Want a MIDI keyboard that will automatically sync up with Logic Pro X?
Don’t feel like mapping every single fader or knob for each different VST?
Unfortunately, most MIDI keyboards on the market won’t sync up perfectly to Logic Pro X.
I’m sure many of you have suffered through the same frustrations as me when it comes to connecting your MIDI controller. For the first few years I just gave up and did everything digitally.
But then I found out about Nektar’s deep integration – the only company (that I know of) that is directly syncing up with Logic Pro X.
Below, I have both of the Nektar options reviewed as well as a few other choice options for you to consider.
I hope this helps and saves you hours of technical misery!
5 Best MIDI Keyboards For Logic Pro X
1. Nektar Panorama P4
- Nektar's most advanced MIDI Controller. 49 semi-weighted full-size velocity sensitive keys + aftertouch. Amazing number of controls available includes 100mm ALPS motorized touch-sensitive high resolution fader.
- Deep DAW integration for Cubase, Logic, Studio One, Bitwig Studio, Nuendo, Mainstage, Reason and Reaper.
This is one of the keyboards that has custom protocols for Logic.
This means it has control over Logic native plugins, 3rd party AU plugins, and comprehensive Logic DAW control.
Simply push one of three dedicated buttons to give you access to Mixer, Instrument, and Transport modes.
In mixing mode you can control up to 8 Logic mixer channels at a time. Multi-track mixing includes volume, pan, sends, mute solo and record arm options.
If you need to EQ, you simply press the EQ button and the EQ plugin is automatically inserted.
Once Parametric EQ is present on the selected track you have full control over all 8 bands.
Best of all, this is done automatically.
The main benefit of the Panorama is the LCD display. This makes navigating the different modes much easier.
This is by far the most comprehensive and best midi keyboard/controller for Logic.
2. Nektar Impact LX61
- USB MIDI controller keyboard with 61 velocity sensitive keys
- 8 Hyper-Sensitive backlit pads
If the price of the Panorama has turned you off, this is your best alternative.
It has the same protocols as the Panorama just without the LCD screen. It’s a little less complicated when it comes to the tech.
It has all the mixer control mentioned above as well as instrumentation control.
Pushing the instrument button will assign all controls to instrument parameters once an instrument track is selected in your DAW.
Nektar’s automatic mapping ensures this is done automatically, so you can start tweaking immediately.
Additionally, many devices and plugins are pre-mapped so there is nothing for you to struggle over.
It comes with 8 velocity sensitive pads – ideal for finger drumming and the kind of percussive playing that’s difficult on a keyboard.
Basically, it comes with everything you’d need in a MIDI keyboard plus it has the added benefit of automatically syncing to most things in Logic.
3. Roland Lightweight 49-Key MIDI Keyboard Controller
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to use
While the remaining controllers on my list won’t have the same deep syncing as Nektar’s they are still fantastic MIDI controllers.
The Roland Lightweight is a fan favorite – it’s hard to find anyone who has anything bad to say about this keyboard.
One of the main draws of this keyboard is the key quality. If you are tired of playing with cheap feeling spring-loaded keys then this might be a great budget-friendly option.
While you’re not getting semi-weighted keys, Roland has put a lot of thought and effort into making the feeling of the keys a notch above.
Enhancements have been made to reduce the already low mechanical noise and eliminate vertical shake.
It’s also very lightweight and easy to carry around.
If you’re looking for something with great feeling keys that is simple to use and will last more than 2 years this is your best option.
4. Novation Launchkey 25 USB Keyboard Controller
- MK2 version of Novation's 25-note USB keyboard controller for Ableton Live
- 16 velocity-sensitive RGB pads, 8 knobs, and dedicated navigation and control buttons
This keyboard is actually designed to work directly with Ableton Live, but it will also work nicely with Logic Pro X.
You can simply use the automatic mapping function in Logic Pro to detect every fader, knob, and pad on the MIDI controller.
Not as hands-off as Nektar, but you will still get to the same place.
That being said, the quality of this keyboard is just fantastic.
Similar to the other keyboards it has 16 RGB velocity-sensitive pads – perfect for finger drumming.
One thing it does offer than Nektar doesn’t is access to 4 GB of loops – which are awesome to use when you are just getting started.
It also comes with the Addictive Keys VST – a popular piano VST that a lot of professional producers use for their background piano chords.
A great alternative to Nektar keyboards – best for people who would benefit from 4 GB of loops as well as a few additional VST instruments.
5. Alesis VI49
- MIDI Keyboard with 49 full-sized, square-front, semi-weighted keys with after touch. USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI Out offer flexible MIDI connectivity
- Manipulate plugins and virtual instruments with hands-on controls. With VI49, you can open and close filters on virtual synthesizers, adjust volume levels in your mix, activate effects, and much more
Again, you won’t have the same automatic mapping with the Alesis VI49 as you would with the Nektar keyboards, but you are still getting a fantastic MIDI keyboard.
In fact, this keyboard is one of the best MIDI keyboards with semi-weighted keys. This can be a big draw for those who have a background in piano.
Otherwise, you will still be able to directly map each pad, knob, and fader using the automatic detection function in Logic Pro – this sounds scary, but it isn’t that bad.
The specs are 12 assignable knobs and 36 assignable buttons for manipulating effect plugins and virtual instruments.
You can also easily open and close filters, adjust volume levels, activate effects, tweak parameters, and more with the 12 knobs.
It’s just a well-built MIDI controller with everything you’d ever need. The price is reasonable as well.
Best for someone who is looking for the best value on the market.
Tips For Choosing Your Logic Pro X MIDI Keyboard
If you’ve never set up a MIDI keyboard with Logic Pro X before it may be a good idea to skim through the appropriate sections of Control Surface Support Manual.
Sounds fun right?
It’s actually not that bad. It should only take you a few hours at most with almost any MIDI keyboard.
If you really don’t want to work through the technical stuff then you’re only option is either of the two Nektar keyboards mentioned above.
Connecting Your MIDI Keyboard To Logic
Logic Pro X can usually automatically assign knobs, sliders and other controls to operate Smart Controls and transport functions in Logic.
This can only be done with a certain selection of MIDI controllers – so if you want to know for sure before you buy make sure you check out the list here.
Knowing The Difference Between a MIDI Keyboard and MPC
You’ve probably seen a lot of MPCs if you’ve been watching music production videos on YouTube. You’ve also probably seen them in a few live performances.
MPC stands for Music Production Controller. It was first produced by Akai and is a series of integrated digital sampling drum machines and MIDI sequencers.
Basically, you can create samples and loops without the use of production software.
Lots of beginners have been purchases MPCs when they don’t really need them. If you’re not producing hip-hop then you probably won’t need an MPC.
If you want to check out a few more MIDI keyboards you can find my other articles here: