Best Midi Keyboard for Garageband

Making music is an essential and unique process for everyone which requires good musical instruments like MIDI controllers that generate good input and output to produce great music with quality sounds.

MIDI keyboard is a very important tool when it comes to music production in the digital world. Even though it gets complex times, the basics are very easy to understand and assess.

Musical Instrument Digital Interface popularly known as MIDI was created in 1980, is created as a communication standard for musical hardware which allows two different products to transfer performance data back and forth using a common understandable language.

They are basically used for lighting equipment, video games and to control musical equipment. They are able to transfer digital signal that gives room for performance data to be layered using several channels or multiple ports.

Best Midi Keyboard for Garageband

 

TYPES OF MIDI DEVICES

There are various types of MIDI devices that are responsible for different roles in making and recording good music.

Controllers

They are devices that are used to send out MIDI messages like keyboards and saxophones. There are also two special controllers like Zendrum which is originated from “Drumitar” a guitar-like instrument that consists of many buttons closely related to a drum machine.

While the other one is “Buchla Lightning” which includes two sticks and generates sound based on the scope and speed of whipping sticks detected by infrared sensors.

Responders

They are MIDI devices that receive MIDI data and send out audio signals such as “Lemur GuitarBot”, a machine that consists of four strings.

Sequencers

They are tools used for composing, recording, and editing notes like DAW software.

Interfaces

They are MIDI input and output that is commonly consisted of a USB port.

Virtual Devices

They are MIDI devices that send out MIDI note messages basically functional in DAW software.

These MIDI devices are commonly transferred with MIDI data to make good and quality music. They also have some distinct characteristics that make them different from other interface controllers.

CHARACTERISTICS OF MIDI CONTROLLERS

The following are the major characteristics of midi controllers.

  • They are  responsible for quick digital to the digital data transfer
  • They are easy to edit once they are recorded
  • They quantize adjustments
  • They are small size files

These characteristics are advantageous in several ways such as the following.

ADVANTAGES OF USING MIDI CONTROLLERS

  • MIDI controllers serve as a standard language between musical software and hardware.
  • They give room for sound assignments to be changed later
  • They have the ability to program drums
  • They are used to automate plugin parameters during the process of mixing
  • They can streamline the production workflow
  • They can play software instruments
  • They also control DAWs transport
  • They introduce the producer to a new way of arranging music.

 

Generally, good MIDI controller keyboards are studio essential and have the ability to take your music recordings to the next level.

A midi keyboard also called a controller keyboard is a piano-style electronic musical instrument that consists of many buttons, wheels, and sliders used to send MIDI commands through a USB or MIDI 5-pin cable to the other musical devices or PC.

MIDI keyboards that contain a sound module and the MIDI controller operate independently and perfectly well. These keyboards perform in a way that when MIDI controller is used, MIDI information on keys will be sent to a receiving device that is capable of making sounds through modeling synthesis, analog hardware instrument, and sample playback.

It is designed to function in sending MIDI data to another piece of software or hardware.

Some of these MIDI keyboards also come with pads, buttons, knobs, and pads to boost creativity and offer more control over the software. The keyboards are often designed with mapping templates for renowned DAWs like Ableton Live, FL Studio, Bitwig, and Logic Pro making the production of music easy and superb right out of the box.

MIDI Keyboard is so good that they operate by sending MIDI messages to the computer and not make any sounds. They push sounds to play in PC or Mca and other pieces of gear.

MIDI Keyboard is mostly used by artists or producers that work with digital audio workstations and software instruments in recording studios or concert stages.

Their power is also supplied through the same USB connection that moves MIDI data to the PC, while some have the option of using external power to operate.

MIDI or Controller keyboards are divided into two major categories, they are

  • Compact Controller keyboards (25 keys)
  • Larger desk-based Controller keyboards (49-88 keys)

Compact MIDI Keyboards

They are portable devices that consist of 25 midi keyboard keys with 12.5 inches and weigh 1kg and can fit perfectly well into a laptop bag. They provide pads for drums tracks and clip launching. They are also designed with handy creative tools like chord memory function and an arpeggiator.

Larger Desk-Based MIDI Keyboards

These sets of categories are bigger and desk-based options that consist of keys that range from 49 keys to 88 keys weighted hammer action keys. They also measure 35 to 58.5 inches and weigh up to 4 to 8kg.

GARAGEBAND OVERVIEW

Garageband is developed by Apple for macOS and a line of DAW for iPads, macOS, and iOS devices that gives access to users to create music or podcast. It enables the users to create different tracks with pre-made MIDI keyboards, voice recording, pre-made loops, and an array of various instrumental effects.

They also have the ability to playback multiple tracks of audio and allows users to enhance the audio track with different effects, that include, distortion and echo.  This software consists of a large selection of realistic instruments and software-modeled synthesizers.

These synthesizers can be used to establish original compositions or play music live through using the USB MIDI keyboard connected to the PC.  the synthesizers are grouped into digital and analog.

Garageband can also import midi files and offers piano roll playback and editing that is, a user can edit several aspects of a recorded note that includes velocity, duration, and pitch.

It generally operates just like a fully equipped music studio giving good quality sounds and at the same time tutoring library lessons that include rhythm, vocals, and percussion. When it is combined with Touch Bar features on a MacBook creating, recording, learning, and editing music can be a coherent process.

Best Midi Keyboard for Garageband

GARAGEBAND FEATURES

Garageband has many features that contribute greatly to the software, they are:

Touch Instruments Feature

These features are the most popular features of the software are guitar, piano, and drum are the touch digital instruments that can be played to respond with good sound.  They also ensure more realistic and quality sound while they construct a track.

Groove Track Features

These features were added as Apple’s version in 2010 for good rhythm. They are responsible for programming all the other tracks that have been selected to synchronize and adjust the timing to the chosen groove track.

All these tools’ features have made Garageband a well renowned and widely used digital audio workstation.

After being familiarized with MIDI keyboards and Garageband software, we will now proceed to the best MIDI keyboards for Gangband.

BEST MIDI KEYBOARDS FOR GARAGEBAND 

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

MIDI keyboards are one of the most essential choices you can ever make regarding songwriting and production of music with Garageband. Below is a review on selected best midi keyboards for garageband

AKAI PROFESSIONAL MPK MINI MKII

Key Features

  • Brand: Akai professional
  • Connectivity; USB
  • Compatible devices: PC
  • Color: standard
  • Number of keys: 25
  • Number of buttons:17
  • Dumensions: 7.13 x 12.52 x 1.73 inches
  • Type: Compact
  • 8 velocity rubber drum pads.

As it is known that Akai has been manufacturing high-quality musical instruments for music production, like MIDI keyboards for Grargebands for over 30 years. The Akai MPK Mini MK2 is designed and packed with 25 midi keyboard controllers with a whole range of important features such as the 8 X touch-sensitive pads and a USB connector.

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included

It is made popular by hip-hop music producers and is mostly used by finger drummers to create drum patterns with the fingertips. There are 8 x 360 degrees of rotary knobs that are used to assign manipulative and effect sounds directly from the MIDI controller.

Akai has also replaced the traditional mod and pitch wheel with a 4-way dynamic modulation thumbstick and pitch.


Pros

  • Possess great value for its money
  • Durable and portable
  • Designed with free synthesizers software
  • Consists of informative features for beginners and advanced users


Cons

  • Consists of only 25 keys
  • Constructed with plastic
  • Compactly designed, some users may prefer fewer pads and more keys.

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ARTURIA MINILAB MK11

Key Features

  • Brand: Arturia
    Size: 10
  • Dimension: 14 x 9 x 1.5 inches
  • Type: Rubber
  • 25 velocity-sensitive slim keys
  • Portable and compact MIDI controller
  • 16 assignable encoders to control the DAW.
  • USB 2.0 port
  • Pitch bend and modulation touch strips
  • Weighs 3.2 pounds

Arturia Minilab is also one of the best low-priced midi keyboards for Garageband with 16 heavy-duty, rotary encoders and thick rubbers for recording pleasures. Its portability packs many features, functions, and values.

Arturia MINILAB MKII Keyboard w/AxcessAbles Headphones

It is a great Garageband option for music producers that has a small studio. It consists of 16 heavy-duty, rotary encoders and thick rubbers for great recording pleasures. The keys and velocity behavior with a footswitch jack make it a distinct model.

The connections are nice and straightforward due to the USB connection port it contained and can be powered using laptops and phones.


Pros

  • Slim and compactly built
  • Consists of 8 frum pads and 2 banks
  • High quality and cheap
  • Excellent plugin parameters
  • Reliable performances


Cons

  • Cumbersome software installation
  • Consists of only 25 keys
  • Absence of external power input
  • Absence of midi in and out ports.

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M AUDIO KEYSTATION 49 II

Key Features

  • Brand: M-Audio
  • Size:49 keys
  • Model: M-Audio Keystation 49 II
  • Dimensions: 7.67 x 31.88 x 2.95 inches
  • 49 full size, velocity-sensitive keys
  • Pitch bend and modulation wheels
  • 6.3mm sustain pedal input
  • Includes Pro Tools, Ableton Lite, SONiVOX Eighty-Eight Ensembles, AIR Music Tech Xpand 2
  • Power: USB powered
  • Connectivity: USB connector
  • No Pads
  • No arpeggiator
  • Weight: 4.6 Ibs

M Audio Keystation 49 II is a 49- key midi controller keyboard that is very cheap, affordable, and at the same time good, with a midi keyboard compatible with Garageband. It is a basic keyboard controller that includes standard features like Pro Tools, a Lite version of Ableton Live, and many more to produce music or play the best sound and instruments.

M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 | Compact Semi Weighted 49 Key MIDI Keyboard Controller with Assignable Controls, Pitch / Modulation Wheels and Software Production Suite Included USB Powered

This is one of the best midi keyboards for Garageband compatible with Windows, Macs can be plugged and played with the USB MIDI and USB power functions. and does not take too much space due to its compact design. Its 49 keys are straightforward and easy to assess for beginners. It allows a good recording and editing process of music.

The controls are simple and the buttons are nicely designed which enables them to be clicky and feedback responsive and it generates good output.


Pros

  • Relatively cheap with great values
  • 49 full-size clicky keys
  • Features good software generating good output
  • Good transport controls
  • A great choice for beginners
  • Contains everything needed for music composition
  • Easy to access and install


Cons

  • The keys are not really sensitive and responsive when playing advanced chords
  • Absence of assignable faders, pads, or knobs
  • Keys a bit springy and stiff
  • Pretty big
  • Short USB connector

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KORG MKEYAIR 25

Key Features

  • Brand: Korg
  • Style: MicroKey air 25
  • Dimensions: 18.11 x 6.49 x 2.83 inches
  • USB connectivity
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 25 key MIDI controller
  • Music software bundle
  • Weight: 2.35 pounds
  • Compatible with Macs and Windows.

Korg MKEYAIR 25 is the best midi controller keyboard that offers good overall performances and is highly compatible with Garageband music maker. It is designed to be focused on only the basics which are important in recording and editing processes.

Korg, 25-Key Midi Controller (MKEYAIR25)

This keyboard midi controller is compactly designed with a plastic body and 25 velocity-sensitive keys that are easy and tender to touch and a Bluetooth connector. The  Bluetooth connector allows for fast and easy wireless connection with Macs, iPads,iPhone, and Windows wirelessly which makes the connection process to be easy and less stressful.

It has a very good battery that can last for at least a month or more and is endowed with free an array of powerful music software. It is the best low-budget choice that performs outrightly well.


Pros

  • Contains powerful music software
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Features a wireless connector
  • Designed with nice keys with a tender touch
  • Relatively cheap and affordable


Cons

  • Reported issues with automatic pairing
  • Keys are  relatively small

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ALESIS V49

Key Features

  • Brand: Alesis
  • Size: 49 full-sized, velocity-sensitive square-front keys
  • Model name: V49
  • 4 assignable knobs and buttons
  • Octave Up and Down buttons
  • Premium software that includes Pro Tools, First Alesis Edition, Ableton Live Lite 9 and Eleven Lite, and many more.
  • USB power and USB MIDI connectors
  • Pitch and modulation wheels.

Alesis V49 is also one of the best MIDI keyboards for Garageband. It is designed with 49 full-sized keys, 4 rotary knobs, 8 pads, and 4 banks to access instruments and sounds from inside the DAW. The rotary knobs, pads, and banks allow the keyboard’s capabilities and functions to be easily assessed by the music producers.

Alesis V49 - 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 8 Backlit Pads, 4 Assignable Knobs and Buttons, Plus a Professional Software Suite Included

The keys and the pads are very quick in response to touch and need to be clicked gently and softly.

It is a powerful intuitive MIDI controller that allows total control of music software with several quality features. The keyboard can be expanded to the full melodic range and play chords, melodies, and bass lines perfectly well.

The eight velocity-sensitive backlit pads allow the music producers to launch finger drums or clips with exceptional response, while the pitch and modulation wheels expand the expressive capabilities of performances.


Pros

  • USB powered
  • Quick responding keys
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Relatively cheap and affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • USB MIDI plug and play
  • Includes bundles of recording software like Bitwig DAW


Cons

  • The keys are stiff
  • It is weighty
  • Poor software design
  • Installed software not compatible with Linux

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NEKTAR SE25

Key features

  • Compatibility: Windows and Macs
  • MIDI input and output; UDB type B
  • 3 velocity curves
  • Number of keys: 25 mini velocity-sensitive keys
  • Key type: Velocity-sensitive controls keys
  • Connectivity: Micro USB port
  • Power: USB
  • 6 function keys assignable PB1 and PB2
  • Dimensions: 335 x 100 x 21
  • Weight: 0.4kg

Nektar SE25 is a great and best midi keyboard for Garageband and is powered by a USB type B cable. It is a great choice for music producers and the most affordable option because of its cheap price. Nektar midi keyboard controllers are compatible with all major DAWs and can perfectly fit into a laptop bag.

Nektar, 25-Key Midi Controller (IMPACT LX25+)

It is a great solution for any mobile music production setup with 25 mini keys with 6 control buttons that is very powerful to create good music and sounds. The powerful keys are the most essential part of this midi keyboard which are designed to be ultimately versatile and well playable that is, they can be played expressively with a defined and firm feel.

Also, the 6 buttons to the left of the keyboard are designed to octave shift, sustain, and transpose and can be used to control modulation.

Nektar SE25 DAW integration is designed to support Cubase, Garageband, Logic, Digital performer, FL studio, Mixcraft, Reason, Sonar, Reaper, Bitwig, and Studio one respectively.


Pros

  • It is very cheap and affordable
  • It is very light weighted
  • It is used user friendly and easy to use
  • Consists of Bitwig DAW and other recording software
  • Designed with a good DAW integration
  • Consist of 3 different Velocity sensitivities.


Cons

  • Absence of pads
  • It is fragile and not really durable
  • It usually underrated

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