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Best MIDI Drum Pads 2023

MIDI drum pad controllers have become extremely popular in recent years, with many producers using them as the focus of their creative arsenal. The technological jump from the earliest MIDI pad controllers to the fully-fledged controllers on the market today is largely responsible for this rise in popularity. Drum pads were originally created to allow producers to create simple beats with only a few drum samples. These devices can now write melodies, arrange recordings, and communicate with your DAW in real-time.

Akai Professional MPC One

Akai Professional MPC One – Drum Machine, Sampler & MIDI Controller with Beat Pads, Synth Engines,...
  • Beat Maker Essential - Standalone Mpc, Sampler, Drum Machine And Midi Controller (For The Included Mpc Software – Mac / Pc) With The Powerful...
  • Developed For The Modern Music Producer – 16 Velocity Sensitive Rgb Beat Pads, 7” High-Resolution Multi-Touch Display, Touch Capacitive Encoders...
  • Connectivity - Midi In / Midi Out For Control Of Synthesizers And Drum Machines; (2) Line Inputs For Recording / Sampling; (2) Line Outputs; Headphone...

The MPC One is AKAI Professional’s newest MIDI pad controller. It fills the gap between the MPC Live and MPC X, but at a much lower price. Being an MPC also means it has, in our opinion, the best MIDI drum pads available.

The MPC one may be used as a standalone unit or as a MIDI controller, giving it a lot of versatility. It uses the same multicore processor as the MPC Live and MPC X, allowing for advanced audio processing and editing. You may produce complete studio-quality recordings, from live instrument recording to beat building, editing, and mixing. It includes four CV/gate inputs and stereo line inputs (eight outputs). As a result, it will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your setup.

It can be used as a MIDI pad controller with the MPC 2 software or as a plugin in your DAW. Despite its diminutive size, it features the same 7-inch multi-touch touchscreen as the MPC Live. The screen, whether in standalone or controller mode, allows you to control every part of your workflow fast and precisely. The MPC One contains the classic 16 pressure-sensitive pads, which are slightly smaller to provide room for extra Q-Link knobs.

The MPC One is an excellent addition to the MPC family of products. It contains several features that MPC Live lacks, such as CV/gate connectivity, and it’s still portable. Everything you need to create or edit a track is physically right in front of you, making it even more user-friendly than before. Even for beginners, the learning curve is seamless, whether it’s through the pads, Q-Link knobs, touchscreen, or even the new shortcut buttons.

We can’t think of anything wrong with having so many standalone features on top of the complete MIDI controller mode; it’s the best new MIDI pad controller we’ve seen in a long time.

Ableton Push 2 Controller Instrument

Ableton Push 2 Controller Instrument
  • Hardware instrument for hands-on playability with Ableton live 10
  • New sampling workflows: slice, play and manipulate samples from push
  • Play or step sequence beats, notes, chords and automation

The Ableton Push 2 includes 64 pads, making it ideal for electro musicians that need quick access to a large number of samples. You can slice, stretch, and shorten samples to keep them in sync with your music at all times. There’s also a built-in screen where you can access a huge library of pre-loaded sounds to assign to your velocity-sensitive aftertouch pads, which allow you to retain and alter samples after they’ve been triggered. The software also has recording features for capturing musical ideas as they emerge.

The Ableton Push 2 is ideal for electronic musicians who are serious about sample triggering, manipulation, and mixing. Those looking for a quick and easy approach to get drum kit sounds will be disappointed.

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3 Drum Controller

Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3 Drum Controller
  • Compact, music production instrument that integrates powerful software with tactile, responsive hardware
  • Four ways to input sound using the 16 pads – drum in pad mode, play melodies in Keyboard mode, create chord progressions in Chord mode, and program...
  • Software - use on its own or as a VST, Audio Unit, or AAX plug-in in all major DAWs (including Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic Pro, and FL Studio).An...

Native Instruments’ Maschine Mikro Mk3 is a smaller version of the MPC-inspired hybrid hardware/software beat making studio. Its bigger brother was the apex of their series (and, let’s be honest, midi drum controllers in general), combining the power of their high-end Studio product with an audio interface and touch-strip for good measure.

The Maschine Mk3 is designed to promote ‘on the fly’ creative processes. The goal is to be able to make loops out of rhythms, samples, and melodies, then apply effects and other effects to them. Indeed, it excels at generating ideas and allowing you to swiftly layer loops (or ‘grooves’). The hardware is excellent, as one would expect. The pads are also incredibly playable and ideal for finger drumming. It’s USB bus-powered, which is convenient because it eliminates the requirement for mains power.

AKAI Professional MPD218

AKAI Professional MPD218 - USB MIDI Controller with 16 MPC Drum Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Note...
  • Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic...
  • Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
  • Assignable Control - 18 fully assignable 360-Degree potentiometers accessible via three banks for controlling DAW, virtual effect and virtual...

The Akai MPD218 is a well-built, good-value pad with a lot of MIDI routing options and a reasonable size. There are 16 pads with excellent velocity sensitivity, as well as six control knobs that can be assigned to virtually any MIDI parameter on your DAW.

By holding down the Prog Select button, you can choose between different presets and control and pad banks. There are buttons to switch between three different pad banks, allowing you to have individual MIDI routing for each bank, giving you a lot of flexibility with this section; you could set these up as separate drum kits and switch between them whenever you want.

The three control banks let you to change the MIDI routing settings for your control knobs, which can then control various effects. If you’re searching for something on a budget, this MIDI drum pad is an excellent option. This is our suggested alternative if you don’t require all of the bells and whistles of dazzling LED panels and extra features.

Novation Launchpad Pro MK3 Production and Performance Grid

Novation Launchpad Pro [MK3] Production and Performance Grid for Ableton Live
  • Our Deepest Ableton Live Integration – Quickly launch clips and scenes, access mixer, device and transport controls, and quantise, duplicate and...
  • Dynamic and Expressive Playing – Large RGB velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads give you a perfect reflection of your Ableton Live or Logic Pro...
  • Powerful Four-track, 32-step Sequencer – Create full tracks with Launchpad Pro's built-in sequencer, featuring eight-note polyphony, pattern...

Novation is credited with launching a new generation of music producers after the MPC. The Launchpad Pro is now the company’s most powerful MIDI pad controller. The Launchpad Pro is a 64-pad MIDI controller that works flawlessly with Ableton Live and other third-party software. These pads, unlike most pad controllers, include polyphonic aftertouch, which adds a new dimension to your performance.

A four-track, 32-step sequencer with eight-note polyphony is incorporated into the Launchpad Pro. You can use the sequencer to link patterns together to make larger sequences that can be turned into whole songs.

Scale mode allows you to play construct melodies or basslines while staying in the correct key, and it’s not simply for triggering percussion sounds or loops. Similarly, a chord mode lets you to use a single pad to activate complicated chords from your chosen scale. There are 42 tactile-click buttons in addition to the pads, all of which are lighted for excellent visual feedback.

Arturia BeatStep Pro Controller and Sequencer

Arturia BeatStep Pro Controller and Sequencer — Aftertouch, Velocity Sensitive, With 2 Independent...
  • THE ULTIMATE SEQUENCING POWERHOUSE: BeatStep Pro is a controller and a sequencer that provides nearly endless possibilities! It features 3 modes of...
  • MASTER YOUR PERFORMANCES: Make your MIDI devices and VST instruments do exactly what you want them to! BeatStep Pro brings together the most...
  • EASY TO USE: Setup is a breeze with color-coded connections on the back panel that help you know what to plug where. And the color of the backlit Step...

The BeatStep Pro from Arturia is more than simply a midi controller. This sophisticated piece of equipment features 16 light-up, velocity, and pressure-sensitive pads, as well as the ability to save up to 16 projects. There are 16 totally customizable dials as well.

There’s a tap tempo control, a drum fill generator, and the option to slightly dequantize sounds for a more natural, random feel. There are many scale options, so you can quickly and simply get creative with your songs. These scales can be played in any key.

Its USB, Midi, and gate outputs can be utilized with Macs, PCs, and midi-compatible synthesizers, drum machines, and other devices. It contains an integrated drum sequencer as well as two melodic sequencers, allowing you to make beats and compositions using the hardware while also recording the velocity of the notes as you play them.

The Arturia BeatStep Pro is ideal for live performances with drum machines, synths, and VSTs. This device connects them all, making the performance process more fluid, engaging, and enjoyable. It’s also durable while remaining slim enough to fit in your laptop bag. It can also be powered via USB from your laptop.

QuNeo 3D Multi-Touch Pad Controller

QuNeo 3D Multi-Touch Pad Controller
  • 44 pads, sliders, rotaries & switches
  • Pressure, velocity & position sensitive
  • 251 multi-color LEDs give visual feedback

The QueNeo 3D Multi-Touch Pad Controller is a modern Midi controller that is incredibly responsive. There are sixteen pads and nine touch-sensitive faders on this controller. Each of these behaves differently depending on how they’re touched (they even have different functions for each of the corners). The pads and faders light up in reds and greens when they’re in use. This makes the QuNeo a very visible instrument, even in dimly lit areas.

The device is exactly the same size as an iPad and runs on USB power. It’s highly portable as a result, but it still feels solid and sturdy. You’ll need an additional Midi expander to connect with more traditional Midi instruments, and this pad controller has no audio inputs or outputs. It was created with mobility and laptop compatibility in mind.

Electronic musicians or DJs that need to travel light but don’t want to sacrifice functionality or quality would like this. It will be less suitable for musicians who require audio outputs or wish to use the controller with Midi synthesizers or similar devices. Although it is possible to link this to Midi synths, this necessitates the purchase of additional gear.

Native Instruments Maschine MK3

Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
  • Integrated hardware/software system includes sampler, arranger, mixer, FX, and more
  • Includes 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library featuring 25 pro-quality studio and creative FX
  • Pro-grade, 96 kHz / 24-bit audio interface with 2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone...

The Maschine MK3 is a massive MIDI drum pad with two high-resolution LED panels that let you browse and switch between different kits without having to glance at your laptop.

This device has a plethora of controls. The 16 pads can be used to make drum sounds, but they can also be used to make bass lines, melodies, and chord progressions with scale lock-in, so you don’t need to know much about music theory to make wonderful music. This allows you to generate stabs and may allow you to create music more fluidly without the need for a second keyboard or a laptop.

The MK3 may be powered through USB, eliminating the requirement for an AC outlet. You may, however, connect it into AC power to make the controls much brighter. This is a more expensive, high-quality device. This could be an excellent option to consider for those who prefer the machine workflow.