• Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More) 5

Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK 2021 (Akai, Arturia, Novation and More)

Since the first MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) keyboards debuted in the early 2000's, there’s been an explosion of brands and models on the market. Whether you're a musician searching for a USB piano, or a music producer looking for a studio controller, these days you're almost spoiled for choice!


Not sure where to start? In this article, we help you find the right MIDI keyboard for your musical needs. Our buying guide encompasses everything from 88 key behemoths with touch pads and loop control, to highly portable 25-key options for the on-the-go music making. So read on to find out the ranking of the top 10 best in the UK, available on Amazon and eBay.

  • Last updated: 13-01-2021
  • 474 views
Table of Contents

What Is a MIDI Keyboard?

What Is a MIDI Keyboard?

MIDI, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, Keyboards are used to send digitised musical notes to a secondary machine. That can be a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) on a computer or laptop, a physical instrument like a stage piano or a drum machine, or a sound module on the MIDI keyboard itself.


Using a MIDI keyboard, you can use keyboard notes to create literally all manner of sounds that you want. Whether you intent to use it for music production, beat making, live performances or something else, the limit is truly your imagination! 

How to Choose a MIDI Keyboard in the UK – Buying Guide

MIDI keyboards will often have an overwhelming list of features – not all of which new musicians or producers will need. In this buying guide we help you narrow down the specifications you need to know about, to help you find the best MIDI keyboard for your needs. 

Choose Features That Fit Your Purpose

MIDI Keyboards come in many different variations, so it will definitely be helpful to consider what kind of music you intend to make. We've grouped the main features into three broad categories. Although, music is not an easily defined thing, so your planned uses might well overlap. 

For Studio Production, Consider the Connections and Number of Keys

For Studio Production, Consider the Connections and Number of Keys

If you're looking to use your MIDI keyboard as a centre for your home studio production, you better be sure it can handle the task. Serious production might mean working with all kinds of Digital Audio Workstation software (DAWs) or even analogue hardware. So, you'll need the right connections to make sure it all hooks up for that sweet sound you want. 


A USB might be fine for most home producers, but a true studio centrepiece needs MIDI connections (in and out), and possibly even gates as well. On top of that you might want also aux jacks, for connecting to amps and other output devices. Plug and Play settings for DAWs may be useful, although the most experienced producers won't necessarily need them.


For creating the most exacting and precise melodies on a MIDI keyboard, size matters! You're not going to get the same depth and variation of notes and tones from a portable 25-key board as you would from an 88-key velocity-sensitive model. 

For Beat Making, Choose Sample Triggers and Touch Pads

For Beat Making, Choose Sample Triggers and Touch Pads

If you’re making hip-hop or any kind of rap or lo-fi beats, sample triggers and drum touch pads can turn a MIDI keyboard into a one-stop beat making hub. You can use the keys to create any melody you want, and then pattern in your own drums to go with it. Easy!


Transfer Keys are also a good feature for beat makers to have. They allow you to manipulate your DAW through the MIDI keyboard itself - for example, moving tracks up and down, or copy-pasting segments. They're not essential, but it means you won't have to reach for your mouse during peak flow.


Another feature to look for is whether there is any sound library software included. When putting multiple layers of sound for a beat, MIDI keyboards that come with sample pack software or even full midi instruments are certainly useful. 

For Live Performance, Pick a Portable Model With Foot Pedals and Loop Controls

For Live Performance, Pick a Portable Model With Foot Pedals and Loop Controls

If you're looking for something to take your live musical performances to the next level, a MIDI keyboard might be exactly what you need. The best models for live performances are usually smaller for better portability


If you want to keep the music playing while you focus on singing, rapping, playing another instrument, or whatever else your performance involves, choose a MIDI keyboard with an arpeggiator, loop control or foot pedals. These will allow you to multi-task during your show - just set it up and leave it running for the length of the piece. 

Size and Portability; How Many Keys Do You Need?

Size and Portability; How Many Keys Do You Need?

If you're going to be moving your MIDI keyboard about a lot, an 88-key, three foot long beast is probably not the right choice. Conversely, if you've got a permanent studio setup with loads of space, then 25 keys and and one USB input just won't cut it either. 


In general, you'll want 25 or more keys for a decent range of notes and chords.  However, even if you opt for 25 keys, there's still quite a lot of variation in the size. This is especially true when you start to think about other features like faders, sample triggers, pads and other bits some keyboards include. 


If you're going to be making music while travelling, on a train or plane or in a hotel, then you'll likely need a mini keyboard that can fit easily into a bag. Which is why it's important to check the dimensions before buying. Although extra features may be tempting, try not to go overboard or you might find it's impractical to carry.

Connectivity and Power; Consider What You’re Already Working With

Connectivity and Power; Consider What You’re Already Working With

If you'r a new or bedroom producer, a simple USB link to your laptop or PC should be all the connections you need. These USB powered devices are usually called USB bus-powered. Just be aware that bigger or slightly different MIDI keyboards might require batteries or need an external plug socket to power them.


You'll need to be sure that your new keyboard is compatible with your software, and maybe even analogue hardware if you're an old-school musician. Most newer MIDI keyboards will have plug and play settings for almost any DAW, but some older DAWs may only work with HUI, or Human User Interface hookups.


Newer software will use Mackie Universal Control (MCU) - such as Ableton Live, Studio One, Cubase, and Reason. Similarly, some modern equipment, including amps, pedals, loop stations and instruments also have Bluetooth connectivity. This is great for making collaborative projects or on-the-go production when you might not have all your cables - although the sound quality will suffer a bit over the wireless connection. 

See if Your Keyboard Comes Bundled With a DAW

See if Your Keyboard Comes Bundled With a DAW

If you've never made music before, or are just starting out with digital music creation, you'll want a keyboard that comes bundled with a DAW. The most common ones are Ableton or Pro Tools, though other popular software bundles include Reason, Logic, FL Studio and more. 


Be aware that some keyboards only include the Lite editions, which are often just trial versions of the full software with many of the pro features disabled. Therefore you'll have to pay the makers of the DAW a bit extra to unlock the full experience.


MIDI Keyboards nearly always come with a sound pack. This may simply be a pack of drum samples, or an entire collection of full-octave and note-scale virtual instruments. While it's nice to have some inbuilt sounds, if you're plugging it into a DAW, you'll have a whole world of sounds to choose from anyway, so it's not a necessity when picking a keyboard. 

Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards in the UK

Now you know what to look for when making your choice, here's the ranking of the top 10 best in the UK. We hope this helps you find a MIDI keyboard you'll love making music with!

10
Best ForStudio Control
FeaturesDAW Integration, pitch bend and modulation, velocity sensitive keys, customisable MIDI buttons
Keys 61 keys
Dimensions96.52 x 19.68 x 6.98 cm
ConnectionsUSB (Bus)
Software BundledNektar Simple DAW
9
Best ForLive Performance, Beat Making
FeaturesUnique 5D touch pad, two dedicated (free) mobile apps, can be battery powered
Keys 25 keys
Dimensions27.94 x 2.54 x 13.97 cm
ConnectionsUSB, Bluetooth Midi
Software BundledEquator, Ableton Lite, NOISE Mobile App, Blocks controller app
8

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2

£560.00

Best ForStudio Control
Features6-inch Full Colour Video Screen, Pitch and Modulation strips, Light Guide for Chords and Scales, On Board DAW Transfer Control, Arpeggiator, Self Set Up Knobs,
Keys 61 keys
Dimensions106.68 x 15.24 x 35.56 cm
ConnectionsMIDI, USB, Aux, Gates, MCU, HCI
Software BundledKomplete Select 10 Instrument Bundle
7
Best ForPortable Beat Making
FeaturesDAW Plug and Play Support, Velocity Sensitive Keys, Modulation and Pitch Buttons, Octave Backlighting
Keys 25 Keys
Dimensions37.08 x 4.06 x 9.4 cm
ConnectionsUSB (Bus powered)
Software BundledKORG Kontrol Editor with 500 sounds
6
Best ForBeat Making, Live Performance
FeaturesPlug and Play in DAW, eight velocity sensitive pads, four customisable knobs and buttons, octave and modulation control
Keys 25 keys
Dimensions24.38 x 62.48 x 11.51 cm
ConnectionsUSB (bus), 2 x foot pedals
Software BundledPro Tools, Ableton Lite, Alesis Library
5

NovationLaunchkey 37

Launchkey MK3

£177.00

Best ForBeat Making, Studio Control
Features16 Pads, Velocity Sensitive Keys, Chord Mode, Ableton Integration, Transfer Keys, Arpeggiator, Pitch and Modulation control, Faders
Keys 37 keys
Dimensions7.70 x 55.50 x 25.81 cm
ConnectionsUSB (Bus Powered), MIDI
Software BundledSound Collective Sample Packs, Optimized for Ableton
4
Best ForStudio Control, Live Performance
Features4.3 Inch colour screen, Virtual Instrument Software, Plug and Play in any DAW,, Modulation, Pitch Bend, 8 custom knobs, AKAI Note Repeat, 8 Coloured Pads
Keys 49 keys
Dimensions29.26 x 74.98 x 8.84 cm
ConnectionsUSB (bus), MIDI, External Power, Foot Pedals, Lock Attachment
Software BundledAKAI VIP, Mapping 500+ Instruments
3
Best ForBeat Making, Studio Control
FeaturesPlug and Play DAW setup, eight velocity sensitive pads, eight customisable knobs, Octave and transport buttons, pitch and modulation control
Keys 25 keys
Dimensions49.2 x 24.28 x 9.4 cm
ConnectionsUSB (bus), MIDI
Software BundledPro Tools, Ableton Lite, Eighty-Eight, Twist from Sonivox
2
Best ForStudio Control, Live Performance
FeaturesStep Sequencers, 16 Project Saving, Drum Sequencer, 3 Faders, Pitch Modulation, Yamaha Foot Pedal included, Arpeggiator, Transfer controls
Keys 49 keys
Dimensions88.90 x 12.70 x 30.48 cm
ConnectionsUSB (bus power), MIDI, MCU and HUI for analogue device compatibility, 2 x foot pedal plugs
Software BundledAbleton Lite, 5000 vintage sounds from Arturia's Analog Lab V2
1
Best ForBeat Making, Live Performance
FeaturesModulation Thumb-stick, arpeggiator, MPC Drum & Sample Pad, 8 Q-Link Knobs linked to DAW
Keys 25 Keys
Dimensions18.10 x 31.80 x 4.40 cm
ConnectionsUSB (Bus Powered)
Software BundledPlug & Play in any DAW, Akai MPC Beats, Sonivox Wobble

Compare the Best MIDI Keyboards

Image
1
MIDI Keyboards Akai MPK Mini Mk2 1

Akai

2
MIDI Keyboards Arturia KeyLab 49 1

Arturia

3
MIDI Keyboards M-Audio Oxygen 25 IV 1

M-Audio

4
MIDI Keyboards AKAI 49 Advanced 1

AKAI

5
MIDI Keyboards Novation Launchkey 37 1

Novation

6
MIDI Keyboards Alesis V25  1

Alesis

7
MIDI Keyboards KORG nanoKEY2  1

KORG

8
MIDI Keyboards Native Instruments  Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 1

Native Instruments

9
MIDI Keyboards ROLI Seaboard Block 1

ROLI

10
MIDI Keyboards Nektar Impact GX61 1

Nektar

Name

MPK Mini Mk2

KeyLab 49

Oxygen 25 IV

49 Advanced

Launchkey 37

V25

nanoKEY2

Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2

Seaboard Block

Impact GX61

Features

Tiny Beat Maker Supreme From the Japanese Legends

Old-School Sounds With Superior Connectivity

Compact 25 Key Model With a Portable Design

Retro Design With a Shed Load of Cool Features

A Solid All Rounder Made For Easy Use With Ableton

All Your Beat Making Essentials Plus Pro Tools

Super Small Budget Option for On-the-Go Producers

Massive MIDI Keyboard for Complete Studio Control

A Unique Playing Experience With Minimalist Design

A Basic, Functional Keyboard That's Reasonably Priced

Price£99.00£227.00£70.00£481.00£177.00£59.99£36.50£560.00£300.00£91.00
Best ForBeat Making, Live PerformanceStudio Control, Live PerformanceBeat Making, Studio ControlStudio Control, Live PerformanceBeat Making, Studio ControlBeat Making, Live PerformancePortable Beat MakingStudio ControlLive Performance, Beat MakingStudio Control
FeaturesModulation Thumb-stick, arpeggiator, MPC Drum & Sample Pad, 8 Q-Link Knobs linked to DAWStep Sequencers, 16 Project Saving, Drum Sequencer, 3 Faders, Pitch Modulation, Yamaha Foot Pedal included, Arpeggiator, Transfer controlsPlug and Play DAW setup, eight velocity sensitive pads, eight customisable knobs, Octave and transport buttons, pitch and modulation control4.3 Inch colour screen, Virtual Instrument Software, Plug and Play in any DAW,, Modulation, Pitch Bend, 8 custom knobs, AKAI Note Repeat, 8 Coloured Pads16 Pads, Velocity Sensitive Keys, Chord Mode, Ableton Integration, Transfer Keys, Arpeggiator, Pitch and Modulation control, FadersPlug and Play in DAW, eight velocity sensitive pads, four customisable knobs and buttons, octave and modulation controlDAW Plug and Play Support, Velocity Sensitive Keys, Modulation and Pitch Buttons, Octave Backlighting6-inch Full Colour Video Screen, Pitch and Modulation strips, Light Guide for Chords and Scales, On Board DAW Transfer Control, Arpeggiator, Self Set Up Knobs,Unique 5D touch pad, two dedicated (free) mobile apps, can be battery poweredDAW Integration, pitch bend and modulation, velocity sensitive keys, customisable MIDI buttons
Keys 25 Keys49 keys25 keys49 keys37 keys25 keys25 Keys61 keys25 keys61 keys
Dimensions18.10 x 31.80 x 4.40 cm88.90 x 12.70 x 30.48 cm49.2 x 24.28 x 9.4 cm29.26 x 74.98 x 8.84 cm7.70 x 55.50 x 25.81 cm24.38 x 62.48 x 11.51 cm37.08 x 4.06 x 9.4 cm106.68 x 15.24 x 35.56 cm27.94 x 2.54 x 13.97 cm96.52 x 19.68 x 6.98 cm
ConnectionsUSB (Bus Powered)USB (bus power), MIDI, MCU and HUI for analogue device compatibility, 2 x foot pedal plugsUSB (bus), MIDIUSB (bus), MIDI, External Power, Foot Pedals, Lock AttachmentUSB (Bus Powered), MIDIUSB (bus), 2 x foot pedalsUSB (Bus powered)MIDI, USB, Aux, Gates, MCU, HCIUSB, Bluetooth MidiUSB (Bus)
Software BundledPlug & Play in any DAW, Akai MPC Beats, Sonivox WobbleAbleton Lite, 5000 vintage sounds from Arturia's Analog Lab V2Pro Tools, Ableton Lite, Eighty-Eight, Twist from SonivoxAKAI VIP, Mapping 500+ Instruments Sound Collective Sample Packs, Optimized for AbletonPro Tools, Ableton Lite, Alesis LibraryKORG Kontrol Editor with 500 soundsKomplete Select 10 Instrument BundleEquator, Ableton Lite, NOISE Mobile App, Blocks controller appNektar Simple DAW
Link

More of the Best Gear for Digital Music Production

More of the Best Gear for Digital Music Production

It's never been easier to make music at home, whether you're creating lo-fi beats, digital compositions or bedroom pop. To help you complete your home studio set-up, we've ranked some more of the best gear in the UK for would-be DJs, producers and beat-makers of all levels. Ahh, that's certainly music to our ears!

Summary

Whether it's a complete studio control titan with dozens of features, or a tiny portable keyboard to make beats on-the-go, we hope this article has helped you to find the right MIDI keyboard for your music needs. Thanks for reading, we look forward to hearing your creations on the radio one day!

Author: David Weir

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    Top 10 Best Fuzz Pedals in the UK 2021
    The fuzz pedal was invented in 1960 after a recording session for a Marty Robbins song called "Don’t Worry", where the guitar amp faltered and created a fuzzy sound. Marty decided to include it on the track anyway and people went crazy for the result! The fact that no-one had ever heard anything like it before meant everyone wanted the tone. Soon after that, the guitar world changed forever as we started to put sound controls at our feet.  Essentially, a fuzz pedal is a circuit that breaks the audio coming from the amp, clipping it so hard that it sounds distorted; that's why great guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards love it! While most fuzz pedals are pretty similar, what sets them apart is their tone - so let’s find the right one for you. Whether you're after a germanium pedal with a classic design or an op-amp for under £100, we've got a range of options for you to check out!
    Music
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