Best 88 Key Midi Controllers and Keyboards


88 key midi keyboards are the ultimate for those of us who can play piano or want to learn how to do so. They’re full length and allow you to play complex, two handed melodies and wont restrict your composing in the slightest. Perfect for a studio or home recording setup as well as being great for live shows, you can take it along with your laptop to a show and access a world of sounds at your fingertips (quite literally). They cost a fair bit in comparison to 25 key or other smaller midi keyboards, but the benefits are plain to see. So what are the best 88 key midi controllers?

M-Audio Keystation 88ES 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

M – Audio are at it again, they seem to crop up all the time here on Best Midi Keyboards, and rightly so, they offer excellent audio gear at equally great prices. This 88 key model comes with the following features:

  • 88 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys
  • Pitch bending and modulation wheels which are great for controlling synths
  • Advanced function button for programming
  • Sustain or expression pedal input sockets
  • Assignable data up and down buttons
  • Built-in USB MIDI interface
  • MIDI out jack routes MIDI signals from keyboard or computer to external devices
  • Powered via USB or 9V DC adapter so there’s no need for power if you have your laptop
  • Macintosh operating system X and Windows XP class compatible

I cant recommend this highly enough if you’re in the market for a reliable and affordable full sized keyboard. It is extremely light and portable which is great for performers!

Alesis Q88 88-Key USB MIDI Keyboard

Going even more affordable now with this great full size midi keyboard from Alesis. The Q88 offers some great features too:

  • 88-key USB MIDI keyboard controller, ideal for composing and performing with computer-based digital audio workstations, synths and much more.
  • 88 semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys give for a piano like feel and range
  • Pitch and Modulation wheels add musical expression
  • Octave Up and Down buttons extend the note range for expanded melodic range
  • Sustain pedal input and midi output
  • Single USB cable simplicity delivers both data and power
  • Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition software

I love this keyboard too, though similar in features to the M-Audio model, both are very highly regarded and well reviewed on online retailers, you can pay more money but you wont get that many more features, which is why I haven’t included uber expensive midi controllers on the list. I like that the Q88 model comes with Ableton software so you can begin composing out of the box, great for the starters out there!

Remember that these two pieces of kit will need to run via software (doesn’t have to be expensive and can even be free, check out the trial license of reaper) and the world is your oyster in terms of assignable sounds! Happy composing, learning and playing out!

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