Best midi keyboard for FL studio

When it comes to the top DAWs you will either find a producer using Logic, Ableton, Pro tools or FL studio. FL Studio started its journey as Fruity loops and the name soon changed to FL studio. The DAW is quite popular due its ease of use. This comes in handy for beginner producers who may find other DAWs in the market a bit complicated.

MIDI keyboards come in a variety of keys – 25, 49, 61 or 88. Most of the modern MIDI keyboards will work with an array of DAWs including FL studio. The results may differ with keyboard and that is why we have taken the time to analyze some of the best MIDI keyboards for FL studio in the market.

Comparison Table

Model
keys no.
Dimensions (inches)
Weight (pounds)
Check on Amazon
25 synch action keys
18.3 x10.5 x2.3
5.75
4x16 RGB pads
0.9x 6.5x 12.4
1.7
16 backlit pads
15x 8.7 x 3.1
1.55
25 keys
14.6 x 1.6 x 3.7
12.8
49 keys
9.6 x 3.2 x 3.7
6.39

Nektar Impact LX25+

The Nektar is designed for use with Nektar DAW but it still can be used with others. The keyboard is designed with 25 expressive synch action keys. You also have modulation keys for your performances and on-board pitch blend. It is compatible with iOS, Mac and other PCs.

The basic design of the Nektar is in such a way that you have easy access to all your tools. Part of its composition are transpose and octave buttons that accompany two wheels for your modulation and pitch blends.

The Nektar comes with 4 velocity curves and 3 fixed ones, 8 back-lit beat pads which are ideal for velocity-sensitive, you can also map 4 velocity curves. The curves can be clipped and saved hence eliminating the need for complex menus.

The unit also has 8 rotational pots and a miniature fader bar. With this you can set stuff like resonance, oscillation settings and even cut-off. The Nektar connects through a USB and it is compatible with iOS and Android phones. If you have a foot operated switch you can connect it to the device through a ¼ inch jack.

Overall, the display is clear with easy to use navigation and transport buttons. It sync directly to your DAW as well coming with its own free DAW.

Key Features

  • 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads
  • 25 expressive synch action keys
  • On-board pitch bend
  • Modulation wheels for performances
  • Compatible with iOS, PC, Mac

Pros

  • Unit syncs on startup
  • Variety of controls on display
  • Well laid out display
  • Optional free DAW
  • Easy to map your DAW

Cons

  • Keys maybe a bit stiff

 

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Akai Fire

This MIDI keyboard stands out because it is designed for the FL studio. You will notice that the same people who did the Image Line have done the design of the keyboard. These means you have control options that fit well with your DAW.

The Akai fire features 4x 16RGB pads but the pads have been arranged in such a way that they are slightly apart from each other. If you have loaded up the sequencer through your clips you will get the ability to control them through the Akai Fire.

The unit also comes with transport controls like pause, loop, play and record that make it easier to navigate through your tracks without your eyes shifting to the computer screen. On the keyboard is a small OLED screen with 4 way select knobs. The sole purpose of this is to give you the ability to select clips, audition, change sounds, and effects from the keyboard without necessarily shifting to the computer.

The Akai Fire is solely designed for FL studio and this means it may not work well with your other DAWs. It is also primarily used to play notes therefore some may find the pad landed layout a bit of lacking. However, if you primary DAW is FL studio and you like some to launch your clips while having your hands on your DAW then the Akai Fire is your ideal MIDI keyboard.

Key Features

  • Dedicated hardware controller designed specifically for FL Studio
  • 4 assignable touch capacitive knobs give you maximum tweaking ability
  • Improved navigation through your browser, channel rack or playlist window
  • 4×16 high velocity sensitive RGB pads
  • Comes with FL Fruity fire edition

Pros

  • Great for FL studio
  • 4X16RGB for your step sequencer
  • Transport controls
  • Audition selection tools

Cons

  • Won’t work with other DAWs

 

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Novation Lauchkey 25

This is an all-round keyboard that can be used by a variety of producers. The Novation Lauchkey 25 is ideal for your FL studio as it comes 16 pads that integrate well with your FL Studio step sequencer. You will feel the difference for your FL studio Launchpad and key.

When it comes to using the unit we found the 25 synch keys to be responsive and fast. For a mini-keyboard it performs exceptionally well. You also get 16 multicolor pads and 8 assignable knobs. The unit is portable weighing in at 1.55lbs. and measuring 15”long. This makes it a perfect companion for travelling producers.

The software in the Novation can be used for XLN Audio Addictive, Ableton live nite, V station virtual instruments, and Novation bass station. The software can be used on PC and Mac. The Novation is a great keyboard but it falls shot when it comes to its lack of mod/pitch wheels. You also do not have DAW onboard controls. This can be time consuming as you have to juggle in between your MIDI and keyboard.

Key Features

  • 16 RGB backlit pads
  • 25 synch-action pads
  • 8 assignable knobs
  • Software for XLN Audio additive, Ableton live, and Novation bass station

Pros

  • Lightweight frame
  • Ability to control the step sequencer
  • Responsive keyboard
  • Easy integration with FL studio

Cons

  • Lack of onboard DAW controls

 

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Korg NanonKey2

There is little that is impressive with the Korg as it lacks knobs and pads common in other MIDI keyboards. It makes its way onto out list because it is one of FL Studios official pre-configured controllers. This means it integrates well with FL Studio, just plug and play. The unit is also extremely portable – weighing in at 1lbs – hence making an excellent companion for tours.

The compact body design of the keyboard makes it easily fit in front of your laptop without obstructing your space. It also comes with 8 dedicated channels that you can use to control your music software. In addition, you have dedicated transport controls.

For each of the 8 channels you have a fader, knob and three switches. This are assigned for volume, pan, and record/mute/solo. Connection to the power is through a USB meaning all you need to do is plug it to your laptop and you are good to go. The Korg also comes with its own dedicated Korg Kontrol editor software. Once you load the software to your computer, you should be able to customize some settings.

When it comes to delivering the right drum beats the korg comes with 16 velocity-sensitive pads. It also has 4 switchable scenes that are capable of delivering 64 varying pad assignments.

On the downside, the korg lacks button like keys that are common with piano setups. You also lack DAW transport controls.

Key features

  • Dedicated sustain buttons
  • 25 button like keys
  • Pitch/mod buttons
  • Sustain button for entering piano parts

Pros

  • Easy plug and play through USB
  • Dedicated MIDI for FL Studio
  • Extremely portable
  • Suitable for beginner musicians

Cons

  • Lack of intuitive button control keys

 

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M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV

The M-Audio is a MIDI keyboard that has been officially endorsed by FL Studio. It comes in 25 key and 61 key variants. You do not need any configurations to start using the keyboard, just plug it and play. The Oxygen 49 offers integration with some of the popular software like Cubase, Pro Tools, Ableton Live among others. The controls on the keyboard easily map to some of your DAW key parameters and this gives you the flexibility to tweak your editors, mixers, and transport windows. You can also make good use of the built in customizable mapping presets that enable you to connect your favorite plugins to the MIDI.

To help you produce precise and clean sounds the unit comes with a synch action keybed and velocity and pressure sensitive natural profile keys. In addition, you can access the entire note range through octave up and octave down buttons.

You can take command of any virtual instrument through the units modulation wheels and pitch bend. The Oxygen 49 comes with a 1/4” (6.3mm) sustain pedal input that you can use with an external control pedal. To help in your production control the unit comes with 9 assignable faders, 8 fully-assignable knobs and fully assignable pads that give you a platform for clips, triggering loops, or virtual instrument sounds.

Key Features

  • 8 plus sliders
  • 49 synch action keys
  • 8 customizable knobs
  • 8 backlit velocity-sensitive knobs

Pros

  • Easily integrates with FL Studio
  • Expansive suite of premium software included
  • Integration with other popular DAWs like Ableton, Logic and Cubase
  • Premium synch-action response

Cons

  • You may notice that the keys become a bit loose with repeated use

 

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Buying Guide

Factors to consider when purchasing Best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio

FL Studio has been around for quite a while. It started out as fruity loops before it changed names to FL Studio due to confusion with other consumable products. The DAW is very flexible hence its popularity among beginner and expert music producers.

Many upcoming music producers often battle with the question whether they really need a MIDI controller when they already have a dedicated DAW. You can use your computer keyboard but this can be burdening for some – especially when you are used to a physical keyboard. The other issue is that playing electronically can lead to sounds that are too synthetic and that lack character. The MIDI will pick up some of the velocity that you would have otherwise been forced to draw through your mouse.

How many keys do you want?

If your end goal is to drum some simple beats with bass or basic chords then a MIDI with less keys will do. These often have something like 29 keys and tend to be portable and lightweight in design. The MIDI are also affordable hence making them ideal for bigger producers. The next question would be, how many keys are enough. To enjoy range of note pitches then a 25 key would be ideal as long as it comes with octave shift buttons. If you want more from your MIDI then 49 note, 61 note or 88 note would be ideal. For the larger keyboards you will have to put into consideration the kind of space it occupies.

DAW integration

It is also imperative that your MIDI keyboard supports your DAW. This means it should come with a host of DAW transport commands at your disposal so that you do not have to shift in between the computer and the keyboard. Some keyboards are designed to serve particular DAWs at the exclusion of others, so you may want to find out software support before purchase.

Connectivity

Since you are probably be going to be moving with your MIDI keyboard for example for live performances, it is prudent that you have something with a simple plug and play USB. This easily connects to your laptop and does not require additional cables. Some MIDI keyboards will come with 5-pin MIDI output ports for some of your hardware.

FL Studio has built itself a reputation of becoming one of the most trusted DAWs in the market. When you add a MIDI to it you have better control of your software plug ins and you can then focus your time on producing quality sounds. The DAW is very simple to manage but its effects can be enhanced with the right MIDI controller.

Conclusion

If you are in your studio producing some music you will realize that it is quite frustrating managing your DAW through the mouse. The MIDI controller can be set to control a wide variety of features in your DAW. The problem is not all MIDI keyboard will work with your DAW. FL studio – previously named fruity loops – has become one of the most used DAW by both beginner music producers and experts. The DAW is versatile and easy to use.

Peter Smith

Welcome to MusicGearAdvisor! 4 years ago I rediscovered my passion for making music and began building my own home studio. As I have gone through my journey I realized that I am just as passionate about the equipment as I am about the music. I started MusicGearAdvisor as a way for me to share my learnings with others so you can get started making music that you dream of.

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