Key instruments are some of the most essential components in any band or music group. Piano is present in almost every song arrangement you can think of, either in a perceivable manner or nearly undetectable. However, pianos are not all there is in the world of key instruments. In the age of digital music, instruments have evolved a lot, and one of the most prominent tools for musicians nowadays is a MIDI keyboard. While it is not technically an instrument in its own right, it is an amazing piece of technology that can be of great help for any music enthusiast. MIDI keyboards can be really expensive, but budget options are not to be underestimated. Here, we will go over a couple of key aspects that you should look for in a cheap MIDI keyboard.
The right keys on your keyboard
Believe it or not, it is not always obvious that you should pay attention to the keys on a keyboard when you are planning to get a new one. A budget MIDI keyboard might not include all the features you would like, but depending on your budget, it can definitely have all the features you will use. For instance, the keyboard you get could lack accurate sensitivity and responses, but you can get a model with a complete set of keys that are also full-size.
A MIDI keyboard is also known as a MIDI controller, and for good reason. These keyboards don’t make sound on their own, and they are rather used to control parameters in a digital interface through different means of connectivity and communication. While keys on a keyboard are pretty versatile controllers, MIDI devices often include some sliders, buttons, and knobs that help you adjust things more precisely.
Ports, ports, ports
Remember what we just explained about MIDI keyboards and digital interfaces? Well, establishing that connection is only possible using ports, and if your keyboard model doesn’t have the ones you need, find a different model that does. Even musicians on a budget can find a keyboard that has a standard MIDI port, or connects to a computer via USB.
If your budget allows it and you are looking for a keyboard that can double as a digital piano, you will probably need to look for a model that has standard audio output ports on it too. This way you can both play with software and listen to what you are creating on an amplifier, or even hook up pedals for added effects.
Last but not least, you want your cheap MIDI keyboard to be compatible with most audio software available nowadays. Some models even come bundled with software, which is truly amazing given that the licenses for these programs usually are very expensive. Modern keyboards also tend to be compatible with both Mac and Windows, but if you are an exclusive user of one of these two operating systems, you need to make sure the keyboard you get is compatible with your devices for sure.