The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (2024)

In the world of music production, a MIDI keyboard is an important tool. It’s the bridge between musical ideas and how they materialise, particularly when working with software like FL Studio.

So, to help you navigate through the sea of options, we’re here with our guide to the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio.

Our favourites

Novation FLkey 61A 61-key semi-weighted keybed and deep FL Studio integration for complete and comprehensive MIDI control with DAW transport and other extras. A good all-rounder for any level of producer, making for a fast, efficient workflow.Check the current price
Native Instruments Kontrol S49 MK349-key keybed with semi-weighted action and polyphonic aftertouch provides easily expressive playing and deep plugin control over any virtual instruments from Native Instruments.Check the current price
SubZero ControlKey61An easy-to-use, versatile controller that offers 61 velocity-sensitive keys, an LCD display, and plenty of customisation options. This is great for those who want a no-fuss setup with all the basics.Check the current price

The best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio

1. Novation FLkey 61

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (1)Key Features

  • Three chord modes for creating custom chords and scales
  • Eight knobs, nine faders, and nine buttons
  • Comes with FL Studio (Producer Edition) and premium instrument plugins

Pros

  • Effortless integration with FL Studio
  • Extensive control options via knobs and faders
  • Capability to manage plugins and automation

Cons

  • May be too large for some home studios

The Novation FLkey 61 makes a strong case as one of the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio. One thing that makes it stand out is its seamless integration with FL Studio, which simplifies the music production process. This keyboard becomes an extension of your software, allowing you to focus more on creativity and less on technicalities.

Whilst rival MIDI keys have assignable controls for certain functions, the FLkey 61 has incredibly deep levels of control that don’t require assignment.

It boasts eight knobs, nine faders, and nine buttons, providing extensive control options. These features are not just abundant; they’re also highly functional, enabling precise adjustments to your music.

Plus, there are onboard controls for plugins and automation. This means you can control your software instruments and effects directly from the keyboard, making your workflow smoother and more intuitive. And if it’s too big for your studio, Novation have a solution to that in the FLkey Mini (third on our list!).

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2. SubZero ControlKey61

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (2)Key Features

  • Velocity-sensitive 61-key MIDI keyboard
  • Compatible with PC and Mac systems
  • MIDI and USB connectivity options

Pros

  • Offers expressive playing with touch-sensitive keys
  • Easy integration with both PC and Mac
  • Enhanced control with four assignable knobs

Cons

  • Limited DAW integration for transport and plugin control

The SubZero ControlKey61 MIDI Keyboard boasts a velocity-sensitive 61-key keyboard, enabling expressive playing and precise control over dynamics. This makes it great for musicians who want a MIDI keyboard that can really capture their expression.

This keyboard plays well with both PC and Mac systems, making it a flexible option for a range of studios. What’s more, MIDI and USB connectivity options are available, ensuring seamless connection with other devices and software.

For enhanced control over various parameters, this keyboard comes equipped with four assignable knobs. This means you have the power to shape your sound just as you envision it – without having to get used to an overly complicated interface.

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3. Novation FLkey Mini

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (3)Key Features

  • Compact and portable MIDI keyboard
  • Specifically designed for FL Studio
  • Intuitive and easy-to-use controls

Pros

  • Seamless integration with FL Studio software
  • Keys are sensitive to velocity for expressive playing
  • Convenience of USB power

Cons

  • Number of keys may limit advanced players

The Novation FLkey Mini is a compact and portable version of the FLkey 61. Crafted with FL Studio users in mind, it integrates seamlessly with FL Studio software, streamlining your workflow.

Its keys are sensitive to velocity, so you can easily add dynamics and expression to your music. Plus, the convenience of USB power means you can simply plug it into your laptop and start playing – no need for an extra power source. This makes it ideal for making music on the move.

However, the FLkey Mini does have a limited number of keys. Whilst this compactness adds to its portability, it might be a constraint for advanced players.

Not sure which model to choose? For a deeper dive into the FLkey series, we’ve already made a comparison between the full-sized model and the FLkey Mini, check that out here for a closer look: FLkey – How It Makes Using FL Studio Easier.

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4. Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (4)Key Features

  • Deep, intuitive Ableton Live control
  • Creative arpeggiator with advanced features
  • RGB backlit pads and rotary encoders

Pros

  • Compact, portable design
  • Versatile DAW integration
  • Comprehensive software bundle included

Cons

  • 25 mini keys might be limiting for some producers

The Novation LaunchKey Mini MK3 is great for when creativity strikes on the go. This compact MIDI controller boasts a user-friendly interface, allowing you to sketch out musical ideas effortlessly. As well as 25 keys and 16 RGB pads, the LaunchKey Mini MK3 has an arpeggiator, fixed chord mode, and live device macro controls.

Designed with the modern producer in mind, there’s seamless integration with various DAWs, including FL Studio. The tactile feel of its controls, combined with the vibrant feedback from RGB pads, enriches your production experience, making the technical aspects of music production feel more intuitive and engaging.

Better still, the keyboard comes with Ableton Live Lite and a suite of other software offerings, so you’re ready to make music right out of the box.

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5. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (5)Key Features

  • Compact MIDI keyboard with 32 micro-size keys
  • Easy integration with NI instruments via pre-mapped controls
  • Intuitive Smart Play function for chord and scale mapping

Pros

  • High-quality keybed ensures expressive playing
  • Comes with an extensive software bundle, including Komplete Select
  • Features an intuitive OLED display for easy navigation

Cons

  • No drum pads for launching samples

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 MIDI Keyboard comes in a compact size, featuring 32 micro-size keys that make it portable and easy to use on the go. It offers pre-mapped controls for seamless integration with Native Instruments’ suite of instruments and effects, making music production a breeze.

A unique feature is the Smart Play function, which allows intuitive chord and scale mapping. This makes creating harmonies and melodies simpler and more enjoyable, even for beginners.

The high-quality keybed ensures a responsive and expressive playing experience, while the extensive software bundle, including Komplete Select, provides a wide range of virtual instruments and effects for a complete music production solution.

Better still, an intuitive OLED display forms part of the user interface, ensuring easy navigation and control.

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6. Native Instruments Kontrol S49 MK3

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (6)Key Features

  • Semi-weighted Fatar keybed with Polyphonic Aftertouch
  • High-resolution full-colour display for easy navigation
  • Eight encoders for precise control

Pros

  • Deep integration with virtual instruments for seamless control
  • Responsive and expressive playing experience
  • Intuitive interface, perfect for FL Studio users

Cons

  • Trades deeper DAW integration for Native Instruments software instrument control, which may not suit those who don’t use NI plugins

The Native Instruments Kontrol S49 MK3 is a great choice for FL Studio users. The semi-weighted Fatar keybed with Polyphonic Aftertouch ensures a responsive and expressive playing experience in which you can add depth and dynamics.

A high-resolution, full-colour display forms part of the user interface, providing a clear visual representation of parameters for you to easily navigate and control. This feature enhances workflow, enabling you to focus more on creativity and less on technicalities.

What sets this keyboard apart is its deep integration with virtual instruments. It allows for the smooth manipulation of your favourite plugins.

It also comes equipped with eight encoders, offering precise control over software parameters and making it effortless to achieve the sound you want.

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7. Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (7)Key Features

  • 25-note mini keybed enhances accurate articulation
  • Classic-style MPC pads for creative beat-making
  • Eight endless encoders for precise control

Pros

  • Compact design perfect for portability
  • Rich sound library with over 1500 sounds included
  • Built-in arpeggiator and note repeat functions

Cons

  • No pitch or modulation touchstrips – limits expression of playing

The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a MIDI marvel, making music creation a breeze for FL Studio users. Its 25-note mini keybed ensures accurate articulation and expression, enhancing your musical creations. Plus, its classic-style MPC pads are a boon for beat-makers, offering an intuitive platform for finger drumming and sample chopping.

Eight endless encoders allow you to control various parameters with precision and shape your sound exactly how you want it. And you can do this whilst on the move thanks to the keyboard’s miniature design, which also makes it suitable for small studios without compromising on functionality or features.

Adding to its appeal is the Music Production Starter Kit with over 1500 sounds. This rich library provides ample options for crafting unique tracks. The built-in arpeggiator and note repeat functions further enhance creative possibilities, making the MPK Mini MK3 a versatile tool in any music producer’s arsenal.

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8. SubZero MiniCommand

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (8)Key Features

  • 25 velocity-sensitive keys for dynamic playing
  • Eight pads for triggering samples and beats
  • Eight assignable knobs and faders for parameter control

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight design for portability
  • USB bus-powered, no need for extra power supply
  • Included software editor for mapping customization

Cons

  • Lacks aftertouch and pitch/modulation wheels

Step right into the world of music production with the SubZero MiniCommand USB MIDI Controller and Keyboard. Sporting 25 velocity-sensitive keys, it allows for expressive playing that brings your musical ideas to life. The eight pads provide a responsive platform for triggering samples and drum beats, adding rhythm and groove to your tracks.

The compact and lightweight design means it’s easy to carry around, making music on the go a breeze. And powering the device is as simple as plugging it into your computer with a USB cable, eliminating the need for an external power supply.

Customisation is at your fingertips with the included software editor. You can assign specific functions to the eight knobs and faders, giving you total control over your music production process.

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9. Keith McMillen K-Board C

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (9)Key Features

  • 25 touch-sensitive keybed with MPE for extremely expressive playing
  • Includes K-Board software editor for customisation
  • Compact, portable design with durable housing

Pros

  • Expression maximised with velocity and pressure sensitivity
  • Ideal for multidimensional sounds with MPE compatibility
  • 25 touch-sensitive keys with polyphonic aftertouch

Cons

  • No DAW integration or control features.

The Keith McMillen K-Board C MIDI Controller is a superb choice for FL Studio users. It offers a 25-key touch-sensitive keybed that features full MPE, allowing for not just polyphonic aftertouch but also response to velocity, tilt, and pressure of every single note played individually.

This opens up a wide range of expression in your playing, providing nuanced, unique performances with software instruments, sample libraries, and software or hardware synthesizers with MPE compatibility.

In addition, the K-Board software editor bundled with the controller enables you to customise your settings and parameters to your heart’s content.

Portability is another strong point of this controller. Its compact design and durable ABS polycarbonate housing make it easy to carry around, ensuring that you can create music wherever inspiration strikes. It can even be used for live performances! If you want the experience of a wholly unique keyboard, the K-Board C is a great choice.

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10. M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (10)Key Features

  • 88-note hammer-action keyboard for realistic feel
  • 16 RGB backlit pads for triggering samples
  • 9 faders and 8 knobs for hands-on control

Pros

  • Offers a premium piano-like experience
  • Provides versatile control options
  • Powerful software package included

Cons

  • Hammer-weighted keys may feel heavy or sluggish for beginner keyboard players

The M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro MIDI Keyboard is a powerhouse of features and performance. Its 88-note hammer-action keyboard brings the authentic feel of an acoustic piano right into your home studio, allowing for expressive performances.

The 16 RGB backlit pads aren’t just very aesthetically pleasing – they’re perfect for triggering samples, loops, and beats with precision. But the hands-on control doesn’t stop there. With nine faders and eight knobs, you have extensive control over your virtual instruments and DAW parameters.

The Hammer 88 Pro also comes with a powerful software package, including Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First M-Audio Edition. These tools open up a world of possibilities for your music production, offering a range of virtual instruments and sound content.

Whilst it doesn’t offer the DAW integration depth of the FLkey range, it’s a formidable alternative to many of the other keyboards on this list with a more premium key action. If you’re an FL Studio user seeking a high-quality MIDI keyboard that offers a realistic piano feel, versatile controls, and a robust software bundle, the M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro is definitely worth considering.

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Do I need a MIDI keyboard for FL Studio?

No, you don’t need a MIDI keyboard for music production. That said, most of the alternatives to using a MIDI keyboard are a little awkward and clunky, involving clicking and dragging notes around a piano roll.

Sooner or later, you’re probably going to want at least a small desktop MIDI keyboard to speed up your workflow and let you play the notes as you go. This can help you learn music theory and how to play the keyboard to some extent without you even realising it!

There are also a range of other benefits to MIDI keyboards, depending on their feature sets. Velocity sensitivity responds to how hard you press the keys, giving notes more variety and natural dynamics. Some of the faders, sliders, and encoders on the keyboard can be used to control your software instruments, or even your DAW in more advanced cases.

There are also many options with drum/sample pads that allow you to sketch out beats or even play back sound layers when performing live. This can speed up the process of music production and make it faster and easier to turn the ideas in your head into a completed track.

Plus, for those interested in working with hardware, many MIDI keyboards have five-pin DIN connectors or CV outputs for integration with hardware synthesizers or Eurorack modules, letting you control external gear and bring it into your DAW.

While not entirely necessary for production, after getting a MIDI keyboard, you’ll probably find your workflow growing to rely on it to the point that it becomes something you won’t want to go without!

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (11)

Things to consider when buying a MIDI keyboard

When thinking about purchasing a MIDI keyboard, there are several factors worth considering to ensure you get the best fit for your needs, particularly if you’re using FL Studio.

Firstly, your budget is an important consideration. The price of MIDI keyboards can vary significantly, depending on the features they offer. You’ll want to choose a keyboard that fits within your budget while also meeting your requirements.

The number of keys can dictate the complexity of what you play, so if you’re starting out and just want something functional, something simple with 25 or 37 mini keys is great, but for seasoned synth players, pianists, and composers, you’re going to want a lot more, and probably some semi-weighted keys for that heavier synthesiser-like response to your playing. A little bit of resistance in the keys can feel so much more natural.

Ease of use is another crucial factor. Look for a keyboard that’s intuitive and user-friendly, particularly if you’re new to music production. Some keyboards come with a steep learning curve, so it’s worth doing some research to find one that you can start using straight away.

Software plugins that come bundled with the keyboard can also add value. These can expand your sound library and enhance your production capabilities. So, check what software is included and whether it aligns with the type of music you want to create.

DAW controls are another feature to look out for. Having dedicated controls for your DAW can significantly speed up your workflow, allowing you to adjust parameters directly from your keyboard without needing to reach for your mouse.

Finally, if you’re into beat creation, drum pads can be a handy feature. These allow you to tap out rhythms directly on your keyboard, adding a tactile element to your beat-making process.

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (12)

FAQs

Is Akai compatible with FL Studio?

Yes, Akai is compatible with FL Studio. Many of their MIDI keyboards offer assignable encoders or faders, allowing you to control the DAW directly from your Akai MIDI controller. This compatibility enhances workflow and provides a more intuitive music production experience.

What does a MIDI keyboard do?

A MIDI keyboard functions as a versatile tool in music production. It sends MIDI signals to your computer, essentially translating your physical key presses into digital information. This data can trigger various sounds and effects within your music software, enabling you to create a wide array of musical elements.

Can beginners use MIDI keyboards?

Beginners can certainly use MIDI keyboards. These devices are designed to be user-friendly, providing an accessible entry point into music production. While some features may require learning, the basic functionality of a MIDI keyboard is straightforward, making it an ideal tool for beginners to learn and grow with.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered all kinds of MIDI keyboards, from the basic to the complex. Whilst not essential for music production, as anyone who owns one will tell you – you’ll quickly grow to rely on a MIDI controller once you get the right one. They’re a ubiquitous tool for producers of all levels, helping beginners learn the ropes, intermediates improve their workflow, and seasoned pros translate their ideas as efficiently as possible.

You have to pick one with the right features for you – and only you can say what feels right for certain: the correct keybed, drum pads, DAW integration, software instrument controls, bundled software, connectivity for external gear, and modern bonuses like polyphonic aftertouch or MPE.

We stock MIDI keyboards that offer a wide variety of these elements, and if you’re an FL Studio user, I hope our list of the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studiohas helped you find the perfect one!

Want to learn more? For those who are torn between FL Studio and Ableton, check out our comparison between the two. If you’re settling into Ableton instead, try our list of the best MIDI controllers for Ableton Live.

The 10 Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio | Gear4music (2024)

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