9 best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio
Today I take a look at the best MIDI keyboards for FL studio. Most modern keyboards works well with all major DAWs but for this roundup I only listed MIDI keyboards that have a seamless integration with FL Studio.
The question I was looking to answer was simple: Which MIDI keyboard/controller helps you get the most out of the FL Studio software?
I instantly fell in love with the Akai Professional Fire because you can control and navigate FL Studio’s Channel Rack, Browser, Playlist window and Tool Bar with a click of a button. Although it’s more of a controller it literally fires up the DAW!
If you are looking for a standard MIDI keyboard you will find plenty of great options here as well!
We got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!
At a Glance: Our Pick of the Best MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio
- Editor’s Choice: Akai Professional Fire
- Best For Beginners: Alesis V25
- Best Premium Pick: Nektar Impact LX49+
- Best Value: Arturia MiniLab MKII
- Best Versatile: Novation Impulse 49 USB
- Best for Portability: Akai MPK Mini MKII
- Best for Home Producers: Novation Launchkey 25
- Best Semi-Weighted: Alesis VI61
- Best For Piano Players: M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro
As mentioned before, FL Studio is one of the most popular DAWs on earth. With that said it’s strange we’ve never had a dedicated hardware controller for FL Studio until now. Akai Professional Fire is first of its kind and it doesn’t disappoint.
Akai Fire is built to resemble the step-sequencing in FL Studio and each of the four modes available (Step, Note, Drum and Perform) controls every key aspect of the popular DAW. This is a true plug-n-play keyboard that lets you instantly navigate FL Studio’s Channel Rack, Browser, Playlist window and Tool Bar.
Akai Professional Fire is the best MIDI controller for FL Studio and it literally fires up the DAW used by millions of home producers across the globe!
- A true FL Studio controller
- Easy navigation
- Smooth and enjoyable step sequencing
- Pads are smaller than standard
- Only two velocity levels
Alesis V25 MIDI controller is one of the most affordable and best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio. The keys are full-size which is unusual for 25-key MIDI keyboards. The 4 responsive rotary knobs feels great and can easily be configured to tweak parameters inside of FL Studio.
The V25 puts a lot of controls at your fingertips including, pitch wheel, mod wheel, transport controls, pads and buttons. The drum pads let you lay out beats and trigger loops inside of FL Studio. The keyboard comes with the V25 editor which lets you adjust the sensitivity to match your playing style.
Don’t let the fairly cheap price fool you – this MIDI keyboard is quality-built and can compete with the more expensive alternatives! The Alesis V25 is fully compatible with all the major DAWs so If you switch from FL Studio you can still use it to its full extent.
- Lightweight and compact
- Full-size keys
- Very affordable!
- No aftertouch
- Sometimes the pads will double-trigger
- Missing LED screen
Nektar Impact LX49+ has one of the most advanced mapping features which makes it into our list of the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio. It’s equipped with 8 hyper-sensitive backlit pads, 9 faders, 8 rotary knobs and transport controls.
The Impact LX49+ let’s you control all features inside of FL Studio without touching your keyboard. What makes it so advanced is that it automatically maps to controls inside your DAW or FX plug-ins so there is basically no configuration required.
If you want something more portable you’ll find the same awesome features in the smaller sibling LX25+. There is also a big-brother called LX61+ but it will require a lot of space on your studio desk as it measures 38 x 10.5 x 3 inches. The keys feel premium, high-quality and almost piano-authentic (although it is synth-action keys).
Official guide on how to connect Nektar Impact LX+ Series with FL Studio.
- Wide selection of real-time controls
- Premium synth-action keys
- Very affordable
- No MIDI ports for external gear
Arturia MiniLab MKII is solid as a rock and built to last a lifetime. This 25-key portable MIDI keyboard features pitch and mod stripes, 8 trigger pads, and 16 rotary knobs that you can use for mapping and programming in FL Studio.
One of the most major wins with this MIDI keyboard is the sustain pedal input. Many other 25-key MIDI keyboards lack this feature which frustrates piano players. Compared to its predecessor, the keys on the MiniLab MKII are more piano-like and less synth-like.
The pads can be set to MIDI notes, making them handy as drum pads. You can also configure them to trigger patch changes which is useful while live performing.
If you want to get the most out of your money when buying a MIDI keyboard for FL Studio, consider the Arturia MiniLab MKII.
- Upgraded synth action
- Sustain pedal input
- Extremely ergonomic design
- The slim keys can be a dealbreaker if you’re used to full-sized keys.
- Doesn’t include the full version of Analog Lab 2
Novation Impulse 49 features a combination of multi-functional drum pads, faders, buttons, and transport controls. Thanks to Novations unique Automap 4 software it’s easy to integrate with FL Studio without any controller assignments. Just simple plug-and-play straight out of the box. The semi-weighted keybed is surprisingly enjoyable and it offer up some similarity of an acoustic piano but with a lighter touch.
Another cool feature is the built-in Arpeggiator that allows you to create arpeggios out of any chord. You can also use the drum pads to trigger rhythm changes and warp the sound in real-time.
- Just connect your USB and you’re good to go with FL Studio
- Stable build even if the construction is made of plastic
- Aftertouch tech
- Sometimes I got duplicate notes recorded when hitting the pads
- The keys have sharp bottom side edges which can be uncomfortable when playing wide chords
Akai Professional MPK Mini MKII is a feature-rich MIDI keyboard small enough to fit in your backpack. The pads, knobs and transport controls are an all-in-one solution for controlling every key aspect of FL Studio.
MPK Mini MKII combines great integrations with all major DAWs and it’s built on core technologies for the classic MPC workstations. The backlit velocity-sensitive MPC-pads is in a league of its own and you’ll get eight rotary knobs for full controls of various parameters of your choosing. The red joystick is set to control pitch bend but you can change it to any other parameter in FL Studio.
This is definitely one of the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio and this small controller is packed with features bigger alternatives lack.
See the official guide on how to setup MPK Mini MKII with FL Studio!
- The sensitive pads are an upgrade from it’s previous version
- A very priceworthy alternative
- Knobs smaller than standard
- MPC software can be difficult for beginners
- Can’t adjust key-velocity
Novation Launchkey 25 is a very popular MIDI keyboard for FL Studio (the whole Launchkey Series are great). It’s primarily designed for Ableton Live but it works great with other DAWs as well. It’s super easy to get started and it really is plug-n-play.
When you connect the Novation Launchkey 25 you can control FL Studio with faders, rotary knobs, transport controls, RGB pads, pitch and modulation wheels. I want to give a shout-out to all products in the Launchkey-Series. It’s just a matter of budget and space on your studio desk. Launchkey Mini, Launchkey 25, Launchkey 49 and Launchkey 61 are all great options when you’re looking for the best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio!
You’re assured a high-quality music making experience that will boost your creativity!
See Novations guide on how to setup the Launchkey keyboards with FL Studio here!
- High quality keys and buttons
- Lots of value for the buck
- Great connectivity with the Launchkey App
- Sliders and knobs feel a bit plastic
- Only one slider on Launchkey 25
Alesis VI61 is one of the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio if you want a controller with premium-quality keys and tons of buttons and knobs. You get a total of 61 full-sized keys which is becoming fairly unusual for MIDI keyboards. The semi-weighted keys feel like a real piano and have great sensitivity, preventing your notes from sounding flat.
Besides the great key action, this MIDI keyboard also allows you to add effects on the go. Alesis VI61 includes 48 buttons and 16 knobs in total which lets you map and control any parameter in FL Studio. This keyboard features a lot of controls compared to other MIDI keyboards which are great, especially if you want to automate and produce a more dynamic track or use it for live performances.
Official guide on how to connect Alesis VI Series with FL Studio.
- Semi-weighted keys with aftertouch
- Input for sustain pedal
- External power supply included
- MIDI output lets you connect external MIDI modules
- The included software has a learning curve
- The knobs have a bit of resistance, making them difficult to use for quick adjustment
M-Audio Hammer 88 is a full-sized MIDI keyboard with graded hammer action keys. Hammer-action keyboards are usually preferred by piano players because of the piano-like feel. So what differs Hammer 88 from other alternatives? It’s equipped with a lot of faders and knobs that can be assigned to almost any parameter in FL Studio.
When connecting the Hammer 88 to the computer it will automatically map to FL Studio. This will save you a lot of time since manual mapping controls can be very time-consuming.
There is some smart functionality that makes this MIDI keyboard stand out in a very big crowd. The Smart Chord and Smart Scale feature let you play chords on a single key and eliminate errant notes.
- Realistic hammer-action keys
- Seamless integration with FL Studio
- A lot of controls at your disposal
- Big and heavy
What is FL Studio?
FL Studio is an all-in-one music production software and what’s called a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). A DAW is an essential software for music producers with the purpose of recording, editing and mixing digital audio. FL Studio started as Fruity Loops but had to drop the name to avoid any confusions with the cereal Froot Loops. Famous EDM-producers all around the world use FL Studios when they produce the bangers we hear on radio or on the dance floor. Notable FL-producers are Porter Robinson, Deadmau5, Martin Garrix and Avicii (RIP). FL Studio supports all essential key features like time stretching, sampling, pitch shifting and digital piano roll. The price tag on FL Studio is low so anyone can afford it. I recommend you try their free trial before making a purchase!
Choosing the best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio can be tough if you don’t know what you need but our buying guide and review will hopefully help you make a smart decision.
Why using a MIDI keyboard in FL Studio?
Every music producer can endorse that mouse and keyboard are a creativity-killer when producing music. A MIDI keyboard is an essential piece of studio equipment in every producer’s toolbox. Adding a MIDI keyboard to your rig will merge software with hardware and improve your workflow in FL Studio. Your creativity will turbocharge when you gain tactile control over all of your virtual instruments without touching your computer. You can adjust every parameter with knobs, sliders and wheels.
Preconfigured MIDI keyboards for FL Studio
There are some keyboards that are preconfigured for FL Studio (you don’t need any custom configuration to use all FL-features right out of the box. These are some of the MIDI keyboards officially supported by Image Line:
- Alesis Photon X25
- Korg KONTROL49
- Korg Nanokey
- Korg MS-20
- Korg microKONTROL
- Novation Launchpad
- Novation SL MKII
- M-Audio Oxygen
- Akai MPC series
- CME UF Omnipotent
You can see the full list of preconfigured controllers here. Does this automatically make these MIDI keyboards best for FL Studio?
There are plenty of MIDI keyboards that you can choose from and I’ve been looking at all key features that are essential for FL Studio.
MIDI keyboards great for FL Studio – Key features
Instead of using the mouse to click on the screen, producers prefer to use a hands-on interface when producing music. It’s the ability to easily create sample-based or looped-based electronic music that makes FL Studio one of the most popular DAW on the planet. The ability to perform these tasks without involving mouse and keyboard are some key features I looked at when creating this list. The best MIDI keyboard for FL Studio should offer flexibility and ease to use. You should be able to record drum patterns and basslines in a convenient way and easily control effects. Various track automatization features in realtime are some of the most important features for EDM-producers and that’s what I focused on in this review. Main features that I looked at and will help you perform these tasks are:
- Drum pads
- Rotary knobs
- Mapping features
How to connect a MIDI keyboard to FL Studio
It’s very easy to connect your MIDI keyboard to FL Studio and get all the cool features at your fingertips. It’s very important that you install all the latest drivers for your MIDI keyboard so FL Studio can recognize that your MIDI keyboard is connected to your computer. When you’ve installed the latest drivers, head over to FL Studio:
- From the top toolbar, click Options and select MIDI Settings.
- Select Input Settings and enable your MIDI keyboard.
If you see the MIDI keyboard labeled as “USB Audio Device” you need to change it to Generic Controller.
If you press a key you should see MIDI signals being sent over to FL Studio. Now you’re good to go!