Having the best beat pad is equivalent to making good music. A MIDI pad controller is an integral instrument in any music studio. It is compact-sized, thus ultra-portable. Producers who travel a lot may find MIDI pad controllers ideal equipment for making music on the go.
What more! Most MIDI drum pad machines are ‘bus-powered’ and eliminate the need for a power outlet or socket. They easily tap the sufficient power they need to operate from your computer’s USB 2.0 port. As a result, you will instantly make music from your portable laptop.
While there are plenty of MIDI pad controllers on the market, not all of them work great. This article reviews some incredible beat pads.
Comparison Table For Beat Pad
|1. AKAI Professional MPD218 – Best Performance||
|2. Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller – Best Harmony||
|3. Arturia BeatStep Pro Controller – Best Simple Design||
|4. Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3 Drum Controller – Best Compact Design||
|5. Novation Launchpad MK II Ableton Live Controller – Best for Light Shows||
|6. Novation Launchpad Pro 64 Pad Grid – Good for Hands-on-control||
|7. PreSonus ATOM Production – Good for the Price||
The Best MIDI Pad Controller Reviews
1. AKAI Professional MPD218 – Best Performance
The best midi pad controllers should have excellent performance without sacrificing portability. That’s precisely what the AKAI MIDI pad controllers do.
This Akai drum pad controller features an ultra-portable design to allow you make beats wherever you go.
The Akai professional MPD218 boasts high-quality and well-designed 16 MPC pads that are thick, ultra-sensitive, and hyper-playable. The drum pads are durable and very responsive since they respond to the slightest of touch for easy play.
If you’re a producer, musician, or DJ, this Akai midi pad controller might be best for you. Connect it to a USB port to power it for immediate usage. The MPC Note Repeat and Full Level controls come in handy if you’re looking for an immersive and expressive performance.
The Akai professional MPD218 has dedicated transport controls for up to three pad banks. The expandable bank feature gives you up to 48 pads for triggering such beats as drums, effects, and melodic samples.
Once you’ve set up three pad banks, you get 18 knobs for controlling DAW, virtual effects, and virtual instruments. This Akai MPD controller also includes a software suite and features iOs connectivity. The software includes Ableton push 2 Live Lite, FL Studio, Sonivox Big Bang cinematic percussion, and Big Bang universal drums.
2. Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 Drum Controller – Best Harmony
If you’re looking to produce vibrant beats, melodies, and harmonies, then consider opting for this Maschine Mk3 midi pad controller. These best midi pad controllers are easier to power up using their 15V 1.2A power supply adapter. You can connect also connect them to a USB 2.0 port.
The Native Instruments Maschine Mk3 midi pad controller also packs a host of features that makes it easier to make music wherever you go. You get 16 ultra-sensitive pads for excellent drumming control. There are also 8 touch-sensitive knobs for tweaking your parameters.
They also allow you to browse, navigate, adjust, and balance the drumming effects, thanks to the four-directional push encoder it features. It also features a smart strip that comes in handy when strumming notes or bending pitch sounds.
The two high-resolution displays with RGB colors make tweaking sounds or edit notes a complete breeze. Connect peripheral devices to the ¼-inch TRS line input and output and ¼-inch dynamic mic input to ensure you get the best performance from this equipment.
This drumming controller by Maschine Mk3 also features a compressor, reverb, EQ, and creative FX. It is a true masterpiece when it comes to controlling the drums when making a beat. As such, it is the best for music producers.
Read Full Review: Native Instruments Maschine Mk3
3. Arturia BeatStep Pro Controller – Best Simple Design
Arturia Beatstep pro midi drum pad features in the best midi pad controller round-up due to its simplistic design that guarantees high-performance for music production. Therefore, it beats other midi drum pads.
It has three independent step sequencers. Two of these sequencers are monophonic for making riffs and basslines. But the third step sequencer comes in handy if you’re looking to control up to 16 drumming sounds. This equipment is also a general midi pad controller.
You can program each step sequencer with 16 velocity-sensitive pads to achieve the sound quality that you desire. Also on the Arturia Beatstep Pro are 16 rotary knobs and 16 step buttons.
If you’re a sampler or are looking to have an excellent hardware synth, this Beatstep pro midi controller is still up for the challenge and might yield the results you need.
You can also control standalone music apps from your computer if you arm yourself with this equipment. The USB port powers the equipment for energy-saving performance. There are also clock in/out and MIDI in and out for easy connectivity.
With the beat pads on board, you can produce any beat you imagine. The possibilities are limitless here. This Beatstep pro is one of the best midi pad controllers for making a new sound for the masses.
4. Native Instruments Maschine Mikro Mk3 Drum Controller – Best Compact Design
This is another excellent music production instrument for producers and DJs. Maschine Mikro Mk3 is among the midi drum pad with a compact design that makes it ultra-portable. As a result, you can make music wherever you go. Connect Maschine Mikro Mk3 to a USB 2.0 port for instant usage and start making music right away.
It is compatible with various computer operating systems such as Mac OS 10.12, 10.13, and 10.14. you can also use it if your computer has Windows 10 and 4GB RAM and Intel Core i5 Processor. One thing that makes Maschine Mikro Mk3 stand out is its exceptional performance in music production, thanks to the 16 highly responsive pads.
The LCD screen on the Native Instruments Mikro ensures you have a visual of the current function of the controls. The groove building tools on board allow you to sample beats, make swings, and adjust volume with ease. Dedicated buttons are also on the Maschine Mikro Mk3 to help you switch from one mode to another without stopping.
As you’d expect from a high-end musical instrument, this Maschine Mikro Mk3 comes with its software. Once you have downloaded the OpenGL 2.1, you can use it offline to make a quality beat sound. You can also use this instrument to control DAW.
5. Novation Launchpad MK II Ableton Live Controller – Best for Light Shows
This novation launchpad easily connects to a computer through its USB 2.0 cable. Since it includes Ableton push 2 live lite for DAW, it is an excellent addition to any music studio. The 64 RGB light-up pads give an attractive visual appeal for every clip or sound you play.
The Ableton push 2 Live software lets you modify the built-in tracks in this musical instrument. As such, you can always create something new from the existing melodies and beats in the MIDI controller. If your focus is on light shows, this might be the best MIDI controller for you.
The build quality is impressive since the back padding is non-slip. The chassis is also strong and will undoubtedly last longer. The buttons are less sticky and quiet, besides being very durable. Plug the device into your computer using the USB cable and wait for the software to install. Then start working on your DAW soon after that.
6. Novation Launchpad Pro 64 Pad Grid – Good for Hands-on-control
Novation Launchpad Pro is an instrument that gives you hands-on control of clips and music tracks. You can play it like a keyboard, hence no need for a keyboard for a space-saving performance. But it also includes other modes such as Note mode and scale mode.
The 64 pads have RGB LED lights that give excellent visual feedback when pressing the pads. What’s more, pads are ultra-sensitive and produce a sound volume that corresponds with your pressing force. That’s because the pads are pressure-sensitive and also boast a velocity-sensitive design.
The 8 × 8 grid pads illuminate the entire working surface to give you a clear vision for playing keyboard notes on the Novation Launchpad Pro. You can achieve drumming sounds that are spread across the 64 pads. If you’re working with Ableton Push 2 Live Lite to make beats, this is one of the best software controllers for beat-making.
But you can also use this Launchpad Pro to control XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Novation Bass Station, and V Station virtual instruments. Besides having 64 pads, this equipment has rights reserved as the best controller for Ableton Push 2 Live Lite software, thanks to the dedicated buttons on board.
It is also compact-sized for ultra-portability. You can take the Launchpad Pro anywhere you go and make music. It is a great instrument device controller that achieves a wide array of sound effects.
7. PreSonus ATOM Production – Good for the Price
If you want something that gives an incredible performance at an affordable price point, consider investing in this MPC-style MIDI drum pads. First, all its 16 drum pads are ultra-sensitive and have RGB backlit performance.
It works with FL Studio and Ableton Live Lite for making beats. The great news is that it comes with Ableton Live Lite and Studio One Artist to tweak beats. The equipment is also used to trigger samples and loops. The best MIDI pad controllers allow you to play virtual instruments on your computer without hassles.
There are also 8 assignable midi drum pads on each side for controlling the functions of the pads. With this equipment, you can tap sufficient power from your laptop since the MIDI controller has a USB cable to connect with a laptop.
Switching between the keyboard mode, note repeat mode, and full velocity mode is simple, especially with assignable buttons on the interface’s left side. This is a dedicated beat-making it good for beginners since it doesn’t break your wallet. But professional producers can also tap into its impressive and powerful performance.
Buying Guide Best Beat Pad
Whenever you’re shopping, there are product features to keep a closer eye on. The situation is no different when trying to buy the best MIDI drum pad in 2021. Check out the following factors before spending your hard-earned cash on a drum pad controller:
The Type of Power Supply
Most best midi drum pads come with a USB cable for powering them up from a laptop. Such ‘bus-powered’ midi drum pads are ideal for producers who are always on the go. If you anticipate you might not get a power socket or an outlet for your beat pad, consider buying the ‘bus-powered’ models.
Besides, these drum pads are easier to use and work with laptops. But non-USB powered beat types will demand a power outlet. They are ideal for in-studio use. But they are not for producers who travel a lot. The choice for a particular power supply type should come after assessing how often you travel.
The Number of Pads
You can always find the best midi drum pads with up to 64 pads. The least number of pads is usually 6. Most beat pads have velocity and pressure-sensitive pads.
What this means is that they respond depending on how hard you press them. You will get louder sounds if you press the pads with more force. You also get softer sound feedback with lighter touches. More pads mean you will get more sound effects.
Keep in mind that having more pads doesn’t mean your drum pad controller will perform better. You want to make sure you have just the right number of pads you need. This will make it easy for you to produce quality music without overusing a particular drum effect or sound.
Although there is no perfect number of pads, buying a model with 16 of them is ideal. But you can always look for beat pads with extra ones for robust performance.
Compatibility with Devices
Most midi pad controllers come with software for easy compatibility with a laptop. But the software varies from one beat pad controller to another. It also demands specific system requirements from your computer.
As such, be sure to check that the software that works with your preferred beat pad model is compatible with your laptop or computer.
Ableton Live is an incredible software that is compatible with most computers. Ableton Live helps in DAW mapping, and it eliminates the use of a computer mouse and keyboard when creating music.
As such, you can be sure to buy a beat pad with Ableton Live. You can also opt for other software if they are compatible with your computer operating system.
The size of a beat pad plays a crucial role in its portability and performance. A larger beat pad will have more velocity-sensitive pads and other controls. But it will not be as portable as a smaller beat pad. Fortunately, you can still find ultra-portable beat pads with incredible performance.
They should be the best choice if you’re always on the go. You can easily stash your ultra-portable beat pad in your backpack and hit the road for the tour, and make incredible music. Always go for an ultra-portable beat pad if you travel a lot.
Always make sure your beat pad has excellent controlling functions. This means your beat pad should have all the controls, such as buttons and knobs you need to speed your workflow. This will make your beat pad to feel like an extension to your DAW.
You will then not need to reach for your computer screen and keyboard when looking to add a new sound to the beats. Check to see if the beat pad has navigations, tempo, and faders for excellent controlling function. Make sure it has everything you need to make beats and control various sounds with unmatched convenience.
Backlit Pad Performance
Backlit pads are essential if you work in a dimly lit studio. You can be sure to find beat pads whose pads are fully lit. At the same time, you can also find some models with partially lit pads. The choice is yours since both backlit Performace work exceptionally well in dimly lit rooms.
You can spice things up a little bit by opting for more RGB backlit pads. You will distinguish the pads even in the dark. As a result, you will work at your best despite the flickering lights in the club if you’re a DJ. Backlit pads are essential, mostly if they feature more RGB colors.
Your beat pad will work with a few hardware in the beat-making performance. The hardware includes MIDI keyboard and MIDI drums, to mention a few. But your beat pad needs to provide enough voltage to work with the MIDI hardware. This is what control voltage (CV) output means.
You want to make sure the beat pad has sufficient CV output for the hardware you intend to use. As such, be sure to always check for the control voltage output before spending your money. You will get a product that performs best for you if you also consider the CV output.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are those beat pads called?
But launchpads center more on controlling software on your computer such as Ableton Live Lite. MIDI pads, on the other hand, center on making beats by customizing the MPC pads.
What is the best launch pad?
The best launchpad is one that achieves your goal. What’s best for one producer might not be the best for another producer. As such, be sure to find a launchpad that yields the results and quality sound you’re after. You can find a launchpad with the sound effects and melodies that add impeccable taste to your beats.
What is the best drum pad MIDI controller?
Also, the best MIDI pad controller should be ultra-portable so that you can carry it with you and make beats wherever you go. If it is USB-powered, it is definitely the best MIDI pad controller for travel!
What is a beat pad?
What’s more, the pads are velocity-sensitive and respond to your touch, depending on how hard you press the pad. Beat pads are also ultra-portable and are ideal for producers who are always on the move but want to continue making music.
A MIDI beat pad is an essential instrument for pro music producers. They exist in a wide array of designs, with some being simple enough for a beginner to use. You can reap plenty of benefits from these MIDI pad controllers even if you’re a musician.
Besides, midi drum padsare ultra-portable and allow you to power them from your computer’s USB 2.0 port. This means you can travel with them anywhere and make beats on demand and control DAW. Finding your best equipment might be easier, especially after rounding up some incredible controller on the market. You might also land an incredible deal if you use the buyer’s guide in this article.
Be sure to check the MIDI pad controller on this list and see if you can find the best midi drum controller that works best for you. This article contains affiliate links that we use to earn from qualifying purchases for drum machines.
- Beat Production, Anywhere - Ultra-portable, feature-packed and USB powered pad controller with 16 thick fat MPC pads for triggering drums, melodic samples, effects and more
- Expandable Banks - Easily accessible dedicated controls for three pad banks provides a total of 48 assignable pads
- Assignable Control - 18 fully assignable 360-Degree potentiometers accessible via three banks for controlling DAW, virtual effect and virtual instrument parameters
- Feature Packed - MPC note repeat and full level controls for immersive expressive performances
- Comprehensive Software Suite Included - Ableton Live Lite, Sonivox Big Bang cinematic percussion and Big Bang universal drums
Last update on 2021-10-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API