61-Key MIDI Keyboard Suggestions

Hey everyone,

Very new user here. Just purchased Renoise x Hive 2.1 and wanted to see what some other more experienced users prefer using as their MIDI keyboard of choice!

Some notes:
-I’m looking to keep the price at or under 300$ USD
-I would like something more beginner-friendly if possible
-I currently reside in Colorado if anyone recommends any music stores in the area!
-Compatibility is the biggest concern above all
-Looking to use synthesizer functions more than piano so weighted keys are not crucial
-Running on a MacBook Pro with macOS Big Sur

Some MIDI keyboards I am currently looking at:
-Arturia Keylab Essential 61-Key Keyboard
-Novation Launchkey 61 MK3
-Alesis VI61 61-Key Controller
-Nektar Impact LX61

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds to this post. I’m leaning towards Arturia unless I am convinced otherwise! Cheers everyone.

Was looking for the same thing a month or so ago and eventually got me a second hand / near new Alesis VI61. Second hand because for getting a new one you had to wait 22+ weeks here, I’m not that patient :slight_smile: . Relatively cheap, semi weighted keys and enough controller options on deck so you can’t go wrong with it imo, works excellent with Renoise. I have no experience with the arturia one so can’t compare regarding quality. Google for reviews and see which one suits your needs best.

I recommend that you choose a MIDI controller with 360º wheels, which will allow you to control parameters with a high range, so you can use limited travel faders with infinite travel wheels.

On the other hand, Arturia’s keyboard is fine, although its wheels are toy wheels (crap) even on its higher-end Keylab mkII keyboards (Arturia should copy Akai’s wheels). Most controllers add limited-turn wheels. I consider it a huge mistake.

61 keys is ideal. If you choose a 49 keyboard you will miss more octaves. It has happened to me.

Finally, if you want to experiment and expand the MIDI control of your keyboard controller, try this new tool: MIDI Universal Controller. The Arturia Keylab Essential 61-Key Keyboard would work perfect with this tool!

For me it feels odd playing synth sounds on a weighted keyboard so I prefer a light “synth action” keybed as I don’t use piano sounds that much.
A plus for the Keylab is that it comes with some good software I believe.

Try a M-Audio Code 61. They’re discontinued, so you’ll have to get a used one. But after a lot of research I settled on a Code 49 because it really has everything I’d ever want in a MIDI keyboard. I don’t own one yet, but I will once I am sure that I want to get a better MIDI keyboard than I already have.

EDIT: If you want to see it in action, go watch anything by Marc Rebillet :wink: