Our top 5 best MIDI Controllers under 100E
by Adrian Cosmin on Sep 28, 2020
Today, it's actually a challenge to pick a good MIDI Controller out of all the market offerings. Just a few years ago, cheap MIDI controllers were hard to come by and once a few started popping up, they started selling fast. Some of the basic ones allow you to control software sequencers and virtual instruments. Others on the end of this scale (but still in the 100E budget) have additional pads and knobs for DAW control.
MIDI Controller are an important part of any studio set up (professional or Home recording), simply because you can create sounding instruments right from a piano layout.
We have put together our top 5 list of MIDI controllers to get you started. These are what we consider to be the best budget MIDI keyboards.
1.Novation Launchkey Mini
It gives you everything you need to start creating in Ableton Live – and it’ll fit in your bag. You can make tracks anywhere with Launchkey Mini’s intuitive Ableton control, creative arpeggiator, Fixed Chord mode, MIDI out, and tons of sounds in the box.
Launchkey Mini comes with everything you need to make tracks in the box, including sounds, instruments and effects from AAS, Softube, Spitfire Audio, XLN Audio and Klevgrand – plus membership of Novation Sound Collective. Throw all this content into the included copy of Ableton Live Lite, or use Launchkey Mini’s integrations with Logic, Reason or any HUI compatible DAW.
2.M-Audio Keystation Mini
Keystation Mini 32 keyboard controller from M-Audio. Keystation Mini 32 is a simple, powerful MIDI controller designed for sequencing music and playing virtual instruments on the go. It features 32 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys and a series of controls that expand the range of playable notes and expressive capabilities. Use the pitch-bend, modulation, and sustain buttons to create dynamic performances or productions with your Mac or PC. Plus, onboard octave controls allow you to access the full melodic keyboard range to play anything from bass lines to piano harmony to lead melodies.
It comes with a copy of Pro Tools First M-Audio Edition and 2gb of Touch Loops content. You also get Xpand! 2 from Air Music Tech which is a VST with great sounds.
3. Alesis V25
The Alesis V25 is a powerful, intuitive MIDI controller that lets you take command of your music software with a series of pads, knobs, and buttons. With 25 full-size velocity-sensitive keys and Octave Up/Down buttons, you can expand the keyboard to the full melodic range and play bass lines, chords, and melodies. V25 also features four assignable knobs and buttons for manipulating effect plugins and virtual instruments: open and close filters, adjust volume levels, activate effects, tweak parameters, and more. Eight velocity-sensitive backlit pads allow you to launch clips or finger drum with exceptional response, and pitch and modulation wheels expand the expressive capabilities of your performing.
The V25 is one of my favorites because it has full-size keys. This is something you don’t tend to see in 25 key controllers.
4. AKAI MPK Mini mkII
MPK mini includes all the essentials for quickly laying down and expanding upon your musical ideas. Dedicated Octave Up and Down buttons increase the keyboard to the full melodic range, and a sustain pedal input is built in for expressive playing and recording. An onboard arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes makes it easy to create intricate melodic lines with little effort. Plus, MPC Note Repeat and Full Level allow users to access genuine technologies from Akai Professional’s line of MPC workstations.The MPK Mini Mk2 has 25 velocity-sensitive keys and 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads.The drums pads have two banks, A and B, essentially turning 8 pads into 16. It has 8 assignable knobs and a very intuitive pitch bend & modulation thumbstick.
This MIDI editor is a powerful preset management software that lets MPK Mini users customize their hardware and software setup on their Mac or PC. Create and tweak presets for your favorite virtual instruments, plugins, and DAWs, then store them on your MPK mini. You’ll spend less time setting up your gear and more time doing what you love.
This is absolutely in my top 3 picks for an affordable MIDI keyboard.
5. Arturia MiniLab MkII
It’s powerful, hands-on and unrivalled in quality, built to streamline your creative process.The keyboard features a comfortable, accessible 25-note velocity-sensitive slimkey design. The addition of Pitch Bend and Mod touch strips, along with a sustain pedal input, makes MiniLab MkII the perfect platform for players on the move.
The 2 banks of 8 pads are RBG backlit and pressure-sensitive, perfect for responsive beat-making, clip launching and tactile project control. 16 rotary encoders give you immediate access to your virtual instruments and mixing tools - tap into your session in real-time.Portable, yet fully featured. Lightweight but rugged. MiniLab MkII is the new go-to small controller for producers in the know.
If you are looking for a portable controller where the value outweighs the price, this is an excellent choice.
How do i decide which controller suits me best?
You have to decide what features you can’t live without. The best way to do this is to think about things that will raise your workflow. Whatever keyboard you buy should make you a more productive musician.
Consider what style of music you will be making most. If you are a beatmaker who makes lots of tracks per day, then you will want drum pads.
House/Techno producers will likely use a lot of synth lead sounds and this means the pitch bend and modulation functions are important.
Anyway the best cheap MIDI controller depends on the buyer. It’s not about being the best, it’s about being the best for you.