In the constantly expanding world of MIDI controllers and operating system options, how do you decide which is the best ultra-portable MIDI keyboard controller for your needs?
Do you want drum-pad style keys, or piano-style keys? Do you want a 25 key controller or a 32 or even 37 key model?
Check out the interactive chart below to compare and learn more about the top rated ultra-compact midi keyboards on the market today!
The Best Models
Specs (W x D x H)
Rating & Price
|Korg nanoKEY2||Pitch, mod and sustain buttons. USB powered.||12.8″ x 3.3″ x .65″||$||+|
|Akai Professional LPK25||4 memory banks, built in arpeggiator||13.4″ x 3.8″ x 1.3″||$$||+|
|Keith McMillen Instruments QuNexus||Keys detect pressure, velocity and tilt. Aftertouch, Pitch bend. Mac, PC, iOS, Android and Linux compatible||12.8” x 3.3” x 0.4”||$$$||+|
|M-Audio Keystation Mini 32||32 velocity-sensitive keys, fits in computer bag for 15″ laptop, pitch bend and mod buttons, 4 assignable buttons rotary knob||16.5″ x 4″ x <1″||$$||+|
|Korg microKEY 37||37 velocity-sensitive mini keys, pitch and mod wheels||22.2″ x 5.5″ x 2.1″||$$||+|
|Novation Launchkey Mini||25 synth-action keys, 16 performance pads, 8 knobs, 7 function buttons, Mac/Windows,iOS compatible||12.8” x 6.9” x 1.7”
* Prices are approximate of Amazon.com and are subject to change. $ = $49 or less, $$ = $50 – $99, $$$ = $100 – $199, $$$$ = $200 – $399, $$$$$ = $400+
Who are they designed for?
With the unbelievable technological advances of the past decade and half, computers are an important part of everyday life.
They’re how we communicate, learn, share and create. Now, more than ever, people desire portable options (aka laptops and tablets) so they can access their information anywhere.
Companies like M-Audio, Korg, and Alesis, as well as others, saw the niche developing and responded with the ultra-portable MIDI keyboard!
These days any artist, professional level, student or amateur, can create music wherever they want with some great ultra-compact controllers!
These bad boys are small enough to fit in your computer bag (or small backpack) but solid enough to be on your artistic level and convey your ideas to your DAW, be it on PC, Mac or iOS!
That’s right! Most ultra-portable controllers are plug and play with your iPad with the help of a USB connector kit. Some, like the Keith McMillen Instruments QuNexus are even Android compatible.
The MIDI world is now any electronic musician’s oyster!
Some of the great things about ultra-portable MIDI controllers are that they are:
- TINY! Take ‘em anywhere your laptop goes!
- USB powered
- Versatile – Mac, PC, iOS
- Creative – Drum-pad style, synth-style keys
While these small keyboard controllers generally don’t support a plethora of extra features due to their limited size, one must remember that they are not intended to replace a full sized keyboard.
Many of the keyboards will have pitch and mod controls, maybe sustain, or some pedal inputs, but the idea behind them being ultra-portable is that they are ultra-portable, so don’t expect to be blown away by their pads, faders, knobs etc…
When you realize that they are meant to compliment a larger studio setup and accommodate a mobile lifestyle, you’ll be able to appreciate them for what they are.
These guys are designed to facilitate the composition of your ideas anytime, anywhere, and for that reason, they rock!
Check out some of the models in the chart above; compare and read reviews. If there is a specific model you’d like to see reviewed, feel free to send us a request through the Contact page, or leave a helpful comment below!
Thank you for reading about them, I hope this page was useful for your search!
If you’re looking for a different size or keyboard check out our other pages for 25 Key, 49 Key, 61 Key and 88 Key keyboards.
If you are looking for a non-keyboard controller check out our MIDI Controllers page. Maybe you’re looking for a music workstation and you want to check out our page for Analog Synthesizers.