Are you itching to create music but feel limited by the lack of space or budget for a full-sized keyboard? You’re not alone. Many budding producers and touring musicians face this challenge, seeking a balance between functionality and portability for their setup.
This is where the 25-key MIDI controller shines – it’s compact enough to fit into almost any workspace or travel bag. Interestingly, despite its size, a well-chosen 25 key MIDI controller can pack quite the punch in features, offering more than enough control to lay down melodies, bass lines, and even drum patterns.
In this article, we’re going to explore some of the best options available that won’t compromise on quality while fitting cozily within your personal creative space.
As we look at top contenders like Arturia MiniLab 3 Mini Hybrid and AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 among others, you’ll find out just how capable these mini workhorses can be for your musical ventures. Ready for some big sounds from small keyboards? Let’s dive in!
6 Best 25 Key MIDI Controllers in 2024
Jumping right into the heart of any home studio, let’s talk about the best 25 Key MIDI Controllers that elevate music production to new heights. The Arturia MiniLab 3 Mini Hybrid stands out with its versatile array of pads and knobs, granting you immediate control over your synthesizers and software. Its compact keyboard design fits snugly in smaller spaces without compromising on functionality.
The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is another portable keyboard favorite among producers for its build quality and integrated drum pads that offer a satisfying tactile experience. Here is a detailed comparison of Arturia MiniLab 3 and Akai MPK Mini MK3 which are the 2 most popular 25-key MIDI keyboard controllers.
For those seeking a balance between portability and playability, the Alesis V25 MKII provides full-sized keys in a slimline profile, making it an ideal choice for musicians on the move.
Each model brings something unique to your setup—be it responsive action keys like those found on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 or the customizable controls of Nektar Impact LX25+.
And if you’re venturing into live electronic music performances, consider the AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2; this controller merges clip launching with key playing capabilities for seamless integration with music software like Ableton Live.
1. Arturia MiniLab 3 Mini Hybrid
- 25 Pressure & Velocity Sensitive Keys
- 8 Multi-Function Knobs & 4 Faders
- Pitch Bend & Modulation Capacitive Touch Strips
- In-built Display with Clickable Knob
- Octave/Transpose, Chord, Shift, Hold Buttons
- Built-in Arpeggiator
- USB Type-C Class Compliant, 5-Pin MIDI Out, Control Port
Unlock your musical potential with the Arturia MiniLab 3 Mini Hybrid, a powerhouse of creativity in a compact form. This 25-key portable MIDI keyboard is designed for musicians on the go, offering an impressive array of features that rival its larger counterparts. It is also practical to use MiniLab 3 at the home studio as the main driver.
With its sleek design and durable build, it’s perfect for any home studio or live performance setup. The MiniLab 3 boasts 25 velocity-sensitive keys that bring your playing to life and intuitive controls that make tweaking sounds effortless. Experience seamless integration with music software as this MIDI controller comes equipped with countless presets and a plethora of controls to shape your sound precisely how you want it.
For starters, there are 2 banks of 8 high-quality RGB backlit drum pads arranged in a horizontal line, 8 rotary encoders which feel heavy and premium, 4 faders to control all the parameters of the DAW, a Mini display to see quick information on DAW & clickable browsing knob to control the DAW right from the MIDI keyboard. MiniLab 3 also comes with a built-in Arpeggiator that can be triggered by pressing shift+Drumpad 1, Hold and Chord modes, 2 capacitive touch sensors for pitch ben,d and a modulation wheel.
Its USB Type-C connectivity ensures easy hook-up to your computer including Windows & Macbooks and digital interface, while the included software bundle lets you start creating right out of the box. The software bundle includes Analog Lab Intro, Ableton LIVE Lite, Native Instruments’ The Gentleman, Melodics, UVI Model D, & Loopcloud.
Whether you’re producing electronic music or adding synthesizer flair to your tracks, the Arturia MiniLab 3 Mini Hybrid stands ready to fuel your artistic expression without cluttering up space. For a premium yet affordable 25 MIDI Keyboard, do check out Arturia MiniLab 3 which is the best 25 key MIDI keyboard controller in 2024.
- Compact size, highly portable
- Affordable compared to similar controllers
- Easy to access DAWs using screen and clickable knob
- Comes with built-in Arpeggiator
- Intutive touch strips for pitch & modulation
- No Note Repeat
- Limited key range with only 25 keys
2. AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3
- 25 Velocity Sensitive Keys
- 4-Way Thumbstick for Pitch & Modulation
- 8 Backlit Velocity-Sensitive MPC Style Drum Pads with Note Repeat
- 8 Endless Knobs
- Built-in OLED Display
- Supports USB Type-B & Sustain Port
The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 stands out in the crowded market of compact MIDI controllers. With its 25 velocity-sensitive keys and MPC style Drum pads, it offers a responsive and satisfying playing experience that’s ideal for both beginners and touring musicians.
This portable keyboard packs a punch with 8 backlit MPC-style pads in a 4×4 grid and 8 assignable, endless 360-degree knobs that give you control over different parameters of DAW without going to the computer screen back and forth. Its built-in arpeggiator lets you experiment with melodies and rhythms. MPK Mini also supports Note Repeat which is one of the crucial options especially among finger drummers who record drum loops on MIDI keyboard.
Unlike Arturia MiniLab3’s display, the built-in OLED display on MPK Mini provides limited information but it does the job.
Plug this MIDI keyboard into your laptop or home studio setup via USB Type-B and start creating music in no time. Using a sustain input port, you can easily connect a sustain pedal. If you have no idea if a sustain pedal is required or not, here is more about a sustain pedal for MIDI keyboard.
The MPK Mini MK3 is engineered to be intuitive, featuring a 4-way joystick for dynamic pitch and modulation manipulation, ensuring expressive performances. This 4-way joystick is by far the best modulation and pitch interface, better than capacitive touch strips and wheels. It is super easy to use and offers more techniques to play with sound especially when designing arpeggios.
You’ll appreciate how this lightweight MIDI keyboard integrates seamlessly with virtual synthesizers, allowing customization of every sound in your electronic music repertoire. Whether you’re laying down beats or orchestrating digital soundscapes, this versatile controller equips you to bring your musical visions to life effortlessly.
- Responsive velocity-sensitive keys
- 8 MPC Style RGB Drumpads with Note Repeat
- Built-in OLED display
- Comes with MPC beats
- Intutive 4-Way joystick for pitch bend & modulation
- Decent plastic build
- No 5-Pin MIDI Out Port
3. Alesis V25 MKII
- 25 Full-Size Velocity Sensitive Synth Action Keys
- 8 Velocity Sensitive Backlit Beat Pads
- Pitch bend & Modulation Wheel
- Arpegiattor & Note Repeat
- USB Type-B & Sustain Pedal Input
The Alesis V25 MKII offers a compact and versatile 25-key MIDI keyboard controller, designed for easy integration with popular DAW. It features 25 Full-size velocity-sensitive synth-action keys for expressive playing and pitch-bend and modulation wheels for added musicality. The full-size keys are rare in 25-key MIDI keyboards and having full-size keys on Alesis V25 MK2 is very impressive and it actually feels better than small keys.
With its backlit drum pads, assignable knobs, and buttons, the Alesis V25 MKII provides intuitive control over virtual instruments and effects in your studio setup. The inbuilt arpeggiator in Alesis V25 MKII is another brilliant addon that attracts a lot of music producers to design arpeggios. The Note Repeat is another interesting feature, especially among drummers. Note Repeat makes the drumming easy on MIDI keyboards especially while recording hi-hats.
It easily gets integrated with DAW like Ableton LIVE, MPC beats, FL Studio, etc., and lets you control the different parameters and sound expressions right from the MIDI keyboard.
Thanks to its USB Type-B connection, this lightweight MIDI keyboard is easily portable, making it a convenient choice for music production on the go. Along with a USB Type-B port, it also features sustain pedal input for those who want to connect the sustain pedal to a MIDI keyboard.
Alesis V25 MKII comes with customizable mapping options to suit your preferred workflow when using various DAWs. Its affordable price point makes it an attractive option for beginners delving into electronic music production or musicians seeking a compact solution without compromising functionality.
Compatible with PC, Mac & iOS devices, Alesis V25 MKII is indeed the best 25 key MIDI keyboard you can consider in 2024. Arturia MiniLab 3 is another great option for the same price but MiniLab 3 misses Note Repeat. If Note Repeat is not an important feature for you, Arturia MiniLab 3 offers better value at the same price.
- Comes with Full Size Synth-Action Keys
- Supports Note Repeat
- Built-in Arpegiattor
- Comes with 1/4-inch Sustain Pedal Input
- Not the best looking design
- No Built-in Display
- No 5-Pin MIDI Out Port
4. M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25
- 25 Full Size Velocity Sensitive Keys with Aftertouch
- 16 RGB Backlit Velocity Sensitive Pads with Note Repeat
- 8 Assignable Knobs
- Smart Chord, Smart Scale, Arpeggiator, Modulation Wheel
- USB Type-B, Sustain Pedal & 5-Pin MIDI
The M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 is a compact MIDI controller that offers 25 velocity-sensitive keys and smart controls, making it an excellent choice for music production on the go. M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 is a feature-packed 25 Key MIDI keyboard controller that offers almost everything you might be looking for in your next MIDI keyboard controller. Compared to other 25 MIDI keyboards, it is slightly expensive but considering the features it offers, it is an acceptable price.
Starting with keys, it offers 25 Full-Size velocity-sensitive keys with aftertouch. Aftertouch lets you add texture to the sound at different finger pressures. You can also add oscillators, dramatic crescendos, and Brightening or darkening sound texture by pressing the key at different pressures. The 16 RGB Backlit velocity-sensitive drum pads come with Note Repeat for the best finger drumming session.
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 also boasts smart features like Smart Chord, and Smart Scale. Not just that, we also have a built-in Arpegiattor as well as a pitch bend and modulation wheel. The keyboard also consists of DAW control buttons, transpose/Octave up/down buttons, Play/Stop, Record buttons, Note Repeat buttons and a built-in char screen.
With its responsive pads, endless rotary knobs, and assignable buttons, this controller provides easy access to essential parameters in your music software. In addition to all the features, Ableton LIVE Lite, MPC Beats, and Akai Professional MPC Expansion packs are included in the software bundle.
In addition to its robust feature set, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 seamlessly integrates with popular DAWs and virtual instruments, making it a versatile tool for electronic music production. While most 25 Key MIDI keyboards come with USB Type-B and sustain pedal input, M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 also offers a 5 Pin MIDI port along with USB Type-B and Sustain pedal input.
M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 is one of the most versatile and feature-packed 25 MIDI keyboard controllers. It is indeed more expensive than other 25-key MIDI keyboards but if you are looking for the best 25 Key MIDI controller keyboard with Full-Size keys with Aftertouch, note repeat, arpeggiator, 16 RGB Backlit pads, smart chords, smart scale, DAW control buttons, 5 PIN MIDI ports, modulation and pitch bend wheel in a single MIDI keyboard, M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 is worth the price.
- Comes with Full Size keys with Aftertouch
- Brilliant 16 RGB Pads with Note Repeat
- Built-in Arpegiattor, Smart Scale & Smart Chord
- Comes with 5 Pin MIDI Output
- Comes MPC Beats for better drumming
- Not a beginner friendly keyboard
- Slightly heavier than other MIDI keyboard
5. Nektar Impact LX25+
- 25 Full Size Synth Action Keys
- 8 RGB Backlit Velocity Sensitive Pads
- 8 Assignable Knobs
- Transport Controls, Dedicated DAW control Buttons
- USB Type-B, Sustain Pedal
The Nektar Impact LX25+ is a versatile and compact MIDI controller with 25 velocity-sensitive synth-action keys, eight RGB backlit performance pads, and full DAW integration. This lightweight MIDI keyboard provides seamless control over music software and offers extensive functionality for music production.
With its slim key design, the Nektar Impact LX25+ is an ideal choice for musicians looking for a portable and efficient solution to their studio setup.
To make music production easier and seamless, we have dedicated DAW control buttons to navigate between tracks, open/close mixer, play/pause, record and much more. The Octave Up/Down and transpose buttons are also there to keep the playability convenient. Although Nektar Impact LX25+ has everything that you might be looking for in a MIDI keyboard but the design is very old-fashioned as compared to Arturia, Akai, and M-Audio.
Whether you’re producing music in a home studio or performing live, this USB-powered MIDI controller empowers you to create dynamic compositions with ease. The USB Type-B lets you connect to Windows as well as Mac devices. The intuitive interface and comprehensive feature set make the Nektar Impact LX25+ a valuable asset for any musician or producer looking to enhance their music production capabilities.
For similar pricing, you can consider other MIDI keyboards as well but with Nektar Impact LX25+, you get better DAW Controls. If that is something important to you, Nektar Impact LX25+ is good to go but for better design, inbuilt display, smart controls, arpeggiator etc., you can consider Arturia MiniLab 3 or Akai MPK Mini MK3.
- Comes with Full Size keys Synth Action Keys
- Better DAW controls
- Comes with Class Compliant USB Type-B & Sustain Pedal Input
- Easy integration with popular DAW
- Outdated Design
- No Arpegiattor, Note Repeat, Smart Features
- No 5-Pin MIDI output port
6. AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2
- 25 Velocity Sensitive Keys
- Ableton LIVE Integrated
- 40 RGB Pads for Launching Loops, Samples, Clips, Vocals
- 8 Rotatory Endless Knobs
- Plug and Play via USB
The AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2 is a top choice for musicians seeking a reliable and versatile 25-key MIDI controller. It seamlessly integrates with Ableton Live, making it an excellent tool for music production and live performances. If you are looking for MIDI keyboards for Ableton LIVE, do check out these MIDI keyboard controller for Ableton.
Its intuitive layout includes eight assignable control knobs, allowing you to manipulate software parameters with precision. The velocity-sensitive keyboard provides a dynamic playing experience, ideal for expressive melodies and chords.
With its compact design and USB power supply, this controller is perfect for on-the-go music creation. The AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2’s seamless integration with Ableton Live makes it stand out among other compact MIDI controllers. Its intuitive layout offers easy access to essential features, enhancing your workflow in the studio or on stage.
- 40 RGB Pads makes it suitable for LIVE performances
- Automatic mapping with Ableton LIVE
- Comes with endless knobs
- Extremely portable and lightweight
- Decent Build quaity
- No Arpegiattor, Note Repeat, Smart Features
- Pitch bend and Modulation wheel is missing
Is 25 Key MIDI Controller enough for Music Production?
When considering a MIDI keyboard for music production, a 25-key MIDI controller can be sufficient for many producers. It provides a compact and portable option for composing melodies, basslines, and chord progressions.
While it may not offer the full range of an 88-key piano, it’s suitable for electronic music genres and home studios where space is limited. With the right techniques and creativity, a 25-key MIDI controller can certainly be enough for music production.
While some may prefer larger keyboards with more keys for intricate compositions or classical pieces, a 25-key MIDI controller remains versatile and functional in various musical contexts. Its compact size also encourages experimentation and quick idea generation, making it a valuable asset in any music producer’s toolkit.
To conclude, 25 keys are pretty much enough for music production, recording drum loops, launching clips on DAW, and recording arpeggios but for a full-hand acoustic piano feel, 25 keys is nowhere closer to it. Better consider 88 keys MIDI controller.
Can You Learn Piano on 25 Keys?
Learning to play the piano on a 25-key MIDI controller is feasible, especially for beginners. The keys provide enough range to practice scales, melodies, and even some simplified chord progressions.
While it may not replicate the full piano experience, it can still aid in developing basic keyboard skills, chords and music theory comprehension. With the right approach and dedication, you can certainly learn foundational piano techniques on a 25-key MIDI controller.
Practicing regularly with exercises designed for smaller keyboards will help you adapt to the limited key range while building your finger dexterity and understanding of musical concepts.
Additionally, exploring different octaves and utilizing octave shifting features will allow you to access a broader spectrum of notes despite the compact size of a 25-key MIDI controller.
You cannot practice the complete piano set on a 25 key MIDI keyboard but for learning basics, chords and theory of music, 25 Key MIDI controller is good to go.
Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboard – Your Turn
Wrapping it up, we hope that by now you will have gained insight into some of the most popular options that are available when it comes to choosing the best 25 Key MIDI Controllers. There is no dearth of choices that are available in the market and that’s the reason why one feels so overwhelmed. By rounding up the best options available, you can make an informed decision and start on your musical journey.
Arturia MiniLab 3 is a top choice among music producers especially if you are into playing melodies, and keys, and designing arpeggios. On the other hand, if you are into drumming, I would strongly recommend Akai MPK Mini MK3 which comes with MPC-style drum pads and MPC Beats software.
MPK Mini MK3 also comes with Note Repeat which is not available on MiniLab 3. For a complete package, do check out M-Audio Oxygen Pro 25 which comes with everything but comes with the slightly expensive price tag.
All the 25 key MIDI keyboards mentioned above are best on their own and it all depends on the users’ requirements.