How do I find one of the best midi keyboards for my DAW?
There are many tools that you can use to make sure that your music sounds the way that you want it to. However, one of the most effective options is a midi-keyboard. This technology can be very powerful, often coming with a lot of controls and features. Let’s take a closer look at this technology and how it will work with your DAW.
What is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)?
Let’s start by looking at what a DAW is and how it is used in the music industry. A Digital Audio Workshop (DAW) has become a fairly common tool for musicians. Typically, the DAW is another word for the digital tools used to record and edit your sound files. Many people use a midi-keyboard to help them control their DAW, giving them more editing options. If needed, there will often be extra software that you can download to give your DAW more functionality, allowing you to use more features.
There are a few ways that artists can use a DAW. For example, some people might use a DAW and a midi-keyboard to record live performances, making small tweaks while recording the show. In other cases, people might use this technology to make more in-depth edits. For example, you can use the midi-keyboard to help you add effects onto the recording, perfecting the way it sounds. For some artists, a DAW and a midi-keyboard are the only tools they need to make music. The most common example is those who are producing electronic dance tracks. Finally, people might use a DAW when recording and editing a podcast, radio, or television program.
To get the most out of your DAW, you’ll need to choose the best midi-keyboard. In this area, there are several options for you to consider. Let’s consider some of the best midi-keyboards and how they will connect with your DAW.
CHOOSE A MIDI-KEYBOARD WITH PLENTY OF FUNCTIONALITY
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a midi-keyboard is the amount of functionality that it offers. This will determine the type of things that you’ll be able to do. The type of features you’ll need to look for will depend on the way that you intend to use the technology. For example, those planning to create electronic music will often need to have more advanced features. But those who only intend to use the tool to lightly edit the tracks might not need a technologically advanced midi-keyboard.
TYPE OF MIDI-KEYBOARD KEYS
Another thing that you need to consider is the type of keys that you choose. In this area, there are dozens of different options for you to explore. For example, some midi-keyboards might have fewer keys and a larger key size. Others might have the kind of key size that you might find on a piano. You might also want to consider the way that the keys will be able to measure the amount of pressure you are putting on them and act accordingly. This can give you more control over the type of effects that you are producing. In other cases, the keys might have been weighted slightly. People who have experience playing the piano often find them easier to handle.
Because there are so many different options, you might want to visit a music store to try them out for yourself. This will give you a better sense of what you feel comfortable using. This will make sure that you get a midi-keyboard that you will enjoy.
If you’re new to the world of midi-keyboards, these can be a very intimidating device, with plenty of functionality for you to explore. Often, you might want to consider choosing something that comes with a manual. This will explain what all the buttons mean and what they are used for. It will also explain how to connect the midi-keyboard to your DAW. In some cases, you might also be able to find online videos that can explain how this works. Thankfully, most modern midi-keyboards will come with plenty of support, making it easy for you to learn how to use the device.
CONSIDER THE SIZE AND PRICE
There are many things that you might want to think about when deciding which type of midi-keyboard you would prefer. However, the two most important factors are the size and the price of the device. If you’re looking for a basic device, you might be able to find a few good ones for less than $150. When choosing a cheaper option, make sure to read the reviews. If you want something more advanced, you should expect to pay a little more.
You might also want to consider the size of the device. In most cases, when working from a home studio, you will have a limited amount of space that you can dedicate to music production. Because of this, you might need to choose a more compact midi-keyboard. However, for more advanced productions, you might need to get a larger option, to give you all the functionality you need.
Best Midi Keyboards 2020
AKAI PROFESSIONAL MPK249
This is one of the best midi-keyboards available on the market, offering several benefits when connected to your DAW. People who enjoy playing the piano will quickly learn how to use this model, with the keys having the same feel as a traditional keyboard. It also comes with aftertouch and velocity enabled. These features can change the type of sound you produce, based on the way that you hit the keys. Another big benefit is that it comes with the software you need to use it included, making it easier to set-up.
However, there are a few potential downsides that you might want to keep in mind. First, this midi-keyboard comes with a lot of features. Because of this, it can take a while for you to understand how to work them all properly. Thankfully, you should be able to overcome this by reading the owner’s manual and watching a few online tutorials. There are plenty of free resources online to help beginners learn how to use this device properly. Another potential issue is with the USB connector. This tends to be a little smaller than some of the other options on the market, so it’ll need to be close to the DAW.
NOVATION LAUNCHKEY MINI [MK3]
Another popular midi-keyboard for you to explore is the Novation Launchkey Mini [MK3]. One of the biggest benefits of this model is its compact size. This makes it perfect for your home studio, where space is limited. Despite being smaller, it doesn’t sacrifice functionality. For example, you’ll be able to get RPG pads, eight rotary controls, mod touch, and pitch touch. There’s also an arpeggiator, which makes it easy for you to go through a cycle of notes. All of these features tend to very easy to use. Despite the numerous benefits, the price is relatively affordable.
However, there are a few potential cons to consider. The biggest potential issue is that the midi-keyboard was built to work with Ableton Live. If you prefer to use another type of software, you might run into some compatibility issues. However, if you’re just starting to experiment with a midi-keyboard, this could be the perfect option for you.
SAMSON CARBON 61 USB MIDI CONTROLLER
Finally, you might be looking for a midi-keyboard that will be affordable. If this is the case, try the Samson Carbon 61 USB MIDI Controller. This device is one of the cheapest options available while providing a lot of valuable features. For example, it has 61 keys, providing plenty of different options when editing your songs. You can also use a sustain pedal, which will allow you to extend the time that you play the note for. There are also buttons dedicated to certain buttons, like changing the pitch.
Another big benefit is the way that you can connect the device to an iPad. This will make the editing process much easier, particularly if you typically use Apple products. However, if you don’t use iPads, you’ll be able to connect the midi-keyboard to your DAW using a USB.
The biggest downside is the way that the keys react when played. Some users have reported issues with the velocity of the keys, which can make it harder to get the sound you want. The keys might also respond poorly. Despite this, for the low price, you should be able to get a great experience with this midi-keyboard.