Usually, one of the tools that should not be missing for home recording and music production. Therefore, you should find the best keyboard for making beats. Thinking about sharpening your DJ skills while you sit back at home? MIDI keyboards are undoubtedly the best instruments for your cause.
MIDI keyboards are instruments that you can hook up to your computer, tab, or phone; and make endless beats and tweak them as and how you want. MIDI keyboards have been used by music producers for a variety of purposes.
Whether you are a novice or on your journey to become a pro DJ, a professional MIDI keyboard and DAW combo will give you the much-needed technical boost.
So, if you are tired of making beats on your computer, a MIDI keyboard is the obvious next step that you want to take. With the various knobs, faders, and pads your possibilities are truly endless.
There are many models of MIDI keyboards to choose from, so read through this list carefully and you will surely find the best keyboard for making beats. Additionally, you can read about the aspects to consider while buying a MIDI keyboard and a FAQ section on this topic.
10 Best MIDI Keyboard For Making Beats Reviews
So, without further ado, let’s dive deep into these 10 best keyboards for making beats for both pros and beginners.
01. Akai Mini MKII – Professional MIDI Keyboard
- All-round virtual sound control
- USB power options available
- Huge selection of knobs and sliders
- Travel friendly
Welcome yourself to the world of homemade beats with this professional MIDI keyboard. Whether you are looking to create drum beats for recording a song or electronic beats with overdubs, this keyboard will give you access to all the settings you require.
Although this is a professional-grade MIDI keyboard, even a newcomer can learn it with ease. So, be a producer and a DJ at the comfort of your home with the help of this powerful tool. Gain easy access to a range of drum beats and other percussive instruments.
One of the best features of this MIDI keyboard is the 4-way control stick that allows you to play over the entire MIDI range with absolute ease. And, if that wasn’t enough, you also have a set of 8 knobs with which you can virtually control every aspect of your track.
Beats on the go
Have a beat in your mind? Play it out on the Akai Mini’s 8 MPC drum pads and record it immediately. Now you can play it back to yourself, program it exactly how you want to, and mix it as well.
Pro-grade production software for both Mac & PC included with this keyboard.
- Easy to learn
- Perfect for bedroom producers
- Create original beats
- Hassle-free production
- Might overcompensate DJ necessities
02. M-Audio Oxygen 25 MIDI Keyboard
- 25 keys for full range production
- Dedicated buttons for octave control
- Plug and play anywhere
- 8 beat making pads
So, if you are looking for a MIDI keyboard but don’t know where to start, this one can be your choice without worry. Moreover, it gives you all the necessities of a bedroom producer and more. You can simply sit back and create beats and overdub them with the 25 key synth sounds. The power of music creation has never been more accessible.
The 8 knobs you have on this MIDI keyboard can be assigned to individual tasks. So, once you have figured out how you want to play your piece, you can have the tools you need the most at the palm of your hands. A few months on this keyboard and you can move your DJ gig out of the bedroom!
M-Audio Oxygen 25 has an innovative mapping feature. This allows the device to set up its preferred controls within any major audio processing software. Moreover, you also get free software that is worth $100+ and compatible with all operating systems.
This USB powered MIDI keyboard is the perfect start to your beat making venture.
- Multiple customizable options
- Easy to integrate with DAW software
- Full-scale keyboard features
- Easy overdub facilities
- Need to be plugged into DAW software in order to play.
03. Akai MPK249 – Core Control MIDI Keyboard
- 16 drum pads for endless beat making.
- 25 customizable controllers with dedicated control knobs
- Easy MIDI input and output options
- Various note control buttons and faders
This high-end MIDI keyboard is the perfect choice for all home producers who are looking for an upgrade. This keyboard is not only a solution for professional beat making but you also gain end to end mixing and dub features. Create beats that change that world.
Endless drum pads
Tired of having to work with only 8 beats and limited samples? Bring home this 16 pad MIDI keyboard and you will truly have an endless combination of beats to work with. You get a total of 24 control knobs for all your MIDI needs and a long list of DAW features.
Never touch the computer keyboard again to make beats.
- Easy sampling options
- Total virtual instrument mode
- 5 pin connectivity for easy usage
- Multiple MPC controls
- Does not include free software
04. Novation USB MIDI Keyboard – Launchkey 49
- 16 drum pads with dedicated features
- 49 high function keys
- USB powered driver free functionality
- Free software
One of the best-in-class pro-level MIDI keyboards, the Novation Launchkey 49 provides you with ultimate ease in creating beats, overdub tracks, and all audio processing solutions.
Above all, the entire product is streamlined for the best level of functionality. So, become a professional music producer with absolute ease!
Create beats with pro-level access
Not only can you use the velocity-sensitive pads to create your beats on the go, but you can also program them instantly. Dedicated buttons help you with all sorts of navigation controls, and your entire MIDI range can be controlled with dedicated knobs.
Plug n’ Play
Simply plug this instrument into any computer and it will be ready to play. You get all the necessary software for free, so you can create your beats with nothing getting in the way.
- Complete keyboard usage as well as sound production
- Creates beats with a touch and program them immediately
- Multiple free software for all operating systems
- Not for beginners
05. Native Instruments Controller Keyboard
- All-round virtual instrument control
- OLED display for ease of navigation
- Dedicated control knobs for MIDI functionality
- USB powered
Another great pro-level MIDI keyboard, the Native Komplete Kontrol A49 is a go-to option for any professional music producer. So, if you want to make beats with the touch of a button then this instrument will allow for all the functionalities required.
From the keys to the layout of the knobs and buttons, this keyboard is meant for those who like to play out their beat. With multiple dedicated DAW options at your fingertip and a handy pitch-shifter wheel, this keyboard is ready to be played anywhere.
One of the best features of this MIDI keyboard is its SmartPlay that allows for easy playing with any instrument. So, if you are a novice, you can pick upbeat making really fast with the help of these modes and enjoy the moment.
Overall, this is a great buy for anyone looking to become a bedroom DJ or producer.
- Intuitive controls and design
- 49 keys for complete functionality
- Multiple knobs and buttons
- Free software for onboarding
- No touch pads for beat making
06. Alesis 61 key MIDI Keyboard
- Huge range of hands-on controls
- 16 high-end beat production pads
- Easy connectivity
- Free software
Express your musical aspirations in their fullest form with this pro-level MIDI Keyboard. The 61 keys allow for complete keyboard usage while its multiple functionalities allow you to control the music and enable production capacity to its fullest.
Pro-level beat making
With the 16 pads on one end of this MIDI Keyboard and 48 buttons + 16 knobs on the other end, this is the last MIDI tool you will ever need. Each pad, button, and knob can be customized to meet your playing style and production needs.
Ease of access
While most pro-level MIDI keyboards require high-end connectivity options, this instrument features USB power options for ultimate ease. Furthermore, you get all the necessary software for free so install them and start making your beats with nothing stopping you.
- All-round pro-level production options
- Keys+Pads+Pitchshifter combination provides best beat making capacity
- Control all virtual instruments
- Dedicated effects for each button
- Not meant for beginners
07. Ammoon Panda Mini – 25 Key MIDI Keyboard
- 4 different sets of MIDI settings
- 8 high-quality drum pads
- 8 different control options
- Plug n’ play feature
If you are looking for a beginner level yet high-end MIDI keyboard then this is the right one for you. Not only do you get to control all the necessary features of your beat without having to use your computer, but you can also simply plug this system into your computer and start playing.
You can use this MIDI keyboard by even plugging it into an iPad. It not only syncs seamlessly with Garage Band, but it also works on any Windows OS right from XP to Windows 10. Additionally, you don’t need driver software to play this instrument.
Perfect for traveling musicians
The Ammoon Panda Mini comes with its own stereo output so you can create your beats anywhere, anytime. The touchpads allow you to make the beat easily and you can tweak it using the different sets of keys and knobs.
So, if you are an absolute newcomer to beat making and production, this will help get you to the pro level in no time! You just need to make a smart pick and enjoy the moment.
- Connects with apps such as Piano apprentice and Apple Garage Band
- Easy to assign features and quick to use
- Dynamic sliders for pitch modulation feature
- Can be played without driver software
- Less number of keys as compared to other products.
08. Novation MKIII – 49 Key MIDI Keyboard
- Easy sequence creation with 8 track polyphonic options
- Integrate DAW hardware with ease
- Analog clock maintains time
- 16 beat making pads
This is clearly one of the best pro-level keyboards that you can upgrade to. It has the whole range of MIDI features that you will need to create, edit, and mix beats. This instrument will serve as the centerpiece of your DAW system and allow you to work seamlessly with multiple instruments.
Control all your hardware
If you are using a connection of multiple MIDI instruments, then the laptop may fall short when you are actually producing the music. But with the analog clocks, a whole range of sliders and customizable keys, and the 49 high functioning music keys, you will never go wrong with your mix ever again.
All the primary keys on this machine are touch-responsive. Furthermore, the backlight feature allows you to always create the right beats. Store a whole range of sound effects and libraries and access them with ease from this MIDI keyboard.
This is the best buy if you are looking for a pro-level controller for a home studio.
- Create using any DAW software and hardware
- Control all aspects of production with this instrument
- 49 keys for full range keyboard sounds
- Easy USB connectivity with MIDI in and out
- No free DAW software included
09. IK Multimedia iRig – 25 Key Midi Controller
- Compatible with USB devices including iPhone and iPad
- Can run on battery power
- In-built audio feature
- 8 beat making pads
For those looking to brush up their beat-making skills, this is an amazing instrument that allows wholesome MIDI controls. The entire system is sleek looking and holds 2 strips of slider controls and multiple knobs.
Perfect for easy beat making
The 8 pads can store from any soundbank available, and you also have easy to access options such as record and playback. So, no matter where you simply plug this MIDI keyboard to your iPhone and your DJ set up is ready to go!
From XLR and instrument inputs to adjusting gain levels and phantom-powered microphone controls, you can also hook up this keyboard to stereo output speakers or headphones. You get a lot of free samples with this instrument that will have you making beats for hours.
This is a great buy for those who want to learn beat-making and can spend hours pondering over selections.
- Highly responsive design
- Travel friendly
- Supports iPhone and iPad
- Free software and apps available
- Less number of keys compared to other products.
10. Korg Kronos2 – 88 Key
- Multiple sound engines for the total MIDI experience
- LCD touchscreen panel
- Mode features including the updated mode, set-list
- Full-length sequencer settings
If you want your setup to scream professional then this is the best MIDI controller you will find in the market. Although making beats is only one of its many functionalities, this keyboard can get the job done in the most professional way possible.
The process sounds the pro way
Korg is a household name when it comes to keyboards and this MIDI keyboard is the best way to mix and master your tracks. Moreover, it can connect to any professional DAW setup and any feature you may require is available at your fingertips.
The state of the art capabilities of the Korg Kronos2 is not only in its hardware but also in the digital support it provides. Create the best possible DAW environment and control it entirely with this exquisite MIDI keyboard.
This MIDI keyboard is meant for professional usage only.
- 88 keys provide you with the ultimate dynamic range.
- Customizable options for setting up a personalized DAW environment
- High-end sound engines
- Free software
- No drum tracking pads.
Buying a MIDI keyboard is not as easy as it sounds. With tons of options available it can be hard to pick one that truly fits your needs. So, before you make a decision here are some of the primary aspects you need to consider:
Number of keys
When you are buying a musical keyboard of any kind the number of keys on it should be your primary point of concern. The range of keys on professional keyboards can vary anywhere between 25 and 88 keys.
The question here is not only whether you need a full range keyboard, but also what features these keys provide you with.
If you are a professional producer then you will surely need a 61 key instrument or at the least a 49 key one. And, if you are a true visionary who would like to churn out some of the best products possible then it’s obviously the 88 key variants that you need.
But chances are that you are not at the helm of the professional level, but rather somewhere on the way. So, the middle options should suffice.
So, if you are buying the keyboard for entirely beat making purpose and professional production is not your aim, then simply choose any 25 or 49 key instruments. These will also be travel friendly and provide you an added advantage.
Sure, you can use the keys on your MIDI keyboard to create the beats. But, if you’re looking at becoming a professional DJ, then the drum pads on your MIDI keyboard will provide you a great level of flexibility.
So, if you are just starting out as a novice then go for an 8 drum pad keyboard. But, if you are a pro and want an upgrade then you should definitely go for a 16 pad instrument.
Many producers use a separate drum pad board along with a MIDI controller, but with these MIDI keyboards, you can have the functionality of both these instruments.
Also, even if you are not going to use the keyboard to solely make beats, you can store various sounds in the drum pads and use them during production.
Combination of controls
While certain aspects are common amongst the control you will find on these keyboards, such as faders and knobs, their usability is an important aspect to consider.
Whether you are using the MIDI keyboard for making beats or producing music, to be pro-level is to use your computer as less as possible. So, it’s always wiser to choose a product that has a good set of on-system control options.
So, if you are already pro-level and want an upgrade then definitely choose a MIDI keyboard that has customizable controls. You will be able to set up your system exactly the way you want it and produce hassle-free. Beginners can go for a regular MIDI keyboard that has dedicated controls.
The power source of your MIDI keyboard is something you should give some thought into. There are keyboards that can run with simple power connections such as your iPhone or iPad.
On the other hand, you have models that require multiple power connections and adequate software to play. The high-end MIDI keyboards are most likely to be of the latter type.
Once again, your needs are what will guide your decision. For beatmakers, a USB powered keyboard is almost a must. It allows you to set up a DJ rig anywhere.
A MIDI keyboard along with an iPad is usually the go-to set up for DJs. But home producers would probably like to connect their keyboards with multiple DAW instruments, and not try to set up their system on the move.
Apps and software integrations
From regular apps such as Garage Band to specific MIDI software, the usability of your keyboard will depend on the digital systems it relies on. So, it’s important to figure out beforehand how you will be using the keyboard and whether you have the necessary support systems in place.
Most of the time the required software will be available for free with the keyboard, if not you will be required to purchase it. Many of these apps and software can actually expand the usability of your keyboard. So, if you want to become a pro-level producer you will need to master these digital systems as well.
Certain MIDI keyboards are extremely friendly towards DAW set-ups and fit in perfectly as the centerpiece. Whereas others are just a means of controlling your DAW features using a compact system. Your choice should reflect your reliance on DAW systems to get the job done. If you are prone to music production than only beat making, a dedicated DAW keyboard will surely streamline your process.
Keep these factors in mind and you should be able to pick the right keyboard for your needs.
FAQs About The Best MIDI Keyboard For Making Beats
01. What is MIDI?
Before buying a MIDI keyboard it is absolutely important to understand what the concept is. This can serve as a crash course for those who are newcomers to the world of music production and FAQ. So, if you want answers to more product-specific questions, scroll on down.
The Musical Instrument Digital Surface, or MIDI, is a means of data exchange between different devices. So, with a MIDI keyboard, you can send commands to various other digital and actual instruments. In the most common scenario, the usage of MIDI is to play a virtual instrument on the computer.
The concept of a MIDI keyboard is basically an instrument that can be connected to a digital device such as a computer, or a smart-phone or tablet. This is why many MIDI keyboards can only be played when connected to one of these devices. Furthermore, a MIDI keyboard eases out the entire recording and creation process of music.
02. What are the different knobs and faders used for?
Most commonly, faders on your MIDI keyboard can control the different volume aspects of your sound. They can also be used for equalizing the sound and creating the right tone. Knobs also serve the same function, but they can also be used to introduce various effects to your music.
The usability of the knobs and faders is the primary deciding factor for many MIDI controller users. The more the number of knobs and faders on your keyboard, the more tweaking options you can provide to your sound.
You can, of course, access the entire range of effects from your MIDI software, but if they are available at the tweak of a button, then the process becomes easier.
03. How can I create samples using MIDI pads?
The MIDI pads on a keyboard are customizable buttons that can provide you with the required sound of an instrument. Moreover, if you are creating a beat, then you can customize the pads to contain the sound of each section of the drumkit.
So, instead of mapping out the drumkit over the regular keyboard keys, which are hard to access if you don’t know how to play one, the drum pads will serve as the perfect MIDI tool for creating beats.
04. How do I connect my MIDI keyboard to my computer or tablet?
There are many ways in which a MIDI keyboard may connect to a computer or a tablet. But the most common method of connecting your MIDI keyboard is through USB power cables.
Usually, all modern MIDI keyboards provide USB connectivity options. But a high-end MIDI keyboard may require more power than the capacity of a USB cable. In such a case a regular MIDI interface cable will need to be used. Your computer or tab will not have a readymade MIDI input, so you will be required to purchase a converter.
Some MIDI keyboards can be connected via regular power cables, while some others can only support USB connectivity. But most of the regular MIDI keyboards will feature both USB connectivity as well as MIDI input and output options. It is important to consider how you will be connecting your MIDI keyboard before purchasing it.
05. Do all MIDI keyboards have in-built audio output options?
No, only certain MIDI keyboards have this feature. MIDI keyboards are primarily meant for controlling MIDI software in order to produce music. But certain MIDI controllers are DJ friendly, and they have an in-built stereo speaker.
However, the capacity of these speakers is quite minimal and if you are planning to play to an audience then you will be required to connect to bigger speakers via MIDI cables. Moreover, if you are going to use the MIDI keyboard for personal usage then the in-built audio output will suffice.
06. What is the difference between a virtual instrument and a MIDI controller?
A MIDI controller is basically the centerpiece of your virtual setup, of which the virtual instrument is only a piece. The MIDI controller is used to send commands to your virtual instrument and create music.
The virtual instrument can exist in the form of an app or software, whereas the MIDI controller is something you will hold in your hands. Not all MIDI controllers look like keyboards, but they serve the same functionalities.
Since MIDI keyboards have become DJ friendly they have been developed with keys and pads that can be used to create beats in an instant.
Hopefully, this guide was able to provide the necessary details required to choose the best keyboard for making beats for you. These 10 selections are truly some of the best MIDI keyboards available in the market, and any of them will surely deliver on its promises.
The key here is to concentrate on how you will be using the keyboard rather than what the keyboard can do. So, if you are totally into making beats you should choose one of the sleek keyboards with more pads and fewer keys, but if you will be using one for producing music as well the go ahead with one of the pro models that feature more number of keys.
Also, keep in mind the different software and app requirement for each of these instruments. The world of MIDI music creation is truly amazing.
Have a great time with your new MIDI keyboard!