MIDI stands for Music Instrument Device Interface. It’s not the instrument itself but rather the protocol that makes connecting with and controlling other systems (electronic instrument and computers) possible. When people say they will get a midi this is what it means. Nowadays a lot of digital instruments have midi capability – one of them is your midi keyboard.
There are different types out there. One of them you typically see at WalMart and the like. They’re consumer portable keyboards. They have built in speakers and come with a preset number of sounds and instrument variations – along with the accompanying beats. They will even teach you which keys to press when you’re playing music.
Bigger than the consumer portables are the digital pianos. As the name suggests they have piano sized keyboards and play like regular pianos in terms of feel. They come with their own speakers and you typically have a selection of music and accompaniments built-in to the system.
But as an amateur or professional musician what you need to have is a midi keyboard controller. With them you are able to create, mix and edit your music creations all from one unit. The smaller versions typically won’t have speakers built in which means you would need to connect it to a system that does – typically your computer with a sound card.
The size that you get will depend on how you use it and other limiting factors. If you’re always on the road then perhaps lugging a big unit may not be the best thing for you. This is also true if you have limited space. Even if you want the big one if you don’t really have the space to put it in then there’s no point – this is especially true of those home based musicians whose only space is the gap between their computer and computer keyboard.
Putting usage and other limitations aside the size of the midi keyboard is dependent upon the number of keys it has. Obviously the more keys there are the bigger the size. Numbers start as high as 88 keys, all the way down to 25 keys. You can even get them smaller than a 25 but that’s pretty small.
88 and 76 keys are your typical piano size keyboard and there are those that would say you get to play best if you get either of these two sizes. 61 and 49 keys is the stop gap units and they tend to satisfy a lot of people who like the bigger number of keys but without the bulkiness.
For those who simply want small and portable then there are the 37 and 25 keys. These are typically full blown controllers and have no sound system of their own. They’re lightweight and if used by a good musician can give its bigger cousins a run for their money.
Then there are other things to look at like the weight of the keys and the knobs and buttons and widgets you get with the midi keyboard. But, what is important to remember is the use you’re going to get out of it. If you can use 100% of a small unit versus only 50% of the bigger one then choose the smaller one. You are able to max out its potential and not waste anything when making good music.
Check out useful tips in buying Midi Keyboards. Know what other users say in the Midi Keyboard Reviews section.
By D Grossy