Narrowing down best 49-key midi controller can be quite the task. Take out word for it!
In fact, out of all the breeds of midi keyboard you can buy, narrowing down the best 49-key midi, is hands down one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make. Why? Because for midi controllers, 49-keys is very much the middle ground. So as you can imagine, they’re not uncommon.
While some manufacturers may hold back on developing a 61-Key Midi Controller or a Hammer Action Keyboard With 88 Keys, every manufacturer who’s got so much as a foot in the ‘midi game’, produces a 49-key model. But then again, that’s hardly surprising, as when you really look at it, 49-keys is more or less ‘the’ perfect size.
It’s compact to the point that its reasonably portable, and not so feature-packed that they weigh the earth. Yet at the same time, it’s large enough so that you can fit both hands comfortably on the keyboard, and built to a standard that doesn’t feel cheap. So to ask if a 49 key midi keyboard is enough, is an entirely valid question. One that we hope this rundown of the best 49 key midi controllers can help you answer
After something specific about a midi keyboards with 49 keys? Or just curious as to which we think is best 49-key midi controller out there? Use the menu below to find all the answers you need fast…
The best 49-key midi controllers @ a glance…
10+ of the best 49-key midi controller keyboards…
SPOILER: There’s a LOT of 49 key midi keyboards out there.
So many in fact, that it’s impossible to count them all on your fingers!! Safe to say there’s NO shortage. Combine that with the fact that each set of 49 keys are different in their own right + serve a slightly different purpose, & you can soon see how whittling them down to just 1 can turn into quite the headache. Team that with how no 2 keyboards have the same keyfeel, button arrangement, level of features & yep – the chances of you ‘eenie meanie minie mo’ ing your way to buying the best 49 key midi controller, are seriously slim.
But no matter – we’ve done 90% of the legwork for you! Simply read on & we’ll outline how to find the best 49 key midi controller for your setup…
Best fully-loaded 49-key midi controllers
Much as it sounds, these are 49 key midi controllers that may be a bit on the heavier side & are more suited to use in a studio. Aside from supreme keyfeel, they’ll also come bundled with the most tech. All designed to make the task of producing music that bit easier #WorkflowGodsend
Think of these midi controllers as the ultimate 49 key experience…
1: M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49
2: Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII
3: Novation 49SL MkIII.
4: Akai Professional MPK249
5: Roland A-500 Pro
6: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49
7: Nektar Impact LX49+
Best Basic 49-key midi controllers
These are 49 key midi controllers which are stripped-back, & designed more to be affordable & portable. And while these controllers aren’t what you’d call fully-loaded, they do offer enough features to keep the average player (especially beginners) happy.
In other words, they’re 49 key midi keyboards that take the ‘common sense’ approach…
8: Novation Launchkey 49 MK3
9: Arturia KeyLab Essential 49
10: Korg MICROKEY 2-49 midi keyboard
11: Roland A-49
12: Nektar SE49 Midi Keyboard
Say “hello” to the best portable 49-key midi controller…
If you’re after a portable 49 key controller – hold your horses.
See, while the average 49 key midi controller isn’t overly bulky, depending on which you buy, there will be some differences in terms of weight & form factor. Typically, the more fully-loaded a keyboard controller is, the heavier & bulkier it’ll be. However, that’s not to say that lightweight & slim controller are ill equipped. In fact, they could well be all the midi controller you need!
In which case if you’re after a portable 49 key midi controller that doesn’t take itself too seriously, we’d say you’re best bet would be the…
13: M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3
Here’s a cheap 49-key midi controller…
Okay, so not everyone has mega £$€ to splash on a mid controller – we get that!
In which case, you’re probably after something slightly more stripped back. A keyboard that’s perhaps not the most feature-packed, but still allows you to do a LOT of what you can do with other midi controllers. If you’re anything like us, you’ll still be wanting decent controls for pitch & mod + basic transport controls for your DAW. Not to mention, a decent set of keys with good feel that stilla llow you to be expressive.
Hence why if we were to choose our favourite budget 49 key midi controller, it’s be the…
14: Samson Graphite 49
What is the best 49-key midi controller in 2023? Our editor’s choice…
DISCLAIMER: Whittling down all of these 49-key controllers to just one wasn’t easy.
As you’ve probably discovered throughout this blog, all midi keyboards come with their own set of perks, as well as those areas where they perhaps need to pull their socks up. So really, which 49-key midi is best for you does depend largely on what you look for in a keyboard controller. Are you key-focused? An avid finger drummer? Or just after something portable?
Either way though, we have managed to reach a conclusion about what we think is the best all-rounder. In other words, the best 49-key midi controller that you can buy in 2023. That keyboard being the…
Arturia Keylab 49 = Best 49-Key Midi Controller 2023
Our main reason behind this choice being balance. Compared to a lot of the 49-key midi controllers, this is somewhere that we think the Arturia really shines. You’ll be hard pushed to find a better all-round package with 49-keys, because (as far as we can tell) there isn’t really many areas where the Arturia falls short.
The terms of build it feels solid, and doesn’t have that lightweight plasticky feel that you get from a lot of controller keyboards in this price range. Everything on the Arturia just feels that little bit more premium. We’re BIG fans of the aluminium case! And while that does mean it is slightly heavier than its rivals, it’s a trade-off we’d happily make.
Equally, the Keylab 49 also looks the part too. Unlike the S49 by Native Instruments, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, yet it’s not too garish that it’d be mistaken for a children’s toy. Something that we’d forgive you for doing with Akai’s MPK249. The layout’s also easy to get your head around too.
Boyish good looks aside, the Arturia’s keys are no slouch either. The keybed was the real star of the show for us. Out of all the midi keyboards we tested, the keyfeel on the 49 was by far the most superior. Most likely why it’s called the ‘Key’lab, opposed to some random combo of numbers and letters.
Also consider that the Keylab 49 comes with the same full access to Analogue Lab as you’d get with the full-fat Keylab 88, and suddenly that price suddenly makes a lot more sense.
Yes – while the Keylab does set you back more than the majority of 49-key midi controllers out there, that’s not say it’s bad value. Add up all the times it 1ups other keyboards and if anything, it’s a full-on bargain.
Enjoy this review of the best 49-key midi controller keyboard and eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Midi Controller Reviews, as well as the latest Music Production Gear. Recently, we also did a review of the best Midi Keyboards For Logic Pro X + another on the Best Weighted Midi Keyboards, which may also be a good read!
Or, if you’ve still got as burning question about 49-key midi keyboards, keep reading to discover even more about why 49-keys could well be all you need…