For music-producing enthusiasts, a MIDI controller that can control Ableton is like a boon, whether it may be an aspiring producer or an experienced one. MIDI controllers play an essential role in making your music-making journey smooth, and especially MIDI controllers integrated with Ableton are just like a cherry on the cake, as any music producer knows these MIDI controllers and Ableton have the power to elevate your production abilities.
With these Ableton LIVE MIDI controllers, you can have a better grip over Ableton plugins, parameters, and controls without juggling between the computer screen and MIDI controller and you can easily create intricate arrangements. These MIDI controllers for Ableton bridge everything and make music production a smooth ride.
In this article, let us guide you through the best MIDI controllers for Ableton and take your home studio setup to new levels. Purchasing the best MIDI controller is crucial for anyone producing music, and we’ve put together a list of the best MIDI controllers for Ableton based on their performance and price that fits any budget, setup, or available space.
We’ll also go over the pros and cons of MIDI controllers for Ableton LIVE. So, make sure to read the entire article to make the best decision and get the ideal one for you. Let’s get into it.
If you are in a hurry, here are our quick top 3 recommendations for the best MIDI controller for Ableton:
6 Best MIDI Controllers for Ableton – Top Ableton MIDI Controllers (2024 Edition)
Below are the best MIDI controllers you can consider if you are producing music on Ableton LIVE. All the MIDI controllers are compatible with Ableton which allows you to control Ableton LIVE digital interface using physical knobs, faders, transpose controls, etc on the MIDI controller. For Logic Pro users, here are MIDI controllers for Logic Pro X for deeper integration out of the box.
If you are looking for more MIDI controllers for universal compatibility or just need more choices, here are our recommendations for the best MIDI controllers in 2024. Do check that out.
1. Novation Launchkey 37
- Ableton LIVE Integrated
- 37 Full Size Velocity Sensetive Keys
- Dedicated One Touch MIDI Capture for Ableton LIVE
- Pitch Bend & Modulation Wheel
- 16 Velocity Sensitive Pads & 8 Knobs
- USB, 5 Pin MIDI & Sustain Port
Novation Launchkey 37 works exceptionally well with Ableton LIVE and this MIDI controller is perfectly suitable for every music producer, no matter their skill level. The Launchkey 37 gives you every feature you need to compose music with ease and expressiveness with the assistance of Ableton LIVE.
With 37 full-size synth action, velocity-sensitive keys, and 16 velocity-sensitive pads, you can deliver expressive and dynamic performances as these velocity-sensitive pads may take over your session, drum racks, mixer, and more. The keys feel good and it doesn’t feel cheap at all. The MIDI output gives you access to any MIDI-compatible device to make your kind of music. With 8 rotatory encoders, you may fine-tune instruments and effects to perfection.
Among other features, Ableton LIVE Lite, a creative toolkit, is also added in Launchkey 37 which includes a variety of effects, instruments, sounds, and other creative features. Also, it is a perfect MIDI controller for any music producer, because it can be used independently either with or without a computer, which makes it suitable for any studio setup or live performance.
- Fully Compatible with Ableton LIVE
- Comes with transpose, Octave, Shift Buttons
- Easy to explore sounds with Character Screen
- Comes with Arpeggiator, Scale Mode, and single-hand Chord Mode
- Portable yet high-quality Full-Size Keys
- Supports Sustain Pedal
- No Faders
- Not the best quality screen
2. Novation Launchpad Pro MK3
- Ableton LIVE Integrated
- 32 Step Standalone Sequencer
- 64 Velocity & Pressure Sensitive RGB Pads
- Dedicated Transport & MIDI Capture Buttons
- USB Type-C, MIDI In/Out, 3.5mm Jack
Novation Launchpad Pro MK3 is a premium controller that is designed especially for Ableton LIVE and features a robust four-track and 32-step sequencer that is perfect for producing and modifying your music. This MIDI controller allows you to create full tracks with the help of its various features like a built-in sequencer, eight-note polyphony, pattern chaining, and many more.
Launchpad Pro MK3 is Novation’s most powerful and playable grid controller offering deepest Ableton LIVE integration. You don’t even need to touch the mouse to use its various capabilities like launch clips and scenes, device and transport control, sequence beats, access mixer, and many more.
This controller boasts 64 large, RGB velocity and pressure-sensitive pads which are more responsive and perfect for launching clips and playing grooves. The Scale mode helps you to create precise music and harmonies by removing all the chances of playing in the wrong scale. While Chord mode lets you play the chords using one hand so that you can make better use of the other hand in tuning the knobs, and faders, or launching the clips, loops, and samples.
One of the standout features of this controller is that you can conveniently take control of MIDI-compatible hardware and software, using a computer or even without it. For best performance, make sure you keep your MIDI Controller clean. For starters, here are cleaning tips for MIDI Controller.
- Slim & Portable Design
- Single Handedly able to control Ableton LIVE
- Supports USB Type-C Port
- Suitable for recording drum sessions
- Not Beginner friendly
- Not suitable for Piano players
3. Arturia KeyLab Essential 88
- 88 Full-Size Semi Weighted Keys
- 6 Transport Switches, 4 Command Switch
- Clickable Encoder, 9 Rotatory Knobs, 9 Faders, 8 Pads
- Analog Lab Intro, Ableton LIVE Lite, UVI Model D Software Bundle
- USB Type-B, Sustain Pedal & 5 Pin MIDI
Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 is a perfect choice for both beginners and seasoned musicians. The KeyLab Essential 88 is a powerful, intuitive, and carefully crafted MIDI controller that helps you to produce music and perform like a pro. One of the main features of this controller is its 88-keys, semi-weighted, synth-action, velocity-sensitive keys, giving the piano-like feel but with much more control over the sound.
This not only provides you with a greater variety of octaves to work with, but also a genuine and expressive playing experience. For more 88 Keys MIDI controllers, do check out this list of 88 Key MIDI Controller with Hammer Action weighted keys that too on MIDI controllers.
This MIDI controller features some extensive control options like 1 clickable encoder, 9 encoders and 9 faders, 6 transport switches, 4 command switches as well as a screen. This control is further enhanced by the DAW command center with transport control. The screen shows the sound you are playing and the effects or octave you are using.
It also shows the Ableton LIVE controls that provide you the freedom to work on music without seeing the screen. The screen also came in handy while using Knobs, and faders and switching to Device control or track control for using the knobs and faders to their full potential. The clickable Encoder is also compatible with Ableton LIVE and you can control all the scenes, clips, and more.
Even the knobs and faders are also compatible with Ableton LIVE and let you tune, customize and craft the sound in your style. Here is a quick demo of how you can use Arturia KeyLab Essential MIDI Controller with Ableton LIVE.
Besides many features, KeyLab Essential comes with a range of renowned and professional DAW software including Ableton LIVE Lite, Analog Lab software, and UVI Model D for piano players. The sound pack includes over 6500 presets from Arturia’s acclaimed V-collection. The keyboard is compatible with a USB Type-B cable and also connects with external hardware using 5 Pin MIDI. You can even connect the sustain pedal to add an extra impression to your music or even while playing Piano.
Arturia KeyLab Essential 88 is one of the best MIDI Controller for Ableton that comes with a bunch of controls, and Full Size 88 Keys so that producers can get a better grasp over the Ableton LIVE. This MIDI controller is also suitable for Piano players who use both hands to play chords and melodies at the same time. Here are the best Digital Pianos with weighted keys to get the same sound expression as the acoustic grand piano.
- Professional Looking and feel of 88 Full Size, Semi-Weighted keys
- Clickable Encoders work best with Ableton
- Comes with Knobs, Faders, Pads, Encoders, Modulation & Pitch Bend Wheel
- Value for Money
- Not a Portable MIDI Controller
4. AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2
- 64 RGB Pads
- 8 Assignable & 1 Master Fader
- Ableton LIVE Lite Integrated
- Drum & Notes Mode for Playing Drums & Piano
The AKAI Professional APC (Ableton Performance Controller) Mini MK2 is a compact MIDI controller designed primarily for clip launching, LIVE looping, recording drums & more. This MIDI controller features an 8×8 Pad Grid Matrix with 64 RGB-Backlit Pads, excellent for launching clips and accurately adjusting various parameters even in low light conditions. The APC Mini MK2 provides you with a powerfully creative Ableton experience. Whether it is loops, vocals, samples, or anything else, the pads are just ready for it.
The APC Mini MK2 includes features like Drum mode, Notes mode, and Smart Scale mode which help in featuring seamless integration with the Ableton drum rack, melodic control of instruments, and visual feedback of the current Note Mode key respectively. You can easily play drums as well as melodic instruments using these arrangements of pads. The pad matrix becomes an adaptable musical palette for creating original melodies and chord progressions when it is in chord and notes mode.
The Smart Scale View and Note Mode are brilliant modes that let you play piano or any other melodic instrument using visuals. It creates different sections with different RGB colors so that you can identify different notes by color and section.
Among other features, the APC Mini MK2 provides 9 faders (8 Assignable and 1 Master Fader) for adjusting volume, pan, effect sends, and more for seamless and easy control of your music production. The assignable fader controls are given to shape your music immediately. Make sure you are using Device Control to get controls over the different parameters of Ableton.
This MIDI controller comprises many software like Ableton LIVE Lite, and AIR Music Technology including Hybrid 3, Mini Grand, and Velvet- a vintage electric piano instrument. If you are looking for a performance MIDI Controller for Ableton with multiple RGB pads in an affordable price range, Akai APC Mini MK2 is the best MIDI controller for Ableton you should consider.
- Super Convenient to launch loops, samples, and vocals with 64 RGB Backlit Pads
- Comes with Master Fader
- Works best for LIVE performances with Ableton
- Affordable and value for money
- Slightly long learning curve for beginners
5. M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini
- 32 Velocity Sensitive, Semi-Weighted Keys
- 8 RGB backlit assignable velocity sensitive drum pads
- 4 Assignable Knobs & Faders
- Pitch Bend & Modulation Wheels
- DAW Control with Auto-Mapping
The M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is a robust MIDI controller that is ideal for usage with Ableton. Oxygen Pro Mini is a 32-key USB-powered MIDI controller that offers an expressive playing experience wherever you want. This MIDI keyboard is a convenient option for both studio use and transportable setups because of its small size and USB-powered operation.
There are 2 other 25 Key MIDI controller options, Arturia MiniLab 3 and Akai MPK Mini MK3. Both are brilliant MIDI keyboard controllers that are also compatible with Ableton LIVE. Here is a detailed comparison of MiniLab 3 and MPK Mini MK3.
Additionally, Oxygen Pro Mini comes with high-quality sounds, so you can start composing professional-caliber music right away. A notable feature of Oxygen Pro Mini is its automatically mapped controls which makes it incredibly easy to use. Its design has 4 faders & Knobs with transport buttons which simplify navigation and offer straightforward Ableton Live control.
The addition of an OLED screen on the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is another good addon that lets you select the DAW for auto-mapping and shows almost all the sound, plugin, and effect information right in front of you.
With Smart Scale Modes, you will never struggle to juggle between different scales. Smart Chord is also there for playing chords using a single hand. The Oxygen Pro Mini with professional semi-weighted and cutting-edge high-speed key-bed scanning technology by M-Audio Precision Touch provides an incredibly expressive playing experience.
M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is a complete package that allows you to transform a musical idea into a reality. Its compatibility with Ableton LIVE makes it just perfect for all the music producers who are looking for a super affordable, portable, and the best MIDI Controller for Ableton.
- Highly portable design
- Comes with Faders, Knobs, and pads even with a compact design
- Super efficient with Ableton LIVE
- Affordable and value for money
- Dedicated Arpeggiator control with type, octave, gate, and swing
- OLED Screen came in handy
- Full-size keys can add aesthetics and design statement
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
If you want keys with multiple drum pads for launching vocals, clips, samples, etc., this is the perfect alternative to AKAI Professional APC Mini MK2. It comes with 25 velocity-sensitive keys with 40 RGB pads, offering the perfect blend in an affordable price range.
The AKAI Professional APC Key MK2 is a powerful and versatile MIDI controller that is designed to deliver the power to perform or make music effortlessly anywhere. This MIDI controller is perfect, especially for clip launching and Ableton LIVE composition. With a 5×8 Pad Grid Matrix featuring 40 RGB-backlit Pads, the APC Key 25 facilitates the creation of dynamic loops and patterns and offers visual feedback for your music. You can easily pack it up and carry it with you wherever you go, allowing you to compose music whenever the inspiration strikes.
The APC Key 25 comprises 25 keys with a Gen 2 dynamic key bed for producing melodic and harmonic music, along with multiple buttons to control the DAW and tune the sounds. Because of extensive integration with Ableton LIVE, you can control your mix and launch clips with dedicated scene buttons, freeing your hands to concentrate on your performance rather than worrying about juggling multiple software windows.
In addition to its many capabilities, the APC Key 25 includes 4 directional arrows to navigate the clip matrix and 8 assignable, infinite 360-degree knobs for intuitively controlling your sessions and immediately shaping your sounds. The APC Key 25 comes with Ableton LIVE Lite and a VST instrument package, giving you all that you need to begin producing music immediately.
For those who are looking for the best MIDI Controller for Ableton with multiple drum pads as well as keys for playing/recording/performing Melodies, APC Key 25 MK2 is the best option for you.
- Keys and pads on compact design are impressive
- Comes with Endless 360 Knobs
- RGB Pads are easy to work with and feel pretty good for the price
- Affordable and value for money
- Dedicated buttons for directional controls, Octave Shift
- Super easy to setup
- Don't have Pitch bend & Modulation wheel
- No faders
Best MIDI Controller for Ableton: What to Choose
Having a suitable musical instrument is crucial whether you’ve just started your music journey or you’re a seasoned player and by keeping that in mind we’ve prepared a list of top MIDI controllers for Ableton with all the important features you need to know about before deciding to buy one.
We hope the list of best MIDI controllers to use with Ableton LIVE provided above has helped you to know about the features of MIDI controllers in detail. Just make sure to read our in-depth reviews of the best Ableton MIDI controllers and we hope we were able to help you make up your mind to buy the right fit for you.