If you love creating music on your computer, you will soon realize that using the QWERTY keyboard for making musical masterpieces is impossible. You will eventually have to buy a MIDI controller that works as a beautiful little keyboard, helping you make the music you want. It can help you in rehearsals and even while performing gigs.
If you are going to buy a new MIDI keyboard controller soon, make sure you do adequate research and find only the best quality. Here are 5 things you need in a controller. No matter what, don’t miss these five.
1. Software integration
Your MIDI keyboard should give you maximum control and customization option. Some controllers come with app integrations which help in fine-tuning the sound of your keyboard. This will help you in getting the perfect results each time. Whether you have a garage band or have a home studio, you need good software integration to make your controller provide you the best results. Check if the keyboard you are buying comes with software or app integrations that can help tune it better. Make sure you understand these controls completely before using.
2. The right controls
Apart from the keys, the controller has many other buttons which you should familiarize yourself with. The most common ones are pads, knobs, and faders. The pads on your keyboard can either be 4 or 8. If you are looking for rhythmic additions to your music or perform drums, these pads are perfect for the effects. The knobs are used mostly for volume tracking and pan. Faders, as the name suggests, work on the volume control and handle the reverb in the music. Some controllers also have transport and other buttons. You can use them for Mute or Solo or static on/off.
3. USB attachment
MIDI controllers must be able to connect with your computers via a USB cable. This will make setup as easy as reciting a nursery rhyme. Just plug the USB to your computer and it will recognize the device automatically. If you want to use any software, they will also recognize the instrument instantly. With the help of USB cables, you don’t have to go through the hassles of setup every day and waste your precious time.
However, you must note that controllers with no USB attachments exist. These are usually the older models or ones designed for high-end setups. If you have a small band and need a quick setup for performances, opt for the USB version. You won’t need a larger MIDI configuration.
4. Good quality drivers
A MIDI controller without good drivers is nothing but a toy for kids to play with. When you buy a MIDI controller, check out everything you can about the drivers. If they are sub-standard, even the best-weighted action keyboard will produce faulty sound. There will be several problems with noise and anomalies along with unstable sounds. Check out who manufactures the drivers of the controllers and what their reputation in the market is before you decide to buy something.
5. Good quality construction
Last but not the least, you want your MIDI controller to have a strong and sturdy built. Its construction should be ergonomic which doesn’t make you play in awkward positions. Additionally, the material used in the construction of the controller should also be good. You don’t want something that would stop working with heavy daily use. Durability is essential when it comes to buying a controller. Play the controller when you are in the shop and you will realize the build quality with ease.
One of the most important things to keep in mind while buying MIDI controllers is to get them from a music shop, not online. When you buy a controller in person, you get to play it and feel how weighted the keys feel. You can also have a better look at the build quality of the controller. Additionally, you will get to test several different controllers at once and even tune them/ listen to the sound quality before deciding what works best for you.
As a rule of thumb- never buy a MIDI controller before playing it in the music shop.
Are you ready to buy your next fantastic MIDI controller? Good luck!