What we are looking for here is not the best 25 key midi keyboard controller, but the best mini midi keyboard controller, for portability and travel use.
So, in this review we are going to be concentrating on size, weight, build quality, keys and added features for each individual portable midi controller, so you can easily slide this piece of gear in and out of your travel bag without breaking your back getting to gigs or making beats on the move.
So, let’s get into the hunt for your next ultraportable midi keyboard.
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Best Compact Midi Controller
The Best Portable Midi Controller
1. Novation Launchkey Mini Review
Weighing in at 2.1 pounds, with a footprint of 325mm width and 175mm depth the Novation Launchkey Mini is one of the larger Ultra portable midi keyboards that have been included in our list, but with all the features and workflow options it would have been an injustice not adding this mini midi weapon to the review.
The Launchkey mini is the smallest midi controller of the Novation Launchkey range, even smaller than its bigger brother the Launchkey 25 Mk2.
Good things come in small packages and if you’re an Ableton Live use looking for a portable solution then it hard to go past the Launchkey Mini.
This midi controller is packed with features on top of the 25 touch sensitive, mini keyboard keys.
16 backlit RGB drum pads have been included to launch clips and create drum patterns from Ableton’s famous session view and drum racks.
8 rotary encoders, plus multiple buttons to access sound banks and tweak the filters and parameters of your instruments on the fly.
2. Akai Mpk Mini Mk2 Review
Weighing in at 1.65 pounds and taking up a footprint of 317mm width and 180mm depth, the Akai Mpk Mini Mk2 is quite possibly one of the most popular portable midi controllers on the market today.
Akai has forged its name in the music producing scene, bringing out some of the most iconic pieces of production hardware, such as the Akai MPC and they have included some of the elements inside of this mini midi keyboard controller.
The Mpk Mini comes with 25 velocity sensitive mini keys, 8 assignable backlit MPC inspired drum pads for finger drumming and creating patterns, that can be accessed by the two Banks buttons on the controller.
8 assignable knobs, for manually playing with effects and instruments, plus Akai’s new added feature the thumbstick, the thumbstick is a replacement to the traditional mob and pitch wheel.
3. Akai LPK25 Review
The LPK25 is Akia’s bare bones ultra portable midi keyboard controller.
Weighing in at 0.09 pounds, with a footprint of 337mm width and 96mm depth we are no moving into lightweight midi controllers that lack the bells and whistles of the Akai Mpk and Novation Launchkey Mini’s.
The LPK25 has 25 mini keyboard keys, that have a good feel and response considering the size.
The keys are great for jamming up ideas and getting ideas and project started on the go.
The LPK comes with buttons that allow you to octave up and down the scale of the controller, quickly go into arpeggiator and sustain mode.
4. Korg nanoKEY2 Review
Korg is better known for the synths and famous effects unit the Kaoss Pad but they are now also players in the midi controller industry with their Nano series of pad and keyboard controllers.
The Korg nanoKey2 has a unique key pad system, these low profile velocity sensitive keys, look more like buttons than traditional keyboard keys.
Don’t be fooled by the unusual keys on the naonKEY2, these keys are still playable and with 4 adjustable velocity curves, producers can customise the sensitivity to their style.
This is the lightest travel midi keyboard that we have reviewed, with a total weight of only 0.54 pounds, this is the same weight you would expect when you buy a wireless keyboard for your laptop.
The footprint of this controller is fairly standard for an ultra portable midi controller at 325mm width and 83mm depth, but due to the low profile keys, the height is only 16mm, making the nano key super convenient for backpack and travel bag use.
5. CME Xkey Air Review
The CME Xkey is unique in the fact that it supports full-sized synth style keys, with velocity sensitivity and aftertouch, allowing you to get that high-end controller and synth fell and performance out of a portable 25 key midi controller.
Due to the aluminum body and full sized keys, the Xkey weighs 1.3 pounds and has a footprint of 388mm width, 135mm depth, and 16mm height.
So what’s the best compact, portable, lightweight midi controller for yours?
Well, that depends on what you want to get done, if you’re looking a great value 25 key midi keyboard controller that is portable but still has all the knobs and pads to create hot tunes then the clear winner is the Novation Launchkey Mini.
This controller is packed full with knobs, keys, banks, and buttons, plus its shipped with a great software bundle to get you making beats on the run.