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Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro X

Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro XWhile it is possible to use the digital audio workstation (DAW), Logic Pro X, without a MIDI controller, you’ll find sequencing and recording much easier when using one.

A MIDI controller provides a physical interface with knobs, pads and sliders that simplifies settings changes and activating user made presets.

Logic Pro X, the tenth version of the Apple product, runs on the Mac iOS.

A user can set up their iPhone or iPad to function as a remote to work in conjunction with the program.

The DAW offers a digital recording environment with built-in audio effects and software instruments. It works with Apple Loops which provides professional level royalty-free instrument loops.

Logic Pro X provides 255 audio tracks and multichannel surround sound mixdown.

The software works with MIDI controllers and keyboards for both input and processing, as well as, for MIDI output. Its MIDI Transform feature lets you edit MIDI sequences for precise note positioning, pitch, pitch-bends and velocity.

It also provides a humanize effect. Other aspects of the software include music and drum notation, guitar tablature and chord abbreviations.

The program includes software instruments including a drum kit designer, drum machine designer and numerous synthesizers including a retro synth, a vintage clavicle and vintage electric piano.

You can activate any of the software instruments by typing into the MIDI notation window or via input from a MIDI controller. The controller can take various forms.

A keyboard design is the most common, but MIDI guitars and drum machines have become more common.

Other interfaces are rarer but seen in more complete digital studios such as pad controllers which have drum pads, faders, buttons and knob controls, and hybrid controllers which combine traditional piano keys with the features of pad controllers.

What is the Best MIDI Control for Logic Pro X April, 2019?

ModelKeyboardDisplay:Power:Dimensions:Weight:Price
Akai Professional MPK24949 semi-weighted, full-size keys with aftertouchLCD DisplayUSB bus or USB charger (sold separately) / power adapter (sold separately): 6V DC, 1A, center-positive29”(L) x 12.25”(W) x 3.38”(H) 12.6 lbsCheck price!
Alesis VI4949 full-sized, square-front, semi-weighted keys with aftertouchLED DisplayUSB bus / power adapter (sold separately): 9V DC, 500mA, center-positive37.6”(L) x 12.4”(W) x 4.5”(H)11.0 lbsCheck price!
Akai Professional MPK Mini MK225 velocity-sensitive synth-action keysNoUSB bus12.5”(L) x 7.13”(W) x 1.75”(H) 1.65 lbsCheck price!
Novation AMS-IMPULSE-4949 Ultra-responsive semi weighted keys with aftertouchLCD DisplayUSB bus33.3”(L) x 13”(W) x 3.93”(H) 11.02 lbsCheck price!
Korg Nanokey225-key with velocityNoUSB bus12.8”(L) x 3.27”(W) x 0.65”(H)0.54 lbsCheck price!
Nektar Panorama P449 note semi-weighted, velocity-sensitiveNoUSB bus39 5/8”(L) x 13”(W) x 3 6/8”(H)17 lbsCheck price!
Roland A-4949 keys with velocityNoUSB bus32-15/16”(L) x 7-3/16”(W) x 3-5/16”(H)5 lbsCheck price!
M-Audio AxiomAIR4949 expressive synth-action keys with aftertouchLCD DisplayUSB bus / power adapter (sold separately): 9V DC, 500mA22”(L) x 15”(W) x 4”(H)10.8 lbsCheck price!

Akai Professional MPK249 – Best All-Around MIDI Controller

Akai Professional MPK249 Review, Pros and Cons.

Akai Professional MPK249 - Best All-Around MIDI ControllerLet’s open with the best controller out there, the Akai Professional MPK249 MIDI controller, which is iOS compatible.

It is designed for use in a professional studio. It offers 49 velocity sensitive, semi-weighted, full-size keys.

It provides a comprehensive interface that lets the user alter the virtual instrument and its operation.

You’ll find two high definition virtual synthesizers that vary their capabilities from warm analog to futuristic synth sound.

The controller also provides an after touch option.

Akai Professional MPK249

Key Feature: all-in-one controller that includes both keyboard and trigger pads.

PROS:
  •  Provides a USB-MIDI interface
  •  5-pin MIDI input & output
  •  16 illuminated MPC-style pads that light up red, blue, green
  •  64 assignable via 4 banks
  • 24 assignable controls: 8 knobs, 8 faders and 8 switches
  •  Comes with VIP software for virtual instruments and effect collections

CONS:
  •  Does not come with a traditional power adapter
  •  Uses a USB cable connected to a computer for power

The All-New Akai Professional MPK249 Keyboard & Pad Controller:

MPK249 Hands On Review:

Alesis VI49 – Most Versatile Controller

Alesis VI49 Review, Pros and Cons.

Alesis VI49 - Most Versatile ControllerThe Alesis VI49 MIDI controller offers the greatest sound flexibility of any Logic Pro X controller because it provides 49 full-sized, semi-weighted keys, 36 buttons and 12 controller knobs that you can assign to different sounds then edit and alter them.

Its design makes it equally useful in the studio and as a live instrument.

Its keys respond well to velocity and pressure for realistic piano sound.

It offers a built-in blue LED display that tracks your position in the score.

It is easy to see even in low light conditions.

Alesis VI49 - Most Versatile Controller

Key Feature: Greatest Flexibility from Its 49 Keys and 48 Controls.

PROS:
  •  16 backlit pads that light up red, blue, green
  •  12 knobs and 36 buttons assignable for hands-on control of your digital audio workstation, plug-ins, and instruments
  •  Draws power from a USB connection to the computer
  •  Available optional power adapter
  •  Comes with free downloads for AIR Xpand!2 virtual instrument software and Ableton Live Lite

CONS:
  •  Does not come with a traditional power adapter, but one is available as an add-on

Alesis VI49 Advanced USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller Overview:

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 – Easy to Learn for Beginners

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 Review, Pros and Cons.

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 - Easy to Learn for BeginnersChoose the Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 if you’re new to home recording and MIDI.

It offers a lower price point than most and a good learning environment. It’s extremely portable.

It features 25 miniature keys with three touch sensitivity settings, eight backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-style pads and eight assignable Q-Link knobs.

Smaller than a laptop, it still packs in the power of a larger design with eight rubber, velocity sensitive pads and eight programmable knobs.

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK2 - Easy to Learn for Beginners

It comes with two sound banks. It uses a more compact thumbstick design to replace standard pitch/mod wheels.

The unit also provides dedicated octave up and octave down buttons.

Key Feature: Extreme lightweight portability.

PROS:
  •  VIP 3.0 compatible
  •  Quality Akai pads and keys
  •  Built-in arpeggiator

CONS:
  •  Loose knobs
  •  Thumbstick may not provide as adequate control as pitch/mod wheels

THE BEST AKAI MPK MINI TUTORIAL AND REVIEW:

AKAI MPK Mini MK2 – A Review:

Akai Pro MPK mini MKII – Complete Setup, Software Download, and Installation Walk Through:

Novation AMS-IMPULSE-49 – Best Controller for Logic Pro X

Novation AMS-IMPULSE-49 Review, Pros and Cons.

Novation AMS-IMPULSE-49 - Best Controller for Logic Pro XThe Novation AMS-IMPULSE-49 provides the best midi controller for Logic Pro X due to its modern design, quality automapping software and ultra-responsive keyboard.

Its software, Automap 4, integrates with Logic Pro X.

If you want to experiment with another DAW, it comes with Ableton Live Lite.

You’ll also get a taste of Novation’s bass synth and loop masters in the complimentary sample pack. You can control your mixer and transport controls, plus leverage effects, plug-ins and VSTs.

Its semi-weighted keys with aftertouch perform well in concert settings and the production studio, as do its faders and knobs. Other hardware features include multi-function drum pads that let you roll beats and warp arpeggios.

Its assignable aftertouch feature provides the feeling of playing a piano. You’ll choose your Impulse by choosing its 25, 49 or 61 key model.

It also features eight knobs, nine faders and buttons and an LCD screen so you can track your place in the score.

Key Feature: Comes in your choice of 25, 49 or 61 keys.

PROS:
  •  draws power from a USB connection to the computer
  •  comes with free software

CONS:
  • There’s really no con to using this controller

Novation // Impulse MIDI Controller Keyboard Overview:

Korg Nanokey2 – Lightest MIDI Controller

Korg Nanokey2 Review, Pros and Cons.

Korg Nanokey2 - Lightest MIDI ControllerThe Korg Nanokey2 weighs next to nothing compared to most MIDI controllers.

You can tote it in a backpack since it only weighs 0.54 pounds and measures just over one foot in length.

You’ll get 25 slim-line keys, a 16 pad slim-line drum pad controller, eight faders, DAW control buttons and an X-Y touchpad, plus octave and mod buttons.

Key Feature: Comes in your choice of 25, 49 or 61 keys.

PROS:
  •  Draws power from a USB connection to the computer
  •  Works well with other MIDI keyboards
  •  Quality parts provide good value at low cost

CONS:
  •  The silicone buttons stick
  •  Pads not designed for quick sample triggering
  •  Not for live performance

Korg nanoKEY2 – Quick demo:

Nektar Panorama P4 – Most Comprehensive Design

Nektar Panorama P4 - Most Comprehensive DesignThe Nektar Panorama P4 controller comes in multiple versions.

Choose from a semi-weighted or weighted keys in a 49 or 61 key layout.

The controller also includes 12 velocity sensitivity pads, 16 encoders and 28 buttons.

It also features 10 assignable LED buttons and nine 45mm faders.

Nektar Panorama P4 has 10 assignable LED buttons

Its channel strip control easily associates with Logic Pro X to provide easy access to inserts, EQ and sends.

It works with Logic Pro X and many other DAWs including Cubase, Bitwig Studio, Main Stage and Reason.

Key Feature: Comprehensive controller with buttons, encoders, keys, pads.

PROS:
  •  93 real-time controls available at any one time
  •  Works well with other MIDI keyboards
  •  Four programmable keyboard zones let you set controller filters and program changes

CONS:
  •  Hefty at more than 17 to 21 pounds in weight
  •  Challenging to learn to use

Roland A-49 – Most Reliable Instrument

Roland A-49 - Most Reliable InstrumentMusicians know the Roland brand well.

The firm manufactures a number of musical instruments.

Roland A-49 provides a durable MIDI keyboard controller that easily interfaces with Logic Pro X.

This lightweight instrument transports to gigs easily since it weighs only six pounds.

It features 49 full-size keys with velocity sensitivity.

Like many of the other controllers in this guide, it uses a USB cord to connect to the computer for power.

One of its unusual features is the D-Beam which the user activates by waving their hand over the D-Beam controller.

The beam is invisible, but the activating motion boosts the sound and adds color to it.

Roland A-49 has the D-Beam

Key Feature: Reliable Roland Design.

PROS:
  •  D-Beam provides an easy way to control color
  •  Simple design with two knobs, two switches and the keyboard

CONS:
  • Some users have had problems installing the USB power drivers

A-88/A-49 MIDI Keyboard Controller Overview – Roland Connect Sept. 2012:

M-Audio AxiomAIR49 – Best for Mapping with Logic Pro X

M-Audio AxiomAIR49 - Best for Mapping with Logic Pro XThe M-Audio AxiomAIR49 offers a 49-key MIDI keyboard known as the best for mapping with Logic Pro X.

Besides its full-size, synth-action velocity-sensitive keys, it also provides eight velocity-sensitive trigger pads and eight assignable knobs.

The pads and knobs enable beat production, launching clips, mixing and plug-in activation.

It also provides modulation and pitch wheels and it comes with a software bundle that includes Pro Tools, First and Eleven Lite, plus the Virtual Instrument Player (VIP).

Like many devices of today, it uses a USB connection to the computer for power.

Key Feature: Reliable Roland Design.

PROS:
  •  Easy beat production interface
  •  Software bundle of three major programs

CONS:
  • Manufacturer does not specify if a traditional power adapter is also available

Buyer’s Guide

While we’ve jumpstarted your shopping for a MIDI controller for Logic Pro X by reviewing the top five devices, you may decide you’d like something else instead. Here’s a short rundown on what you need to look for in a device.

Compatibility

Check with which operating systems the hardware device is compatible. Not all controllers work with Mac iOS.

Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro X

Some controllers work with multiple software programs. You can find controllers that come with a bundle of two or three software that works together.

Keyboard

Evaluate the keyboard for ease of use. Check the response of the keys. Change the settings, especially the aftertouch, then try the keys again since this can alter the response. Also, pay close attention to the tone.

Determine if you want synth action, semi-weighted or weighted keys. How many keys do you want?

User Interface

Try reading the LCD display in various lighting conditions. It should provide an easy view of the score and the synth settings.

Test the knobs, sliders and pads for resistance and response. Do they easily trigger an effect?

Budget

Determine your budget. Be willing to save your money for a couple of months to purchase quality. You could buy a simple controller for a small investment immediately, but you may exceed its capabilities quickly.

Saving for a more advanced model lets you purchase a MIDI controller with more features that can take you from amateur to professional performances. You won’t need to save for long because even top of the line controllers only cost about $400.

Using a 49 key device as a base point, expect to pay:

  •  $100 or less for a mini synth-action keyboard with five or fewer controls
  •  $100 to $200 for a synth-action keyboard with a fair amount of controls
  •  $200 to $300 for a full size keyed, semi-weighted keyboard with many controls, such as eight or more buttons, eight to 16 pads, 9 faders and 9 knobs
  •  $300 and up for a full size keyed, semi-weighted keyboard with numerous built-in controls

Area of Use

Determine whether you need a device for use in the studio, in live performance or both. Will you use the MIDI controller as a notation device, as a musical instrument or simply as a control surface?

A device with slim keys works fine if you’re only using it for simple note entry on a piano roll, but you need full-size keys for a controller to use in live performance.

As your compositions become more complicated, you’ll find buttons, knobs, and sliders help you edit and create custom settings. Drum pads can not only help you devise drum lines, but let you program each pad for a specific beat or set of beats.

With a single mode change, tapping the pad triggers that beat. The buttons, knobs and sliders come in handy during live performance to quickly trigger presets.

Some controllers draw power from the computer via USB cord. Most provide an optional wall adapter for plugging into a standard electrical outlet. Some do not.

Level of Experience

Your level of experience a pianist and as an audio engineer influences your choice of controller. Beginners will probably find it easier to use a keyboard with full-size keys since they’re easier to trigger.

Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro X

If you have experience with simple note entry using a controller and piano roll mode, you won’t have problems with a slim key model. If you’re just starting out as an audio engineer, a complicated keyboard controller may be daunting.

Weight

A lightweight device makes it easy to transport, but a heavy weight can add to its durability and can signal many features. Lighter works better if you need to transport it to gigs.

Power Source

Many MIDI controllers and keyboards now use only USB power cords that connect to the computer for power. This can present a problem for those who need to use the controller in a live performance.

While some devices do offer an optional standard power adapter, you’ll need to purchase it separately. Some users have reported problems installing the power adapter drivers to Mac computers.

This has occurred with Roland devices and those devices could not charge by alternate means. Consider the situation in which you’ll use the device before purchasing.

There’s no one perfect MIDI controller that works best for everyone. Choosing the right product for you means taking into consideration the controller’s:

  •  compatibility
  •  keyboard design and size
  •  the user interface
  •  your budget
  •  area of use
  •  your level of experience playing piano and with audio engineering
  •  controller weight
  •  power source

Your controller needs to fit your needs and budget. We hope this buyer’s guide helps you choose the right one.

Whether you need an ultra-light device you can take with you or a full-size keyboard with a bevy of knobs, faders and drum pads, you can find a controller that fits your needs and works well with Logic Pro X.

You can expect to pay between $100 to $400 for a MIDI controller that works well with Logic Pro X.

Happy Shopping!

Best MIDI Controller for Logic Pro X

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