A MIDI controller is an essential tool that every home studio owner needs. While you can produce a whole track using only your keyboard and mouse, the best MIDI keyboard controller for Logic Pro X has no alternative. In case you’re wondering, Logic Pro X is a powerful music production software from Apple, and since its release, it has gained a lot of prominence within the music production realm. However, if you’re looking to make the most of Apple’s Logic Pro X, you need to find a perfect MIDI keyboard controller that can go well with this incredible music software.
The audio market is littered with all types of MIDI keyboard controllers, which makes trying to choose the right model a daunting task. Well, you need not fear because we have designed this article to help clarify your doubts and also provide you with some pointers on the best MIDI keyboard controllers for Logic Pro X. In our selection, we took some crucial features and factors into consideration, such as pads and controllers, software included, keys features, dimensions and weight. With all these factors used as our yardsticks, we’re confident that we were able to choose the best products available.
Top 6 MIDI Keyboard Controllers for Logic Pro X
Like we’ve already noted, we invested a lot of time and effort into the compilation of this guide. And from our very profound research, we were able to gather and include everything a prospective buyer needs to know before purchasing a MIDI keyboard controller. From the in-detail table to the comprehensive reviews of each product complete with their pros and cons to our handy buying guide, everything included in this list has been aimed towards guiding your every step.
Suitable for both newbies and professionals as this model has all sorts of controllers including drum pads, programmable knobs, faders, and buttons
A controller with sturdy construction, 49 semi-weighted full-sized keys, and numerous controllers allowing you to produce any masterpiece you have in mind
Despite its attractive price tag, this product features eight knobs, eight drum pads, two octave buttons, and a X-Y controller for extra convenience
An excellent choice for those in love with acoustic piano feeling: its 61 weighted velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch will provide you with an incomparable sound and high-quality performance
Featuring 16 drum pads, nine faders, eight knobs, and a X/Y touchpad this pick is an optimal choice for the money
This pick comes all packed for integration with Logic Pro X software: it includes USB and Micro-USB cables for compatibility with iPhone, iPad, and Mac
Alesis V49 – Editor’s Choice
- Keys: 49 full-sized with adjustable sensitivity
- Pads: 8 LED-backlit
- Controllers: 4 knobs, 4 buttons, 2 wheels (pitch and mod)
- Dimensions: 37.6 x 4.5 x 9.6 inches
- Weight: 9.5 lbs.
More features: USB-powered with sustain-pedal input
Viewed as the go-to organization for the best MIDI keyboard controllers, Alesis demonstrates again why they are rated so highly with this device. The flawlessly organized keys are placed on one side of the keyboard with the parameter controls on the other. With such a layout, you can use a mouse with your right hand while tinkering with the device’s controls with your left one.
Measuring 37.6 x 4.5 x 9.6 inches, which puts it in the mid-range, this device is ideal for a more unobtrusive studio setup. Provided that the 49 keys of the device are semi-weighted, every user should love the natural feeling response. The eight velocity and pressure-sensitive pads illuminate when being used, which comes in handy when the controller is utilized as a DJ keyboard.
With six buttons and four knobs, the Alesis V49 is not a device suitable for extensive producing and mixing. Although, it shines in beat production and clip management, and is totally compatible with Apple’s Logic Pro X. The general spec and feature assembly make the keyboard a good fit for both amateurs and more advanced customers. If you’re looking for a model with a decent sound, easy-to-use controllers, and beat pads, then you need to give this pick a serious consideration.
- Feels great in the hands
- Premium-quality hardware
- Versatile software
- Not too many controllers for professional use
Akai Professional MPK249 – Best for Professional Use
- Keys: 49 semi-weighted full-sized with pressure sensitivity
- Pads: 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style
- Controllers: 8 faders, 8 knobs, 8 switches
- Dimensions: 29 x 3.38 x 12.25 inches
- Weight: 12.6 lbs.
More features: USB-MIDI with 5-pin MIDI input & output; 1 assignable footswitch jack and 1 expression jack
Apart from the Logic Pro X, this keyboard controller from Akai is also compatible with several other DAWs available out there. While we are focusing on the 49 keys variant here, keep in mind that this one comes in three other options – 25 keys, 49 keys, and 61 keys. With the price starting at about $250, you need to keep in mind that this keyboard is not one for individuals seeking budget-friendly devices.
Considering the premium quality of this device, it’s very easy to see why it comes with a premium price tag. It feels sturdier and more polished than every other MIDI keyboard controller on the market; it is truly in a league of its own. Akai intended to make a premium grade keyboard controller, and the high quality is easily detectable. Everything from the feel of the knobs and keys to the enclosure shows why this product is of the high-end category.
It comes with full-size and semi-weighted keys, which do feel excellent. The controller features 16 MPC-style pads, which are incredibly customizable. This product also includes eight faders, eight switches, eight assignable knobs, one expression jack, one assignable footswitch jack, a pitch control wheel, and a modulation wheel, amongst more fancy bells and whistles. This device has a reasonably solid Logic Pro X integration, with presets engineered to be suitable for almost every DAW out there.
- Easy-to-use and ergonomic layout
- A surplus of controls
- Semi-weighted keys
- Includes aftertouch feature
- Flimsy faders
- Rather heavy
Akai Professional MPK MINI MK2 MKII – Budget Pick
- Keys: 25 synth-action velocity-sensitive
- Pads: 8 velocity-sensitive
- Controllers: 8 knobs, 2 octave up/down buttons, X-Y controller
- Dimensions: 5 x 1.75 x 7.13 inches
- Weight: 1.65 lbs.
More features: USB-powered model; backlit pads; built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes
This model from Akai is a pro-grade product that’ll offer you the whole range of control with its velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads, inbuilt arpeggiator octave buttons, eight assignable knobs, one sustain pedal input, one TS input and a four-way thumbstick which incorporates dynamic modulation and pitch control.
This keyboard controller from Akai packs a lot of features despite having a small footprint, which explains why it is so popular. So that the keyboard would be compact, Akai compromised on the number and size of the keys. If you are a beginner, the small spring-loaded keys might not bother you. However, if you are accustomed to pianos or keyboards with heavier and larger keys, or you have unusually large fingers, you might want to reconsider your decision to go for the Akai MPL Mini.
In another measure to save space, instead of the regular pitch and modulation wheels, the device comes with a four-way thumbstick. It might take some getting used to, but it’s worth it. The eight backlight MPC-style pads are probably the most appealing feature of this device, as they are also velocity-sensitive. Other notable features include octave-down and up buttons, an inbuilt arpeggiator, a sustain pedal input, and eight knobs.
The only version this keyboard comes in is the 25 keys, which might be a bit too limiting for some users. If you even find the 25 keys sufficient, keep in mind that the keys are not weighted and are much smaller than average. However, this keyboard controller is compatible with Logic Pro X and other DAWs available out there which makes it a versatile model that can be taken practically anywhere.
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and iOS
- Portable and compact design
- Sturdy construction
- Keys are too small and can cause cramps
Nektar Panorama P6 – Most Efficient Option
- Keys: 61 weighted velocity-sensitive w/aftertouch
- Pads: 12
- Controllers: 16 encoders, 9 45 mm faders, 10 assignable LED buttons
- Dimensions: 42 x 5.9 x 15.4 inches
- Weight: 21 lbs.
More features: 20 preset locations store all settings including links to the keyboard, pad and F-keys maps
The Nektar Panorama P6 MIDI Controller is a device that covers all the bases effectively. Featuring 61 keys and a number of various controls, you will find it difficult to come up short on activities. This controller includes so many features without trading off the keys’ quality and its general construction. With the combination of modern control features and conventional feeling keys, this product by Nektar is engineered to cater to the needs of a wide range of users.
Furthermore, the Nektar Panorama P6 comes with weighted piano style keys which every pianist will appreciate since they have similar feel and shape as acoustic pianos. On the flipside, electronic musicians and keyboardists will love the abundance of controls on offer, particularly the faders and pads. The pressure and velocity sensitivity of this controller is also outstanding. It comes with ten assignable LED buttons and 20 preset locations which all combine to store the settings.
Another impressive thing about the device is its display monitor, which provides excellent visual support suitable for both studio recording work and live performances. Besides, this controller offers seamless integration for Logic Pro X, which is good news for music producers.
- Excellent build quality
- Bright and clear interface
- Weighted keys
- Very expensive
- Not a portable model being the heaviest on the list
M-Audio Code 61 Black – Best Value
- Keys: 61 full-sized velocity-sensitive
- Pads: 16 velocity-sensitive
- Controllers: 9 faders, 8 knobs, X/Y touchpad
- Dimensions: 40.4 x 2.8 x 10 inches
- Weight: 11.5 lbs.
More features: 2GB sound library included
M-Audio is a company with a knack for manufacturing music equipment with great features at reasonable price points, and the M-Audio Code 61 MIDI Keyboard Controller is a typical example. Despite coming at a fairly affordable price, this keyboard controller comes with features that put it firmly alongside more expensive models. Apart from featuring 61 full-sized, velocity-sensitive keys, this model also comes with 16 assignable velocity-sensitive trigger pads for clip launching, beat production, and more.
The controller comes with directional and transport buttons, pitch bend and modulation wheel. The velocity-sensitive keys provide you with a nice feel and are very responsive. It also features eight assignable 360 encoders for controlling your plugins, virtual instruments, and DAW, including the Logic Pro X.
An excellent performance needs the appropriate tools for the task. The M-Audio Code 61 features a unique keyboard with precise and clean action. For optimum expressive capability, the natural profile keys are pressure and velocity-sensitive, reassuring to reproduce every nuance and subtlety of your performance.
- Easy to navigate
- Feels great to play
- All kinds of controls available
- Keys get stuck sometimes
- The XY pad could be more responsive
IK Multimedia iRig Keys – Best for Beginners
- Keys: 37 full-sized velocity-sensitive
- Pads: none
- Controllers: volume/data knob, 2 octave up/down buttons, 2 program up/down buttons, 2 wheels (pitch and mod)
- Dimensions: 23.2 x 2.2 x 7.4 inches
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
More features: includes Lightning, USB and Micro-USB cables for compatibility with iPhone, iPad, Mac/PC
One of the most popular challenges faced by newbies is deciding on a specific key configuration. While the 25-key variant is too limited, the 49 and 61-key configurations are too broad for beginners. The 37-key setup with three octaves provides an excellent medium among the whole range of configurations. And in this setup, you cannot go wrong with the smoothly portable iRig keyboard.
This keyboard is a no-frills model – it comes with no knobs or pads. Instead, it has 37 touch-sensitive keys and two wheels – one apiece for pitch and modulation control. Weighing at under four pounds and measuring about seven inches in width, this is one of the most portable keyboards out there.
Of course, you can’t expect to get semi-weighted keys in this price range, so this unit comes with synth-action keys, which surprisingly feel great and play swiftly. Besides, they don’t quickly go soft. In addition to that, this unit has a very low power consumption. While some MIDI keyboards consume a lot of power, this one does not need more than an external keyboard.
- Very easy to transport
- Full-sized keys
- Comes with some free software instruments
- Delicate construction
- Has a plastic feel
What is Logic Pro X and why do you need a MIDI controller for it?
Manufactured by Apple, Logic Pro X is an outstanding software tool utilized by most music producers around the world. Even the beginners utilize this tool for making their first musical masterpieces. While the Logic Pro X already comes with a wide range of features, you can even extend this range by using an ideal MIDI keyboard controller that’s compatible with it. The best Logic Pro X MIDI controller has various variations, and with such device, you can get the full recording with different tracks inbuilt in the library.
Features to consider before buying a MIDI controller
Going shopping for a MIDI keyboard controller without knowing what to look for is probably the biggest mistake anyone could make. Before paying for a new MIDI controller for Logic Pro X, you need to take some important factors into consideration, which we will highlight below.
Number of keys
Probably the most vital factor when picking the right controller for you is choosing the appropriate size as regards the number of keys. At least, there are 25 keys in the smallest keyboards on the market such as the Akai Professional MPK MINI MK2 MKII. After that, there are 48 keys, 61 keys, and 88 keys, which is the maximum. Evidently, based on the research we carried out, 49 seems to be the size preferred by most music producers. That is sufficiently big to be able to handle melodies across four octaves, yet will not consume a lot of space on your table.
Some MIDI keyboard controllers come with full-sized weighted keys which can provide you with that incomparable feeling of a classical acoustic piano. However, if you’re not a professional musician and have never experienced playing the piano, go for semi-weighted keys with velocity sensitivity. They are much easier to operate and get used to.
Pads and controllers
The most crucial controllers are pitch and modulation wheels. In addition to these standard controllers, a MIDI keyboard can come with extra programmable ones that you can easily use as you want. Typically, they just use numbers to sign. If the model comes with several controllers, they can be separated into different groups. Besides, some keyboards come with regulators in a system of pads so that a user can assign a particular sound, musical phrase and more to a pad. The pads are often utilized for drum beats, recording rhythmic patterns, and performance.
While every MIDI keyboard ought to have a software with a user-friendly and simple interface, it should be filled with useful features, so that the user can quickly produce the best possible professional music, without needing to give up quality or make due with a sound or beat because of the product’s limitations. The best keyboards will feature the most effective software, including not only the Logic Pro X we’ve focused on in this article, but other popular DAWs such as Ableton Live and Bitwig Studio.
Weight and dimensions
Balancing functionality and portability is difficult but crucial if you aim to be musically productive. If you are going to be making music on the go, you will want to compromise on some features for a compact and light model such as the IK Multimedia iRig Ke. On the other hand, you should choose bigger models if you play formal piano style music, which is perfect if they will remain only in your home studio.
Some MIDI keyboards come with additional features like knobs, buttons, faders, and more, which will all be categorized into performance control. However, you need to keep in mind that the more the features a controller is equipped with, the more expensive it will be.
Apple’s Logic Pro X is only available on MAC, so it’s not compatible with an iPad. However, you can use the Logic Remote on your iPad, which is quite useful in a number of You can utilize Logic Remote to control several workflow functions remotely in Logic Pro X – project navigation and playback, recording, loading plug-ins, patches, automation, and mixing. Also, there are Touch Instruments in the Logic Remote that you can use to play software instruments in Logic Pro X and generate custom layouts for the keys you utilize most frequently.
Apart from Apple’s Logic Pro X, there are several other MIDI keyboard software available on Windows. A few examples of such software include FL Studio, Audacity, Ableton Live, and a lot more.
A MIDI controller only sends MIDI data and does not manufacture any sound. What this means is that it needs a computer which can help route it to software that generates sound. In a nutshell, you can’t use a MIDI controller as a digital piano without a computer.
For its incredible versatility and the myriad of features it comes with, the Alesis V49 Keyboard Controller is by a wide margin our top pick for the best MIDI keyboard controller for Logic Pro X. With an attractive and thorough design, coupled with the natural feeling response provided by the 49 semi-weighted keys, the reasons why this model is our Editor’s Choice aren’t far-fetched.
Our runner-up is the Akai Professional MPK249, which is also the best option for professional use. Featuring a premium construction, this unit feels sturdier and more polished than any other MIDI keyboard controller on the market. It also comes with many bells and whistles which include various faders, switches, assignable knobs, and pads.
Despite being our Budget Pick, the Akai Professional MPK MINI MK2 MKII is also our second runner-up. While its small footprint might be a turn off for some people, this model is actually a decent option. It features eight velocity-sensitive backlight MPC-style pads, octave-down and up buttons, an inbuilt arpeggiator, a sustain pedal input, and eight knobs, amongst many features.