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Best MIDI Controllers for Reaper 2024

It’s difficult to top Reaper when it comes to digital audio workstations, or DAWs as they’re known among producers and musicians. Reaper is a low-cost DAW that costs a fraction of the price of competing DAWs like Ableton Live. However, just like any other DAW, you’ll need to discover the best MIDI controller for Reaper in order to get the most out of the workstation. It doesn’t matter what DAW you use, as most producers will tell you; it’s how you utilize it that matters. The musical possibilities are infinite when you have a MIDI controller that is fully compatible with your DAW.


AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI...
  • Music Production and Beat Maker Essential - USB powered MIDI controller...
  • Total Control of your Production - Innovative 4-way thumbstick for dynamic...
  • The MPC Experience - 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style MIDI beat pads...

With 25 small keys, eight large pads, eight rotary controls, and the thumb stick-style pitchbend/modulation, the most recent mk3 version first resembles its predecessor quite a bit. There are, however, a few notable variances.

Although I’m not a huge fan of small keys in general, the new keybed (Akai’s Dynamic Gen 2 design) is sturdy, responsive, and mechanically quiet. Secondly, there are both absolute and relative settings available on the continuous rotary controlling knobs. Say good-bye to values jumping when you switch plugins if your DAW supports relative controller assignments.

The velocity and pressure sensitive pads in the MPK mini mk2 were nice, but those in the mk3 midi gear have the same extremely tactile design as the MPC series hardware. The basic functionality is the same, however you don’t have the RGB option because the MPK mini midi instruments are always red. Hence, when playing beats, the velocity response is outstanding, but when playing prolonged sounds, the pressure response is also superb. They also offer aftertouch, which is helpful for getting more organic performances out of synthesizer patches with the necessary equipment (either channel or polyphonic aftertouch can be chosen).

A very good improvement with genuinely professional capabilities solidifies its place among the best few tiny keyboard controllers on the market.

Arturia KeyLab MkII 61 Keyboard Controller

Arturia KeyLab 61 MkII - 61 Key Semi Weighted USB...
  • THE BEST MUSIC-MAKING FLOW: Sensitive enough to accurately capture the...
  • EXPRESSIVE AND INSPIRING: More than a simple MIDI controller, KeyLab MkII...
  • SUPERB BUILD QUALITY: Reassuringly heavy, aluminum chassis, wood panels,...

You’ve probably heard of this Arturia best midi keyboard if you’ve spent any time on music or production forums. The KeyLab MKII 61 is an excellent controller for professional studios, with outstanding features that easily place it among the top premium options available. The MKII’s powerful control system is one of the reasons this model is so popular among artists. While you may modify each encoder knobs and pad to control a different component of your VST or Reaper plugin, it also has a streamlined procedure that allows you to access the features you use the most quickly with usb ports.

The best midi controller sleek and modern appearance was one of the features of the midi keyboard controller. The knobs give it the appearance of a traditional synthesizer, but the white color scheme and many drum pads immediately indicate that this is a modern midi keyboards for the modern performer. We also liked that it comes with Analog Lab, a standalone tool for controlling this MIDI keyboard that can provide additional capability if you don’t want to use Reaper. This keyboard works with Reaper, Ableton Live, FL Studio, and pretty much any other DAW, making it an extremely versatile option for synth action keys.

The cost is one of the disadvantages of this strategy. It’s a pricey choice that can cost as much as a standard electric piano with transport buttons. With that stated, you get your money’s worth with this controller, but most home producers and beginners won’t be able to afford it for their home studio. This is one of the Best MIDI Controller for Reaper in 2023.

Novation 49SL MkIII 49-Key Midi Controller

Novation 49SL MkIII, 49-Key Midi Controller
  • Bring MIDI hardware and CV/Gate synths together
  • Easily integrate hardware with your DAW
  • The perfect controller for Ableton Live music-making software

With a similarly competitive MIDI controller keyboards for music production, a professional-grade application like Reaper can work better with studio monitors. Human user interface (HUI) compatibility with Reaper and many other digital audio workstations is provided by the Novation 49SL MKIII (DAWs).

The 49SL MKIII has 49 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted, and individually sprung keys in a synth-style layout. These keys are mounted on a keybed with RGB LED backlighting, allowing for nighttime performances. The 49SL MKIII has eight continuous rotary knobs, eight sliders, 16 assignable buttons, and 16 RGB-backlit velocity-sensitive drum pad controller, to name a few programmable controls.

Four launch buttons, six Transport controls, two transpose buttons, two Track buttons, and five RGB TFT LCD panels are also included. The pitch bend and modulation wheels on the 49SL MKIII are also RGB-backlit. The built-in sequencer supports up to 64 sessions, each with eight tracks and eight patterns. The step sequencer allows 16 steps per pattern for a total of 128 steps per track.

The sequencer enables for real-time note recording with velocity and automation, as well as automatic note quantization to steps. It also allows you to automate up to six events per step and up to eight automation lanes to automate all assignable controls. This is one of the Best MIDI Controllers for Reaper in 2023.

Nektar Panorama P4

Nektar Panorama P4 - USB MIDI Controller Keyboard...
  • Nektar's most advanced MIDI Controller. 49 semi-weighted full-size velocity...
  • Deep DAW integration for Cubase, Logic, Studio One, Bitwig Studio, Nuendo,...
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software...

Nektar focuses on producing high-quality midi controllers that integrate seamlessly with a variety of popular DAWs, including Reaper. This is exemplified by the Panorama P4. Its software works well with Reaper’s instruments and effects, and it has easy-to-customize automated mapping and installation.

The P4 has 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive keys, but there’s also a P6 with 61 keys if you want an extra octave at your fingers with midi technology. The midi control both have aftertouch, which gives them a piano-like response to key pressing. The P4 features twelve pads, nine faders, a larger motorized slider (believe me, it’s a wonderful touch that gives it a pro studio feel), ten assignable buttons, and 16 encoders, giving you plenty of real-time control possibilities.

Nektar Panorama P4 continues to hold its own and is a must-have midi controller for Reaper.

Arturia KeyLab Essential 61

The KeyLab Essential 61 is a perfect example of Arturia’s reputation for making extremely robust keyboards. It’s intended to serve as your studio’s command center while also providing the build quality required for live performances and tours. The KeyLab Essential 61 is compatible with Reaper and was designed with compatibility in mind.

The KeyLab Essential 61 is a simpler, more budget-friendly version of Arturia’s heavyweight keyboards, with 61 velocity-sensitive keys and a lot of fantastic functionality. It contains eight illuminated pads, nine faders, and nine knobs, all of which may be assigned to different Reaper functions.

The KeyLab Essential 61 also comes with some excellent software, including Analog Lab for antique keyboard sounds and Ableton Live Lite if you want to branch out from Reaper. Arturia’s KeyLab Essential line is one of the greatest solutions for a budget-friendly midi controller because to its combination of hardware and software.

Nektar Impact LX49+ Keyboard Controller

Nektar Impact LX49+ USB MIDI Controller Keyboard...
  • High quality MIDI controller keyboard designed for performers and producers...
  • Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs with Mixer and Instrument...
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software...

The Nektar Impact LX49+ could be exactly what you’re searching for if you’re looking for control. This powerful MIDI controller features a plethora of knobs that you may use to control various components of your DAW. This keyboard has 48 keys, which isn’t as many as an electric piano, but it’s plenty for chords, melodies, and even solos. This controller lets you create five distinct user presets, making it very simple to use, which is especially beneficial if you’re new to using a MIDI keyboard with Reaper.

The broad control options are the Nektar Impact LX49strongest +’s feature, in our opinion. To begin, there are eight illuminated pads that you may set to various drum sounds or triggers. Some artists have even used this model for live performances because you have so much control over it! Furthermore, it features 26 separate control knobs that you may alter and connect to certain aspects of your DAW for quicker sound and effect tweaks.

One disadvantage of this keyboard is that the keys aren’t particularly comfortable to use. They have some weight to them, but they mostly feel plastic-like, which isn’t a major deal for some manufacturers but is a big deal for piano players who are used to the sensation of real piano keys. This is the best midi keyboard controller for reaper.

Nektar Panorama T4

Nektar Panorama T4 - USB MIDI Controller Keyboard...
  • Premium quality MIDI controller keyboard with power DAW integration and...
  • Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs + MCU Support + Nektarine...
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software...

The Panorama T4 and T6 are the first controllers that support Nektar-level instrument plugin control in any VST/AU compliant DAW. Load patches from the keyboard and begin manipulating parameters right away, with every change visible on the LED display. Use one of the numerous supplied maps to control any instrument plugin, or edit and create your own. Learn how to use new performance features like chord, hold, and note repeat. Adjust the repeat parameters and plugin parameters, then record everything in your DAW. With either Nektar DAW integration or MCU compatibility, Panorama T4 connects to most DAWs and provides track navigation, mixer, and transport control. Experience Panorama T4’s unrivaled integration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Reaper?

The DAW Reaper was developed by Cockos, a software business. It was produced in 2004, and soon after, it gained fame. This DAW is a full-featured piece of Computer software for digital audio production. Full multi-tracking, MIDI recording, audio, mixing, editing, and mastering are all features it offers.

What Makes A MIDI Keyboard Good For Reaper?

Several DAWs are better suited for use with specific controllers. Having said that, businesses have done considerably better over the past few years in making their products more User friendly. As Nektar’s keyboards were created with Reaper in mind, they are particularly Reaper friendly.

Should I Use Reaper Instead Of A Different DAW With My Controller?

You have full control over this. The workflow that Reaper enables is one that a lot of people are switching to because they like it so much. In my view, it all depends on how comfortable you are using each DAW and how simple it is to use.

It’s crucial to have pad functionality when utilizing a DAW. The better the pads are at integrating with your DAW. This indicates that you can use your DAW to program the pads to perform various tasks.

The faders will be crucial as well. You will be able to configure different parameters with your DAW assuming your controller works properly with whatever you’re using. Everything should be able to be mapped the way you want it to be; however, you may need to do additional research on some DAWs and controllers.