Best MIDI Controller for Reaper: Top Picks for 2024

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MIDI controllers are an essential piece of equipment for any musician MIDI controllersn or producer who wants to create music electronically.

These devices allow you to control your software instruments and digital audio workstations (DAWs) with physical knobs, sliders, and buttons.

They are particularly useful for live performance and recording sessions, where you need to make quick adjustments without having to use a mouse or keyboard.

In this article, we will be discussing the best MIDI controller for Reaper, which is a popular DAW used by many musicians and producers.

Reaper is known for its flexibility and customization options, which makes it a great choice for both beginners and professionals.

However, to get the most out of Reaper, you need a MIDI controller that is compatible with the software and has the right features.

When choosing a MIDI controller for Reaper, there are a few things you should consider.

First, you need to make sure that the controller is compatible with Reaper and can be easily configured.

Second, you need to think about the size and layout of the controller, as well as the number of knobs, sliders, and buttons it has.

Finally, you should consider the build quality and durability of the controller, as well as its price.

After researching and testing various MIDI controllers, we have identified the top options for controlling Reaper.

In the following sections, we will provide an in-depth review of each controller, highlighting its features, pros, and cons.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what to look for in a MIDI controller for Reaper and which options are the best for your needs.

Best MIDI Controllers for Reaper

We understand that finding the right MIDI controller for Reaper can be a daunting task.

With so many options available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the one that best suits your needs.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best MIDI controllers for Reaper that will help you take your music production to the next level.

Our team of experts has tested and reviewed various controllers to bring you the top picks.

So whether you’re a beginner or a professional, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list below to find the perfect MIDI controller for your Reaper setup.

AKAI MPK Mini Plus

AKAI MPK Mini Plus

AKAI MPK Mini Plus

If you’re in the market for a MIDI controller that’s portable, feature-packed, and easy to use, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus is a great option. With its compact design and dynamic 37-key keybed, this MIDI controller is perfect for producers, beat makers, and anyone who wants to create music on the go.

If you’re in the market for a MIDI controller that’s portable, feature-packed, and easy to use, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus is a great option.

With its compact design and dynamic 37-key keybed, this MIDI controller is perfect for producers, beat makers, and anyone who wants to create music on the go.

Pros

  • The 37-key keybed is dynamic and responsive, making it easy to create melodies and harmonies.
  • The MPK Mini Plus offers extensive controls, including 8 velocity-sensitive drum pads and 8 assignable rotary knobs, that allow you to dial in effects, adjust volume, and write automation with ease.
  • The bundled MPC Beats software DAW for Mac and PC offers the iconic MPC workflow right on a desktop or laptop computer, and also includes thousands of sounds, drum samples, loops, and plugin instruments to create your next hit song.

Cons

  • The keys are mini-sized, which may not be suitable for those who prefer full-sized keys.
  • The drum pads are small, which may not be ideal for those who require larger pads for finger drumming.
  • The CV/Gate connectors may not be useful for everyone, especially those who don’t use modular synths.

Overall, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus is a versatile and powerful MIDI controller that offers a lot of features in a compact package.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this MIDI controller is sure to meet your needs and help you create great music.

The dynamic keybed and extensive controls make it easy to create melodies, harmonies, and beats, while the bundled MPC Beats software offers a wealth of sounds and instruments to inspire your creativity.

However, the mini-sized keys and drum pads may not be suitable for everyone, and the CV/Gate connectors may not be useful for those who don’t use modular synths.

In summary, if you’re looking for a portable and feature-packed MIDI controller that’s easy to use and offers a lot of creative potential, the AKAI MPK Mini Plus is definitely worth considering.

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini

If you’re looking for a MIDI controller that’s portable and packed with features, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is worth considering.

If you’re looking for a MIDI controller that’s portable and packed with features, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is worth considering.

Pros

  • The 32 velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys feel great to play and are perfect for virtual sampler instruments and virtual synthesizer plugins.
  • The 8 RGB backlit MIDI assignable velocity-sensitive drum pads with Note Repeat make beat production, clip launching, soundboard triggering, and more a breeze.
  • The 4 assignable knobs, buttons, and faders provide tactile MIDI control of virtual instruments, effect plugins, DAW controls, and more.

Cons

  • The user interface, customization, and DAW setup and compatibility can be difficult to navigate for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
  • The software suite included may not be the best fit for everyone’s needs.
  • The pitch and mod wheels could be improved in terms of sensitivity.

We’ve had a chance to try out the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini and we were impressed with its versatility and ease of use.

The built-in arpeggiator, Smart Chord, and Smart Scale technology are great features that can help streamline your creative process.

The OLED screen makes configuring the Oxygen Pro Mini with any mainstream DAW a breeze, and the auto-mapping feature takes care of the rest.

The 32 best-in-class, velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted mini keys felt great to play and the 8 RGB backlit MIDI assignable velocity-sensitive drum pads with Note Repeat were a joy to use.

The 4 assignable knobs, buttons, and faders were also very responsive and provided total command of our music production.

Overall, the M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini is a solid choice for those who want a portable and feature-packed MIDI controller.

It’s perfect for creating music on the go or in the studio and comes complete with everything you need to get the most out of your virtual instrument collection and DAW.

Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB

Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB

Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB

If you’re looking for an affordable and portable MIDI controller for Reaper, the Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB is worth considering.

If you’re looking for an affordable and portable MIDI controller for Reaper, the Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB is worth considering.

Pros

  • The 8 trigger pads are velocity-sensitive and assignable to controllers, making it easy to create drum beats and trigger samples.
  • The 25 keys are also velocity-sensitive and assignable to controllers, with 3 velocity curves and one constant velocity, allowing for expressive playing.
  • The 4 assignable control knobs and 4 assignable control sliders provide additional control options, and the 4 banks allow for different settings to be saved.

Cons

  • The build quality feels somewhat cheap and flimsy.
  • The velocity sensitivity can be inconsistent at times.
  • The included documentation is minimal, and setup can be a bit confusing for beginners.

Overall, the Btuty 25-Key MIDI Keyboard Panda mini Portable Mini Drum Pad MIDI Controller, USB is a decent option for those on a tight budget or in need of a portable MIDI controller.

While the build quality and velocity sensitivity leave something to be desired, the controller provides a good amount of control options and is easy to use once set up properly.

AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2

AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2

AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2

If you want an affordable, compact, and versatile MIDI controller that works seamlessly with Ableton Live, then the AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2 is definitely worth considering.

If you want an affordable, compact, and versatile MIDI controller that works seamlessly with Ableton Live, then the AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2 is definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • The 40 RGB pads are perfect for launching clips, controlling drums, and triggering samples, and they provide visual feedback that helps you stay in the flow of your music-making.
  • The 25 velocity-sensitive mini-keys are responsive and comfortable to play, and the dedicated octave up/down buttons give you access to the full melodic range.
  • The 8 assignable rotary knobs are smooth and precise, and they allow you to tweak effects, parameters, and macros with ease.

Cons

  • The build quality is not as robust as some higher-end MIDI controllers, and the plastic housing feels a bit flimsy.
  • The directional navigation arrows can be a bit finicky at times, especially when you’re trying to move around large projects with multiple tracks and scenes.
  • The included software instruments (Hybrid 3, Mini Grand, and Velvet) are decent, but they’re not as comprehensive or versatile as some other virtual instruments on the market.

In our experience, the AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2 is a great MIDI controller for beginners and intermediate producers who want a simple and intuitive way to control Ableton Live.

The integration between the hardware and software is seamless, and the layout is straightforward and easy to navigate.

The pads, keys, and knobs all feel responsive and tactile, and they allow you to create dynamic and expressive performances.

While there are some minor drawbacks to the build quality and software instruments, these are relatively minor quibbles given the overall value and functionality of the controller.

If you’re looking for an affordable and versatile MIDI controller that can help you unleash your creativity in Ableton Live, then the AKAI Professional APC Key 25 MK2 is definitely worth checking out.

Arturia – Keystep – Portable MIDI Controller, Sequencer and Arpeggiator – 32 Slimkeys, 8-Memory Polyphonic Step Sequencer, 8-Mode Arpeggiator, CV-Compatible(Black)

Arturia Keystep

Arturia – Keystep – Portable MIDI Controller

If you’re looking for a portable and feature-packed MIDI drum pad controller, the AKAI Professional MPD218 is definitely worth considering.

If you’re looking for a versatile MIDI controller that can handle both analog and digital devices, the Arturia Keystep is a great option.

Pros

  • The slimkey keyboard action is highly playable, with velocity and aftertouch that provide the musicality of full-sized keys while maintaining the portability of compact mini-keys.
  • The polyphonic step sequencer has 8 programmable sequence memories, and you can change the feel of your sequences with on-the-fly gate time and swing adjustment. You can even transpose and overdub in real-time.
  • The arpeggiator and chord modes allow you to create exciting melodies and rhythms in seconds, and the Keystep comes with all the creative software you need.

Cons

  • The Keystep is not battery powered, so it’s not the most portable option.
  • The pitchbend slider is a bit short, which can make pitch bends imprecise.
  • The slimkey keyboard action may not be ideal for those who prefer the feel of full-sized keys.

We had a great experience using the Arturia Keystep. The slimkey keyboard action was surprisingly playable, and we appreciated the velocity and aftertouch that provided the musicality of full-sized keys.

The polyphonic step sequencer was easy to use, and we loved the on-the-fly gate time and swing adjustment.

The arpeggiator and chord modes were a lot of fun to play with, and we were impressed with all the creative software that came with the Keystep.

One downside to the Keystep is that it’s not battery powered, so it’s not the most portable option out there.

The pitchbend slider is also a bit short, which can make pitch bends imprecise. Additionally, the slimkey keyboard action may not be ideal for those who prefer the feel of full-sized keys.

Overall, we would definitely recommend the Arturia Keystep to anyone looking for a versatile MIDI controller that can handle both analog and digital devices.

Donner N-32 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Donner N-32 MIDI Keyboard Controller

Donner N-32 MIDI Keyboard Controller

If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight MIDI keyboard controller to use with Reaper, the Donner N-32 is a solid option.

If you’re looking for a compact and lightweight MIDI keyboard controller to use with Reaper, the Donner N-32 is a solid option.

Pros

  • The 32 scaled-down velocity-sensitive keys are perfect for creating music on the go.
  • The N-32 is compatible with a variety of DAWs, including Reaper, Cubase, Live, Logic Pro, Protools, and Studio One.
  • The N-32 comes with 40 free and entertaining keyboard-teaching courses, making it a great choice for beginners.

Cons

  • The keys may feel a bit small for some users.
  • The joystick modulation feature can be tricky to get used to.
  • The chord arpeggiator could be more intuitive.

Overall, we think the Donner N-32 is a good choice for anyone looking for a compact and lightweight MIDI keyboard controller that’s compatible with Reaper.

The keys are velocity-sensitive and the layout is easy to learn, making it a great option for beginners.

Additionally, the N-32 is compatible with a variety of DAWs, so you can use it with your preferred software.

If you’re looking for a MIDI keyboard controller that’s easy to use on the go, the Donner N-32 is definitely worth considering.

AKAI LPK25

AKAI LPK25

AKAI LPK25

If you’re looking for a compact and portable MIDI controller for Reaper, the AKAI LPK25 is definitely worth considering. It’s a 25-key keyboard with synth action, which means it’s perfect for composing and creating music in even the tightest spaces.

If you’re looking for a compact and portable MIDI controller for Reaper, the AKAI LPK25 is definitely worth considering.

It’s a 25-key keyboard with synth action, which means it’s perfect for composing and creating music in even the tightest spaces.

Pros

  • The LPK25 is extremely portable and lightweight, making it easy to carry around wherever you go.
  • The Gen 2 Dynamic keybed offers an exquisite playing experience with careful attention to velocity response.
  • The built-in arpeggiator and clock provide creative control of any of your sound sources.

Cons

  • The mini keys may not be suitable for players who prefer full-sized keys.
  • The LPK25 lacks some of the advanced features found on larger MIDI controllers.
  • The LPK25 does not come with a sustain pedal.

The AKAI LPK25 is a great option for those who need a compact and portable MIDI controller.

It’s perfect for musicians, producers, DJs, and other music creators who want to work with software on their computer.

The LPK25 is easy to set up and use, with USB power and plug-and-play compatibility for Mac or PC.

The LPK25 features 8 programmable preset slots, which allow you to instantly recall your mappings for DAWs, virtual instruments, and more.

The LPK25 is also compatible with all popular applications including GarageBand, Logic, Studio One, Cubase, Ableton Live, ProTools, Reason, FL Studio, Digital Performer, Adobe Audition, and more.

Overall, the AKAI LPK25 is a versatile and feature-packed MIDI controller that offers an incredible amount of value for its price.

If you’re looking for a compact and portable MIDI controller for Reaper, the AKAI LPK25 is definitely worth considering.

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

If you’re looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller for Reaper, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is definitely worth considering.

If you’re looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller for Reaper, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • The compact size makes it easy to travel with and use in tight spaces.
  • The 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys are perfect for studio production, virtual synthesizer control, and beat production.
  • The MPC-style beat pads, arpeggiator, and assignable controls give you total control over your production.

Cons

  • The keys may feel a bit stiff for some users.
  • The drum pads could be more responsive.
  • The software installation process can be a bit complicated.

Overall, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a great choice for anyone looking for a MIDI controller that is both versatile and portable.

The 25 mini MIDI keyboard velocity-sensitive keys are perfect for creating melodies and playing virtual instruments, while the MPC-style beat pads are great for programming drums and triggering samples.

The innovative 4-way thumbstick and built-in arpeggiator provide dynamic pitch and modulation control, and the 8 360-degree knobs can be assigned to all your music studio plugins for mixing and tweaking synth controls.

The MPK Mini MK3 is also compatible with a wide variety of music production apps and comes with a complete music production starter kit that includes MPC Beats, 6 virtual instruments, and 2GB of sound content.

Overall, we highly recommend the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 for anyone looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller for Reaper.

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

We highly recommend the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 for anyone looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller for Reaper.

We highly recommend the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 for anyone looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller for Reaper.

Pros

  • The 25 velocity-sensitive keys and 8 backlit MPC-style pads are perfect for beat making and virtual synthesizer control.
  • The 4-way joystick and 8 assignable knobs provide dynamic pitch and modulation control, as well as complete command of virtual instruments and FX.
  • The Complete Music Production Starter Kit, which includes MPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments, and 2GB of sound content, provides everything you need for pro production.

Cons

  • The included software suite may not materialize, and some users have reported issues with registration and activation.
  • The compact size may not be ideal for those who prefer larger MIDI controllers.
  • The keys may feel a bit stiff and unresponsive for some users.

The AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is a versatile and portable MIDI controller that is perfect for both beginners and professionals.

The compact size makes it an ideal travel companion, while the arsenal of beat pads, arpeggiator, and MIDI assignable controls let you take complete command of every aspect of your production.

The 4-way joystick and 8 assignable knobs provide dynamic pitch and modulation control, as well as complete command of virtual instruments and FX.

The Complete Music Production Starter Kit, which includes MPC Beats, 6 Virtual Instruments, and 2GB of sound content, provides everything you need for pro production.

In summary, if you’re looking for a compact and versatile MIDI controller that provides total control over your production, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 is an excellent choice.

Arturia – MiniLab 3 Alpine

Arturia - MiniLab 3 Alpine

Arturia – MiniLab 3 Alpine

If you’re a music producer looking for a compact, portable, and versatile MIDI controller, the Arturia MiniLab 3 Alpine is a great choice.

If you’re a music producer looking for a compact, portable, and versatile MIDI controller, the Arturia MiniLab 3 Alpine is a great choice.

Pros

  • The MiniLab 3 adapts to your workflow, allowing you to control instruments, mute tracks, punch in your 8 pad drums, and adjust your 4 faders with a flow so fluid you’ll forget you had a mouse.
  • It is lightweight and portable, making it perfect for recording, performing, or jamming with friends no matter where you are.
  • The MiniLab 3 comes with an all-in-one software package including Analog Lab V, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Model D, NI The Gentleman, Loopcloud, and Melodics.

Cons

  • The keys are not weighted, which may not be suitable for those who prefer a more realistic piano feel.
  • The pads are not as large as some other MIDI controllers on the market.
  • The MiniLab 3 only has 25 keys, which may not be enough for more advanced users who require a full-sized keyboard.

The Arturia MiniLab 3 Alpine is a great MIDI controller for those who are looking for a compact and portable solution for music production.

The MiniLab 3 adapts to your workflow, allowing you to control instruments, mute tracks, punch in your 8 pad drums, and adjust your 4 faders with a flow so fluid you’ll forget you had a mouse.

It is lightweight and portable, making it perfect for recording, performing, or jamming with friends no matter where you are.

The MiniLab 3 comes with an all-in-one software package including Analog Lab V, Ableton Live Lite, UVI Model D, NI The Gentleman, Loopcloud, and Melodics, which provides everything you need to get started with music production.

The keys on the MiniLab 3 are velocity-sensitive and slim, which may not be suitable for those who prefer a more realistic piano feel.

The pads are not as large as some other MIDI controllers on the market, which may make it difficult for those who require larger pads for finger drumming.

The MiniLab 3 only has 25 keys, which may not be enough for more advanced users who require a full-sized keyboard.

Overall, the Arturia MiniLab 3 Alpine is a great choice for those who are looking for a compact and portable MIDI controller that is versatile and easy to use.

With its all-in-one software package and performance-ready portability, the MiniLab 3 is a great tool for music production on the go.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best MIDI controller for Reaper, it’s important to consider a few key factors to ensure you get the right product for your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Controller Type

The type of MIDI controller you choose will depend on your workflow and personal preferences. Some options include:

  • Keyboard controllers: These controllers feature piano-style keys and are ideal for playing melodies and chords. They often come with additional controls like knobs and faders for tweaking effects and parameters.
  • Pad controllers: These controllers feature drum pads and are ideal for creating beats and triggering samples. They often come with additional controls like knobs and faders for adjusting levels and effects.
  • Control surface: These controllers feature a variety of buttons, knobs, and faders and are ideal for controlling various aspects of your DAW like mixing and automation.

Number of Keys/Pads

The number of keys or pads on your MIDI controller will depend on your needs. If you’re primarily a keyboard player, you may want a controller with a full 88 keys.

If you’re a beatmaker, you may want a controller with a large number of pads for triggering samples and loops.

Connectivity

Make sure your MIDI controller is compatible with your computer and DAW.

Most controllers connect via USB, but some may also have MIDI inputs and outputs.

Additionally, some controllers may have additional features like Bluetooth connectivity or the ability to connect to iOS devices.

Additional Features

Consider any additional features that may be important to your workflow. Some controllers may have built-in arpeggiators, step sequencers, or drum machines.

Others may have customizable LED lighting or the ability to map controls to specific functions in your DAW.

By considering these factors, you can find the best MIDI controller for your needs and take your Reaper production to the next level.

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right MIDI controller for Reaper can elevate your music production to new heights.

Consider your budget, workflow, and feature needs, and opt for a controller that gives you responsive, expressive control with portable convenience like the AKAI MPK Mini MK3 or versatile analog/digital connectivity such as the Arturia Keystep.

Whichever you choose, integrating a MIDI controller into your Reaper setup unlocks creative potential you never knew you had.

Dominic

Dominic is the chief editor of the Burton Acoustix blog which writes about acoustics and soundproofing to help readers with their queries and questions they might have with regard to improving any sound or noise issues that they faced in their life.