January 2023

MIDI Controllers: MetaRanking

This page highlights the aggregate summary of MIDI Controller rankings posted by key online experts, as of January 2023.

Summary

Between 10 Jan 2023 and 11 Jan 2023, ReviewFinder team examined a total of 98 MIDI Controller endorsements from 10 reputable publishers.

79 MIDI Controllers were endorsed in total, only 16 made it into this month's ranking (ReviewFinder requires a minimum of 2 endorsements to be included).

As of 11 Jan 2023, Akai MPK Mini MKII 25 takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed midi controller with 4 expert endorsements. 3 experts out of 4 recommended it as the '#1 midi controller' this month. It is followed by Akai Pro MPK249 and Arturia MiniLab MkII , with 2 and 2 expert endorsements respectively.

Brand breakdown
Show all brands

Price breakdown
As can be seen in the chart below, lowest high-ranking MIDI controllers start at $44.61 (Korg NanoKey 2) and go up to $2399 (Kawai VPC1). Median midi controller costs $199.99 (Novation Launchkey 37 Mk3).
$44.61
$2399

At a glance - January 2023 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price MIDI Controller
E-Home Recording Studio
The Guitar Junky
Music Critic
Music Radar
Consordini
Keyboard Kraze
Spy
Gearank
Prime Sound
Digital Piano Judge
1
- $93
Akai MPK Mini MKII 25
-
1
7
-
1
-
-
-
1
-
2
- $469
Akai Pro MPK249
-
-
3
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
3
- $79
Arturia MiniLab MkII
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
4
-
4
- Check price
Novation Launchkey Mini 25-Note
-
5
8
-
-
-
-
-
2
-
5
- $229
Akai Professional MPD226
-
-
-
-
-
3
3
-
-
-
6
+2 $99
Akai Pro MPK Mini MK3
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
7
-1 $499
M-Audio Hammer 88
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
-
-
4
8
-1 $581
Native Instruments Maschine Mk3
-
-
-
-
-
4
2
-
-
-
9
- $100
Nektar Impact LX25 Plus
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
15
- $89
M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
-
-
4
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
16
- $200
Novation Launchkey 37 Mk3
-
-
-
10
-
-
4
-
-
-
17
- $1036
NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MkII
-
-
-
-
7
-
-
8
-
-
18
- $999
Arturia Keylab 88 MKII
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
7
-
-
19
- $320
Nektar Impact LX88 Plus
-
-
-
8
-
10
-
-
-
-
20
- $449
Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII
-
-
-
14
-
-
-
5
-
-
21
- $130
Alesis V49
-
-
5
21
-
-
-
-
-
-

Sorted by price:

Position in ranking Price MIDI Controller
#3 $79 Arturia MiniLab MkII [buy] [more info]
#15 $89 M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 [buy] [more info]
#1 $93.33 Akai MPK Mini MKII 25 [buy] [more info]
#6 $99 Akai Pro MPK Mini MK3 [buy] [more info]
#9 $99.99 Nektar Impact LX25 Plus [buy] [more info]
#21 $129.95 Alesis V49 [buy] [more info]
#16 $199.99 Novation Launchkey 37 Mk3 [buy] [more info]
#5 $229 Akai Professional MPD226 [buy] [more info]
#19 $319.99 Nektar Impact LX88 Plus [buy] [more info]
#20 $449 Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII [buy] [more info]
#2 $469 Akai Pro MPK249 [buy] [more info]
#7 $499 M-Audio Hammer 88 [buy] [more info]
#8 $580.99 Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 [buy] [more info]
#18 $999 Arturia Keylab 88 MKII [buy] [more info]
#17 $1036 NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MkII [buy] [more info]

We ranked Akai MPK Mini MKII 25 #1 in January 2023 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 3 experts ranked Akai MPK Mini MKII 25 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
The Guitar Junky

Editor's Choice

Pros
Has the learning curve to progress as you go
Fun to use and beginners won't have trouble understanding
Budget-friendly and with the sleek look

Cons
Software seems a bit intimidating at first
Some complaints of flimsy keys

Go to ranking

Music Critic

Pros
Can easily fit into backpacks and on a production desk.
8 rubber drum pads that are velocity sensitive.

Go to ranking

Consordini

A Personal Favorite

Pros
Authentic MPC pads.
Intuitive thumbstick.
Arpeggiator.
Note repeat.
Fantastic software bundle.
8 assignable knobs.
Sustain pedal input.

Cons
Small keys take some practice.

Go to ranking

Prime Sound

Editor's Choice

Pros
Portable
Plenty of bundled software
Excellent value for money
Impressive pad quality

Cons
Comes with just eight pads
Knobs lack a satisfying click and feel lightweight

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We ranked Akai Pro MPK249 #2 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Akai Pro MPK249 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
Has an all-in-one controller with keyboard and trigger pads.
Comes with 8 control knobs, 8 faders, and 8 switches.
Semi-weighted action with 49 full-size keys that are pressure sensitive.

Go to ranking

Digital Piano Judge

Pros
Assignable knobs and faders give a full performance workspace.
Easy to set up.
Arpeggiator, note repeat and other inbuilt effects.
Lights up, so you can see what you are doing on stage.
Semi-weighted keys for a piano feel.

Cons
Expensive

Go to ranking

Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend MIDI Controllers.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of MIDI Controllers, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for January 2023 ranking

We ranked Arturia MiniLab MkII #3 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Arturia MiniLab MkII as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Gearank

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $200

Pros
Great value for money
Lots of encoders and pads
Synth action keys feel great

Cons
Knobs feel cheap
Touch strips feel like a compromise
Pads a bit small

Go to ranking

Prime Sound

Best Slim Keys Controller

Pros
Impressive portability
16 rotary controllers
Seamlessly integrates with Analog Lab Litem Ableton Live Lite, and other software

Cons
Some might not fancy the touch strip controllers

Go to ranking

We ranked Novation Launchkey Mini 25-Note #4 in January 2023 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Guitar Junky

Pros
Many options and controls for more ways to create music
Small and compact
Easy to bring around
Solid build and looks like it's made to last

Cons
Keys may not be the most responsive
Takes a lot of time to set up and learn from

Go to ranking

Music Critic

Pros
Designed for Ableton Live.
Comes in equipped with 16 velocity sensitive multi-color pads.
8 knobs, control buttons, and dedicated navigation.

Go to ranking

Prime Sound

Budget Pick

Pros
USB-Powered
Portable and compact design
Comes with Ableton Live Lite 9 software
25 synth-style mini keys

Cons
Lacks a thumb joystick

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We ranked Akai Professional MPD226 #5 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Keyboard Kraze

Go to ranking

Spy

Best Budget MIDI Controller

Go to ranking

We ranked Akai Pro MPK Mini MK3 #6 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

Go to ranking

Gearank

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers Under $200

Pros
Solid, durable build
The pads are nice and big
Great as a portable controller to use with a laptop

Cons
The small keys are a put-off if you're used to full-size keys

Go to ranking

We ranked M-Audio Hammer 88 #7 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

Best Weighted Keys

Pros
Incredibly realistic/responsive feel.
88-keys.
Pitch bend and modulation wheels.
Three pedal inputs.
Assignable fader and wheels.

Cons
Limited functionality.
No drum pads.

Go to ranking

Digital Piano Judge

Pros
Great for learning to play the piano.
Comes with software included.
Hammer action gives more expression and velocity sensitivity.

Cons
Big and bulky model.
The keys are not the best quality.
No pads or sliders.

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We ranked Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 #8 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Keyboard Kraze

Go to ranking

Spy

Runner Up

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We ranked Nektar Impact LX25 Plus #9 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
The Guitar Junky

Pros
Lightweight and can be brought around easily
Can control and map DAW effortlessly
Cool design that lights up when played

Cons
Keys create a dull thud sound when pressed
Not suitable for continued use as you progress

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Prime Sound

Best Value

Pros
Eight velocity-sensitive drum pads are excellent for tapping drum beats
Works seamlessly with most DAWS
Excellent value for price

Cons
Relatively bulky
No semi-weighted keys

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We ranked M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 #10 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
49 full-size, semi-weighted velocity sensitive keys with 1/4-inch sustain pedal input.
Comes equipped with octave range buttons, transport controls, pitch bend and modulation wheels.
USB connection.

Go to ranking

Consordini

Best Beginner Controller

Pros
Low price.
Lightweight.
Transport controls.

Cons
No pads.
Not the most versatile.

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We ranked Novation Launchkey 37 Mk3 #11 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A great choice for Ableton Live users

Pros
Tight control of Ableton Live
Decent compatibility with Logic Pro X
Nice compromise between size and functionality
MIDI output, custom modes allow use with external hardware

Cons
You might not like the pitch and mod wheels above the keyboard

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Spy

Best Keyboard MIDI Controller

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We ranked NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MkII #12 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

Best All-Rounder (Runner-Up)

Pros
Very good hammer-action keys.
Aftertouch.
Touch strip, pitch bend, and modulation wheel.
RGB color indicators.
Pre-mapped integration with all Complete instruments.
Two high-res colour screens.
Komplete Kontrol and Komplete 12 Select included.

Cons
No drum/sample pads.

Go to ranking

Gearank

Best MIDI Keyboard Controller Over $1000

Pros
Best for integration with NI Komplete Software
The Fater keybed strikes a good balance between piano-like hammer action and synth action feel
KOMPLETE SELECT is included free

Cons
Those who play hammond style organs will find its piano action isn't the best for organ slides

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We ranked Arturia Keylab 88 MKII #13 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Keyboard Kraze

Best 88 Key MIDI Controller

Go to ranking

Gearank

Best MIDI Keyboard Controller Under $1000

Pros
The Fatar keybed is one of the best in this price range
CV/Gate lets you control old analog synth hardware
Has both 5-Pin and USB MIDI
Solid metal build

Cons
Keys feel slightly spongy compared to the more expensive Kawai VPC1

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We ranked Nektar Impact LX88 Plus #14 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A piano-sized controller at a great price

Pros
A full-size keyboard
Solid but portable
Great value

Cons
Keys aren't hammer-action

Go to ranking

Keyboard Kraze

Go to ranking

We ranked Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII #15 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A premium keyboard that works with your PC and beyond

Pros
Three well-executed operational modes
Tight integration with Analog Lab

Cons
Pricey

Go to ranking

Gearank

Best MIDI Keyboard Controller Under $500

Pros
The semi-weighted keys have a nice feel to them
Solid, roadworthy piece of gear
Analog Lab comes bundled free

Cons
It's not cheap so I would have liked to see a bigger screen at this price

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We ranked Alesis V49 #16 in January 2023 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best MIDI Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
Great Value for Money
Includes ProTools and More Software
Eight Backlit Pads
49 Velocity Sensitive Keys
Easy-to-Use

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Music Radar

An affordable MIDI keyboard for smaller work spaces

Pros
Lively keyboard action
Controllers are easy to access
Good performance capabilities

Cons
You may want more controls

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