What are the best mini MIDI keyboard controllers? This ICON Picks roundup lists ten quality mini MIDI keyboards for your creative needs.
What are Mini MIDI Keyboard Controllers?
Mini MIDI keyboard controllers are an essential piece of music gear. These versatile keyboards enable you to control DAW functions, virtual instruments, and plugin effects. Compact mini keyboard controllers are also ideal for music producers wanting a feature-packed creative tool that’s affordable, portable, and lightweight.
The biggest differences between mini MIDI keyboard controllers and standard MIDI keyboard controllers are price, size, weight, and the number of keys.
What Are the Benefits of a Mini Midi Keyboard Controller?
The benefits of using a mini MIDI keyboard controller include:
- Cost: Mini keyboard controllers are more affordable than full-size MIDI keyboards. The price is reasonable for beginners getting into music production or seasoned musicians looking for a portable MIDI keyboard.
- Portability: Mini keyboard controllers are ideal for musicians who create on the go, travel, or prefer a portable keyboard for live performance. There lightweight and compact size also makes it easy to tote in a backpack or small luggage.
- Size: The compact size of mini keyboard controllers makes them ideal for musicians with limited desk space. They’re also suitable for those who produce music with a laptop and prefer a keyboard that’s USB or battery powered.
- Connectivity: Many mini keyboard controllers can connect via USB or wirelessly with Bluetooth. Many are also USB bus-powered or battery operated. This setup makes it easy to connect and create with Android or iOS devices like an iPad/iPhone.
- Integration: Many mini keyboard controllers come with mapping software that integrates with most leading DAWs. Plug and play integration makes it easy to control your DAWs functions without spending hours mapping controls manually.
- Features: Most mini keyboard controllers provide the same features and expression controls as full-size MIDI keyboards. For example, many feature velocity-sensitive keys, performance pads for tapping out beats or triggering clips, rotary knobs for mapping effects controls, expression controls like touch strips or pitch and mod wheels, DAW transport controls, and more.
- Included Software: Most mini keyboard controllers come bundled with virtual instruments, plugin effects, sample libraries, and entry-level DAW software such as Ableton Live Lite.
The following mini MIDI keyboard controllers provide affordable options that are feature-packed, portable, lightweight, and durable.
1. Arturia | MiniLab MkII Slim-key Controller
MiniLab MkII is a feature-packed controller that gives you hands-on access to your virtual studio. This portable 25-key controller features 16 rotary encoders, eight RGB pressure-sensitive pads, and two capacitive touch strips. It also comes loaded with 5000 analog sounds and a software bundle. In addition, its compact profile makes it perfect for creating on the go!
2. ROLI | Seaboard Block Studio Edition
Play with unparalleled expression on the most compact and affordable model of ROLI’s acclaimed Seaboard keyboard. This next-generation MIDI keyboard controller sports a 24-keywave playing surface for shaping sounds with five dimensions of touch. Bend pitch, change timbre, and modulate sound through pressure, slides, and other movements. This versatile controller keyboard also comes with ROLI Studio, a desktop software suite with cutting-edge sounds, effects, and production tools. You can also connect the Seaboard Block to ROLI’s modular Blocks system to expand its capabilities.
3. AKAI | MPK Mini MkII Keyboard Controller
The limited-edition MPK mini comes in a white finish with inverted color keys. This ultra-compact MIDI keyboard controller is perfect for traveling musicians and desktop producers. It features 25 velocity-sensitive keys, a 4-way thumbstick, eight backlit velocity-sensitive pads, eight assignable knobs, an onboard arpeggiator, and more. The MPK mini also comes bundled with a suite of production software and virtual instruments for immediate music creation.
4. Native Instruments | KOMPLETE KONTROL A25
Take control of your virtual instruments and effects with the KOMPLETE KONTROL A25 keyboard. It sports a custom semi-weighted NI keybed, an OLED display, eight touch-sensitive control knobs, ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, Smart Play features, and more. This portable keyboard controller can also intuitively integrate with your favorite DAW. In addition, it comes loaded with a KOMPLETE Instruments and Effects software suite.
5. Novation | Launchkey Mini MK3 Keyboard Controller
Launchkey Mini is a compact and portable 25-key MIDI keyboard controller. It gives you everything you need to create in Ableton Live. Key features include intuitive Ableton control, 16 RGB pads, eight rotary knobs, two touch strips, a creative arpeggiator, Fixed Chord mode, and MIDI out. Launchkey Mini also includes a collection of sounds, instruments, and effects.
6. Nektar | Impact LX25+ Keyboard Controller
The Impact LX25+ MIDI controller is compact yet jam-packed with intelligent and expressive performance control. It uses automatic mapping to give you hands-on control of your DAW. You can also switch between Mixer, Instrument, and Preset modes for a fast workflow. Plus, the Impact LX25+ features a 25-note velocity-sensitive keybed, eight performance LED pads for drum programming, a 30mm fader, eight knobs, programmable controls, pitch and mod wheels, USB connection, and more.
7. Native Instruments | KOMPLETE KONTROL M32
The KOMPLETE KONTROL M32 is Native Instruments’ most compact keyboard. This highly portable keyboard controller is perfect for musicians on the go. It provides seamless integration with virtual instruments, effects, sounds, and popular DAWs. The M32 also sports a 32 synth-action keybed, an OLED display, eight touch-sensitive control knobs, two touch strips for intuitive expression, Smart Play features, and more. In addition, it comes with a vast array of virtual instruments, effects, loops, samples, and other production tools.
8. Novation | Impulse 25 Keyboard Controller
The Novation Impulse 25 MIDI keyboard controller gives you everything you need to control your DAW. This advanced controller features a 25-key semi-weighted keybed with assignable aftertouch, an LCD screen, eight backlit performance pads, eight rotary knobs, one 45mm fader, transport controls, and more. The Impulse 25 also ships with Novation’s Automap control software for seamless DAW integration, Ableton Live Lite, a collection of software, and a Loopmasters sample library.
9. Arturia | KeyStep Controller and Sequencer
KeyStep combines a portable USB keyboard controller with a polyphonic step sequencer. You can control both digital and analog devices, including modular gear. It also features a 32-note Slimkey keybed with aftertouch, an arpeggiator, two capacitive pitch and mod touch strips, a fun chord play mode, and more.
10. Korg | nanoKEY Studio Mobile Keyboard
The nanoKEY Studio is a compact mobile MIDI keyboard that connects via USB or Bluetooth. This compact controller combines a 25-note backlit velocity-sensitive keybed with eight backlit velocity-sensitive pads, eight encoders, a Kaoss pad, control buttons, and more. nanoKEY Studio is also battery operated and can connect wirelessly to iOS and Windows devices.