Midi Controllers have become increasingly popular to help expedite the workflow of music producers.
The ability to produce real-time response and a natural analog feel for the various features of a DAW provide ample motivation for purchasing a separate piece of hardware.
The versatility of the 49 key configuration allows it to maintain a position as one of the more favored MIDI controller configurations.
However, the number of arrangements and brands of MIDI controllers make selecting one a daunting task.
That is why we have put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide, so you know what the various features mean and which are more important for what task.
Then we provide a list of the best 49 key MIDI controller to help get your search underway.
If you want to cut to the chase and find out what the best 49 midi keyboard controller is for 2019 then check out the winner below and get it shipped to your studio door step for your musical pleasure.
- 1 49 Key Midi Controllers | Complete Buyers Guide
- 2 Sliders
- 3 Top 5 – 49 Key Midi Controller Reviews
- 4 1. Novation Launchkey 49 mk2 Review
- 5 2. Akai Mpk 249 Review
- 6 3. Alesis VI49 Review
- 7 4. M Audio Oxygen 49 Mk iv Review
- 8 5. Nektar Impact LX 49+ Review
- 9 Conclusion
49 Key Midi Controllers | Complete Buyers Guide
Top 5 – 49 Key Midi Controller Reviews
1. Novation Launchkey 49 mk2 Review
It is a little known secret in the music production industry that Novation has become a veritable king of value.
The brand manages to accomplish this by providing some of the best features found on MIDI controllers for a fraction of the cost.
This has led to the Novation Launchkey series in particular to become one of the more lauded MIDI controllers on the market today.
First, the Novation comes with a fairly impressive touch pad at this price point.
Aside from the fact that it provides 16 pads, they are also lighted with a wider RGB range than most MIDI controller touch pads.
However, they are also somewhat small compared to competitors’ pads and arranged in a line rather than a square.
Another issue with the touch pads that also seems to plague the keys is a hit-or-miss velocity.
Basically, you will have to slam the keys to get a loud sound and a soft volume is just as difficult to triangulate.
Moreover, the keys use a synth action and feel flimsy–a trend that seems to permeate the product as a whole.
2. Akai Mpk 249 Review
Unless you are looking to shell out some serious cash, the Akai MPK 249 is arguably one of the best all around performing MIDI controllers out there.
Keep in mind, the Novation may provide a bit more value, but that is in a large part due to the fact that it is also almost half the price.
Still, the Akai offers some of the best features out of any product on our list.
First, this MIDI controller provides one of the better keybeds reviewed.
The keys themselves are full-sized and feel sturdy enough.
Moreover, they are semi-weighted and feature a solid velocity curve that is comparable to competitors costing hundreds more.
On top of that, the DAW integration and litany of possible control configuration will make your head spin.
However, all of those control features can come at somewhat of a cost.
Specifically, if you are looking to custom map the controls–and with this many controls why would you not–then you are going to have spend a considerable amount of time with them.
Unfortunately, that time can occasionally be for not as the recording function may not register the changes due to finicky encoders
Check Out The Complete Review Of The Akai Mpk 249
3. Alesis VI49 Review
Alesis is a brand that is trying to compete with Akai and Audio M but just cannot seem to get everything right to mount legitimate competition.
Specifically, it seems like they divvy up the various features over different products such that if in a single package, the Alesis would be one of the best MIDI controllers available.
As it stands, it always feels like a missed opportunity.
For instance, the VI 49 comes in two different configurations, each boasting their own advantages and disadvantages, However, both products suffer from a complete absence of sliders which is one of the more standard type of controls found on pretty much every reputable MIDI controller.
However, the version we decided to focus on makes use of an impressive 4.3” full color high-resolution display screen.
This screen blows even the Akai out of the water and features numerous display formats to keep track of all of your current DAW settings.
Unfortunately, changing many of those settings will be a pain since you have to scroll through many of the control options rather than change them with a single analog.
4. M Audio Oxygen 49 Mk iv Review
M-Audio offered an impressive MIDI controller to compete with the Akai 249 when they released their Axiom model.
The Code lineup has taken up that reign as M-Audio now attempts to enter the more budget-friendly market with the Oxygen series.
Unfortunately, the Oxygen series present as a bit underwhelming.
For one, the keys use a synth action that is not especially responsive–either in terms of the feel nor velocity.
Moreover, this is not truly a MIDI controller as it does not feature a MIDI output, making it entirely reliant on a computer or smart device–and even the smart devices are limited to Apple products, though that is not unusual.
Still, if you are a producer that regularly travels to outside studios or even performs live, then you will surely appreciate the Oxygen’s portability.
In fact, this is both the smallest and lightest MIDI controller we reviewed and is significantly lighter than most of its competitors.
It also features solid DAW mapping with DirectLink, but you will need to download the appropriate DAW drivers from M-Audio’s website first.
5. Nektar Impact LX 49+ Review
Our final MIDI controller is definitely designed with the consumer seeking the best price in mind.
However, it should be expected that you will sacrifice some quality when you look for a deal, but the Nektar is actually surprisingly capable despite being the least expensive MIDI controller we reviewed.
For one, less expensive MIDI controllers are often noted for being a bit finicky when it comes to auto-mapping the controls onto various DAWs.
This is especially relevant if the user is employing an older version of the DAW or outdated computer hardware.
Thankfully, the Nektar not only sets up easily with most arrangements, it is even fairly easy to customize the control mapping–something not found all that often.
However, like a number of the lower priced MIDI controllers on our list, the Nektar provides these features at such a low cost by skimping on the keybed.
In this case, pretty much everything about the keys is less than ideal.
The synth action feels artificial which is only matched by the poor feel of the flimsy keys which themselves have dubious velocity recognition.
Hopefully, our comprehensive buyer’s guide provides you with more than enough information to fully understand what makes a MIDI controller tick, what makes one feature better than another, and which features are most relevant depending on your level of experience.
Keep in mind, the software components are arguably the most important–especially considering that the MIDI controller does actually produce sound nor generally include a voice bank.
Moreover, the responsiveness of the various controls–whether they be keys, pads, knobs, or anything else–will heavily impact the ease and speed at which you can craft music.
Finally, we feel confident that you can find a solid option for a 49 key MIDI controller within our list.
Whether you need a MIDI controller that can provide a full suite of custom options or are simply looking for a budget item that is plug-and-play, one of those entries could easily be the best 49 key MIDI controller for you.
Still, if you are looking for the best all-around value, it is hard to argue with the Novation’s price and combination of features.
However, if you are simply looking for the best performing product, the Akai MPK 249 is a significant investment, but can grow with you to the highest levels of skill and experience.