Russell is a sound producer and songwriter. He deals with digital pianos and MIDI controllers on a regular basis so no wonder he knows everything about them.
Last updated: January 25, 2021
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If you are shopping for the best 49 key midi keyboards on the market, you are in the right place. While you might think there is a perfect keyboard, there is no right answer to what the perfect keyboard is, since a beginner might have different needs than an expert.
When we did our product reviews, we considered a variety of factors like controls, software, size, and weight, since each contributes to what tight of 49-key midi keyboard you buy. Size and weight matter if you are going to be traveling and carrying this unit around – in that case, you want a lightweight version. You should consider the controls and software-based upon what type of music you want to play and what type of computer you might link the machine to. No matter what your needs, we have a recommendation for you. Read on for more, and we will help you find which is the best 49-key USB midi keyboard to meet your needs!
Offering a true professional keyboard experience, these keys respond best to your touch, meaning you do not have to hammer on the keys to get the right amount of sound. You will love all of the features with this keyboard, including faders and switches, for the ultimate musical styling. We love the piano style, making it feel as if you are playing away on a grand piano.
What we liked: The illuminated pads make these keys stand out, and the keys are also very easy to use. The assignable control has eight control knobs, as well as faders and switches, to give the user the ultimate experience. With software that works well with macs or pc, this keyboard can be used by just about anyone. The full-size keys mean both adults and kids could use this machine. If you are teaching your young son to play with you, this machine is equipped for both professionals and beginners, and people of all sizes.
What could be better: This keyboard cannot be used without connection to an amplifier or a computer. However, that is not such a bad thing when you consider that any computer (mac or pc) is compatible, so you should have no issues connecting it to any computer you own.
This keyboard pack from Novation is the total package as you get more than just a keyboard. The monitors and cables with this package mean you do not have to buy anything else to set up this keyboard and start playing. The quality sounds will have you wonder how you played on any other instrument. With a lot of knobs and accessories, you can create some unique sounds.
What we liked: The full-color backlit drum pads make this keyboard look cool while you are playing it. Including 4GB of sounds and samples, this keyboard has a great memory that will only add to the music you produce. This keyboard is a great choice if you are starting from scratch. The complete package means you can do one-stop shopping and have everything you need with this keyboard package.
What could be better: The one downside to buying such a complete package is that if you are just getting started out, it can be a little overwhelming. If you are looking for a basic piano or keyboard, this is not it. However, once you get acclimated to all of the wonderful features, you will never want to use another keyboard again. While the learning curve can be steep, it pays off in the long run.
This Arturia is incredibly easy to use and is one of the best 49 key synth midi controllers available. Nice and simple, this is a great choice for beginners who are looking to learn the basics of piano or keyboard playing. This keyboard does come with a virtual studio, so you can record your sounds. This is helpful if you want to track your own improvement over time and listen back to see where you made any mistakes in the music.
What we liked: Durable and simple to use, this is a top choice for beginners. Lightweight, this is also a top choice if you are frequently carrying your keyboard. If you are an instructor traveling to homes, you would like this keyboard since it is both lightweight and durable, making it a great choice for travel. Arustria prides itself on creating a keyboard that produces a nice even and well-balanced sound. You do not have to worry about anything sounding too high or too low. This keyboard makes great music whether you are a beginner learning the right pressure for the keys or an expert who has been playing for years.
What could be better: While there are not a lot of special gadgets and features to excite more advanced keyboard players, this is a great choice for both beginners and experts who want to fine-tune their basic keyboard skills.
This keyboard from Alesis is a top choice for playing virtual instruments, and it comes complete with a full suite of software making the interactions with your computer easy and efficient. The keyboard is slim and sleek and will into just about any workstation you have. This also makes it a solid option for travel. With full-size keys, this keyboard feels like you are playing right on a piano, and you do not have to worry about using smaller keys.
What we liked: The customizable knobs and buttons make this a unique keyboard. These buttons interface directly with your software, for easy feedback to you from the computer. With these controllers, you get buttons that allow you to raise or lower the octave, which is a nice feature. The premium software package with this keyboard included everything you could possibly need.
What could be better: Users could find the keyboard a little lightweight depending on what you are used to. The keys are not weighted, so you might find that you need to push them harder than some other keyboard, but the sound the keys produce will still be perfect. While the keys might take some getting used to, once you figure out the right feel, you will have no issues with this keyboard.
From M-Audio, this semi-weight keyboard comes with a software suite making it easy to use with any computer system. Compact in design, you can fit this keyboard into any workstation. You can also customize the controls on this keyboard to use this while you are recording, and make the music sound exactly the way you intend it to. This is a great option for recording sound.
What we liked: The semi-weighted keys make it easy to use with the right amount of pressure on the keyboard. This keyboard is easy to use on its own, and you do not need to worry about buying additional drivers or power supplies, allowing you to easily plug in play with your mac or pc. With the included software suite, you will be using this with your computer in no time at all. The volume fader allows you to control how loud your keyboard is, and it is easy to adjust depending on your surroundings and sound desires.
What could be better: Users might find the plug-in play features a bit cumbersome before they are familiar with them. But, once you figure them out, you will not miss a beat playing on this keyboard. You might need to use a USB hub to use these features efficiently.
This USB keyboard controller from Midi-plus is a sleek option and is one of the best 49 key midi controllers with fl studio for beginners. The power source is simply the USB cable, meaning this machine can be used almost anywhere. Lightweight, this is a great module for just starting out, as it is responsive to the keystrokes.
What we liked: The semi-weight keys make this keyboard great for beginners or experts, as it is easy to find the right amount of pressure to make the best sounds. There are buttons that let you control how high or low the octave is, which is nice. The keyboard is powered by an easy to use USB cable, meaning you can use it near any device or outlet that lets you plug a USB in. The included owner’s manual takes away any questions or concerns about how to get set up and start using the keyboard.
What could be better: While the keyboard is not very durable, it makes up for that by being lightweight and easy to transport between locations. Do not worry too much about durability when you are just starting out, since by the time the keyboard wears out you might be ready to consider upgrading to a fancier model. You can’t go wrong with this option as it is one of the best 49 key USB midi controllers on the market.
Things to Consider
Now that you have read through our top recommendations, let’s take a look at all the things you should consider before deciding upon what unit to purchase. Whether you are concerned with durability, software compatibility, or octave controls, we’ve got your covered. One of the things to think about will be how fancy do you want your unit to be? Decide what your goals are. Are you a professional musician who needs a lot of faders and other controls to make your music stand out from the competition? Or, are you teaching a bunch of beginners and want access to an easier machine so the kids to now get scared off? There is something for everyone, and once you decide on your priorities, you can be ready to make your purchase.
Advantages of 49-key midi controllers
There are a lot of advantages to buying this type of keyboard. You will be able to perform live concerts, and you can also do studio-level recording. With the right sound effects, you can sound like an expert keyboard player without much practice.
Features to consider before you buy a 49 key midi controller
You will want to consider a variety of features before making your purchase. But, with a little reading, you will soon be able to purchase the best 49 key synth midi controller. Not all keyboards are created equal, and you will have to decide which of the below features you prioritize the most.
This is where you can get some unique options. From backlights to knobs, switches, and faders, you need to decide how many controls you want access to. Some of the more basic models do not have many of the fancy controls. This is fine if you are just playing at home or just for practice.
However, if you are looking to play live concerts or do a lot of studio recording, you want a lot of control. Some of these controls can add some unique sounds, and you can play with octave controls and faders which can make your music stand out from everybody else’s.
Will you be hooking up to a laptop? If so, is it a mac or a pc? While most of the items on our list are compatible with both, you need to find out for sure depending on what your software needs are. Pretty much all midi controllers come with some sort of software package, but some are more complete than others.
Our Editor’s Choice, the Akai Professional MPK249, comes with a software package that works on both pcs and macs. So, if you will be using a few different computers with your unit, this is a great choice for you. Even if you have a mac now if you think you might change to a pc sometime in the future, you should go with the software package that will work on either type of computer, so you do not find yourself shopping again in the future for another 49 key midi controller.
You can get some 49 key midi controllers that are a close equivalent to a regular piano, complete with full-size piano keys. These are great options if you are a serious player who wants to feel like you are playing the piano. However, do not be scared away by options that are a bit smaller, or have smaller keys. Sometimes beginners or children prefer the smaller option as it is easier to get a response from the keys that sounds best. Consider who will be using your midi controller the most, and what his skill level is.
If the size does not matter because you will be keeping this midi controller mostly stationary and set-up in one spot, then go with a bigger machine since it can carry more controls and give you more unique sounds to build into your playing.
Sometimes, a heavier or bigger midi controller can give you better music than a lightweight, smaller option that is a little bit more portable to carry.
Will you be traveling with your keyboard a lot? Are you an instructor who needs to carry the unit from house to house giving private lessons? If so, you want something lightweight that easy to travel with and also easy to learn for the beginners you are teaching.
If you want something lightweight, consider our Best Value choice, the midiplus USB MIDI keyboard controller. This is a great unit that is a good choice for beginners and is light to carry. It is powered by USB, so there is not much to carry around besides the plug and the keyboard.
The only downside to going lightweight is that most machines do not have a lot of widgets and fancy controls to help elevate your music. By sacrificing quality, you make the machines lighter and more portable. So, weigh the pros and cons of going lightweight with sacrificing some funkier controls and sound creation.
You can get a variety of accessories with your 49 key midi controller. Consider our Premium Pick, the Novation SL MkIII MIDI and CV 49 Keys Keyboard Pack, which comes with just about everything you could need in a package. You get more with this package than any other midi controller on the market. With monitors, drum pads, and 4GB of sounds and samples this is the total package complete with a wide variety of accessories that you will fall in love with.
If you do not want a lot of accessories, you have that option too. Maybe you just want a portable, lightweight controller that you just plug in via USB and are all set-up. Accessories are really an area where you have to decide what your priorities are before making your purchase.
You want to consider a choice that has a lot of faders and other unique features to create interesting sounds. You definitely want a machine that allows you to control the octave. With the right keyboard, you will not need to lean on a computer at all. Our choice for live concerts would be the Alesis V49, as it’s got the octave control and premium software package that allows you to control unique sound effects. You can put on quite the live show and this is one of the best 49 key midi controller with Fl studios on the market today. The unique controls will allow you to play better, and different, music than on a controller that did not have those controls.
The short answer is, there are not really to set-up. The long answer is, some are a little more difficult than others depending on how much comes with the controllers. In the case of our Premium Pick, the Novation SL MkIII MIDI and CV 49 Keys Keyboard Pack, it will take a little longer to get set up because it is the total package. You are setting up more than just a keyboard. However, it is well worth it. You will love the gadgets that come with this keyboard. While some of the more basic keyboards are just plug it in and play it, you might miss out on having access to some of the more unique features that come with that total package. Most of the items on our list are compatible with both macs and pcs, and come with software packages, so they should all be easy to connect to your computer.
We love all of the products on our list, but our top choice is clearly the Editor’s Choice, the Akai Professional MPK249, since it has such a great software system, making it compatible with just about any type of computer. If you are looking for value, take a look at our Best Value, the midiplus USB MIDI keyboard controller, since it is lightweight and ready for use by beginners. There is nothing wrong with using a lightweight option like that and then upgrading after your skills improve to something like our Premium Pick, the Novation SL MkIII MIDI and CV 49 Keys Keyboard Pack, which we love because it is a total package coming complete with everything you would ever need to play the keyboard. Now that you have read through our recommendations and product guide, you are all set and ready to buy the best 49 key midi controller to meet your needs!