MIDI Keyboards and Controllers

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About MIDI Keyboards and Controllers

MIDI Keyboards are an essential part of any computer music setup. These keyboards come in a range of different sizes and are often available with either 88, 61, 49 or 25 keys. Connecting to your computer via a USB cable, these keyboards feature no built-in sounds, and instead use your computer's music software as the sound source. Controller Keyboards maximize the musical potential of your soft synths and sample collections and can also feature pads, pots, faders and other control surface elements.

While all controller keyboards give out MIDI information via USB, a small selection still feature a 5-pin MIDI port. These are useful for controlling other synthesizers and sound modules.

Frequently Asked Questions about MIDI Keyboards and Controllers

Most controller keyboards will feature a sustain pedal input. The only keyboards with this missing are the very smallest MIDI keyboards with miniature keys. It is, however, always worth double checking the keyboard's specifications if it is a feature you require.
While most are, certain MIDI controllers are a little more elaborate. For example, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol keyboards feature video screens and are required to be powered via a power supply.
This depends on the intended style of playing. If you're looking to learn or play piano pieces, an 88 key keyboard is definitely advised. Two handed players with less studio space may want to consider a 61 of 49 key keyboard, while less confident players or those in need of a very compact keyboard may wish to opt for a 25 key keyboard.