Midi Keyboard Buyers Guide for the Home Studio

by thedj on December 3, 2012

So it’s the Holidays and I’m in the market for a new midi keyboard controller to use with Ableton Live. I figured this would be a great time to start a music producers buyers guide for the home studio in which I will be reviewing products I’m currently using or in the market to buy.

Currently I’m using Ableton Live with the M-Audio Oxygen 8 v.2 keyboard and my Akai APC40 controller and I’ve been really happy with it. My only complaint has been with the Oxygen 8. I find it hard to play any intricate basslines or melodies due to the keys feeling kind of flimsy. So I would like to replace the Oxygen 8 with a keyboard that has decent feeling keys that maps out to Ableton fairly easy and also has some pads on it for drums. So far these are the ones that have caught my attention:

Novation Impulse 25 USB controller

Novation Music Impulse 25.jpg
Product Features
  • Ultra-responsive semi weighted keys with aftertouch
  • Full DAW/plug-in control surface with 8 knobs, 1 fader and button
  • Automap 4 control software enables instant hands-on access to your DAW and plugins
  • Multi-function drum pads enable you to warp arpeggios, roll beats and launch clips in Ableton
  • Comes with Ableton Live Lite (I would get no use from this), Novation’s Bass Station synth and a Loopmasters sample pack (I may get some use from?)

Akai MPK25 25 Key Controller with MPC Pads

Akai MPK25 25 Key Midi Keyboard Controller with MPC Pads

Product Features

  • 25-key semi-weighted keyboard with aftertouch for expressive melodic creativity
  • MPC-pad section of 12 genuine MPC pads with pressure and velocity sensitivity
  • MPC pads access four banks each for instant access of 48 samples
  • Assignable Q-Link controller section for flexible control of software parameters
  • MPC Note Repeat, MPC Swing, and arpeggiator aid in creative process

Akai Max 49 Advanced USB/Midi/CV Keyboard

Akai Max 49 Advanced

Product Features

    • 49 semi-weighted keys with aftertouch for complete musical expression
    • Expanded arpeggiator with latch and time division controls
    • Included AkaiConnect software automatically maps VST plugins
    • 12 backlit, real MPC pads with MPC Note Repeat and MPC swing
    • Eight backlit LED touch faders for gradual or instant parameter value changes
    • Four pad banks & four fader banks provide a total of 80 assignable pads & faders
    • CV & Gate outputs for use with vintage analogue synths (808 & 909, TB303)


This is just a few of the controllers I’ve been checking out, Leave me a comment and let me know whats working for you in your studio.


Previous post:

Next post: