Although you can do much with 61 and 49 key Midi controllers, they are less powerful when compared to 88 key Midi Keyboard. In fact, if you are a professional in composing and playing music, then you need to get the best 88 key weighted Midi keyboard.
The major concern, in this case, is that it is not easy to get the best 88 key Midi keyboards. That is because there are many options on the market you ought to consider. Since you have unique preferences and needs, it will be a lie if you are told there is a one-fit-all option.
6 Best 88 Key MIDI Keyboard Controller On the Market
How to Choose an 88 Key MIDI Controller
1. Weighted Keys
All the 88-key controllers you will come across the market have full-sized keys. In fact, very few have hammer-action weights and keys that make them feel like acoustic pianos. Thus, if you are not used to semi-weighted keys, then you should go for the full-weighted keys.
2. Transport Controls
Since you may need to control DAWs frequently, then there is a need to speed up the workflow by getting an 88-key with transport controls. This will let you play, stop, pause, and record on DAW without the need to use trackball or mouse.
3. Number of Zones
This is another important feature to consider when it comes to full-sized MIDI Keyboards. Ideally, this gives you an opportunity to split them into different zones on different MIDI channels. It is even possible to split your keyboard so that the left-hand plays bass synth while the right one plays organ synth.
4. Pads, Motorized Controls and Aftertouch
These are crucial features for computer-based producers. However, they are not a must for a pianist who wants the ability to control virtual pianos.
5. Auto Mapping
This is an important feature to consider if you are going to connect your device with a computer. If you want to control DAWs, software, and plugins, then you need to focus on specifications to see whether the keyboard has auto-mapping for the software application you use. However, if your instrument does not have this particular feature, then you will have to set it manually.
You can use MIDI over the USB, and this is applicable when you use the controller in combination with the computer. That is the case if you want to control the hardware directly with your computer. Ideally, you need to ensure the keyboard has a MIDI port.
7. Power Supply
You should note that most of the 88-key controllers on the market can be powered by USB directly. Nevertheless, you will need to get a power adapter. This will come handy when you want to control the hardware sound synths and modules without the use of a computer.
Moreover, you will need one if you want to use the keyboard with your tablet.
Top 6 Best 88 Key Midi Controller Reviews
- Immersive DAW control
- Superb playability
- Free lessons
- Easy to use interface
Watch out for
- Build quality does not feel that sturdy
With this Midi keyboard controller, you have unrestricted computer-based music production and performance. You will find this keyboard to be simple and powerful for playing virtual instruments and sequencing music.
This midi keyboard allows you to express yourself as it provides core in-demand to capture expressive, immersive performances. Ideally, this key station takes the hassle out of performance and production. When you combine with the USB-power, you have support for USB-Midi connectivity. This allows performers and producers access to the world of music production.
You should note that this Midi keyboard is a perfect solution for musicians who travel a lot and need an unrestricted command of the music software as they perform live or in mobile-recording situations.
- Eight RGB-lit assignable knobs and pads
- The PHA-4 keyboard for offering 88 weighted keys
- Unmatched playability
- Easy to use
Watch out for
- A bit large and long
Roland 88 Key MIDI Keyboard is a professional Midi controller that provides superb playability. It features creative onboard tools that are meant for modern musicians and producers. With their acclaimed hammer-action and excellent durability, you have a great Midi keyboard controller that can take your music production to another level. In addition, it has modern features such as RGB-lit controls, USB-C connectivity, and Midi 2.0 for great performance in its class.
This keyboard is build-to-last with premium materials and wood. That means you can have many years of reliable performance. Also, it features eight RGB-lit knobs, three pedal inputs, and an onboard arpeggiator.
You should note that this unit has a slim design and shallow depth. Thus, it can fit most of today’s environments. Another thing you will like is to control application for instant recall and deep customization.
- Fully weighted keys
- Powerful educational tools for learning
- Easy control options
- Supports USB-Midi connectivity
- Extra features for playability and professional editing
Watch out for
- Does not come with power cable
M-Audio 88 Key MIDI Controller is a premium keyboard controller that is perfect for both professional and skilled players. Also, it is ideal for students looking for realistic grand piano feel to use with the sound modules and virtual instruments.
The fully-weighted hammer-action can capture every subtle nuance of the performance. Moreover, it will provide an unmatched response of the traditional grand piano classic feel. Ideally, it is a great combination for producers and performers who want to experience music production like never before.
These 88 Key controllers allow you to control your studio instruments. With the 5-pin Midi output, you can easily send all Midi information to any compatible device, such as sound modules, drum machines, and hardware synthesizers.
With the Hammer 88, you can easily get most out of the external sound generators. Remember that the right instrument should not limit your creativity. For instance, it supports USB-Midi connectivity for a hassle-free setup that allows you to focus on performance.
- 88 weighted touch-sensitive keys
- LED backlight
- Diverse connectivity options
- A set of programmable percussion pads
Watch out for
- A bit narrow
MIDIPLUS has a wide range of integrated regulators and sound modes. As a result of the built-in palette of 128 GM, you can be assured of superb quality. In fact, the midi keyboard does not need external audio sources. There are different knobs and buttons that can be assigned manually or through software.
Controls of this keyboard are supported by LED lights that indicate active parameters and status. Also, the pitch bend and modulation are tweaked by touchpad technology and supported by a graded light scale. Also, this key features eight types of velocity that give you the most comfortable style of play and the desired sound.
- Lightweight for carrying around
- Quality sounds
- Pretty nice keyboard
- Nice software package
- Affordable price
Watch out for
- Not hammer-action keys quality
Arturia 88-Key controller gives you the opportunity to unleash your creativity. It is a lightweight and affordable Midi controller that is packed with adequate features to serve as a command center for the digital production environment.
This keyboard serves up a lot of pads, faders, and knobs that interact with the virtual synths. In addition, it is built to integrate with the favorite DAW and transport functions like a loop, jogging, record, play, and punch-in.
Despite being easy to carry and lightweight, this unit is a solidly constructed controller and has velocity-sensitive keys and semi-weighted feel. The fact that it is portable means that you can move it from the studio to the stage with a lot of ease.
- Flexible controls for professional editing and operating
- Easy to navigate
- Easy-to-use Led buttons
- Consistent output
- DAW compatibility
Watch out for
- A bit heavier
Nektar IMPACT LX8+ is a unique USB-Midi keyboard controller that is designed for the keyboard players who need an extra reach. The truth is that it is jam-packed with expressive, intelligent performance control and connects to DAW.
You should note that this is a sensitive keyboard that provides semi-weighted action. It is carefully balanced with a dynamic response. In fact, its velocity curves gradually increase in the dynamics to ensure there is a match for the playing style. If you do not want velocity, the three fixed velocity levels can produce consistent output.
Another thing you will like about this 88-key controller is its transport and navigation features. For instance, it has six dedicated transport buttons that always within reach, and you can map them to the control cycle, forward, stop, and rewind.
The nine LED buttons are easily programmed with different Midi messages that including sending certain Midi program changes. Also, the buttons can guide you when using Mute, Solo, and mixer modes.
Benefits of An 88 Key MIDI Controller
Most musicians go for small versions of MIDI controllers for recording purposes. That is because they find larger keyboards to have portability issues and can result in complications when you work in a small space.
However, a full-sized MIDI Keyboard is a version that allows you to play as you are playing the piano. Moreover, if you have issues playing, composing, and performing with both hands, then this option will make it easier for you to enjoy electronic style playing.
Although the major purpose of 88 key is to allow musicians to play more like a piano, the keyboard size provides more room for the controllers. Ideally, you can expect to use pads, controls, extra switches, and knobs as they add a lot of compatibilities when it comes to recording. Most people go for 88 key controllers because of their diversity in controls and sounds.
With the 88 key controllers, you can expect to knobs, buttons, faders, added software bundles, extra drum pads, and weighted keys. If you want a compatible option for the keyboard, you should get 88 key controllers. That is because it provides combined sound studio and piano performance. Moreover, you can find additional options from the other versions due to the expectations and size of the keyboard.
3 Top Recommended 88 Key MIDI Keyboard On the Market
If you want the best 88 key midi controller that sounds, looks, and plays like a piano, then you cannot go wrong with the recommendations in this guide. Ideally, these units offer the feel, sound, and aesthetics you are looking for. Most of the units in this guide are suitable for digital producers as they come with extra buttons and pads.