A MIDI controller is undoubtedly one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can have in the studio. The possibilities of controlling a variety of musical instruments and production elements are endless. The best MIDI controller for FL studio provides an interface that seamlessly integrates with the wide range of functions offered by this beat making software – but finding the right one can be a challenge.
After working with some of the top MIDI keyboards on the market, I have found that not all of them perform equally well with FL Studio. In this guide, you’ll discover my top options when connecting a MIDI keyboard to FL Studio.
Click the link for the winner – Akai MPK249
Best MIDI Controllers For FL Studio 20
There is a large selection of controllers on the market. Some work better with physical hardware, while others are fitted with the right technology to integrate with software solutions. When connected to your MIDI keyboards to FL Studio, there are a few things to take into mind – not all of these controllers work well with this beat maker software. Below, you find the top selection of MIDI launchpads and keyboards for FL Studio that integrates with ease and gives you the performance you expect.
Best Overall MIDI Keyboard For FL Studio: Akai MPK249
- MIDI keyboard controller uses a USB connection
- Features semi-weighted keys
- Full-size keyboard for greater versatility
- MPC-style pads
- Control is fully configurable
The Akai Professional MPK249 is one of the best MIDI keyboards used by professionals and bedroom producers. It features a more advanced set of capabilities and controllers, making it a versatile option for setting up different types of beats. This controller comes with a range of software suites included. The software consists of Hybrid 3 and Ableton Live Lite.
Apart from compatibility with the included software solutions, the Akai MPK249 is also fully compatible with your existing version of FL Studio.
The use of a USB connector on this MIDI keyboard makes it easier to connect to your existing devices. The included USB connector can be used on standard Windows-based operating systems. Connection options are also available when syncing the controller with a Mac.
The controller features a full-size keyboard with a total of 49 keys. The semi-weighted design of the keyboard provides improved functioning when configuring the keys to different instruments on your track. A total of 16 pads are included in the design of the Akai MPK249. The MPC-style pad design offers an easier-to-use interface and can be fully customized. Four banks are included, with an opportunity for utilizing up to 64 pads in total. With the larger selection of pads in the MIDI keyboard controller, setting up triggers for loops and samples is significantly easier.
A total of 24 Q-link controllers are also built into the DAW controller. These are fully assignable, making it easy to configure specific settings to each of the included controllers. A total of eight control knobs can be found, along with additional switches and faders. The customizable DAW interface of the Akai MPK249 also makes it an ideal solution when used with FL Studio.
The larger construction of the keyboard makes it a more ideal solution for use in a studio – whether at home or a commercial location. USB powered control systems make it possible to move the controller from your home studio to the office with ease. There are MPC tools included in the design, which act as mainstay controls. The controls include a Tap Tempo and a Time Division system, along with controllers for MPC Note Repeat, MPC Full Level, and Arpeggiator settings.
Best DAW Controller: Akai Professional Fire
- Clip matrix with RGB
- OLED interface design
- Comes with FL Studio software
- Plug-and-play interface
- 4×16 matrix system
The Akai Professional Fire is a MIDI pad controller that fits your budget if you do not have too much to spend but still offers adequate features for those looking to make more advanced tracks. One of the primary features of this one is the fact that it was built for use with FL Studio. In fact, your purchase of the Akai Professional Fire includes FL Studio Fruity Fire Edition – with this in mind, you have no need to spend extra on the purchase of this software.
The MIDI pad controller can be purchased as a standalone option as well, perfect for a scenario where you already own a copy of FL Studio.
The control focuses on providing greater control over the interface presented by FL Studio. The hardware design provides a platform that is built for use with the specific functionality that this software offers. A configured DAW system also helps to enhance compatibility.
With the plug-and-play design of the Akai Professional Fire, there is no need to be concerned about finding compatible drivers for your operating system. Simply use the included USB connection to attach the keyboard to your PC or Mac. Once connected, FL Studio will be able to automatically detect the presence of the controller, install its driver, and configure it for immediate use.
A 4×16 key matrix is used in this MIDI controller. This gives you a more versatile set of launch pads that can be customized according to the beat you are creating. Each of the keys on the matrix is fully assignable, making it easy to set up samples, loops, and melodies to specific elements of the controller.
An OLED RGB color system is used on the key matrix. This helps with the organization of your loops and beat pieces, while also adding some style to your studio setup – who doesn’t like colorful lights!
There is a bank with four knobs included at the top region of the controller. These knobs are touch-sensitive and can be assigned to a large range of functions in FL Studio. This allows for the control of channels and your mixer. Navigation is also made faster and easier with the improved navigator function in the Akai Professional Fire.
Best 25 Key MIDI Controller For FL Studio: Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2
- Built-in drum pads
- Software suite comes with a purchase
- Limited edition finish
- 25-key keyboard
- USB interface
The Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 is your ideal travel companion. With a compact design, yet a functional set of elements, this mini MIDI keybaord adds greater versatility to your beat making experience if you find yourself traveling frequently.
The MIDI controller is available in a limited edition finish, featuring a color combination of white, black, red, and green. The controller comes with eight built-in drum pads that can be easily customized according to the track you are working on. The configurable DAW interface allows you to use this MIDI controller with a greater range of software solutions.
The keyboard in this MIDI controller features a total of 25 keys. This is somewhat limited compared to a full-size MIDI keyboard, but when it comes to frequent travelers, the key count is still adequate when you are not working in a full studio setup. The lower number of keys also allow the Akai brand to create a MIDI controller that weighs less, with a smaller footprint compared to alternatives.
A USB interface is used to connect the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 to your computer. This interface provides a plug-and-play experience, with no need to download additional drivers before the controller syncs with your FL Studio setup. The device is accompanied by a professional software suite that helps with the configuration of your beat setup.
The drum pads in this controller feature an LED-backlit design. Q-link knobs are included on the side. With eight knobs, you get more opportunities for customizing settings of your beat – making it easier to tweak any plugins that are connected to your software.
The software that comes with the system gives you a total of 1,400 included sounds. This can significantly streamline the process of creating unique beats in a home studio environment.
Great Value MIDI Controller For FL Studio: Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49
- Full keyboard size
- Smart controller design
- Powered by standard USB interface
- Control knobs with touch-sensitive design
- OLED display
One of the primary features of the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 would be the value the device is able to offer you. When you find yourself on a limited budget, but you need a full-sized controller for beat production, then this is an ideal MIDI controller to consider. Even though its price is lower than several competitors, you will find that it still provides an adequate set of features.
The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 uses a USB interface to connect to your computer. The configured DAW system in the controller ensures you can easily integrate the system with FL Studio. A smart range of functions is also built into this MIDI controller, which helps to make the process of setting up tracks and assignments for your beat faster.
You can easily connect any type of virtual instrument from FL Studio to the keys built into the controller. The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 has a full-size keyboard, with a total of 49 keys. This adds versatility to your experience and ensures you can achieve a greater range when recording virtual instruments.
An OLED display is built into the controller. This gives you a faster way of navigating through settings used in your beat setup. A total of eight control knobs are also included in the system, featuring a touch-sensitive design. These control knobs are fully customizable.
USB 2.0 is used as bus technology. The USB connection does not only sync the MIDI controller to your computer and connected software but also acts as the power supply for the device. With this function, the MIDI controller is a more appropriate full-size option for people who travel with their music setup. A custom keybed is used with semi-weighted keys.
Best MIDI Pad Controller For FL Studio: Akai MPD218
- 16-built in launch pads
- Uses USB for connectivity
- USB powered for portability
- Comes with music production software suite
- Knobs are customizable
There are times where a keyboard is not required during music production, but instead a larger collection of pads. When this is the scenario, the Akai MPD219 is an option you do not want to miss out on. This is a portable controller that takes up little space when traveling, yet it offers powerful functions that even the pros can utilize. Apart from its smaller size, this MIDI controller is also one of the more budget-friendly options on the market.
The Akai MPD219 features a total of 16 pads that can be fully customized according to the beat producing environment you have configured. The touch-sensitive design of the knobs allows for better precision when adjusting plugins and other functions. The pads feature a standard MPC design.
With the use of a USB powered interface, connecting and powering the device uses the same cable. This also means you can use the MIDI controller on-the-go. A plug-and-play system is provided that features a built-in driver for Windows operating systems. With this in mind, there is no need to search for a compatible driver before you can sync the controller with FL Studio.
The banks on the MIDI controller are fully expandable – and can accept a maximum of 48 pads. There are 18 potentiometers included in the system, with 360-degree accessibility. These meters can be assigned to various functions in your FL Studio setup.
Midi Controller Buying Guide
A MIDI controller is an essential item in your beat making arsenal, but when working with a software suite like FL Studio, you need to think carefully before buying just any controller you can find. There are a few specific things to take into consideration when buying the best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio.
In this section, I will share a few important things to look at. When you consider all of these factors while shopping for a MIDI controller, you are sure to end up with a device that fits your specific needs.
Budget is generally the very first factor you want to take a look at. Before hitting the stores and seeing what is available, take a look at your own budget. How much do you have to spend on a MIDI controller?
These controllers are generally divided into two major categories. This includes basic options for beginners, as well as advanced options for those with more demands and experience. Prices among these differ significantly – if you are a beginner, a smaller budget will often be appropriate. If your needs are not met by the more basic controllers, you will likely need to set aside a bigger budget.
The number of keys on a MIDI controller tells you how much opportunity and control you will have when setting up your own beats. There are a variety of options available when you look at the keys installed in these controllers.
While keys tend to differ between multiple MIDI controllers, there are a few common options that you will find:
- 25-key MIDI keyboards are very basic and provide enough keys for creating simple beats. Your options may be limited with these keyboards, but they are generally more budget-friendly compared to the alternative options.
- 49-key MIDI keyboards are often considered the industry standard when buying these controllers. They offer enough versatility to connect multiple tracks and control a variety of instruments. You get a wider range in your instruments too.
- 61-key MIDI controllers are also available and provide an ideal fit for the more experienced beatmaker. These controllers tend to be higher up on the pricing scale, but they do offer more advanced functions and a significant improvement in the range you can achieve.
When you only have basic needs and your budget is small, opting for a smaller 25-key MIDI controller might be a good option. For those who are more serious about making great beats – especially in terms of commercial purposes – opt for something with 49 keys or more.
Drum Pads / Launch Pads
A keyboard alone is often not enough in a MIDI controller. Those with more experience who want to commercialize their beats find that they need extra controllers and elements to set up multiple channels on a single track. This is where drum and launch pads can be of exceptional help. Some MIDI controllers come with built-in drum pads, as well as launch pads. Others require an external connection – which can ultimately increase expenses and take up more space in your studio.
Some do prefer an external pad, such as the AKAI Professional MPD218. This device acts as both a MIDI controller and a launch pad in one device – but can also be coupled with additional keyboard controllers to expand on the functions you have at your disposal.
Various types of connections are used to sync the MIDI controller interface with your computer or other devices used during the production of your beats. With this in mind, you should take a look at the ports and connection options you have available before buying a controller.
Ending up with a controller that is not compatible with your existing connections means you might have to buy additional adapters. USB is a common connection type in MIDI controllers – and should be a priority if you are looking to use the controller with software like FL Studio. Other connection types include Firewire and Thunderbolt. A Thunderbolt connection allows you to sync the MIDI controller with a MacOS computer.
Inputs and Outputs
Consider the inputs and outputs offered by the MIDI controller as well – this should be compared to the requirements of your setup and beat making process. The standard output should be able to connect to an interface or computer you use with the MIDI controller. Input channels should also be available in case you plan on using external equipment with the MIDI controller.
Look for a MIDI controller with XLR and instrument line inputs. When it comes to outputs, a balanced stereo output is always useful. This gives you a better way of monitoring the beats you make. The addition of a headphone jack should also be considered a priority.
Size and Weight
MIDI controllers come in different sizes. This particular factor depends on your needs. If you are frequently traveling, then you might want to look for a more compact controller. This fits easier into your travel bag but functions maybe a little more restricted. A larger option is preferred if it will remain put in your studio.
There are different types of power supply options used to drive a MIDI controller. USB is a common option that makes a MIDI controller more mobile – allowing you to take it with you on travels. Some options come with an external power supply. Phantom power options are also available, which provide a more ideal solution when you have a full studio for production.
A configured DAW MIDI controller should be preferred when you are going to use it with FL Studio. This allows for control over the software utilized as a part of your beat making process.
The market is filled with a massive variety of MIDI controllers – some are obviously better than others. When you are sitting down to make some beats, you want a controller that works perfectly with your preferred interface or software. The best MIDI controller for FL Studio is the Akai Professional MPK249.
The controller offers 49 keys and a semi-weighted design. It features a core control function and uses a simple USB cable for connectivity. MPC-style pads are included in this MIDI controller, along with Q-link controllers, switches, faders, and knobs. When shopping on a budget, the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol A49 also offers an excellent quality controller at a more budget-friendly price.
When choosing a controller, make sure it is compatible with your current interfaces. There are a few that have also been custom made for FL Studio, which can greatly enhance your experience. Start by considering your own needs and preferences, then look for a controller that fits these criteria.