Top 7 Budget MIDI Keyboards under $100 – Catch Your Opportunity to Create Music!

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Last updatedLast updated: April 05, 2021
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Is it possible to find a high-quality MIDI keyboard for under $100? If asked that question some years ago, we would have said ‘NO’. However, competition, better technology, and the influx of cheap Chinese keyboards have made it possible and easier to find MIDI keyboards that are very affordable. There are now so many models on the market, and this poses its own challenges. For one, it can be harder knowing the right model to buy.

Well, in this post, we have reviewed the best MIDI keyboard under $100. They come from different brands and have different features. However, they all offer excellent overall performance. When creating this list, we considered features like the type of keys (which is often a personal preference), controls, connectivity, as well as dimension and weight adding to portability of the device. We also discuss these factors in detail later in the buying guide. In the meantime, we have provided a detailed review of each of the best MIDI keyboards under $100. At the end of this post, you should have enough information to make the right buying decision.

Top 7 MIDI Keyboards under $100 Review 2021

1.

AKAI Professional LPK25Editor’s Choice

Features
  • Keys: 25, velocity-sensitive, synth-action
  • Controls: arpeggiator steps, octave up and down, sustain
  • Connectivity: USB-MIDI
  • Dimensions: 3.8 x 13.4 x 1.1 in
  • Weight: 1 lbs

Other features: 4 programmable memory banks; MPC Beats Software included

The Akai brand is one of the most popular in this industry and manufactures some of the best MIDI controllers and keyboards. We have chosen the LPK25 as our number one pick for several reasons. Apart from coming from a highly reputable brand, the product itself is excellent.

If you are looking to use your MIDI keyboard on the go, you will find the compact and lightweight design of this model very useful. Another thing that aids the portability is that the unit comes in a wireless option. Therefore, you will find it possible to make music wherever you might desire.

The model comes with up to 24 velocity sensitive keys that are compact and easy to use. It also comes with an arpeggiator.

Editing the sounds is pretty easy on this model as it comes with the Ignite software. The LPK25 is a straightforward and lovely little model.

What we liked:

This is an excellent model that is small and portable. It is great for beginners and starters who will enjoy the synth action of the keys. It comes in a wired and wireless version.

What could be better:

This compact unit is simple to use. However, the small size means that it isn’t the best for jamming. It is not a full keyboard for expert users.

Features
  • Keys: 32, low-profile, velocity-sensitive
  • Controls: pitch bend, modulation, octave up and down, volume fader
  • Connectivity: USB-MIDI
  • Dimensions: 16.44 x 0.72 x 4.2 in
  • Weight: 1.54 lbs

Other features: selectable velocity curves; Pro Tools, First M Audio Edition recording software / DAW and AIR Music Tech Xpand 2 included

Next up is the affordable M Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 that is a real option and contender as our top choice. Just like the top pick, it is a unit from a band that is known for the impressive quality of its MIDI keyboards.

It comes with excellent features and is a model for anyone who wants a MIDI keyboard that doesn’t break the bank. It comes with more keys than our top choice as it is a 32-key model. However, it is a key-only model and does not come with any drum pads. This isn’t too surprising considering the low price.

Nevertheless, it is a great model that does the job of manipulating the created sounds. It might be portable and compact, but it surely works effectively.

The unit also is packaged with Pro Tool software. Another thing that we liked about the model is that it comes with a relatively large library of content. The software will help you achieve great sounds.

Another reason why this is so highly rated is that the manufacturer has included buttons that are customizable and assignable.

What we liked:

This model is a compact unit with excellent features and offers the best value for money. It comes in a simple design and boasts of assignable controls.

What could be better:

The model lacks drum pads and the compact nature means that keys feel cramped.

3.

Midiplus 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller i61Best with Full-Size Keys

Features
  • Keys: 61, full-size, sensitive
  • Controls: pitch, modulation, Data Entry wheel, MIDI/Select mode toggle
  • Connectivity: USB-MIDI
  • Dimensions: 36.2 x 2.9 x 8.5 in
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs

Other features: 2x MIDI out; USB bus-powered; optional sustain pedal can be connected

If you have been following so far, you will discover that most of the models that we have reviewed that come at this cheap price come at smaller sizes. The number of keys ranges from 25 to 32. Well, the Midiplus is an exception and is one of the biggest sub-$100 MIDI keyboards that we have considered. This model comes with up to 61 keys, which makes it larger than your average model that we have reviewed.

Large means that it is only a pair of octaves from the traditional piano. Since it comes at such a large size, there are some compromises. For example, it does not have any drum pads and controls like faders or knobs. It only has a few buttons.

However, it makes up for this by the number of keys. These come with a synth action and will be very nice to play. While they aren’t the most responsive models, they are excellent and will do the things you want them to do.

Fortunately, you get some wheels as well as good connectivity options. At this price, the features are just too good to ignore, and it deserves a place on our list.

What we liked:

This model is a large, 61-key model that gives you more playing options. It is affordable, easy to play and great for beginners.

What could be better:

This is a basic model that does not come with a large number of features; it also does not offer you plenty of control options.

4.

Xkey 25 USB MIDI ControllerBest Mini MIDI Keyboard

Features
  • Keys: 25, full-size, velocity-sensitive, polyphonic aftertouch
  • Controls: octave up and down; modulation; pitchbend up and down; sustain
  • Connectivity: Micro-USB
  • Dimensions: 15.27 x 5.31 x 0.62 in
  • Weight: 1.32 lbs

Other features: works with IOS, Android, PC, MAC and Linux; ultra-portable design

With a 0.62-inch-thick profile, the Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller is an excellent, compact, 25-key MIDI keyboard. This portable design is great for those that are often on the move. However, despite being so compact, this keyboard is very easy to play. In fact, the playability is one of the best features of this model.

All of the keys offered are velocity sensitive and even boast of polyphonic aftertouch. This feature makes it stand out from the rest of the competition. As if that weren’t enough, the unit also features pressure sensitive pitch bend. You also get useful controls and buttons like the sustain, modulation, and octave buttons.

At first glance, it is quite clear that is an excellent keyboard. It comes with a stylish design and looks even more expensive than it actually is. It looks really great and will fit into your studio well.

The only downside here is that it has limited functionality. Apart from that though, the aftertouch feature and playability makes this one of the best MIDI keyboard at this price. It looks great and is a cool option to have.

What we liked:

This model is a compact, stylish option with an aftertouch feature. Its keys are pressure sensitive, and the overall design is excellent.

What could be better:

This model is cool, but the buttons are quite tricky to use correctly.

Features
  • Keys: 32, velocity-sensitive, mini-key
  • Controls: pitch, modulation, volume slider, octave up and down, transpose up and down; sustain
  • Connectivity: USB-B
  • Dimensions: 18.1 x 4.9 x 1.2 in
  • Weight: 1.6 lbs

Other features: AmazonBasics 4 Port USB 3.0 Hub power adapter can be included to purchase

We have reviewed one model from the MIDIplus brand, and it isn’t too surprising to find that there is yet another model from the brand on this list. The Midiplus AKM320 is a 32-key controller and comes with good features that make it a cool pick. For one, the 32-key design makes this one of the more compact options that we have reviewed. However, despite this smaller size, it comes with some features that make it very functional.

For example, this compact model is fitted with pitch bend and modulation wheels. When you consider the compact nature of this product, this is quite impressive to have.

Apart from these, the model is also designed with other buttons and sliders.

Overall, this is an excellent pick in our opinion. It comes with a straightforward design and will accomplish what it is designed to do.

What we liked:

This model is clean and compact, but it still manages to squeeze in useful features like buttons, sliders, and other controls.

What could be better:

Although this largely accomplishes its mission, it does not come with enough functions that indicate quality.

6.

ammoon Worlde Panda miniBest Customizable Pick

Features
  • Keys: 25, velocity-sensitive
  • Controls: 8 backlit trigger pads; pitch up and down, octave up and down, CC Mode, Mod, Bank, Prog
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 12.6 x 7.5 x 1.2 in
  • Weight: 2.12 lbs

Other features: 4 assignable control knobs and 4 assignable control sliders

The next model we review is not from a brand that is popular. Nevertheless, it comes with enough features to make it to our list. It is a compact keyboard that comes with assignable knobs and control sliders, among other nice features.

It comes with 25 velocity sensitive keys and good transport buttons. With this model, you get a good number of customization options. For example, it has a nice pitch bend and wheels that come in really handy.

The design is excellent, which makes this model one of the best lightweight and compact options. If you are looking for a keyboard to take along with you and use on the go, then this is a nice option.

What we liked:

This unit is built as a portable and compact model. It is easy to use and comes with plenty of useful functions.

What could be better:

The key action is rather poor. Also, many users have reported that the software failed to install on their computers.

7.

Alesis VMiniEasiest to Upgrade

Features
  • Keys: 25, synth-action, mini
  • Controls: octave, pitch bend, modulation, sustain
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 12.5 x 1.5 in
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

Other features: 4 backlit sensitive drum pads; 4 backlit assignable knobs; xpand 2 virtual instrument software included

Last but not least is the Alesis V25. This model is undoubtedly one of the best of its kind on the market today and comes from one of the most reliable manufacturers of MIDI keyboards on the market. It comes with several nice features, including 25 mini-keys and drum pads that are velocity-sensitive. In addition, the manufacturer has added some useful software in the package.

You get up to four assignable buttons and knobs, as well as modulation wheels. It is easy to use on the go and even in low light conditions as the buttons are illuminated.

What we liked:

This model is compact and features assignable buttons. It also features a sustain pedal input, and keys that are easy to play.

What could be better:

We observed that this model’s drum pads are awkwardly placed.

Things to Consider

The review section above had us considering seven of the best MIDI keyboards under $100. These seven are the best ones that you can buy right now and are a way for you to narrow down your options. You might be looking to buy your MIDI keyboard which might not be any of the options that we discussed. To make the correct buying decision, there are some important things that you need to know. In this section, we consider all of the important factors to consider. This will assist you to make the correct buying decision.

What to expect from a MIDI keyboard under $100?

Top 7 Budget MIDI Keyboards under $100 – Catch Your Opportunity to Create Music!

In the past, choosing the best cheap MIDI keyboard used to be hard and was limited to very few products. But due to the increase in technology, more competition, and other factors, you can have more options to select from that ever before. Therefore, you might be confused about which of the models to buy.

When you are buying a budget MIDI keyboard, you have to keep in mind that you will not get the same level of performance as what you’d get from more expensive models. The smaller budget means that compromises need to be reached. Some of the things that the lower price will have to do away with might be:

  • An inferior keyboard
  • Fewer keys
  • Fewer sliders and knobs
  • Fewer integrations

If you are looking for a cheap MIDI keyboard, you are likely one of the following:

  • Someone who is just starting to play the keyboard and is looking to buy their first keyboard
  • An experienced player looking to have a backup or secondary keyboard
  • You want an affordable keyboard that you can carry around with you.
We have indicated that you have to compromise on some features when choosing a budget MIDI keyboard. However, it is still possible to have a good quality keyboard even if it comes at a very low price. All of the models that we have discussed in our review fall in that category.

Features to consider before you purchase a MIDI keyboard

In this section, we have a detailed consideration of the features to look at when you are making your buying decision.

Control sets and options

There are three main types of MIDI keyboard on the market and your choice will fall into either of the categories.

  • Key-only controllers – This is the first type of keyboard. As the name implies, it does not come with any control options and is solely composed of a keyboard. This means that you don’t have the knobs or sliders. If you are looking to plat melodies and chords you will need this type.
  • Pad-only controllers – This next type of controller comes with only pads. While they might come with knobs and sliders, the main focus is on the pads. This type of keyboard is excellent if you play the drums or you want to launch clips. They are useless for playing chords or melodies.
  • Keyboard-pad hybrid controllers – The last type is the most popular type of controller. It is a combination of the pad and the keys. The number of keys depends on the model with some as low as 25 and as high as 88. They also come with pads, with some models featuring up to 8 pads. An example is the AKAI Professional LPK25.

Your choice will largely depend on what you plan to create with the keyboard.

Keys

When choosing your keyboard, the keys and their quality are important considerations. There are some important things that you should consider in this regard.

The number of keys that the model has will determine the size of the model. There are different models on the market and you have a wide variety of key options. Some of these are 25, 49, 61, and 88 key options. Examples of these include Midiplus 61-Key MIDI Keyboard and Alesis VMini Portable 25-Key USB MIDI. Aside from these, there are some more obscure numbers. An example is Midiplus AKM320 with its 32 keys.

Due to the number of keys, you have MIDI keyboards available in different sizes. Therefore, consider important questions like:

  • How much space do I have?
  • Do I plan to play with both hands or just one hand?
  • Will I be taking the keyboard on the road?

These questions will determine the model of keyboard that you buy.

Key action

Top 7 Budget MIDI Keyboards under $100 – Catch Your Opportunity to Create Music!

The key action is another very important consideration. This will further determine the type of model that you buy. There are three main types of key action. We will discuss them in detail in this section.

Synth action

The first type of synth action is a popular one, especially in budget MIDI keyboards. This type of action uses a spring mechanism to ensure that the keys return to their initial position after you have pressed them. The feeling varies from player to player, and many have remarked about how quick it feels to the touch and the linearity. An example is the AKAI Professional LPK25.

If you have never used a real piano, this is great for you. If you have ever played on an acoustic version, though, you might not like the cheap, unauthentic feeling that you might get with it.

Semi-weighted action

This next type of action feels more authentic than the synth action. It is a combination of springs and light weights at the end of each key. The result is that the keys do not immediately bounce back to their initial position. Some of the models that we have reviewed and that are loved by many users come with a springy action that you get from synth action. It combines this with a heaviness that is similar to what you get from a real piano.

This type of action is great for all users regardless of their experience level.

Weighted Hammer Action

The last type of action is the most similar to the action on an actual traditional piano. It is not for beginners but for folks that have been playing the acoustic guitar for a while. It feels heavier and the lower keys have a certain heft over the higher keys. It is often found on high-end MIDI keyboards.

Integration

Regardless of the model that you buy, you will have to use it with plugins and software. The models that we have reviewed are all simple to play. But you should note that some are better at integrations than others. One of the best in this regard is the Xkey 25 USB MIDI Controller.

FAQ

Aftertouch is a feature that allows you to add effects to a key by pushing down harder after pressing the key. If you are looking for more versatility to your playing, look for models that have the after touch feature.

There are some handy and popular DAWs. Some of the best are Logic Pro and Ableton. These are required for your MIDI keyboard.

The synthesizer is what creates sounds. The MIDI controller on the other hand works to manipulate the created sound. They do not make any sounds of their own.

Our Verdict

Every good studio setup needs the right keyboard. If you are looking for a keyboard to buy without breaking the bank, the options that we have reviewed are great for you. The AKAI Professional LPK25 is our top choice and is great for getting your feet wet in the world of MIDI keyboards. It is compact and easy to use. The M Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 is a compact unit with excellent features and offers the best value for money. It comes in a simple design and boasts of assignable controls.  For those that want a model with full size keys, the Midiplus 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller i61 is the best bet. This model is a large, 61-key model that gives you more playing options. It is affordable, easy to play and great for beginners.

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