I have spent the last 6 years touring the country in an alternative rock band as a keyboardist. When we first started touring I was constantly getting my instruments stepped on in the van and they were always in the way of people. I started to like the 37 key MIDI keyboard because of this.
After years of playing on different products, I came to the conclusion that my favorite was the Korg MicroKey 37. You can check it out on Amazon here for more reviews.
I discovered the 37 key MIDI keyboard and I actually really like it because it’s big enough to play, yet doesn’t get in the way as much as a 49 key or 61 key keyboard does. Portability is very important when looking at keyboards and you’re going to want something light if you’re touring.
When you are looking at keyboards you will want to decide on exactly what kind of features you’re looking for in your instrument. Some will come with a lot more features and functionalities than other ones. The 37 key controller is nice because it is convenient, yet still allows you to play more than a 25 key one allows for.
Thinking 37 keys might be too small? Check out my favorite 49 key MIDI controllers here. I spent countless hours putting this together and I really think you’ll like the read.
Best 37 Key MIDI Keyboard – A Quick Glance
Things To Look For In A 37 Key MIDI Keyboard Controller
What Are You Using It For?
If you are using your device to tour with and launch different clips and tracks, you will want a one with pads on it. I like to play on keyboards that have more pads for this purpose. It is much easier to launch clips when performing live when you have pads.
Is Software Included With Your Keyboard?
Most of the name brand controllers will come with software packages for your DAW. The more software included, the better. This basically means that you will be able to immediately plug it into your laptop or PC and access sounds. MIDI controllers are all about accessing as many sounds as they can, so the more software you can get, the better.
Of course, weight is important if you’re a touring musician. The good thing is that all of the options we’re looking at are going to be super lightweight. These keyboards, in general, are lightweight so it shouldn’t be a problem finding one that is your preference.
Most of the keys on MIDI keyboards are going to be synth-action keys. If you’re a pianist then it might be a little weird at first since the keys aren’t weighted, however, it is easy to adapt to. If you aren’t sure if 37 keys is too little for your desire, check my guide to all MIDI controllers here.
Sustain Pedal Input:
Be sure to check if your product has a sustain input if you are going to want to sustain notes. Most modern controllers nowadays come with this so it’s not going to be a huge problem unless you buy an old controller.
Most devices we are going to look at today are going to be USB powered and will typically come with a USB cable. With recent advancements in technology, there are Bluetooth controllers that are battery powered. In that case, we will specify that.
My Top Picks
The iRig 37 key is a solid look at a 37 key MIDI controller. This works well with most DAW’s and it won’t give you any major sync or latency problems when you’re using it.
There aren’t a ton of options when it comes to these, so it is important to stick to popular name brand options or you will run into some latency and sync problems when you hook up to your PC or laptop.
This doesn’t come with a ton of bells and whistles, but it will be hard to find a MIDI keyboard with 37 keys that has drum pads. The keys on this are full-size which is really nice when looking at MIDI keyboards.
Korg microKEY air 37 – Key Bluetooth and USB MIDI Controller
- Connect wirelessly to iPad, iPhone, or Mac
- Lasts a month between battery changes
- USB Compatible
- Compact and playable Natural Touch Mini Keyboard
- Lavish array of powerful music software bundled free of charge
The Korg microKEY air 37 is a Bluetooth MIDI keyboard. These are becoming more and more popular because they are wireless. This is one of the first wireless keyboards on the market. In the future, we are going to see a lot more of these types of instruments as you don’t have to plug them in with a USB cable.
Something nice about this is that it lasts a full month between battery charges. This is important because it’s annoying if you’re constantly having to go through batteries.
The Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 is technically a keytar, meaning you can wear it and play it like a guitar. However, this thing plays great for a MIDI controller and it has some of the best MIDI technology in a controller today since it’s brand new. It is also wireless. I have been playing this keytar for a year now and I absolutely love it.
This has 8 different drum pads for musicians looking to launch and trigger clips or tracks. If you don’t want to wear this instrument you can always lay it flat and play it just like a normal keyboard.
Icon ICOK-IKEYBOARD4X iKeyboard 4X – 37
- 37 key piano keyboards with a single channel DAW controller
- Easy DAW setup with Mackie control and HUI Protocol
- Backlit LED touch fader reacts in real-time with DAW
- Class-compliant with Windows 7, 8 & 10 (32-bit & 64-bit), Mac OS X (Intel Mac) and iOS
- Built-in presets for Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, amplitude, Logic Pro, Able ton Live
The Icon ICOK is not exactly a huge name brand in MIDI controllers, but this is the one exception. This instrument comes with built-in presets for Ableton and Pro Tools.
This is nice because those are two of the major DAW’s that musicians tend to use. The functionality of this MIDI keyboard is surprisingly good for being a smaller company in the MIDI world.
It feels a little bit cheaper than some of the other products, however, it is on the cheaper side for a controller with 37 keys.
We broke down these MIDI controllers keyboards and picked the ones that actually work well with DAW’s and aren’t going to leave you with major headaches. When controllers first came out they were gigantic headaches in a box because the functionality on everything was wonky.
Now that a lot of the kinks have been worked out there are more MIDI keyboards that have become options as solid controllers.