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The 7 Best MIDI Controllers Of 2024 To Create Music With

August 15, 2022 
BY DAN SPENCER
Best MIDI Controllers Blog Cover Image
Last Updated on January 1, 2024

MIDI controllers revolutionized the music industry when they were first released in 1983. For the first time, music producers had a device that could communicate with every digital instrument imaginable. We take them for granted today, well, maybe not all of us. But the point is that this accessible technology did not always exist.

On the market, you’ll find dozens of brands that manufacture different models priced from $100 to over $1,000. So, which one should you choose? The answer to that question depends on your budget and what you’re looking for. In this article, we’re going to look at the 7 best MIDI controllers of 2024 (The list is ordered from the least expensive to the most expensive).

Let’s roll!


Related Article: What Is MIDI? A Guide To The Most Powerful Music Creation Tool


Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3

Promo picture of hands playing the Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3 MIDI controller.

Price: $99.99

Don’t let the cheap price tag fool you. The Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3 is a super functional controller and a great entry-level device. It includes 16 drum pads and 25 synth-action mini keys. It’s small enough to fit in your backpack so that you can take it anywhere.

Inside the box, Novation hooks you up with Ableton Live Lite, sounds and instruments from top software like Softube and Spitfire Audio, and membership to Novation Sound Collective. The Mini MK3 is a big step up from the MK2, which was lacking in some key features. With the MK3, you can get creative by altering rhythm, octave levels, and tempo straight from the device. There’s even a fixed chord mode and pedal port.

The LaunchKey Mini MK3 has a fantastic build quality overall. You might notice the keys feel a bit lighter than more expensive models, but for $100, who’s complaining?

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

Akai Professional MPK Mini Play3

Promo picture of hands playing the Akai Professional MPK Mini Play3 MIDI controller.

Price: $149.00

Another top-notch budget MIDI controller is the Akai Professional MPK Mini Play3. Akai really stepped up its game from the Play2. This latest model includes MP3 Beats, Hybrid 3, Mini Grand, and Velvet. If you’re a beginner beatmaker, you’ll have everything you need to master your MIDI device.

Compared to the older version, the Play3 feels like a top-quality controller. The 25 mini keys have a bit more weight to them, and the controls are laid out to make adjusting settings smooth and easy. In the back, there’s a slight lift that gives the Play3 a synthesizer feel.

One of the most unique features of the Mini Play3 is that you don’t need to plug it into a computer to make a sound! Once you pop in a few batteries, you can start jamming. The speaker quality is far greater than in the previous model. Although you’ll usually have your MIDI plugged in, it’s a great little added feature.

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

PreSonus ATOM

Promo picture of the PreSonus ATMO MIDI controller.

Price: $159.95

The PreSonus ATOM is an excellent MIDI controller option. It comes with 16 velocity-sensitive pads and efficient navigation controls. The ATOM is compact enough to fit in a bag, so you can easily transport it to your next music session.

PreSonus designed the ATOM specifically for Studio One and Ableton Live software. It’s still compatible with most third-party software, but it’s something you will want to consider. For newbies, it won’t take long to get a handle on the device. The navigation buttons allow for quick and easy shortcuts to speed up your creative process. With a few clicks of a button, you can switch presets, enable or disable loop mode, change tempos, and much more. The ATOM has a plastic housing, but it’s durable and doesn’t feel like a low-budget product. You’ll find that the 16 pads are responsive and feel great to the touch.

One downside to the device is that the LEDs inside the touch pads can be very bright in a dark room. You can slightly dim the lights but can’t turn them off.

All in all, it’s a great option at an even greater price!

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

M-Audio Oxygen Pro 61

Promo picture of a hand playing the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 61 MIDI Controller.

Price: $299.00

If you’re looking for a MIDI controller with a lot of keys and functionality, then look no further! The M-Audio Oxygen 61 is one of the larger MIDI options available. It comes with 61 semi-weighted keys and 16 velocity-sensitive drum pads. Unlike smaller compact designs, you won’t feel limited in any way.

One of the highlights of the device is that you can use it to control almost any DAW. M-Audio equipped the Oxygen Pro 61 with easy-to-use faders, buttons, and knobs that will automatically map to the software you are using. Whether you use Pro Tools, Ableton, Reason, Logic, GarageBand, Studio One, or any other top software, your MIDI will be ready to offer you the smoothest workflow process possible.

The Oxygen Pro 61 comes with neat features like Smart Scale. You pick a key, and your device will make sure you only play notes in that scale. If you’re jamming with friends or riffing along with a song, Smart Scale will minimize the mistakes you make.

To top it all off, you can also plug in external gear like synthesizers and drum machines. The Oxygen Pro 61 is a top-quality MIDI controller that can add a lot to your music-producing experience.

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

Nektar Aura Beat Composer

Collage of the Nektar Aura Beat Composer MIDI controller.

Price: $349.99

The Nektar Aura Beat Composer is a top-notch product that still comes at an affordable price. This MIDI controller has an aluminum body that gives it a sturdy, high-quality feel and appearance. Just like other compact MIDIs, the Aura is lightweight and easily portable. Compared to plastic bodies, the Aura is in a completely different class.

Nektar wanted the Aura Beat Composer to stand out. To do that, they designed it with 16 ultra-sensitive drum pads. Producers and music enthusiasts have been raving online about the excellent response rate and feel of the pads. However, you can adjust the sensitivity of the pads to tailor the device to your liking.

On the device, you’ll find a decently sized TFT display screen, a pad repeater button, and LED transport buttons. The Aura works with any MIDI software; however, if you use Nektarine, there will be additional plugins and presets available.

For anyone looking for a high-quality MIDI controller at a mid-range price, the Aura is an excellent option.

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

Arturia KeyStep Pro

Promo picture of hands playing the Arturia KeyStep Pro MIDI controller.

Price: $449.00

Regarded as one of the best MIDI controllers on the market, the Arturia KeyStep Pro has almost everything you could ever ask for. It has a three-octave mini keyboard, made up of 37 slim keys that are velocity and aftertouch sensitive. The slim keys might not sound attractive, but Arturia didn’t include full-sized keys to ensure all the other features could fit in a compact product.

The KeyStep Pro has a 4 channel sequencer that includes 16-step buttons, which can be linked together to produce 64 steps in one single pattern – pretty powerful stuff. Arturia designed the Keystep so users can quickly and smoothly build tracks.

Easily hook up your synths and drum machines to get working on the next project. When producing music with the Keystep Pro, you’ll also be able to enable real-time recording and editing on the fly. Its versatility and functionality make it a great option for live performances.

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88

Promo picture of the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 MIDI controller.

Price: $1149.00

Coming in just over $1,000 is Native Instrument’s Komplete Kontrol S88. A product’s price tag doesn’t always match its ability, but in this case, it does. The device includes a full-sized keyboard of 88 weighted keys with aftertouch. You’ll find that the keyboard has great action that can be played soft or loud.

On the Komplete Kontrol S88, there are two high-res color screens. With these, you can browse, mix, and control your digital instruments. This will allow you to focus on creating music on the device without switching back to your computer, disrupting your workflow.

To ensure you don’t play out of key, you can enable Smart Play. Just pick the key you want to create music in, and the Komplete Kontrol S88 will ensure all the notes fall into that scale – a nifty little feature.

The product comes with KOMPLETE 13 SELECT – a production suite that includes 16 premium instruments and a range of effects. As soon as you open the box, you’ll be ready to start producing music. Don’t worry if you use third-party software because this MIDI controller has transport controls compatible with Logic, Ableton Live, GarageBand, Cubase, and Nuendo.

If you are an advanced music producer looking to take your creative process to the next level, the Komplete Kontrol S88 is one of the best MIDI controllers on the market.

Buy On Amazon ➡ CLICK HERE


Related Article: How To Find What Key A Song Is In (5 Simple Methods)


Final Thoughts

When it comes to the best MIDI controllers, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Just because some products are priced lower doesn’t mean you can’t produce great music with them. However, when you have mastered the basics and are ready for a new challenge, the higher-end MIDI controllers will help you grow as a music producer. As always, musical instruments and devices are a way for you to express yourself and your creativity, so kick down boundaries and have fun with it!

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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