How to Choose the Right MIDI Controller For [Specific Genre]?

19 minutes read

When choosing a MIDI controller for a specific genre of music, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of that genre. For example, if you are producing electronic dance music (EDM), you may want a MIDI controller with a lot of pads and knobs for controlling effects and creating dynamic sounds. On the other hand, if you are producing classical music, a MIDI controller with weighted keys and a more traditional piano feel may be more suitable.


It is also important to consider the software and plugins you will be using with your MIDI controller. Make sure that the MIDI controller is compatible with your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and any virtual instruments or plugins you plan to use.


Additionally, consider the size and portability of the MIDI controller. If you plan to travel frequently or perform live, a smaller, more lightweight MIDI controller may be more practical.


Finally, it is always a good idea to read reviews and do some research before making a purchase. Look for recommendations from other musicians in your genre and try to test out different MIDI controllers if possible to see which one feels the most comfortable and intuitive for your needs.

Best MIDI Controllers of May 2024

1
Akai Professional MPK Mini Plus - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 37 Mini Keys, 8 MPC Pads, Sequencer, MIDI/CV/Gate I/O, Music Production Software

Rating is 5 out of 5

Akai Professional MPK Mini Plus - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 37 Mini Keys, 8 MPC Pads, Sequencer, MIDI/CV/Gate I/O, Music Production Software

  • Full Creative Control - A dynamic 37-Key MPK Mini keybed for 3 full octaves of melodic and harmonic performance. Easily connect to your DAW or studio equipment with the USB-powered MIDI Controller
  • Advanced Connectivity - Connect to different sound sources with CV/Gate and MIDI I/O. Control modular gear, sound modules, synthesizers, and more to bring new sound sources into your music production
  • Record and Compose Without a Computer - Connect to your production station and use the built-in 64-step sequencer featuring one track for drums and one for melodies or chords, with up to 8 notes each
  • Control Your DAW - Transport section for intuitive hardware control of your DAW. Arm and start recordings, stop playback, rewind or fast-forward for easy navigation of large sessions and projects
2
AKAI Professional MIDImix - USB MIDI Controller Mixer with Assignable Faders & Master Fader, 24 Knobs and 16 Buttons, 1 to 1 Mapping With Ableton Live

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

AKAI Professional MIDImix - USB MIDI Controller Mixer with Assignable Faders & Master Fader, 24 Knobs and 16 Buttons, 1 to 1 Mapping With Ableton Live

  • Mixdown Essentials - 8 individual line faders and 1 master fader for controlling track volume, virtual instrument parameters, effect settings and more
  • Assignable Control - 24 knobs, arranged 3 per channel for controlling EQ, bus sends, virtual instrument parameters, effect settings and more
  • Get Hands-On - 16 buttons arranged in 2 banks provide mute, solo and record arm functionality per channel
3
M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 – 88 Key Semi Weighted MIDI Keyboard Controller for Complete Command of Virtual Synthesizers and DAW parameters

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

M-Audio Keystation 88 MK3 – 88 Key Semi Weighted MIDI Keyboard Controller for Complete Command of Virtual Synthesizers and DAW parameters

  • Music Production Essential – MIDI keyboard controller with 88 full-size velocity-sensitive semi weighted keys for MIDI control of virtual instruments, software samplers and plug-in synthesisers
  • MIDI Keyboard Must-Haves - Volume fader, transport & directional buttons; pitch & modulation wheels, octave up & down buttons and sustain pedal input for expressive performances
  • Your Music Studio Equipment Centrepiece – Slimline design fits any desk, studio or stage setup perfectly and advanced functionality customizes your controls for your recording software
4
Arturia MiniLab 3 - Universal MIDI Controller for Music Production, with All-in-One Software Package - 25 Keys, 8 Multi-Color Pads - White

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Arturia MiniLab 3 - Universal MIDI Controller for Music Production, with All-in-One Software Package - 25 Keys, 8 Multi-Color Pads - White

  • GO WITH YOUR FLOW: MiniLab 3 is an easy keyboard controller that adapts to your needs, your style and your workflow, so you can make music just the way you like it. It lets you control instruments, mute tracks, punch in your 8 pad drums, and adjust your 4 faders with a flow so fluid you’ll forget you had a mouse. Hook it up, discover fresh sounds, enjoy premium velocity-sensitive keys, and get hands-on with your music like never before!
  • ALL THE ESSENTIAL CONTROLS IN A COMPACT CONTROLLER: MiniLab 3 is USB powered with 25 note velocity-sensitive slim keyboard, 2 banks of 8 high quality pads with RGB backlighting, 8 rotary encoders, 4 sliders, Mini display & clickable browsing knob, Built-in Arpeggiator, Hold and Chord modes, 2 touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation wheel, USB-C Port, MIDI Out. Great for beginners, it also fits for pros, and allows you to tweak every aspect of your mix in an instant.
5
Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3] — Portable 25-Key, USB, MIDI Keyboard Controller with DAW Integration, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator — for Music Production

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3] — Portable 25-Key, USB, MIDI Keyboard Controller with DAW Integration, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator — for Music Production

  • Get creative easily with arpeggiator - Easy to use but deeply controllable, Launchkey Mini’s creative arpeggiator allows you to change rhythm, beat, pattern, octave, gate and more to add a whole range of diversity to your ideas and melodies.
  • Play chords with one finger - Lay down chords for your track quick with fixed chord mode. Play a chord with one finger by assigning a fixed shape to the keys and it’ll transpose as you move up and down the keyboard.
  • Finest-tech at your fingertips - The Launchkey Mini might be small in size but it’s packed with features. The 25-key device has 16 velocity-sensitive RGB, eight rotary controls, pitch and mod touch strips, and sustain input. Our finest mini keymech to date is also included.
  • DAW Integration - In addition to Apple Logic and Ableton Live, Launchkey Mini also has excellent integrations with Reason, as well as any HUI compatible DAW, such as Cubase, Pro Tools, and more.
6
AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2 - USB MIDI Pad Controller for Clip Launching with Ableton Live Lite, 64 RGB Pads, Drum and Note Mode and MIDI Mixer

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2 - USB MIDI Pad Controller for Clip Launching with Ableton Live Lite, 64 RGB Pads, Drum and Note Mode and MIDI Mixer

  • Complete Control – Ableton Live Clip Launching MIDI Controller, perfect for creative looping, mixing, home studio and live performing. Connect to Ableton Live and control all your studio equipment
  • Bright 8x8 RGB Pad Matrix - 64 RGB pads for launching clips in Ableton Live providing visual color feedback. Trigger everything from Loops, Vocals, and melodic samples for instant creativity
  • 9 Assignable Faders - With 8 assignable faders + 1 master fader instantly map to Ableton Live's mixer for hands-on mix control of volume, pan, or devices. Use Device mode to control Ableton macros
  • Drum and Note Modes -The Drum sample mode features seamless integration with Ableton Drum Rack. With the inbuilt "Smart Scale View", Note mode enables you to visually play melodies effortlessly
7
AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included, Grey

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included, Grey

  • Music Production and Beat Maker Essential – USB powered MIDI controller with 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys for studio production, virtual synthesizer control and beat production
  • Total Control of your Production - Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control, plus a built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range and modes
  • Complete Command of your Virtual Instruments and FX - 8 360-degree knobs assign to all your music studio plugins for mixing, tweaking synth controls and more
8
AKAI Professional MPD218 - USB MIDI Controller with 16 MPC Drum Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Note Repeat & Full Level Buttons and Production Software

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

AKAI Professional MPD218 - USB MIDI Controller with 16 MPC Drum Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Note Repeat & Full Level Buttons and Production Software

  • Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
  • Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
  • Feature Packed - MPC note repeat and full level controls for immersive expressive performances
  • Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Drum Synth 500 by AIR Music Tech
9
Arturia KeyLab Essential mk3 — 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Analog Lab V Software Included

Rating is 4.2 out of 5

Arturia KeyLab Essential mk3 — 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Analog Lab V Software Included

  • New creative features: Scale Mode, Chord Mode, and Arpeggiator, making composition, songwriting, and beat-making more intuitive than ever.
  • Custom DAW integration: KeyLab Essential 3 features custom scripts for deeper control over DAWs, including Ableton Live Logic Pro X, FL Studio, and more.
  • Easier controls & interface: RGB-backlit pads with velocity and pressure sensitivity, contextual button, and a bright new 2.5” LCD screen for real-time feedback.
10
Alesis V49 MKII – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Velocity Sensitive Keys, 8 Full Level Pads, Arpeggiator, Pitch/Mod Wheel, Note Repeat and Software Suite

Rating is 4.1 out of 5

Alesis V49 MKII – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Velocity Sensitive Keys, 8 Full Level Pads, Arpeggiator, Pitch/Mod Wheel, Note Repeat and Software Suite

  • Plug in the USB Powered V49 MKII MIDI keyboard, and turn your PC, Mac, or iOS device into a feature packed production studio - Ideal for home studio producers, piano beginners, and desktop djs
  • 49 Full-Size, Velocity Sensitive, Synth Action Keys alongside 8 velocity sensitive backlit beat pads with full level and note repeat controls, all in a design that fits easily into your workspace
  • Pitch Bend and Modulation wheels for added expression, and an Arpeggiator with 6 modes for creating unique melodies and inspiring creativity


What features should I look for in a MIDI controller for dubstep tracks?

When choosing a MIDI controller for dubstep tracks, you should look for the following features:

  1. Pad-style controllers: Look for a MIDI controller with pad-style buttons that are velocity-sensitive and responsive, as they are commonly used for triggering drum samples, basslines, and other sounds in dubstep music.
  2. Knobs and faders: Having knobs and faders on your MIDI controller will allow you to easily control parameters such as filter cutoff, resonance, and effects in real-time, which are essential for creating dynamic and textural dubstep tracks.
  3. Aftertouch and expression pedal compatibility: Aftertouch is a pressure-sensitive feature that allows you to add additional expression and modulation to your sounds. An expression pedal can also be used to achieve similar effects, so having compatibility with both can add an extra layer of control to your performances.
  4. MIDI mapping capabilities: Make sure the MIDI controller you choose has the ability to easily map and assign parameters to different controls, allowing you to customize your setup to suit your workflow and preferences.
  5. Multiple octaves: If you plan on playing melodies or chords on your MIDI controller, having multiple octaves of keys will give you more flexibility and range to work with.
  6. Sturdy build quality: Since dubstep music often involves energetic and intense performances, make sure to choose a MIDI controller with a durable and reliable build quality that can withstand the rigors of live gigs and studio use.


Overall, consider your specific needs and preferences when choosing a MIDI controller for dubstep tracks, and make sure it has the necessary features to help you achieve your desired sound and performance style.


How to select a MIDI controller for trap metal production?

When selecting a MIDI controller for trap metal production, there are several key factors to consider:

  1. Number of keys/pads: Trap metal often involves intricate melodies and hard-hitting drum patterns, so having a controller with a sufficient number of keys or pads is important. Consider whether you prefer a keyboard-style controller with keys or a pad-style controller for triggering samples and drum hits.
  2. Integration with music production software: Make sure the MIDI controller is compatible with your preferred music production software (e.g. Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro). This will ensure seamless integration and efficient workflow.
  3. Drum pads: Drumming plays a significant role in trap metal production, so having responsive and sensitive drum pads on your MIDI controller can make a big difference in your sound.
  4. Control options: Look for MIDI controllers that offer various control options, such as knobs, faders, and buttons. These can be used to manipulate parameters in your music production software and add depth to your tracks.
  5. Portability: Consider the size and weight of the MIDI controller, especially if you plan on using it for live performances or on-the-go production. A compact and lightweight controller can be more convenient to transport.
  6. Budget: Determine your budget and find a MIDI controller that offers the features you need within that price range. There are many affordable options on the market that still deliver quality performance.


Overall, it's important to choose a MIDI controller that suits your specific needs and workflow for trap metal production. Do some research, read reviews, and consider trying out different controllers before making your final decision.


How to choose the right MIDI controller for blues music?

When looking for a MIDI controller for blues music, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure you choose the right one:

  1. Keybed: Consider the size, weight, and feel of the keys on the MIDI controller. Blues music often relies heavily on emotive playing, so having keys that are responsive and feel good to play can greatly enhance your performance.
  2. Pads and knobs: Look for a MIDI controller that has pads and knobs that can be easily assigned to control parameters such as effects, volume, and pitch. These can be useful for adding dynamics and expression to your blues playing.
  3. Compatibility: Make sure that the MIDI controller you choose is compatible with your music production software or hardware. Check that it supports MIDI mapping and customization so you can tailor it to your specific needs.
  4. Portability: If you plan on performing live with your MIDI controller, consider the size and weight of the device. A compact and lightweight controller may be more convenient for gigs and rehearsals.
  5. Budget: Determine how much you are willing to spend on a MIDI controller and weigh the features and quality against the price. There are a variety of options available at different price points, so choose one that fits your budget and needs.


Overall, the best MIDI controller for blues music is one that suits your playing style, workflow, and budget. Consider trying out different models in person if possible to get a feel for the keybed, pads, and overall functionality before making a decision.

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