Komplete Studio Set Up

Picking one from the hundreds available is a tough ask, so here are five great keyboard controllers under £250…

Choice is a very good thing. I mean, buying clothes would be an empty experience without it- as would buying music, food and just about anything else. It’s partly down to unique taste and partly down to unique need, but having a choice of just about anything is essential.

Is there such a thing as too much choice? Hmmm… I suspect not, but when faced with a huge number of products, which seem to do the same thing, it can be confusing.

Buying keyboard controllers can pose just such a challenge. To help, here are five great choices under £200.

Novation Launchkey MK2

Novation Launchkey MK2 49

The Novation Launchkey 49 MK 2 is the latest model from a brand whose controller keyboards are widely considered to be some of the finest available.

The 49 features full size keys as well as 16 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads, this controller keyboard is just begging to be used in a live performance.

Novation Launchkey MK2 25

The Launchkey 49 MK 2, as well as the 25 and 61 versions, come complete with Ableton live lite for Mac or PC as well as V-Station and Bass Station soft-synths and a Loopmasters sample pack – making it a perfect starter pack for beginners on a budget and the ideal tool for professionals who want to plug in and play confident in the knowledge they’re getting a high quality keyboard perfect for touring or studio recording.

Simply plug in via USB and the keys, faders, knobs and pads can be used immediately. Best of all, it will automatically map to other major music software, allowing you the freedom to plug in and play.

Novation Impulse 25

Keyboard Controllers - Novation Impulse 25

The Novation Impulse provides, perhaps, an indication of the direction we might expect future Novation controllers to take.

Featuring eight rotaries and eight trigger pads, it incorporates Novation’s Automap technology. At its simplest, this intelligently assigns controllers according to software used.

In addition, however, the pads can be set to mimic aspects of Launchpad functionality when used with Ableton Live.

Alesis VI49

Alesis VI49

The VI49 is one of the most ludicrously affordable keyboard controllers available. A semi-weighted 49-key design (with aftertouch), provides excellent playing feel, plus it even manages to include eight assignable rotary controls, 24 assignable buttons and sixteen velocity and pressure sensitive trigger pads.