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6 Best MIDI Controllers for Logic Pro X (Jan. 2020) – Reviews

Best MIDI Controllers for Logic Pro X

Those from the music industry or those related to it know very well that Logic Pro X is one of the most popular digital audio workstations (DAW). Both beginners and professionals like this particular DAW for its simplicity and intuitiveness and naturally, they would want the best MIDI controller that complements it. 

A good MIDI controller paired with the power of Logic Pro X in good hands means you virtually have a recording studio at your fingertips. Now what you have to understand is that any MIDI keyboard will work with Logic Pro X, and you don’t need a specific type of keyboard with it. You only have to be careful about if a particular MIDI controller is designed to work with some other DAW, such as Ableton.

But we have gone ahead and compiled a list of the best MIDI controllers on the market, and will integrate seamlessly with Logic Pro X. Later in the article, we will talk about how to choose the best MIDI controllers. Here are some of the best MIDI controllers for Logic Pro X.

Top Reviews of the Best MIDI Controllers for Logic Pro X

  • Reliable Performer: Akai Professional MPK249. This controller has been a popular choice for some time now because of its great software features and “natural feel”.
  • Exceeds Expectations: Nektar Impact LX49+. This budget controller has it all; intelligent mapping, preset modes and all-around compatibility.
  • Just Right: Roland 32-key MIDI Keyboard Controller. Easy to hook up, bright LCD, fits nearly everywhere and is considered a workhorse.
  • Outstanding Performance: Nektar Panorama P6. Works out of the box with Logic Pro X and other DAWs, this feature-rich controller is loved by all.
  • Musician’s Dream: Akai Professional MPK261. This one has a great, well-thought-out design, offers a full-sized keyboard, 8 LED-backlit switches and many more.
  • Small Wonder: Arturia MiniLab MkII. This compact and portable MIDI controller has a sturdy build, features a very responsive keyboard and loads of presets.

Akai Professional MPK249

The MPK249 has been a favorite for a while and for good reason. This is a MIDI-controller with 49 semi-weighted keys that have been designed to be more comfortable and wider and feels natural. So if you have thick fingers, you will have no problem using it. Sure, it is a little too expensive for most beginners, but then again, it is not meant for beginners either. This is a production center in itself and lets you change parameters on the go.

Features

  • 24 assignable Q-Link controllers including knobs, faders and backlit buttons
  • 49 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted full-size keys 
  • 16 RGB-illuminated pads for loops, one-shots, samples and so on
  • 5-pin MIDI input and output

Advantages

  • $165 worth of bundled software that includes Hybrid 3 by AIR Music Tech and Ableton Live Lite
  • Maps to all DAWs flawlessly
  • Beautifully balanced build
  • Comfortable and spacious keys 

Drawbacks

  • Not for beginners, some customers may find it too expensive
  • Some have complained about poor customer service

Nektar Impact LX49+

 

This low-priced controller is perfect for an intermediate-level musician. All you need to do is plug it in using the MIDI cable (included) and it will automatically detect the OS and install the driver, whether it is iOS, Windows, or OSX. Its DAW integration is fantastic and requires a download of the relevant preconfigured setups. One can store up to 5 presets that can be recalled any time using instrument control and dedicated setups. It also features a rich mixer control setup, a pickup mode and great instrument control.

Features

  • 49-note velocity-sensitive keyboard
  • Compatible with OSX, Windows and iOS
  • 8 MIDI buttons, 8 encoders, 9 faders
  • Includes the Lite version of Bitwig Studio, Bitwig 8-track DAW
  • Many plugins and devices are pre-mapped

Advantages

  • Great build quality in the price range
  • Works out of the box with Logic Pro X
  • Setting up doesn’t take too long
  • Very responsive keyboard

Drawbacks

  • Some customers say that the keyboard wore off after a few months of use
  • Other customers have complained of receiving a faulty product

Roland A-300PRO-R

What do you expect from a company that makes the best synthesizers and pianos in the world? Exceptional quality, of course! So it is no surprise that A-300PRO-R made it to this list. This controller has 32 keys and is a little on the heavier side. The keys are synth-action (the first two products in this list are semi-weighted), which means they will suit you well if you are a fast player, and will feel less fatigued. The DAW controls are built on the keyboard and thanks to the onboard LCD screen, you are not dependent on a computer screen. 

Features

  • 32 synth-action keys with channel aftertouch
  • 8 pads (for MIDI triggering and finger drumming), 9 sliders and 9 knobs
  • Directional joystick and LCD screen
  • Built-in DAW controls

Advantages

  • Fast, smooth keyboard
  • Roland build quality assurance
  • No need for an AC adapter
  • A large number of assignable controls such as knobs, sliders, transport and more
  • Bundled software includes Cakewalk Production Plus

Drawbacks

  • Some customers may not like the fact that this controller is not very portable
  • Could be too expensive for some customers

Nektar Panorama P6

 

This is a 61-note MIDI controller from Panorama boasts of professional build quality and weighted keys, which will be appreciated by those who play with synth and organ riffs. Like the Impact, the DAW integration is fantastic and besides, it works equally beautifully with virtual instruments and plugins. If you are a customization enthusiast, meaning you like customizing MIDI controls, you will be delighted. The TFT display is quite crisp and quickly gives you all the information you need for a fluid workflow. 

Features

  • 61-key weighted keyboard with channel aftertouch
  • 10 assignable LED buttons, 9 faders, 20 preset locations and 16 encoders 
  • 12 pressure-sensitive and velocity pads
  • Comes with 2 USB MIDI cables, a cleaning cloth, warranty card and manual

Advantages

  • Excellent integration with most leading DAWs
  • Feels like working on a full-fledged keyboard
  • Great for all playing conditions
  • Sturdy enough to take along while touring

Drawbacks

  • Some customers have complained of receiving a damaged controller
  • Other customers feel that the keys are no responsive enough

Akai Professional MPK261

 

This quality product from Akai is considered to be a workhorse by many in the music industry. Like all the other controllers in the MPK line, the 261 also comes armed with goodies such as 61 keys (semi-weighted), 16 MPC-style pads, 4 banks that support up to 64 pads and much more. It also comes bundled with a lot of free software such as SONiVOX Twist 2.0 & Akai Pro MPC Essentials among others which are available for download. This is a solid performer from Akai that will please professionals and intermediate users alike.

Features

  • Full-sized, semi-weighted 61 keys
  • Complete MPC functionality such as melodics, loops and so on
  • Plug-and-play connectivity made possible by USB bus power
  • 24 assignable controllers 

Advantages

  • A ton of free bundled software
  • Very competitive keyboard
  • Loads of onboard DAW presets including Logic Pro X
  • Sensitive and responsive drum pads

Drawbacks

  • Some people may find the keys too soft
  • Others have complained that the screen is too small

Arturia MiniLab MkII

You can be excused to think that MkII is a child’s synthesizer. This fairly inexpensive MIDI controller features 25 keys and is small enough to fit on most desks or to take anywhere with you. The pads are color backlit and you can control the velocity pressure using the MIDI control center. The keys themselves are fun to play with and are easy on the touch. It has the perfect plug-and-play compatibility and there are over 500 unique sounds to choose from to start creating your music.

Features

  • 8 RGB-backlit pressure and velocity-sensitive pads
  • 16 controllers that be assigned for your DAWs
  • Over 500 classic synthesizer sounds
  • Connects to a MAC/PC using a USB

Advantages

  • Very reasonable pricing in this category
  • Extremely lightweight, can be carried virtually anywhere
  • Great device for those who are just beginning
  • High-quality construction

Drawbacks

  • For some, 25 keys would not be enough
  • For others, the keys may feel too slim

Choosing the Best MIDI Controllers for Logic Pro X

When you are looking to pick up the best MIDI controllers to work with Logic Pro X, you need to consider a few things. You may have great internal knowledge of the DAW but if you haven’t researched enough on the MIDI controller, so you are likely to get frustrated.

What you would be looking for is a good number of keys (and there are a lot of additional considerations with that), the number of controls, and how well they integrate with a DAW such as Logic Pro X. 

Number and Type of Keys

This is possibly the most important factor when you are in the market for a MIDI controller. There are certain products such as the Arturia MiniLab MkII which are small and compact and offer just 25 keys, while others, such as the Nektar Panorama P6 which have 61 keys on offer. 88 is the highest you can go, but from what we have seen, 32-49 is the number that most people look for. A controller with a small number of keys would make sense for you if you spend a lot of time on the road, but if you have a studio, you might want to choose a larger key number.

As it is pretty clear from the reviews, there are many types of keys, which include synth-action, with aftertouch, full-weighted, or semi-weighted keys. Choose these carefully depending on your need. Synth-action keys are lighter and are perfect for playing sounds other than the piano, while full-weighted keys will give you the unmistakable feel of playing a real piano. Semi-weighted keys are easier for most people and to train on.

Size

This is an important factor for anyone who enjoys making music on the go. But it also means sacrificing some functionalities and features. Some models featured in this article fall under that category. 

Mapping

Read the reviews beforehand to find out if the controller will map yo Logic Pro X (or other DAWs for that matter). Some of us like this functionality to be auto, while some advanced users are not in favor of that. 

FAQs

Can MIDI Controllers Be Connected to an iPad?

Of course you can! What you would need though would be a USB adapter for the iPad. There are several tutorials like online this that tell you how to. But be careful and read the manual before doing so. Most MIDI controllers will have a clear list of supported devices and you should go through it carefully. Of course, if you are in doubt, you can consult any of the numerous online forums or the manufacturer directly. You should note though, that Logic Pro X is not available for the iPad. You can use Logic Remote instead, a tutorial for which can be found here.

How Different Is the Midi Controller from a Synthesizer?

MIDI controllers do not make actual sounds but send signals instead. A synthesizer produces sounds and hence can be used as a player, and also have a MIDI controller. These are the two major differences that should remove all confusion. 

Do I Need a Computer to Hook up a MIDI Controller?

As we already established, MIDI controllers do not produce any sound on their own, but only signals. And hence, you would require a computer to convert these signals to actual music. They can be connected to the computer using the most straightforward way through the USB or USB adapters. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you are now better informed about the best MIDI controllers for Logic Pro X on the market. You have also learned about what to look for while looking for that perfect MIDI controller for you. As we already clarified earlier in the article, most MIDI controllers will work with Logic Pro X unless stated otherwise. All the products listed in this article have been thoroughly reviewed, and you can select any of these depending on your budget.

Last update on 2020-11-12 at 04:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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