MIDI keyboards have revolutionized the recording and production industry, providing a way to control music software without needing to be a master at playing instruments.
This makes them accessible for all musicians — from budding bedroom producers in their home studio to professionals on the go. But with so many different models on the market, it can be hard to find one that meets your needs perfectly.
To make things easier, we’ve compiled this guide reviewing some of the best 49-key MIDI keyboards available today. We’ll discuss what features you should look for when choosing your controller, as well as provide our top picks for quality controllers that are sure to fit any budget or workflow.
|Keyboard||Keys||Velocity Sensitivity||DAW Integration||Assignable Controls||Software Included|
|M-Audio Oxygen||49||Yes||Yes||8 knobs, 9 faders||None|
|Novation Launchkey||49||Yes||Yes||None||Ableton Live Lite|
|Alesis Q49||49||Yes||No||Volume, transport||Akai MPC Beats|
|AKAI MPK249||49||Yes||Yes||8 knobs, 8 faders, 8 switches, 16 pads||None|
|Arturia KeyLab||49||Yes||Yes||9 faders, 9 knobs||Analog Lab, Piano V, Ableton Live Lite|
1. Nektar, 49-Key Midi Controller
Music producers looking for an affordable 49-key MIDI keyboard should look no further than the SE49 from Nektar. This feature-packed controller is one of the most popular midi controllers on the market and provides excellent value for money.
The SE49 features a velocity sensor that allows you to control expression with your performance and get more out of your instruments or plugins. It also boasts great compatibility with Mac, PC, and iOS platforms thanks to its USB port – which also offers USB to USB-C compatibility so it can be used everywhere without hassle.
On top of this, Nektar includes bigwig studio 8 track DAW plus sound content package with their purchase packages – making it easier than ever for music producers to start creating original compositions immediately!
Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks; some users have reported stiff keys that can become noisy when hit too hard, as well as latency issues if not properly installed with special drivers before use – but these issues are easily rectified through customer service in case anything goes wrong. Additionally, Bluetooth headphones may cause latency issues, so make sure you go wired if possible during performance or production sessions.
Overall, we highly recommend the SE49 from Nektar due to its feature-packed nature regardless of price point – don’t forget about extra precautions such as potential driver installations!
- 49-key midi controller with velocity sensor for expressive control
- Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs
- Mac, PC, and iOS Compatible
- Includes Bigwig Studio 8-track DAW + sound content package USB to USB-C compatibility
Nektar, 49-Key Midi Controller Pros
- Affordable and good value for money
- Easy to use and intuitive setup
- Great customer service in case of any issues or repairs needed
- Works well with various audio software applications (GarageBand, Skoove, etc.)
Nektar, 49-Key Midi Controller Cons
- Needs a special driver download/installation process to prevent latency issues
- Bluetooth headphones may cause latency issue
2. M-Audio Oxygen 49 (MKV)
With its modern design, the M-Audio Oxygen 49 (MKV) is a great choice for anyone looking for an all-in-one midi keyboard. Equipped with 49 velocity-sensitive piano keys and 2 banks of 8 backlit drum pads, this controller will allow you to play virtually any kind of music with ease.
The responsive and precise knobs and faders make it easy to control virtual instruments in your DAW or plugin parameters; effortless auto-mapping makes it even easier to get started quickly. Plus, the Smart Chord & Smart Scale modes, Arpeggiator, Pitch & Mod wheels allow you to produce complex sounds while playing effortlessly.
As if that weren’t enough features already included on this MIDI Keyboard Controller, M-Audio has also added a comprehensive software production package within their Oxygen series – including MPC Beats Ableton Live Lite Hybrid 3 mini grand virtual instruments along with 5 Akai Professional MPC Expansion Packs!
Although the keys are soft and have no feeling like a real piano keyboard yet still provide a smooth response from sampler/synthesizer plugins as well as tactile control over DAWs effects parameters.
But mostly plastic construction might be not as durable as other controllers out there on the market. This could be one issue we would come across after a longer period of usage but is underrated because until then we can enjoy our piece being composed through this beautiful marvelous machine!
As well as pitch bend function is a slow reactant so could create a little distraction sometimes when needed help fastly during some live performance events etcetera otherwise user can basically feel free at home while composing through Oxyge49(MKV).
- 49 velocity-sensitive full-size piano-style keys
- 2 banks of 8 backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads with Note Repeat
- 8 assignable knobs & 9 assignable faders for tactile MIDI control
- Effortless auto-mapping for DAW controls & plugin parameters
- Smart Chord & Smart Scale modes, Arpeggiator and Pitch & Mod wheels
- Sustain pedal input and USB MIDI cable included
M-Audio Oxygen 49 (MKV) Pros
- Includes MPC Beats, Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 & Mini Grand (AIR Music Tech) virtual instruments, 5 Akai Professional MPC Expansion Packs
- Smooth response from piano-style keys and drum pads get the best from virtual sampler/synthesizer plugins
- Tactile control of DAWs, plugins and effect parameters
- Variety of intelligent features for playing chords/scales/arpeggios quickly and easily • Comprehensive software production package included
M-Audio Oxygen 49 (MKV) Cons
- Keys are soft with no feeling like a real piano keyboard
- Mostly plastic construction, may not be as durable as some other controllers
- Pitch bend function is slow to react
3. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
The M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 is a professional USB MIDI keyboard controller that makes it easy to create music on the go. This powerful 49-key synth-action keyboard provides a natural feel and nuanced performance thanks to its velocity-sensitive keys, enabling you to capture subtle nuances as they are played.
The Keystation has intuitive buttons and controls such as an assignable Volume Fader, dedicated Transport and Directional Buttons, Pitch Wheels, Modulation Wheels, and Octave Up/Down Buttons that make your performances truly expressive. In addition, it is equipped with a Sustain Pedal Input for creating dynamic effects while recording or performing live.
Furthermore, this device features a plug-and-play connection via Mac or PC (no drivers required) – so all you have to do is connect the included USB cable into your computer’s port for quick setup in any DAW of choice! It can also be used with iOS devices through an Apple Camera adapter (sold separately).
This compact design fits perfectly onto any desk space or stage set up making this Keyboard Controller even more versatile when playing anywhere from home studios to large venues. As if all these features weren’t enough already, it includes some amazing software programs such as Ableton Live Lite, Velvet 2A Signature Edition Soft Synth by Air Music Technology; XPand2 VSTi Synthesizer; Mini Grand Acoustic Grand Piano Plugin by AIR Music Technology & Touch Loops sample pack!
So what are you waiting for? Get creative today & get ready for an unforgettable musical experience like no other with the M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 – A mighty midi powerhouse now available at an incredibly affordable price!
- 49 full-size velocity-sensitive keys
- Volume fader, transport and directional buttons
- Pitch and modulation wheels
- Octave up and down buttons
- Sustain pedal input
- Easy plug-and-play connection to Mac or PC (no drivers required)
M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 Pros
- Compatible with iOS devices via Apple to USB Camera adapter (sold separately)
- Natural feel that captures subtle nuances of performance
- Ergonomically designed pitch and modulation wheels for expressive performances
- The compact design fits any desk, studio, or stage setup perfectly
- Includes premium software suites such as MPC Beats, Ableton Live Lite, Velvet, XPand2, Mini Grand, and Touch Loops
M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 Cons
- Keys may have some tackiness in a few spots
- Software instructions/videos not up to date with recent changes
- In Windows machine must reboot after initially getting it to work within DAW may be required
4. Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard
Novation’s Launchkey 49 [MK3] is one of the leading MIDI controllers on the market. While it lacks some features, such as a 4×4 drum pad layout for finger drumming, it stands out with its intuitive navigation and controls and excellent Ableton Live integration.
The combination of 16 velocity-sensitive pads, pitch and modulation touch sliders, three chord modes (fixed, scale user), and an arpeggiator make this controller suitable for producers at every level: beginners to professionals. With adjustable velocities on both keys and pads – including aftertouch – you can customize them to your exact needs in order to get just the right feel when playing.
Another great feature is ‘Capture MIDI’ which enables you to record any ideas while they are still fresh in your head without worrying about losing them before they’re committed to track. Plus with Scale mode eliminating frustration from music theory while allowing you create chords quickly by hitting single notes – no more hours spent trying to figure out which chords should go together!
Overall this keyboard controller offers everything that aspiring musicians need at an affordable price point combined with all necessary accessories required for an effortless setup so that nothing gets in between you and your creative process once inspiration strikes!
- 16 velocity-sensitive pads
- Pitch and modulation touch sliders
- Three chord modes (fixed, scale, user)
- Intuitive integration with Ableton Live, Logic and Reason plus HUI compatible DAWs such as Cubase and Pro Tools.
- Arpeggiator for adding diversity to melodies
Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] Pros
- Easy to use navigation and controls
- Excellent Ableton Live integration for seamless music making experience
- Highly responsive keys and pads with adjustable velocities
- Capture MIDI feature eliminates the risk of losing ideas
- Scale mode removes frustration from music theory
Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] Cons
- No 4×4 drum pad layout options for finger drumming
- Knobs/pots feel a little cheap
5. Alesis Q49 MKII
If you’re in the market for a 49-key MIDI keyboard, then pay close attention to the Alesis Q49 MKII. It has an excellent build quality with robust construction that will last you through years of intense performance.
The keys are full size and velocity-sensitive, so it is easier for any musician to control their sound intensity depending on how hard or soft they press down on the key – allowing for more expressive control over your music production. Plus, its octave/transpose buttons allow you to access all 88 piano keys in one controller!
Furthermore, serious musicians can benefit from its assignable volume knob and transport controls, pitch bend, and modulation wheels – making it incredibly easy to map out sounds regardless of genre. On top of that, this keyboard is compatible with Apple Lightning Camera Adapter (sold separately) so iPad users rejoice!
To make things even sweeter though, Alesis Q49 MKII comes bundled with Akai Professional MPC Beats software, seven expansion packs; 60 free MIDI lessons from Melodics; plus a USB cable so no extra cords needed when setting up!
Although there may be minor cons such as small keys that could cause discomfort after extended use or squeaky notes due to packing precautions upon first play – these don’t come close enough to overshadowing this handy device’s numerous pros.
So if portability and ultimate musical expression matter most when selecting your ideal 49-key MIDI keyboard – look no further than Alesis Q49 MKII!
- Octave/transpose buttons to access the full piano range
- Pitch bend and modulation wheels
- 49 full-size MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys
- Assignable volume knob and transport controls
- Compatible with Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (sold separately)
- Includes Akai Professional MPC Beats software with seven expansion packs and 60 free MIDI controller lessons from Melodics.
Alesis Q49 MKII Pros
- High quality, durable construction
- Keys are responsive and pressure sensitive for more expressive control over sound intensity
- Portable size is great for portability
- Includes a professional software suite with lots of plugins included
Alesis Q49 MKII Cons
- Tiny keys can be painful to play on for long periods of time
- Difficult to map buttons due to User Manual being unhelpful
- Packaging precaution leaves a squeaky feel on the keys after initially playing them
6. AKAI Professional MPK249
Are you looking for the perfect 49-key MIDI keyboard to take your sound production up a notch and create beguiling music? Look no further than the AKAI Professional MPK249!
This plug-and-play controller is not just easy to use. It also comes with the natural feel of piano style keybed. With 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys, 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads with 4 banks for 64 pads and 24 assignable Q Link controllers, including 8 control knobs, faders & switches – you’ll be able to craft intricate masterpieces in no time.
The onboard USB MIDI interface allows a seamless connection between this device and any recording software such as Yay3D or Protools.
Plus, there’s 5 Pin MIDI input & output so you can connect an array of external devices as well. And all these features come packed into one piece of equipment that won’t take much desk space!
But wait – there’s more! You won’t even have to buy additional software because this product comes loaded with awesome production programs like Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and Xpand2 (downloads). Compatible with Mac and Windows platforms – don’t miss out on turning yourself into a world class musician today!
The only minor downside, however is that it doesn’t possess a built-in amplifier or headphone jack – so make sure that those are already installed before purchasing the Akai Professional MPK249 controller package.
It doesn’t include an AC power adapter either but don’t let these small shortcomings deter you from having unlimited access to great musical tools at your fingertips anytime, anywhere for years down the road!
- 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys
- 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads with 4 banks for 64 pads
- 24 assignable Q-Link controllers including 8 control knobs, faders and switches
- Onboard USB-MIDI interface with 5 pin MIDI input and output
- MPC Note Repeat, arpeggiator, MPC Full Level, Tap Tempo and Time Division included
AKAI Professional MPK249 Pros
- Easy-to-use MIDI controller with plug-and-play capabilities
- Natural feel of the piano-style keybed
- Comprehensive production software package included ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and Xpand2 (downloads)
- Compatible with Mac & Windows
AKAI Professional MPK249 Cons
- Power adapter is not included
7. Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII
The Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII is a powerful, semi-weighted USB MIDI keyboard controller with impressive detail and quality. This 49-key instrument provides an aftertouch for expressive playability as well as sixteen RGB pads for beat or step sequencing production. Its tour-ready aluminum casing makes it both portable and robust for the traveling musician.
This keyboard offers 9 faders, 9 rotary knobs, and dedicated DAW and transport controls — allowing you to take full command of your recording sessions with ease while still having access to thousands of sounds thanks to the included software titles Analog Lab, Piano V ,and Ableton Live Lite.
This comprehensive package allows users to create musical soundscapes without needing any additional hardware or software outside of what comes in the box.
The keybed on this unit could use some improvement; however, when combined with its expansive parameter editing capabilities within Analog Lab (with V Collection), this controller can produce detailed recordings that are both professional sounding and dynamic — allowing producers a higher degree of creativity without sacrificing performance.
While more complex than other controllers on the market today due to its wide range of capabilities offered by bundling 3 popular music creation programs into one device – setup process is still quite easy overall due largely in part from clear directions provided online by Arturia Support team members who are eager help answer questions about their product lineup quickly should users have difficulty understanding something specific during installation times.
In conclusion: If you’re looking for a high-quality MIDI Keyboard Controller under $500 that integrates intuitively into modern music workflows, look no further than the Arturia KeyLab 49MkII—it truly delivers!
- 49-note keyboard with aftertouch and 16 RGB backlit pads
- 9 faders, 9 rotary knobs, and dedicated DAW and transport controls
- Tour-ready aluminum casing
- Thousands of sounds in 3 software titles
- Analog Lab, Piano V, and Ableton Live Lite
Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII Pros
- High-quality sound and design
- Effortless integration with DAWs and virtual instruments
- Comprehensive software included with controller
Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII Cons
- Limited parameter editing capabilities on Analog Lab presets without full Arturia Collection V
- Complex setup process for midi input aspects of the device
- Keybed needs improvement
Buying Guide: 49-Key MIDI Keyboard
With so many options on the market, choosing the right 49-Key MIDI keyboard for your needs can be a challenge. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the key features to look for when selecting a MIDI keyboard.
Weighted keys are a great feature to have in a MIDI keyboard. They give you a more realistic feel when playing and make transitioning from an acoustic piano easier. If you plan to use your keyboard for live performances, weighted keys will help you perform more accurately and sound more professional.
Most 49-key MIDI keyboards come with either semi-weighted or full-weighted keys. Semi-weighted keys are usually used in budget keyboards and balance the lightness of synth action and the heaviness of weighted keys. Full-weighted keys offer the most realistic feel – they’re designed to emulate an acoustic piano as closely as possible.
Pads are another important factor when it comes to choosing a MIDI keyboard. Most 49-key options come with at least some pads, though their number can vary greatly from model to model.
Pads can be great for adding percussion, triggering samples or even creating melodies by tapping out notes on the pads. They’re a versatile tool that can add lots of life and texture to your music productions.
Number of knobs and faders
When selecting your MIDI keyboard, you should also take into consideration how many knobs/faders it has onboard. Some models only have 8 knobs/faders while others can have up to 16 or even 32!
Having more knobs/faders makes it easier to quickly adjust parameters while you’re recording or performing live, so if this is something you will be doing often then look for a model with plenty of them onboard.
Polyphony is essentially the maximum number of notes that your keyboard can produce at once without dropping any notes (or “voices”).
Most standard 49-key keyboards come with 32 or 64 voices, but some higher end models may offer 128 voices for greater versatility and expression in your music production. The polyphony capabilities will undoubtedly affect the price point of the keyboard so keep this in mind when shopping around for the right one for you!
The type of connectivity options offered by your 49-key MIDI keyboard will determine how easily it can interact with other devices such as computers and audio interfaces (if applicable).
USB is standard these days but some models may also support wireless connections through Bluetooth or proprietary wireless protocols such as Line 6 WM+ Connectivity via 5-pin DIN cables is less common nowadays but still available on some higher end models if needed for compatibility reasons.
You may want to look into portability features before making a buying decision on your 49 key MIDI keyboard if you plan on taking it out regularly for performances or shows etc..
Many keyboards these days come with carrying bags which make transportation much easier than lugging around bulky wooden cases (although these are still available if needed).
Also consider how much weight your chosen model weighs as this will play an important role in determining whether or not it’s portable enough for regular travelling purposes.
Some manufacturers include software packages (e.g., Ableton Live Lite), synthesizers/samplers, loop libraries, soundbanks etc., with their keyboards free of charge which can save quite a bit of money depending on what package they include If these kinds of extras are important to you then make sure that they’re included with your purchase before committing to anything – otherwise, these programs etc., may need to be purchased separately after the fact (which can drive up costs significantly).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Using a 49-key MIDI keyboard can enhance your music production experience. To help you understand the features and advantages of this type of keyboard, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions about them:
What is a 49-Key MIDI Keyboard?
A 49-key MIDI keyboard is a type of electronic keyboard made for recording and composing music. It has 49 velocity-sensitive keys, allowing for a wide range of expression when playing. MIDI keyboards also let you control virtual instruments, DAWs (digital audio workstations), and other software with just the press of a key.
What does it mean for a keyboard to be ‘MIDI’?
MIDI stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”. It is a protocol used to transmit digital data between devices, such as a controller and a synthesizer or device sampler. MIDI allows for real-time control of one or more pieces of music software or hardware, making it a popular choice for creating and performing music.
Why are such keyboards popular among musicians and producers?
Professional keyboards are popular among musicians and producers for their playability, portability, and sound quality. Keyboards provide more control than a laptop and allow for more customized sounds to be created. They often feature built-in effects and powerful synths that allow users to craft truly unique sounds. Additionally, they are typically small and lightweight, making them ideal for musicians who need to travel with their gear.
How much should I expect to pay for one of these keyboards?
Keyboard prices can vary depending on the type, features, and brand. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 for a decent keyboard for your computer.
Which brands offer the best quality MIDI Keyboards at good prices ?
If you’re looking for the best quality MIDI keyboards at good prices, then Roland, Akai Professional, and Korg are some of the top brands to consider.
Roland makes some of the best MIDI controllers for home recording and studio use. Their products are known for their ease of use and affordability.
Akai Professional is another popular brand for professional MIDI controllers. They have a wide range of options to suit any budget.
Korg is known for its high-end digital pianos, but they also offer many quality MIDI keyboards at great prices.
What features do professional-grade models have that beginner products don’t have?
Professional grade models typically feature higher powered motors, stronger and more durable components, and more advanced technology such as remote control abilities. They also typically have a longer range and battery life than beginner models. Additionally, pro models often have additional safety features such as enhanced braking capabilities and adjustable speed settings.
How do you connect an external sound device or software program to your midi controller?
To connect an external sound device or software program to your MIDI controller, you will need to connect the MIDI Out port of your controller to the MIDI In port on the external sound device or software. Depending on the ports available, the connection can either be made with a MIDI cable or a USB-MIDI cable. Once connected, your MIDI controller can control the external sound device or software.
We have provided you with our selection of the best 49-key MIDI keyboards currently on the market.
These are all highly recommended and great options for any aspiring musician looking to add a powerful, easy-to-use keyboard controller that won’t take up too much space in their recording studio or room.
Before purchasing any type of music equipment, it is important to consider what features are most important to you, as well as your budget. Once you have narrowed down the choices then make sure that the one you choose offers quality performance and value for money.
You must be logged in to post a comment.