Favorite keyboard controller

What is your favorite keyboard controller (non 88-key) when using Dorico? I’m considering an Akai MPK261 61-key controller.

I find the M-Audio Keystation mini 32 very handy, though it’s really only any good for one-handed input.

Honestly, if you’re looking for a simple MIDI keyboard for input, pretty much anything is fine. Alesia makes a VI49 that’s great. Akai is good too.

The challenge comes when you’re looking for a weighted, full-size performance keyboard. If not, just buy one that has fancy buttons and is on sale!

I wanted a portable one for travel, and even my office have limited desk space, so got the CME Xkey 25. 25 keys is pretty limiting, so I have to hit the octave buttons a lot, and hard to test out semi-widely spaced harmony. Otherwise it’s really great for Dorico. It’s works well with a laptop as the width is similar to a regular computer keyboard.

If I had more space I’d get at 3 or maybe 4 octaves, but not sure if 88 keys would help my workflow.

Yes, the big advantage with the CME Xkey is the full size of the keys. (Fingers find the keys to press without looking as much as one needs with small keys). The compact design works on the desk. It’s brilliant.


I used to have a CME Xkey 25, but eventually the limited range annoyed me too much. While many instruments in an orchestra or ensemble rarely exceed a working range of 2 octaves, this range is hardly ever between c and c, so octave switching still occurs very often. Now I have an XKey 37, and octave switching during input has become quite rare. I do play the piano, but I’m not a great pianist, so I don’t use the keyboard for two-handed real-time input anyway. I like the XKey’s slim design and simplicity, and one point that’s often overlooked: the distance between the keys matches a ‘normal’ piano, so I can rely on my muscle memory when inputting music while looking at my screen or sheet music.
Before the XKey, I had a 4-octave M-Audio keyboard which was terrible: not only was it a stupid bulky piece of empty plastic with heavy, ‘deep’ keys without a clear ‘bottom’, but the keys were also too big (i.e. too wide), so that the octave ‘feel’ was wrong and I had to look at my hands when playing. Glad I tossed that piece of rubbish out. Maybe newer versions are better now.

I’ve used Doepfer for decades. Fatar keybed’s which are the best in the business.