A MIDI keyboard controller under $100 is a great price-range for those who want some MIDI power at their fingertips with affordability and no bells and whistles. We’re getting the essentials here — keys, a few buttons and knobs to play with, and a little software on top of it all. The only small part that you may have to sacrifice is key count, although we were able to find at least one 49-key controller in here. Otherwise, most are in the 25-key keyboard or mini MIDI keyboard category.
We’ve seen this budget used quite often and arguably so when it comes to a MIDI keyboard for beginners since just starting out won’t entail we spend an arm and a leg for many features we may not be using for quite a few years. You can perhaps jump up to MIDI keyboards under $200 if you do want to grab a controller that will give us more of a learning curve; otherwise, upgrading way down the line can suffice, or even using a controller in here permanently is fine — it all depends on your intended use and what you want to get out of your MIDI keyboard. We recommend keeping this models below in mind first and see if something sticks out to you.
The Best MIDI Keyboards Under $100
Nektar Impact GX49
The Impact GX 49 is a very popular MIDI keyboard under $100 among budget-friendly musicians, and it’s a very smart and dynamic MIDI keyboard offering an extended feature set (probably the most we’ll see in this guide) — well equipped to deliver a great workflow. It has a 49 key velocity sensitive full-sized keyboard, four velocity curves (three fixed). Additionally, it has the following controllers: octave up and down buttons with led indicators, transpose up and down buttons (LED indicators). These buttons allow you to shift the keyboard range up to plus or minus semi tones. On top of that, we have seven transport buttons with secondary level for fourteen MIDI controls, modulation wheel, pitch bend wheel, assignable footswitch input, potentiometer providing control over any MIDI parameter, (particularly mixer volume).
Additionally, we have a control knob, power on and off switch and pre-mapped DAW configurations for some popular DAW like Logic, Cubase, Reason, Nuendo, Bitwig, Reaper, FL Studio, GarageBand, Sonar, or Studio one. The Impact GX49 is compatible with Mac, PC and iOS and it comes with Bitwig DAW software in case you don’t have a software yet.
Besides the desktop workstation, the Nectar Impact GX49 is a great controller for apps on your iPad (you need the optional USB camera connection kit that is sold separately) in case you make tunes that way. It is a compact, smart and an affordable USB keyboard controller under $100 — definitely one of our favorites, especially because it was the only 49-key MIDI keyboard we were able to find worth looking at in this price-range.
The Akai LPK25 is USB powered and plug and play setup for PC and Mac. We have this on hand for when we travel and do some producing on our laptop. It is compatible with most applications and DAW. It’s very small in size, and is a very portable 13-inch slim line laptop performance keyboard with 25 mini velocity-sensitive keyboard keys for playing chords, melodies, etc.
The Akai LPK25 also has dedicated octave up and down buttons to increase the keyboard to the full range. It also has a sustain button for expressive performances and arpeggiator which helps musicians with creating quick melodic ideas by stepping through chords automatically and tap tempo controls.
Arturia Microlab 25-Key
This smart 25-key controller gives the user instant and effective control in playing all its soft-synths and VST anytime and any place. It is responsive and velocity-sensitive and has quite a few smart controls. With only four buttons and two touch strips, it still gives the user good level of control albeit not the most out there, it can still get the job done.
The user can sustain notes with a button, play chord with one note, swipe through presets and tap to select. The Arturia Microlab controller comes with a software instrument with more than 600+ legendary synths and keyboard sounds, a VST called UVI Grand Piano Model D and Bitwig Studio software. It also features an integrated cable-tidy recess which makes storage and travelling quick and easy. A huge pick as the best MIDI keyboard under $100 dollars if you wanted some software alongside your model, and are OK with 25 keys.
The Korg microKey controller is a USB bus powered, 25-key small and light keyboard. It is compatible with all computer-based music software. This controller features velocity sensitive Natural Touch mini keyboard which makes it easy to add natural expression to one’s performances, has arpeggiator button, TAP and sustain button. Its pitch bend and modulation joystick are tactile and responsive as well.
This keyboard comes bundled with a small selection of software including Toontrack’s EZDrummer Lite and applied Acoustic’s Lounge Lizard session electric piano plugin. The Korg microKey-25 provides plug and play compatibility with any computer or iPad. It comes with Korg’s M1 LE soft synth, too.
CME Xkey 25-key
Last but not least, the CME Xkey 25-key is a mobile, USB powered, ultra slim keyboard controller whose keys are full sized and velocity sensitive. The key design of this MIDI keyboard under $100 depresses evenly for added playability. It has advanced sensing technology that gives 128 levels of velocity sensitivity and full polyphonic aftertouch.
The CME Xkey 25-key controller comes with octave up and down buttons that gives users access to an extended note range. It has high resolution pitch bend modulation buttons. Our last pick as the MIDI keyboard controller under $100 bucks.