MIDI controllers can be used to create a much wider variety of sound than a digital keyboard, especially if you get a 61-key model.
If you are looking for the best 61 key midi controllers for that purpose it can be difficult to find a high-quality one as there are so many options on the market and it leaves you so confused.
As you can imagine with such sophisticated music equipment, there are several different features that we examined before we found the controllers for our list.
This article hopes to provide information on this question to help guide you through the buying process, which for newcomers can be a bit overwhelming.
Features that we consider important to the purchasing process include weight, key, warranty information, and materials. You should take the time to research before committing to a purchase.
This included size and weight, which will help you decide if you can take your new controller with you or store it in your studio.
We also looked at the number of pads and controllers for each model, as these will have a direct effect on how innovative you can be with your music.
In a hurry? Here are quick links of our top 7 recommendations of the best 61 key midi controllers:
- Novation Launchkey 61-Note MK2 Version
- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 Mk2
- Akai Professional MPK261
- Nektar Panorama P6-Controller Keyboard
- M-Audio Keystation 61 MK3
- Nektar Impact GX61 Controller Keyboard
- Alesis V61 MIDI Keyboard Controller
Whatever your budget, here you can find an ideal choice of the best 61 key midi controller and all other areas of your life that demand pristine performances.
Check out my personal favorites and see what arouses your interest. My list of the best 61 key midi controller includes affordable, expensive, beginner-friendly midi keyboards.
Let us help you make the decision to purchase a midi controller to begin your music career. These are some of the best 61 key midi controllers you can buy today.
Table of Contents
Best 61 Key MIDI Controller – Detailed Review
Its review time! We have chosen some of the good controller brands that will meet the needs of most guitarists. Use this list to get the most out of your next instrument purchase.
We invested a lot of time and effort in compiling this guide. We’ve spent 38 hours searching for the best 61 key midi controllers on the market, and we’ve used various sources, such as reviews and reviews from professional musicians, to provide the information you need.
You can blindly trust us because the more research you do, the more knowledge you get. We investigate for our loving controller as for the best.
Therefore, we must choose one that fits perfectly. We visited many controller stores, talked to various professionals and manufacturers, and finally got our top seven.
Here, we will provide a review of the best 61 key midi controller in detail so you can shop knowing everything. Let’s get started.
Novation’s Launchkey series has been a game-changer in the industry.
This model comes with a class-compliant layout and 61 velocity-sensitive synth-style keys.
All keys are full-size and semi-heavy for an authentic experience.
The pads on this model feature 16 full-color RGB backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads and it also has eight knobs, nine sliders, and six dedicated transport controls on the control panel.
If you are a seasoned MIDI controller user, this might be the model for you. For starters, it has a wide range of easy-to-use and highly customizable controls.
This includes nine faders, eight knobs, and sixteen pads. These controls, when combined with the 61 full-size synth-style keys, create an infinitely customizable experience that is perfect for anyone looking to take their musical compositions to the next level.
The controller is specifically designed for use with the Ableton Live Lite that comes in the package. You just need to install the program, configure your MIDI controller, and start creating music.
No additional drivers are needed. However, the unit is also compatible with other software products, in case you are used to some other DAW program.
One of the biggest problems with this large number of controls on any other model would be the amount of time it takes to set them up. The last thing you want to do is spend all your study time playing with the controls.
Fortunately, this Novation model comes with an automatic mapping feature. It does all the heavy lifting for you and configures each of the controls on its own.
From there, you can just play around with only those controls that aren’t exactly where you want them to be for a minimal amount of time, and instead focus on what you want to do, make music.
Most of the controls on this model are excellent; pads are inconsistent. They don’t always have the sensitivity to be used as drum pads unless you get the settings right.
They can be used as drum pads, but it may take a little longer than you are used to.
This Native Instruments model uses USB as the communication protocol in conjunction with traditional MIDI inputs and outputs.
There is a five-octave playing surface with 16 velocity-sensitive pads. This model’s sliding bench comes with illuminated buttons underneath, and the screen on the left has more light and color to offer.
Designed in a captivating design with enhanced features, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 is one of the best 61-key MIDI controllers you can own.
Anyone familiar with the Komplete Kontrol brand might notice the hardware changes to your new S61 MK2 series.
Designed to perfection in a lightweight, ergonomic construction, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 is the ideal MIDI controller to take your music tracks to the next level.
Whether it’s high-resolution full-color displays or encoding capabilities, this incredible Komplete Kontrol series has everything you need for powerful music production.
Akai MPK261 has so many features and comes with semi-weighted keys.
The controller is not lightweight but offers you a feel close to an acoustic piano. It is a preferred keyboard for intermediate and advanced players.
It has large pads compared to the Novation Launchkey and comes with MPC-style touch quality.
The MIDI keyboard has edge lighting and not full-color lighting, and this offers its attractive nature. You can access 64 pads using four sound banks.
Akai is a big name in the business and it doesn’t live up to its reputation. This MPK261 model is no exception. This is a company that has built a reputation for high-quality products and it continues to prove it with this model.
There are six semi-weighted synth-style velocity-sensitive keys with an Aftertouch function. The interface also features 16 RGB-illuminated velocity-sensitive pads and 24 assignable controllers.
This controller has semi-weighted synth-style keys that are also velocity-sensitive. These keys make it much easier to control and create the exact tones you want when putting together your compositions.
However, customizing this controller doesn’t stop with its keyboard. To accompany these very easy-to-use keys, this model has a wide range of controls and pads so you can customize your sound to suit your specific tastes.
These controls include 16 lighted pads and 24 assignable controls. The pads allow the possibility of four possible drum banks.
In total, this allows you to create sixty-four different sounds, making it an excellent choice for live performances or as a DJ.
Of course, there are a few small issues that you will have to deal with if you decide on this model. It is somewhat fragile to begin with, which is a bit surprising considering its size and weight.
Second, the USB cable, which is your only power source, is very short. I’d be better off buying another one, although this will of course increase the purchase price a bit.
This is a Nektar model that covers it all thoroughly. With 93 real-time controls, it’s hard to run out of options of any kind.
The model fuses traditional feeling keys and contemporary control functions in one unit.
It means that it has the potential to satisfy a wider audience. It can work well to please pianists with its weighted keys that remain authentic to the touch and shape of an acoustic piano.
Otherwise, electronic players and musicians will applaud a large number of controls on the interface, especially faders and pads.
It is the perfect companion for the versatile musician who plays, records, DJs, or shows.
If you’re looking for a MIDI controller that looks like an electric keyboard or you’re just used to using an acoustic piano, this might be a great option for you.
It features fully weighted keys that also come with velocity settings. These keys will allow you to have the best of both worlds, giving you the feel of a real piano, but the overall control of a MIDI controller.
When it comes to the controller aspect of this device, you’ll basically have the world of music at your fingertips.
It comes with 93 realtime controls, making it easy for you to create a custom sound every time you use it.
Of course, since there are so many options, it could be a bit overwhelming for a new user.
Fortunately, this controller comes with an auto-mapping feature. With this amazing option, you can allow the software inside the controller to map what each of the controls does for you to a default setting.
From there you can start creating music or just make small adjustments to some of the settings, rather than all of them. Simply put, automation will save you a lot of time by getting this controller up and running quickly.
Although this is a very well designed and robust device, its faders are not that responsive. They may take a little longer to get where you want them, although the automation certainly makes it a bit easier.
M-Audio Controller is a USB-powered controller with 61 full-size semi-weighted keys that provide the feel of an acoustic keyboard.
You will be able to attenuate the volume when you are playing games and therefore you are in full control.
In addition, it had directional buttons that offer easy control of the software.
It has ergonomically designed pitch and mod wheels for expressive performance.
While many MIDI controllers use full-size keys, they don’t always feel right. Either they are not the correct size as advertised, or they do not have the correct weight behind them.
This can make it difficult for anyone used to playing acoustic pianos or electric keyboards to adapt.
If that’s your case then it might be a good idea to check out this model. It has full-size keys that look and feel almost exactly like a real piano.
The only difference is that the keys are the only semi-weighted, rather than fully weighted. Still, they will provide the user of an acoustic piano with a much more familiar experience, which will only help make the transition to electronic music production much smoother.
As you would expect from a larger-sized controller, this model has a wide range of customizable features.
This includes various mod wheels and volume controls, as well as octave and fader buttons. While this model is lacking in the pad department, it still provides you with a variety of tools to make a variety of musical compositions with ease.
Another feature that helps make this model easy to use is the different software products it includes. These different packages will allow you to try different systems until you find the one you like the most, which is the ideal one.
These different systems can also be used for different types of music, which only helps to increase the versatility of the controller.
The Nectar Impact GX61 is a compact 61-key controller that offers multiple functions at a price that’s hard to beat.
It has 61 full-size velocity-sensitive keys that are easy to use. Like most other Nektar products, this model also features DAW integration to enhance your music experience.
Possibly the best feature of this controller is its compact yet user-friendly design.
This model is designed for the musician on the go who still wants the best from their controller. Its dimensions are nice and small, and it is also very light.
This makes it perfect to take with you wherever you go. Even though this is such a portable device, it still offers many features that make it feel like a full-size model.
The controller features a pitch wheel, a mod wheel, and a pedal jack. This allows you to operate in five different octaves, which is a great advantage if you are looking to change the style and sounds of your musical pieces.
The octave buttons are very easy to locate as they are color-coded with bright LED backlights.
The configuration of this device is extremely simple. While it’s certainly not as simple as plug and play, it’s almost that easy.
This controller has a class-compliant MIDI controller, which means it will work with any iOS device. This compliance means that you can easily connect it to your iPad and get it going with relative ease.
Due to the lightweight nature of this model, it should come as no surprise that it is missing some key features, such as the ear pads.
The overall design is also a bit fragile, so you will have to be very careful with it when transporting and installing it.
The Alesis V61 features full-size velocity-sensitive keys with four rotaries, eight drum pads, and four buttons, all of which are assignable. The pads and controls light up well when turned on.
All eight pads are blue backlit and responsive, as are the buttons. Also, the dials are not too loose or too tight and offer users a smooth and uninterrupted action.
The keys are not weighted, but they respond with lots of crisp action to give you dynamic results. In fact, its semi-weighted nature strikes the perfect balance between something that is completely plastic and fully weighted classical piano keys.
Overall this is a practical controller rather than too fancy. With a more basic number of assignable controls, the keyboard requires less surface area and makes for a quality compact unit suitable for beginners.
Following user reviews, there have been some concerns about velocity sensitivity as it is inconsistent from key to key.
However, recommended solutions include downloading a firmware update from the manufacturer’s website and then resetting the speed sensitivity. This seems to have resolved most of the complaints.
So if you’re looking for a good entry-level controller that saves space without sacrificing functionality and performance, then the Alesis V61 is a great place to start.
Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues Buying Guide
In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know to find the best 61-key MIDI controller for your needs.
Also, we’ll inform you of the various details to which you should pay special attention. Just like every note can make a difference: every feature of the controller can also have an impact on your playing experience.
Weight and Size
The weight and dimensions of a controller vary by brand and the additional features included. However, the only common standard across all models is the number, size, and weight of their keys.
When it comes to 61-key controllers, you will find that most models come with semi-weighted synth-action keys. Some others may feature weighted and full-size keys which will also add to the price of the unit.
Controllers ranging from 25 to 88 keys can be between less than 20 inches and more than 50 inches long.
The model you choose should reflect your use of the instrument and how much space you need to permanently place or carry it with you.
The other big issue when selecting an 88-key model is how much they weigh. These models can get extremely heavy for a piece of musical equipment, making it difficult to carry them anywhere. The 25 and 49 key models are much lighter but also much weaker and easier to damage.
A 61-key controller is solid enough that you don’t have to worry about breaking, but it’s light enough to take with you wherever you go.
The 61-key version typically weighs between 6 and 15 pounds. Because they need to have a certain number of keys and knobs on the interface, the dimensions will vary by model.
Most versions come with semi-weighted keys that provide the right balance between playability, dynamics, and portability.
The semi-heavy keys fuse the spring mechanism of synthesizer actions with the inclusion of minimal weights attached to the keys.
This results in keys that offer light to moderate resistance when pressed. It is more attractive to those who do not want the high strength of a weighted press.
There are some 61-key controllers that come with weighted and full-size keys. These are generally geared toward pianists and attempt to reproduce the same action found on an acoustic piano.
Pads and controllers
The more control options a key controller offers, the more control you can have over your instrument.
Many 61-key controllers offer numerous options including knobs, faders, and drum pads that can customize your experience in your preferred genre of music.
You can also find transport controls that allow you to play, rewind, fast forward, and stop.
This saves you the hassle of going back to your computer and prevents your train of thought from being interrupted. While smaller versions of the controller may minimize this feature, you can find it on all 61-key models.
The downside is that they can be distracting and can take longer to set up. Of course, additions like these will also increase the price.
Take a look at the Nektar Panorama P6 for a full range of pads and controllers.
Most MIDI controllers work with a few best-selling composing software packages. You can check compatibility with the best options like Ableton Live, Reason, Tracktor, Xpand! 2, and the Main Stage, to name a few.
One of the additional features that you may find is Automapping. When you manually configure your key controller, you can better customize it.
However, the process can take a long time. As such, automation comes in handy when the unit configures itself automatically, saving you setup time and enabling plug and play functionality.
You will want to find maps that work with your preferred software.
Additional tips on buying a 61 key midi controller
MIDI controllers can range from basic ones, such as those with only keys, to others that have sliders and knobs to adjust their controls. The 61-key controller is between the most basic and advanced versions.
There are many options to consider regarding controls and pads, weighted or semi-weighted keys, types of connections, and motorized controls.
Who needs a 61-key MIDI controller?
Anyone looking to record techno music can only suffice with a 25-key controller. But if you’re looking to expand into rock, jazz, or composition, you’ll need more keys to play.
This is where the 61-key controller will come in handy. With so many keys, you get more sound diversity and the ability to enter more genres.
The 61-key MIDI controllers are a perfect combination of portability and functionality in one unit.
Most of the models, including the ones on our list, are all-inclusive units that come with additional controls, pads, and effects.
Brands create these characteristics based on the type of music you want to record and give you a wide enough range of options without isolating you to deal with a huge machine.
Can you learn to play the piano on a 61-key MIDI keyboard?
A 61-key keyboard would be more than enough for a beginner or people who play rock/pop music.
5 octaves would allow most modern music to be played without the need for that extra range provided by an 88-key controller.
Many piano teaching applications can be adjusted to use a 61-key controller.
Advantages and disadvantages of 61-key models
If you consider something smaller than the 61-key controller, you will not only reduce space but also the functionality. With the 61-key version, you can expand your gaming capabilities.
You can look for a 25 key controller as they are definitely more compact and portable. Compared to their larger versions, they are cheaper and if you don’t need the full complement of keys, you can do just fine with this key version.
However, there will be serious limitations in terms of game options. If you record and need to play certain riffs, what to look for is an extended set of keys, such as the 61-key version.
The 25-key version comes with only two octaves. If you’re looking for drums, fx sounds, and similar effects, it’ll work just fine.
However, if you are looking to work with melodies then you may have a hard time. The 49-key version may help a bit more, but will still limit you, while with 61-key it could go either way.
The 49-key controller can please many musicians with its four-octave play. They are definitely an improvement on their more compact 25-key versions with regards to playability and are still small enough to be portable without taking up much space.
However, if you are looking for the full range, then the 61-key controller is the way to go. Of course, there are those who will tell you that anything other than an 88-key controller is a toy.
So to strike a balance between minimalist and the other end of the spectrum, the 61-key controller is a good choice. With the 61 keys, you get an impressive five-octave range and also have the freedom to play with both hands.
For anyone used to playing with both hands at the same time, using all 49 keys can be limiting. The 61 keys, on the other hand, allow you to create not only more but also larger zones as you play.
So, which are the best 61 key midi controllers for right now?
The best 61 key midi controller really depends on what type of controller you are looking for, what level of performance you are on, and how you want to use it. Our best choice for the best 61 key midi controllers is the Novation Launchkey 61-Note MK2.
We chose this one because it gives you everything you need for a pleasant guitar playing experience – great design is needed to go with the gear and most importantly, wonderful authentic sound. This combination of price, quality, and appearance makes this guitar our best option.
As you can see, there is a lot going on in the MIDI key controller niche.
We’ve covered everything from the factors that should affect your buying decision to a comprehensive list of technical terms that you should know.
You can choose a model that suits your musical needs and also meets your budget constraints.
We spend unlimited hours selecting these controllers for you. All of these controllers are very excellent in use and highly rated throughout the market. Its performance and characteristics are remarkable.
You can blindly trust us because the more research you do, the more knowledge you get. We investigate for our loving controllers as for the best.
Finally, if you want high-quality materials, impeccable craftsmanship, and a world-class tone, you should go for a professional controller from any of the best controller brands.
Whatever your wishes, you are now a more educated buyer and you will definitely be more satisfied with your instrument.
We hope this guide has helped you choose the best 61 key midi controller to spark interest in your new musical career!