The Best MIDI Keyboards for 2018

While some choose to work without one, most musicians rely on MIDI controller keyboards as part of their digital music-making setup. And for good reason – given the way in which the best MIDI keyboards can take both creativity and versatility to an entirely higher level. In fact, just as soon as you become acquainted with the best MIDI keyboard controller for your needs, it typically becomes the heart and soul of your setup.

But with so many options to choose from, which are the very best MIDI controller keyboards on the market? If shopping for the best portable MIDI keyboards to get 2018 off to a solid start, what kind of hardware can you count on not to let you down?

The short answer – check out any of our own top-picks for the best MIDI keyboard on the market right now and you won’t go far wrong:

Akai MPK Mini Mk2

First up, the Akai MPK Mini Mk2 improves on pretty much everything that made the original an unstoppable success story. Key features this time around include a new 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch/modulation control, velocity-sensitive trigger pads derived from the MPC Renaissance, 25 synth-action mini keys, 8 assignable control knobs for mixing and so much more besides. Comes complete with Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and SONiVOX Wobble 2.0 to complete the package with all the software you’ll ever need – all for just £79.

Akai APC Mini

Or if looking for something that takes portability inconvenience to an even higher level, the APC mini really is in a league of its own. Quite simply the most outstanding MIDI controller on the market for mobile musicians and producers, the APC mini focuses on the essentials with its tiny yet user-friendly design. Simply awesome when partnered with Ableton Live and available for as little as £75.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Mk2

Unashamedly upmarket and packed with a rather staggering array of features and functionalities, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Mk2 is a firm contender for the best MIDI controller keyboard on the market right now. Boasting Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch – 49 or 61 semi-weighted keys - pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE instruments and hundreds of Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) instruments from leading manufacturers, the Komplete Kontrol S49 Mk2 is less a controller and more an all-in-one production suite of unrivalled quality. Available form as little as £469, or packaged with KOMPLETE 11 for £729.

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

As for the very best MIDI keyboards for beginners, the top spot has to go to the M-Audio Keystation Mini 32. Along with a range of outstanding features including synth-action mini-keys, octave shift, and sustain and modulation buttons, the unit’s retail price of just £35 is almost too good to be true.

Novation Launchkey Mini Mk2

Last but not least, the latest version of Novation’s superbly popular and compact MIDI keyboard controller is a fitting follow-up to its predecessor. The Novation LaunchKey Mini MK2 features 16 velocity-sensitive pads and 25 mini synth-action keys, with Ableton Live Lite included in the package as standard alongside Novation's Bass Station software synth. Exceptional value for money at the price of £84.99 all-in.

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