Making music in the modern industry is a plugged-in proposition. Even traditional instruments are often connected to digital hardware, and keyboards have been using the MIDI standard since the 1980s. Today, you might use a MIDI controller paired with a sound module as your primary instrument, or simply to provide effects to go along with something else. Controllers can be integrated into a live sound system or a studio setup just as readily. MIDI pad controllers are a common tool for DJs, recording artists and studio engineers of all genres. You can use them to cue custom sounds and samples, from the simplest effects all the way to a virtual drum kit you can play with one hand. The main factors you should keep in mind when looking at a MIDI pad controller are the pad count and layout, as well as the configuration options. Make sure the controller has the number of pads you need, laid out in a way that supports your intended use. Probably the most common type of MIDI controller is the keyboard. Powerful live as well as in the studio, keyboards are useful for songwriters and performers alike. Where space is limited, you can use a compact, portable keyboard controller.
Or, if you need the full range of a real piano, look for a complete 88-key model. Some also have built-in pad controllers in addition to their keys, and some go even further with faders and dials that allow you to control studio software directly. Keyboard controllers may use piano-realistic weighted hammer action, lighter semi-weighted action or a rapid-fire synth action, so you can choose the one that gives your preferred feel. Beyond the pad and keyboard, a selection of specialty controllers give you even more options to tailor your studio. For example, if you're looking to set up a realistic digital organ, you can add an authentic pedal board controller. Or, if you play woodwind, you'll be in your element with a wind controller, which accurately models the subtleties of breath control. They also let you synthesize other instruments using the woodwind playing techniques that are already familiar to you. MIDI controllers are versatile tools for musicians of all kinds. When you make music for a living, these electronic instruments can be an important part of your setup. With the right MIDI controllers at your disposal, digital music production is as accessible and natural as you want it to be.