Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers for Beginners iMore 2020

MIDI keyboard controllers are essential when it comes to composing flawless music electronically. These devices allow you to input information through the use of piano keys and drum pads to transform your iconic tunes into electronic signals for your digital audio workstation. You can even manipulate the sound further as some MIDI keyboard controllers come equipped with additional control options. This is much easier and flows much better than having to click a mouse every time you want to manipulate a new sound.

Plug and Play: Midiplus AKM320 32-Key MIDI Controller

Staff Pick

Enjoy composing beautiful pieces with this 32-key MIDI keyboard controller. Manipulate the pitch and tone to fall perfectly into place with the musical vibe that you're going for with the built-in pitch wheel, modulation wheel, octave buttons, and transpose buttons. This MIDI keyboard controller doesn't require any software installation and is ready to use after simply plugging it in via a USB-B cable.

$35 from Amazon

Compact and Portable: Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII

The Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII comes prepared for artistic expression with 25 velocity-sensitive keys and a virtual synthesizer control. The built-in joystick controls pitch and modulation, while the arpeggiator allows you to adjust the range and resolution of each sound. This compact MIDI keyboard controller is portable and easy to carry from your home studio to the professional studio, and everywhere in between. Simply plug this keyboard into your computer via USB, and you can stop and create wherever you feel inspired.

$119 from Amazon

Compatible with Mac, iOS and PC: Nektar GX49 49-Key MIDI Controller

The Nektar GX49 MIDI Keyboard Controller features an impressive 49 synth-action keys, pitch and modulation wheels, and 14 MIDI buttons that can be assigned to function as you please. In addition to providing variety in its design, this MIDI keyboard controller is compatible with Mac, iOS, and PC. It also comes prepared with Nektar DAW Integration software, which makes this MIDI controller fully configured for 11 different digital audio workstations.

$120 from Amazon

Compact and Compatible with Mac and PC: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 Controller Keyboard

This compact MIDI keyboard controller is USB powered and is compatible with both Mac and PC to make your creative process as accommodating as possible. Featuring 32 synth-action keys, eight touch-sensitive knobs for pitch and modes as well as two touch strips for expressive performance, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 Controller Keyboard helps you create custom beats seamlessly.

$140 from Amazon

Production Software Included: Alesis VI49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

If you're looking for a professional MIDI keyboard controller that is easy to use and great for beginners, the Alesis VI49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is a great choice. This keyboard controller comes equipped with all of the production software needed, 49 semi-weighted keys, and the ability to fully manipulate the levels and tones of each sound on your virtual instruments. There are also 16 illuminated trigger pads that are velocity-sensitive for clip launching and producing customized beats.

$229 from Amazon

Ultra-Light and Bluetooth Compatible: CME Xkey Air 25-Key Bluetooth MIDI Controller

If you're searching for an ultra-light MIDI keyboard controller that can connect to your devices via Bluetooth, then the CME Xkey Air 25-Key Bluetooth MIDI Controller is one to look out for. This MIDI controller weighs in at less than two pounds, which makes it extremely easy to transport. It features a durable anodized aluminum frame, so despite its lightweight, it is still extremely durable. Compatible with iOS, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux, this controller comes equipped with professional-quality velocity-sensitive keys to make creating unforgettable beats a breeze.

$200 from Amazon


Investing in a MIDI keyboard controller can elevate your musical experience by allowing you to compose unforgettable melodies without any interruptions. You don't have to worry about clicking back and forth with your mouse and losing the beat you had in your head. The Midiplus AKM320 32-Key MIDI Controller is an excellent and affordable starting point for beginners in a studio environment.

If you're looking for a tool that has professional-grade components in a portable size, then the Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is definitely a MIDI keyboard controller to watch for. With this keyboard, you can conveniently make unforgettable beats on the go, and wherever you feel inspired.

The Alesis VI49 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller is a great choice for beginners who are looking to invest in a MIDI keyboard controller that they can use as they transition into an advanced user. This tool comes with all of the software needed to start composing straight away.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Camille Sanghera is a freelance writer who loves telling stories through writing. When she is not content writing, you can find her watching movies, playing sports, or writing books. Check out her blog at

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