Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio: A Fruitful Search for the Ideal Controller 

Written by: Zach Wright

FL Studio, previously known to the world as Fruity Loops, is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). FL Studio is an easy-to-use music software with free lifetime upgrades and a pile of features, including a mixer, lots of instruments and effects, and a great-looking user interface. It’s an outstanding DAW for beginners and is available at several price tiers. 

The caveat on FL Studios is that it isn’t fantastic for live recordings. Instead, it’s most often used for creating cool electronic beats. Overall, though, FL Studio is easy to use for beginners and professionals, and with unlimited upgrades, you won’t have to worry about the software getting outdated. 

Of course, if you are using FL Studio, you’re probably going to want a MIDI keyboard controller to go with it. So in this article, we took a look at the best MIDI keyboards for FL Studio. 


Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio Reviewed

AKAI Professional MPK261 - MIDI Keyboard Workstation 

AKAI Professional MPK261 - USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 61 Semi Weighted Keys, Assignable MPC Controls, 16 Pads and Q-Links, Plug and Play



  • This workstation boasts 16 assignable drum pads and 24 additional controllers such as knobs, faders, and switches.
  • The 61 semi-weighted keys are velocity-sensitive for a more natural piano feel 
  • Includes a 5-pin MIDI input and output to connect to your DAW 
  • Includes a downloadable software package for Mac and PC 


The MPK261 is a MIDI keyboard workstation that will easily work with FL Studios. The semi-weighted keys feature a natural piano feel that isn’t too heavy. There are multiple assignable controls and a bonus software package that you can use if you like. The extra drum pads and controllers give you plenty of controls to work with in FL Studio so that you can create drum rhythms, licks, and effects. 


  • Features a 61 semi-weighted keys
  • Includes a variety of controllers to input sounds, effects, and other music data 
  • Use the 5-Pin MIDI interface 


  • The keys are not fully-weighted 

Alesis V61 MKII - MIDI Controller for iOS devices 

Alesis V61 MKII USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with 61 Velocity Sensitive Keys, 8 Full Level Pads, Arpeggiator, Pitch/Mod Wheel, Note Repeat and Software Suite



  • Operates with 61 full-size, velocity-sensitive synth-action keys
  • Includes eight velocity-sensitive beat pads 
  • USB powered 
  • Compact size to fit your workspace 
  • Includes pitch bend, modulation wheels, and arpeggiator for additional control 
  • Also has four assignable knobs, octave change, and transpose buttons 
  • Includes music lessons for beginners and MPC Beats Software for recording
  • Works with iOS devices with a lightning to USB adapter (adapter sold separately)


The Alesis V61 is a compact workstation designed to give you enough controls to take your ideas and make them into music. The assignable knobs and buttons make it a versatile controller, while its small size and light weight mean it is easy to store and easy to take along with you. 


  • This keyboard is easy to set up
  • It is compact and lightweight 
  • It makes a streamlined but comprehensive workstation without too many extras to bog you down


  • Beat pads are easily double triggered so this may not be the keyboard for you if drum beats are your main focus 
  • Built-in dynamic settings make it difficult to play softly but they can be adjusted from the DAW 

Akai Professional MPK Mini MK3 - Midi Keyboard Controller for Portability

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



  • USB powered MIDI controller means no extra power cords to carry along
  • 25 velocity-sensitive keys 
  • Thumbstick for pitch and modulation control and a built-in arpeggiator 
  • Includes 8 Midi beat pads and eight assignable knobs for drum sounds, instruments, and effects 
  • This keyboard offers you complete command of your virtual instruments and instrument effects 


The MPK Mini MK3 is a compact, universally compatible midi keyboard controller that will easily integrate with FL Studio or some of the other included DAWs. It’s USB-powered so that you won’t be bogged down with extension cords, either. Just plug it in, and you’re on your way to creating new music. This controller is so compact you can easily stash it in a gig bag, a closet, or on your desk. It’s designed for beginners and professionals alike. 


  • This keyboard is an easy to use, plug and play device. 
  • Beat pads are responsive and clean. 
  • This keyboard is small, lightweight, and comes in a cool grey color. 


  • There may be sound latency issues if the correct drivers are not installed. (Make sure all of your hardware and firmware are up to date). 
  • There are occasional syncing issues between the DAW and MIDI controller for knob controls and metronomes. 

Alesis Q88 MKII - Most Streamlined MIDI Controller

Alesis Q88 MKII - 88 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Full Size Velocity Sensitive Semi-Weighted Keys and Music Production Software Included



  • USB-powered MIDI controller keyboard with 88 full-size velocity-sensitive keys
  • Universally compatible with DAWs such as FL Studio
  • Works with iOS devices with a USB Camera Adapter for portability (adapter not included)
  • Includes octave and transpose buttons, pitch bend and modulation wheels, assignable knobs, and virtual synth control, along with a customizable volume slider 
  • Includes a built-in sustain pedal port (pedal sold separately) 


The Alesis Q88 MKII is a streamlined, down-to-earth MIDI controller that has all the essential functions you need to create your favorite music tracks. It has plenty of assignable controls, including stop, play, and record, so you can start your recordings without taking your hands away from the keyboard. 


  • Keys, sliders, and faders have a good feel under your fingers, making them easy to use. 
  • This MIDI keyboard is also available in a mini-size, with mini keys for the most portability when you need to be on the go.
  • It works with iOS devices if you purchase a separate adapter 


  • You may need to download extra software to get the controller to work with Windows machines

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini - All-Around MIDI Controller Keyboard

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini – 32 Key USB Keyboard Controller with Beat Pads, MIDI assignable Knobs, Buttons & Faders and Software Suite Included



  • Features 32 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys with an all-around good playing feel.
  • Includes eight assignable, velocity-sensitive drum pads 
  • Four assignable knobs, buttons, and faders for controlling instruments and effects 
  • Pitch and modulation wheels, one sustain pedal input 
  • 1/8 inch MIDI output
  • Includes auto-mapping for DAW controls and smart chord mode


M-Audio’s Oxygen Pro Mini is a lot of power in a small package. With just 32 keys, this USB-powered MIDI controller gives you the option to make music in the studio or on the go. In addition, this particular MIDI keyboard offers an easy-to-read OLED screen with auto-mapping and smart controls. 


  • USB-powered means you don’t need a separate power cable 
  • Auto-mapping sets up the controls for you from your DAW 
  • Includes sustain input for creating piano music
  • M-Audio has a specific guide on their website for FL Studio users 


  • Unless you are using it as a dedicated piano or drum controller, you may have a hard time setting up the controllers

Arturia KeyLab 88 Essential 88-Key MIDI Controller - MIDI Keyboard for Synthesizer Players

Arturia KeyLab 88 Essential 88-Key MIDI Controller



  • This is a full-size, 88 key, MIDI Keyboard controller 
  • USB Powered means no power cords to worry about 
  • Includes nine knobs, nine faders, and eight pads for instrument control and effects 
  • Uses OLED screen 


The Arturia Keylab 88 gives you lots of value for the price. It is mapped to general MIDI standards, but everything about this keyboard controller is adjustable with your DAW. The full-size, 88 semi-weighted midi keyboard is especially well-suited to anyone looking to add extensive use of synthesizers to their music. The drum pads are easy to configure, as well. 

This is a pair-down device without extra bells and whistles but works great if your music is synth-heavy. 


  • Includes OLED screen for easy controls.
  • You can access any of your DAW controls directly from the keyboard. 
  • Full 88 keys are great for pianists and synth players


  • The keyboard may disconnect from the software if your computer monitor goes to sleep. 
  • Plug and play detection may not be immediately available on some PCs until you update the software and firmware.
  • The keys are not fully weighted.

Criteria For Choosing The Best MIDI Keyboards for FL Studio 

Most of the time, a MIDI controller is a piece of hardware that sends information about what notes to play and how to play them to a Digital Audio Workstation, which can generate the sound and record the information. Usually, MIDI controllers are a keyboard, which is what we are talking about in this article, although there are interesting alternatives out there. The right controller for you depends on a number of factors, including the type of music, your budget, the connectors you need, and more. 

Type of Music 

One of the most important aspects of choosing a MIDI keyboard for FL Studio is what type of music you are going to use it for. For example, suppose your primary purpose is to record classical-style piano music. In that case, you’ll probably want to choose a MIDI controller with a full 88 weighted keys with the Graded Hammer Standard so you can maximize your musical expression through the keys. On the other hand, if you are looking to play more pop-style music, you might find a smaller keyboard with a few drum pads and assignable buttons will work better for your purposes. 

Will you be using your MIDI keyboard for live music? If so, you may want something with a full-size keyboard so you can play everything you need to. But if you are only going to be making recordings, you might only record a line at a time, meaning you won’t need as many keys. 

Keep in mind that FL Studio works best for electronic music applications and may not be perfect in a live setting or for live recordings. 

Size and Number of Keys 

MIDI controller keyboards range in size from just a few keys to a full 88-key keyboard. The size you choose may depend on how much studio space you have available and if you need to stash your keyboard away when you aren’t using it. 

Do you want your keyboard to fit on your desk? If so, you probably only want one with 49 to 61 keys. But if you have room for a whole keyboard stand, then perhaps you’ll be happier with an 88 key controller. 

If you are using lots of synth pads in your music or just prefer to play a widespread of notes at one time, you might need a full-size keyboard. On the other hand, if you prefer to break up your music into small sections at a time, you might only need a small one. 

Weighted, Full Size, or Mini 

Again, the type of music you are looking to work on may designate the type of controller you need. For example, if you are looking to record piano music of any style, you’ll probably want a MIDI keyboard that gives you the most natural piano experience. On the other hand, if you aren’t interested in piano music but just want to be able to easily play the melody line or a few chords at a time, a MIDI keyboard with mini-sized, velocity-sensitive keys might be the right choice for you. 

Check out our guide for selecting the best weighted MIDI keyboard

Additional Controllers and Pads 

If you’re using FL Studios, you’re probably leaning more towards electronic music and dance beats than towards classical piano music. In this case, you’ll want to look at the number of drum pads and their sensitivity. Are the pads velocity-sensitive? Or just on/off? Can you adjust or control how sensitive they are? 

On the other hand, you’ll probably want plenty of additional controllers, too, such as knobs, faders, and sliders. These will manipulate effects, control non-piano instruments, and increase the functionality of your controller. 


Do you need a very portable keyboard? If so, you probably don’t want to purchase a heavy, weighted-key, full-size MIDI keyboard. Instead, you might be looking for something much smaller so you can carry it around in a backpack or gig bag. 


Entry to mid-level MIDI controllers generally tend to be very reasonably priced since they don’t need to have onboard sound engines or sound banks. However, if you are looking for something that does both equally well, the price will jump up into a higher bracket. So overall, you need to consider what budget you have to work with and then prioritize the features you need for your price point. 


More modern MIDI controllers often have USB-powered ports because they assume you’ll be using the MIDI controller with a laptop or computer. However, it can get a little trickier if you connect your MIDI controller to another keyboard or a tablet, or an iOS device. 

For example, if you need to connect your MIDI controller to an iPad, you’ll need to purchase the correct cables because they generally are not included with your controller. If your controller has a 5-Pin MIDI port, you’ll probably need a hub and converter cable to lightening adapter to connect to your iPad. 

On the other hand, if your controller is USB powered, your iPad may not have enough battery power to power it for long periods of time. 

You may also want to consider if you need to connect your keyboard to another keyboard, which generally requires a 5-pin MIDI connector. 

Software Compatibility 

Most MIDI controllers are compatible with just about all DAWs, including FL Studio. However, if you are working with a PC, you may have some issues with the plug and play option on a lot of these devices. Therefore, you may need to download the accompanying free software so that you have the right drivers on your computer before your computer will recognize the MIDI controller. 

You should be able to assign sounds and samples from your DAW right to your keyboard. 

Our Pick for the Best MIDI Keyboard for FL Studios 

FL Studios is an excellent Digital Audio Workstation for beginners and experienced digital musicians alike. It is easy to learn, and once you know your way around it, it has plenty of capability and free-lifetime updates. 

So naturally, you want to find the best MIDI keyboard to get the most out of your DAW investment. For us, it’s the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini. First of all, this compact MIDI keyboard is small enough to fit on your desk or into your gig bag. So even though it isn’t the smallest controller on our list, it is small enough to be portable but hefty enough for regular studio use. So this MIDI keyboard may be for you if you are a busy musician on the go or only have a small workspace. 

Since FL Studio isn’t really aimed at classical musicians recording lengthy piano works (although you could do that if you wish), you don’t need a huge keyboard to operate it. So the 32 mini keys should be more than enough to create your licks, phrases, and synth beds. If it isn’t, there are other models of this MIDI keyboard with more keys to choose from. 

We love the OLED screen and the automapping configuration, which takes care of all of the details for you so you can focus on making music. In addition, the drum pads are easily assignable and velocity-sensitive, so you can drop a beat that sounds just the way you want it to. 

Written By:
Zach has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Being a studio owner for 13 years, he actively helps musicians and producers with technical issues around musical instruments and studio and audio equipment.

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