Many people don’t understand the difference between midi-controllers and traditional keyboards. They are almost sure that these terms are synonyms but the real situation differs. In fact, it’s a great idea to buy the best 49 key midi controller because a midi-controller is a studio instrument, which helps you to create music, while traditional keyboards are usually used during live performances.
In this article, we will talk about 49 key midi-controller. It is probably the best choice for people who want to get a small controller which gives you a possibility to use two hands during playing. Moreover, people usually buy 49 key midi controllers to learn how to play on the piano because it’s relatively cheap. On the other hand, it’s also a great product for real professionals who create music every day.
Also consider that there exist other types of midi controllers, which you should know:
- 25 key MIDI controller
It’s the smallest controller, that’s why we are sure that it’s an ideal alternative if you travel from time to time. You can take it without problems and create music even in other cities or countries. Many customers like its portability but there are also some disadvantages. For example, it’s difficult to create “complicated” music because it’s “one hand” instrument. They are very popular among hip-hop beatmakers.
- 61 key MIDI controller
This controller is significantly more difficult than its previous competitors. We can recommend you to buy this product in order to play difficult songs. This controller produces music, which is similar to the real piano.
- 88 key MIDI controller
This controller has the as many keys as acoustic pianos have, that’s why it’s strongly recommended for experienced musicians. However, it’s difficult to transport this instrument. Keep in mind this fact.
The 49 key midi controllers review
#1 Novation Launchkey 49: ideal compatibility and navigation
Novation Launchkey 49 MIDI Keyboard is a full-featured interface for managing DAWs that can trigger loops/clips in Ableton Live and FL Studio. In combination with the iPad, you can get even greater results than with a controller with a keyboard connected via USB. Novation Launchkey 49 is a powerful integrated tool with a more practical controller than any other device in its class. InControl software makes Novation Launchkey 49 perfect complement to any music software, giving you instant control over tracking, sending, and can control DAW plug-ins and effects. 16 multi-color pads are velocity-sensitive and can be used to play drums or trigger loops/clips and scenes without having to work with a computer.
- It’s really light. You can forget about any portability problems.
- The compact minimal design avoids the “plasticity” visual bloat of other board.
- Highly playable synth key action, with no “clacky” key noise or spring “groan”.
- Pressure sensitive pads with a playable slightly rubbery feel.
- Rotary and slider controls DAW integration don’t “soft update” like Nektar.
- InControl does not natively support Reason RE’s, but programming templates are provided.
#2 Roland A-49-BK: proven reliability and cheapness
This 49 key midi keyboard has been released in 2012, but it’s still a great product, which you should take into account if you have a limited budget. The Roland A-49-BK is designed for mobile use. It is incredibly light (less than 2.5 kg), and it also has an extremely compact design. It has full-sized keys that are sensitive to the force of pressing.
To achieve maximum mobility, this 49 key keyboard is powered directly from the USB port of the computer – the power supply is not required, and the power consumption is minimal, ideally calculated for USB. Dedicated octave buttons allow fast switching, and the transpose button allows you to enter semitone shift mode. LED indicators provide visual control of transposition. All other settings are available by pressing the “Function” button, which in combination with the keys allows you to perform the operations indicated on the keys.
- The features and compact size seemed perfect for a semi-mobile project studio.
- It’s not compatible with new programs and online services.
- It doesn’t come with the package as “plug and play”. You need to install the driver (from the website, because there is no CD drive anymore on a modern computer).
#3 Nektar Panorama P4 49-key: very expensive, but still comfortable
The tool is equipped with an extended panel of 11 transport control buttons: Return to L, Forward to R, Undo, Click on/off, Record Mode, Cycle on / off, Back, Forward, Stop, Play and Record. Using the shift key, they also work as function keys for assigning MIDI commands or QWERTY macros. A clear 3.5-inch color display of this midi keyboard 49 key provides all the necessary information about each mode and menu, regardless of whether you are working with Reason or MIDI.
The Nektar Panorama P4 software has many features that are activated using QWERTY shortcut commands. Assigning commands to the buttons and no need to be near the computer greatly simplifies the work. The assignment of a chain of 8 teams opens up a new level, allowing you to perform any actions with the touch of a button.
- The controller produces great sound quality.
- This midi controller is very expensive even despite the fact that it’s relatively old. It’s still more expensive than most of its competitors.
- The black keys have a different feeling than the white — more resistance at the top.
#4 M-Audio Code 49: strange design and great playability
The M-Audio Code series is distinguished by special design elements that give new functionality to these tools. The basic principle followed by the manufacturer is that no limitations should arise in the way of creativity. M-Audio Code 49 provided its users with all the possibilities for the fullest expression and transfer of their creative potential without much effort.
- The pad on the left side is very functional and sensitive.
- The drum pad colors are programmable and can even be turned off.
- It is not compatible with FL Studio.
- The chassis of the controller is not that strong so a little pressure on the keys bends the chassis.
- It doesn’t come with a wall power cord, only USB.
#5 Alesis V49: ideal construction for a reasonable price
I have had an opportunity to test this controller for several days and now, I am ready to present you my midi controllers reviews. The Alesis V49 MIDI keyboard provides all the necessary dynamics of the game, due to 49 full-size keys which are sensitive to changes in velocity. Eight velocity-sensitive backlit pads provide access to a variety of drum parts.
The convenient location of the interface-controls is represented by four knobs, two wheels, and buttons. The octave shift keys provide access to all notes in the range. Power MIDI-keyboard and data transfer through a computer via a USB cable. It is possible to connect a sustain pedal, it is intended connector 6.3-millimeter jack, located on the rear panel of the device.
- You can change the pads from note to CC, change the padding behavior to momentary or latch.
- The slim size of the keyboard is great for fitting into a workstation and accommodating a computer keyboard or laptop.
- The physical key resistance is just too much to get soft dynamics out of.
#6 Korg microKEY air 49: limited functionality and Bluetooth compatibility
It’s probably a great gadget for beginners because the functionality of this controller is really limited. There are only 49 keys, two buttons, and two regulators. I don’t think that it’s enough to create a great hip-hop bit or electronic track. On the other hand, I cannot ignore the fact that Korg microKEY air 49 can be connected with iPad, iPhone and Mac wirelessly. It’s still compatible with other devices via USB. The manufacturer provides a lavish array of powerful music software bundled free of charge, that’s why it’s a great possibility to save a lot of money.
- This controller is relatively small.
- Super compact size, but still highly playable.
- Traditional pitch-bend and modulation wheels.
- It has Bluetooth-connectivity.
- It has a Korg Bundle.
- The Bluetooth connection is not stable and you have to reconnect the controller from time to time.
- The necessary instructions must be downloaded from Korg’s website which is quite uncomfortable.
#7 Akai Professional MPK249: many functions without a power adapter
The Akai MPK 249 2014 Series MIDI Controller supports QWERTY commands that allow you to work more efficiently with the software. The controller is compatible with iOS devices (via the Camera Connection Kit), and a special energy-saving mode is also provided. Full-length, half-weighted keys, synthesizer mechanics applied. The controller is equipped with a USB port, 5-pin MIDI input, and output, as well as two inputs for connecting the expression and sustain pedals. The keyboard is designed to replace the previous generation in order to improve and add convenience to the hardware control of your software.
- Key’s are superb, and the pads are extremely responsive.
- Compact and user-friendly.
- Short USB cable.
- The controller has a 90-day warranty.
- The customer supports are really bad.
The 49 key interface’s benefits
As we have already mentioned, there are 4 main types of midi controllers. However, 49 key type is probably of the most popular right now. So, what are the main benefits of its interface and why do people want to buy this controller so much? Let’s figure out!
Well, the most obvious reason is its ideal balance: this controller is relatively light but it has a lot of useful functions and you can use two hands to play songs. You can play five octaves and I think that it’s pretty enough to create a real masterpiece.
Also, don’t forget that such model gives you a lot of additional pads, knobs and other regulators, which let you create an exclusive song. All these recording options give you various options for playing.
Finally, these controllers are extremely lightweight and it’s easy to transport this instrument, that’s why thousands of people from all over the world want to choose the best 49 key midi controller.
Things to consider when choosing 49 key controller
If you are going to buy 49 key controllers, you should follow some recommendations to find the best alternative.
At first, pay attention to the weight of this product if you need to transport this instrument a lot. If you think that this factor is not important, I recommend you to think twice because you will change your mind in several weeks.
At the second, don’t forget about the power supply. If you need to use this controller outside of your home or studio, you should choose instruments, which use batteries or take its power from USB.
Finally, you should check out all the information about software integration. It will be really difficult to create exclusive music if your controller isn’t compatible with the newest programs.