Articles, Blog

Top 6 $100 MIDI Keyboards in 2019

October 11, 2019

What’s up guys! A couple months ago I
posted a video reviewing the top keyboards of 2018. The prices of those
keyboards range from $100 to $300. There were some premium but very important
keyboards in the mix. The keyboards I’m reviewing today are all around $100. I’m
going to be covering the pros and cons of each one of them. Actually, oh there
they are, right there. Make sure you watch until the end of the video and you may
discover a feature you never knew you needed. Leave a comment below to let me
know which of these keyboards is your favorite. I’m going to put links to buy
any one of these keyboards in the description of the video. First let’s
compare the two keyboards with full size keys. Yes! Full-size keys for $100. If you want full-size keys that feel really good in
a clean form factor and you’re willing to sacrifice some functions for a lower
price, buy the V25 by Alesis. This keyboard is currently $84 on Amazon. The
cheapest keyboard in this comparison. It comes with a nice clean editing software
to customize your device. So how did the keys feel? Well with the factory setting,
I really needed to bang on the keys to play louder, but after I adjusted the
velocity curve in the software I was very happy. The key bed is my favorite of all of the
25-key keyboards in this comparison. The pads feel good too but it’s a little bit
too easy to trigger them twice accidentally. The four assignable buttons
are nice. You can assign them to transport controls in your DAW so that
you can play, stop, and record, or do whatever you want. You’ve also got four
customizable knobs as well. The Alesis V25 has fewer knobs and buttons than the
others in this comparison so you’ll have to pick and choose what you’re going to
control. How about the included software? Well it comes with Ableton Live Lite and
Xpand 2 by Air which is a nice virtual instrument with a ton of sounds!
Excellent to get you started. Now the Alesis does not map Ableton
controls automatically. You have to do that yourself when you set up. By the way
Alesis also makes a mini version of this keyboard – same features, smaller size if
you don’t care for the full-size keys. But this version is still very portable.
I can’t say that about our next keyboard. If you want lots of DAW control but you
don’t use Ableton Live buy the Nektar Impact LX 25+. First of all this is
not a traveling keyboard. It’s big but it may be quite nice for live
performance. It’s got full-size keys and they feel really good but I don’t like
the loud springy sound that the keys make. It makes the keys feel cheap. This
keyboard has so much DAW control and I quickly got accustomed to the intuitive
workflow. I love the button that switches the knob
controls from DAW control to virtual instrument control. However the knob size
and spacing are not optimal in my opinion. They’re a bit too tall and too
close together. The dock control features worked very well when I tested it with
GarageBand, FL studio, and Logic. The Nektar Impact includes Bitwig
eight-track ,which is a light version of a nice DAW with built-in instrument
sounds. But the Impact is not Ableton friendly. Although there are
configuration instructions for Ableton, I couldn’t get the knobs to work and
without clip triggering it doesn’t make for a good Ableton controller. If you’re
an Ableton user my next keyboard is for you. Before I get to the next keyboards
don’t forget to subscribe and also hit that little bell icon so you stay up to
date on my latest video. Also hit the like button if you’re finding this
information useful. Also if you’re looking for the basic gear you need to
start with music production, check out my video on music studio essentials –
everything you need to start making music on a low budget. Now let’s get to
the Novation keyboard. If you’re a live looping
Ableton user and want easy control for recording and triggering clips and
scene, buy the Novation Launchkey Mini. The keys are small – similar to the Akai
MPK Mini. They feel softer, squishier to the press. But they’re surprisingly
expressive. You get 16 pads! More than any other keyboard I’ve reviewed. I’m really
impressed with the sensitivity and feel of the pads as well. They feel decent for
finger drumming even though they’re pretty small. The Launchkey has some
extra tricks up its sleeve for the pads. You can use them to trigger clips and
scenes. When I tried this in Ableton it was instantly super fun. You can launch
clips and scenes and trigger clip recording. It’s so simple and great for
live looping. You also get eight knobs which control
Ableton instruments and effects. The Novation Launchkey Mini does an
excellent job mapping controls automatically. Why is this important? Well
you’re gonna spend more time making music and less time setting up and
mapping your keyboard. The downside with a Launchkey is the
lack of some standard MIDI keyboard features. There’s no sustain pedal port
or dedicated pitch and modulation wheels. That’s really surprising for a MIDI
keyboard these days. It comes with Ableton Live Lite, your
choice of a piano by XLN Audio and Novation V Station and Bass Station
plugins, which look outdated but actually sound really good! OK, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it
again – If you’re ready to dive into the deep end of virtual instruments and you
need a keyboard to help you find and control sounds it doesn’t get better
than the M32 by Native Instruments. This is the
keyboard many of you were waiting for! Unlike the other keyboards in this video
the M32 has 32 keys. It’s the first portable keyboard by Native Instruments
with mini keys, yet it packs all the functionality of the larger A-Series
keyboards. The M32 delivers a serious collection of sounds and a good
launching point for collecting a ton of amazing instruments. It comes with a wide
range of excellent Native Instruments sounds and the Maschine beat making
software it also includes Ableton Live Lite.
The downside is that the M32 does not have drum pads like all the other
keyboards. If you need a combo keyboard pad device you need to look elsewhere. Also the M32 is the most expensive in this round up at $130.
For a full review of the M32, watch my video here. This keyboard comes with a small screen
that gives you a window into what you’re doing on your compute. The M32 is fully
integrated into Komplete Kontrol, the Native Instruments software and it makes
it very easy to find and control sounds. All right we’ve got two more to go but
first, if you think you need to upgrade to a more powerful keyboard with more
keys I’ve reviewed Arturia’s Keylab MKii – it’s got a ton of features and
superior DAW control. Now in my last video I talked about the Arturia Minilab Mkii and the Akai MPK Mini. I still stand behind my recommendations for
these. If you’re looking for a keyboard that will help you sculpt sounds and
give you excellent Ableton Live control buy the Arturia Minilab Mkii. This
keyboard has solid construction and the keys are slightly larger than other mini
keyboards. The Minilab includes the highly coveted Analog Lab software that
gives you amazing control of vintage synths. It also includes Ableton Live
Lite. I didn’t love the pads on this keyboard but the Ableton integration was
excellent. If you want to see the Arturia Minilab in action, check out my full
review and a cover of the Blade Runner theme here. Lastly if you’re looking for a mini
keyboard with excellent drum pads and a variety of performance features for any
DAW buy the Akai MPK Mini. The Akai’s drum pads have the best sensitivity of all
the keyboards in this review. It has buttons to activate the arpeggiator and
note repeat. These are great for playing live The keys are okay. It’s small and light
but it feels kind of cheap. The included VIP software looked promising but didn’t
work as advertised for m. If you can get it to work, it looks like it would be
useful, I must mention M-Audio keyboards as well. Even though I didn’t have one
for this review, I have owned one in the past the M-Audio Oxygen 25 has full size
keys and many of the features of other keyboards in this review. Many owners
comment that the keys have very good velocity response. If you have any
questions leave them in the comments below. Links to buy any one of these
keyboards are in the description. Keep making the music you love. See you guys


  • Reply Sanjay C March 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Did you decide to buy one? Let me know which one! 🙂

  • Reply Andrew Maldonado July 8, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    What do you think about the irig keys and irig pads?

  • Reply bolor erdene July 9, 2019 at 5:48 am

    What's the background music ?

  • Reply theeverlastingspiral July 11, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Being very kind to the Akai by saying the keys are okay.. they're absolutely horrible – feel cheap, too spongy

  • Reply Cindy Gzaiel July 12, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Loved your video ! Thanks !

  • Reply N- ji July 12, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Work for garageband?and how it works to garageband

  • Reply RomeroFanboy July 13, 2019 at 8:15 pm


  • Reply Leonardo Mailat July 14, 2019 at 8:33 am

    How do I connect a midi keyboard? Does it has to go through audio interface port , or usb connection on the laptop?

  • Reply Ay Ay July 14, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I liked my Oxygen 49 MK2 but the keys just felt cheap

  • Reply Tim Buckey July 15, 2019 at 2:50 am

    does anyone have a suggestion on software for an mpk mini?

  • Reply MAZZYY July 15, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I bought the Alesis V49, a year ago, And I Regret nothing

  • Reply Elias Rivero July 18, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    I am a beginner in this musical world, and I want to buy a MIDI keyboard accessible to my economy. I do not know which to buy between the Arturia MiniLab or the Komplete Kontrol M32. Which one would you recommend?

  • Reply MP MI July 19, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Why do you always stress Ableton? Everyone doesn't use that system. You mention Ableton in just about every video.

  • Reply finionio91 July 19, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    He just said it! If you an ableton user, just dont frikin' buy nektar impact lx25+

  • Reply uhohspaghettiyo July 20, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    I appreciate how relaxing your videos are to watch .. oh.. and how detailed they are too. Love 'em.

  • Reply Samrat Kundu July 20, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Need a full size 61 keys midi.. what would you recommend for beginners – Intermediate?

  • Reply good boid July 20, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    For controlling hardware synths, get the Arturia Keystep.

  • Reply djCatScanRL July 21, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Hello from the mid-Atlantic,,,couple ?s:
    Do I need a basic knowledge of piano playing to properly use a midi keyboard?
    &, I have a NI Maschine; will it Only work w/ a NI keyboard, ie Software, or will other brand midi’s seamlessly work w/ my Maschine & its NI daw???
    Thanks much; Happy Summer to you & yours!
    -d.j. CatScan 🎹

  • Reply Templar blood slovkia July 22, 2019 at 1:03 am

    I have a Nektar 61 key Impact LX + and a MKII 25 key and it suks on everything even BITWIG who claims it was built for that series the only Nektar DAW i found that works great with mine is FLS20

  • Reply Андрей Чернецкий July 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for the video, Sanjay, it's great! I still can't decide which keyboard would be suitable for me. I'm planning to create ambient and jazz. Also i'm working in Ableton. Could you please give some advice? I am tending to Arturia and Komplete Kontrol, but the first one is significantly cheaper in my region.

  • Reply Conspiracy Hamster July 23, 2019 at 2:44 am

    I am getting back into making music after years and just wanted to let you know your videos are helping me decide what I need SO MUCH!!!!!! HUGSSSSS

  • Reply Siyabulela Soxujwa July 26, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Hello I am considering buying Akaii but I am worried about the software that has some problems, someone else even said it is worse if one is using windows. I am new in music production, is this software needed to use this controller? Is it a need? Please respond.

  • Reply Mario Mundo Music July 27, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Great video 👍 but which one would you recommend works best with logic x ?

  • Reply Roman Ershov July 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm


  • Reply Alexander Russell July 29, 2019 at 12:41 am

    I have an Akai MPK Mini MK2 and its great! Would recommend.

  • Reply Tony A. July 29, 2019 at 4:52 am

    The AKAI MPK Mini was the worst keyboard I’ve ever encountered… if you have Logic Pro don’t even bother. Their GUI is a disaster and it doesn’t assist in mapping at all… complete trash.

  • Reply Musik VSTs and More July 29, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Hi Sanjay! Thank you for this excellent overview video. It has helped a lot. I´m leaning to buying the Arturia keyboard, but I have to make some other decisions concerning NI software, so the "komplete" keyboard is still in the competition. Enjoy your day! Rolf

  • Reply DGM//Dev Gaming July 29, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    i got the alesis v49 for 97$

  • Reply Gorka Bastida July 30, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Hey! ¿Can you use the loop functions in Logic Pro X?

  • Reply nenevader25 July 31, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Hey Mr. Sanjay which midi controller would be a better option overall? I can't decide between a novation launchkey mini mk2 or an arturia's minilab mk2. I'm planning to use the software included (so that's ableton live lite). I would like to make some lo-fi beats so I would use live looping. Thanks in advance!

  • Reply Waiz Music July 31, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Can it sounds directly to a speaker? Or it needs a computer to sounds?

  • Reply Max Mustermann August 1, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Testing every keyboard with a different sound is unprofessional.

  • Reply Stef Beerepoot August 1, 2019 at 11:13 am

    This question is not related at all, but which watch do you have?

  • Reply damatt11 August 2, 2019 at 6:34 am

    Do any of them work with studio one 4?

  • Reply phenix returns August 2, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    yeah it's very cool man 🙂
    Technotronic cover
    check it out too: )

  • Reply Rafi Com ツ August 3, 2019 at 7:29 am

    I have an M-audio Axiom air 32 and this keyboard is the best I have.

  • Reply Sadiq Tolbert August 3, 2019 at 9:25 pm


  • Reply Leo Frasionio August 4, 2019 at 1:27 am

    Does the Akai Midi work well with Ableton?

  • Reply Hamudi Salam August 4, 2019 at 9:31 am

    3:47 what name that program HELP PLEASE 🙏

  • Reply Mountain bike Geek August 4, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    I’m currently using studio 1 any suggestions.

  • Reply Kevin K August 4, 2019 at 11:43 pm

    Not sure if you'll see this but I have a config question.

    If I were to use a USB hub (powered USB 3.0 lets say), would it be capable of transmitting multiple devices all into the source port? For instance, if I had the digital interface and a midi controller etc all into the one hub, would a DAW be able to read them separately?

    Wasnt sure how to get that whole message into google O_o

    thanks in advance if you do happen to come across this.

  • Reply Danny Carvalho August 6, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Which of these would you recommend for a Logic user who just downloaded ANA2?

  • Reply -Aleeke - August 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Did you show the outputs? Midi through/cv? Just skipped fast.. another clip like this did not show outputs ..

  • Reply Link El Pro August 7, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    why nectar is not good ffor ableton?

  • Reply c o r p s e August 9, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I just bought Impact LX25+ and im using FL Studio 20. I want to make some retrowave musics. Do you guys can recommend some packs for me?

  • Reply Rocco Deluca August 10, 2019 at 5:42 am

    Are all these able to plug Into a Mac laptop

  • Reply reverb brever August 10, 2019 at 11:42 am

    sir thank you for this video it was very informative and usefull, i decided to buy Novation Launchkey Mini but and i have a question ( maybe stupid ) in the internet sites i see it with green and yellow colours on the pads and to be honest it ruins it for me , i like it like in your video without colour, can i have it like this if i buy it??

  • Reply yash k August 10, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Sir, could you please recommend the best keyboard based on build quality alone? I want to buy one that last long. I was thinking of going with the Arturia Minilab MK2. Would that be a good choice?

  • Reply Ramesh Ramesh August 11, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you so much Sanjay. Are you the same person who does the music theory videos in the name of Mangoldproject? and in C Sound? You sound exactly the same. My best wishes to you.

  • Reply Francisco Mora August 12, 2019 at 3:38 am

    Where can I get a red table like urs?

  • Reply Unai Zubia August 12, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Very helpful

  • Reply Ann Campbell August 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    how do I get audacity to record a keyboard using a Midi /usb cable? I can't seem to see where you record MIDI on audacity.

  • Reply Hasikbenzo August 13, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    If using Ableton Live, which midi controllers, keyboards, or drum machines would you recommend for a beginner home studio setup? I was looking at pairing the Mikro Mk3 with the M32. But, I’m unsure of the integration capabilities with Ableton. So I was looking at getting either just an Akai Mpk Mini or pairing an Mpd218 with an Akai Lpk25. I’m mainly making beats, sampling, and voice recording if you could help that’d be awesome!

  • Reply Ketsueki Senso August 14, 2019 at 1:58 am

    The noviation has the standard midi key features on the larger versions

  • Reply Morris Reekmans August 16, 2019 at 9:00 am

    what is the best one in your opinion?

  • Reply Lazy Mitchell August 18, 2019 at 7:43 am

    I'm not sure what I'd use one for, but I feel like I need one now haha.

  • Reply prod. narkami August 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    So I want to start making beats and i need one of the midi keyboards on here
    I use FL Studio but I'm new to it

    I was thinking about getting Arturia Minilab MKII but I'm not sure
    Can someone maybe help?

  • Reply Nova X avoN August 20, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I Got pretty big hands would that make a difference

  • Reply Aech Modnar August 26, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    the Midiplus X2(or X3) mini is great, in my opinion, and it's only $75, but a little limited (no pads, 4 programmable knobs, pitch bend and mod wheel)

  • Reply ImCohenHD August 27, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    hey if anyone watching this comment, i would love some help
    if i buy the aldiss and i have XPand, can i instal it on fl studio and not ableton live? I'm asking this because i got studio one and plugs ins, and i want to make sure if i can use those plug ins in fl studio… i got the plug ins from presonus in addition of my audiobox recorder
    Thank you!

  • Reply Joel Vj August 27, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    I'm from India broo how can I buy this

  • Reply Leo Romero August 29, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    Ableton user here !!!

  • Reply RandoMow August 30, 2019 at 9:06 am

    I have a keyboard piano, that has "General MIDI" logo on it. It has a "MIDI USB" connector port that my friend told me, and not the circular port for MIDI. Will that work as a MIDI still? Need help. Thank you.

  • Reply shark funny vedios August 31, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Am really trying to set up my own studio in my home and am in Africa Uganda if you would really help me with only even one thing that would be mean a lot for my dream come true so please if anyone could help me thanks if you read this and ready to help me reply me I will give you my info thanks for reading

  • Reply Adam Kemplay August 31, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Great video bro, thank you!

  • Reply kingcosmobeats triceratops September 1, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    U want the lauchkey mini a couple of them the on board chanel switching gives u quick acces to 8 knobs times 16

  • Reply ArmageddonPunk September 4, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    I would advise everybody to test the keyboards in a store.
    Sometimes my fingers would actually get stuck in the akai mpk.
    And the Alesis keys feel really cheap.

  • Reply MINI AUTO INDIA September 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Is computer or laptop required for this keyboards or can we use it without computer???

  • Reply SkarredKage September 7, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Great reviews! Just subd ya

  • Reply Bassimist September 8, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    So, now i really dont know which one.

    By the way, who made the translation to german? It's not false but it's not right. 😛

  • Reply Kresern Bitch September 9, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    I want a midiboard

  • Reply ytgoroyt September 10, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Great explanation about what a controler is. Do u think is better to use a controler and a computer to learn to play or is it better to use a musical keyboard?

  • Reply B4D P4X September 10, 2019 at 7:13 am

    Please, may I have one keyboard please. And in return I'll negotiate a fair commission percentage for your contribution. Thank you

  • Reply TJ MUSIC September 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Arteria is my favourite

  • Reply CryingDestinyGaming September 11, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Can't decide between the Akai MPK and the Arturia Minilab, which do you prefer?

  • Reply Kevin the Best Jeudy September 13, 2019 at 1:54 am

    +1 subscriber. Great video 👍

  • Reply حبر ع ورق September 13, 2019 at 3:12 am

    can you send for me one a keyboard to make my songs because you look too rich and i dont have money to buy any keyboard.
    note: i live in syria
    with best kind
    i have a nice and good voice i work in on it every day if you like to hear i am ready

  • Reply Karl Miller September 13, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    No thanks to any of them… I am not into cheap plastic, clanky, crappy keys… ☮🔥

  • Reply Peter J Leigh September 14, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Awesome Video, I decided on the M32!

    If I may ask? Where did you get the USB type b cable used in this video?

    The angle of the male input would save a bit of desk space 😄

    Thanks once again for the video!


  • Reply Paul Minter September 15, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    i hate 2 octave keyboards. You buy a whole keyboard to play the same notes in usual keyboard.

  • Reply Sarawuth Darnphetdamrong September 16, 2019 at 4:23 am

    Need ear training function, which one should buy ?
    MIDI controller, Keyboard, or digitl piano ?

  • Reply The Best September 16, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Hello Sanjay … I'm going to set up my home studio… Can you suggest me which one midi is suitable with cubase 5… ( Need traveling midi ) … Akai mpk mini or anything else ..?? Please tell me Thankyou you for your amazing videos ❤️❤️

  • Reply TheLoneWandrer September 20, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Will arturia work on fl studio

  • Reply Amábili de Barros September 20, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Hi, I wanna iniciate in the music and don't have much money. I liked the mpk, arturia, novation and the alesis v25… what is the best when it comes to sensitivity and durability?
    Thanks a lot

  • Reply L-G2 September 20, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    Is any of the keyboards can be used at lmms??

  • Reply RAMS KORI September 22, 2019 at 11:45 am

    It’s funny how the best controllers are the cheapest! It’s awesome!!!

  • Reply Dripgod Guccisun September 22, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    This niggas voice is soothing as hell

  • Reply Sam Pardy September 23, 2019 at 4:29 am

    that one

  • Reply Shayan Arshad MUSIC September 23, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Hey! I have some confusions. I want to buy a midi keyboard but I am confused between alesis and launchkey. Could u plz clarify?😄

  • Reply SoulSheIS September 23, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    Would agree with the M-Audio…the MiniKeystation M32 is quite nice for it size…just wish it had pads.

  • Reply Angela Dakpo September 24, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I'm just starting out, and leaning towards the NI Komplete Kontrol M32, but I don't know how important it is to have drum pads. May you advise re: drum pads?

  • Reply Charles Garcia September 24, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Got a used AKAI MPK mini for $60 with all the software still unregistered. A steal!!!

  • Reply solid devils September 25, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    do any of these work with bandlab ?

  • Reply Yasin Hasan September 27, 2019 at 5:11 am

    why didnt you talk about arturia keystep? that is a great one.

  • Reply Poolside 5Shu September 29, 2019 at 12:58 pm


  • Reply Fabrizio Amicarelli September 29, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    great vid, very helpful! what about iRing Keysio 25?

  • Reply Grace Ng September 30, 2019 at 7:34 am

    hi Sanjay! thanks for that great review. Would I need an audio interface to record into my DAW?

  • Reply Greenless October 8, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Amazing video! Can you still sculpt sounds with the akai mpk mini?

  • Reply Shahidul Huq Khokon October 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Dear sir, which is best for logic pro x….?

  • Reply Musical Tactics October 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    Hey Sanjay, I saw you recommended any of the other keys for Logic users except the mk2. What about the mk3? I watched yours and other videos about that controller and was dead set on getting it for its arpeggiator and deviate settings, but now I’m not sure

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