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As someone who has been a music producer for a very long time, I am very familiar with Cubase.
Seeing as Cubase is not as popular as Ableton Live and Pro Tools, you can be very sure that choosing the best midi controller for cubase is going to be a bit hectic.
Because of it;s age, Cubase is strongly favoured in recording studios, both home studios and professional studios.
However because of its popularity which is usually among old G’s in the game, getting the right Midi controller for it can be a hassle
Most manufacturers these days are basically after profits.
As such it is easier to sell a beginner keyboard to someone who just wants to run with something that is popular right now, than to take the time to create something that appeals to a select audience
Which is why I wrote this article
In this article, I will be showing you the top 5 best midi controllers for cubase, what to be aware of before you make a purchase and how to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck.
Related: Check out this article I wrote showing you the 5 best midi controllers for cakewalk
Our Winner After Careful Research
5 Best Midi Controllers for Cubase
1. Nektar Panorama P4 Midi Controller
This is probably the best choice midi controller you could pick to use with cubase as it has direct integration and natively supports cubase.
While technically you can pick any keyboard controller out there to use with Cubase, you will have to sit through a very long and boring process trying to map each key to the right function
Believe me, this is a very long and tiring process as most people, me included will prefer to make music than spend a week dealing with controls and knobs
This is why you definitely want to go with the Nektar Panorama P4 Midi controller
It integrates directly with Cubase, Nuendo, Reason, Reaper and Logic Pro and even has a dedicated page for the integration on Nektar’s website
This allows you to easily plug in the midi controller via USB, install the necessary drivers and start making music easily without any lengthy configuration to go through.
It is also a fantastic midi controller with velocity sensitive, semi weighted keys and aftertouch
It has a massive number of control options,including 20 buttons, 12 pads, 9 faders and 16 encoders.
It has very useful motorized faders for automations
This is the ideal midi controller for anyone who wants a feature rich, easy to use midi controller that maps perfectly to Cubase with minimal effort.
2. Akai MPK Mini MK2 Midi Controller
This is the best budget midi keyboard you can get to use with cubase
It is cheap, the functionality is great and it also comes with some pretty nice software included.
I will most definitely recommend this controller for beginners who want to get something cheap before buying something much expensive later
Also it is very portable and easy to travel with. So if you are someone that is always on the go, then this is an ideal choice for you.
It comes with 25 mini keys and 8 velocity sensitive drum pads giving you the options you need to make amazing music on the go.
In my humble opinion, I will say this mini controller performs much better than most of the other mini controllers out there.
The one fault I had with this product was the pitch bend
I noticed that it was a bit stiff and I didn’t find much use for it.
But as a beginner music producer, you will find out that this feature is not really a deal breakers.
It’s something you can work around using you mouse
Overall, the bundled software, the functionality and the portability of this product is something you cannot simply ignore.
It is very easy to use and produces amazing quality every single time
3. Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 Midi Controller
While this is one of the midi controllers that is ideal for use with Pro Tools, which I wrote about here, the NI Komplete Kontrol S49 is also an ideal choice for use with Cubase.
It’s keybed and semi weighted keys are fantastic and also at par with most mid range yamaha keyboards out there
The aftertouch is very sensitive and not as tough as you will find with the Panorama P4 or Akai MPK mentioned above
One unique thing about this controller is that the keybed is backlit
This allows you to easily create different zones on the keybed based on your playing style
It is also a great visual aid when you are playing your melodies
Finally every component used in the manufacture and design of this controller has a superior quality and feel to it.
4. Alesis V125 Midi Controller
If you are looking for a midi controller you can get under 200 bucks, then this right here is the best choice for you.
From semi weighted keys to 16 pads and tons of control options, this controller absolutely offers everything a music producer will want.
The VI25 has a better keybed, more pads, more knobs, and more buttons.
It is, in every sense of the word, an upgrade over the V25.
The keys on the VI25 are semi-weighted and come with aftertouch.
Granted, this doesn’t feel nearly as good as the S49, but for the price, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better keyboard in this category.
You also get a full array of 16 pads, 24 assignable buttons, and 8 knobs.
That’s enough for any producer to get complete control over the DAW in a studio setting.
On the whole, while the Alesis VI25 might not have the best integration, the largest number of keys, or the most control options, it offers everything you’d want in a very compact and affordable box.
For producers on a budget, it’s a fantastic buy.
5. Akai MPD218 Midi Controller
This is the premier budget controller for cubase
It is very easy to use, cheap and the pads are very sensitive and easy to use.
One thing that you can count on is the functionality being really great with all the major DAWs including Cubase
Also if you are someone that struggles with mapping your controllers, then this is the perfect pick as it comes pre-mapped
It is a simple pad controller that does not have keys but allows you to lay down drum beats and trigger samples.
It is also ideal for beginners and delivers awesome quality when used.
Check out this article I wrote showing you the 5 best midi controllers for bias fx
Midi Controller for Cubase – Buying Guide
1. Functionality – the first thing you want to look out for is the functionality of your controller.
Some controllers have poor functionality and are not properly mapped for major DAWs.
So you want to get a brand name, like the ones mentioned above, that are well mapped
2. Does it have pads?
Next you want to make sure it has pads.
This is because if you plan on doing beats or triggering samples, you want something that makes it very easy to accomplish this.
3. How do the keys feel?
Finally you want to get something whereby the keys are sensitive and has aftertouch
This will ensure that you get the best quality audio and music from your midi controllers