Controllers For Reason

Best MIDI Keyboard Controllers For Reason

Reason was launched back in 2000 and it is currently one of the major DAWs used by music producers today. I’ve recently been looking at all of the DAWs and putting together lists of my favorite MIDI controllers for each. Today, we are going to take a look at all of the best MIDI controllers for Reason.

There are currently only a couple of MIDI keyboard controllers built specifically for Reason. With this being said, there are still going to be a few different criteria I use to grade each controller.

Note: I have been playing MIDI controllers for over 8 years and I have played basically all of the controllers currently available.

What To Look For In A Controller For Reason

Reason DAW

Compatibility: One of the most frustrating things you can do is to buy a controller that isn’t very compatible with your DAW. All of the following options are either specifically geared towards Reason or they just work well with Reason.

Pads or Keyboard Based: Some controllers come with a keyboard whereas others are pad-based. This means that they don’t have keys and they transmit MIDI data when you hit their pads.

Mapping: Having a controller that is pre-mapped with your DAW is a great time saver. Back in the day, I had to figure out how to correctly map my controllers to certain DAWs.

Number Of Keys: If you’re looking for a keyboard controller, you will probably wonder how about the keys. If you’re someone looking to mainly work on creating beats, I would say that you can get away with a smaller amount of keys. The keys range from 25-88 keys.

Price: The less money that you have to spend on your DAW, the more money you can spend on a controller and VST software.

Best MIDI Controllers For Reason

Nektar Panorama P4 – Best Overall For Reason

Panorama P4 Reason

If you use Reason, this is currently the best controller I can possibly recommend. The P4 is built specifically with Reason in mind, even though it works with the other major DAWs as well.

The DAW integration with the P4 is extremely deep and well thought out. This greatly increases my workflow when using this controller and it also lets you get into the nitty-gritty a lot easier.

Overall, the only thing that some controllers can do better than the P4 is surf through presets directly through the controllers.

When it comes to 49 key MIDI keyboards, the Panorama is still currently one of the top picks.

Other than that, you have great sample pads, motorized faders, pitch-bend, modulation wheel, and rotary knobs to control parameters.

Pros

  • Motorized faders
  • Dedicated transport controls
  • Pitch-bend & modulation wheel
  • 12 sample pads
  • Rotary knobs
  • Full-sized keys

Cons

  • Expensive

Akai MPK 225

Image result for akai mpk 225

The Akai MPK 225 is a durable & portable controller that has been extremely popular for the last couple of years.

It allows you to streamline and browse all of your presets directly through its LCD screen. There are also transport controls on the controller that help speed up the workflow.

The keys are full-sized, though there are only 25. If you’re just looking to throw down some beats for songs and you don’t care about playing it like a piano, this will be a great size for you.

Akai is always known for its bundled software and the MPK 225 delivers here once again.

Aftertouch is on the MPK 225 meaning you can set some gnarly vibratos and really take advantage of the expression capabilities.

This is currently one of the best 25 key MIDI controllers available.

Pros

  • Aftertouch
  • 8 RGB lit MPC pads
  • 12 assignable Q-link controllers
  • 5-pin MIDI I/O
  • Great transport controls
  • Large LCD screen in the center
  • VIP 3.0 software download
  • Lightweight
  • Compatible with all major DAWs

Cons

  • Not the best if you’re looking to play piano with it

M-Audio Keystation 61 -Best Budget

Image result for m-audio keystation 61

The M-Audio Keystation 61 is definitely a cheaper controller, however, it functions nicely with Reason. It doesn’t have nearly as many features as some of the options, but it also much cheaper and has 61 full-sized keys.

As far as 61 key MIDI keyboards go, this is definitely a solid budget pick. I wouldn’t take it over a few different options, but it has what you need in a controller.

If you’re looking for more keys, you can also get this as an 88 key MIDI keyboard as well.

Arturia Keylab 88 MK II

Arturia Keylab 88 MK II Controller for Reason

The Arturia Keylab 88 MK II is one of the most durable controllers I have ever played on. It’s a little bit heavier than other controllers, however, it really feels like quality.

The Keylab 88 MK II has 16 drum pads, 9 rotary knobs, and 9 faders. It has a weighted key-bed, which is quite rare in a MIDI controller. As far as the action of the keys, I think it fairs really with all of its competition.

The screen is a little small on the MK II and that is one negative about this controller.

As far as bundled software goes, the MK II comes with Analog Lab as well as Ableton Live Lite. You are getting 500 new sounds for free at your disposal and that is a big plus.

Pros

  • Weighted keys
  • Pitch-bend & modulation wheel
  • 16 RGB backlit pads
  • 9 rotary knobs
  • 9 faders
  • Dedicated transport controls
  • MIDI I/O/Thru
  • Bundled software
  • Aftertouch
  • CV/gate
  • Deep DAW integration

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Small interface screen

Novation Launchkey Mini MK3

Launchkey Mini MKiii

The Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 is a mini MIDI controller that is fully functional with Reason. It’s extremely lightweight and has the most features of any mini controller.

Mini controllers are great for those making hip hop beats as this style doesn’t typically require the full 88 keys.

This isn’t the most durable controller and it is extremely small. Think of this as a beginner’s MIDI controller or a keyboard for travelers.

If you’re looking to control an external hardware synthesizer, you’re in luck with the Launchkey Mini MK3.

You can use this to control any synthesizer you would possibly like to and I find this as a big plus.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Bundled software
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • 16 pads
  • 8 rotary knobs
  • Can control external synthesizers
  • Pitch-bend & modulation strips
  • Arpeggiator

Cons

  • Smaller keys
  • Not the most durable

Conclusion

When it comes to MIDI keyboards for Reason, there are going to be a ton of different options. I purposely picked all of the options on this list and I have also made sure all of the options are constantly updated.

The best option is currently the Nektar Panorama P4, in my opinion. What is your favorite option? Do you use a keyboard when working on Reason? Let me know below!

2 Comments

  1. Simon Binsted
    • Chris Senner

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