Today we are looking at the best MIDI keyboards for Mac in 2019. After detailing our favorites a couple years back, it’s now time to reassess the MIDI keyboard situation for Mac users. While some of the mainstays are making another appearance this year, there have also been a series of new releases across 2019 from Native Instruments, Arturia, IK Multimedia, and more. Head below for a detailed look at the best keyboards on the market and information to help you decide which option will suit your needs best.

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Best MIDI Keyboards for Mac in 2019

There are several key points that usually arise when it comes to deciding which Mac MIDI keyboard is the one to get. Full size or mini keys, pitch wheels or sliders, weighted or synth-action, iOS-integration out-of-the-box, and included software all come to mind. These days, most of the best manufacturers offer a wide range of options that land across all price ranges, largely differentiated by the factors above, additional performance controls, and physical build quality.

While anything more than basic DAW integration with Logic Pro X will cost a pretty penny, we have curated a series of the best options for Apple’s in-house production suite that will also accommodate an ever-evolving musical workflow with other apps — in some cases across both desktop and mobile environments. Today’s roundup is mainly focused on Mac setups, but you will find options that will take you from the home studio to the beach, and beyond as well.

Down below you’ll find the best MIDI keyboards for Mac 2019 edition. Several of the major players in the space have updated their lineups this year while some mainstays remain atop the heap for another year running.

Best MIDI keyboards for Mac 2019 - Native Instruments

Native Instruments

Native Instruments has updated its lineup of MIDI keyboards for Mac this year including several of its most affordable yet. The big highlight of its hardware offerings is the software/virtual instruments they provide access to. NI’s virtual instrument collection/infrastructure is extensive to say the least, and all of its MIDI keyboard offerings include a glimpse into this world. While the included software with the new, more affordable options is really just a bonus, it really jacks the price up on the more fully-featured models. While just something to keep in mind when it comes to making your decision here, the added software is a big part of the value when it comes NI controllers. 

Ranging from miniature portable options, up to the flagship Komplete Kontrol S88 at $1,000, each of the NI keyboards provide a varying range of software access and physical control over said software. Having been hands-on with a few of the models across the product line, there’s an option in here for any price requirement. In terms of overall build quality, it also ranges across the product line accordingly. They are slightly less robust feeling by comparison to say the Akai options below, but not by much, and are generally on par or better than just about everything we’ve had our hands-on otherwise. 

Higher-end models (S49 – S88) feature full-size keys, Light Guide (illuminates key switches, chord modes, much more directly above the keys), full color displays and a deep set of physical controls to tinker with the included virtual instruments. The lower-end models (A-series and the M32 micro-size) still provide these integrated controls, just with smaller keys, a more basic OLED display, and half the included software. You also won’t find the Light Guide tech.

  • Komplete Kontrol M32 $139
    • 32 compact keys
    • USB 2.0 bus powered
    • Software package: synths, basses, drums, effects, Ableton Live 10 Lite
  • Komplete Kontrol A25 $169
    • Custom NI keybed with 25 semi-weighted keys
    • 6,700 sounds and 13 GB of content included
    • Full integration with MASCHINE, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and Ableton Live
  • Komplete Kontrol A49 $209
    • Custom NI keybed with 49 semi-weighted keys
    • 6,700 sounds and 13 GB of content included
    • Full integration with MASCHINE, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and Ableton Live
  • Komplete Kontrol A61 $259
    • Custom NI keybed with 61 semi-weighted keys
    • 6,700 sounds and 13 GB of content included
    • Full integration with MASCHINE, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, and Ableton Live
  • Komplete Kontrol S49 MKII $669
    • 49 semi-weighted keys
    • Fatar keybeds with aftertouch
    • Pitch and mod wheels, plus touch strip
    • USB 2.0 bus powered
    • 7,000 studio-quality sounds and over 45 GB of content + more
    • MASCHINE application with a 1.6 GB Factory Selection
  • Komplete Kontrol S61 MKII $779
    • 61 semi-weighted keys
    • Fatar keybeds with aftertouch
    • Pitch and mod wheels, plus touch strip
    • USB 2.0 bus powered
    • 7,000 studio-quality sounds and over 45 GB of content + more
    • MASCHINE application with a 1.6 GB Factory Selection
  • Komplete Kontrol S88 MKII $1,000
    • 88-key hammer-action Fatar keybed
    • Two high-res color screens
    • 7,000 studio-quality sounds and over 45 GB of content + more
    • MASCHINE application with a 1.6 GB Factory Selection

Best MIDI keyboards for Mac - 2019 - Akai MPK

Akai’s Pro MPK Remains

While they might not be the latest models in today’s option, Akai’s MPK-series still remains among the best MIDI keyboards for Mac in 2019. They integrate nicely with Logic Pro X while still working great with other software and production environments. Built-like a tank and ready to take a beating if needs be, I still have my ancient first generation MPK up and running with a Logic Pro X system right now. The software inclusions here aren’t nearly as compelling by comparison to the NI offerings for me, but they are still the best workhorse MIDI keyboards on the market in my opinion. 

The latest generation sports semi-weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys, a series of MPC-style pads, as well as a series of assignable controls (that vary slightly depending on the model/size). While the on-board drum pads have never felt quite as good as some of the standalone Akai beat making machines, they are perfectly serviceable in my opinion. The MPK keys feel a little more robust than playable. Slightly more stiff than a typical synth-action keyboard, but the trade-off for me personally is a good one. Controllers from Native Instruments, Arturia or even IK Multimedia tend to have lighter, or a smoother action to them in my hands while feeling slightly less hefty overall. But as I tend to find myself playing rhythm parts and more aggressive passages across both the keys and pads, the tougher, heavier-feel just seems to work best. 

  • Akai Professional MPK225 $249
    • 25 semi weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys
    • 8 RGB illuminated MPC style pads
    • 12 assignable Q Link controllers
    • Built-in Arpeggiator/MPC-style Note Repeat
    • $200 Comprehensive Production Software
  • Akai Professional MPK249 $399
    • 49 semi weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys
    • 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads
    • 24 assignable Q Link controllers 
    • Built-in Arpeggiator/MPC-style Note Repeat
    • $200 Comprehensive Production Software
  • Akai Professional MPK261 $460
    • 61 semi weighted, velocity sensitive full size keys
    • 16 RGB illuminated MPC style pads
    • 24 assignable Q Link controllers
    • Built-in Arpeggiator/MPC-style Note Repeat
    • $200 Comprehensive Production Software

However Akai also makes an MPK mini series if you’re looking for something a little bit more compact and with a more synth-action key feel. Naturally starting in a much more affordable price range, there are two options from $120 or so: Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII and the MPK Mini Play standalone controller. Both are excellent options in the $100+ portable category and eligible for the “Ultimate Production Starter Pack including content from Splice, Loopcloud and Serato Studio,” if registered before December 31st, 2019.

  • Akai Pro MPK Mini Play $139
    • 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
    • pitch/mod joystick control
    • eight backlit MPC-style pads
    • 128 built-in sounds and 10 drum kits
    • MPC-style Note Repeat
  • Akai Pro MPK Mini MKII $119
    • 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
    • 4-way pitch/mod joystick control
    • Built-in Arpeggiator/MPC-style Note Repeat
    • 8 backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads

Arturia Microlab

Arturia MIDI Keyboards for Mac

Arturia made our previous list with its KeyStep and KeyLab MIDI controllers, but the company also now added new options to both ends of the lineup. The new 88-key MkII version of the KeyLab family hit as well as the extremely affordable mini Arturia Microlab at under $80. And this is where the Arturia MIDI keyboards for Mac really shine for us. The mid range options are great and will more than suffice all of your needs, but by comparison to others they just don’t seem to carry as much value — whether it’s the included software or my personal preference for Akai’s drum pad-equipped options — the budget-friendly models seem to be where it’s at for Arturia. It’s mini Microlab keyboard is easily one of our top picks for the best backpack-sized controller out there right now. However, with a smoother keyboard by comparison to Akai’s options and a series of slick white colorways, the entire lineup is worth a ≈. 

  • Arturia Microlab $79
    • 25 note velocity sensitive slim keyboard
    • 2 touch sensors for pitch bend and modulation wheel
    • Black, blue or orange rubber case models
    • Integrated cable-tidy recess
    • Analog Lab Lite software, UVI Grand Piano Model D, Bitwig 8-Track
  • Arturia MiniLab MkII $109
    • 25 velocity sensitive Slim-Keys
    • 8 Multi-color velocity & pressure sensitive Pads
    • Pitch Bend and Modulation touch strips
    • 16 Multi-Function Encoders
    • Analog Lab Lite, UVI Grand Piano Model D, Ableton Live Lite software
  • Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII $890
    • 88 hammer-action velocity sensitive keys with aftertouch
    • 16 RGB-backlit performance pads
    • Control bank with 9 faders and 9 rotary knobs
    • CV outputs for Eurorack/more gear
    • Piano V, Wurli V, Vox Contenental V software
    • Compatible with Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, FL Studio, more

iRig Keys 2-IK Multimedia

IK’s iOS and Mac MIDI Controllers

IK Multimedia might not be the first name you think of when it comes to music production. But after going hands-on with several IK products over the years, I can easily say it mostly punches above its weight class. The affordable gear can be an excellent choice for starter rigs or as your extra, on-the-road controller with options for less than that last reverb plug-in you bought. Several of its models are making our best MIDI keyboards for Mac 2019 list for these reasons.  

The bells and whistles are at a minimum for the most part here, but the iRig Keys 2 line was just released (full hands-on review coming shortly), re-introducing familiar pitch and modulation wheels in a subtle matte black design. Another notable feature spanning most of the IK solutions is out-of-the-box iOS integration alongside your usual Mac and PC connections. Most well-known brands still require that camera connector kit to work with your iOS gear, but IK includes the cables in the box.

The iRig Key I/O lineup also remains a notable option here with integrated audio interfaces. This unique solution certainly isn’t for everyone. But if you find yourself in need of an integrated MIDI and audio setup, especially for portable situations (controlling virtual synths and recording microphones/guitars), the I/O models below pack-in a ton of value and negate your need to carry (or buy) another audio interface.

  • iRig Keys 2 $130
    • 37 mini-keys 
    • modulation and pitch bend wheels
    • 4 assignable knobs
    • Audio output for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac/PC 
    • SampleTank 4 SE,
    • SampleTank FREE, iGrand Piano FREE, more for iPhone, iPad and Android
  • iRig Keys 2 Pro $150
    • 37 full-size keys
    • modulation and pitch bend wheels
    • 4 assignable knobs
    • Audio output for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac/PC 
  • iRig Keys I/O 25 $180
    • 25 full size keys
    • Smooth, velocity-sensitive, synth-action keyboard
    • 2 slider strips for pitch and modulation
    • 24-bit/ 96Khz audio interface for iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC
  • iRig Keys I/O 49 $300
    • 49 full size keys
    • Smooth, velocity-sensitive, synth-action keyboard
    • 2 slider strips for pitch and modulation
    • 24-bit/ 96Khz audio interface for iPhone, iPad, Mac and PC
  • iRig Keys Mini $70
    • 25 velocity-sensitive keys
    • Lightning, USB and MicroUSB cables
    • Free apps for iOS, Android and Mac/PC

More of the Best MIDI Keyboards for Mac 2019

While we will be detailing our favorite wireless, iOS-centric and MPE models next time, you’ll find a few sneak peaks below along with even more of the best MIDI keyboards for Mac in 2019.

  • KORG Wireless microKEY Air 25 $95
  • Or 37, 49 and 61-key models from $122
  • M-Audio Code 49 $339
  • Nektar Panorama T4 $297
  • Nektar Panorama T6 $353
  • Nektar Impact LX25+ $100
  • ROLI Seaboard Block $280

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