THESE ARE 7 OF THE BEST CHEAP MIDI KEYBOARDS AND MIDI CONTROLLERS UNDER £100 THAT DO A GREAT JOB AND DON'T SUCK!
If you’re in the market for the best cheap MIDI keyboards under £100 that doesn’t suck, then you’ve come to the right place. As part of our instruments that don’t suck series, we’ve compiled 7 of the best MIDI keyboard controllers that offer exceptional control, a load of free software and are easy to use whether you need them for the live or studio environment.
Here are our top picks from the likes of Novation, Native Instruments, Akai and more that prove you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a high-performance MIDI keyboard for all styles of music production.
1. NOVATION LAUNCHKEY MINI MK3
First up we have the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 which is an extremely portable 25-key mini controller. Although it’s designed to work with Ableton Live it’ll work with any music software you have. The price tag is under £100, so it’s easily affordable and it’s also designed to aid in music-making, rather than hinder it by introducing a range of useful features beginners and non-keyboard players will enjoy.
You have a creative arpeggiator, fixed chord mode for triggering chords from single notes, MIDI out for connecting to your existing hardware and 16 RGB backlit pads with velocity sensitivity. You also get a massive DAW package which includes Ableton Live Lite, AAS Session Bundle, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, Spitfire Audio LABS, XLN Audio Addictive Keys and Klevgrand ROverb and DAW Cassette. Plus access to the Novation Sound Collective.
2. Korg NanoKey 2 Mini USB Keyboard in Black
Next, we have one of the best cheap MIDI keyboards you can get your hands on. At £45 the Korg NanoKey 2 Mini USB Keyboard in Black is well under the £100 mark and easily added to your existing workflow. It’s also extremely portable at just under 13 inches wide so it’ll fit in your laptop bag, backpack or sit on your desk nicely without taking up too much room.
We love it because the size means you can create or edit music anywhere you like, whether you’re sat on the train, in the tour bus or at home. Don’t be fooled by its size, this thing is extremely useful and is packed with 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keyboard keys a built-in octave shift, sustain button and the extremely handy up and velocity curve controls. If you're short on budget and space - this is ideal.
3. Arturia Minilab MKII Inverted USB MIDI Keyboard
The Arturia MkII Inverted USB MIDI Keyboard is one of the best cheap MIDI controllers under £100 designed for those with a portable workflow and limited space. This is a particularly versatile 25-key MIDI Keyboard complete with 16 rotary encoders and a responsive touch strip for pitch bend and modulation changes so you can tweak notes organically.
We love this cheap MIDI keyboard as you also get Ableton Live Lite, Analog Lab Lite software packed with hundreds of iconic keyboard sounds and UVI Grand Piano Model D software – so you can start creating music almost instantly. At way under £100 you can have a beautifully responsive live and studio instrument – what’s not to like? Also available:
4. NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE KONTROL M32 KEYBOARD
Well, we can’t have the best cheap MIDI keyboards blog without the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 Keyboard can we?! This nifty piece of kit is an extremely useful MIDI keyboard and one of the industry standard options relied upon by professional musicians everywhere. Don’t be fooled by the price. This may be one of the best cheap MIDI keyboard thanks to the fact it’s under £100, but it’s an absolute monster full of intuitive controls and studio friendly features.
The Komplete Kontrol M32 includes 32 synth-action micro keys as well as an easy to read OLED display so you can make changes on the fly fully aware of where you are at all time. There’s also built in Touch-Ribbon pitch and modulation strips, 8 x touch-sensitive control knobs, and 4 x directional push encoders offering expert control over notes, chords and samples.
We could go on and on about the great features within the M32, but perhaps the most useful is the fact this MIDI keyboard comes auto-mapped to thousands of Native Instruments plug-ins straight out of the box. Just connect to your PC or laptop and the M32 will automatically map to the host of existing NKS-compatible plug-ins.
If you don’t already have any software, you’ll love the fact the M32 comes bundled with KOMPLETE instruments and effects, KOMPLETE KONTROL software, MASCHINE Essentials (full MASCHINE software plus 1.6 GB MASCHINE Factory Selection of samples, one shots, loops, and instruments), plus Ableton Live 10 Lite.
This means you can get started on your musical masterpiece straight away! All this in a MIDI keyboard under £100!
If you need a highly portable MIDI keyboard with a small footprint that still retains a high level of functionality, the M-Audio Oxygen 25 4G USB MIDI Keyboard is one of the best MIDI keyboards around. This is a highly reliable and versatile MIDI keyboard and production tool that features 25 full-size velocity-sensitive keys, 8 velocity-sensitive trigger pads and 8 assignable knobs that allow you to manipulate and trigger your virtual instruments, plugins and effects.
We think this is one of the best MIDI controllers as it reduces your reliance on a mouse and puts the control back in your hands via the transport buttons as they can be used to control your DAW - great for live applications. The DirectLink functionality makes working with your DAWs a breeze as it automatically maps controls to a huge range of popular DAWs including the likes of Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and more. If you’re just starting out in the world of music production, you’ll appreciate the fact you get Pro Tools First included as well as Touch Loops’ 2GB sample library and VIP 3.0 software so you can start creating and recording music straight away. Also available:
Whilst we’re on the subject of portable music production, we have to discuss the Akai MPK Mini MK2 USB MIDI Controller, which is one of the best MIDI keyboards for those with limited room and those who want to be able to create music on the fly. This is small enough to fit in your backpack and light enough to carry alongside your laptop without compromising on functionality or control over your workflow. Best of all – it’s USB powered, so there’s no batteries or adaptor to cart around with you.
You have 25 synth-action mini keys as well as 8 MPC pads with Note Repeat, 8 assignable control knobs as well as a new 4-way thumbstick for dynamic pitch and modulation control. We love this MIDI keyboard as it not only provides expert control over your sounds, but comes complete with a massive selection of production software such as MPC Essentials, Twist from SONiVOX and VIP 3.0 – to name a few! The Akai MPK Mini MK2 can easily be integrated into your existing workflow and communicate with your DAW and sequencer, too. It’s plug-and-play technology made easy. At under £75, it’s also an extremely budget friendly option too. Also available:
The Nektar SE25 Mini MIDI Controller Keyboard is perfect for capturing your ideas when inspiration strikes. This highly portable 25-key MIDI controller makes our best cheap MIDI keyboards list as it’s under £50, yet still offers pro-level features for the performing musician. We love everything this has to offer including the 25 velocity sensitive keys, Nektar DAW Integration Mapping, transpose buttons and “S” Sustain button which allows you to take control of modulation effects.
We also think the intuitive “2” function is an ingenious addition. This “2” function will shift the octave allowing you to add an octave or harmony whilst you play. Once you release the “2” button your settings will go back to normal so you can create little lead runs without changing settings. One of the best cheap MIDI keyboards that offers instant connection to the most popular DAWs and great control all for way under £50.