MIDI controllers with 49 keys offer a great balance between portability and versatility and are a great upgrade option for 25 keys.
With enough keys to cover a wide musical range and a compact form factor suitable for both studio and stage, they have become popular among a diverse range of artists.
So, if you want to upgrade your MIDI controller or buy your first one, I will try to recommend one that will give you all the features and good sound.
What’s The Best 49 Key MIDI Controller?
Here are the best 49 key MIDI controllers I have used over the years. They all feature great control options and versatile sound options.
Novation 49SL MkIII
Novation 49SL MkIII is a highly versatile keyboard that has 49 semi-weighted keys and an eight-track polyphonic sequencer. It has a lot of MIDI and CV/Gate connectivity options, which makes it a great choice for electronic music producers and performers. The addition of RGB backlit pads and LCD screens improves its live performance features. Control-wise this is an amazing keyboard controller for professionals and can be used in studios to record virtual instruments.
- Might be complicated for beginners
Nektar Panorama P4
Nektar Panorama P4 is one of the best 49 key MIDI controllers that offers seamless integration with popular DAWs and precise parameter control. The layout for controls is very comfortable and intuitive and you have everything you will ever need – pads, rotary knobs, faders, and different buttons to control various settings. Playing on this keyboard feels like a real piano which is great if you are a professional piano player.
Akai Professional MPK249
Like every Akai Professional product, MPK249 is an amazing controller with very comfortable to play 49 keys. It offers extensive DAW integration, an onboard arpeggiator, and a step sequencer, making it perfect for beatmakers, hip-hop producers, and electronic musicians. You will be able to use pads, faders, control knobs, and LCD screens to create and control the sound. Also, another great thing about this instrument is that 49 keys allow you to play more complicated chords than on a 25 key controller.
- LCD screen
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 is designed for users of the Komplete software ecosystem and in my opinion, it’s the best 49 key MIDI controller for that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer onboard pads or control knobs but it comes with the Komplete Select plugin bundle and you can choose from different instruments and sounds. And if you want to play virtual drums, you can use keys that are very high quality. So, if you are an NI Komplete user, then this MIDI controller with 49 keys is the best choice.
- Amazing sound library
- Perfect for Komplete
M-Audio Oxygen 49
Oxygen 49 by M-Audio is a great choice for those looking for a balance between affordability and functionality. I have owned this model and it worked just perfectly in recording situations. It has 49 keys that respond to the pressure of your touch and can be customized with knobs and sliders. I like the control layout which is on the top side of the MIDI controller and you get faders, knobs, pads, and buttons to change tempo and other settings. A great 49 key MIDI controller for recording and even playing on stage.
- Controls and features
- Good sound
- Easy to play
As a beginner in music production, selecting the best MIDI controller for beginners can greatly impact your learning experience and creative journey. Whether you value simplicity, affordability, or versatility, these controllers are perfect for beginners to discover and enhance their musical abilities. With any of these beginner MIDI controllers, you’ll have limitless creative options, making your journey into music production thrilling and rewarding.