A studio without a MIDI Keyboard is like a fishing hook without a bait. Whether you are an advanced or hobbyist music producer, chances are, at some point, you will be overwhelmed with a heavy workload on a regular basis. A mouse and a keyboard in your DAW won’t hold up to the task, and that’s when a midi keyboard becomes a necessity. As a hip-hop producer, electronic musician, or beat maker, you will need to get the most out of the FL Studio software as well as control your hardware.
But which is the best midi keyboard for FL Studio? There are so many of them out there from various brands, but only a few are up to par. Choosing one out of the many can be daunting, and this guide will demystify the process for you with reviews of top-rated midi controllers. Out of the seven midi keyboards reviewed, the Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Controller was the best pick overall as no other midi keyboard could measure up to its combination of exceptional functionality, durability, and value.
Top 7 MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio Review 2020
As the name suggests, a midi controller is for controlling anything and everything. However, for you to pick the best, you have to establish what exactly do you need. Once you know what you want out of it, you can look at a few products and check their weight, dimensions, control options, and connectivity if they fit your needs. This article will help you choose the best midi keyboard for FL studio with a comparison table, in-depth reviews of seven products and, a buying guide.
Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Controller – Editor’s Choice
- Weight: 3.86 lbs.
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 24.6 x 4.5 inches
- Controls: 25 full-sized, square-front keys; 4 assignable knobs and 4 assignable buttons; octave up and down buttons; pitch and modulation wheels
- Control options: 25, 49, 61 or mini options available
- Connectivity: USB power and USB-MIDI for Mac and PC
Best for: home studio and performing on stage
Whether you are looking to perform on stage or produce music in your home studio, you can always rely on the Alesis V25 for an excellent and dynamic performance. It is a robust and reliable midi keyboard.
The 25 full-sized keys are semi-weighted, and so playing on the V25 will feel like playing on a real piano. Its drum pads have a nice touch that is ‘gummy-like’ and not stiff.
The octave up and down buttons together with the sufficiently sensitive keys will let you access the full keyboard range so you can play different melodies, chords, and bass lines. The pitch and modulation wheels will help you to achieve an expressive and creative control in your beats.
As if that’s enough, the V25 is one of the best affordable midi keyboards for FL studio. It’s primarily all-rounded and a perfect choice for any musician.
- Easy to set up
- Readjusting velocity settings requires software installation
Nektar IMPACT LX88+ – Premium Pick
- Weight: 18 lbs.
- Dimensions: 50 1/4 x 11 x 3.5
- Controls: 88 note keys; 8 potentiometers; 9 30 mm. faders; 9 assignable buttons; 5 preset locations store control settings; 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads
- Controls options: 25, 49 and 61 keys options available as well
- Connectivity: Mac, PC and iOS; USB port on the rear panel, and USB bus-powered; connects to iPad via Apple camera connection kit (not supplied)
Best for: home studios and performances
Nektar is popular among musicians, and their products are best known for reliability and solid performance. The LX88 is currently one of their best offers.
The keyboard has a sturdy build and tight controls that work well, have a nice feel, and are easily triggered with a light touch.
Although not very affordable, it is one of the best midi keyboards for FL Studio 12, as it is designed with intelligent performance control with a range of keys. The keys are semi-weighted, and velocity-sensitive with medium tension, thus, easy to use.
- Compatible with iOS, PC, and Mac
- Comes with 8-Track DAW
- Quick and easy to program
- Does not come with a software preset editor
- Pad colors cannot be personalized
Arturia MiniLab MkII – Best Value
- Weight: 3.3 lbs.
- Dimensions: 14 x 8.7 x 2 inches
- Controls: shift button; 16 multi-function encoders; pad 1-8 / 9-16 button; octave transpose buttons; pitch bend and modulation touch strips; multi-color velocity and pressure-sensitive pads; 25 velocity-sensitive slim-keys; footswitch input
- Controls options: none, but other Arturia keyboards are available with different key sets
- Connectivity: Mac or PC; USB/MIDI class compliant no drivers needed; Kensington Security Slot
Best for: transporting to gigs or elsewhere, creating wherever you are
This is another leader among the pack of low-budget midi controllers. Arturia MiniLab MkII offers a wealth of compelling features, including 16 rotary controls and 8 drum pads that have a great feel and do more than just trigger drums colorfully.
The midi controller includes intelligent macros for customizing your patches, and it sounds great, as well. It also features a useful selection of bundled software that integrates well with its various control options.
Beatmakers would make the most out of this midi controller because it has 16 rotary controllers and 8 multi-colored drum pads.
- 16 rotary controllers
- Modern ergonomic design
- Touch strip controllers suit not all players
Novation Launchkey 25 Keyboard Controller – Best for Making Music at Home
- Weight: 5.07 lbs.
- Dimensions: 19 x 4.7 x 12.6 inches
- Controls: 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated navigation and control buttons
- Controls options: 25, 49, or 61 keys options available, as well as a mini option
- Connectivity: fully USB bus-powered and class compliant; works without drivers or power cable; software for Mac and PC
Best for: producing music at home or in a studio
This is the smallest of Novation’s keyboard controllers, and although it hasn’t enough space for all the sliders and buttons like the others, its functionality is otherwise similar.
With its top-notch features, like the 16 multi-colored pads, you can play drums, launch loops, tweak virtual instruments, and control basic DAW functions. Its plastic design is not the most rugged, so it won’t hold up good if you hit the road with it too often.
If you don’t have time or knowledge for finding compatible software, this should be your prime pick because it not only handles FL studio 12 but all the other available DAWS.
- Easy to set up
- Compatible with PC, Mac, and iPad
- 16 multi-colored pads
- Has no standard MIDI port
- Has a fixed configuration that might not suit everyone
- The keyboard has no aftertouch
M-Audio Oxygen 49 IV – Best for Performing on Stage
- Weight: 6.39 lbs.
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 32 x 3.7 inches
- Controls: 49 full-size, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys; 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads; 8 assignable knobs; 9 assignable faders; transport buttons; LCD screen; sustain pedal
- Controls options: 25 and 61 keys available
- Connectivity: USB-powered, plug-and-play support, and USB-MIDI connectivity with Mac and PC
Best for: performing music
This isn’t the cheapest midi controller out there, but its features make it worth the buy. It is also not the best midi controller to move around with given it weighs over 6 pounds, and it has 49 keys.
The keys are full-sized and highly responsive to touch that even the default velocity curve is good enough. The 8 velocity drum pads feel and work great. The knobs also have a nice feel to them, and you can tweak their sensitivity to assess how different effects impact sounds.
The 9 faders come in handy when mixing a track or playing live. They are made with soft rubber-like caps that work well, but they are somewhat loose and short. On the bright side, they make dynamic performance an achievable dream, and that’s why this is one of the best midi keyboards for FL Studio for live performance.
- Flexible configuration
- Easy to set up and use
- Multiple drum pads
- Sometimes the velocity curve lags
- Stiff keys
- No volume slider
Akai MPK Mini MKII – Best for Touring
- Weight: 1.65 lbs.
- Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.13 x 1.75 inches
- Controls: 25 synth-action mini keys; 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control; 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with note repeat and full level; 8 assignable Q-link knobs; built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes; dedicated octave up and octave down buttons
- Controls options: available with other models of this brand
- Connectivity: USB-powered; no power adaptor required; works great with Mac and PC
Best for: creating on the go
Just like other Akai controllers, this is nothing short of a gem. It has a fantastic layout and is mostly focused on functionality in a powerful and flexible way.
It has a high-quality build with controls that work well and have a nice touch. The controller seamlessly integrates with various DAWs, including FL studio. You will fall in love with the few affordable premium soft synths it comes with.
This midi controller is such a powerhouse with so many superior features that fit into its compact size. Since it is super lightweight, it is well suited for creating or producing music on the go.
- Quality build
- Flexible thumbstick control
- Fragile because of its small size
- Mini keys
midiplus 32-Key Midi Controller – Best for Beginners
- Weight: 1.6 lbs.
- Dimensions: 18.1 x 4.9 x 1.2 inches
- Controls: 32-note velocity-sensitive mid-size keys; pitch wheel; modulation wheel; 2-octave buttons; 2 transpose buttons
- Controls options: different sets of keys available with other models
- Connectivity: suitable for Mac and PC; USB cable included
Best for: beginners
This is another compact-size design midi keyboard with impressive features. It is pretty basic when it comes to controls, but as small as it is, it features pitch and modulation wheels for in-depth sound and expression.
You will be able to cover more octaves and keys with fewer controls, thanks to its transpose and octave buttons. What you will love the most is the plug and play feature, which saves you the trouble of complicated set-ups. Beginners can benefit the most from this feature. In fact, it’s a great USB midi keyboard for FL studio.
- Plug and play
- Compact size
- Stiff keys
- Difficult to play more complex compositions
- Inefficient volume slider
- No software included
If you are looking to buy a MIDI controller for FL studio, then you are spoilt for choice. There are so many of them that choosing the best one can be challenging. This guide will help you pick what’s right for you without much hassle. Before buying a midi controller, you must identify your need for one. In this section, you will learn about the advantages of midi controllers and the features you must consider when purchasing one.
Advantages of using a MIDI keyboard with FL studio
FL studio has a built-in option to use your regular computer or laptop keyboard and a mouse as a virtual piano keyboard. Though the feeling would be a whole lot different with a Midi keyboard and it would save you a lot of time as well.
Here is why you would need a Midi Keyboard for FL Studio:
- A midi keyboard will make the electronically produced music not sound too synthetic or cohesive. It will give the music character which a computer keyboard cannot do.
- It is hard to rely on the reflexes of a computer mouse or keyboard for things as crucial as tempo when creating an authentic sound beat.
- It takes time to master your DAW with a mouse, especially if you don’t have a mouse wheel, and you need to filter adjustments.
Features to consider before you buy a MIDI keyboard
There are certain features that are a must-have for a wonderful midi keyboard. When you go shopping for one, ensure you consider all of them for you to get a highly-functional and quality product.
This is dependent on where or how you intend to use the controller. There are small or compact size midi keyboards that are lightweight and highly portable. If you want to create music on the go, these would be a perfect choice. The heavier alternatives that are 6 pounds and above can be used at home or in studios.
The size options are based on the number of keys. There are 25-key, 49-key, 61-key, and 88-key.
Many midi keyboards come with basic pitch and modulation controls and a few buttons to shift octaves on the keyboard.
You need to check if the specific brand you are considering has other control options like key sets. For instance, a particular brand can have a controller with similar features, but various key games and others may not.
You should be able to connect your midi keyboard with your laptop or computer. You need to ensure it is compatible with your gadget. Some controllers are compatible with Mac, PC, and iPad.
For you to get maximum satisfaction from a midi controller, you need to identify your needs. Not all midi controllers are the same or have the same capability in terms of performance, usage, and value. You might need a controller which you can use to make music on the go, or a low-budget one or a beginner-friendly. Your personal needs will significantly determine your choice of a midi controller.
The small-sized or compact design midi keyboards are the best for traveling because they are lightweight and can easily fit in travel bags. The Akai MPK Mini MKII is a perfect choice.
You can connect your midi keyboard to your PC in 3 ways; through a USB, Midi to Midi, and Bluetooth connection. Your keyboard might have a Midi port or a USB port. All you will have to do is connect one end of the USB or MIDI cord to the appropriate port on your PC then connect the other end to the corresponding port on your keyboard. If the midi keyboard has Bluetooth, you can simply turn it on and connect it with your computer or smartphone’s Bluetooth.
With midi keyboards, the market has a fair amount to offer, and picking the best is not a walk in the park, especially if you do not know your needs. Your personal needs are key when buying a midi controller.
For instance, if you are a beatmaker, you would benefit more from a controller that has multiple trigger pads as the Novation Launchkey Keyboard Controller reviewed above. If you want one you can easily move around with, you can choose the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII, which is our best pick for creating music on the go.
Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Controller emerged the best Midi keyboard for FL Studio. It outdid the others in terms of excellent performance, value for money, usability, and versatility. It is an all-around product that can be used by musicians and producers of all levels.
Based on research and popular ratings, you can trust our seven best picks to be the best Midi keyboards for FL studio 12 in the market. The list has something for everyone, whether you are an advanced musician, a hobbyist producer, or a beginner.