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How to Buy a MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio

M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 - RIGHT SIDE

When you want to buy a MIDI Keyboard, it’s very important you know that the MIDI Keyboard works well with FL Studio.

Most reviews just say “yes, it’s good”.. but you NEED to know if the MIDI Keyboard works good for your DAW.

LISTEN: S2E10 – What’s a Good MIDI Keyboard for Beatmaking

If you follow my website, you know I’m a Recognized FL Studio Trainer, which means this guide is only for how to buy a MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio.

What to Look for in a MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio Beatmaking

What’s the Best MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio?

All of my MIDI Keyboard Reviews are specifically for FL Studio.

Click the button to view my FL Studio MIDI Keyboard Reviews:


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What is a MIDI Keyboard?

M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 - Semi-Weighted Keys
M-Audio Oxygen Pro MIDI Keyboard (See Review)

It’s VERY IMPORTANT you understand what a MIDI Keyboard actually is so you don’t get sucked in, because a MIDI Keyboard itself has no sounds in it!

This means if you buy a $100 MIDI Keyboard or $900 MIDI Keyboard, you literally get the SAME EXPERIENCE!

The $900 might be built better, or have “more features”.. but you play the piano keys the exact same with either model.

A MIDI Keyboard’s price has a sweet spot.

How does a MIDI Keyboard Work?

Nexus 3 by reFX - ROMpler Virtual Instrument
Nexus 3 by reFX is a Virtual Instrument.
This is a special type called a ROMpler

When you press a piano key on your MIDI Keyboard, it sends a “midi note” to your DAW through a USB cable.

If you have a Virtual Instrument (VST) loaded up, this “midi note” triggers the virtual instrument, and plays the note!

So everything happens INSIDE YOUR COMPUTER, not within the MIDI Keyboard itself!

This is why a $100 MIDI Keyboard is the same as a $900 MIDI Keyboard.. the sounds are not in the MIDI Keyboard, the sounds are inside your computer, which the MIDI Keyboard triggers through “midi notes”.

What MIDI Keyboard Features to Have?

Here’s my list of the most important features to have in a MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio (in my opinion).

I’ll list MUST-HAVE Features, then BAD-FEATURES.. then we’ll explain further.

Must-Have MIDI Keyboard Features:

  • Semi-Weighted Piano Keys
  • 49-Keys (many people like 61.. I like 49..)
  • Transport Buttons must have LOOP Button
  • Good MIDI Editor Software

BAD MIDI KEYBOARD FEATURES:

  • Auto-Chords
  • Arpeggio Mode (Just do it in your DAW)
  • Over $500 is too much for a MIDI Keyboard

Must-Have Features COVERED:

Let’s tackle the must-have MIDI Keyboard features one-by-one.

I’m a Recognized FL Studio Trainer by the way.. so listen close!

Before You Launch Your Music Career

5 Tips I Wish I Knew.. Before Using FL Studio

Semi-Weighted Keys [MUST HAVE]

You’ll hear the word keybed, when talking about the quality of piano keys.

Keybed describes the whole “piano key action”.. (how the keys feel, how heavy the keys are, and the consistency of the keys).

A cheap MIDI Keyboard’s keys are often cheap. So while you can still use it to make beats, if you are good at piano, or practice on a real piano, a $100 MIDI Keyboard will never satisfy your piano playing experience.

This is why you should look at semi-weighted keys!

The problem is Semi-Weighted Keys mostly come in 61-Key models.. a 49-Key model is hard to find!

49-Keys is the BEST MIDI Keyboard [MUST-HAVE]

The size of a MIDI Keyboard is always hot debate..

But anything smaller than 49-Keys is USELESS. I understand you may be on a budget, but you CANNOT play with two hands on a small MIDI Keyboard.

Small MIDI Keyboards are only useful for travelling.. that’s my bold opinion, and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

A 61-Key, while you may THINK you need that many keys, takes up WAY MORE SPACE, and is extra expensive.

So here’s a question: can you even play piano?

If you’re new to beatmaking, and don’t understand music theory, a 61-Key costs more money, and takes LOTS of space (they’re huge!)

If I compare myself, I can play piano as a beatmaker, and a 49-Key has NEVER restricted me. So if you think “49-Keys isn’t enough for beatmaking”, you are totally wrong!

The price is better on a 49-Key, and it fits better on your desk (allowing your audio interface to sit right beside it).

It’s hard to find a 49-Key Semi-Weighted MIDI Keyboard!
View MIDI Keyboards I’ve Reviewed!

What are Transport Buttons [MUST HAVE “LOOP”]

The transport buttons are essential for a good DAW experience, as they allow you to control your DAW’s audio.

These are the PLAY, STOP, RECORD, FORWARD, BACK, and LOOP buttons.

Now, in FL Studio, the LOOP button is very important to have because it allows you to switch between SONG and PATTERN mode.

Not all MIDI Keyboards have a LOOP button!

So make sure your transport buttons have the LOOP button in FL Studio.

These MIDI Keyboards have the Loop Button >>

Good MIDI Editor Software [MUST HAVE]

Read closely when I say good MIDI Editor software.

This is not the same thing as the “included VSTs” to make beats.

MIDI Editor Software comes with the MIDI Keyboard which allows you to map different knobs and sliders to whatever CC #’s you want. This allows you to have full control on how the MIDI Keyboard operates!!

M-Audio Oxygen Pro 49 Preset Editor
M-Audio Oxygen Pro Preset Editor
This is the BEST MIDI Editor Software I’ve Used!

I have owned some MIDI Keyboards that performed good, but gave no flexibility over the MIDI Keyboard itself because it either did not come with MIDI Editor Software, or the software was very poor (gave no flexibility).

The M-Audio Oxygen Pro has amazing MIDI Editor Software >>

Bad MIDI Keyboard Features [EXPLAINED]

I said you do not want to have:

  • Auto-Chords
  • Built-In Arpeggios
  • Pay Too Much

Auto-Chords – Horrible for the Music Industry

Auto chords may seem really powerful. It allows you to play chords without knowing chords.

Yes, that’s fun for someone brand-new, but do you know how much it will limit your ability to learn, progress, and truly understand music theory and play piano as a producer?

Listen to me closely. I’m a custom music producer. I make beats from scratch with my own melodies and create custom drum loops.

It’s taken me YEARS to get to where I am.. so don’t think a feature like “auto-chords” will allow you to learn music production in less time.

It will make you lazy..

You have to READ to become a good beatmaker.. and most people don’t want to do that.. so it’s up to you if you want to listen.

❌ Auto-chords are very bad for the music production industry, and is a big result of poor quality music being pumped out..

Learn music theory and chords, and you’ll be a well-rounded producer!

Built-In Arpeggios [EXPLAINED]

So first, an arpeggio is a very powerful beatmaking technique.

A basic chord has 3 notes played AT THE SAME TIME.

An arpeggio is called a broken chord, which means it still uses those 3 notes, but they are played one after another in whatever order you’d like.

Some MIDI Keyboards have a built-in arpeggiator.. which may sound cool and powerful, but in reality, it’s often buggy when it comes to your DAW.

The best way to use arpeggios in beatmaking your DAW’s built-in arpeggiator. It provides the easiest and fastest workflow.

It’s a bold claim, but it’ll save headaches and give great results.. trust me!

How Much Should I Pay for a MIDI Keyboard?

I said DO NOT PAY TOO MUCH for a MIDI Keyboard..

This is because a MIDI Keyboard has no sounds in it by itself..

So a $100 vs. $900 MIDI Keyboard doesn’t provide better sounds.. but a “better experience”, like build-quality and better piano keys.

As you pay more, extra features get added, like drum pads, or the knobs/sliders. You don’t have a choice sometimes.

Also, be careful with “free bundled software” with your MIDI Keyboard.

You need to learn how to buy good audio plugins.

Companies give “perceived-value” by including free Virtual Instruments and Mixing Plugins.. but in reality, you’ll buy third-party VSTs anyway..

It’s an “add-on” which provides little value to a seasoned producer.

Even if new, be careful with these free plugins, as often their licensing can be weird, and tricks new producers into thinking they got a good value!

What you want is a good MIDI Keyboard.. the bonus stuff is “fluff”.. like a “light version” of a DAW.. (Thanks so much! I have to buy a full version anyway.. 😂)

How to Buy the BEST MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio [Beatmaking]

I hope this guide teaches you how to buy a MIDI Keyboard for FL Studio.

You have to make sure you’re searching “best midi keyboard for FL Studio”, otherwise the information will provide very little value about how the MIDI Keyboard performs in FL Studio!

As mentioned, my MIDI Keyboard Reviews are for FL Studio!


Do you need help learning beatmaking?

I offer FL Studio Courses, FL Studio Books.. and the best way to stay updated is through my FL Studio Podcast!

Leave a comment below if you have questions!

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Recognized FL Studio Trainer - GratuiTous (Riley Weller)
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GratuiTous
GratuiTous (Riley Weller) is a Recognized FL Studio Trainer with over 30 Beatmaking Courses. He writes Beatmaking Books, hosts the Music Production Made Simple Podcast, and helps students with FL Studio Lessons. He also makes lots of his own music!

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