What are the major buying considerations and frustrations regarding buying the right keyboard?
The musical options, with the right keyboard, are nearly endless! With one push of a button, you can create hundreds of different melodies, rhythms, beats as well as controlling your other selection of instruments easily with one piece of equipment. That piece is called a MIDI controller.
A MIDI keyboard’s major advantage is that It provides you the benefits of a lightweight and portable keyboard system alongside a connection interface.
It is extremely easy to set up with just a USB cable and, with a laptop, offers a portable music studio that you can enjoy wherever you are.
Within the hip- hop genre, the ability to quickly adapt your music on the stage and prepare for every performance with ease makes possessing one of these devices a priceless choice for every modern music producer.
The market is filled with thousands of options, and you might be overwhelmed since not every option is suited for your needs so your option should be based exclusively on what kind of needs you have as a musician and what options you require for fulfilling them.
In general, summing up a few criteria from which you can deduce your needs are as follows:
– The cost: You are getting yourself an all in one package that gets most of a usually complex job done in a matter of minutes, so you can expect those upper-class models (such as the famous KeyLab 61 MkII) to go from a price range of around $500, to complete miniature club-level keyboards such as the DDJ-1000 that offers a lot of options for any musical endeavor but at the price of $1,199.
– The number of keys – for basic hip hop production, in most cases a 25- 49 key is a good start, with 88 ones presenting advanced levels of playing and effects added to the mix.
– Portability – A fantastic feature preferred by many beatmakers and hip hop artists, it can be especially handy in cases where often moving music equipment is necessary, also includes a better feel of the keyboard.
– Musical skill– Will you create simple beats for a rap song or create a virtual orchestra to make a hip hop epic? Different skillsets accommodate different keyboards.
– Keyboard action – For a producer with a different taste, the execution of your hip hop music can be accommodated with options that include the Weighted Hammer ( replicates the feel of a piano), ) Semi-Weighted ( less resistance and more spring included ) and Synth ( a favorite among DJ’s and modern producers alike, this option allows playing in quick succession and on-stage flexibility.
– I/O – Basic connectivity and USB support are present in most modern models, while additional functionality, as a rule, goes with more expensive models but it depends on the needs of your production.
– Ease of control – This is especially important for on-stage performance and changing beats and rhythms.
1. Yamaha MOXF8
As one of the pioneering leaders of the music industry, Yamaha presents the continuation of a long-standing tradition with this keyboard that never ceases to amaze, with MOXF8 presenting itself in almost flawless light within the industry.
This keyboard gives you a true experience of complete control over your creative endeavor. During every production, you can mix a combination of four tones, the ability to record thirty-two entire tracks and add attachments such as a microphone and a mixer. The highest standards for hip hop production are at your fingertips.
This keyboard comes with hefty 88 keys which replicate the flawless elegance of a piano with 16 diverse audio categories which can be mixed/split up at your preference.
This keyboard is equipped with 136 varied voices that you can use in your production, alongside unique piano tones that are of the same quality as a real acoustic piano.
MOXF8 comes equipped with all the tools that enable it to be a standalone music production tool, without any need for a computer, with MOTIF XF technology that features an exclusive addition of an already wide palette of samples and effects to choose from as well as Flashboard to add one of your own choices to the mix.
On top of that, it is compatible with USB and MIDI interfaces.
Out of all keyboards for hip hop production, few can stand up to the high standards this Yamaha’s keyboard set, the only downside being the expensive price.
- 88 keys that provide you with the widest selection of sounds and samples you can imagine.
- State of the art computer integration system makes the keyboard the center of music production.
- Despite being a 88 key keyboard, it is lightweight and convenient.
- Weighted Hammer keyboard action that replicates the unique feel of piano play.
- Access to 16 virtual instrument groups and sub-groups.
- User- friendly software and easy learning curve.
- The keys are fully weighted and comfortable to play
- Unmatched sound quality
- A well made onboard workstation
- The price is quite high
- The keyboard and its keys require gentle handling
- The interface can be complicated to use at first
2. Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII
One of the best portable options you can get, this little MIDI controller offers huge control, adjustability, and portability in one small package, a true innovation in every range of modern music production. It comes with 25 keys but it is not an obstacle in this case.
The keyboard wide range of music creation software, such as the MPC Essentials which is a choice among many hip hop artists for its beat/groove selection of music which allows you to make your music right off the bat, with the addition of Hybrid 3 and Wobble which incorporate effects and sound to appease any modern musical trend, as a standalone option or an addition.
What makes this beautifully designed keyboard such an appealing choice is fantastic compatibility with a huge assortment of DAW’s and it works like a charm on both Windows and Mac, but that is not even the half of its great features.
This keyboard comes with Akai’s famous software, VIP, that has received numerous awards for its outstanding specifications within the industry. It gives you unmatched control over your selection of virtual instruments and special effects alike, amplifying your beats to a whole new level.
That’s not all, alongside the keyboard you will get access to a preset management system, MKII MIDI Editor, which will give you even more customization options to set up your software and hardware on Windows and Mac, saving you a lot of time on configuration and giving you more time to do what you love.
It offers a smooth and enjoyable set usage that is both simple and effective for a modest price, making it a great choice for both beginners and professionals alike with its easy learning curve and wide range of tools that are extremely easy to set up and use.
Home recording and production has never been easier, and this keyboard will ensure you get the best experience out of modern music production.
- MPC drum pads, authentic and high quality.
- 25 highly functional synth-action keys.
- 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keys.
- 8 knobs that can be assigned functions such as resonance, cut-off in real-time.
- Sustain pedal input.
- It comes with a built-in arpeggiator that resonates with a more “house-style “ feel that you can add to your beats.
- Optional downloadable samples and special effects that can add flair to your production.
- Excellent adaptability.
- Software included: MPC Essentials, Sonivox Wobble, and Air Music Tech’s Hybrid.
- A great number of options and software quality.
- Portability and solid built.
- Excellent connectivity and wide range of features.
- It is a 5-year-old keyboard that is slowly showing its age
- The small size of the keys may cause the fingers to get cramped, especially after a long period of play.
- The lack of velocity settings for its keys
3. Alesis V49
Looking for an easy, affordable and compact keyboard that can accommodate all the needs of a genre that empathizes making beats and practicality? Look no further, as this is a universal option for you.
One of Alesis’s prized keyboards, this performance-oriented piece of equipment has a velocity receptive 49 keysets with highly interactive controls, even above the set standards of a MIDI keyboard.
This keyboard’s affordability and specifications fall within a high- performance keyboard group. Sporting a sleek and compact design while weighing 6.28 pounds, it is perfect for carrying around everywhere.
The buttons on this keyboard are visually appealing, with trigger pads that illuminate beautifully in the dark that can be used from simple operations such as programming chords to drum sequencing in an instant.
The practicality and power it brings out sets it apart as a go-to option for making beats and bombastic stage performances that require speed and precision.
This keyboard is assigned 4 backlit knobs and 4 buttons that are established as assignable functions for your instruments.
This keyboard was made with the idea of making beats and general composition and production without any hassle or requirements.
- Excellent construction and feel
- The price is really affordable
- Fantastic control and functionality
- Premium Software tools: Ableton Live Lite 9, Mini Grand, DB 33 and Xpand 2
- 8 reactive backlit pads that are fantastic for making beats as well as clip launching
- A control layout that is easy to get a hang of and master with some practice.
- 49 keys that offer a great range of options.
- Affordable price.
- The quality you get is top-class. With the option to customize the velocity sensitivity of its wide keys.
- The fantastic construction quality of the product, none of its controls feel rickety.
- Lacks control for DAW and arpeggiator.
- Controls are limited.
- Due to the sharp edges of the keys, it can be uncomfortable to play for long hours.
4. Nektar Panorama P4
One of the best keyboards you will ever find when it comes to utilising Reason, this choice is a real treat for every producer.
This keyboard has superb integration with almost any DAW which will resolve any worry you might have regarding compatibility.
As a 49 key keyboard, this device ranks among the top with a wide selection of tools you can use to control your digital instruments and bring your music to life.
- Full-sized keys with 12 sample pads and rotary knobs
- Motorized faders
- A modern and futuristic design, it is pleasing to the eye and conveniant for production and performance in equal measure.
- Motorized faders need their own power supply, so you will need to buy a 3rd party USB power to use them
- Driver integration and initial setup can be problematic, especially for people who had no prior experience with these devices.
5. Korg Kronos
After it was introduced to the public in 2011 this keyboard completely revolutionized the entire concept of a keyboard workstation.
This flagship keyboard was the keyboard that pushed the limits of what a keyboard can do. With its 9 distinctive sound engines and an upgraded version of the Karma engine that was introduced in a previous model.
This keyboard gives out a performance closest to classical instruments than almost any keyboard within and outside its category, hence why it was crowned the “King of music production”, this keyboard will bring your ideas to life!
- A flawless sound engine and design
- Limitless flexibility and music production options
- Adjustable and rather light, a well-built keyboard that feels and looks great
- One of the most expensive keyboards you will ever find
- The interface is dated
- It is not beginner-friendly, exclusively made for serious producers mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.