And the final claim to being the best MIDI keyboard in the year 2023 comes from one of the very biggest names in the world of keyboards, Roland. Their A-88MKII sees an update to a pretty legendary MIDI keyboard and controller, retaining its 88 full-size piano action keys.
And the good news is it still manages to be compact and not too heavy, making it a happy companion in both the studio and for live work.
The keys have accurate ‘Ivory Feel’, hammer action and 3-sensor key detection. In other words, you won’t get closer to a living, breathing piano than on this particular MIDI keyboard.
And given that it’s quite the investment in terms of price, the MIDI 2.0 support means you needn’t worry about suddenly needing to change keyboard shortly after this one. To sweeten the deal further, the new backlit pads and knobs, Control Change buttons, onboard arpeggiator and lots more make this a truly classy MIDI keyboard. You’ll really struggle to find many that can claim to be better.
Best Midi Keyboards FAQ: Faders, Buttons, Pads & Knobs — What Are They All For?
Faders are traditionally found on a studio’s mixing console to control the volume levels of each channel. On a MIDI keyboard, they may have default settings to be volume faders, or even EQ controllers for your individual tracks. Happily, you can change this to suit your needs. In fact, you can set the different faders to have their own jobs.
Knobs are faders but simply in a different format. Great example uses are tweaking EQ, or a more pleasing and physical way of working with the effects on a MIDI instrument than using a mouse, much like a hardware synthesiser.
Pads, which often look extra cool by being backlit, in most cases come in between eight and 16 (occasionally more or fewer) and can be used for MIDI functions. For example, you could hit one to start a loop, or map them to a sound and hit the pads like a sampler. They are very commonly used as drum pads, with the touch responsiveness making this really fun and physical.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this meander into the wonderful world of MIDI keyboards. As you can see, they come in all shapes, sizes, and corresponding prices. There’s no doubt that one of these is tailor made for you and your musical needs. We wish you happy perusing and playing!
Further reading: Setting up a home studio: Basics you need to know!