIDI Controller Keyboard and What Is It Used For?

Let’s assume that you don’t have knowledge of what MIFI keyboards are. MIDI controllers or MIDI keyboards do not play sounds on their own like a real piano. Instead, they are used to create sounds or play music on another device or piece of software known as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). MIDI keyboard controllers are paired to a laptop or computer via a USB cable to control sounds on DAWs like FL Studio, AbletonLive, Logic Pro X, or GarageBand.

What Is The Best Keyboard For Music Production?

Unfortunately, the best keyboard for music production is a bit of a tricky question. It really depends on what kind of music you’re producing, and what sort of keyboard you enjoy playing the most!

best midi keyboard for music production

In this article, we have picked out Akai Professional MPK Mini MKIII as the best keyboard for music production. That being said, there’s no perfect keyboard out there for music production. It all depends on your needs. Budget and the type of keyboard you are interested in. Akai, M-Audio, Arturia, and Yamaha are some of the best keyboard brands on the market.

Where Can I Learn Electronic Music Production?

There are many places and platforms where you can learn music production. If your dream is to become a music producer, you can find a studio around your location, where you can learn by watching the producer make and arrange music.

Also, YouTube is one of the best places out there to learn how to make electronic music. There are many channels on YouTube that teach music theory and music production for free. Follow such channels and learn from their tutorials. And if you are interested in taking a paid or premium course, then I would recommend you to check out Skillshare or Coursera.

What Type of Sounds Can I Create?

These exact sounds and samples that you will make depend heavily on the MIDI keyboard you are using and the DAW or software that it is paired with. Most USB-compatible MIDI keyboard controllers can be paired with any music production software. Some of the popular DAW software used by music producers include:

  • Ableton.
  • Fruity Loops or FL Studio.
  • Cubase.
  • Logic Pro X.
  • Pro Tools.
  • Garageband.
  • Reason.
  • Cakewalk.
  • Acid.
  • Studio One.

Certain MIDI keyboards such as the Akai MPK Mini have their own software suite and sound banks. The most typical sounds that you should be able to use are variations of the following:

  1. Electronic drums.
  2. Electronic keyboard.
  3. Drum kit loop samples.
  4. Organ samples.
  5. Piano.
  6. Strings.
  7. Synthesizer waves.

Generally speaking, MIDI keyboards can be either used in the recording studio for producing music or live setting for adding sound effects, samples, or backing tracks. All the keyboards listed here are fully functional for both roles; they can be used in the studio for making music and are also suitable for live performances and concerts.

Do I Need a MIDI Keyboard To Start Making Music?

If your dream is to become a music producer, you need a MIDI controller to start making music professionally. If you browse through the Instagram pages of popular music producers or you step into any music producer’s studio, you will likely find different pieces of studio equipment: microphone, computer/laptop, soundcard, mic stand, and a MIDI keyboard neatly arranged in the room.

MIDI keyboards are normally found on the desks of music producers. However, not everyone needs out there needs a MIDI keyboard to make professional music. There are music producers that make the best electronic music out there straight from their computer systems without the aid of a MIDI keyboard controller or hardware studio equipment.

That being said, we recommend you not to learn the fundamentals and grow in skill & experience by getting a MIDI keyboard.

Why Should You Use a MIDI Keyboard?

There are more than a thousand reasons why you should use a MIDI keyboard. Some people with no external hardware use their laptop as a MIDI keyboard, but this isn’t the best way. Even professional music producers agree that hitting the laptop keys isn’t the most intuitive method of making music.

Playing on a MIDI keyboard is completely different from jamming your laptop keys. Music is about the feel, rhythm, and creativity. You can play the MIDI keyboard just the way the piano is played. Load up the beat, record, and play different chords. Every work you do is saved in your DAW, which allows you to quickly edit, save, and tweak the sounds the way you like.

Asides from this, you can do much more with your MIDI keyboard. The MIDI keyboard controller is a great tool for music producers. We highly recommend it for better creativity as well as an efficient and effective production/recording session. If you are a newbie or a beginner, playing chords on a piano will be difficult. In that case, I recommend you to learn music theory from the scratch.

You can take up a course in music theory on Coursera, Skillshare, or watch YouTube videos teaching music theory. In doing this, you should start practicing chord progressions and melodies with your new MIDI keyboard.

How To Choose a Good MIDI Keyboard For Music Production

Keep in mind that no MIDI keyboard and controller are created the same way. There are people that may argue that MIDI keyboards are expensive despite having a few keys.

Actually, have just a few keys and controllers Just like real grand pianos, they are MIDI keyboards that are incredibly cheap and affordable. Sound shouldn’t be an issue since you can load up any sound in your DAW software. Also, MIDI keyboards and controllers can either be used in a live/performance environment or in a recording studio.

There are some things to look out for when choosing a good MIDI keyboard. Some of them include:

  • Budget/Price.
  • Playability.
  • Number of Keys
  • Key Weighting
  • Portability.
  • Functionality.
  • Compatibility.

Budget/Price

Your budget determines the type of keyboard you are going to get. You can spend more than a thousand dollars on a MIDI keyboard and can as well get a good keyboard around 300 to 500 dollars. Most of the top-selling keyboards for music production are within the range of $100 to $500. If your budget is good, you can find a keyboard for your needs,

Playability

One of the pleasing benefits of a good MIDI keyboard is playability. Generally speaking, expensive keyboards are nice to play. They are of high quality and the response after pressing a key makes it feel more like that of a piano. For any music creator, feel is a part of the music production process.

A quality keyboard feels less plastic when it is being played and it provides a piano feel that can’t be found in a cheap-quality squeaky keyboard.

Number of Keys

Additionally, the number of leys should be taken into consideration. Unlike grand pianos, MIDI keyboards come with a fewer number of keys. MIDI keyboards typically come in different variants such as 25 keys, 49 keys, 61 keys, and 88 keys. The more keys, the more octaves you have to play simultaneously – without having to awkwardly hit the octave jump button.

The bigger the number of keys, the better, but if you are a beginner, don’t get overwhelmed by the number of keys. Start with a keyboard with a small number of keys.

Key Weighting

Most MIDI keyboards feature what is known as ‘synth weighting’, which simulates the exact feel of most analog synths. Full-weighted keys produce the same feel of a real grand piano and they have a lot of resistance to them. If you are a traditional piano player, the fully-weighted is better. It’s fine if you are used to weighting, just do what works for you.

Portability

best beginner keyboard for music production

Some producers do not stay in a music studio for too long. They’re always on the road – you may find them doing tours and show gigs or doing other things like making music in musician’s hotel rooms, home studios, or in the recording studio of other music producers.

Portability is a good variable to consider as long as MIDI keyboards are concerned. If you travel a lot, it makes no sense to purchase a 61-key MIDI keyboard to carry around in a backpack. Also, setting it up in a hotel room or a place with limited space can be challenging. Good MIDI keyboards are portable and lightweight and are easy to set up.

If you are looking for a keyboard that offers a lot of functionalities and a true feel, you need something like the Arturia MiniLab MkII 25 Slim-Key Controller or Akai MPK Mini (MPII). Both are portable, they can stay stationary in the studio or can be carried for traveling purposes.

Functionality

Unlike other keyboards, MIDI keyboards offer more benefits and functionalities besides playing piano keys. As a music producer, what other functionalities do you want from your MIDI keyboard controller apart from playing keys?

The most common functionality found on MIDI keyboards includes knobs, touchpads, and sliders. All these functionalities can be automated inside your DAW software, so you can place your knobs and sliders at different parameters and adjust them whenever you want.

Additionally, you can use touchpads in your beat – which is a wonderful way to get creative and find new inspiration. You can physically modify the knobs and sliders to affect your sound instead of drawing in robotic automation in your DAW software. So, you can see that MIDI keyboards can be of great help to you in the studio.

Compatibility

A good MIDI keyboard controller must be compatible with various devices and software packages. I remember hearing about a powerful beats-making software in a group of like-minded music producers, and upon getting the software program, I found out that it is only for Mac users. Oh, that was really depressing!

It is 2022 and rare to find MIDI keyboards that require driver installation or are designed for specific programs. What we have now is class compliant, you plug it in and use it. That being, make your research the MIDI keyboard you want to purchase to confirm its compatibility.

How to Connect a MIDI keyboard to a PC or Mac

You can do music production on your PC as well as on MacBook Air. Most of the newer MIDI keyboards and controllers come with a USB port, which you can connect directly to your laptop or computer, just the way you would connect a printer to a PC.

Setting up a MIDI keyboard to a Pc is very easy. You can achieve this through the following:

  1. MIDI cable.
  2. USB interface.

Conclusion

To conclude, we’ve rounded up our favorite keyboards for music production, both in terms of options and quality. We made sure our picks are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, so you can use them whether you host your music compositions on a desktop computer or a laptop. Read on to find the best keyboard for you.

If you’re looking for a new keyboard to help you start making music on your computer, then it can be hard knowing which one to buy. There are so many available, but the good news is that there’s one that stands out from the crowd.

After hours of research, I’ve learned that the best keyboard for music production is the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3, which has almost all the features you could ever want. This keyboard has 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 drum pads with 10 assignable sounds, and a 16-step sequencer. It comes with Ableton Live Lite so you can start producing right away.

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Harry Hazelton is an amazing audio forensic and sound engineering expert based in Texas. He covers a wide variety of topics but with a particular focus on music production, audio forensics, and sound engineering. He specializes in researching and writing about audio tools, software, and gadgets. He loves reading, watching football, and listening to music. At Techbeastz, Harry will be sharing his knowledge about acoustics and sound production.

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