Smallest Weighted Keyboards

Smallest Weighted Keyboards

Weighted keyboards in digital pianos mimic the action of acoustic pianos to give you the best control to yield greater possibilities as a pianist. Small weighted keyboards are the best to start with if you are a beginner. In this article, we discuss some of the smallest weighted keyboards.

The smallest weighted keys keyboard at this point is the Yamaha NP11 or NP12 with 61 keys or the Roland RD64 with 64 keys. In terms of comparison, the Roland RF64 is more expensive.

Novation Weighted Keys

Novation uses synth-weighted keys built with spring and work perfectly well when playing synth instruments. However, they are, they are not suitable for pianists who are looking for a more semi-weighted feel to the keys.

In addition, Novation weighted keys are slightly narrower than the standard piano keys and may feel uncomfortable to play if you have bigger fingers.

On the other hand, Novation keys easily integrate with Ableton Live. For instance, MKII and Ableton Live seamlessly integrate with the transport functionality, making it much easier to navigate projects. Therefore, you will be able to launch and record your clips on the go in such a speedy manner.

In addition, the keyboards come with inControl protocols that make it easier to use the keys with DAWs. The controller can also be set to Mackie HUI emulation mode and fully utilize the transport control buttons.

Fully Weighted MIDI Keyboard 49

Many people find full 61 or 88-Key MIDI keyboards too large for the desk area. Still, others find compact 25-Key controllers too small to play on two hands.

Therefore, fully weighted MIDI keyboards fill the middle gap for handy pianists while offering full features on a sizable controller without consuming the entire desk area.

Let’s look at some of the best 49-key fully weighted MIDI keyboards.

1.  Nectar SE49

This is a value-priced, fully weighted controller that delivers a good rebound with velocity curves that make it easier to tailor fit the response to your touch and playing style. It brings all the expressive control and features you need to make music with your computer.

Nektar, 49-Key Midi Controller (SE49),Black white Grey
  • All the features and expressive control you need to start making music with your computer, and at a price that delivers...
  • Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software applications

Key features 

  • 49 full-size, Synth-action with 4x Velocity curves
  • 3 x fixed
  • No pads
  • No arpeggiator
  • No motorized controls
  • Uses Bitwig Studio 8-track
  • USB powered
  • Compatible with OS X 10.8.5 or later and Windows 7 SP1 or later

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Affordable

Cons 

  • The Synth-action keys may not be appealing to all users

2.  Nectar Impact GX49

This lightweight and compact controller comes with the Nektar DAW Integration feature and is compatible with a wide range of DAW products. It is suitable for both beginners and pianists on a budget.

Nektar Impact GX49 | USB MIDI Controller Keyboard with Nektar DAW Integration
  • MIDI controller keyboard compatible with all MIDI software. 49 full-size synth-action keys, pitch bend and modulation wheels...
  • Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software applications

The keyboard has a dedicated set of transport and navigation controls that will help you produce music more efficiently without needing a computer mouse or keyboard.

Key features 

  • 49 full-sized velocity-sensitive keyboard
  • No arpeggiator
  • No motorized controls
  • No pads
  • 3 Octaves Down and 4 Octaves Up buttons
  • USB powered
  • Compatible with Windows, OSX, iOS, and Linux (MIDI package such as JACK may be required).

Pros 

  • The keys are highly responsive
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent customer service

Cons 

  • Some people find the keys a bit noisy

3.  M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3

This is a streamlined MIDI keyboard controller built with velocity-sensitive synth-action keys. It supports a wide range of software such as Protools First M-Audio edition, Ableton Live, and a suite of Virtual instruments.

M-Audio Keystation 49 MK3 - Semi Weighted 49 Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller with Assignable Controls, Pitch and Mod Wheels, and Software Included
  • Ultimate Expression - 49 full-size velocity-sensitive keys provide a natural feel that captures every subtle nuance of your...
  • Total Control - Volume fader, transport and directional buttons for easy control of your software, plus...
  • Immediate Creativity - Easy plug-and-play connection to your Mac or PC—no drivers or power supply required; compatible with...

If you are looking for a near-universal keyboard MIDI controller to use with multiple DAWs, this M-Audio is a versatile selection.

Key features

  • 49 full-size, velocity-sensitive, synth-action keys
  • No pads
  • No arpeggiator
  • No motorized controls
  • USB powered
  • Supports USB and TRS input for sustain pedal
  • Supports Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Windows 7, 8, 10, and Vista

Pros 

  • Seamless integration
  • Compatible with a wide range of DAWs, including Protools
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Solid design

Cons 

  • Expensive

DIY Weighted Keyboard

To build a DIY keyboard, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Assemble The Materials

The materials needed for this job include the key plank, keyframe, and hardware.

Step 2: Prepare The Wood For The Keyplank

Plane the wood and its edges to be straight and flat. Glue them together.

Step 3: Mark Up The Keyplank

You can use a marking gauge to scribe marking lines on top of the key plank. Trim the key plank to the desired width and length.

Step 4: Drill The Keyplank

Keep the marked-up key plank and keys aligned together similarly as the keys would be on the keyframe. You can also nail them with wire nails.

You should drill the holes from above.

Step 5: Glue The Natural Keytops

Glue each hopper in with the key off the keyframe. Ensure there’s a proper alignment with the edge.

Step 6: Weight The Keys

Weighting can be done with lead weights, springs, or magnets.

Step 7: Bench Regulating: Keys And Action

Regulating helps to adjust the variations in the parts and positions to work evenly. Ensure the keyframe fits or is correctly bedded in the piano to durable the regulation.

Step 8: Fitting

Line up the keys with the hammers and strings. They have to be located back and forth, up and down, and side by side.

Step 9: Finishing

Once fitted, regulate and voice the keys more precisely to make it ready to play.

Small Piano Keyboard For Beginners 

If you are learning to read music for the first time, it may not be the right time to commit to a full-sized piano.

You need a small piano to help you learn new chords, read the sheet, and play well faster. Here are some of the best keyboards beginners can use.

1.    Best Value: Yamaha Piaggero NP12

The best piano for budding pianists. It comes in two sizes – 61-keys and 76-keys. The 61-keys NP12 is a portable, easy-to-play keyboard for beginners.

YAMAHA NP12 61-Key Lightweight Portable Keyboard, Black (Power Adapter Sold Separately)
  • 61 touch sensitive piano-style keys are the perfect introduction to the feel of piano playing
  • The controller App for iOS adds a rich, graphic user interface allowing for quick and easy navigation and configuration
  • The USB to Host port allows you to connect and interact with a wide variety of educational and musical creation Apps on a...

Some features include a 12-month Playground Sessions Subscription, USB cable, headphones, and sustain pedal.

Pros 

  • Super portable
  • Recording function
  • Available in two sizes

Cons 

  • Limited sound options

2.    Most Portable: Casio CT-S1 61-Key Portable Keyboard

This keyboard is portable and affordable and is a good fit for all players, beginners, and pros.

Casio, 61-Key Portable Keyboard (CT-S1BK)
  • 61 full-size key with touch response
  • Stereo Grand Piano plus 60 other AiX-powered tones
  • Powerful bass-reflex stereo speaker system with surround effect

Key features include 61 full-size, 61 built-in voices, touch-sensitive keys, and 64 note polyphony.

Pros 

  • Great sounding speakers
  • The keyboard is very playable
  • The sound is fantastic

Cons

  • No 1/4-inch audio outputs

Small Piano Keyboard For Computers

Having a small Piano keyboard, especially a decent MIDI controller keyboard that will easily plug into a PC, will take your musical recording to the next level. The pianos should easily connect to the PC via USB. S of the newer models supports Bluetooth connectivity, though.

There are several small piano keyboard options in the market, and you can quickly get one that fits well in your budget and laptop bag. Here’s a list of some of the best small pianos keyboards for computers.

1.  Arturia Keystep

This portable MIDI controller is best for laptop users who are majorly on the go. The keyboard feels good and is built with a good amount of spring.

Sale
Arturia Keystep Controller & Sequencer (430201)
  • Slimkey keybed with velocity and aftertouch Arpeggiator mode features up, down, inclusive, exclusive, random, note order,...
  • KeyStep is a new breed of portable musical tool combining the functionalities of a keyboard controller with a polyphonic step...
  • Package Weight: 1.724 kilograms

With 32 keys, the Arturia Keystep is much better than the 25 keys. Although it does not have any controls and pads are absent, it comes with several connectivity options.

Pros

  • High quality
  • Gate support
  • Best mini keys

Cons 

  • No buttons and knobs

2.  Nectar SE49

With 49 keys, this keyboard from Nektar makes it easier to play without focusing on your computer screen.

Nektar, 49-Key Midi Controller (SE49),Black white Grey
  • All the features and expressive control you need to start making music with your computer, and at a price that delivers...
  • Nektar DAW integration for most popular DAWs
  • Comprehensive MIDI functionailty. Compatible with all MIDI music software applications

Although it comes without a pad, it has mod wheels, pitch, and four buttons. Therefore, it is not a good option for pianists who are looking for lots of controls. The available controls, however, are few are of good quality.

The keyboard is unweighted, and you can use it to play piano, organ, and synth seamlessly. Besides, it is very affordable.

Pros

  • Appealing design
  • Affordable
  • Great keybed

Cons

  • No aftertouch
  • Limited controls

Roland RD64 Quick Review

Roland generally makes excellent pianos and the RD64 is one of the best, small weighted ones. The RD64 is a compact 64-note weighted keyboard. It weighs about 12.8kg. The keyboard is much boxy, plasticky, and has a lot of space on both the top panel and underneath.

Roland RD-64 Digital Piano
  • Grand piano sound and weighted keyboard action
  • Compact, mobile design
  • SuperNATURAL Piano sound engine delivers authentic acoustic piano sounds

If the Roland RD64 is not available, here is an alternative: Roland GO:PIANO 61-key Digital Piano.

The keys are made with a grained ivory-like surface, making playing even with sweaty hands much more effortless. The sound is excellent for solo piano performances and sounds more natural on the whole.

Pros

  • Hammer action keyboard
  • Decent sound
  • Portable
  • Fairly compact

Cons

  • Poor value for money

Conclusion

The smallest weighted keyboards come in different designs and sizes. It is therefore important to consider the number of keys, design, budget, and ease of use especially if you are a beginner pianist. No need to spend an arm and leg on a piano you won’t enjoy using or fully utilizing. Enjoy!

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