The transition of the professional recording studios to the homemade versions was a key landmark in the music industry which made recording more economical and ultimately let to the emergence of young and talented artists.
While the simple DAWs are credited for this drastic change, its popularity over time had also increased.
While the Garage Band of Apple was credited as one of the best DAWs in the music industry for many years (mainly due to the fact that it’s a free DAW), it is a well-known fact that the Logic Pro X is growing in popularity in recent times.
The new MIDI keyboard integration in the DAWs has been the key in this transition and therefore, the need to know the best MIDI controllers for the Logic Pro X is an absolute necessity in the contemporary music field.
Hence, this post will feature as a helpful guide to select the best MIDI keyboards for the Logic Pro X.
It will also include all the criteria and the pros and cons of each keyboard along with its distinctive features.
Top 5 Best MIDI Controllers For Logic Pro X
In a rush? Here is a quick rundown for you:
Here are the top 5 contestants, let’s look:
This brand is called out for its average quality, but still makes a decent entry to this list.
Although it does not get the praise it deserves in the market as the Akai or M-Audio does, this still is a good brand for beginners who are searching for a low-cost product that gets the job done.
Alesis usually sacks up to be a brand that is quite often known for budget buying in the music field.
This is also reflected in the shape and the consistency of the products, which is the inherent issue of this product.
More specifically, Alesis had numerous issues with the velocity action keyboard over time. The activation of the velocity action wasn’t well received in the industry.
This was because trying to activate the velocity at exceptionally low or extremely high settings tended to miss the sweet spots more often than not.
Hence, it might be wiser to keep the velocity action at a consistent setting and not changing it while at the same time adapting to that playing style.
Although this is not the ideal and the perfect way to get by, it will get the job done.
In standard functionality, however, the Alesis is a fairly decent contender.
The MIDI controller provides 16 MIDI pads that are lighted and respond to velocity.
While they may feel a bit stiff at first, their response does seem to remain consistent.
Moreover, this may be the most portable MIDI keyboard on the list, making it a solid option for live performances.
- Includes a lighted MIDI Pad with 16 pads
- Less expensive than the rest
- A more compact MIDI keyboards on the list
- Complicated custom setup
- Keys squeak and feel cheap
- Does not provide setting banking to expand programming options
Akai MPK 249
Akai as a rich history when it comes to the field of electronic music.
The brand started manufacturing MIDI controllers back in the 1980s and had been a success ever since mainly through trial and error.
This also makes the quality and consistency of this brand higher than the rest.
The main sector that Akai does its best at is its ability to integrate with the DAW which offers every user of any experience level to do anything they want with this MIDI controller.
Akai’s mapping software is a real asset to musicians on the go due to its high ease plug-and-play MIDI keyboard that is ready to go in a flash.
However, there will be issues with setting up all 80 total controls once the banks are included.
The user will, therefore, have the extra burden of investing significant time in figuring out how to set everything up.
Adding to that, the response of the encoders can be a bit finicky–especially when trying to record the effect-layered audio back to an external device.
- Includes a robust 16 lighted MIDI pads
- Allows DAW control from the keyboard
- Provides a wealth of possible controls with various banks for each function
- One of the more expensive MIDI keyboards.
- The encoders can be a bit hit or miss
- Can take a while to customize and map the functions
M-Audio Axiom Air 32
M-Audio is the direct competitor to the Akai series and it has been for decades.
However, the brand is slightly unconventional when it comes to products that can be seen clearly through its products.
As an example, both brands of Akai and M-Audio offer a MIDI keyboard with good mapping software for their controls and a typical user will feel more comfortable with whichever brand that was used first.
However, the M-Audio machines tend to be harder to customize in the long run when this happens.
Even the encoders of the M-Audio come with their issues–though, in this case, it does not affect the encoder’s translations which makes it more consistent.
The resolution of the knobs is also low, making them less effective for live performances although it wouldn’t be practical to use this product live given the size of it.
While it is not huge, it is one of the heavier products on the list and also one of the largest in dimensions.
This also is the reason for the key bed feeling fairly solid with adequate velocity and even offer aftertouch effects.
- Easy and accurate MIDI mapping with DirectLink
- One of the better displays with more simultaneous information
- The keyboard feels solid enough and provides aftertouch effects
- Custom setups can be time consuming and unintuitive
- Low encoder resolution makes using knobs tedious
- The size of the MIDI can be at a disadvantage for live performances.
Nektar Impact LX61
This is a keyboard that is well suited for beginners given its many qualities and features though this does not mean it doesn’t fair well with the more experienced professionals and the intermediates.
The qualities of the keyboard are specifically crafted to beginners who are just starting to dive into deep waters of music production.
The software integration of Nektar easily takes the limelight which has been carefully crafted over years of experimentation.
Aside from this, the product features automapping for most of the widely used DAWs, it is also one of the easier MIDI keyboards to customize.
This feature is a drastic change when compared with the other contenders in this list, of which many customizations are harder to carry on.
However, this quality greatly helps the budding musicians trying to poke the hands of production.
Therefore, having a MIDI controller that could be customized easily is a haven for beginners.
However, the product also has some issues of its own, which is usually self-explanatory given its price.
The keybed and their actions are not ideal, with the keys feeling cheap and the actions feeling inconsistent.
- The least expensive MIDI keyboard on the list
- Software is easily integrated and customized
- Mixer controls feel solid during use
- Rubber coating tends to come off easily
- Other models can handle more weight
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 49
This brand is arguable, a well-reputed brand in the music field which focuses a lot on professional applications to music.
While this product cannot be near to the quality of the elite Korg and similar products, it does offer some professional quality to a low budget, making it a good choice for beginners who want to turn pro.
Though the term ‘low – budget’ is subjective, the underlying selection of this product to our list was its ability to offer more professionalism than the rest of the products.
Due to this reason, the product takes a high price from the standpoint of this list and its inclusions.
The Fatar keybed and various controls of the Komplete Kontrol–especially the touch strips–are exceptionally well-tuned to a point that the user can achieve a professional level of response from them.
However, this is also the only MIDI keyboard on the list that does not feature a touchpad which seems like a glaring omission from an otherwise stellar piece of hardware.
This can be counter-attacked by connecting a touchpad externally.
Moreover, the Komplete Kontrol suffers from clunky software use and integration–even with the inclusion of Komplete 10 and Komplete 10 Ultimate.
- Multi-purpose touch strips are more versatile than wheels
- The Fatar keybed feels solid and responsive
- Numerous features for beginner users to help learn
- Does not come with a MIDI pad
- The most expensive MIDI keyboard on the list
- The native software is hard to use
How To Find The Right MIDI Controller
For Logic Pro?
Here are a few things one should keep in mind when buying a MIDI keyboard for Logic Pro X:
Logic Pro Integration
While this review focuses on the different MIDI controllers to use with the Logic Pro DAW, it would be disappointing if the other functionalities weren’t talked about.
The main of a DAW is not about MIDI keyboards, but they are the main part of that structure.
While this would be covered in the various products stated below, the integration of the MIDI controllers should also be talked about for the more advances to users who will need a custom setup depending on the intended use.
Hence, when it comes to customization, some of the keyboards mentioned below will be easier to customize than the rest while some would prove the exact opposite.
All of the systems offer some form of custom setup operation, but the time it takes is another matter.
Some keyboards would be able to customize and integrate quickly while some others would take more and more time.
It all depends on the system and the preference of the producer.
Number of Keys
However, it is also very important to notice the number of keys before purchasing more keys would come in handy in the long run, especially is performing live.
The MIDI keyboards are made with a wide range of keys, depending on the make and model.
The range of the keys offered professionally in MIDI controllers often includes 25, 32, 37, 49, 61, and 88 keys.
While a full piano is equipped with 88 keys, most MIDI keyboards generally provide only 49.
A huge keyboard will also not be necessary if there is no need to produce music that shifts octaves numerous times and in quick succession.
Having said the above, the best features of a quality workstation controller is the ability to change the octave with a button, wheel scroll, knob turn, or even pre-programming–depending on the keyboard.
As such, even a half set of keys if often more than enough to get a full octave range for most music.
This function is impacted a lot by the musicians’ ability and the product of creation.
But, its best to opt for a quality whatever the case is given the fact a sub-quality keyboard wouldn’t do the trick, even for a musician with very high skill and expertise.
It all depends on the collective effort of the musician along with the quality of the equipment used.
However, this happens to be an area that many MIDI controllers fail in comparison to the ones that aren’t designed for any professional use.
The general perception of MIDI keyboards is that it works best if the acoustic touch of the equipment is perceived.
Although some music producers at the top of their game feel that this is the case, many others aren’t satisfied with this key action.
In another technical aspect, the key actions are graded generally along with two metrics: the response and the velocity.
While the response stands for the feel of the keyboard in a more tactile level which is also considered to a real piano, the velocity determines how the keyboard translate the keypress in terms of speed and intensity.
To put things into perspective then, only a few MIDI controllers offer the seasoned professional setting for Logic Pro, although generally many are good equipment to produce quality music pieces of electronic music, but not with the Logic Pro.
If the MIDI controller’s velocity is inconsistent, it can make playing with any finesse difficult to impossible.
This is a key function that makes a MIDI controller what it is.
The ability to carry it from one place to another without much hassle, which at the end of the day makes all the difference.
Even in the new musical era with homemade amateur workstations which are more difficult to carry around, the MIDI controller has made all the difference in its portability.
Combining this portability with the DAW supporting system, which more generally means a laptop or a tablet along with the MIDI keyboard which generally is the best hardware to work with, makes the perfect coupling of portability to be ready on the go for live performances at different locations.
In this regard, the weight of the MIDI controller will generally be more relevant than the size and the number of keys and arrangement of controls will often determine the dimensions.
However, the weight can vary by as much a thirty percent from one MIDI keyboard to the next.
The primary function of the MIDI controllers is the ability to provide onboard control of many tuning features.
Also, it’s worthwhile to note that numerous forms of hardware offer a keypad, but not all of them provide the ability to adjust and tune the instrumentation on board.
Therefore, it is vital to know the exact purpose of the MIDI controller that one needs to use.
A common mistake lots of musicians make while buying the keyboard is the over excitement on the features of the keyboard and purchasing equipment which doesn’t suit the needs.
The best way to overcome this is to know the expected features and the purpose of the equipment beforehand.
Still, it is important to make sure that the MIDI keyboard offers the number of controls which the musician needs while offering more features which enables the musician to grow further as the skills advance and tackle tougher and more complex projects.
Choosing a MIDI controller that is suitable for everyone alike is a mission impossible.
The tastes, aspirations, and the creativity of each individual is different and it is vital to select a product than enhances it.
Hence, there is no correct answer and no right or wrong either.
However, the products given in the list are professionally acclaimed and time tested, which will save the players some time and money in choosing subpar quality instruments.
That being said, always stick with the best that suits you!
Figuring out which MIDI keyboard is the best MIDI controller for Logic Pro X does not leave us with a clear answer.
The projects you intend to use the device for coupled with your experience should help inform you though.
For instance, if you are producing audio for cinema or ambient purposes, the highly responsive Native Instruments may provide a cleaner experience, and you will not miss the absence of a MIDI touchpad as much as some music producers might.
Last update on 2020-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API