Say, you wish to augment your studio by adding a MIDI keyboard in it but you have inadequate resources to purchase one. Perhaps you are a novice in field of music and feel inclined to familiarize yourself with making music without breaking your bank. Luckily enough for you we have put together a thorough and instructive list of 6 best midi keyboards under $100 which will surely be worthwhile to read.
Another thing encompassed in this article will be buying tips that, needless to say, you must go through before you arrive at your final choice of best budget MIDI controller keyboard. Do bear in mind that a “budget” MIDI keyboard is not in the slightest a mediocre, below par keyboard and it will undeniably not prove to be a hurdle in your road to making music.
Yes, you might have to make a few compromises such as possible absence of drum pads, a substandard plastic-built quality or unavailability of weighted keys. Nevertheless, given the extremely low-price tag of these keyboards, the features they lack are neither surprising and nor a complication. At any rate, it is better to have a cheap MIDI keyboard than to not have any at all. Astonishingly, it is interesting to note how many top hits were produced on cheap MIDI keyboards like these.
Best MIDI Keyboards Under $100
Now without wasting any further time I will be mentioning some of the best budget MIDI keyboards that we have tested and found them to be excellent in their performance.
ALESIS V Mini
The Best Mini MIDI Keyboard under $100
Brand: Alesis | Size: 25 Key | Style: Mini | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 5.51 x 12.5 x 1.5 inches
Reasons To Buy
- Compatible with all types of Digital Audio Workstations
- High Sensitivity
- Portable due to compact size
- Low Price
Reasons To Avoid
- Keys lack durable feel
- Some knobs offer resistance
- 4 Pads only
- Absence of sustain port
- Considerably thick in size
First on the list of best midi keyboards under $100 is Alesis V Mini. Regardless of whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned pro, advanced features offered in Alesis V Mini really grow on you. Alesis V Mini is an intuitive, lightweight, compact and a powerful MIDI controller that provides you full access to music software.
It comes with a set of 25 keys that are small in size and are highly sensitive to velocity. Alesis V Mini keyboard comes with four knobs that are assignable for altering effect plugins and four backlit pads that are also velocity sensitive.
The reason why you have to absolutely buy Alesis V Mini because despite the low cost it still provides a wide range of features. Along with the octave up and down buttons, Alesis V Mini can also be expanded to its maximum melodic range that will allow you to play chords and bass lines. By manipulating knobs you can adjust volume levels, create effects, activate, and deactivate filters, tweak parameters, etc.
Not only that but with the backlit drums you also get to finger drum with the response that is exceptionally quick; the pitch and modulation are top notch as well. Using Alesis V Mini will undoubtedly assist you in diversifying your expressive and performance capabilities.
What’s unique about V mini is that it can effortlessly amalgamate with any music software. Whatever your Digital Audio Working Station might be, as long as it supports USB connection, Alesis V Mini will be compatible with it; whether it is FL Studio, Logic or Ableton, it works with all. The website also gives you 60 free lessons with Melodics which is a great learning tool if you are learning how to finger drum.
Another element that makes Alesis V mini worthy of being bought is that with a single USB connection to either your Mac or PC you can get going with MIDI functionality.
Just plug it in your computer and commence producing your musical art. It is really surprising how you also get illuminated knobs and pads that offer visual feedback to stimulate your intuitive work, all this just under $100! Not only that but owing to V mini’s super compact design you can carry this powerful and artistic MIDI controller around with you or you can fit it in your studio regardless of how small the studio may be. Purchasing and using Alesis V Mini is definitely an opportunity you do not want to miss.
It is interesting to note that Alesis V Mini comes bundled with Xpand!2 which is an advanced tool that features more than 2000 premium sounds. Xpand!2 is created by the AIR Music technology and you get sounds that range futuristic to acoustic; right out of the box this effective software assists you in creating or performing divergent music.
If you settle on buying Alesis V Mini, it is noteworthy that VIP 3.0 is now available for Alesis V Mini. If you are unfamiliar with VIP then you will be interested in knowing that this is a Virtual Instrument Player that provides you unmatchable access to your instrument.
Integrating VIP 3.0 with Alesis V Mini will give you maximum control and will allow you to form an intuitive and comprehensible format where you can enhance your creativity in live performance or studio production.
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Best Cheap MIDI Keyboard
Brand: Midiplus | Size: 32 Key | Style: Mini | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 18.1 X 4.9 X 1.2 inches
Reasons To Buy
- Design is simple & clean.
- Super Compact and Portable
- Modulation and pitch bend wheels
- Sustain pedal
Reasons to Avoid
- Small Keys
- Absence of Drum pads
- Absence of any software
- Absence of assignable buttons.
The second one on our list of top 6 best MIDI keyboards under $100 would be Midiplus AKM320. It is safe to say that with AKM320, Midiplus has definitely achieved what they had intended to. AKM320 is a clean and compact keyboard with 32 keys. Despite being available at only $39, the cheapest of any MIDI controller out there available on Amazon, it still has managed to include modulation and pitch bend wheels in spite of being a super compact keyboard. These wheels prove to be highly helpful for deeper sounds that are more rich.
There is not much to elucidate on Midiplus AKM320 because it offers exactly what is visible. Nothing more, nothing less – what you would expect from a keyboard with such a low-price tag. In AKM320, you get the Octave up/down coupled with a master volume slider. It even features extra transpose up/down button which even most expensive keyboards do not possess. Compared to Alesis V Mini, it is moderately thick, comes with a USB port and small enough to fit in your average backpack which is a great plus point.
Furthermore, unlike Alesis V Mini it also comes with a sustain pedal. We were really intrigued by the fact that this controller that is only under $50 comes with 32 Keys whereas most of the $100 keyboards available at Amazon by Akai or Novation provide maximum of 25 Keys. As far as the feel and texture of the keys of AKM320 is concerned, it is not too cheap and not too pro either. Still we found the keys to be touch and velocity sensitive. Another advantage of buying AKM320 is that it is a simple plug and play controller, just plug it in your Mac or PC and it functions smoothly.
A downside however would be that AKM320 does not come bundled with any software. Moreover, the quality of the dedicated limited features and functions are to a certain extent, mediocre.
If you travel frequently and you just need to purchase a microcontroller and effortlessly carry it around with you then Midiplus AKM320 would be an ideal choice since it is not a bank breaker either. The AKM320 Midiplus is useful for many functions; whether it is editing, recording, remixing etc.
AKM320 will fulfil all requirements. It can be also connected with a USB port. If you already own a full MIDI controller and you are just looking for a controller that is more compact and portable or perhaps you lack any space in the studio, then go for AKM320 we definitely recommend it.
On the contrary, if money is not an issue, then there is no reason for you to go out of your way and consider Midiplus – since its the Best Budget Midi Controller Keyboard Under 100.
With Midiplus AKM320 you get the basic functionality of a MIDI controller, however, there will be no extras or sufficient amount of controls. You will also not even be getting any drum pads or the likes of it, so if you are a beat maker or use drum pads frequently there is no sense in buying AKM320. Moreover, the keys are pretty stiff and need to be pressed relatively hardly so that note’s volume goes up.
Verdict: if you are in desperate need of a Budget MIDI Keyboard Under $100 controller, you can purchase Midiplus AKM320 without even giving it a second thought. It is cheap, compact, clean and does the fundamental job required, that is, making music. If you are a beginner then this controller will not let you down and it plays quite nicely
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Akai professional LPK25
Best USB MIDI Keyboard
Brand: Akai professional | Size: 25 Key | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 3.8 x 13.4 x 1.1 inches
Reasons to buy
- Portable and Lightweight
- Plug and Play
- Compatible with most DAWs
- No requirement of external power supply
Reasons to avoid
- Too small for live sessions
- Springy keys
Do you want to have a control over melodious performances right in the palm of your hands? Are you looking for a USB MIDI controller that gratifies the needs of musicians, DJs, producers, and all other sorts of music creators? If yes, then you will be interested in knowing that Akai LPK25 not only checks all the above-mentioned categories but it also does that for a very low price.
There are numerous purchasing Akai Professional LPK25; the first one being the fact that is an extremely portable keyboard that is smaller than 13 inches and lighter than a pound. Keep it in your laptop case or in your backpack and create melodic and tuneful riffs anywhere and anytime in matter of seconds. The LPK25 keyboard has 25 mini keys that are velocity-sensitive and come with synth action.
Furthermore, Akai LPK25 is ideal for anyone who wishes use computer and work with software; this diminutive and cheap keyboard is perfectly functional with any audio software available. This LPK25 Keyboard comes with 4 memory banks which allow the controller to program and change settings associated with the programs you might use,
There is still more to Akai LPK25. The flagship feature of LPK25 would be its arpeggiator; with addition of this synthesis instrument you can play complex notes with uncomplicated chords. It also assists music makers in making quick melodies. Akai LPK25 lacks nothing; it possesses a sustain pedal, octave up and down buttons and tempo controls. Simply a lay-out that is easy to use and easy to learn – all that just under $100!
To add more to why Akai LPK25 is irresistible, it is a minimalist plug and play controller that can be attached to Mac or PC. It requires no prior software installation and does not need any wall power to function. This lightweight and portable LPK25 keyboard not only has convenient buttons but also works for all prominent DAWs such as FL Studio, Ableton Live, Cubase etc.
However, the only drawbacks of purchasing Akai LPK25 would be that some piano players might find it too small or too difficult to get used to the keys as they are non-weighted and can occasionally become springy as well. Additionally, a lot of movement could cause the USB connection to either loosen or break.
Therefore if you intend on buying Akai LPK25 , make sure you do not move it around excessively and if you do make sure you unplug it beforehand.
Overall, Akai Professional LPK25 the Best USB MIDI keyboard under 100 and has simple set of keys that does the job more than well. Furthermore, the users of LPK25 has never experienced any reliability issue which is a main concern when it comes to competitors of Akai LPK25.
Conclusively, we definitely recommend buying Akai LPK25, it will assist you in expressing your music ideas all the way.
Best Full Size MIDI Keyboard Under $100
Brand: Nektar | Size: 49 Key | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 31.7 x 7.8 x 2.7 inches
Reasons To Buy
- Compatible with all DAWs
- Integrated software
- Knobs and faders
- Bitwig 8-Track
- Noisy keys and buttons
Nektar SE49 is considered by users as the best 49-Key controller under $100. It includes all the features and controls that you need to initiate producing music on your PC, and considering the price the value it delivers is applaudable. There is no reason not to include this versatile keyboard on this list of best midi keyboards under $100.
SE49 features full-size 49 keys that are velocity sensitive; you can also adjust the keyboard’s velocity curves to alter its response time to your method of playing. Furthermore, another good thing about Nektar SE49 is that it is compatible with all MIDI music software and DAWs on Windows, Apple iOS or OSX. Namely, some of the DAWs supported by Nektar are Cubase, FL Studio, Bitwig Studio, Logic, GarageBand, Digital performer, Reaper, Reason, Sonar and Studio One. Such a compatible MIDI controller just under $100? Definitely an opportunity you do not want to miss.
In this Nectar SE49 you get all the basic options available including wheels for pitch bend and modulation and an input jack with which you can add a foot switch. What’s the best part is that in SE49 you get multi-colored LED indicators that display the exact level of octave with octave buttons that shift the octaves up to +4 or down to -3. The transpose buttons are also available that enables the users to shift the semitones up or down +/- 12 levels. Now this transpose feature is extremely useful as different situations can call for different functionality.
Nevertheless, there is still more to Nektar SE49 than meets the eye. In SE49, you also get interchangeable fader that gives you full control over any parameter of MIDI. You can have even more control over your music software and alter tracks and manage instrument sounds with Nectar DAW Integration; you can activate play, record or playback directly from your keyboard without even needing your PC’s mouse.
As far as the connectivity of Nectar SE49 is concerned, it does not require any driver to operate and supports USB connection. It is another hassle-free plug and play keyboard with easy installation. What’s more is that you can connect SE49 to you iPad as well by employing optional USB camera kit. In addition to all that Nektar SE49 has also included Bitwig 8-Track.
Owing to this you can genuinely start the production and performance of your music like a pro from the very start. It is a remarkable combination to be used together for your musical ideal – Nektar DAW Integration and a powerful sketchpad Bitwig 8-Track. Adding more on Bitwig 8-Track, with this you get access to many instruments, effects , versatile clips and samples – making it ideal for starters.
The only con of purchasing Nektar SE49 Midi Keyboard would be that the keys are somewhat noisy. So even if you plug in your headphones, there will be still a lot of annoying noise coming from controller every time a key is pressed.
Overall, Nectar SE49 is our recommended Best Full Size Midi Keyboard Under $100 – what you need if you are starting out and need the right way to take your very beginning steps into the world of creating music digitally.
Best Semi-Weighted MIDI Keyboard Under $100
Brand: Alesis | Size: 25 Key | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 24.5 x 10 x 5 inches
Reasons to buy
- Budget Controller
- Easy to tweak parameters and map the knobs
- Semi-weighted keys
Reasons to Avoid
- Keys are not springy
- No transport controls on the controller
- Adjusting velocity settings requires software
- Pads are not sensitive and require force to trigger
It is near to impossible to get a weighted or a semi-weighted MIDI controller at a very cheap price, yet Alesis V25 exists. Alesis V25 is an exemplary USB MIDI controller that comes with semi-weighted 25 velocity sensitive keys. They keyboard can be expanded to its extreme melodic ranges and can be used with plugins or any other virtual instruments.
Coming with Blue LED illumination are the 8 pads on Alesis V25 that are also velocity sensitive. The LED assists in using these pads at night; you can use them for drum sequencing, trimming or just playing chords. V25 provides you with a range of controls with its wide variety of pads and buttons. Alesis V25 also contains assignable knobs which you can use to alter the volume levels or to adjust the effects or filters or to tweak parameters. The visual feedback from these illuminated buttons and knobs is also impeccable. V25 is also ideal for producers or musicians that wish to save space because it is compact and light in weight.
As far as the tactile feel of keys are concerned, they have a realistic feel along with being solid and large. This 25 key Alesis synth controller can also be used in a two-handed performance. Furthermore, you can also download a digital application called Alesis V series which will offer free lessons that prove promising for a beginner musician and it is great help in learning instruments.
Adding more to the functionality of this controller and why you need to purchase this semi weighted keyboard is that it is also compatible with all operating systems and comes bundled with Xpand! 2, which is great for synthesizing, and Ableton Live Lite 9. This ultra-compact controller is versatile and durable as it was manufactured with quality material.
The drawbacks of purchasing Alesis V25 Midi Keyboard would be that it does not come with a stand or a bench, but that is a given for all controllers under $100. Moreover, in order to readjust the settings of velocity, you will have to re-install the software. In addition to that, the default settings of velocity are not suitable for many people; however, in order to readjust the velocity settings you will have to do it from the software.
Furthermore, there is an issue with the pads. They require significant amount of force to be pressed. Some users have suggested using to fingers to tap on pads; even so, this can lead to double triggering where to hits are recorded at a time when you only press once. Alesis have tried to address this pad problem by releasing a firmware update that you can easily download from their website.
Other than that, overall Alesis V25 is a remarkable weighted midi keyboard under $100 with a convenient layout and design. It is an ideal choice for people that are on budget and needs a portable, durable and versatile functionality keyboard that offers tactile control.
Akai Professional MPK Mini Play
Best midi keyboard with built-in speaker under $100
Brand: Akai professional | Size: 25 Key | Interface: USB | Dimensions: 2.29 x 6.80 x 1.83
Reasons To Buy
- Portable & Convenient
- Wide Variety Of Sounds
- No drivers needed
Reasons To Avoid
- Software installation takes a lot of time
If you are looking for a professionally designed MIDI Keyboard than MPK Mini Play would be perfect. All the features offered by this Akai professional keyboard are user friendly making it easy to use for creative minds of musicians and producers. To add cherry to the top, Akai MPK Mini Play is also travel-friendly.
What MPK Mini Play does is that it closes the distance between digital devices and standalone instruments. The functions you can maneuver through are similar to that of a traditional piano or synth. Not to forget that MPK Mini Midi keyboard also has built-speakers. Moreover, another great feature of this controller is that it comes with integrated headphone jack; with Akai’s MPK Mini Play you can discreetly play and produce your music in any environment without disturbing anyone.
Another added benefit of purchasing MPK Mini Midi Keyboard is that it is specifically designed with all essential functions; even all prime superior features are easy to use for beginners and are convenient. This 25 mini keys controller has 8 backlit MPC drum pads, 128 instrumental sounds and a 4 way joystick for even simpler control. Another significant benefit of purchasing this keyboard is that it is a simple plug and play controller which can be connected to computer using USB port.
The performance possibilities are even vast given that you can tweak sounds and multiple parameters can be edited. You further get unrestricted expression of your creativity and music with VIP 3.0 combined with MPK Mini Play. That list of benefits of purchasing MPK Mini Midi keyboards goes on an on. MPC software upgrade is now also available for Akai MPK Mini Play which enhances the production capabilities with track sequencing, time stretching, advanced sampling, audio editing and
Another reason to buy Akai Professional MPK Mini Play is that it comes bundled with Hybrid 3, which is a professional production software by AIR Music Tech that allows you to create any type of beat and gives you full harmonic controls and individual filtering.
Other than the lengthy hassle of installing the software, Akai MPK Mini Play is an overall the Best Midi Keyboard with Speaker, and has little to no drawbacks.
The correct set of keys and the choice of keyboard can wither make or break the art of your music production. Having a MIDI keyboard with you can be of great benefit therefore make sure you purchase a controller that is fulfils your needs and preferences and does not break your bank.
Altogether, our verdict would be that Nektar SE49 is an exceptional all-round controller that would be a perfect choice in this list of best midi keyboards under $100. This is because SE49 has a list of perks and bonuses of buying it where as the drawbacks are close to being non-existent.
It is a good quality digital keyboard from a reputable company that is portable and offers wide range of functionality to professional and unprofessional music producers.
Tips for Buying A Midi Keyboard
Now we will be providing you with an in-depth and unbiased details of things you must consider before choosing one controller from this list of best midi keyboard under $100. The following information will assist you in reaching an informed decision during your research.
One of the important factors before making a purchase is definitely your budget. To determine your budget you need first analyze your requirements: What do you need this controller for? What functions do you wish to use? This is because the extensive the range of features offered in a controller, the higher will be the price.
Keys and Size:
The number of keys on a keyboard has a direct relation with the controller’s size. The most prominently available options of key count are 25, 49, 61 and 88. The greater the size, the lesser will be the compactness and portability. What you have to consider here is how much space in your studio is available for the keyboard? Are you a frequent traveler and need the MIDI controller on road? The fact that you use one hand or two hands while performing also decides the size of the keyboard you need.
This is the most important part of deciding on the right purchase. If you are satisfied with basic MIDI keys and no other functions then a simple cheap MIDI keyboard would be an ideal option for you. However, if you need utmost control of your keyboard then the functions that you need to look for are knobs, buttons, faders, arpeggiators, pitch bend and modulation wheels etc. If you wish to go over the top you can also look for automapping technology. if you wish to play like a genuine drummer, you need to make sure that the keyboard you are about to purchase offers velocity sensitive performance pads.
Another important thing to notice is the velocity sensitivity of the features and the keys the keyboard offers as it might become hurdle in your way of accurately expressing your music. You need a keyboard with consistent keys that offers quality playability and strong keyboard actions. There are total of three keyboard actions: Weighted Hammer Action found mostly in 88 key keyboards that offer authentic mechanical traditional piano feel, Semi-weighted Action with lesser key resistance, Synth action which is ideal for playing fast parts.
Moreover you also need to analyze the keyboard’s aftertouch. This is great for adding more expression to your music.
There are a lot of similarities between MIDI controllers. Nevertheless, the distinction between the features, design, and size between the controllers really impact the music creation. We realize that reaching a final decision which is why we have offered these number of factors that you must consider before finalizing your purchase. I hope we have made your job of picking one MIDI keyboard from this list of best midi keyboards under $100 a little easier.