Which MIDI Keyboard should I buy

I want to buy a MIDI Keyboard, does anyone have any suggestions experiences ;in the preselection:
Cme x key, m Audio Mini and Roland A 49 WH. Specially the last one was voted for bis ‘pianofeeling’ without any noices , when pressing the keys.
Thanks a lot and a healthy start into the new year !

I have the Roland A-49, and really like it. It needs drivers installed to work, which seems unnecessary, though you can switch it to not need them. The controls work well: I use them in Logic to set automation.

I had an M-Audio Oxygen 61 before that, which was poorly constructed and suffered from a number of problems. My experience with M-Audio products generally is not great. I shall not buy from them again.

I have a A-49 as well. I use it in the CORE midi mode without drivers as I use it with Cubasis on iPad and my Kronos as well (and thus can’t use the Roland drivers).

Its compact enough, feels good under the fingers, and can easily change channel and CC assignments from the keyboard itself. The extra control knobs are also handy.

my MIDI keyboard controller broke (USB connector simply broke off) a few months ago. Was the often recommended M-Audio 88es full size keyboard. You need to answer a few basic questions a) do you want a full size keyboard making it unnecessary to switch registers b) do you want a built-in piano or other sounds c) do you need MIDI control beyond just playing the notes d) how much do you want to pay. If you want full size and pay very little then the M-audio is still worth considering though I never really liked its action and it certainly makes noises when pressing keys. Built quality is not the best. I chose a Yamaha P-45 digital piano this time round as it can be used on its own as well as a MIDI controller and the action is fairly natural. With this or most other digital pianos, the MIDI works automatically but you don’t have separate controller knobs so certainly not great for live playing. For use mainly with notation software though, it’s worth considering

Roland controllers probably have the softest action from the makes I’ve tried out and that may be what you want. I had one over a decade ago and only sold it as I wanted full size. If a subsize unit is OK then the number of choices rises quickly and the price accordingly plummets. However the action tends to be less piano-like. The A-49WH is only 49 key but is quite cheap and sells well and could fit your needs if you don’t want it to double up as a piano and want something light and portable.


I have the CME X-key, just two octaves (I think they make a bigger size too). The pros: it is tiny and portable, you can put it in your backpack. It has the same kind of metallic design as a MacBook, the two look good next to each other. No knobs or sliders, but dedicated buttons for octave, modulation, pitch bend up/down. Its driver software isn’t necessary I think, but it’s well designed if you need to tweak settings like aftertouch (it has individual aftertouch on each key).

Cons: No piano action, it feels more like a computer keyboard; it’s a little louder than my MacBook keyboard. Because it’s only two octaves you have to use the 8va/8vb buttons a lot; they are conveniently placed, but it’s still lots of jumping around.The USB cable is standard sized on one end, but on the CME end it is a tiny, custom size, so it’s hard to find a replacement. It’s also bright orange, which makes it harder to lose.

In sum I like it a lot, but I also have a full-size midi keyboard too (Yamaha digital piano P 105). For notation, though, I usually just use the computer keyboard.

I use the novation impulse 49 as a midi cotroller for note input and works fine. If price is an issue then get a 2 octave controller just for note input. using a keyboard makes entering pitch very fast in dorico.

I use Garagekey mini, cheap and nice compact on my desk. I have enough real keyboards around;-)

I’ve got the CME XKey USB version for travelling as it fits in a hold-luggage-sized case. The connection is standard micro USB, which I have several other devices that also use it.
If you’re a Mac user and want bluetooth, they do a bluetooth version but it’s about twice the price and I think on Windows you have to plug in their bluetooth dongle - not sure as I don’t personally have one.

The octave buttons are ok, although they don’t light up, so you can’t tell which octave you are in when you first start.

Impressive that they are velocity sensitive keys, given how little travel they have.

From Yamaha you could also look at the Reface series as they also have sounds, but they are mini-sized keys.

Midi keyboards are really personal … it’s like buying a piano or a guitar, everyone has their own personal preferences. You might want to go to a music store and try a few out, just to get a feel for the action and the look and feel.

A couple of considerations:

  1. How much space do you have - enough for an 88 key keyboard? Or are you looking for something smaller you might be able to take on the road?

  2. Fully weighted action like a real piano, or semi-weighted? Piano players greatly prefer fully weighted but for note entry a semi weighted might be much more suitable.

  3. Do you also want to use for other purposes, like a sequencing program; and if so, do you need midi controller buttons that can eg control CC messages or envelopes, automation, etc. (think of synths), or maybe even a drum pad?

I have a 61 keys Roland Juno G which is a standalone synth / piano as well, plus an Akai MPK 25 on top of that. The akai is fully programmable and has transport buttons as well (play, stop, etc). I don’t use those as I have a soundcard with transport controllers as well, plus motorized faders etc.