9 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio – Create Wherever You Are!

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Last updatedLast updated: May 06, 2021
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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 nine midi keyboards reviewed, the Arturia KeyLab Essential was the best pick overall as no other midi keyboard could measure up to its combination of exceptional functionality, durability, and value.

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.

Top 9 MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio Review 2021

1.

Arturia KeyLab EssentialEditor's Choice

Features
  • Weight: 61 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 87 x 9.76 x 2.99 in
  • Controls: (1) clickable encoder, (9) encoders, (6) transport switches, (9) 30mm faders, (4) command switches, (1) pitch bend wheel, 1 modulation wheel, (8) touch and pressure-sensitive pads
  • Control options: 49 keys

Best for: home studio and performing

With the Arturia Keylab Essential series, the French manufacturer Arturia is expanding its range of USB/MIDI controller keyboards. The Arturia Keylab Essential is available in two sizes, with 49 or 61 keys.

The 49-key version is equipped with all kinds of control elements for screwing, pulling, turning, and playing. Beginning on the far left, the Arturia Keylab Essential 49 offers a pitch bend and a modulation wheel. In this case, a bit smaller than with other keyboards, but with a good grip and with sufficient counter pressure.

Above it are four buttons, two of which are responsible for octaving, the other two for transposition and chord. The chord function allows you to play polyphonic chords with just one finger.

It continues with eight velocity-sensitive pads. In addition to actually playing on it, this – in combination with the Map Select button – can be used to switch all control elements including various basic settings. Setting 1 and 2 are permanently saved as Analog Lab and DAW settings, the other six are designed as user presets.

In addition to being used as a conventional MIDI controller, the Keylab Essential can also be used with all common DAWs, but the degree of implementation depends heavily on the DAW.

The controller keyboard-only develops its full potential together with the Analog Lab 2 software, which is included in the scope of delivery.

Why did it make our list?

  • It's ideal for home studio and performing
  • Can be used with all common DAWs
  • Velocity-sensitive pads
  • There are controls for screwing, pulling, turning, and playing

What is not ideal about it?

  • No arpeggiator
  • No sequencer
RELATED: 9 Best MIDI Keyboards to Produce the Most Awesome Music
2.

Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard ControllerBest Compact Pick

Features
  • 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.

Why did it make our list?

  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Durable

What is not ideal about it?

  • Readjusting velocity settings requires software installation
RELATED: Top 8 MIDI Keyboards to Travel With – Get Portability Without Sacrificing Features
3.

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3Best for Portability

Features
  • Weight: 98 lbs
  • Dimensions: 08 x 12.48 x 1.92 in
  • Controls: 4-way thumbstick; 8 360-degree knobs; 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-Style pads
  • Control options: 25 keys

Best for: portability and home studio

Not only the technical but also the optical diversification seems to be the focus of the manufacturers at the moment. Not only Behringer, who will be offering their RD-6 in ten different colors, but AKAI also seems to be following this trend, because the company offers the MPK Mini Mk3 in three technically identical but visually different versions.

The classic version with red side panels and black housing has always been on offer. Also, AKAI offers a completely black version (the keyboard is also completely black) and a version with an inverted keyboard color and white housing.

The dimensions of the MPK Mini Mk3 are very compact. The keyboard is a mini version that is relatively light-weighted (even for a mini keyboard). According to AKAI, the keyboard has been completely redesigned compared to the previous model.

With the third generation of its USB controller keyboard, AKAI is doing everything right. The keyboard has been completely redesigned and, despite the small version, enables very dynamic play.

The pads are identical to those from MPC X and Live 1/2 and can be played very accentuated. A new addition is an OLED display, the impression of which, however, is somewhat clouded by the very small font. The eight endless knobs are also new. In earlier versions, AKAI still used non-endless controllers.

All in all, with the AKAI MPK Mini MK3, you get a solid and well-made controller keyboard that can perform very well in the studio, on the stage, or in a mobile environment.

Why is it special?

  • It is a compact, versatile keyboard controller
  • We love the keyboard
  • It has a large area of application
  • Has a beautiful construction, despite the small size

What are the flaws?

  • The display has too small a font size
  • There is no MIDI output
RELATED: 10 Incredible MIDI Keyboards for Logic Pro X — Producing Music Has Never Been So Convenient!
4.

Nektar IMPACT LX88+Premium Pick

Features
  • 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.

Why did it make our list?

  • Compatible with iOS, PC, and Mac
  • Comes with 8-Track DAW
  • Quick and easy to program

What is not ideal about it?

  • Does not come with a software preset editor
  • Pad colors cannot be personalized
5.

Novation Launchkey 25 Keyboard ControllerBest for Making Music at Home

Features
  • 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.

What makes it stand out?

  • Easy to set up
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, and iPad
  • 16 multi-colored pads

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Has no standard MIDI port
  • Has a fixed configuration that might not suit everyone
  • The keyboard has no aftertouch
6.

midiplus 32-Key Midi ControllerBest for Beginners

Features
  • 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.

Why did it make our list?

  • Plug and play
  • Compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Portable

What is not ideal about it?

  • Stiff keys
  • Difficult to play more complex compositions
  • Inefficient volume slider
  • No software included
7.

Arturia MiniLab MkIIBest Value

Features
  • 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.

What makes it special?

  • Portable
  • 16 rotary controllers
  • Modern ergonomic design
  • Affordable

What cons did we find?

  • Touch strip controllers suit not all players
RELATED: Top 8 MIDI Keyboards to Travel With – Get Portability Without Sacrificing Features
8.

Akai MPK Mini MKIIBest for Touring

Features
  • 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.

What makes it stand out?

  • Quality build
  • Flexible thumbstick control
  • Lightweight

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Fragile because of its small size
  • Mini keys
RELATED: 8 Best MIDI Controllers for Beginners – Music Without Limits
9.

M-Audio Oxygen 49 IVBest for Performing on Stage

Features
  • 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.

Why is it special?

  • Flexible configuration
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Versatile
  • Multiple drum pads

What are the flaws?

  • Sometimes the velocity curve lags
  • Stiff keys
  • No volume slider

Things to Consider

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

9 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio - Create Wherever You Are!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

9 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio - Create Wherever You Are!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.

Weight

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.

Size

The size options are based on the number of keys. There are 25-key, 49-key, 61-key, and 88-key.

If you need a full-sized stage piano controller, then you should go for the 88-key, but if you want something portable, you can go with the smaller 25-key.
The small-sized controllers are highly mobile, and you can easily fit one into your backpack.

Controls set

Many midi keyboards come with basic pitch and modulation controls and a few buttons to shift octaves on the keyboard.

You want to get a controller with a more complicated control set that includes rotary pots, multi-color drum pads, and faders as they will help you smoothly operate parameters in your DAW.
You would not need a mouse to mix a song, and that will allow you to play, perform, and be in control of the music software at the same time.

Controls options

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.

Connectivity

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.

Best for

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.

FAQ

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.

Our Verdict

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.

Our first pick, Arturia KeyLab Essential, is an excellent all-around model that features plenty of control possibilities and can be used both in your home studio or during performances. Alesis V25 MIDI Keyboard Controller emerged as the best compact MIDI keyboard for FL Studio. It outdid many others in terms of excellent performance, value for money, usability, and versatility. Lastly, we picked AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 as the best portable MIDI keyboard. It’s lightweight and compact enough to take it with you, yet boasts of a large area of application.

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.

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