Best MIDI Keyboards For FL Studio – 2020 Round-up

FL Studio has a huge fan base around the globe for more than a decade. It’s quite different from other DAW software, but that doesn’t mean it’s less professional. So, like every other major DAW, the benefits of using a MIDI keyboard are huge, so let’s check them out.

Comparison Chart of the Best MIDI Keyboards For FL Studio

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Equipped with full 5-pin MIDI panel
  • 16 premium backlit RGB color drum pads
  • 24 assignable Q-Link sliders, knobs and switches
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  • 49 synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • XY ribbon pad for multiple parameter control
  • 8 assignable encoders and 9 sliders and button switches
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  • Excellent keybed response
  • 16 fully backlit responsive drum pads
  • Automap option for instant DAW and VST integration
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  • 16 RGB backlit drum pads
  • 49 synth action keys with the aftertouch
  • 12 knobs and 36 switches, fully assignable and illuminated
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What Makes a MIDI Keyboard Great For FL Studio? 

FL Studio is a DAW software that is optimized for creating electronic sampled or loop-based music. So, it’s an ideal DAW for creating house, breakbeat or hip hop songs. If you’re into such music, you’re aware that the beat or the groove is what makes the song great.

That being said, the MIDI keyboards can come in various shapes and features. But for FL studio, we would need to pick one that has drum pads. 8 pads would be enough but 16 are considered as a standard number.

Akai MPK249

Some of the world’s most famous producers prefer to use a hands-on interface instead of clicking with their mouse on the screen. That’s where MIDI Keyboards controllers jump in. With the drum pads, you can record patterns in a much more convenient way. And once you lay out your groove, you can use the key to record a bassline and other tunes right away. 

But that’s not all. MIDI keyboards come with sliders and knobs so you can do many things. You can cover simple track volume controls or advanced features such as various track automatization in real time that are necessary for any electronic music track.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best MIDI keyboards for FL studio:

  1. Akai MPK249
  2. M-Audio Code 49
  3. Novation Launchkey 49 mk2

Review of the Best MIDI Keyboards For FL Studio

Next, we’re going to pick some of the best MIDI keyboards that come with controllers that can provide you the best FL studio workflow.

Best Overall:
Akai MPK249

Akai Professional MPK249 | 49 Key Semi Weighted USB MIDI Keyboard Controller Including Core Control From The MPC Workstations

PROS

  • 49 full-size semi-weighted keys
  • Dedicated DAW buttons and controls
  • 16 premium backlit RGB color drum pads
  • 24 Q-link assignable slides, knobs and switches
  • Supports Akai MPC and features such as mainstay controls included

CONS

  • Might be a bit pricey
  • Keybed could be improved

What Recent Buyers Report

Drum pads are reported to be very responsive and it seems to come with some neat features that improve your workflow. Keys might be a little bit heavy for some users, but it will pay off in the long run. No complaints were found about software compatibility.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s not so often that we see a full arpeggiator in the MIDI keyboard controller and we really appreciate that feature. Drum pads are the same quality as on their most famous MPC model and we especially like how compact this model looks so it can fit on any working desk.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an ideal tool for modern music producers and players for both studio and live situations. It comes with all the controllers you would need for your work with FL Studio or Ableton. And thanks to the regular MIDI ports, it can be used with external devices, too.

Bottom Line

Hands down, Akai is currently offering the most versatile MIDI keyboard controller and it’s hard to find a flaw for such a well-made controller. In case you don’t care too much about the budget, you really shouldn’t look further.

Runner-up:
M-Audio Code 49

M-Audio Code 49 (Black) | USB MIDI Controller With 49-Key Velocity Sensitive Keybed, X/Y Pad, 16 Velocity Sensitive Trigger Pads & A Full-Consignment of Production/Performance Ready Controls

PROS

  • Comes with full regular MIDI port
  • 49 full-size synth-action keys with aftertouch
  • XY ribbon pad for multiple parameter control
  • 8 assignable encoders and 9 sliders and button switches
  • Four assignable keyboard zones for advanced splits and layers

CONS

  • Encoders could have more space in between
  • Power adapter should be included in the offer

What Recent Buyers Report

Judging from reports M-Audio has severely upgraded the build quality. Even the keybed is now praised and the backlit drum pads seem to be firm and responsive for even advanced playing. And if you can find it, check the white color version - it comes with functions labeled over the keys.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Encoders are always a better option than knobs because of their neutral position. That improves a workflow a lot because there are no unwanted “jump value” issues when used. It’s also very nice that M-Audio included even an XY ribbon pad and that keys support an aftertouch feature.

Who Will Use This Most

Organ players can use the nine sliders to simulate drawbar real-time editing in their software instruments while synth players may utilize the XY pad for their filter cutoff and resonance control at once. Studio users will be happy to utilize encoders for DAW software track control.

Bottom Line

M-Audio has returned on the market and decided to follow the competition and make a step further with offering extra ribbon pad at lower price. If you’re not used to Akai drum pad quality, we would recommend you to check this model out.

Novation Launchkey 49 USB Keyboard Controller for Ableton Live, 49-Note MK2 Version

PROS

  • 16 fully backlit responsive drum pads 
  • Automap option for instant DAW and VST integration
  • Melodics drums and keys lessons and free VST bundled
  • 9 sliders, 8 knobs and dedicated DAW transport buttons
  • Affordable MIDI keyboard with excellent 49 synth action keys 

CONS

  • No aftertouch feature
  • Regular MIDI port is missing

What Recent Buyers Report

They love the professional feel it gives. Automap works like a charm with all major DAW software and can save you a lot of time, especially because modern OS such as Win10 and Catalina are fully supported. It’s also nice to see that it has been reported to work with Mainstage as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

These keys are one of the best we’ve found on the market right now. Also, Novation invested a lot of research in creating an instant mapping solution that won’t break your workflow. And on top of that, some really nice professional software such as Bass Station and V-Station are bundled with this product.

Who Will Use This Most

Drum pads are organized on board so that it matches your usual Ableton layout. It can be also used for instant rhythm sequencing in other DAW as well. Newbies will appreciate the software it comes with and especially Melodics as they can make a headstart and learn the basics.

Bottom Line

Novation has always excelled with instant software integration and this model is no different. Many users aren’t so comfortable with advanced MIDI setups and that’s why Novation Automap can make a big difference to you. 

Alesis VI49 | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 16 Pads, 16 Assignable Knobs, 48 Buttons and 5-Pin MIDI Out Plus Production Software Included

PROS

  • 16 RGB backlit drum pads
  • 5-pin MIDI OUT and USB-MIDI on board
  • Bundled with free DAW and virtual instrument software
  • 12 knobs and 36 switches, fully assignable and illuminated
  • 49 synth action keys with the aftertouch and piano-like design

CONS

  • Doesn’t provide pre-made mappings for DAW
  • There was enough space for additional knobs and switches just like VI61 model

What Recent Buyers Report

People find this to be the best MIDI keyboard in its price range. They love how drum pads trigger the different color-based on the velocity you hit. It is also reported to support iOS as well. However, keys are not so praised and are reported as soft and squeaky.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s not so usual to see a MIDI keyboard that comes with such a number of illuminated knobs and switches. And it’s very nice to see at this price that it also offers a regular MIDI OUT port and even the aftertouch on the keys.

Who Will Use This Most

Ableton users will appreciate 36 assignable buttons for triggering their loops and samples while FL Studio users will love the response it has. Live performers will love that keys are equipped with an aftertouch feature, while studio users will enjoy having even 12 knobs for DAW software editing.

Bottom Line

Typical modern MIDI keyboards on a budget come with 8 sliders / 8 knobs layout or less. But, in case you were looking for something different and a bunch of drum pads are mandatory, you should consider this Alesis model.

Best Cheap Midi Keyboard for FL Studio:
Worlde 25-Key Portable MIDI Controller

Worlde 25 Key USB Portable Tuna Mini MIDI Keyboard MIDI Controller with 8 Knobs, 8 Drum Pads, 8 Faders, Wood Imitation Rim, Pedal Interface, for Mac and PC

PROS

  • 8 assignable sliders and encoders
  • Affordable 25 mini synth action keys
  • Modern design with wood side panels
  • 8 full color drum pads split in two banks
  • Ultra lightweight and compact - USB powered as well

CONS

  • Mini keys might not be for everyone
  • Pitch and Mod ribbons might be awkward

What Recent Buyers Report

Keys are reported to be smaller than full size but bigger than MicroKorg. It supports all major DAW software and buyers think that it comes with everything you would need. However, pitch and mod ribbons are not so convenient and they would prefer if this keyboard had wheels instead.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Those wooden side panels are really eye-candy. This design feature drastically moves this MIDI keyboard up from the cheap keyboard tier. In case you don’t care about design, encoders will be another good reason. And with the given weight of the 1.1 pounds, this keyboard is a king of portability.

Who Will Use This Most

With the price given, this midi keyboard is ideal for everyone. It can be a great travel companion and it can fit even in your laptop bag so you can take it anywhere. There are enough controllers, so anyone can find a use for it.

Bottom Line

Worlde decided to “borrow” an Arturia design and offer it for an even more affordable price. They did it good and we don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t give it a try in case you won’t mind having only 25 keys in a mini size.

How to Connect Midi Keyboard on FL Studio

Connecting MIDI Keyboard to FL studio is a pretty straightforward process. 

  1. First, you need a USB cable to connect your MIDI Keyboard directly to your computer. If this is your first time connecting, wait a little bit upon plugging to see if drivers have been installed successfully.

  2. Start your FL Studio and go to the Options tab and pick MIDI settings. If you’re confused with Input and Output meaning, lets us break it down. Input refers to information (playing keys or pads e.g.) that you would send to the computer. Output stands for what information the computer would send back to you. So, if you’re only using a MIDI keyboard controller, disregard the output tab for now.

  3. So, back in MIDI Settings beneath Options tab, locate Output and Input windows. Find the name of your MIDI Keyboard, click on it and click the enable button below. Next, try your MIDI keyboard with loading virtual instruments such as FL Keys.

  4. There is also an option Controller Type list right under the Input window. If you can find your MIDI keyboard, a pre-made special FL Studio features for your keyboard will be enabled.

Anyway, we have a video tutorial if that’s an easier way for you to comprehend:

Conclusion

Your FL Studio workflow will make a huge leap if you buy any MIDI keyboard. You will spend seconds instead of minutes recording ideas and the workstation control will be easier. And once you get on those drum pads, it will be only a matter of time when you start sounding like a real drummer.