What’s the Best MIDI Controller for FL Studio?

FL Studio (previously known as FruityLoops) is trusted by professionals and amateur recording artists alike.  The versatility, ability to control sounds and included recording with editing capacity has allowed it to become a leader in music. 

To maximize the results, musicians turn to MIDI controllers for better expression of their song concepts.  The controllers offer the rich and diverse sounds often required for a unique edge to every artist while adding in expansive editing functions for the final touch.  Your best gear for FL Studio allows you to create the arrangements you are hearing. 

And, in order to help you find that “best gear,” we’ve created an interactive guide (see below) that showcases (in our opinion) some of the absolute best MIDI controllers that you can use:

Akai MPK249Akai MPK249
arturia-keylab-49Arturia KeyLab 49 MKII
roland-a88Roland A-88
Novation Launchkey 61 MK3
Roland A49

The Functions of FL Studio Software

FL Studio focuses on providing an all-in-one recording and mixing software tool for musicians.  You can bring all of your songs to the mixing board with this one piece of software.  The design was originally developed for DJs that needed to arrange and layer several tracks with electronic and natural sounds.  Today, musicians in every genre have found that it is a simple and effective method for recording.

The FL Studio Software has two approaches to creating a professional recording.  There is the possibility to record directly from your keyboard or device to the software.  It will store the mix of tracks from the plugin you have integrated into the software.  It is also possible to add in pre-recorded sounds with an orchestral mix to world sounds that are easy to mix into the beat you are creating.  You can then work with creative arrangements and final editing for your next masterpiece.

The applications with FL Studio Software are not only popular because of the flexibility available for recording.  It also offers mixing solutions to those who are putting together diverse styles of music.  You will find features to alter volume, sounds, rhythm, effects, pitches and mixing levels.  With this one piece of software, you can move from a rough recording to a polished mix, offering a simple solution to showcase your final masterpiece of music.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling MIDI controllers currently being sold online.

1) M-Audio Hammer 88
2) Arturia KeyStep Pro
3) Arturia KeyLab 49 MkII

What Makes FL Studio Popular?

The popular use of FL Studio Software comes from the original design, which was developed with the intention of easy access and intuitive approaches to recording.  Specifically, it offers:

  • Flexible interfaces for recording
  • Ease of editing for a final masterpiece
  • Complete editing tools
  • Diverse sounds with integration of MIDI
  • Integrated mixing board and tools

Recording artists who use the FL Studio Software will move quickly through the first stages of recording, speeding up the process of song creation while having flexibility with editing that software systems are able to provide.

Linking MIDI Keyboards to FL Studio

Using a keyboard with MIDI allows you to record even more with FL Studio Software.  While there is a sound bank of MIDI integrated into the computer application, it is sometimes limited in sounds.  The perfect sound changes the final experience of the song you are working on. 

A MIDI keyboard substitutes the missing sounds that you absolutely need to have with your keyboard.  The programming integrated live recordings of instruments and effects that are used in orchestration for a complete effect.  More important, there are controllers that are on a MIDI keyboard that integrate with FL Studio Software, simplifying the process of recording layers of sounds while upgrading the extra effects editing requires.

You will want to use certain devices with the MIDI Keyboards that link to the FL Studio software system.  There are USB or cables you will need to hook together for the application.  One is a MIDI out and the other is a MIDI in, designed to pick up the sounds from the keyboard and apply them to the software.  The cables are available with USB, 5 pin DIN and external audio interfaces. 

The different keyboard applications that are applied to your computer determine the specific interfaces you need.  After connecting these cables, you will want to activate the adaptor driver in FL Studio Software.  These simple steps allow you to instantly begin recording from your MIDI keyboard device. 

Features and Functions of the MIDI Keyboard

There is a distinct difference from a regular electronic keyboard and a MIDI device.  You will want to focus on the keyboard as a controller for certain sounds that you want to record, as opposed to a complete keyboard.  The focus of all MIDI keyboards is to offer a basic design while focusing on the compatibility for sounds and connectivity to FL Studio.  By analyzing the features and functions, you will find the perfect set for your new controller.  Here are some noteworthy features that you should be aware of before making any purchase:

Number of Keys. The MIDI keyboard comes with 25, 49 or 61 keys as a complete set.  This design introduces compatibility for different needs.  Recording artists will choose different key lengths based on portability and the functions needed for the control system.

Key Action.  If you are performing, then weighted keys that change the volume of your playing is central.  For recording, this main feature is not a requirement.  Semi – weighted or keys with no weight still work for recording.  Since most of the MIDI keyboards are revised through FL Studio, you don’t need to add in the weight.  You will also want to look at velocity action, which changes the dynamics of the electrical device and may alter the recording sound you have.  Your comfort level for playing the keyboard with the extra key action allow you to find the perfect controller.

Controls.  Recording also means manipulating certain sounds to create effects.  You can find many of these on the MIDI keyboard to assist with the songs you currently recording.  Sliders are a popular option, which slowly maneuvers the sound you are creating.  There are many other controls, such as pitch and modulation wheels, that assist with changing the sound while you are recording.  Play, pause and record are also common features with the recording.  Each control is designed to offer simplicity and complete functionality while producing a song.

The features and functions of the keyboard are defined by what you want to use to record as well as the series of sounds you want from the MIDI controller.  While some of the applications are applied with FL Studio functions, adding in certain mixes with the keyboard will guide you to the perfect creation based on your musical style.

5 Popular MIDI Keyboards

To start the process of recording with MIDI, you need the right equipment.  This changes the outcome of the sounds available and the approaches you use to connect and control the FL Studio Software. 

The focus of the keyboard you get can be measured by the number of sounds available through MIDI and whether this is compatible with the style of music you are recording.  These top MIDI keyboards will help you to find the right sound for your next composition. 

Listed as the most popular among MIDI lovers, this keyboard offers everything needed for the perfect recording.  There are 16 pads offered for recording with semi – weighted keys for additional expression. 

You can enjoy several sets of controls, including faders, switches, a pitch bend and modulation wheels.  This keyboard is known because of the several controls while remaining simple and light weight in use. 

You can read our review of the Akai MPK249 here.

  • M-Audio Oxygen 49

Another favorite, this MIDI keyboard is known for it’s compatibility and flexibility.  The ability to use DAW, a popular MIDI feature, as well as extra controls has highlighted this particular keyboard.  It has velocity – sensitive keys and pads for dynamic controls to FL Studio.  It also has a series of faders, controls and sustain pedals.  The keyboard offers solid drum pads, sliders, modulation and pitch wheels that offer flexibility and compatibility with the recordings.

  • M-Audio Axiom Air  

This controller is noted by many MIDI users as compatible because of lightweight features and flexibility.  It has all the major features of a keypad as well as the standard pads, sliders, pitch wheels and knobs.  It also uses a unique mapping technology to assist with guiding and controlling your recording in relation to both the software and keyboard.

You can read our review of the M-Audio Axiom 49 here.

  • Novation Impulse 49  

If you want a range of sounds, this MIDI keyboard can guide your best effects.  The style includes semi – weighted keys and an after touch to introduce better playing capacity.  You will also enjoy trigger pads, rotary encoders and faders, all to control and change your composition into a complete recording masterpiece. 

You can read our review of the Novation Impulse 49 here.

  • Nektar Impact

MIDI keyboard series by Nektar is one of the popular devices for recording.  It offers velocity sensitive and semi – weighted keypads for greater control of your keyboard playing.  Octave and transpose buttons, a full control center, pads, mixer controls and instrument pre-sets are all available with the push of a button, offering flexibility to the recording artist. 

Start your next hit with FL Studio and the integration to MIDI keyboards.  You can easily speed up the process of recording while having more controls and sound effects with the right MIDI control board.  The different functions and popular brands invite you into a new world of song creation and sounds. 

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