Midi Controllers

If you are looking to purchase a midi controller, this is the right place to be. After testing and reviewing more than 15 models, we have finally selected 5 of the best models available on the market.

If you are new in this industry you probably don’t know what is a midi controller or what it does. Practically, it is a device with piano keys, buttons, knobs and sliders, thanks to which you will be able to control the sound of multiple synthesizers. Nowadays, most live performers, sound designers or studio musicians take advantages of what it can offer. A keyboard controller provides flexibility, versatility and portability. Most models are so compact that they can fit in your laptop bag without any problems. However, in order to discover more about these interesting devices, keep on reading the following lines.

Top Midi Controllers Comparison

1. Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 2. M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV 3. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII 4. Alesis V25 5. Korg nanoKONTROL2
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General Information

Manufacturer Numark M-Audio Akai Professional Alesis Korg
Model Mixtrack Pro3 Oxygen 49 MPK MINI MK2 V25 NANOKON2BK
Dimensions 9.1 x 21.7 x 1.2 inches 9.6 x 32 x 3.7 inches 12.5 x 7.13 x 1.75 inches 37.6 x 9.6 x 4.5 inches 12.8 x 3.27 x 1.18 inches
Weight 4.1 lbs. 6.39 lbs. 1.65 lbs. 9.5 lbs. 0.65 lbs.
Type Synth-Action Mini Keys Synth-Action Mini Keys Synth-Action Mini Keys Velocity-sensitive Software controller
What’s in the box Mixtrack Pro 3, Serato DJ Intro upgrade-ready for Serato DJ, Prime Loops remix tool kit, Serato DJ 14-Day Trial, USB cable, User guide, Safety&warranty manual Oxygen 49 , Ableton Live Lite , SONiVOX Twist , AIR Music Tech’s Xpand!2 , USB Cable , Quick-start guide , Safety Instructions & Warranty Information , ncludes VIP3.1 MPK Mini MKII , Included Software (download only): MPC Essentials, SONiVOX Wobble, and AIR Hybrid 3 , USB Cable , Printed QuickStart Guide , Printed Safety Instructions & Warranty Information , Includes VIP3.1 V25 USB-MIDI Controller , USB Cable , Ableton Live Lite (Download) , Xpand!2 by AIR Music Tech (Download) , User Guide , Safety & Warranty Manual Korg nanoKONTROL2 – Slim-Line USB MIDI Controller (Black) , USB cable, M1 Le, EzDrummer Lite, Lounge Lizard Session, Ableton “Live” Series

Technical Specifications

Number of Keys N/A 49 keys 25 keys 25 keys N/A
Microphone Input 1/4” 1/4” 1/4” 1/4” 1/4”
Communication protocol USB MIDI USB MIDI USB MIDI USB MIDI USB MIDI
Rotary Encoder N/A 8 8 4 8
Faders N/A 9 0 0 8
Pads 16 8 8 8 8
Octaves N/A N/A 10-octave range with octave up/down buttons 2 Octave Up/Down buttons; blue-backlit N/A
Buttons N/A 8 assignable buttons 8 assignable buttons 4 assignable buttons 24 assignable buttons

Features

Pitch Bend/ Modulation N/A
Display Power indicator
Bus-powered
USB-port
Sustain pedal connection
Midi interface
After touch

Additional features

Multi-function Touch Strip Transport buttons 4-way thumbstick
Octave Up and Down buttons Transport buttons
Touch-sensitive metal jog wheels Built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes Software Preset/Parameter Korg Kontrol Editor software
VIP Integration

System requirements

MAC Mac OS X 10.6 – macOS 10.13 High Sierra 1.6GHz Intel Core Duo All Intel i3, i5 and i7 Processors are supported Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 RAM 1GB (minimum) Available USB 2.0 port 1.25 GHz G4/G5 or faster (Intel Mac recommended), 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended), Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.5 or later recommended) Intel Processor, 2GB RAM minimum, OS X 10.4.5 or later (OS X 10.7 or later recommended) OS X 10.7, 10.8, or 10.9 (Software Requirements: OS X 10.8 or 10.9) OS X 10.4.7 or later
Windows Windows Vista with Service Pack 1, Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Available USB 2.0 port 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 or Celeron compatible CPU or faster (multicore CPU recommended), 1 GB RAM (2 GB recommended), Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP, Windows compatible sound card (ASIO driver support recommended), QuickTime recommended Multicore processor, 2GB RAM minimum, ASIO driver support, Windows 7 or later Windows 7 or Windows 8; Multicore Processor; 2GB RAM Windows XP SP3 (32-bit) or later, Vista SP2 (32- and 64-bit) or Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)

Warranty&Support

Warranty 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year
User Manual
Customer Support

MIDI Controller Reviews


1.Numark Mixtrack Pro 3

If you are looking to purchase a quality keyboard controller, take a look at the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 model. It is equipped with 16 multi-function performance pads and a 5-inch high-resolution metal jog wheels. Additionally, it has 2 headphone jacks (1/8 and ¼ inches) and ¼ inches microphone input. It can be connected to your computer via USB. As compared to other similar products, it features a pitch bend function and a volume level display which allows for easy control. On the other hand, it lacks certain features. For example, it is not bus-powered and it doesn’t come with an after touch option.

Although it has a high price, it is one of the most desired models in this industry as it is the latest all-in-one controllers in the Mixtrack series. Since it is designed for both beginners and advanced musicians alike, it is one of the best gadgets to invest in.

PROS

CONS

It comes with dedicated filter knobs for each channel It lacks after touch function
Multiple FX manipulation
It is equipped with 16 multi-function performance pads
Simple to use

VERDICT

The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 has so many features that it is quite difficult to find something better than that. It comes with 16 multi-function performance pads and an integrated audio interface with 14” and 1/8 headphone connections. It is also worth mentioning that it is class-compliant with both PC and MAC, which means that you will be able to plug in and start mixing music whenever you want.

2. M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV

For its price, the M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV is one of the best controllers available on the market. It is made for beginners and professional musicians alike. It is a versatile keyboard that comes with 49 full-size keys, including 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads, 8 assignable knobs and more. While the knobs are used for mixing the instruments the pads are made for beat production. Additionally, there are 9 assignable faders and a few transport buttons that allows you to control the DAW without using the mouse.

As compared to some of the above models, it is equipped with an LCD screen and a pedal input for maximum control. While it is affordable in its own right, it still comes with a wide range of functions and settings that makes it perfect for advanced users who want to add it to their music kit.

PROS

CONS

Functional
Great value for money
It comes with 49 full size synth-action with velocity sensitivity
It is compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later (10.5 or later recommended) + Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP
Easy to use

VERDICT

The M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV is our second option thanks to its multiple features and technology used. This keyboard controller gives you maximum control over your software allowing you to record and mix music without using the mouse. It comes with a 1-year warranty and a very reasonable price.

3. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII

If you are in love with a midi keyboard controller, but you are a bit confused as there are so many models in the current market and you don’t know what to choose, we recommend you to opt for the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII model. It is a professional model that will surely satisfy all your needs in this niche. The main features of this amazing keyboard are: o velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads, 8 assignable knobs, a built-in arpeggiator octave up/down buttons, one ¼” TS input, one sustain pedal input and a 4-way thumbstick which include pitch control and dynamic modulation.

Although it comes with a 25-key keyboard, it is very easy to use. As compared to the full-sized models that are equipped with 12-16 pads, most mini models, including this one comes with 8 pads which is more than enough for a mini model.

PROS

CONS

It is compatible with iOS, Mac, Windows Keys are small and can cause your fingers to feel cramped
Small and compact design ideal for those who consider portability a must
8 velocity-sensitive pads
8 assignable rotary knobs

VERDICT

Based on market popularity and available features, the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII was one of the finalists in our reviews. It comes with so many features that it is a bit difficult to find something better than that. Aside from being efficient and very easy to use, it also comes with a reasonable price, which makes it an excellent value for money.

4. Alesis V25

Our 4th option is an incredible keyboard controller that satisfies everyone’s needs. The Alesis V25 is specially designed to control plug-ins and virtual instruments. It is equipped with a 25 full-sized keyboard with adjustable sensitivity. Additionally, it comes with 4 assignable knobs as compared to the above models that have 8 knobs, 4 assignable buttons and pitch and modulation wheels for maximum control. What we really like about this device is that it comes with 8 Led backlit pads thanks to which you can assign to different notes.

It is also worth mentioning that the keyboard is USB-powered with sustain-pedal input. Like any other product, there are a few downsides to consider when making a purchase. For example, it doesn’t have transport controls, which means that you will not be able to control the DAW. Also, it needs a software to adjusts velocity settings. Overall, it is an option worth taking into consideration.

PROS

CONS

It comes with 8 velocity-sensitive pads It needs software to adjust velocity settings
Compact design. It won’t take up much space It doesn’t have transport controls
4 responsive knobs
One of the cheapest models on the market

VERDICT

It should come as no surprise that we placed the Alesis V25 in the 4th place. It is an interesting keyboard controller that comes with a plethora of interesting features. Although it lacks certain features, it still is one of the most popular models available in the current market.

5. Korg nanoKONTROL2

The Korg nanoKONTROL2 is another product whose incredible features place it in the 5th position. It is a small midi controller designed for someone who wants to take control over its DAW. You might like this model as it comes with a lot of interesting features and settings. It is equipped with 8 channels each with three buttons, including one knob and one fader. As compared to other similar controllers, it is equipped with a marker button which will make simple to assign marks at important points.

Like the other controllers, it is lightweight and compact, being extremely easy to transport and store. Also, unlike its competitors, it can be used as a Mackie Control unit. The fact that it gives control over 8 tracks is a major fact as it is exactly what you need when starting out. Although it comes with a 1-year warranty, it still is an option worth taking into consideration.

PROS

CONS

Improved design It has short faders which are not so accurate
The knobs work nicely
The transport controls are very useful

VERDICT

If you are looking to purchase a small midi controller, the Korg nanoKONTROL2 may be exactly what you need. It works nicely and it comes with so many features that it could be a bit difficult to find something better at the same price.

6. Nektar IMPACT LX25+

As you probably know, the Nektar is a popular brand that has developed some of the most interesting controllers available on the market, this moment. The IMPACT LX25+ model is a good quality midi controller that comes with a lot of interesting settings and features. First of all, we should mention that it comes with a nice and compact design. This controller has a retro design in comparison to its competitors that come with strange colors and shapes.

It is equipped with 25 velocity system synth keys, onboard pitch bend and modulation wheels thanks to which it delivers excellent performance. In addition to this, it features 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads, each one with 4 different velocity curves and three fixed ones. When it comes to navigation, there are 6 dedicated transport buttons which are specially made to help you control cycle, stop, record, rewind, forward and play. The manufacturer has developed this product for people who are new in this industry. It is very easy to use and setup. However, this doesn’t mean that it is limited to beginners.

PROS

CONS

25 expressive synth-action keys It lacks certain features
Compatible with Mac, PC and iOS
It comes equipped with 8 Hyper-Sensitive backlit pads
Modulation wheels for increased performance

VERDICT

The Nektar IMPACT LX25+ is a good quality controller that comes with a lot of interesting features. As such, if you are thinking about buying this controller, you will be able to use all its 25 expressive synth-action keys as well as its 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads. Compared to its competitors it is easier to use and setup.

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