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I thought that this would be a fun topic to cover as I recently covered some of my favorite DAW’s for producers. The best MIDI controller for Reaper is going to be the keyboards that allow you to take advantage of Reaper and also sync with Reaper.
In short, it is my opinion that the best Reaper MIDI keyboard is the Nektar Panorama T4 as it specifically built for this DAW. It also is quite affordable, which is never a frowned upon thing. You can view this product and read more reviews on Amazon at the link above. Continue reading on to get some more options and information about Reaper.
- 1 Quick Glance At My Pro Picks
- 2 What Is Reaper?
- 3 Best MIDI Keyboard Controller For Reaper
- 4 Conclusion
Quick Glance At My Pro Picks
The best low-cost option available. I own this and I personally love it for its portability and ease of use.
With software that is designed to work flawless with Reaper, the Panorama excels in MIDI functionality and has a great key-bed.
The Keylab MKII has some great features that really put it over the top including aftertouch and a sequencer.
If you’re in search of MIDI controllers, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some more guides that I’ve written for various controllers.
- Best Mini MIDI controllers
- Top MIDI controllers
- 49 key MIDI keyboards
- 61 key controllers
- Best 88 key MIDI keyboards
- Bluetooth MIDI keyboards
What Is Reaper?
Reaper is a DAW that was created by the software company Cockos. It was created in 2004 and it rose to popularity shortly after. This DAW is a complete digital audio production software for PC’s. It offers full multi-tracking, MIDI recording, audio, mixing, editing, and mastering.
Watch a video on this fantastic software here.
What Makes A MIDI Keyboard Good For Reaper?
Certain controllers are designed to work better with certain DAW’s. With this being said, over the last few years, companies have gotten much better at making their products more DAW friendly.
Nektar makes their keyboards to be extremely Reaper friendly as they were made with Reaper in mind.
Should I Use Reaper Instead Of A Different DAW With My Controller?
This is totally your choice. I will say that a lot of people are switching to Reaper and really liking the workflow that it allows for. My personal opinion is that it comes down to your comfortability with each DAW and the ease of use.
Here’s a post I recently did on my favorite free DAW’s.
Pad functionality is important for when using a DAW. The more integrated the pads are with your DAW, the better. This means that you can program the pads do to different things with your DAW that you’re using.
The faders will also be important. You will be able to set different parameters with your DAW if your controller works well with whatever you’re using. You should be able to map everything the way you want it, just on some DAW’s and controllers, you will have to do more research.
Best MIDI Keyboard Controller For Reaper
Nektar Panorama T4
- KEYS & PADS 49 note 2nd Gen synth-action keyboard with after touch. Expression & pedal sockets. 8 super-sensitive pads with pressure. Chord: Trigger up to 6 notes from one key or pad. Hold: Holds played notes until deactivated – great with legato
- NOTE REPEAT Inspiring performance tool. Real-time control of trigger rate, accent, swing and gate. Separate settings for keys and pads. Switch on/off at any time with dedicated repeat buttons. Sync to external clock. Control velocity with pressure or wheels
- NEKTARINE Instant access to Nectar plugin control in any VST/VST3/AU DAW. Customize mapping or create plugin maps from scratch. Browse patches directly from Panorama T4. Layer up to 8 VST/VST3/AU plugins with mix control of volume, pan, mute, solo and select
- DAW CONTROL Nectar DAW integration included for Bigwig, Cubase, GarageBand, Logic, Unendow, Reason, Reaper and Studio One. MCU compatible for control of almost any other MIDI Music software
- CONNECTIONS USB port for power and data connection to your computer Foot switch jack, assignable (pedal not included) Expression pedal jack (pedal not included) MIDI Output On/off switch
I recently did a full review on this keyboard and it is currently, in my opinion, the best option for Reaper.
The main selling points with this keyboard have to be the aftertouch and velocity sensitivity. Serious musicians and producers always look for these two things when talking about controllers.
There isn’t much that you won’t find pleasing with the Panorama T4 and I also think the price range is super affordable for how much you get with it.
This is an A plus keyboard that I highly recommend checking out. I truly believe this will take your production skills to the next level.
Nektar Panorama P4
- Advanced MIDI Controller with 49 ultra-expressive synth-action keys and after-touch
- Customized, deep integration for Logic Pro, Reason, Cubase, Innuendo, Reaper, Bit wig studio and studio One
- Compatible with all MIDI music software applications
- 90+ MIDI and QWERTY keystroke assignable controls for full control of any computer software
- 100mm alps motorized Hi-Res fader for detailed mixes
The Panorama P4 is another sought after keyboard that works great with Reaper. It’s a little bit older, but it has some crazy features like motorized sliders that work well with Reaper. You will also find velocity sensitivity and aftertouch as well with this keyboard.
I talk about this keyboard in great detail in this post here.
My overall thoughts on this are that it is a great product. I personally like the T4 over the P4 though. It’s newer and I think the workflow is just easier, at least for me.
Arturia Keylab MKII
- 49-note MIDI Controller Keyboard with Aftertouch
- 5 Expression Control Inputs - Black
- 16 RGB Backlit Performance Pads
This is a terrific keyboard that is fairly new and it comes with impressive MIDI technology. The Keylab MKII comes with Aftertouch and it also is loaded with 16 sample pads.
Durability is a key feature with the KeyLab MKII. This is also something that Arturia has excelled at for years. Their keyboards always feel well put together.
The one negative thing to mention for serious producers is that there’s no built-in arpeggiator. Definitely should’ve been added in my opinion.
Overall, easily one of the better options for Reaper. Also, just a great controller all around for producers.
When it comes to the best keyboard Reaper there’s a lot to consider. Once you have your price down, you will be able to decide which options look the best.
Do you have any experience with Reaper? What kind of controller setup are you running?
Let me know in the comments section below and I will get back to you!