It is an exciting time in the MIDI world as we are starting to see companies making the Bluetooth MIDI controller. It is a bit surprising that MIDI hasn’t gone completely wireless yet, but as time goes on, look for MIDI to continue to aim towards going completely wireless.
With the introduction of wireless MIDI controllers, we are going to see a huge spike in accessibility for controllers.
Bluetooth keyboard controllers are going to push the limits of the keyboard world for studios as well as for live performers. Right now when musicians use these live they have to run long USB or MIDI cables to their laptops, wireless products eliminate the hassle of doing this.
Best Bluetooth MIDI Controllers – A Quick Glance
What Is A Bluetooth MIDI Controller?
A Bluetooth controller is a keyboard that is completely wireless and they allow you to control sounds from a laptop, PC, iPhone or Ipad. These are definitely the way of the future and there will be a spike in Bluetooth controllers.
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, and it is a technology that enables musicians to launch and play sounds from their computers or laptops. The technology for MIDI has been around for 30 years and it is becoming more and more popular with the advancements in technology.
Things To Consider With Bluetooth MIDI Controllers
What Are You Going To Be Using Your Instrument For?
There are different types of Bluetooth instruments and it is important that you know what type of controller you’re looking for.
Bluetooth MIDI keyboards:
The wireless controllers that pianists and producers use to control their DAW. These are extremely popular and are good for musicians on the go.
Bluetooth MIDI foot controllers:
The instruments that allow the musician to trigger sounds and control effects seamlessly with their feet.
Wireless MIDI drum pads:
For drummers or producers who are looking to create and manipulate beats.
Wireless MIDI multi-instrument controllers:
MIDI controllers that allow you to play on the go without having to plug into an amp. There is currently only one of these on the market, but it is pretty crazy. The musician can play bass sounds, violin sounds and guitar sounds on it.
Chances are if you’re looking at a Bluetooth controller, you want something that is lightweight. All of the options we are looking at will be light, but some will be lighter than others.
Since your instrument is wireless, you want to make sure that it is durable so you’re not having to troubleshoot something that is wireless constantly.
That being said, let’s dive into the reviews
Best Wireless MIDI Controllers
Akai Professional LPK25 – Best Bluetooth MIDI Keyboard
- Portable keyboard MIDI controller with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity
- Powered by (3) AA batteries for up to 12 hours use or via USB connection
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, and iOS and available music-making apps
- Includes Octave Up/Down buttons, Arpeggiator mode, and Sustain Pedal input
- Compatible with Akai Professional LPD8 Wireless drum pad controller
The Akai Professional LPK25 Wireless is the first wireless MIDI keyboard controller. It is powered by 3 AA batteries for up to 12 hours or by a USB cable. The keys are velocity-sensitive and are synth-action.
This comes with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and has a pairing button on its base. The Akai Professional LPK25 comes with octave, and sustain buttons and it also has an arpeggiato. I recently did an in-depth article the convenience of mini MIDI Controllers that I think you will find interesting.
There aren’t any pads or knobs on this keyboard, but if you’re not looking to make beats or get crazy transport controls, you will be fine. Another plus is it is extremely light coming in at .08 pounds.
Korg microKEY Air
- 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
It takes two AA batteries and has a life of 30 straight hours, giving it a longer battery life than the Akai. This instrument definitely competes with the AKAI, but has fewer features and is a little more expensive.
The Korg nanoKEY is designed for a beginner musician who may not be the most skilled player and I find it rather cool looking.
It is extremely lightweight and it can be used by studio producers as well as by DJ’s performing gigs.
This is a MIDI keyboard, but it can also be connected to USB if you run out of batteries.
CME Xkey Air 37-key
- 37 Velocity Sensitive Full-Size Keys
- Polyphonic After touch
- Manufactured in China
The CME Xkey is powered by a lithium battery which allows for maximum battery life. It is compatible with hundreds of different free mobile apps. It comes with octave, pitch bend, modulation, and sustain function buttons. This is available in 25 keys and in 37 keys. Currently, this is the only one with 37 keys.
The CME Xkey is made of aluminum and it is the most unique Bluetooth instrument. It looks really cool next to MacBooks as it looks very similar to them. This is also one of the lighter keyboards we are looking at. The Xkey can be used with iPhones and Ipads and it is widely liked amongst musicians connecting them to their phones.
Let’s take a look at the specs of this keyboard below:
- Thinner than an Ipad
- Provides you with 37 full-sized keys
Bluetooth MIDI Drum Pads
Akai is at the frontline for Bluetooth controllers and the LPD8 is a great drum pad controller. It is powered by (3) AA batteries or by USB connection if needed.
The Akai LPD8 comes with 8 back-lit drum pads as well as with 8 assignable knobs.
This is the worlds first Bluetooth MIDI pad controller and currently the only one. I recommend this drum pad for musicians who are on the go but can still record to their laptops.
This fits in a backpack and extremely light in weight. This is a good product for producers in the hip-hop or EDM world because it has really nice pads.
Let’s take a look at the specs below:
- 8 pads
- 8 Q-link knobs
- 4 memory banks
- Editing software included
The IK Multimedia iRig Blueboard is an extremely portable Bluetooth MIDI foot controller that is perfect for live music.
If you have an interest in foot controllers, check out this post where I talk about the very best MIDI foot controller products in detail.
DJ’s, guitarists, and keyboardists can use these on stage to trigger tracks or launch scenes that might even control lights.
Be gentle when using this as since it is so portable, it also isn’t as durable and you can break the pads by stomping too hard.
Let’s take a look at the specs below:
- 4 back-lit assignable foot switches
- Integration with Ipad and Iphone
- Battery life of 6 hours
Bluetooth MIDI Multi-Instrument Controllers
The Artiphon instrument is the first of its kind and it is extremely powerful. I remember seeing one of these in person and immediately looking up what it was because it sounded so cool.
This comes with 6-hour battery life and gives you the ability to play it like a guitar, violin or bass.
The 6-hour battery life is a little underwhelming, but it still will work for performance you would need it for. You will just want to change the batteries every so often.
This resembles a guitar, but it allows you to play any sound you want. The Artiphon comes with 2 stereo speakers and also a headphone jack in case you need to play quietly. Check out this video below to see the Artiphon instrument in action.
Let’s look at some key features:
- Play guitar, bass, synth, violin, drum pads, and more
- TIME Magazine “Best Invention of the Year,”
- Very portable, 6-hour battery life
- 2 stereo speakers with a headphone jack
Wireless MIDI Keyboards Vs MIDI Keyboards
The difference between wireless MIDI controllers and MIDI controllers is just that wireless doesn’t need a USB cable.
Wireless MIDI controllers use Bluetooth to connect and it has become more reliable over the years as it continues to get better.
How Are The Keys?
If the keyboard has keys, they might not be as good as a normal MIDI keyboard keys. This is because most of the wireless controllers are small, portable options. If the keys are full-size, then they will be just like normal controllers keys.
What Is MIDI?
MIDI stands for musical instrument digital interface. MIDI is the language that allows laptops, musical instruments, and other hardware to communicate. It was created in the 1980s and was immediately used by Rush. Rush was ahead of their time in the music world and using MIDI was definitely advanced. Over the years, the technology has gotten better and better.
What Kind Of Software Comes With Them?
Bluetooth keyboards always vary with what kind of software them come with. Typically Akai and Alesis keyboards come with software. Most of the instruments mentioned come with software and if they don’t it is mentioned. The software is important for your keyboard because you will be using the software to access sound libraries.
Buying a product that comes with the software is wise for this reason. If your instrument comes with software out of the box, you won’t have to worry about buying or downloading VST’s right away.
I do recommend exploring as many VST’s as you can though because they all are different and known for different sounds. The most fun part of using these is that you get to use so many different VST’s with it for new exciting sounds.
If you have any questions or found this helpful, let us know in the comments section. These controllers are definitely on the rise and we are excited to see what’s next.
If you are looking for a MIDI controller that’s a little bit bigger, check out our guide on the best MIDI Controller. At this link above you will see my favorites and get some great tips to take your game to the next level.