We have trawled through many discussion threads over our boards to determine ten of the best currently available MIDI/USB keyboard controllers, so, for your convenience, here we go!



Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 MK2

For many, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 88 MK2 the definition of an "endgame" keyboard controller that checks most, if not all, of the boxes: premium 88-key Fatar keybed that feels like a real piano, two high-resolution color screens for easy browsing, expressive four-directional push encoders, dedicated function buttons and an impressive bundled software suite developed by those who are certainly among the best in the industry. And with the ever-growing list of compatible instruments under the "NKS" standard, this is definitely a wise choice if you're looking for a keyboard that provides total integration with many of the best virtual instruments out there.



Arturia Keylab 88 MKII

Arturia is known for their expertise on software synths, and it comes as no surprise that their hardware is equally appreciated. The Keylab 88 MKII is their top-tier USB keyboard controller, featuring 88 velocity and pressure sensitive keys, eight rotary encoders, eight faders, sixteen backlit trigger pads, performance controls and tight integration with their Analog Lab software, which comes with over five thousand sounds from their acclaimed V-Collection bundle.







Novation FLkey 37

FL Studio is certainly a popular DAW amongst electronic music producers, and Novation acknowledged that to deliver a controller that is especially catered for them. With a layout that is optimized for FL's Step Sequencer, Channel Rack and Mixer, the FLkey 37 integrates seamless to the software to provide a fast-paced workflow that is not to be found anywhere else.



Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32

The smaller brother in the Komplete Kontrol line is no slouch, and despite its small size that easily fits inside a small backpack, it packs a lot of interesting features, including support for NKS-compatible instruments, eight assignable encoders and a keybed that is far more impressive than its footprint might indicate. If you're a fan of Native Instruments and would like a compact controller to take wherever you go, look no further.



Roland A-88

It’s all about actual keyboard playing with the elegant Roland A-88 controller. Presenting a fully-weighted keyboard and an uncluttered design without extra knobs or buttons, the A-88 has a strong focus on performance and on providing the user with an instrument that is straightforward to use and that feels as realistic as possible. In addition to the stellar keybed, the A-88 comes with two assignable knobs, two switches, and Roland’s trademark D-BEAM pitch/modulation joystick. If you're after that “Ivory Feel-G”, this is it.



Arturia Keystep 37

Arturia’s Keystep 37 isn’t your regular MIDI controller. Besides a 37-note keyboard with velocity plus aftertouch, this rather portable unit comes with a highly programmable arpeggiator, polyphonic sequencers and serious CV capabilities for seamless integration with modular synthesizers and one of the best options to control eurorack rigs. All in all it's an excellent keyboard controller plus sequencer combo with some unique features that makes it a very interesting choice for electronic musicians and producers.



Akai Professional MPK88

AKAI’s MPK range of keyboards are all about merging features of its iconic MPC units with the functionality of current controllers. The MPK88 is the top model in the series, presenting fully-weighted keys, a high quality keybed and it can control up to 72 parameters with its set of switches, sliders and encoders. At the centre are sixteen MPC-style pads with four different banks, enabling the triggering up to sixty four sounds with the option of running a built-in arpeggiator and MPC’s classic Note Swing, Note Repeat and Full Level functions. In case you don’t need this many keys, AKAI also offers the MPK25, 49 and 61 models, which are also great choices with reduced footprint and cost.



Arturia Minilab MKII

The Minilab MKII is made for those who are after a portable keyboard that doesn't compromise on software control - having sixteen encoders (two of them clickable) is something quite unique for this category. Besides the 25 velocity-sensitive mini keys, it also features eight trigger pads, touch strips for pitch bend and modulation and a nice software suite including Arturia's own Analog Lab Lite, UVI's Grand Piano and Ableton Live Lite.



There's the list, with plenty of options to cater for most tastes, needs and pocketbooks. For more on MIDI controllers, synthesizers and virtual instruments please visit our Electronic Music Instruments & Electronic Music Production board.