Best Keyboard For Making Beats: From Beginners to Advanced Options

Many music producers at the entrance level hardly consider using keyboards to create beats, arguing that online sound modules, computer keywords, or online piano rolls are far enough.

However, professional producers will always recommend looking for the best keyboard for making beats.

Keyboards are useful for generating draft ideas before you record them into computer software. Play different tracks to choose a few catchy choruses instead of wasting your time to arm and disarm tracks on the computer.

Don't believe that keyboards work? - Then, try out the following picks for your next musical composition, and you will thank us!

Last update on 2021-10-24 at 10:15 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


How To Buy The Best Keyboard For Making Beats?

Beat Making Keyboard

Why should you buy a beat making keyboard?

Experience & Types Of Keyboards

Beginner

A novice producer - particularly with little familiarity with piano, only needs a basic keyboard with at least 49 keys, plus knobs and drum pads.

Why should there be 49 keys rather than the 25 ones?

Beginners often make progress quickly. 25-key keyboards get boring after a few months.

Moreover, you will want to consider using a synthesizer - an electronic beat making keyboard capable of producing a variety of sounds from musical instruments to sound effects.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Having enough sound options
  • Able to connect with other equipment

Cons:

  • Usually not very durable
  • Limited in belts and whistles

Intermediate

In case you are leveling up to be an intermediate music producer, you definitely want more keys and features. That time, a controller keyboard can cover your requirements.

It might not often have built-in features for creating sound but rather transmitting MIDI data to other software or devices.

Pros:

  • For computer-based music creators
  • MIDI connection to many other devices
  • Compact and easy to use

Cons:

  • Not have onboard audio
  • Computer required

Advanced

Professional producers need advanced sound customization. Thus, they need to connect to a variety of multimedia devices and audio systems to simulate as many sounds as possible.

Then, we recommend using workstation keyboards which usually have their own computer systems and advanced options.

Pros:

  • Often weighted keys
  • Synced computer and sound systems
  • Many keys, notes, and pads options

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Hard to use

The Number Of Keys

Keyboards usually have from 25 to 88 keys. The more keys offer wider sound choices, but it also means being harder to use.

What number to select from is according to the level. For example, beginners desire a device with about 49 keys, while professionals will want to have a full of 88 keys.

It is also related to the music genres you intend to create. However, for many EDM or hip-hop producers, the number of keys is sometimes not as important as the number of pads.

Keyboard Actions

Actions indicate how the keyboard will react to your finger when you press, also known as its firmness. They have two options: unweighted or weighted keys.

Unweighted keys are extra responsive so that you can create sounds instantly and flexibly. Intermediate or advanced music producers often prefer this type.

In contrast, beginners should choose weighted keys because it has a traditional piano drum feel and helps to play more accurately.

Ease Of Use and Connectivity

MIDI compatibility

Most modern keyboards are MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) compatible - which means they allow signal transmission and reception with a variety of hardware and software such as external sound modules or VSTs.

Computer connectivity

Most music producers usually make music with music composition programs, keyboards - so a connection to a computer is required.

Sampler/Recording capabilities

As mentioned above, keyboards help music producers try out draft ideas instantly. The recording function is essential for saving and transferring them to online music-making tools.

Brands And Pricing

Since you'll be working with keyboards often, it's best to consider devices from reputable manufacturers. They may be more expensive than the market but totally worth it.

However, there is also a big difference between synthesizers, MIDI controllers, and workstations within the same brand.

Top 5 Best Keyboard To Make Beat

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 - Best Overall

Cheap but durable

The Komplete Kontrol A49 is one of the Native Instruments' cheapest keyboards made entirely of plastic. Surprisingly, it is far more durable than other affordable keyboards.

The case is solid rather than being cheesy plastic, stable sound, and semi-weighted keys, etc.

Compact and portable dimension

The A49 keyboard by Native Instruments is quite light. Its dimensions are 35 x 14 x 6 inches, and the weight is 8.8 lbs. You can hold the keyboard in one hand and carry it in your backpack, taking it to the studio.

The number of keys - as the name suggests, is 49. We recommend this number when you want to adjust the sound and add effects. Besides keys, the A49 has eight touch encoders and 4D encoders.

The keys are semi-weighted, which means you will feel less rigid than real piano keys. This type of key will be suitable when you are in the intermediate stage and you need responsive keyboards to practice playing music faster.

Compatible with many software

Native Instruments has a natural software called Komplete Kontrol for all of their keyboards. The A49 is no exception.

In addition, the keyboards also have MIDI connectivity to receive and transmit data through software such as Gentleman, Reaktor Prism, Monark, Reaktor Blocks Wired, Scarbee Mark I, Reaktor 6 Player, Kontakt 6 Player, Guitar Rig 5 Player, Komplete Kontrol Software, and Maschine Essential.

What to improve?

We would appreciate it if the manufacturer makes the background less dark or the text brighter. The keys, knobs, and buttons seem small and hard to make out for the time being.

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 Controller Keyboard
  • Smart, streamlined keyboard controller for all your virtual instruments and effects
  • Semi-weighted custom NI keybed

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Pros

  • For people on a low budget
  • Quite durable over time
  • Portable and space-saving
  • 49 keys, with knobs and pads

Cons

  • Hard-to-read interface
  • A little challenging browsing screen

Arturia Keylab 49 Essential Controller Keyboard - Best for Beginners

Also affordable

Similar to the first keyboard, Arturia is also a cheap keyboard for people who want to start playing music without breaking their bank.

User-friendly interface

Keyboards are usually black or white. For the Arturia Keylab 49, we recommend that beginners in music production use the white version.

Compared to other keyboards, the keys and pads are more streamlined. Faders move to the right and pads to the left. Meanwhile, the 32-digit LCD screen moves to the center position. This arrangement is more ergonomic for your hand access and observation.

Lots of keys and notes

The keyboard has 61 keys, 10 encoders, 9 faders, 10 switchers, 1 module wheel, and 1 pitch wheel. This is a bit more than a keyboard for beginners, but it also means that you can still use this keyboard at the intermediate stage.

Classic synthesizer

The keyboard provides a library of 5000 default sounds that can be synchronized with the CPU system and u-He Diva. Thanks to that, beginners can easily create many sounds for music-making.

What to improve?

Software provided by Arturia is less exciting than that of Native Instruments or Korg. Moreover, the keyboard is large and heavy.

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Pros

  • Another low-priced keyboard
  • Easy-to-read white interface
  • 61 keys and many notes available
  • A library of 5000 sound samples

Cons

  • Large and heavy
  • Not advanced software

Novation 49SL MkIII, 49-Key Midi Controller - Best Ease of Use

An alternative to the Arturia Keylab

Novation 49SL is recommended for beginners as it is easy to use, however, a bit more advanced.

Compared to the second keyword in the list, the 49SL has only 49 keys, so that it will be more compact. In return, there are more pads and encoders: 16 RGB pads, 8 encoders, and 8 faders.

Graphic color screen

The 8 keyboard encoders are individually colored to help familiarize beginners with the basic encoders, modes, and buttons. This is very effective when you move to keyboards with more advanced options in the future.

DAW connectivity

While you may not need to connect a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) at the new stage of keyboarding and learning to make music, this advanced feature is still very interesting, and you can try it later.

Specifically, there is an InControl button to connect the keyboard to any DAW software such as Ableton Live, Cubase, or Pro Tools and Reaper.

Build quality

Just by looking at the Novation 49SL MkIII, you can see that this keyboard looks very solid and meticulously assembled.

The manufacturer even added a thick layer of rubber on the bottom of the keyboard to make it more stable when you play music.

What to improve?

The automap software is not helpful since you cannot specify a custom path. It even crashes Ableton and slows down the system.

Novation 49SL MkIII, 49-Key Midi Controller
  • Bring MIDI hardware and CV/Gate synths together
  • Easily integrate hardware with your DAW

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Pros

  • 49 keys with advanced notes and pads
  • Solid build quality
  • Color-code keys and screen
  • Various DAW connectivity

Cons

  • Slow automap software
  • The heavy and large dimension

AKAI Professional MPK249 - Best for Intermediates

Keyboard improved

The next keyboard is a MIDI controller keyboard with 49 semi-weighted and touch-sensitive keys. Players will find it difficult to press the keyboard. Furthermore, there are plenty of audio control options.

Therefore, this option is suitable for intermediate people who have experience with basic keys and notes.

Advanced controls

The keyboard features 16 drum pads in a variety of colors, combined with multiple faders, encoders, and buttons. Players can combine multiple pads at once to create a variety of unique sounds.

Good quality

The AKAI keyboard is more expensive than the Native Instruments and Arturia Keylab keyboards - but it's worth it if you're at the intermediate level.

You use the keyboard more often and need to make sure that it is durable over time.

You'll be happy to know that this product is made of durable materials. Pads and keys are made of high-quality rubber. They are installed carefully so the keys won't fall off easily.

Connect with many software

The Akai keyboard can connect to any DAW system - e.g., Ableton Live Lite, Hybrid 3 & SONiVOX Twist, VST instruments.

What to improve?

The AKAI Professional MPK249 does not have the retro design as the other three above. It looks bulky and comes with modern sound adjustments.

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play
  • Pro Keyboard Performance - 49 semi-weighted, velocity-sensitive full-size keys and a premium piano-style keybed for unprecedented response and natural feel
  • Beat Making Essentials - 16 RGB-illuminated MPC-style pads each with 4 banks for 64 pads - the perfect solution for triggering samples, loops, one-shots, melodics and more

Last update on 2021-10-24 at 10:15 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Quality-build keyboard
  • Velocity-sensitive keys for intermediates
  • Loaded with buttons
  • Advanced MIDI connectivity

Cons

  • Expensive choice
  • Bulky and hard-to-use

Korg KRONOS 2 88 Key (KRONOS8) - Best for Advanced Producers

88 keys

The keyboard has a full 88 keys, giving professional music producers no limits when it comes to creating sounds. They're all weighted, so the instrument feels exactly like a traditional piano.

Various effects and sound systems

KRONOS2 88 keys model has a total of 9 sound engines to create sounds from acoustic to analog synths.

Along with that are 185 effects such as delays, compressors, phasers, reverbs, etc. You can create exceptional sounds: deep and complex.

A mini music-production studio

Korg Kronos is a workstation keyboard with 32 built-in music tracks and 16 audio tracks. Plus, you can use the 24-bit/48kHz recording system to save your tracks.

These advanced features allow you to produce music living up to studio quality.

USB/MIDI host ports

This keyboard has both USB and MIDI ports.

MIDI ports connect directly to your workstation for easy editing, viewing, and downloading of data.

Plus, you can use USB Ethernet for high-speed data transfer between the keyboard and computer, as well as instant access to Kronos Editor and Plug-in Editor software.

What to improve?

You might find it overwhelming considering the price and a load of buttons for the KRONOS2 88 keys model.

Korg KRONOS2 88 Key (KRONOS8)
  • Nine distinct sound engines
  • Innovative Set List mode with many new updates

Last update on 2021-10-24 at 10:15 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • A full of 88 keys
  • 9 flexible sound engines
  • Advanced workstation keyboard
  • Both USB and MIDI ports

Cons

  • Expensive keyboard
  • Too complicated to use

FAQs

Is It Easier To Make Beats With A MIDI Keyboard?

Yes, you can definitely make beats with MIDI keyboards by connecting them with your computer or USB.

You do not need to have too many skills in playing the piano. Rather than that, you can make use of creative software and sound samples available on the devices.

What Keyboard Do I Need To Make Music?

You can consider the buying guide above to pick the best keyboard to make music. To summarize, you should:

  • Know your experience and level to select a suitable type of keyboard.
  • Have a range of keys between 49 to 88 keys.
  • Go to unweighted, semi-weighted, and weighted keyboards.
  • Require MIDI and USB connectivity as well.
  • Do not go for affordable unbranded devices.

How Long Does It Take To Be Good At Making Beats?

As far as we know, it takes around three days to basically learn how to use a DAW system. However, it is only the first step.

You might need to spend about 10,000 hours to put those lessons into practice. The time is also based on your creative inspiration and your music understanding.

Final Words

When choosing the best keyboard for making beats, you need to carefully read the buying guide to be able to pick the right one for your experience and purpose.

Of the five products above, our favorite is the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49. This is not the keyboard with the most features, but in return, it has basic features, easy to use, and affordable.

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