Photo of a MIDI keyboard at an angle

Need a very simple keyboard to input basic MIDI? Maybe you want to play some MIDI drum beats, or record some simple synth melodies. Or maybe you need a full 5 octave or more keyboard with its own sounds, that you’ll use both to record in your home studio and use on stage. Here are a couple of recommendations for both those situations.

  • AKAI LPK25 USB-Powered MIDI Keyboard (Amazon affiliate link) – This is a basic cheap and cheerful keyboard to use as a MIDI controller, for recording basic parts. It is an excellent keyboard for the price – USB powered, 2 octaves, very lightweight and portable, sends MIDI to your computer or other devices via USB. For entering basic MIDI data, this is an excellent bang-for-buck choice.
  • Roland Juno DS-61 Keyboard/Synth – This is a little more expensive than I usually like to recommend on these pages. But there is a reason for that; I have had one of the previous models of these keyboards for about 15 years, and it has been phenomenal. If you need an instrument for both studio and live use that is reasonably portable, you can’t go wrong with the DS-61. It offers…
    • 5 octaves (61 keys)
    • Stereo and mono line-outs
    • MIDI IN and OUT (standard 5-pin DIN)
    • Sample import function for playing user WAV files on the JUNO-DS61’s keyboard
    • Knobs/sliders for easy sound editing
    • Phrase Pads for triggering samples
    • Built-in effects