Okay, so you have a band that started performing live, and you want to leave the best possible impression in order to continue growing? Chances are you should invest in a MIDI controller. A MIDI controller has been one of the most used things at live performances for the past few years, and that for a good reason. It isn’t that expensive, and yet it so functional and conventional that even the newest player will have an easy time using it. You can get rid of the old running a keyboard track methods, as MIDI controller replaces that. It will allow you to sound just like you did in the studio recording.
Now, there are tons of different MIDI controllers – from the 25,49 to the 61 and 88 key ones. Also, you should make a difference between a MIDI keyboard, and a drum pad. The keyboard is better if you are up to you use in the live performances, while a MIDI drum pad is something that will have its best effect at the studio – producing music. With the market offer being wide, you should know how to differ a good MIDI controller from the not so worth one. Let’s take a look at the key factors and our top list!
How To Know A Good MIDI Controller
First of all, you need to set your goal – the main question is what do you need a MIDI controller for. If you need control over hardware synthesizers, it will for sure call for a more high-quality MIDI with a 5-pin port, while on the other hand if you just need to control a computer almost, all MIDIs can do that. The next thing you will be looking for is the software – it should be easy to configure with DAWS. Along with that, you should see how many features would you like – it is good that the MIDI controller has pads, knobs, wheels as well as faders for the best effect. And also, look for the ones that have as many keys as you would want (the most is 88), but are still easily portable.
Most of the MIDI controller units take the power of the computer via the USB connection, and that is the best and most effective way. As of the number of keys decide by your needs – if you have a serious pianist, 88 keys are the way to go!
The Top MIDI Controllers On The Market
- The Akai Professional MPK2. A really powerful and deep MIDI controller, this Akai one is surely one of the best out there. It comes in three key size variations – 25, 49, and 61. Depending on the number of the keys comes the number of drum pads included. The 25-key one has 8 drum pads, while the other two have 16. Along with that, it packs an incredible VST software that runs very smoothly and is compatible with all the DAWS systems. In the end, it isn’t heavy or hard to power (it uses the USB connection), and comes at an incredibly affordable price. An excellent pick for all your needs!
- The Akai Professional MIDI Drum Pad. Another one from this excellent brand comes with 16 LED pads that are powered through 4 banks. Along with that come four faders, knobs, switches, and Ableton Live software. It has a deep sound and is velocity-sensitive which is one of the most important things a MIDI drum pad needs. At a good price, this surely is one of the best drum pads out there.
- Native Instruments KompleteKontrol. This is a 49-key MIDI controller that packs a powerful sound. It comes with a nice set of prerecorded sounds that you can use, but be careful it is pretty CPU demanding, so you are going to need a good PC or a Macbook. And it does have the needed aftertouch, that most controllers seem to lack. In the end, the software comes with full VSTi support. Pretty good for the given price.
- M-Audio Code. Another 49-key controller comes with 16 drum pads that are LED lit as well and the aftertouch feature. It also has 8 assignable encoders (360) that you can use with DAWS and newest pro tools (VIP). It is an excellent MIDI controller for any of you who want to produce and live perform at the same time!
- ArturiaKeyLab 88 MIDI Controller. A controller that has a heavy and durable sound is something every good pianist. It comes with the weighted keys, that is excellent for anyone who enjoys live performing at the highest level. It comes with a VSTi supported software, and it has 5000 synth prepared sounds. Easy to use and at a reasonable price, this is one of the best 88-key MIDIs on the market today!
Long story short, if you are into producing music or have a band you do live performances with, a MIDI controller is something you do need. Do some research, consult with the experts and get the one that suits your needs the most at a fair and reasonable price!