Beat Machine with Keyboard Reviewed: Music Production made Easy!

Make insane midi backing tracks and intricate trap beats through a beat machine with keyboard! As technology progresses, the learning curve for musical learning becomes easier; thus, increasing the interest of people towards music.

Moreover, with the introduction of free digital audio workstations, music production becomes more understandable and accessible. Consequently, we see an increasing trend of bedroom musicians and producers in line with the accessibility of music. However, this trend does not represent the ease of operating in digital audio workstations.

Similar to the best electronic drum pads, a beat machine with a MIDI keyboard helps producers construct beats and midi compositions easily. Therefore, we collected incredible beat machines with keyboards to help you in your music production endeavors.

Beat Machines and Midi Keyboards — A Buyer’s Guide

beat machine with keyboard

A beat machine with keyboard combines drum pads and midi keyboards in one compact easy-to-use instrument. In addition, this combination provides users with an easy way to combine both drum beat and midi sound packs a user desires. In a nutshell, a beat machine with keyboard helps provide convenience during recording, tracking, or even noodling sessions.

Here are the things buyers should look for when buying beat machines with keyboard:

  • Number of Keys and Pads
  • Build quality
  • Software Compatibility and Programmability

Number of Keys and Pads

When buying a beat machine with keyboard, it is vital to consider the number of keys and pads it offers. Ideally, a beat machine with keyboard should have at least 25 keys and 8 drum pads on its surface, providing vast programming possibilities for its user.

Build Quality

The pricing of a beat machine with keyboard is directly proportional to its build quality. In this light, a typical budget-friendly beat machine would feature a plastic construction on its build. On the other hand, a beat machine with a metal build would cost more but will offer unparalleled durability along the line.

Software Compatibility and Programmability

Of course, a beat machine with keyboard will easily pair with a computer through USB connection. However, software compatibility is another topic. Therefore, before spending money on a certain product, buyers must make sure that the product is compatible with the DAW and OS they are running.

Furthermore, a beat machine and midi keyboard do not feature built-in sounds on their own. In addition, users must utilize the sound of a Virtual Studio Technology (VST) through their Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Thus, buyers must find an instrument that can read and program their VSTs and plug-ins of choice through their DAW.

7 Excellent Beat Machines with Midi Keyboard in 2021

Alesis V25 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Backlit Pads

Alesis V25 - 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Backlit Pads, 4 Assignable Knobs and Buttons, Professional Software Suite Included

Brand: Alesis

Type: 25-key and 8-pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

The Alesis V25 provides users with 25 full-sized and velocity-sensitive keys to fully capture the accentuation of their playing. In addition, the included 8 pads also feature velocity-sensitive back-lit drum pads for a more convenient beat production interface.

Furthermore, its 4 assignable knobs and buttons work hand-in-hand with DAWs for more tone-tweaking capabilities. Additionally, the octave buttons of the Alesis V25 allow users to access the full range of keyboards.

Moreover, the Alesis V25 includes premium software such as Pro Tools, Ableton Live Lite 9, and many more. Thus, eliminating the need for users to use an open-source Digital Audio Workstation.

Specification:

  • Velocity-sensitive keys and pads
  • 8 assignable knobs and buttons
  • Octave up and down buttons
  • Compact construction
  • Includes 6 Premium Software

Pros:

  • Ideal for bedroom musicians and producers.
  • Features velocity-sensitive keys and pads.
  • Free licenses and software for DAWs and VSTs included.
  • Incorporates velocity curves for key and pad sensitivity control.

Cons:

  • Despite its compact build, it is still quite large at 37”.

Buy on Amazon

AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play

AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play – USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With a Built in Speaker, 25 mini Keys, Drum Pads and 128 Instrument Sounds

Brand: AKAI

Type: 25-key and 8-pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

The AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play is a no-compromise budget-friendly alternative to the Alesis V25. Featuring a similar 25 velocity-sensitive keys, AKAI ups the ante with their built-in pitch control and over 128 sounds.

In addition, the AKAI Professional MPK includes a built-in speaker and 1/8” output fit for headphones for electronic drums. As a result, the MPK Mini Play allows players to have their music on the go. The AKAI Professional MPK also features 2 banks of 8 MIDI drum pads with built-in EQ controls and effects. Consequently, providing players with excellent sound production and tone customization.

Furthermore, AKAI incorporates the MPC Production Experience, offering specifically designed software for all AKAI MPC Products. Lastly, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini Play comes with a Software Suite including ProTools First, SONiVOX Wobble, and more.

Specification:

  • Synthesizer Action Keys
  • Pitch Joystick Control
  • 128 sounds and 10 drum kits
  • Built-in speaker and 1/8” output
  • Pro Software Suite

Pros:

  • Offers excellent portability for musicians on the go.
  • Features 128 onboard instrument sounds and 10 drum presets.
  • Allows users to tweak the tone of their overall sound through the built-in EQ controls.
  • Includes a free downloadable Premium Software Suite.

Cons:

  • The built-in sounds are not suitable for recording and mastering music.

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Alesis VI25 | USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

Alesis VI25 | 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 16 Pads, 16 Assignable Knobs, 48 Buttons and 5-Pin MIDI Out Plus Production Software Included

Brand: Alesis

Type: 25-key and 16-pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

If you’re looking for a MIDI controller offering a wide range of beat possibilities, then the Alesis VI25 is perfect for you! In addition, the Alesis VI25 offers 25 full-sized semi-weighted keys, allowing users to control their notes’ velocity when playing. Another excellent feature is the 16 velocity-sensitive pads that allow players to experience a responsive beat production in every click.

Moreover, the Alesis VI25 features a hands-on control that allows users to manipulate their overall tone. Plus, the hands-on control of the VI25 enables users to control virtual synthesizers, volume, and effects on the instrument itself.

Furthermore, the Alesis VI25 features 24 assignable buttons and 8 assignable knobs. As a result, users can easily control their DAW’s interface through the VI25 instead of manually tweaking the software.

Specification:

  • 24 Assignable Buttons
  • 8 Assignable Knobs
  • 16 velocity-sensitive trigger pads
  • Illuminated LED Screen
  • USB MIDI and 5-Pin MIDI Out

Pros:

  • Provides decent velocity control on both keys and pads.
  • Offers more beat pads in comparison with the Alesis V25.
  • Supports direct USB connection to Windows and Mac devices.
  • Every purchase includes a Premium Software Suite for music recording.

Cons:

  • The added controls may become confusing for beginners.

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AKAI Professional MPK249

AKAI Professional MPK249 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 49 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play

Brand: AKAI

Type: 49-Key and 16-Pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

Excellent for experienced musicians, the AKAI Professional MPK249 is a step-up from a compact 25-key and 8-pad controller. Firstly, the MPK249 features 49 semi-weighted keys, providing users with a wide tonal range and accentuations. In addition, the 16 RGB-illuminated beat pads feature 4 banks each, allowing for incredible beat-making possibilities.

Secondly, the AKAI MPK249 features 24 assignable Q-link controllers and 8 control knobs. Users can utilize these controllers as a physical substitute to their DAW’s control thanks to its programmability. Moreover, these controllers provide users with easier virtual instrument mapping.

Lastly, the AKAI Professional MPK249 utilizes an excellent USB-MIDI interface with 5-Pin MIDI input and output. Therefore, eliminating the need for users to use a third-party interface thanks to the MPK249’s direct-connection capabilities.

Specification:

  • Velocity-sensitive keys and pads
  • 24 assignable Q-Link Controllers
  • 8 control knobs
  • USB-Midi Interface and 5-Pin MIDI Input & Output
  • AKAI MPC Tools

Pros:

  • The MPC Tools allows the MPK249’s 16 pads to expand up to 64 through its 4 banks.
  • Allows users to physically control their DAW through the onboard controls.
  • Features excellent velocity control for both pads and keys.
  • Includes 4 free software within its Comprehensive Production Software Package.

Cons:

  • The free Ableton Live Lite doesn’t work with Apple products.

Buy on Amazon

Nektar, 25-Key Midi Controller (Impact LX25+)

Nektar, 25-Key Midi Controller (Impact LX25+)

Brand: Nektar

Type: 25-key and 8-pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

Nektar brings the quality of the Impact LX+ series to a budget-friendly price point with the LX25+. The Nektar Impact LX25+ features 25 velocity-sensitive keyboards with medium tension, allowing players to accentuate their playing properly. In addition, the LX25+ features 4 velocity curves and 3 fixed velocities for the best output sensitivity for all music styles.

Moreover, the Nektar Impact LX25+ utilizes excellent controllers. As a result, users benefit from the easy navigation, mapping, and DAW controllers the Impact LX25+ provides.

Furthermore, the LX25+ is compatible with Windows, Mac, and iOS devices. Consequently, making it ideal for Cubase, Garageband, Logic Pro, Garageband, SONAR, and more!

Specification:

  • 8 Hyper-Sensitive backlit pads
  • USB-MIDI Connection
  • Expresive Synth-action keys
  • On-board pitch bend and modulation wheels
  • Nektar DAW Integration

Pros:

  • Features built-in project navigation controls.
  • Allows users to control their DAW mixer through the assignable controls.
  • Provides users with programmable real-time controls.
  • Comes fully integrated with popular DAWs such as FL Studio, Logic, and Cubase.

Cons:

  • The keys of the midi-controller are stiff out of the box.

Buy on Amazon

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 - 25 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller With 8 Backlit Drum Pads, 8 Knobs and Music Production Software Included (White)

Brand: AKAI

Type: 25-key and 8-pad Beat Machine with Keyboard

A step up from the MPK Mini Play, the MK3 provides users with professional-level specifications in a compact midi controller. In addition, the MPK Mini MK3 features a library of 1500+ sounds, 6 virtual instruments, and 2GB worth of sound samples.

Aside from this, AKAI incorporates a 4-way thumbstick for pitch and modulation control. As a result, providing users with an easy way to control their sound’s effects. Furthermore, the built-in arpeggiator with adjustable resolution, range, and modes allows users to modify their overall sound.

Moreover, similar to all MPK models, AKAI included the MPC Experience on the Mini MK3. This feature provides users with 8 velocity-sensitive beat pads that feature a responsive control for beat programming and DAW controls. Lastly, the AKAI MPK features 8 360° knobs for DAW mixing and tone controls.

Specification:

  • 8 velocity-sensitive MPC-Style MIDI Beat Pads
  • 8 360° Knobs
  • 1500+ Built-in sounds
  • Innovative 4-way Thumbstick
  • Gen 2 Enhanced Dynamic Keybed

Pros:

  • Provides a nifty music production starter kit.
  • Extremely portable and compact construction.
  • Comparatively cheaper than the AKAI MPK Mini Play.
  • The inverted key colorway provides a premium aesthetic.

Cons:

  • The build feels cheap and of poor quality.

Buy on Amazon

Novation Launchkey 25 MK3 USB MIDI Keyboard

Novation Launchkey 25 MK3 USB MIDI Keyboard 25 Keys Controller with Software Pack of Ableton Live Lite and 4 GB of Loopmasters Sounds & Samples w/Mackie CR3-X Pair Studio Monitors & Instrument Cables

Brand: Novation

Type: Beat Machine with Keyboard Music Production Set

Perfect for musicians starting their music studio, the Novation Launckey 25 MK3 provides buyers with an entry-level music production set. Firstly, the Novation Launckey 25 MK3 features 16 velocity-sensitive pads, allowing users to control the attack of their tone. In addition, MK3 features three-chord modes, enabling beginners to play chords with the single hit of a key.

Secondly, this set comes with a licensed copy of Ableton Live Lite with 4GB of Loopmasters samples users can utilize. Moreover, the Novation Launchkey 25 MK3 features a one-touch access MIDI Capture for Ableton Live for easier DAW control.

Lastly, the included CR3-X studio monitors provide a clear and flat response perfect for studio recording. In addition, these pair of studio monitors are compact and excellent for both bedroom and professional music studios.

Specification:

  • Novation Launchkey 25 MK3 USB MIDI Keyboard
  • Ableton Live 10 Lite
  • Mackie Pair CR3-X Monitors
  • LyxPro Recording Microphone
  • Inclusion of Licensed Software for Music Production

Pros:

  • Features a full set of music production essentials.
  • Includes 9 different DAWs and VSTs.
  • Offers velocity-sensitive keys and pads for a responsive audio output.
  • Provides decent onboard output and DAW control.

Cons:

  • Does not include an audio interface for the recording microphone.

Buy on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions about Beat Machines and Midi Keyboards

Q: Can a keyboard make beats?

Yes, you can assign virtually any sound on keyboards including beats. However, a beat pad provides much more responsiveness and a better feel when producing beats. In addition, a beat pad produces a more instantaneous response compared to keyboards, providing better precision than the latter.

Q: Is it worth getting a drum machine?

As we know, drawing and plotting beats using a DAW can be time-consuming and difficult at the same time. Therefore, investing in a beat machine or drum machine can save you precious hours, and make beat making easier and convenient.

Q: Can you make beats with just a laptop?

Of course, you can make beats by utilizing a laptop or a desktop. However, manually inputting beats on a DAW can be time-consuming and hard for beginners. For instance, FL Studio features a beatmaker wherein users can input various beat patterns, but this proves to be difficult. For beginners, we suggest they get an entry-level beat machine with keyboard to help them with their beat-making needs.

Q: What does a good drum kit cost?

A decent entry-level drum kit would cost buyers around $500. Meanwhile, high-end drumsets would cost around $1,000 up to $3,000 depending on their make. However, this cost doesn’t account for the mic system you’ll use to record the kit. In comparison, a decent beat machine with keyboard would only cost you around $100 up to $400; thus, saving you more money in the process.

Q: What do professional producers use?

Professional producers use DAWs such as Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Garageband, and Cubase. Today, a beat machine with keyboard usually come bundled with entry-level versions of these DAWs.

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