Here is a great demo video for making an easy dubstep video with the Akai MPK-Mini.
The Samson Carbon 49 is a cool little MIDI Controller. This keyboard is USB powered and works directly with your iPad. There is a slot built in to the keyboard where you can hold your iPad and a USB cable is supplied.
This controller has 49 keys (which should be obvious by the name) and they are velocity sensitive and semi-weighted. I like the size of the 49-key keyboard, it’s big enough to play with two hands and small enough to be portable and not look too odd at the coffee shop.
Garageband works really well with the Samson Carbon 49 but the keyboard is bundled with the Native Instruments Komplete Elements software which has over 1000 sounds, effects and tools and is designed to work well with this controller.
Here is what some owners have to say:
I bought this keyboard not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. First I was very impressed by the weight and sturdiness of this keyboard. The semi weighted keys feel great and I would compare it with some $300 controllers. Having the iPad docked in the keyboard and powered by it makes for great convenience. Worked right out of the box with the camera connector. This one is a winner. Great work Samson. I highly recommend this one.
Review paraphrased for length see the full review here.
I had this out of the box and working with garage band on my iPad in less than 60 seconds. The little groove on the keyboard where you can prop the iPad is extremely convenient. I was worried that it would drain my iPad battery quickly (because it draws power from the iPad via USB), but I haven’t noticed this being a problem. You will need the $29 “Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit” to connect the USB connector to the iPad.
Review paraphrased for length see the full review here.
Overall this is a good little MIDI controller and if you are running your music software on your iPad it is one of the most convenient controllers available.
The Arturia Analog Experience with Laboratory 49 is basically a total MIDI Keyboard Controller which means you can set it up with the Analog Lab software and control everything from the keyboard. They call it a hybrid synthesizer.
This version is a 49-key MIDI controller and uses the Laboratory software which comes with over 3,500 presets. Arturia is a leader in the software synths business, they have sounds from the Minimoog V, Moog Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS and Jupiter-8V instruments.
This system is surprisingly inexpensive for the quality and the number of sounds.
Here are the main features:
- Includes Analog Laboratory with 4300 synths sounds and 200 scenes.
- All presets are carefully selected from the Arturia Classic Synths (Mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP 2600 V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, Jupiter-8V, Oberheim SEM V and Wurlitzer V). These TAE® powered sounds offer unparalleled audio quality.
- Fast filter the presets to your requirements: by Instrument, by Type, and by Characteristics.
- In-depth Preset Editing available for the owners of the Arturia Classic Synthesizers (Mini V, CS-80 V, etc.). Edit your sounds on the original instruments within Analog Laboratory.
- 200 Scenes organized by musical genres offering complete live sets, including : loops assignation to pads, splitting and layering of two synths and advanced arpeggiation melodies.
- Straight forward Editing, with a complete array of parameters for tweaking sounds : Filter and LFO sections, 4 Key Parameters differing for each preset, Chorus & Delay mix, 2 ADSR envelopes, 4 pads.
The Analog Lab Software is pretty cool. It has different modes of operation that appeals to a wide range of users.
The Graphic Studio Mode shows the synths and keyboards. The Sound Mode shows all the available sounds that you can choose from. The Multi Mode allows you to create customs splits in your keyboard. With The Performance Mode you can create custom chords for a live performance.
The Laboratory 49 can also be used as a midi keyboard controller for all of the popular sequencer programs: Steinberg Cubase, Digidesign Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Apple Logic Audio, MOTU Digital Performer and Cakewalk Sonar.
If you love amazing analog sounds and want to have total control of your software from your keyboard this is a great buy. This Arturia MIDI keyboard is very high quality and used by professionals like Jordan Rudess, Danny Saber and Alan Hewitt.
The Novation Launchkey 49 is a midi keyboard controller for all major music software like Ableton Live, FL Studio, Pro Tools, Reason, Logic and Cubase giving you control of your mixer, transport and more.
The Novation Launchkey 49 is the latest midi keyboard controller from Novation. This midi controller features up to 50 physical controls that include 16 velocity-sensitive multi-color launch pads. The launch pads trigger and stop clips, and launch scenes in Ableton Live. This is the keyboard version of the Launchpad.
One of the cool things about the Launchkey is that you can run it not only with your computer but now with your iPad. They have an app called the Launchkey synth app which is very cool and Novation Launchkey - Novation">FREE for a limited time and is used for triggering loops. The Launchkey will also enable control of your DAW’s mixer, instruments and more. You also get V-Station and Bass Station soft synths and V-Station and Bass Station soft synths.
The Launchkey has 16 multi-color backlit velocity-sensitive launch pads can be used to play drums and trigger loops without being near a computer. The launch pads are great for working out beats, drum patterns, or triggering clips and scenes in Ableton Live. The velocity-sensitive keyboard mechanism has pitch and mod wheels with octave, track up/down buttons.
Here are some features:
- You can instantly use all major DAWs and music software
- An entire suite of software for iPad, Mac and PC included
- 16 velocity-sensitive multi-color launch pads trigger loops and play drums
- Professional keyboard with 50 plus hardware controls
- Novation Launchpad app for iPad included
I like the size of the Launchkey 49 keyboard. Sometimes a smaller size is not quite enough for how I like to work and the bigger size is too much. Novation also makes a 25 key and a 61 key version of the Launchkey.
If you are looking for a great MIDI keyboard controller with trigger pads and one that is versatile enough to do anything with whatever system you are using then the Novation Launchkey 49 is a good choice.
I saw this little mini keyboard the other day and had to check it out. This is the Akai Pro LPK25 Laptop Performance Keyboard and it is so cute!
Not only is this MIDI keyboard controller small, it is packed with really cool features too.
The Akai Pro LPK25 Laptop Performance Keyboard is a smaller sized relative to the MPK series of keyboard performance controllers. This keyboard has 25 miniature keyboard keys that are velocity-sensitive, plays like a synth and is a wonderful solution for working remotely with your laptop. The LPK25 is less than 13 inches across and weighs in at under a pound, you can put it in your laptop case, backpack or tote bag for extreme portability.
Some of the Features are:
- USB-MIDI controller works with virtually all audio software
- 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keyboard keys
- Arpeggiator, sustain button, octave up and down, and tap tempo controls
- Plug-and-play USB connection for Mac and PC requires no driver installation
- Small enough to fit in a backpack or laptop bag
- Four programmable memory banks
- Comes with editor software for Mac and PC
- USB bus powered–no additional power cable needed
Despite its looks the LPK25 is not a toy, it’s a very usable and convenient MIDI controller as you can tell by the features listed.
Here are what some owners say:
The LPK25 has a good build quality. I travel often and it’s perfect for that. Still, there are two major annoyances so I can’t give it five stars.
It feels like an instrument more than a toy and it is possible to play expressively, though for me it requires much concentration to hit the keys hard enough to make a sound yet soft enough to avoid running out of velocity response. I could not find any evidence that it is possible to program the velocity curve.
There is room for improvement but it is still the best in its class.
Review paraphrased for length.
G.J. Oshea says:
I use FL Studio 10 on a laptop that i like to bring around with me to friend’s houses, the laundromat, etc. The LPK25 is the perfect edition to my traveling studio! It is a great price for the quality…it does not feel like a cheap toy (like some other MIDIs in the same price range) the key sizes are perfect, and it still fits in my backpack with my laptop. It’s perfect for easily, and effortlessly trying different riffs, and progressions.
Any downsides? Okay, fine…the keys have a pretty decent reaction to velocity, but you do have to be a little aggressive to get it the loudest, or to react as highest velocity.
Review paraphrased for length.
I use it with my 13″ Macbook Pro and Apple Logic Pro and I love the ease of use and portability. One of the biggest complaints is that the velocity response is not great. This is not really an issue for me because it does not replace my studio keyboard and if I am doing a keyboard part I will use the studio keyboard.
If you like to get out of the studio and work at a coffee shop or somewhere a little more interesting, this is the perfect little mobile MIDI controller. Keep in mind that the Akai Pro LPK25 is a controller and has no sounds inside its cute little brain.
The Yamaha YPG-535 is a very good starter piano. The reason that this is one of the best midi keyboards that is good for piano players is that it has 88 keys and a Graded Soft Touch keyboard.
The Graded Soft Touch keyboard is a step down from the full weighted keyboard and feels a little different, less like a piano but better than a touch sensitive keyboard. When you get to the ends of the keyboard the keys are a little stiffer but not a big deal to me.
I like the sound of the piano, it is equipped with the Yamaha Live! Grand stereo sample. There are also multiple instrument sounds like clarinet, trumpet, flutes, saxes, electric pianos, organs and orchestral strings.
With the Yamaha YPG-535 you also get the Yamaha education suite which helps new players to learn with 30 songs internally and 70 more on the CD-ROM that is included when you buy this midi keyboard.
I use the USB connectivity features to connect to my computer. I can then use the Yamaha YPG-535 as a midi keyboard controller. There is also an internal 6-track sequencer so you can compose and record right from the keyboard.
Here are some features of the Yamaha YPG535:
This is a great midi keyboard for the beginning to advanced player. If you are looking for a real piano feel this would not be the one to get. You should look at something like the Yamaha DGX-530. If you are looking for some great features and a good quality keyboard for a reasonable price then this is a great midi keyboard to consider.
A midi keyboard primarily refers to musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) keyboard which is just like a piano only but offers more features than a piano. A midi keyboard is used in recording studios. Some of the more popular midi keyboards are made by m-audio, akai, yamaha, casio, and korg. A piano has 88 keys whereas the midi keyboards have bigger and heavier keys making them more appropriate for studio and high end technical recordings.
Though there are a variety of midi keyboards available in the market but it is important to have some basic understanding about the keyboard and the features offered by the same. Add to this most electronic keyboard offering midi capabilities which means more number of choices and the more the number of choices the more the confusion. Midi keyboards are known to offer perfect quality sound in terms of harmonies, scales and effects. These keyboards are known to bridge the gap between computer generated audios and perfectly refined tunes.
It was in the late 1990s that the concept of midi keyboards captured the market by a storm with many amateurs trying their hands on the system and trying on offering varied and differential tunes to cater to the music market.
Considering the choices available in the market one is completely spoilt as there are some basic to extra features which would not only make a huge difference to the sound quality but also render a satisfaction feel to the composer. However, ones budget is one of the key factors which should be taken into account while buying a midi keyboard. If one has a restricted budget then it is important to opt for a keyboard which offers the best feel and then later can be upgraded to offer more enhanced sound quality.
Handling skills in the form of number of keyboards that one is comfortable using is another point which must be kept in mind while choosing the keyboard, as one can choose from a 25 to 88 length key board system.
If you a more classical musician kind of person then you should opt for an 88 keyboard system, else you can also opt for a 76 keys board which is more popular. Though lesser keys board are always recommended for amateurs as they need to get a feel of how the keys need to be used and how can they improvise on offering better quality sounds. Thus knowing about the sound and the functionality of the keys and the board at large would offer better sounds and would also help the individual in growing with every innovation.
I have just recently started to get into Ableton Live and I found this great MIDI controller for it called the Novation Launchpad.
The Novation Launchpad is pretty cool. It has everything that you would want in a controller and is perfect for doing live mixing and makes studio work easy too.
You can use this controller to play drum racks and trigger other samples in real time. The mixer is pretty cool because you can use the pads as a fader control and easily jump back and forth from the session to the arrangement window.
You can daisy chain these controllers with a USB hub since it is powered by the USB port. This makes for tons of control and you don’t have to keep flipping between windows.
The Novation Launchpad has 64 pads in a grid and each pad can control different samples. You can load samples. play them and record new ones all live.
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Check out this video of the Novation Launchpad in Action!
Another cool thing about this Ableton controller is that it is not just limited to Ableton Live, you can use this as a MIDI controller with any DAW.
The Novation Launchpad is one of the coolest Midi Controllers I have seen in a long time. If you do anything with Ableton Live you need to get this controller.
The M-Audio Axiom 25 MIDI controller is a great combination of production power and performance. You can get the most from any music software with this MIDI keyboard.
The Axiom 25 features semi-weighted keys which is important if you like the piano feel. Large dynamic trigger pads make programming beats easy and also allow for one-shot sample triggering and the encoder knobs and buttons are real-time controllers for the music software.
With M-Audio‘s DirectLink mode you have control of common DAW functions such as transport, track pan and the mixing features, as well as many virtual instrument parameters. Some of the compatible DAWs are Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Live, and Reason.
I like that you can use the fader and encoder knobs to fine-tune the mix. This is a great feature that allows the user to get away from the mouse occasionally. You can also use the transport buttons to navigate through the session.
The Axiom 25 controller’s Instrument mode is really cool. This allows for a single button to instantly map the fader, buttons, and encoders to any virtual instrument within your DAW. You can directly access parameters such as filter cutoff, LFO rate, and envelope settings.
The M-Audio Axiom 25 is very compact and lightweight and is powered directly from your computer’s USB bus. This is one of the most important features for me.
Here are the M-Audio Axiom 25 Features:
- 25-key velocity-sensitive semi-weighted-action keyboard with assignable aftertouch
- DirectLink mode automatically maps controls to common DAW and virtual instrument parameters
- Dedicated Instrument mode button lets you instantly switch between controlling mixer and virtual instrument parameters
- 8 assignable trigger pads
- 8 assignable rotary encoder knobs
- 1 assignable fader
- 6 dedicated transport controls
- class-compliant with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X
- powered via USB or optional power supply
- built-in USB MIDI interface including standard MIDI In and Out jacks
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M-Audio is one of my favorite MIDI Keyboard manufacturers out there. I like that the products are high quality and easy to use. I also have M-Audio speakers and a larger keyboard and I have not been disappointed yet. If you need a good compact MIDI keyboard controller the Axiom 25 is a great choice.