7 Best MIDI Keyboards (For Beginners)

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  • A guide to help beginners buy their first MIDI keyboard controller
  • 7 top-rated MIDI keyboards for live performance and music production
  • Our top picks include bestsellers from Akai, Novation, Nektar, and others
  • Also, check out our separate post on the best portable/small MIDI controllers.

Buying MIDI keyboards is as exciting as it is terrifying, particularly for beginners.

Every musician and producer aspires to a smooth workflow, which is incomplete with a top-notch keyboard controller. But unlike choosing the best speaker monitors or audio interfaces, the product descriptions of MIDI keyboards can easily overwhelm beginners.

There are countless models with varying numbers of keys – weighted, semi-weighted, or synth-like. You also have to decipher the pads, knobs, encoders, and faders alongside unnerving features for a novice to grasp.

Did we mention DAW integration and software bundles?

So, we wrote this buyer guide to help you find the best MIDI controller for beginners. Below, we put forward seven devices of value across different price points. Each keyboard controller is briefly reviewed, outlining its key features, possible uses, and pros and cons.

Our selection is an amalgam of entry-level, backpack-ready, mid-sized, and studio-ready MIDI keyboards.

We also included a full-featured controller for beginners who want to indulge or future-proof. In a nutshell, we’ve covered all bases so you can leave with a definitive choice.

Best MIDI Keyboard For Beginners – Our Top Picks

Starting from the smallest, the Akai MPK Mini MK3 is the best MIDI controller for beginners. It’s a high-value, no-brainer with an impressive amount of knobs and features in a compact package. It’s also the best pick for beatmakers at this price point.

We recommend the Novation Launchkey 49 (or 61) MK3 as the best MIDI controller for beginners using Ableton Live. It features an excellent Arpeggiator, chord memory function, and built-in support for the DAW. It’s also one of the best keyboard controllers for live performances.

The Novation SL MkIII with 49 or 61 keys is the best larger-sized controller for amateur music producers. This best-selling keyboard controller looks great, plays well, and has impressive physical features and functionality for the money.

Consider the Nektar Impakt LX88+ if you want 88-key controller keyboards that can become a studio centerpiece.

It has no real competition at its price point, and there’s no reason beginners should move upstream to ultra-expensive models unless they are pro keyboardists.

Here are the seven best MIDI Keyboards for beginners to start making music:

  1. Arturia Keylab Essential 49 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Our Pick)
  2. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Budget)
  3. Nektar Impact GX61 MIDI Keyboard (Best DAW Control)
  4. Novation Launchkey 49 Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best For Ableton Live)
  5. Akai MPK Mini Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Portable)
  6. Novation 49SL Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Premium)
  7. Nektar Impact LX88+ MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best 88-Key)

1. Arturia Keylab Essential 49 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Our Pick)

Our Pick
Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard

A powerful one-stop solution for creating music, convenient enough for new users to enjoy straight out of the box, but with features that experienced producers will love.

Why We Love It:
  • Fully loaded universal MIDI controller
  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
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“A popular one-stop solution for music-making steeped in great software and synth patches.”

The MIDI Keyboard market is brutal, and companies couple controller keyboards with software bundles, eye-catching looks, and/or unique functionalities to stand out. Arturia entices beginners with a software suite, which is understandable given its reputation.

By software, we mean badass emulations of vintage synths and thousands of presets to shift hardware.

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 49 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
  • Controls: 8 pads, 9 fades, 9 encoders, pitch/mod wheels
  • Top specs: Backlit drum pads, MIDI out port, killer synth patches
  • Connections: USB-B, MIDI I/O, 9V DC, ¼” sustain pedal input
  • Weight: 6 lbs


The Keylab 49 packs a lot of core features and performance functions. It has the whole shebang of drum pads, knobs, faders, transport controls, and software shortcuts.

The keyboard controller also sports nine endless rotary knobs and a 360-degree selector for patch browsing.

Speaking of patches, the software titles include Ableton Live Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D, and Arturia’s Analog Lab 3, the latter containing 5,000 synth patches. Additionally, the keyboard controller has a MIDI out port if you want to play your favorite hardware synths.

But don’t fret; the Keylab 49 works equally well as a controller for all major DAWs.

The controller has 8 mapping modes, 2 factory options (Analog Lab and DAW), and six user-programmable slots. It comes with a Control Centre app to use as a mapping editor and librarian.

The app is intuitive, making it easy to edit, import/export, and organize presets.

The Keylab 49 (or 61) is a one-stop keyboard controller to enjoy straight out of the box. Beginners will appreciate the ability to find sounds quickly with swift preset browsing and software shortcuts.

The Analog Lab integration is on the money, and the performance features make it a top all-around MIDI keyboard for home, studio, and onstage use.

It’s also the best choice if words like Juno, Oberheim, and Jupiter send a tingle up your spine.


  • Pads with aftertouch and endless knobs
  • Full DAW software integration
  • DAW transport (Mackie Control/ HUI protocol).
  • MIDI Control Center App is intuitive
  • Pre-configured software makes it easy to use out of the box.


  • No layering or zoning
  • Faders feel a little flimsy

2. M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Budget)

Best Budget
M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3

With its full-sized synth-action keys and exciting instrument software bundle, the lightweight and expressive M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 makes a worthy addition to any studio setup or performance arsenal. This simple USB controller comes equipped with a streamlined control set to quickly unlock the full power of your pianos, synths, loops, and sound machines. 

Why We Love It:
  • Streamlined controls
  • Velocity-sensitive keys
  • Lightweight
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“Unpretentious plug-and-play controller keyboards for performance or studio setups.”

We featured the M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 because it’s an easy-to-use generic MIDI controller keyboard, not too overwhelming for beginners.

It favors build quality over bells and whistles but has sufficient controls and features to maximize creativity or perform with laptops.

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 49 full-sized, velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
  • Controls: Volume slide, octave up/down, transport controls, pitch/mod wheels
  • Top specs: Easy to use, compatible with iOS devices, bundled software
  • Connections: USB-B, ¼” sustain pedal input
  • Weight: 72 lbs


The Keystation 49 lets beginners create music without complicating things. It’s designed to play virtual instruments expressively and sequence music.

There’s a 1/4” sustain pedal input, and you can buy an Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter to use it with iOS devices.

The keybed hosts 49 full-size keys with velocity-sensitive and synth-like resistance. It also has a reasonable amount of controls to expand playability and create a smooth workflow.

Beginners can comfortably ditch the mouse/trackpad to use transport controls with music software.

In a nutshell, the Keystation 49 Mk3 is an inexpensive keyboard controller for two purposes:

  1. a generic MIDI controller keyboard for studio use; and
  2. a backpack-ready controller w/ USB-MIDI connectivity for live performances or making music on the go.

Simple but powerful, this M-Audio MIDI controller is a top choice for new music producers who can’t play keyboards. It’s also the perfect controller for budget-conscious beginners or hobbyists who want to mess around with GarageBand (with two-handed playing).


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Not overly complicated
  • Easy to use out of the box
  • Very affordable price


  • The user manual isn’t helpful
  • Not ideal for beatmakers

3. Nektar Impact GX61 MIDI Keyboard (Best DAW Control)

Best DAW Control
Nektar Impact GX61 MIDI Keyboard

Regardless of what DAW software you use to make music, the Nektar Impact GX61 is a smart keyboard controller for your desktop. A dedicated set of controls for transport and navigating tracks allows you to stay in your creative zone while producing. These seven buttons can also be assigned up to two MIDI messages each to create your own custom workflow.

Why We Love It:
  • Includes DAW software
  • Dedicated controls for navigating
  • Performance control options
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“The best beginner MIDI controller for a sweet-easy workflow with total DAW control.”

Nektar has a reputation for making the best MIDI keyboards with DAW integration. Their entry-level range features the GX61, which we think is the best 61-key MIDI controller (under $200) if you want to create a desktop workstation.

It features eight transport controls and integrates very smoothly with all major DAWs.

Key Features: 

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 61 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
  • Controls: 8 transport controls, 1 control knob + pitch/mod wheel
  • Top specs: Everything is assignable, strong DAW integration, bundled software
  • Connections: USB-B, ¼” expression pedal input
  • Weight: 6 lbs


This beginner MIDI keyboard has a velocity-sensitive keybed with 61 full-sized synth-action keys. You can choose from three fixed velocity settings and four curves to find something that suits your play style.

But there’s nothing else to tout besides a handful of transport buttons.

You get an assignable potentiometer to access mixer vol, MIDI parameters, and other functions. Out back, there’s an on/off switch, USB-B port, and a ¼” expression pedal input.

The bundled software includes Bitwig 8-track with roughly 50 virtual instruments and effects.

The GX61 is an affordable MIDI keyboard for beginners or anyone looking to buy their first MIDI controller. The modicum features give you enough leeway to make music without getting overwhelmed.

Plus, you can use more of the DAW integration features as you progress.

However, the Nektar Impact GX61 is not the best for beat-making or electronic music production. Beginners keen on a strong DAW integration can move upstream to the Nektar Panorama series to find the best features and functionality for those pursuits.


  • Uncluttered design
  • Powerful DAW integration
  • Compact + lightweight = portable
  • Excellent value for money


  • Keys are a slightly noisy
  • Not the best choice for beat making

P.S. – Do you want more options for the best budget keyboard controllers? We’ve ranked and reviewed the five best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $300.

4. Novation Launchkey 49 Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best For Ableton Live)

Best For Ableton
Novation Launchkey 49

Novation Launchkey 49 is one of quickest and easiest ways to produce and perform electronic music using Ableton Live. You just plug in via USB and the keys, faders, knobs, and velocity-sensitive RGB pads give you immediate hands-on control of your session view, instruments, effects and mixer.

Why We Love It:
  • Optimized for Ableton Live
  • Easy-to-read 16 x 2 character screen
  • Sixteen RGB backlit drum pads
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“The most popular controller keyboard for Ableton but resourceful in all MIDI situations.”

The Novation Launchkey MK3 is a MIDI keyboard designed for Ableton Live. It can be used as a studio or standalone keyboard controller that doesn’t need a computer.

It plays well with hardware synths thanks to onboard features and a five-pin DIN MIDI Out.

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 49 keys
  • Controls: 16 pads,9 faders, 8 knobs, transport controls, mod/pitch wheels
  • Top Specs: Dedicated transport controls, modes, and HUI DAW control
  • Connections: USB, MIDI I/O, ¼” sustain pedal input
  • Weight: 68 lbs


The Launchkey 49 is a multi-use MIDI keyboard with creativity-inspiring features and functionality. It’s undoubtedly the best controller for Ableton Live but also comes with proprietary INCONTROL software to sync with all major DAWs.

The keys respond to three curves, and the velocity and pressure-sensitive pads (with aftertouch) can be color-coded and mapped for any user-defined function.

There are nine mappable faders to control effects in real-time or mix-down tracks without being tethered to a keyboard/mouse.

There are two features beginners will appreciate. The Arp’s Mutate and Deviate features can result in fun freak-outs.

Secondly, the LED screen displays the function when you touch or move something, which helps you navigate the controller without getting overwhelmed.

The Launchkey 49 Mk3 is the best MIDI keyboard in this price range (under $300) if multi-functionality is high on your list. The Ableton Live integration is near-perfect, but it also has scripts for major DAWs, allowing you to map controls that serve your workflow.


  • Compact + lightweight = portable
  • RGB velocity-sensitive pads
  • Chord Mode and Arp are excellent
  • Best-in-class Ableton Live integration
  • Value for money


  • Moderate learning curve
  • Not the best for hardware synths

Pro-Tip: The MIDI controller is compact and won’t challenge crowded desktops and studio spaces. There’s a backpack-ready 37-key model if 25 or 49 keys don’t cut it for you.

But the smaller size lacks the fader bank, which is only available in the 49 and 61-key models.

Related: The 5 Best MIDI Foot Controllers

5. Akai MPK Mini Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Portable)

Best Portable
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

The MPK mini mk3 is the third iteration of the world's legendary best-selling mini keyboard controller. Its compact size makes it an ideal travel companion, and its arsenal of pads and assignable controls let you take complete command of every aspect of your production.

Why We Love It:
  • Expressive
  • Ultra-compact design
  • Built-in arpeggiator
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“The best portable MIDI controller for beginners, beat makers, and mobile musicians.”

The AKAI MPK Mini MK3 is a travel-size keyboard controller with a 25-note keybed, eight pads, eight controller knobs, and a thumbstick for pitch bending. It also features a really cool Arp and comes with bundled software.

It’s a bestselling and feature-rich entry point for music making, ready to use out of the box and easy on the pocket.

P.S. – Akai recently announced a promising 37-key version that you can pre-order

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action mini keys
  • Controls: 8 MPC pads and assignable controls + 4-way joystick
  • Top specs: MPC-style pads, Built-in Arp, bundled software
  • Connections: USB-B, ¼” sustain pedal input
  • Weight:65 lbs.


Launched in 2010, the MPK mini has been through many iterations, now boasting an improved key-bed, infinity knobs, and an OLED screen to display settings and real-time feedback.

The controller also features an onboard Arp with modes and a dedicated tap tempo button.  

The MPK Mini has 8 velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads with Note Repeat functions. The backlit pads boast aftertouch capabilities, a desirable feature for creating dynamic sounds.

The 8 infinity knobs can be assigned to plug-ins for tweaking parameters while making music.  

The keyboard controller comes with a top-notch software bundle featuring the MPC beats DAW, sound packs, and virtual instruments like Mini Grand, Hybrid 3, and Velvet.

Beginners can use it out of the box to add melodies, chords, and basslines or even lay down beats.

The 25-key segment is ridiculously crowded, but Akai bags the top spot with this portable MIDI device. It’s easy to navigate, reasonably priced, and comes with everything beginners need for making music or creating beats at home, on stage, or in the studio.


  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to use
  • Backlit MPC-style drum pads
  • Top-notch bundled software


  • Mini keys are small
  • Arpeggiator could be better

P.S – Read our full in-depth Akai MPK Mini MK3 review

6. Novation 49SL Mk3 MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best Premium)

Novation 49SL MkIII

With the Novation 49SL MkIII, you'll take control of your projects like never before. Experience first-class action, thanks to an expressive synth-style semi-weighted keybed. Command your synths and modules with ease, courtesy of MIDI In, Out, and Out 2/Thru; Analog Clock Out; and two sets of CV Pitch, Gate, and Mod outputs.

Why We Love It:
  • Synth-style semi-weighted keybed
  • Velocity-sensitive RGB pads
  • Internal 8-track sequencer
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“An expensive command center for beginners today, a workstation centerpiece tomorrow.”

The newest gen Novation 49SL MIDI keyboards are easy on the wallet and right on trend with the evolving needs of music producers. They boast a built-in Arpeggiator, 8-track poly sequencer, keyboard zoning, and Novation Components software manager, among other things.

They are designed to be the music studio centerpiece, focusing on Ableton Live.

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 49 semi-weight keys
  • Controls: 16 pads, 8 knobs, 8 faders, and assignable controls + 4-way joystick
  • Top specs: Sequencer, dedicated transport controls, CV/Gate
  • Connections: USB-B, ¼” sustain pedal input
  • Weight: 65 lbs

The 49SL Mk3 has semi-weighted keys, 9 faders, 6 dedicated transport controls, 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads, and a pitch/mod wheel.

Out back, there are USB & power supply inputs, sockets for CV/gate, 3 MIDI ports, and sustain pedal inputs.

There are 2-octave buttons, 2 track buttons, 8 solo/mute buttons, and a 3-digit LED display. 5 buttons give you access to the five modes – DAW, Scales, Arp, Zones, and Sequencer.

That’s just half of it. To cut the story short, there’s a massive amount of physical features and functionality that might be overkill for beginners. But we felt like including a premium option for the committed beginner willing to scale the learning curve (and the buy-once-cry-once price). 

Fully utilized, the SL MK3 is a popular choice for workstations, used for virtual instruments and integrations with DAWs.

It’s also a top-notch controller to jam with hardware synths, and you can thank the 8 tracks of poly sequencing over MIDI, USB, and CV for that distinction.

For the money, the keyboard controller comes with a generous amount of freebies– Ableton Lite, free piano lessons, 4 GB of loops/samples, and top-notch VST plugins like Addictive Keys, V-Station, and Bass Station.

The bundled software definitely helps justify the price tag.

The Novation 49SL Mk3 is not the best MIDI controller for beginners in the conventional sense. Think of it as a highly capable and customizable MIDI device that can handle the base operations of music production and live performances.

You can learn your way around it while making music, and the advanced functionality ensures you won’t outgrow it anytime soon.


  • Semi-weighted keybed
  • Internal sequencer and built-in arp
  • Excellent hardware connectivity
  • Best for Ableton, Logic, and Reason DAWs


  • Pricey
  • Overkill for beginners

P.S. – We featured Launchkey 61 in the 7 Best 61 Key MIDI keyboards

7. Nektar Impact LX88+ MIDI Keyboard Controller (Best 88-Key)

Best 88-Key
Nektar Impact LX88+

The full power of the Impact LX+ series is realized in the LX88+, now with MIDI in/out to equip you for any production application. Based on the award-winning Panorama and LX49+/LX61+ before it, the Nektar Impact LX88+ USB MIDI controller uses intelligent mapping to give you hands-on control of your DAW session. 

Why We Love It:
  • Seamless DAW integration
  • Affordable
  • Pre-mapped and configured controls
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A utilitarian but inexpensive 88-key MIDI controller with extensive DAW integration.

The LX88+ is an 88-key USB MIDI keyboard with impressive physical features and functionality. Beginners can use it as a generic keyboard controller for computer workstations, and the slim, lightweight design makes it a good fit for laptop-based keyboard players.

It has installers for every major DAW that can be set up with little effort.

Key Features:

  • Type: USB MIDI keyboard controller
  • Keys: 88-key semi-weighted keys
  • Controls: 8 pads, transport controls, 1 control knob + pitch/mod wheel
  • Top specs: Everything is assignable, full DAW integration, bundled software
  • Connections: USB, DC Power, and ¼” pedal input + 5-pin MIDI output
  • Weight: 39 lbs.


This slim unfussy device has supportive features and functions for music production. The semi-weighted keys are very playable and quiet. The buttons and pads are velocity-sensitive, and the buttons change color to indicate the current function.

The Split and Layer buttons allow for two keyboard zones and layers, respectively.

These full-sized controller keyboards are a great choice for bedroom producers who need strong DAW control via a MIDI device. They skip the bells and whistles like built-in Arps or backlit drum pads. Instead, the functionality is tied to the three modes – Preset, Mixer, and Instrument.

The LX88+ comes with a free copy of Bitwig 8-Track. It scores top marks for DAW integration with precisely labeled knobs and sliders standardized across over 100+ VST instruments. If you know a thing or two about clips and scenes, there won’t be much of a learning curve. 

Either way, we think the LX88+ is affordable and easy to use, making it one of the best MIDI keyboards for beginners, particularly experienced keyboardists. The 88-key segment isn’t crowded at this price point, so you’ll have to spend twice or thrice as much to do better.

Sadly, beat makers and Ableton or Pro Tools users need to look elsewhere.


  • Slim and lightweight
  • 5-pin MIDI output
  • Intuitive layout with precise labeling
  • Best choice for keyboardists and music producers
  • Excellent DAW integration and VST configuration


  • Not for beat makers or mobile musicians
  • No scripts for Pro Tools and Ableton Live

P.S. – We also covered the 7 Best 88-Key Synthesizers for All Budgets


Should A Beginner Buy A MIDI Keyboard?

A beginner should buy a MIDI keyboard if they want a quicker workflow and a more intuitive way to create music.

You can buy 25, 37, 49, 61, and 88-key MIDI keyboards with varying features and functions. Among those, 49 or 61-key models are the best beginner MIDI keyboards.

Should I Buy A MIDI Controller Or A MIDI Keyboard?

Buy a MIDI keyboard to add chords, melodies, and bass lines to your tracks. It can also be used to control DAWs or mix down tracks.

On the other hand, a MIDI controller is a better choice if you want a device to trigger one-shot sounds or make beats and drum loops.

Can You Teach Yourself Piano On A MIDI Keyboard?

Yes, you can teach yourself piano on a MIDI keyboard with 61 or 88-keys. You can go down to 49-keys, but anything smaller won’t accommodate two-handed play.

It’s advised to buy a MIDI keyboard with semi-weighted or weighted keys as they have a more piano-like action.

Before you go, check out our guide to the 7 Weird MIDI Controllers That Defy Convention!

Tips On Choosing The Right MIDI Keyboard

Choosing a new MIDI keyboard can be a daunting task for those who are new to music production and music theory. There are so many different variations of MIDI keyboards available, with so many differential and distinguishing features.

Some keyboards have it all in terms of functionality, while some have more of a “barebones” approach toward what you need and what you don’t.

1. Keys

Typically the most basic option/place to start is deciding how many keys you want, whether it be 25, 49 or 61 keys.

Bear in mind your studio desk size. Bigger might only be better so long as you can fit it in your studio!

Mini keyboards like the Akai MPK Mini Mk3 (full review here) are quite popular among travellers and on-the-go musicians.

2. Human User Interface

HUI protocol allows a digital audio workstation (DAW) and a connected hardware control surface (a MIDI keyboard in this case) to exchange MIDI signals that synchronize the states of their sliders, buttons, wheels, and displays.

The user can write console automation to a track in a live or recording situation while using the physical hardware, which can then be seen transferred, and recorded directly on the screen in the DAW in real-time.

3. Aftertouch

Aftertouch is a dynamic control function that allows the user to physically manipulate the sound they are playing from their keyboard after you have engaged the key.

By pressing and holding down the note, you can use physical pressure differences to change the strength of the release and decay accordingly, as well as other parameters.

4. MIDI Sync/CV Gate

This is a type of functionality used to send MIDI information data between devices for live and recording applications when using analog/hardware synths or drum machines.

The control voltage (CV) will normally control the transmission of pitch, and the gate will control whether the note is on or off.

If you are into live hardware recording or performances, you will want to make sure you have the proper MIDI functionality within your MIDI keyboard, should you want to sync it with your other hardware. It is also worth noting that ‘MIDI beat’ clocking is different to ‘MIDI timecode’ clocking and is based on tempo, MIDI clock events are universally set at 24ppqn or ‘Pulses Per Quarter Note.’

5. MCU (Mackie Control Universal)

MCU allows a specific device to be the “master” MIDI controller for a DAW and can sync up to 16 MIDI devices from an MCU-enabled device via a computer, meaning you can control up to 16 devices or plugins seamlessly from the one master device.

Note: some DAWs, such as Reaper, have been known to have functionality issues when using MCU protocol in the past, so make sure you do your due diligence to see what your DAW supports if you intend on using MIDI hardware in live performance or live recording situations.

6. Velocity

Velocity typically measures the amount of different pressure-sensitive outputs that can be tied to an individual keypress on a MIDI keyboard or drum pad.

Typically there are 127 points of velocity within a standard keypress, allowing for expressional and dynamic playing, with 1 being the softest possible press and 127 being the hardest.

Although velocity can be controlled and mapped by various plugins or onboard features of some keyboards themselves, the industry standard remains 127 points of velocity. This ultimately means that each key can be pressed in 127 different ways, from soft to hard presses.

7. Weighted Keys

A lot of keyboards include the integration of weighted or semi-weighted keys. This is to simulate the feeling of playing a normal acoustic piano. The hammers on each key in a traditional piano are connected to the key by a lever mechanism which causes a natural weight or resistance when each key is pressed, lifting the hammer.

This can be an important feature in an electronic keyboard as it combines with the use of velocity to create a more natural and organic feeling when playing. Hitting the key hard will make a sharp and loud note, whereas gently depressing the key will generate a much softer note, and the weighted key will respond to the press as if it is moving a physical hammer.

With no resistance on the keys, it can be harder (especially for someone who has trained or plays on an acoustic piano) to achieve the appropriate feeling or timbre when playing a note or chord.

8. Pedal Functionality

Some MIDI keyboard controllers have the option for an “expression” pedal and/or footswitch, this means the device can attach a sustain pedal or FX pedal via a 1/4” TRS lead and to be able to send and receive information that will change the way the note is played within the keyboard.

Much like the sustain pedals found on an acoustic piano, digital sustain pedals work in the same way, and can be purchased from various music retail outlets.

Pressing your foot on the sustain pedal will hold the note even after you release the key and are no longer pressing it, simulating how a sustain pedal keeps the hammers off the strings of the piano to prevent them from dampening the vibration of the strings inside. When the pedal is released, the note or chord will stop playing.