Keyboard Controllers

Selection Guide: 6 Crucial Aspects Of Keyboard Controllers

After some time of dragging and dropping notes onto your piano roll, you’ve finally chosen to use a MIDI keyboard to take charge of your creative process… That being said, which one is best for you? Who says picking the perfect keyboard is a nightmare?

When looking for a keyboard, there are several factors to keep in mind. Will you only need a keyboard to perform chords and melodies, or would you also like a digital audio workstation and instrument controls?

Put simply, you should be aware of the features that are at your disposal and how they might benefit both you and your music. So, to assist you in making an informed decision, we will study five aspects of keyboard controllers.

1. Keys with weights, semi-weights, or synth-action?

To begin with, three distinct kinds of keys exist:

  • Weighted action
  • Semi-weighted action
  • Synth-action

A keyboard with weighted keys sounds and feels just like a genuine piano key. Weighted keyboards are pricier and heavier than standard MIDI keyboards, as the name implies. Therefore, if you’re looking for a keyboard that mimics the feel of a real piano to some extent, weighted MIDI keys are an excellent option.

Despite their reduced weight, semi-weighted keys are often more responsive to pressure and speed. By pressing down harder or softer on the keys, you may adjust the volume of the noises produced.

And lastly, the synth-action keys are small and have a spring mechanism. Because of this, you may play them fast and heavily, and the keys will return to their rested positions more rapidly than with conventional keyboards.

It follows that synth-action keys are an excellent option for performing rapid musical phrases.

Would novices benefit from semi-weighted keys?

In a professional opinion, semi-weighted MIDI keys are ideal for learning chords, testing sounds, and penning melodies, especially for beginners. Some entry-level keyboards even include semi-weighted keys! Crazy, right?

2. Speed graphs

You may select from various velocity curves on any keyboard controller MIDI. You can choose from a variety of predefined velocities using the velocity curves.

They change the way the output velocity functions. For instance, pressing a key with a moderate velocity will result in a quieter tone.

We suggest using these features, especially if you’re not a professional musician, as not all keyboards include them.

3. Funding Strategy

A person’s financial situation is often the deciding factor when purchasing. But you may be sure that controllers come in a wide price range. To what extent is it varied? Is the range of $30 to $3,000 sufficiently broad? A full-sized keyboard that looks and feels like a genuine piano may cost more than $1,800, while a simple and decently sized keyboard can cost less than $100.

The number of keys, the kind of keys, the materials used, and additional functions for public and performance use are the main factors that often impact the retail cost of a MIDI controller.

In the case of controllers, a larger price tag does not usually indicate more functionality. Remember that, as with any musical device, a more expensive one often indicates superior build quality and, by extension, lifespan.

Before you start reading this guide, set a budget for yourself and make a note of the things that are essential to you. Before you go out and buy a keyboard controller, you may use this as a guide.

Whether you’re a beginner or just want to learn the basics of keyboard playing, a basic, inexpensive controller will do the trick. Don’t feel obligated to spend more than you can afford on features you may or may not use.

4. The number of MIDI keys that will be required

Consider your intended use of the keyboard controller when determining the optimal number of keys. For mobility, you may purchase keyboards with only 25 keys, sometimes known as 2-octave keyboards.

Keyboards typically come in a range of sizes, with a couple of notable exceptions:

  • Two octaves of 25 keys
  • Three octaves of 37 keys
  • With 49 keys and 4 octaves
  • With 61 keys and 5 octaves
  • Seven octaves, 88 keys

5. Steps to create music

Stop what you’re doing and evaluate your workflow. Tell us the process of making music. Is it more common for you to begin with chords, melodies, or drums? Are you making this music from scratch, or are you using samples? If you are familiar with these features, you will be better able to choose a MIDI controller.

You could feel limited by the little 25-key controller if you’re coming from a piano background. Check out keybeds that are bigger and have a more extended reach. Weighted or semi-weighted keys could be useful if you’re going for maximum expressiveness.

Perhaps you enjoy navigating the keys roll and adjusting plugin parameters with knobs and faders, much like a rave monger. An additional set of controls on a 25- or 37-key controller might be useful if octave-hopping melodies aren’t your main priority.

6. Integrating Software

Whether it’s a digital audio workstation (DAW) or a virtual instrument, you need complete command over your program.

Advice: Look for a MIDI keyboard controller with adjustable and modifiable settings. Controls are often dynamically mapped via a controller native to your digital audio workstation (DAW) in response to the on-screen virtual instrument or effect.

In the end!

For new musicians, the world of MIDI keyboard controllers is a playground of endless creative potential. A lifetime of invention begins with an intuitive design, which reduces the barrier to entrance.

Investigate the more complex functions of the keyboard as your proficiency grows. If you’re stuck for inspiration, try playing around with various arpeggiators, scales, chords, and rhythms. Stock up on hardware samplers and synthesizers to create multiple sounds. Personalize mappings to expedite processes. Perform as a band member or as a solo artist in the studio. Let your natural musicianship shine through on the piano. Show your feelings, not only imitate music.

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