White We Love Singing Logo


~ Music and Entertainment ~

“New Look, Same

Great Articles”

If you have ever had any experience producing music,  then you know that one of the major problems people face is trying to determine the major difference between a midi controller and a keyboard.

This can be very tricky because they are both used for music production and they probably can be used for the same thing.

When it comes to choosing a midi controller or a keyboard,  there are so many things you need to consider.

In this article,  we will be looking at the major difference between a midi  controller and a keyboard and what you need to know before you make a purchase.

What is a Midi Controller?

A midi controller is just a keyboard that transmits and receives midi information, there are no sounds built into a controller, therefore, you will need an external source for sounds – if you connect to a computer to edit you will then be able to use software to edit the sounds you have created.

Most MIDI controllers usually come with a USB port where you can connect directly to your computer, which eliminates the need for a separate interface. 

When you work with a midi controller, you also have to use a Digital Audio Workstation which allows you to produce midi data.

Midi controllers allow you to change the tone to something you like, therefore you will not be stuck in any particular tone.

Another detail regarding the midi controller, the feeling of the keys is not important as you can control the volume and sound using the software.

The basics are:

  • Midi controllers usually come with a keyboard that receives and sends out midi information.

  • You can’t directly use a MIDI controller on its own because it is just a controller and is meant to be used with an external source. You have to use it with your VSTi, computer, or sequencer.

  • MIDI controllers don’t come with inbuilt sound systems, so they cannot produce sound. When used with another source (e.g. your computer) they can now produce sound.

  • MIDI controllers have the capability to trigger sound from a synth or module or a sound card.

So let’s move on to keyboards!

In simple terms, a keyboard is an instrument on its own, where you don’t need additional equipment to make it work.

If you are used to the feel of a piano then you will more likely be attracted to an electric keyboard as they are pressure sensitive, meaning the keys have the capability to respond to how fast you press on the keys and how much pressure you’re using.

On keyboards, the harder you press the more varied your sound is.

If you are hoping to begin playing live, or become more compact then the keyboard is your best choice.

The benefits of an electronic keyboard are:

  • The electronic keyboard is very portable. You can easily create new symphonies or play music just for the fun of it.

  • The keyboard also has the capability to enable you to perform on stage and make new chords when you feel like it.

  • Synthetic/keyboards come with sound built in so you don’t need an external source of internal sound. They also have more options and controls than the typical MIDI controllers do.

  • You can see that in these situations, using a MIDI controller will be quite odd because you will want to connect it directly to your system. Without that, you can get the sound you need for the situation

The best thing you can do to make your decision is to pop into one of our stores and let our friendly staff help you make an informed decision, you can try out both the instruments and have expert knowledge passed on to you-you will be able to test for yourself what you think would work best for your own requirements.

Should I buy a Midi Controller or a Keyboard?

Before you go out and make a purchase, there are a few things you need to know.

Basically a Midi controller and a keyboard both have different uses and so depending on what you want to use each for, you might need to get a different one

For example, let’s say you are really big into synths and you want something that can easily transmit MIDI data to external sound modules, then a MIDI controller is your best buy

But if you are more of a a hands on guy and you just love the way your music sounds and you want to absolutely reproduce that without any external interference then the keyboard is your best bet.

What is the difference between a Synthesizer and a MIDI Controller?

Simply put, a synthesizer is a device that makes sound. While a keyboard is a device with black and white keys.

The major difference is that some synthesizers come with a keyboard while others don't. So if you buy a keyboard with a synthesizer, usually called a MIDI controller, then all you need to do is to plug it into a synthesizer before it can be used.

Is a MIDI keyboard necessary?

The simple answer is “it depends”

One thing you need to know about MIDI keyboards is that they do not have their own sounds.

All they do is send MIDI data to your music production software

The sounds you make are usually produced from VST instruments and virtual instruments

A lot of keyboards and synthesizers can work as MIDI controllers if they have a USB connection or MIDI in/out ports.