Best 61 Key MIDI Controllers in 2021

Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 Keyboard MIDI Controller

Arturia KeyLab Essential 61 Keyboard MIDI Controller Includes Analog Lab software with 6000 synth...
  • A powerful MIDI keyboard controller built around Arturia's Analog Lab and V Collection instruments
  • Perform with 8 pads, Chord Play mode, and a sustain pedal input for added expression
  • Play effortlessly on a highly responsive 61-note keybed with separate modulation and pitch wheels

The KeyLab MKII Essential 61 from Arturia is a powerful MIDI controller with a slew of useful functions for keyboardists and producers alike. The KeyLab Essential line is designed to make software integration easier, featuring a variety of software shortcuts and MIDI encoders that will have you producing music in no time as a budget pick.

A 9V DC power adapter jack, USB/MIDI out ports, and a sustain pedal control input are all located on the back of the controller. While I would appreciate an additional expression pedal input, this isn’t a deal-breaker for me. The KeyLab Essential series is designed for efficiency, thus leaving this feature out would only effect the most dedicated MIDI organists.

The Essential 61’s control panel is laid up in a way that is delightfully intuitive for electronic music producers. In the centre is a 360o preset picker and an informational LED screen. MIDI transposition, drum pads, and transport settings are neatly organised on the left, with the drum pads also serving as software shortcuts. The controller has 9 infinite encoder knobs and 9 fader controls on the right side.

The KeyLab Essential 61’s interaction with the bundled software audio workstation is perhaps its most user-friendly feature. The controller comes with Ableton Live 9 Lite and Arturia’s Analog Lab 2, and the controller’s control options are immediately adjusted for both programmes. Arturia’s outstanding software instruments, including their acclaimed recreations of legendary vintage analogue synths, are used in the Analog Lab program. With so many capabilities already available at this price point, Arturia rises to the challenge by making integrations so simple that you can start writing or performing right away.

Arturia offers a combined package including Analog Lab, Piano V, and Ableton Live Lite to get your creative juices flowing right away. The KeyLab is presented by Arturia as a near-universal controller for virtually any major DAW on the market. To withstand the rigours of road use, all of this is covered in an aluminium chassis.

Akai Professional MPK261

AKAI Professional MPK261 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 61 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC...
  • Pro Keyboard Performance - 61 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys and a premium piano-style keybed for unprecedented response and natural...
  • Beat Making Essentials - 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads each with 4 banks for 64 pads - the perfect solution for triggering samples, loops,...
  • Assignable Control - 24 assignable Q-Link controllers comprising 8 control knobs, faders and switches engineered for hassle-free DAW / virtual...

Since its release, the Akai MPK261 has been one of the most popular 61-key MIDI controllers on the market. Akai is a well-known brand among music producers, and its MPK261 series has elevated it to the status of one of the greatest MIDI keyboards of the highest quality and standards.

The Akai MPK261 is a one-time investment for a powerful musical experience, crafted to perfection in a well-thought-out design and software. Whether it’s for a live performance or a street performance, Akai’s MPK261 series is the only musical gear you’ll need to turn heads. Because there are four banks, the 16 drum pads can technically be increased to 64. This means you might have a plethora of sounds at your disposal! As a result, the Akai MPK261 is a fantastic 61-key MIDI controller for live use. The MPK261 has you covered if you prefer to do everything yourself.

For graceful automation, it includes incredibly smooth, almost buttery sliders and knobs. Semi-weighted velocity sensitive keys with aftertouch are included, giving you plenty of room to express yourself with each note. You’ll feel at ease with this option even if you’re more used to piano or weighted keys.

You get a terrific software bundle with the MPK261 that allows you to make all kinds of music right out of the box. It includes Ableton Lite, AIR Music Tech Hybrid 3, SONiVOX Twist 2.0, and more.

Overall, the Akai MPK261 is a terrific “bang-for-your-buck” option because it is reasonably priced for the number of functions it offers. I would especially recommend it to live performers who are searching for a budget-friendly all-in-one hand solution.

Novation Launchkey 61 MK3 MIDI Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live

Novation Launchkey 61 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live
  • Deep Ableton Live Integration – Immediate access to all the controls you need and never lose ideas or happy accidents with the Capture Midi...
  • 61 Velocity-sensitive keys and 16 velocity-sensitive pads enable expressive and dynamic performance. Tweak instruments and effects to perfection using...
  • Three chord modes (fixed, scale and user) let you trigger chords with one finger. The powerful arpeggiator will take you to new melodic, harmonic and...

You want streamlined, tightly integrated control buttons over your music creative process, whether you’re launching clips in Ableton Live or writing in any other major DAW, and that’s exactly what you get with the Novation Launchkey 61 mk3, successor to the novation launchkey 61 mk2.

Novation has incorporated all of the previous generations’ user feedback into a third-generation MIDI keyboard controller that is better in every way. The Launchkey 61 MK3 is more straightforward to use than ever, with new features including Scale and Chord Modes, a powerful arpeggiator, and larger velocity-sensitive pads with optimised responsiveness. It’s the quickest way to get your music from your head to your speakers.

If you’re a seasoned MIDI controller user, this could be the perfect device for you. To begin with, it offers a comprehensive set of user-friendly, highly adjustable controls. There are nine faders, eight knobs, and sixteen pads in total. When these features are paired with the 61 synth-style keys, the result is an immensely customised experience that is ideal for anyone wishing to take their creative compositions to the next level.

The Launchkey’s controls were created by Novation to work flawlessly with Ableton Live right out of the box. All of the controls, on the other hand, are totally assignable. If you use a different DAW, the Novation Launchkey 61 will automatically map to it. Launchkey features full interaction with Logic and Reason, as well as native capabilities with Studio One, Cubase, and Pro Tools via HUI.

The Novation Launchkey 61 is compatible with external gear that has a 5-pin MIDI DIN connection. Connect your hardware synths and devices to your rig and control it all from your Launchkey, whether you’re using it alone or with a computer. This capability was not available on previous-generation Launchkey models, so we’re delighted that Novation has added it on the Launchkey 61 MK3.

Launchkey 61 is the keyboard controller that takes you deeper on your musical adventure, whether you’re just starting out or entrenched in the groove. With Ableton Live 10 Lite, Spitfire Audio LABS Expressive Strings, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Klevgrand R0Verb and DAW Cassette, AAS Session Bundle, a two-month Splice Sounds membership, and the Novation Sound Collective, Launchkey 61 gives you everything you need to get started right now. With Novation’s Launchkey 61, you can start producing music right away.

Alesis V61

Alesis V61 - 61 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 8 Backlit Pads, 4 Assignable Knobs and...
  • MIDI Keyboard with 61 full-sized, velocity sensitive square-front keys, perfect for playing Virtual Instruments
  • 8 velocity- and pressure-sensitive backlit pads for beat production and clip launching
  • 4 assignable knobs and 4 assignable buttons interface with your music software. Seamless, visual feedback via illuminated buttons and knobs

With its 61-note synth-action keyboard, the Alesis V61 is suitable for two-handed performance while still remaining portable. Pitch and mod wheels, transport controls, and a large range of pads, buttons, and encoders are all available on the V61. You have everything you need in the studio or onstage to master your virtual instruments and plug-ins. We at Sweetwater know that most keyboard players would love the Alesis V61 USB MIDI keyboard controller’s flexibility and functionality.

The Alesis V61 USB MIDI keyboard controller gives you access to a wide range of controls. To begin with, there are the full-size keys themselves, all 61 of which are velocity-sensitive. You also get 8 velocity-sensitive, illuminated drum pads to pound out beats and activate loops. Four lit, assignable knobs and four illuminated, assignable buttons are located above the pads and can be programmed to control the parameters of your favourite virtual instruments. When you combine it with the pitch and modulation wheels, you’ve got a controller that’s ready to go.

The V61 USB MIDI keyboard controller features full-sized synth-action keys and is ideal for use with virtual instruments, plug-ins, and other applications. In a tiny controller, you get the experience of huge keys with a square front. You can tap out rhythms, activate loops, and play synths with eight illuminated, velocity- and pressure-sensitive LED pads. You can map practically any function of your plug-ins to a tactile controller thanks to a quartet of assignable knobs and buttons.

When you combine it with the pitch and mod wheels, you’ve got a controller that’s ready to take command of your software. A single USB cable transmits MIDI data while also powering your keyboard. Ableton Live Lite 9 is also included, as well as a Software Preset/Parameter utility. For more information on the Alesis V61 USB MIDI keyboard controller, contact your Sweetwater Sales Engineer.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2 Keyboard

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2 Keyboard
  • Smart keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments
  • Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch - 61 semi-weighted keys
  • Ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, plus touch strip for expression control

Native Instruments has a large and diverse software product line, and this 61-key keyboard is designed to highlight the company’s flagship software, Komplete 12 (which is really all NI products in a bundle). This is a four-octave, 61-key MIDI controller whose intended use with Native Instruments products overshadows it slightly. In any case, it’ll suffice as a typical controller for daw control. Native Instruments is not a firm that takes shortcuts, so you can rest assured that you’ll be getting a high-quality, well-designed controller.

There are eight rotary knobs, two high-resolution screens, transport controls, scale and arpeggiator buttons, a four-way multifunctional rotary knob, and two mod wheels with a mod touchstrip on this controller. The high-resolution panels are a real eye-catcher. While most MIDI controllers take a more practical approach in this regard, Native Instruments learning curve goes above and beyond. They are visually attractive and can convey significantly more information to the user in a lot more straightforward manner than traditional displays.

Not only can you call up any NI instrument in your collection with the Komplete Kontrol S61’s easy browsing controls, but you can also choose particular presets, narrowing down your search by descriptive phrases. After you’ve loaded your sound, you can use Native Instruments’ Native Map to dial in and tune your tone on the fly, and a pair of high-resolution colour displays allow you see the instrument’s most critical features at a glance.

The Komplete Kontrol S61 has “DAW integration,” which means it works seamlessly with Ableton Live, Garageband, Nuendo, Cubase, and Logic Pro X. This usually implies that the faders and knobs in your DAW will automap to the controls in an understandable fashion, saving you the time of manually mapping everything.

Overall, this is our top recommendation for a variety of reasons. It’s the Rolls Royce of MIDI controllers, capable of handling everything you need and more. This is the one for you if you don’t have a budget to stick to!

midiplus, 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller (i61)

midiplus, 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller (i61),Black
  • 61 keys full size sensitive key support 61 notes to output simultaneously Wheels: Pitch and Modulation Control units: Data Entry wheel and MIDI/Select...
  • Interface: USB-B interface(to send MIDI message or to provide power) ,Sustain Pedal interface, two MIDI OUT interfaces USB-powered,
  • NOTE: Check User Manual on Technical Specification before use

The Midiplus 61-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller i61 is a full-sized keyboard with 61 dynamic keys, as the name suggests. Its USB-B interface serves two purposes: it can either provide MIDI output or provide power. The keyboard provides extra freedom to the user by including pitch-bend and modulation control modules.

For simple choosing, this keyboard incorporates an LED display and a MIDI/Select mode toggle button. It runs on USB and has basic controls and ports on the back for easy access and operation. This is the cheapest option on the list, but it has some interesting features.

For those on a tight budget, the Midiplus i61 is a good choice. It doesn’t have as many functions as other versions, but it has all you need in a lightweight portable keyboard. It’s simple to set up and use, so you’ll find it quite user-friendly. Although there are no drum pads, there are still modulation sliders and knobs. There are 61 full-size keys, all of which are semi-weighted. This is intended for someone with some prior expertise.

This keyboard lacks the bells and whistles of other models, yet it performs admirably. It’s small and light, making it suitable as a backup keyboard for jamming and live performances. The Midiplus i61 is USB-powered, so it should work with most configurations, though depending on your computer, you may require an adaptor.

If you’re on a tight budget, this keyboard is great. It’s a cost-effective alternative that includes everything you’ll need to get started. It connects straight to your computer and does not require any additional electricity. It has a simple interface, which makes it suitable for novices.

Nektar 61-Key Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard

Nektar, 61-Key Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard
  • 61 Premium midi controller with 61 expressive synth-action keys, on-board pitch bend and modulation wheels for performances
  • Nektar DAW Integration for most popular DAWs
  • 14 MIDI assignable buttons

The Nektar Impact GX61 keyboard was created with DAW integration in mind. This MIDI controller is small and portable. It is 38 inches long, 7.75 inches deep, and only 2.75 inches tall, weighing barely six pounds. It’s a full-sized, velocity-sensitive keyboard with synth action keys with 61 notes. There aren’t many other options, although you do get some useful DAW transport buttons.

A potentiometer knob on the upper left side of the keyboard can be assigned to MIDI parameters and mixer volume. The setup button offers you access to transpose buttons, velocity curves, and other features. The USB cord and the footswitch pedal are connected via two connectors on the back. The USB port is used to connect to a computer, and the on/off switch is located on the rear. If the Nektar DAW integration system does not support your DAW, you can use the keyboard controller as a generic USB MIDI controller.

Two multi-colored octave buttons on this keyboard allow you to adjust the keyboard range up or down -3/+4 octaves. It also has LED colours that indicate the precise octave. It also features specialised transposition buttons that allow you to move the keyboard range up to +/- 12 semitones. These buttons may also be used to deliver Program messages or alter the Global MIDI channel.

Bitwig 8-track is featured with the Nektar Impact GX61, and it comprises roughly 50 instruments and effects. Because Bitwig 8-track is supported by Nektar DAW Integration software, you can start composing music as soon as you set it up. It’s compatible with Cubase, Reason, Nuendo, Garageband, Sonar, Logic, Bitwig, Reaper, Studio One, and FL Studio, among others. It works with the majority of DAWs, making it simple to use and connect to other music tools and applications on your Mac, Windows PC, or iOS smartphone.

With its compact appearance and light weight, Nektar was able to cram all of these functions in without sacrificing portability.
Despite the fact that it features velocity sensitive keys, you may modify the sensitivity using the configuration feature. It has four different velocity curves as well as three different fixed velocity settings.

This is one of the best inexpensive MIDI controller keyboards, and it’s excellent if the keyboard isn’t your primary instrument. The Nektar Impact GX61 is also an excellent alternative for those who are just getting started with MIDI controllers.

M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3

M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 | Compact Semi-Weighted 61-Key USB-Powered MIDI Keyboard Controller with...
  • Ultimate expression | 61 full size velocity sensitive, semi weighted keys provide a natural feel that captures every subtle nuance of your performance
  • Total control | volume fader, transport and directional buttons for easy control of your software, plus ergonomically designed pitch and modulation...
  • Immediate creativity | easy plug and play connection to your MAC or PC: No drivers or power supply required; compatible with ios devices via the Apple...

The M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 has 61 full-size keys that are semi-weighted for comfort. This makes it an excellent alternative for virtual instrument players who prefer a solid-feeling touch. The lightweight and expressive M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 makes a worthwhile complement to any studio setup or performance arsenal, thanks to its full-sized, semi-weighted keys and fascinating instrument software bundle.

This straightforward USB/MIDI controller features a streamlined control set that allows you to easily access the full potential of your pianos, synths, loops, and sound machines. The Keystation 61 MK3 is the ideal plug-and-play solution for sound creation on the go, thanks to Mac/PC Class Compatibility and USB Bus Powering. The back panel features a 5-pin MIDI output, normal 1/4″ sustain pedal input, and an on/off button.

The straightforward control set of the Keystation 61 MK3 allows you to zip through sessions. Pitch, modulation, and octave controls are located to the left of the keys. Its unique volume slider may be assigned to control any MIDI value in the studio, allowing you to add expression or perform a filter sweep while recording a sequence. With specialised transport controls and cursor keys (so you don’t have to use a mouse), the Sweetwater Keystation 61 MK3 is a full system that’s ideal for minimal studio or performance settings.

When connected to your computer, the Mac/PC Class Compliant M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 runs on USB bus power. That means all you’ll need for power and MIDI transmission is a USB cable – just plug it in and go. You won’t have to look for an extra outlet to power up your rig anymore. The M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 isn’t just for using with computers. You may use the Apple Camera Connector to connect this small keyboard to your iPad or iPhone, as well as your favourite music-making apps. For artists on the go, the M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3 is the ideal travel companion.

Yamaha MX61 61-Key Keyboard Production Station

Yamaha MX61 61-Key Keyboard Production Station
  • Over 1000 sounds from the MOTIF series
  • Equipped with VCM effects
  • Easy Split/Layer Performance Mode for Instant Inspiration

More than 1000 amazing MOTIF XS sounds, a class-compliant USB audio/MIDI interface, and deep controller interaction with your favourite computer and iOS music tools, including Yamaha’s new FM Essential iOS synth app, are all included in the Yamaha MX61 synthesizer/controller. You don’t have to lose sound or playability for portability with the MX61. The keys are full-size and sensitive to velocity. Bring this portable synth/controller to the studio or to a gig and use its extensive patch library. The MX gives everything at your fingertips, from great acoustic pianos, EPs, strings, and drums to developing 8-element synth textures.

MX61 features Yamaha’s VCM FX engine, which carefully mimics antique effects at the circuit level, in addition to a vast MOTIF XS soundbank. EQs, phasers, flangers, wah-wahs, and more are all available here, allowing you to quickly access the coveted 1970s sounds. Your MX61 has 128-note polyphony and is 16-part multitimbral. Sweetwater’s electronic musicians understand the importance of this. These characteristics allow you to create complex sequences and play them without concern of note-stealing or sound cutoff. As a result, the MX is an excellent tone generator for live performance and live playback of MIDI tracks from your DAW.

The MX’s top panel features robust, good-feeling knobs and buttons for real-time control of internal sounds, external VST instruments, and DAW parameters. You can rapidly search, edit, and store your sounds onboard thanks to the user-friendly UI. The MX61 includes template editor software, allowing you to personalise the UI to your liking. Most major DAWs include powerful integration templates, and when using Cubase, an AI knob enables you control any parameter with the MX’s huge rotary encoder by simply mousing over it.

Yamaha’s MX series features Steinberg Cubase AI as part of a complete music production software bundle. With the MX and Cubase AI, you can create entire productions with 64 MIDI tracks, 48 audio tracks, built-in VST effects, and even notation. To get you started, the MX61 includes Steinberg Prologue and Yamaha’s YC-3B organ simulation.

Nektar Panorama P6 61-key

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Nektar DAW Controller, white, medium (P6)
  • Advanced midi controller with 61 ultra-expressive synth-action keys and after-touch
  • Customized, deep integration for Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, Innuendo, Reaper, Bit wig Studio and Studio One
  • Compatible with all MIDI music software applications

The Nektar Panorama P6 keyboard includes 61 keys with aftertouch and excellent software integration. Both the keyboard and the 12 pads are pressure and velocity sensitive, so you can be sure to provide a fantastic and expressive performance.

It includes 93 real-time controls, including 16 encoders, nine faders, and ten assignable buttons, all of which can be controlled using Bitwig Studio, Cubase, Logic Pro, Reaper, and other software. Its basic software integration makes music production simple and painless.