It really depends on the kind music you make and what you produce. Are you mostly working from home or a studio?..or are you on the move a lot and mobile? Depending on the make, MIDI controllers / keyboards come with various different features and designs, and knowing your needs before you buy is the only way you will find the one that’s best for you. Can you play the piano / keyboard…or are you a “two fingered” player? Playing styles vary between different MIDI keyboards.
How many keys do you need…25…32…49…61 or 88?
Do you plan on using it to perform live or will it be used just for home / studio work?
Do you need “hands-on” control over instruments and effects, or using it mostly to just jam?
Do you want a USB powered unit or one that needs to be plugged directly into the mains?
I personally have a first generation Komplete Kontrol S61 from Native Instruments…current second versions of the same comes with a high-res display, but I don’t really need that, so didn’t bother upgrading. This was a perfect choice for me, seeing as I have their Komplete Ultimate software bundle and it’s designed to work with the same right out of the box.
If this is something you might be interested in, then take a look at their “A” series, rather than the “S” series, as there’s a big difference in the cost. The S61 is currently listed on their site for €699, while the A61 only costs €249…that’s a bit of a difference. Granted, the “S” series comes with all the nice sparkly stuff, like their “Light Guide” system, the Touch Strip, and the “A” series only comes with their own Semi-weighted custom NI keyboard, as opposed to their “S” series models, which come with a Fatar keyboard with after-touch, in either semi-weighted keys (S49, S61) or fully-weighted hammer-action keys on the S88.
As you no doubt can see…even when just speaking about the NI keyboards here, there’s a lot of things you need to keep in mind and know exactly what your looking for before you spend any money. My best advice would be to take a trip to you nearest music hardware store and try to demo as many as you can…or if you have any friends who have one, try to get some time jamming on it…the more experience you have on as many models you can get, the better you’ll be abale to find what’s right for you.
Hope this helps…