4 Best MIDI Controllers for Cubase of 2020

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Many producers use Cubase for making music, and it is one of the most popular DAWs among artists and music producers.

It is one of the best DAWs I ever had the pleasure of using, thanks to its user-friendliness and ability to integrate well with the hardware I own.

I have tried using a lot of MIDI controllers with Cubase, and I want to breakdown some of the best options for you in this article.

If you are a beginner in music production and happen to choose Cubase as your DAW of choice, I have prepared a list of the best MIDI controllers for you to use.

You don’t need anything crazy expensive.

As long as you have a MIDI controller with all the essential functions you need to create music, then you are good to go.

With that being said, the best MIDI controller for Cubase should function and integrate well with your DAW.

As long as your MIDI controller is equipped with keys, pads, knobs, and a couple of useful features like pitch and mod wheels, it should do the job.

If you are a Cubase user, I want to show you some of the best MIDI controllers that you should definitely check out.

All of these options have excellent quality based on my personal experience, and I really enjoyed using them.

Whether you are a serious producer or like to make music as a hobby, having a good-quality controller is a good idea.

The Akai MPK Mini MK2 is one of the best MIDI controllers for beginners, and I almost always recommend this controller to anyone who is looking for a cheap and reliable controller for music production.

I am surprised how MIDI controllers improved through the years, and even if I already have enough MIDI controllers, there is a part of me that really wants to have them all, especially the new ones that are pre-mapped to work with most DAWs such as Cubase.

4 Best MIDI Controller for Cubase of 2020

In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:

For Keyboard Players
Arturia KeyLab 61 Essential | 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
Top Pick
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
Best MIDI Pads
AKAI Professional MPD218 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Controller With MPC Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Production Software Included
Powerhouse
Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
Arturia KeyLab 61 Essential | 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
AKAI Professional MPD218 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Controller With MPC Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Production Software Included
Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
For Keyboard Players
Arturia KeyLab 61 Essential | 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
Arturia KeyLab 61 Essential | 61 Key MIDI Controller Keyboard
Top Pick
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII – 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Drum Pads, 8 Assignable Q-Link Knobs and Pro Software Suite Included
Best MIDI Pads
AKAI Professional MPD218 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Controller With MPC Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Production Software Included
AKAI Professional MPD218 | 16-Pad USB/MIDI Controller With MPC Pads, 6 Assignable Knobs, Production Software Included
Powerhouse
Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller
Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller

Let’s look at our top contestants now:

#1 Akai MPK Mini MK 2:
Top Pick

Akai MPK Mini MK 2 - best cubase keyboard for beat making

The Akai MPK Mini MK 2 is one of the best MIDI controllers ever created.

It is equipped with all the essential functions.

It has keys, pads, knobs, and modulation controls that will make music production more fun and easy.

Plus, it is very affordable and comes with free software instruments.

I recommend this controller for both beginners and experienced products.

It is easy to set up and easy to use, making it the best choice if you are looking for something affordable and reliable.

The only thing I didn’t like about this controller is the keys.

After using it or a couple of live performances, the keys broke off.

Other than that, the MPK Mini is one o the best-selling MIDI controllers in the market.

Key Features:

  • 25 keys
  • 8 pads
  • 8 knobs
  • Pitch and mod wheel
  • Arpeggiator
  • Octave selector

Final Verdict

The Akai MPK Mini MK 2 is a very functional MIDI controller that is equipped with everything you need to start making music.

It comes with the software you need, and VSTs that work with Cubase.

It is a portable controller that you can take with you anywhere.

#2 Akai MPD218:
Best MIDI Pads

Akai MPD218 - best beat making midi keyboard for cubase

If you are into using pads for making beats, the Akai MPD218 is an excellent choice for Cubase.

It is an inexpensive choice, and the pads feel incredible and responsive.

It integrates well with Cubase and most DAWs, and the pads are pre-mapped, so all you need to do is plug it in and start creating sick beats.

Key Features:

  • 16 velocity-sensitive pads
  • Backlit LED
  • 6 functional knobs
  • Affordable

Final Verdict

Overall, the Akai MPD218 is the best budget pad controller for beginners and experienced music producers alike.

If you are looking for a decent pad controller for triggering samples and making drum beats, this controller is the one for you.

#3 Native Instruments Maschine 3:
Best Premium Option

Native Instruments Maschine 3 - best pro midi keyboard for cubase with pads and faders

This high-end pad controller is a step-up from the Akai MPD218.

The Maschine 3 is one of the best premium options, and it works well with all DAWs, including Cubase.

Plus, it comes with cool software that you can use.

The pads feel really nice.

I have never felt anything quite like it on any other MIDI controller.

The interface might look confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it is excellent for live performances and MPC-style music creation.

Key Features:

  • High-resolution full-color display
  • Large pads
  • Touch-sensitive knobs
  • Combined hardware and software instrument

Final Verdict

The Native Instruments Maschine 3 is an excellent MIDI controller that combines hardware with software.

It may be an expensive option, but if you have the budget, it is definitely worth buying.

#4 Arturia Keylab MK II 61:
Best For Keyboard Players

Arturia Keylab MK II 61 - best 61 key midi keyboard for cubase for beginners

If you are a keyboard player and want to make the most out of keys, the Arturia Keylab 61 MK II is an excellent choice for you.

It is equipped with a combination of keys, 16 RGB pads, and knobs.

It also comes with 5 control inputs and many more.

This option has the best functionality for any kind of producer.

Plus it can integrate well with most DAWs including Cubase.

All the controls are pre-mapped for any DAW, saving you a lot of set up time.

The best thing about the Keylab 61 is the aftertouch that makes recording and live performances more expressive.

Key Features:

  • Ultra-responsive keyboard action
  • Aftertouch enabled keys
  • 16 RGB backlit pads
  • 9 fades
  • 9 rotary encoders

Final Verdict

The Arturia Keylab 61 MK II is more than a capable MIDI controller for any kind of producer.

The past about is the keys with enabled aftertouch.

This feature alone makes this keyboard worth buying.

Do I Need a MIDI Controller for Cubase?

Do I Need a MIDI Controller for Cubase to make beats

You can produce full tracks and albums on Cubase even without a MIDI controller.

However, having a MIDI controller will allow you to maximize the use of Cubase and any other DAW.

Instead of programming MIDI tracks, you can use a MIDI controller and record your parts.

This aspect gives your tracks a natural human touch.

The notes may not lineup perfectly, but you can always fix it later.

With a MIDI controller, you can also create fantastic drum tracks using the pads, and record automation with the knobs, filters, and mod wheels.

You can do everything I described without a MIDI controller, but using a controller makes music creation much more expressive.

Plus, it is entertaining!

By trying out different controllers, you will notice that each controller works the same but offer something different.

Some have cool features and controls that can manipulate effects in real-time, and Cubase is such an outstanding DAW that maximizes the use of MIDI controllers.

How to Choose 
the Best MIDI Controller for Cubase?

How to Choose the Best MIDI Controller for Cubase

All music producers have a different process in making music and Choosing the right MIDI controller is vital, so here are some features to consider:

Functionality

The overall functionality is the most crucial factor you need to consider.

Choosing a MIDI controller with functions irrelevant to what you need can be such a waste.

Some MIDI controllers also function more poorly than others.

Luckily, the four choices above work great.

Features

When choosing a MIDI controller, make sure you select an option with the features you need.

If you want to play chords, make sure you choose a MIDI keyboard controller.

If you are more into using pads for creating synth chords, drums, and triggering samples, select something with velocity-sensitive rubber pads.

If you want a mixture of pads, keys, and knobs, there are a ton of capable options.

Keys

If you are a piano player, do not expect a MIDI controller to have the same feel and size as an acoustic piano.

If you are not comfortable with how the keys feel, you can try looking for a digital piano or keyboard with the right action and feel.

As long as it has USB connectivity, you can use it with Cubase.

Free Software

Most MIDI controllers come with FREE software licenses and VSTs.

If you are using Cubase, you can take advantage of the free VSTs that would be perfect additions to your virtual instrument collection.

Conclusion

There are so many MIDI controllers to choose from, and most of them work well with DAWs like Cubase.

I could add more options to the list, but I only stuck with the ones that I have tried and tested. Just remember, when choosing the best MIDI controller for Cubase, you need to determine what kind of music you will be making and work from that.

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API