Over a decade ago, relatively simple digital audio workstations (DAWs) took music production from the professional recording studio and made it available for amateurs to do in their home. Apple’s Garage Band has a big brother; its name is Logic Pro X, and is one such DAW that has become increasingly popular.
Moreover, MIDI keyboard controllers have seen new life breathed into their market by the integration of these DAWs, like Ableton Live Lite and Audacity, with their hardware. That is why we have scoured the internet looking for the Best Keyboard for Logic Pro X.
Moreover, we provide a helpful buyer’s guide so you know which features are most relevant to help you decide which MIDI controller to use with Logic Pro X is right for you.
Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro X
1. Akai Professional Mpk Mini 249
Akai has a storied history of manufacturing MIDI controllers and devices dating all the way back to the 1980s, where it had been used to help produce some of the most memorable hip-hop songs of all time.
Since then, Akai has continued to adapt and evolve with advancing technology and software. And that’s why many users, beginners and professionals alike, consider this one of the Best Midi Controllers for Logic Pro X.
A big part of this is that Akai’s ability to integrate with your DAW offers every experience for a user to do what they want with this MIDI controller for Logic Pro X. If you are a beginner, Akai’s mapping software makes it a plug-and-play MIDI device that is ready to go in a flash.
However, advanced users will appreciate the sheer wealth of advanced controls for DAWs and other pieces of MIDI hardware alike.
Unfortunately, if you want to maximize your customization over the more than eighty total controls, once you include the banks, you will need to invest significant time figuring out how to set everything up just so.
Moreover, even once you do get everything set up, the response of the encoders can be a bit finicky–especially when trying to record the effect-layered audio back to an external device.
- Offers a robust 16 lighted MIDI pads
- Allows robust DAW control from the keyboard
- Provides a wealth of possible controls with various banks for each function
- USB Midi controller
- Among the most expensive best MIDI controllers for Logic Pro
- The encoders can be a bit hit or miss
- Can take a while to custom map the functions
LEARN MORE: Akai MPK 249’s Features and Specs
2. Alesis VI49
Alesis is known as a decent entry-level MIDI controller brand for Logic Pro X, but it generally does not get the same praise that some of its competitors in the same market, like Akai or M Audio, receive. Of course, as one of the less expensive MIDI controllers on our list, you should expect that to be the case.
Unfortunately, the Alesis may have gone a bit too lax in this regard. Specifically, the Alesis is plagued with various keybed issues when used with Logic Pro X.
First, though the velocity action of the Alesis can be all over the place, it is noteworthy that the velocity out of the box starts at five. This is important because trying to activate the velocity at exceptionally low or extremely high settings is hit or miss at best.
In fact, you are better served to leave the velocity at five and adapt your playing style to the other way around.
However, in terms of standard functionality, the Alesis is fairly decent. For one, this MIDI controller provides 16 MIDI pads that are lighted and respond to velocity. This means that it’s velocity-sensitive.
While they may feel a bit stiff at first, their response does seem to remain consistent. Moreover, this may be one of the most portable MIDI controllers for Logic Pro X on our list, making it a solid option for live performances.
- Adequate starting velocity action
- Velocity-sensitive keys
- Lighted MIDI pads
- Portable w/ USB connection port
- Pitch and modulation wheels help expand your sound capabilities
- Keybed issues for some users
- Semi-weighted keys can feel too stiff at first
3. M Audio Axiom 49
M Audio can be seen as a more direct competitor of Akai than Alesis. However, M Audio seems to take a slightly different approach for Logic Pro X, though both products are fairly similar in some important ways.
For one, both MIDI keyboards for Logic Pro X offer great mapping software for their respective controls to your DAW. Which you prefer will likely come down to which one you used first and developed a familiarity with.
Unfortunately, much like the Akai, this also leads to the M Audio being a bit tedious when trying to customize the setup of your controls. In fact, even the encoders of the M Audio come with their own issues–though, in this case, it does not affect the encoder’s translations, making it more consistent.
Still, the resolution of the knobs is somewhat low, making them less effective for live performances. Of course, the sheer size of the M Audio excludes this MIDI controller from that realm anyway.
While it is not huge, it is one of the heavier products on our list and also one of the largest in dimensions. Of course, that may be why the keybed feels fairly solid with adequate velocity-sensitive properties and even offers aftertouch effects.
- Fairly easy and accurate MIDI mapping with DirectLink
- One of the better displays with more simultaneous information
- The keybed feels solid enough and provides aftertouch effects
- Velocity-sensitive keys
- Custom setups can be time consuming and unintuitive
- Low encoder resolution makes using knobs tedious
- One of the heftier and larger keyboards for Logic Pro on our list
4. Nektar Impact LX61
Keep in mind, this does mean that you will have to expect a bit of give when it comes to certain features, but many qualities about this MIDI controller make it a great pick for a beginner who is just starting to scratch the surface of beat production and music production.
Easily one of Nektar’s best features is its software tool integration.
Aside from the fact that it features automapping for most of the widely used DAWs, it is also one of the easier keyboards to customize. This quality adds much more life to the Nektar as inexperienced users develop greater skills and a more refined understanding of how to use a mini MIDI keyboard controller to enhance their productions.
Unfortunately, the Nektar is still limited in some significant ways, though that should be expected at this price point. First, the keybed and its actions are not ideal, with the semi-weighted buttons feeling cheap and the actions feeling inconsistent.
Moreover, this keyboard controller does not offer a MIDI output, so it cannot connect to other pieces of hardware that may offer MIDI control.
- The least expensive MIDI controller on our list
- Software is easily integrated and customized
- Mixer controls feel solid during use
- Good for beat production
- Rubber coating tends to come off easily
- Other best MIDI controllers for Logic Pro can handle more weight
- Not velocity-sensitive
5. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol 49
Native Instruments is arguably well-established as a brand that focuses on more professional applications.
While they may not reach the height of Korg and similar workstation manufacturers, the Komplete Kontrol does offer some professional-grade quality at a reasonable price.
Granted, the term “reasonable” is definitely subjective as the Native Instruments clocks in as easily the most expensive MIDI controller on our list. Still, the actual response of the keyboard itself is professional.
The Fatar keybed and various controls of the Komplete Kontrol–especially the touch strips–are exceptionally well-tuned such that the user can achieve a professional level of response from them.
However, this is the only MIDI keyboard on our list that does not feature a touchpad which seems like a glaring omission from an otherwise stellar piece of hardware–though you can connect a touchpad externally.
Moreover, the Komplete Kontrol suffers from clunky software use and integration–even with the inclusion of Komplete 10 and Komplete 10 Ultimate.
- Multi-purpose touch strips are more versatile than wheels
- The Fatar keybed feels solid and responsive
- Numerous features for beginner users to help learn
- Does not come with a MIDI pad
- The most expensive MIDI controller on our list
- The native software is a pain to use
- Not velocity-sensitive
Logic Pro MIDI Controller Buyers Guide
Logic Pro Integration
Considering our review focuses on the different MIDI keyboards to use with the Pro Logic DAW, it is an expectation that all of the products reviewed function with it.
However, there is more to a MIDI keyboard’s integration than if it can merely function with Pro Logic. Still, the more advanced users are liable to need custom setups with Logic Pro X depending on the intended use.
Remember, making a track for cinema differs greatly from producing music. Here is where things can get a bit tricky. Some of the best keyboards are easier to customize than others.
All of them offer some form of custom setup operation, but whether you can accomplish this task in thirty minutes to an hour or whether you will have to spend multiple hours doing so is a different matter.
Number of Keys
The number of semi-weighted buttons used with a MIDI keyboard controller is rarely as vital a factor as with a digital piano or a self-contained workstation.
Still, it is important to make sure you have at least enough semi-weighted keys to comfortably play the range of music as you intend to easily.
However, MIDI keyboards are made with a wide range of keys, depending on the make and model. The general range of keys offered on a MIDI keyboard controller is 25, 32, 37, 49, 61, and 88.
A full piano comes equipped with 88 keys, but the most popular MIDI keyboards generally only provide 49. Keep in mind that unless you require music that shifts octaves numerous times and in quick succession, you likely do not require a full keybed.
In fact, one of the best features of a quality workstation controller is the ability to change the octave with a button, wheel scroll, knob turn, or even pre-programming–depending on the keyboard. As such, even a half set of semi-weighted buttons if often more than enough to get a full octave range for most music.
This function will depend heavily on two things: what you intend to create and your personal level of skill with a keypad. However, rarely will a substandard key action satisfy even niche producers or inexperienced players for long.
However, this is an area that which many keyboards–especially those that are not designed and priced for professional settings–fail. Basically, the closer the key action is to a real piano, generally, the better it is perceived.
Granted, certain producers may prefer a touch more spring than a true piano offers, but few are actually satisfied with the limits of a poor key action. The key actions are graded generally along with two metrics: the response and the velocity.
The response relates to how the keys actually feel on a tactile level compared to a real piano. The velocity, on the other hand, determines how the keyboards translate the keypress in terms of speed and intensity.
Ultimately, few MIDI keyboard controllers for Logic pro offer the response seasoned professionals desire, though it is often good enough to create amazing pieces of electronic music.
However, if the MIDI keyboard’s velocity is inconsistent, it can make playing with any finesse difficult to impossible. It’s best to get the best MIDI controllers for Logic Pro that are velocity-sensitive.
Often, one of the primary advantages of a MIDI keyboard controller is the ability to take it with you on the go.
Whereas digital pianos and complete workstations are often bulky and heavy, the most common and popular keyboards are generally easy to pack up, carry, and set up at a different location.
Combine this with the fact that the MIDI keyboards often connect with a DAW supporting system–whether a laptop or tablet–and keyboards are almost the ideal piece of hardware to take on the go to a live performance or to a separate recording room.
In this regard, the weight of your MIDI keyboard controller will generally be more relevant than the size. The number of pressure-sensitive or semi-weighted keys and arrangement of controls will often determine the dimensions, but the weight can vary by as much as thirty percent from one MIDI keyboard controller to the next.
RELATED: Best Mini MIDI Controllers to Buy
The ability of MIDI keyboards to provide onboard control of numerous tuning features is arguably their primary function.
Keep in mind, there are numerous forms of hardware that offer a keypad, but not all of them provide the ability to adjust and tune the instrumentation on board.
However, it is important to understand your purposes for the MIDI keyboard controller demand. All too often, a buyer can become infatuated with a product because it offers the most robust control features when that same person may only use little more than a handful of them.
Still, it is important to make sure that your MIDI keyboard offers the number of controls you are liable to use while still providing a bit of room to grow as your skills advance and you tackle tougher and more complex projects.
Just do not worry too much if one MIDI keyboard provides 60+ different assignable functions compared to one that only offers 40 or so–unless you are sufficiently advanced to actually put to use all of them.
Best MIDI Keyboard Controller: Conclusion
Figuring out which MIDI keyboard is the best keyboard for Logic Pro X does not leave us with a clear answer.
The projects you intend to use your MIDI keyboard controllers for coupled with your experience should help inform you though.
For instance, if you are producing audio for cinema or ambient purposes, the highly responsive Native Instruments may provide a cleaner experience, and you will not miss the absence of a MIDI touchpad as much as some music producers might.
Of course, if you are looking to make professional quality music, the Akai is both highly respected and incredibly capable. It’s also velocity-sensitive.
Assuming you plan to use it in a dedicated space, the numerous functions, full MIDI drum pads, and complex customization features make it an excellent choice for music production beginners and experts alike.
April 04, 2022 – updated links, minor content edits