best midi keyboard controller
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Top 8 Best Mini Midi Keyboard Reviews 2020

April 24, 2020 Catchy

MIDI controllers are a great way for musicians to hone their craft, or to learn how to digitize to make gaining clients and playing at shows that much easier. They function by connecting to your computer and playing music through software, which gives you more control over how you want your music to sound.

The following 8 Mini MIDI keyboard controllers are all quality products that will allow you to do everything that a full-size model can, in a more compact (and oftentimes less expensive) design.

best midi keyboard controller

 

8 Best Mini Midi Keyboard Controller On the Market

 

Top 8 Best Mini Midi Keyboard Reviews

 

1. Best Overall – Akai Mini MIDI Keyboard Controller

midi controller keyboard under 300

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Brilliant features

  • 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation MIDI control
  • Built-in arpeggiator
  • Very budget-friendly
  • This is a good way to get started in digital music
  • As long as you have music software on your computer, this model can be used as soon as it is plugged in
  • Everything you need is included, and setting up this mini MIDI keyboard is easy

Watch out for

  • An issue that is widespread among users, it is a bit difficult to install the drivers needed to use this product with a computer

A great well rounded mini MIDI keyboard controller, this model from Akai gives you the control of a full-size MIDI keyboard controller wherever you go; at home, in the recording studio, or on the go. This keyboard controller features a full melodic range, with plenty of features for increased functionality and versatility.

Fully equipped with the high definition synthesizer Hybrid 3 for complete manipulation of sound and analog synths. This impressive mini MIDI keyboard controller easily connects to your computer or laptop via a USB cable and has a total of 25 velocity keys in addition to octave levers that give you complete control over the sound that you want to create.

There is no additional equipment or software required to start using this mini MIDI keyboard, thanks to the plugin and play functionality.

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2. Runner – Up Korg 25 Key MIDI Controller 

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Brilliant features

  • Easy to use knob, faders, and switches
  • The sleek design is perfect for setting up in front of your laptop or computer monitor
  • Cost-effective for its performance
  • Can be used anywhere that you need to be
  • Extremely compact design works especially well for those with limited desktop space

Watch out for

  • To work properly, your computer has to be turned on and not in sleep mode
  • There are no lights or illumination if you use to working in a dark room

Simplistic in design, this mini MIDI controller from Korg is available in either white or black and has a low-profile design making it easy to use or transport anywhere that your expertise is needed. The overall design of this keyboard controller allows for improved accuracy of the keys meaning that there will be fewer mistakes in communication between the controller and your computer or laptop.

Due to the 8 channels of controllers that this model comes with, you have additional functionality and versatility, and can be used with various music creations software; with a full list that is compatible. This controller connects directly to your computer or laptop via a USB cable and comes fully equipped with a knob, fader, and three switches for each of the eight channels.

Upon purchase, you have the option to choose from either the USB drum pad controller, slim-line USB keyboard, or the slim-line USB controller.

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3. Best for Ableton Live – Akai Professional MIDI Controller

mini midi keyboard controller

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Brilliant features

  • Bright backlighting allows you to continue work in a dark room
  • Durable, lightweight, and can be transported easily
  • A great professional choice that beginners can easily pick up and use
  • Great size pads
  • Affordable price for under $100

Watch out for

  • Does not function properly with software other than Ableton Live
  • At times the keys can be somewhat stiff and may get stuck

A good quality product, the Akai Professional mini MIDI controller is a professional quality controller at a great price. Designed for the computer software Ableton Live in mind, this a great option for mobile music creation. Illuminated with tri-color lighting which integrates flawlessly into the Ableton Live software.

This lightweight yet durable mini MIDI keyboard is compact enough to fit anywhere on your desk or music creation area, all the while being capable of easy transport. Designed specifically with the mobile musician in mind, this is a great travel companion for wherever life takes you; allowing you to work on the road, or travel to your next gig with ease.

Fully loaded with Ableton Live Lite and Hybrid 3.0, you have the functionality that is needed to create music whenever the mood strikes.

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4. Best Budget-Friendly – MIDIPlus 32 Key Mini MIDI Controller 

32 key midi controller

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Brilliant features

  • Compact enough in design to easily store, transport, and use wherever life takes you
  • Plug and play functionality removes the need to purchase any additional software or drivers
  • Produces a great sound when compared to other similar products that are more expensive
  • A useful volume slider
  • The most budget-friendly midi controller on the list

Watch out for

  • The provided USB cable is not made of very high quality, and you may want to purchase a better one

At first glance, this looks to be a miniature electronic keyboard but features much more. This mini MIDI keyboard controller utilizes 32 mini keys that are sensitive enough without applying too much pressure, and the functions are easy to understand even for beginners.

The interface and key size are simple in design, light, and thin; compact enough to fit on workspaces with a little surface area. Due to its lightweight and compact design, it is easy to store and carry with you where needed. This features plug & play functionality, without needing any drivers; and is compatible with most music creation software.

As far as pricing goes, this is very budget-friendly especially considering that it is a great tool for beginners. It may not be the best option for professionals who need increased functionality, but if you are just starting then you can’t go wrong with this option.

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5. M Audio MK3 Mini USB MIDI Keyboard 

m audio mini midi keyboard usb

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Brilliant features

  • Comes with software suite included
  • Simple design and layout that is easy to use
  • Great for beginners
  • Compact design is perfect for any size of the workspace

Watch out for

  • Normal USB ports will not supply this unit with enough power, so you will want to make sure it is plugged into a powered USB hub connected to your computer

Professional quality mini MIDI keyboard wherever you need to be, the compact design of this model is perfect for any type of workspace. Mini keys with customizable responses allow you to have another level of versatility and function and will react to any type of play style that you may have.

Compatible with most music creation software programs, in most cases, all you need to do to start using this mini MIDI keyboard is to plug it into your computer or laptop with the provided USB cord. This is a great option regardless of your skill level; as it is well suited for beginners, intermediate, and advanced keyboard specialists. While not the most advanced, it does have octave range buttons, a volume knob, and pitch blending functionality buttons.

This is easy to transport and use wherever you may be, and gives you the versatility to make music wherever; making it a great option for playing at gigs, or if you like to travel.

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6. AKAI MPD218 USB Mini MIDI Controller with 16 Pads

mini midi keyboard with pads

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Brilliant features

  • Professional grade quality that won’t break the bank
  • Lightweight while maintaining the durability and comes with heavy-duty pads
  • Connects to your music creating software easily and quickly
  • The pads are responsive to even light finger touches
  • Professional-quality audio recording and full-featured MIDI sequencing

Watch out for

  • Sometimes the pads can be too sensitive, registering twice when pressed once

One of the better looking mini MIDI controllers on the market, this professional-grade model from Akai features a backlit display that makes it easy to work in darkened rooms, features a blend of MPC controls, and seamless USB connectivity. The compact design and portability of this model allow you to create music anywhere, and the pads of this MIDI keyboard controller are sensitive and easy to register with your taps.

This comes with a high functionality rating, whether you are using it at your computer, in the studio, or for a live show. Compatible with both Ableton Live Lite and MPC essentials, giving you the ability to create beautiful music at the touch of your fingers. You can easily customize all aspects of this model by using your computer; allowing a blank slate for you to make this your own.

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7. Novation Launchkey 25 Key MIDI Keyboard

25 key midi controller

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Brilliant features

  • 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads
  • Compatible with many music creation software programs, and syncs up easily
  • A great choice for Ableton Live users
  • The keys are sensitive enough without being too much so, avoiding double tapping
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac computers or laptops

Watch out for

  • Reports have shown that the layout is not as streamlines as previous models

The Launchkey mini from Novation is an ultra-compact mini MIDI keyboard controller that has everything needed to begin making music with Ableton Live and is easy to take with you wherever you go.

Great value for the money, this controller features sensitive keys that register light finger touches, ensuring that you can create music without applying unnecessary pressure to the 25 keyboard keys. A perfect option for traveling, this can easily fit into any size bag, allowing you to create music wherever life takes you.

Macro control gives you more versatility and function, with additional octave controls above the keyboard keys. 16-velocity sensitive pads with 8 rotary controls, pitch and mod strips, and comes with a 3-year limited warranty should any issues arise when using this model.

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8. BEHRINGER USB Mini MIDI Controller

USB midi controller keyboard

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Brilliant features

  • Easily and quickly change between DAW and instrument control
  • Lightroom editors will find this to be particularly useful; although it is compatible with a lot of music creation software
  • Great quality for the price
  • Ultra-compact design makes it easy to use and transport anywhere
  • Can be used for photo editing as well as music creation

Watch out for

  • Due to its simplistic nature, there are not a lot of customization options available, and there are a limited amount of keys
  • Not intended for use with Abelton Live

One of the most simplistic and compact mini MIDI keyboard controllers on the market, the Behringer controller can be used for instruments, effects, and lighting. This is compatible with a multitude of music creation computer software and connects easily to your computer or laptop.

Behringer pre-configures the basics of this product, making it easy to use right out of the box with ease. Due to its compact design, it can be used anywhere, especially useful if you have limited space available. It can be used for multiple applications, which adds to the functionality and versatility; connecting to either windows or mac operating systems is a streamlined process that is very easy to do.

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What is a MIDI Keyboard Controller

A MIDI keyboard controller is an electronic keyboard like you would see in most music classrooms, but these controller keyboards also have output cords that you can plug into your computer or laptop, allowing you to send MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data to that device.

Although they may look like normal keyboards, these controllers don’t make any sound on their own. They function by sending the MIDI data to software that is stored and installed on your computer or laptop. These programs are commonly referred to as Virtual Instruments, and when they are installed and receive data from the MIDI keyboard controller, they will play the sound that was received.

This is different from a musical keyboard in the way that the computer software is what will generate the sound, although you do control it with the MIDI keyboard controller. Another thing to note is that most electronic keyboards can connect to your computer via a USB cable, and can be used as a MIDI controller.

However, it is far better to purchase a keyboard controller that is meant to be connected to your computer, as they will have sliders that allow you to control different aspects of the sound that you are attempting to bring to life.

 

How to Choose Your Best Mini MIDI Keyboard

best mini midi keyboard

 

Mini MIDI keyboards are a great option for those who are just starting out creating music, or for anyone who is creating music while on the go. They are compact in design, oftentimes cost less to manufacture which means savings for you, and the most part features the same functionality of full-size models, with more versatility.

Generally, they will come with 25 keys, and that is probably all that you will need, especially if you are just starting; however, some will have more keys, and if you are looking for a professional model, this is probably the type that you will want to spring for. In addition, there are some other aspects that you will want to consider when thinking about purchasing a specific model or brand, such as:

  • Budget

While these are more budget-friendly than full-size MIDI keyboard controllers, they can still run upwards of $300. While the ones featured on this list don’t run that much, it is still important to consider your budget when you are researching which model to purchase.

You will want one that fits in your budget while providing the features, size, and versatility that you need as well. A lot of these mini MIDI keyboard controllers can be found for under $100, and they will have all the features that you would need; regardless of if you are a beginner or professional.

  • Features

When you are looking to purchase a mini MIDI keyboard controller, you will want to look at the functions that are offered. Some more basic models may be less in price, but at the same time may not come equipped with the features that you need.

For instance, one may not be compatible with the music creation software that you are used to using; this instance probably would not be ideal, as you would have to learn new software, which can be time-consuming. Other features to look out for would be: toggles, lighting, octave control, and how sensitive the keys are.

  • Software and Drivers

A lot of models will advertise as being “plugin play”, meaning that they come with everything that you need to start using your new mini MIDI keyboard controller. If this is the case, that’s great; although a lot of models including these plug-in-play ones will require some sort of software to run.

Before purchasing, it would be a good idea to research the model to make sure that the drivers are easy to install, as well as the software that you are comfortable with being compatible with.

  • Durability

If you are wanting a mini MIDI keyboard controller, chances are that you either have limited desk space, or you are planning on transporting it and utilizing it while on the go; or at a gig. In either case, you will want to make sure that the model you choose is durable enough to keep up with you and your needs for the device.

 

Benefits of a Mini MIDI Keyboard

 

midi keyboard controller

 

Choosing to purchase a mini MIDI keyboard controller is a good idea if you need the functionality of a full-size MIDI keyboard at a reduced price and increased portability. There are a lot of benefits associated with smaller models, such as:

  • Compact Size

If you are just starting as a musician, or lack the necessary desk space for a full-size MIDI controller, the Mini ones are a great option, as they take up far less space. Additionally, they are easier to carry around with you if you need to visit the studio to record, or are meeting up with clients or band members.

Being a smaller and more compact size, you will also find that you will save on shipping, and if you need to take it with you while you are traveling or for a gig, you can easily fit it in with your other belongings.

  • Affordable Cost

Mini MIDI keyboard controllers are almost always more affordable than the full-size models, and for beginners, the price is very budget-friendly and reasonable. Or if you already have some practice under your belt with a full-size model and want a portable one, the cost won’t break the bank.

While full-size models aren’t extremely expensive, the mini MIDI keyboard controllers will allow you to perform almost all of the same actions and functions of the full size without the bulkiness or price.

  • Easy to Transport

If you are on the road a lot for work, like to travel, or play in live shows, you will probably appreciate the portability of the mini MIDI keyboard controllers.

Due to their compact size, they can easily fit in your luggage, carryons, or even laptop bag for easy transport; and they don’t weigh that much, meaning they won’t feel like a burden to carry with your on-the-go.

 

Conclusion

We hope that after reading through this article, you can choose a mini MIDI keyboard controller that will fit into your budget and lifestyle. All of the products listed above are of quality make, and you will be able to find one that fits into your requirements.

If you are still not sure, our comprehensive buying guide should help you to come to an informed decision. These are great products that allow you to create beautiful music and give you a lot of versatility and functionality as well.