August 23

The 7 Best Pianos With Drum Pad Included (2024 Edition)

If you’re jumping into the world of producing music, you need a powerful MIDI keyboard controller. Picking the right one will greatly improve your music-making experience. There are tons of options out there, and if you’re just getting started, you can easily get overwhelmed by all the buttons, knobs, faders and wheels.

If you want to save some time and jump right to the good stuff, we’ve got you. Here are 7 of the best pianos with drum pad that you can buy in 2024. This review is set up with the highest-end professional recommendations at the top, moving down in price until we get to a budget recommendation at the end.

Best Pianos with Drum Pad at a Glance

Do I Really Need All These Controls?

Some of the keyboard controllers listed below do have an impressive number of controls. If you’re coming from a background in traditional piano or keyboard, you might be tempted to wonder whether you need all these controls. Isn’t it more important to focus on a great keyboard experience?

Well, it all depends on where you want to go and what kind of music you plan to make. But even if you plan to stick to mostly keyboard-centric digital music, you do still want some degree of onboard controls. Eventually, you’ll learn how to assign various functions in your DAW to those controls, and you’ll discover how vastly superior they are to manually clicking your mouse on the digital equivalents.

Is a Piano with Drum Pad Better Than Separate Devices?

If you’ve been shopping already, you may know that there are MIDI keyboard controllers without drum pads, and there are also dedicated controllers that are only drum pads — no piano-style keyboard in sight. So what’s going on here? Wouldn’t it be better to get two separate, dedicated devices?

For some instrumentalists, the answer is yes. If you’re a virtuosic classically trained pianist, you may want to prioritize an ultra-realistic piano experience. Or if you’re not at all versed in the keyboard and want to do rhythm and sample work, a dedicated drum pad could be the way to go. Some musicians might even use both at a high level at separate times.

But for many of us, having one device that does both functions decently well is a great solution. Getting just enough (or even more than enough) keyboard and an adequate amount of drum pad in a single (and even portable!) device offers definite convenience over using two separate devices.

Now, on to our top seven drum pad piano recommendations!

7 Best Pianos with Drum Pad Review

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S Series MK2

If you’re a high-end amateur or pro-level producer, you need a beat pad piano with serious chops. And chances are pretty high you already have a good idea what you want. The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S Series MK2 is a powerful family of keyboard controllers with deep native integration with KOMPLETE and KONTACT.

If you’re already invested in the Native Instruments KOMPLETE ecosystem, there’s no question which controller to buy. There’s no other brand that combines a hardware and software/library experience so tightly, with pre-mapped control of a great many instruments.

If you need any more convincing, all you need to do is look at an S Series keyboard controller (we’re particularly fond of the 49-key model). The large, full-color HD display gives you instant access to your entire NKS instrument library, and 8 360-degree knobs and 8 pad buttons round out the center panel of the controller. You also get a wealth of playback and performance controls here.

Looking at the keyboard itself, this is a pro-caliber instrument, as evidenced by the pro-grade semi-weighted Fatar keys with aftertouch.

All in all, S Series keyboards are impressive, complete packages with both more functionality and higher build quality than the less expensive drum pad piano options in this review. And if you’ll use the KOMPLETE integration, it’s a no-brainer.

If there’s a drawback here, it’s the drum pads. They certainly aren’t the main focus of the S Series family. They’re smaller than conventional beat pads and they’re located in a somewhat unfriendly location, way up at the top. Still, if you’re more here for the keyboard and only want to use drum pads in a limited fashion, any S Series MK2 keyboard will be a fantastic choice.

Check current prices on Amazon for the Komplete Kontrol S49 Mk2

AKAI Professional MPK2

If you’re looking for a higher-end piano with drum pad that sticks to a more traditional approach, we recommend the AKAI Professional MPK2. This is a very popular model that delivers high levels of performance, with 61 full-sized keys with velocity sensitivity. The premium keybed mimics the experience of a real piano, and the keys are semi-weighted.

As a keyboard, this is a capable instrument. But as a controller and drum pad, it’s a fantastic one. The 61-key model features 16 RGB MPC-type pads, and there are four banks for these pads for a total of 64 assignable drum samples, loops and more.

You’ll also discover 24 assignable Q-link controllers: 8 control knobs, 8 faders, and 8 switches. And each one of these is also expandable, with 3 banks for each set of Q-link controllers. You can achieve insanely detailed levels of control in any mainstream DAW.

You can even use this workstation to control peripheral MIDI devices. Also, there are other MPC tools, including note repeat, arpeggiator, time division and more.

On the software side, you get everything you need to get started:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Hybrid 3 by AIR
  • SONiVOX Twist 2.0

The 49-key model retains all the same controller and beat pad functionality as the 61-key. The 25-key, due to its smaller size, drops down to 8 pads, 8 knobs and 4 switches, losing the fader bank.

Check current prices on Amazon for the AKAI Professional MPK249

Novation Impulse USB Midi Controller Keyboard

Novation is a brand known for its budget-friendly MIDI controllers, and the Impulse series is the company’s professional line. And truly there’s a lot to like here — especially considering the prices. Impulse keyboards have semi-weighted keys with aftertouch (just like the other pro models), and the two larger models also feature an array of 8 pads, 9 faders, 8 switches and 8 knobs.

One trade-off is a lack of banks for these controls, so you’re limited to just one assignment per controller. Also, the drum pads feature three-color lights rather than RGB.

Novation has included its new Automap 4 software, which helps you quickly assign elements in your DAW and plug-ins to the keyboard.

There’s a range of software and instrument/sample packs included as well:

  • Ableton Live Lite
  • Bass Station Synth
  • XLN Audio Addictive Keys
  • 4GB Loopmasters sample library
  • Mike the Drummer

All told, Novation Impulse controllers are powerful, pro-grade devices, but there are some definite trade-offs to achieve the lower price point. If you plan to dive deep into assigning DAW functions and multiple banks of pads, save up for the AKAI Professional MK2. But as a budget-friendly drum pad piano with plenty of basic controls, we like the Novation Impulse quite a bit

Check current prices on Amazon for the Novation Impulse 25 USB Midi Controller Keyboard

(And if you want something even more budget-friendly, Novation has something else to consider—the LaunchKey series.)

Novation LaunchKey MK3 Series

If you’re looking for a surprisingly affordable (but not budget-tier) piano with drum pad, the Novation LaunchKey MK3 is a standout. This keyboard controller also has deep integration with Ableton Live, which is a big plus if you prefer Ableton to other options.

The LaunchKey isn’t as beautiful as the keyboards higher in the list, but it’s still got a nice look to it, not to mention plenty of producing power. The 61- and 49-key models feature 16 RGB velocity-sensitive drum pads, 9 faders, and 8 assignable knobs in addition to a large complement of other onboard controls. Impressively, the 37- and 25-key models retain nearly all those controls, losing only the faders.

This family of keyboard controllers is also beginner-friendly, with chord modes and scale modes for those who don’t yet play at a high level. There’s also an onboard arpeggiator here.

The display is small and much less helpful than the more expensive models above, but even a two-line display does a lot to orient you on your device.

Included software isn’t quite as robust, but still solid for a lower-priced offering:

  • Ableton Live Lite 10
  • Various virtual instruments and plugins (some in a freemium model)

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly piano with drum pad capability or are specifically looking for Ableton Live integration (plus full integration with Logic and Reason), the LaunchKey MK3 family of keyboard controllers is a great choice. There’s also a bundle available with quality headphones and a keyboard stand, if you need those additional components.

Check current prices on Amazon for the Novation Launchkey 49 [MK3] MIDI Keyboard Controller

Alesis V49

If you need more than 25 keys but still want something affordable, slim and easily portable, the Alesis V49 is worth serious consideration. This drum pad piano features 8 backlit drum pads and 4 assignable knobs in addition to 49 full-sized keys. And that’s just about it, other than a few control buttons sandwiched between the pads and the knobs.

This is an impressively slim beat pad piano with just about no added bulk. The keys and the drum pads are velocity sensitive as well, perfect for capturing velocity data into your MIDI tracks.

Despite the low price and small footprint, Alesis has fit in pitch and modulation wheels, too.

As is typical, there’s a software suite here, including these packages:

  • Pro Tools First Alesis Edition
  • Ableton Live Lite 9
  • Eleven Lite
  • Mini Grand, DB-33 and Xpand 2

The Alesis V49 is the middle-of-the-pack choice within the family, but you can also scale up to 61 keys or down to 25 keys. There’s even a tiny Alesis V-Mini edition that drops down to four drum pads and 25 mini keys, but in an impressively small footprint.

Check current prices on Amazon for the Alesis V49

AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 25

Quite possibly the coolest mini piano with drum pad in existence, the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3 25 is also a widely loved beat pad piano controller used by tons of professionals and amateurs alike. This black finish is snazzy, too, with black-on-black keys, a nearly all-black housing, and just the slightest accents of red and white for labeling and lighting purposes.

This is a reasonably portable 25-key keyboard with velocity-sensitive keys and MPC-style velocity-sensitive beat pads. There are also 8 360-degree assignable knobs, perfect for controlling effects and other controls in your MIDI software.

The four-way thumbstick is an interesting and space-saving approach, but it’s great that AKAI has included it for pitch and mod control. There’s also a built-in arpeggiator with plenty of adjustability.

Obviously, you won’t get virtuosic piano playing out of a 25-key keyboard. But it’s more than enough for chords, melodies and bass lines, and the MPC drum pads here are a joy to play on. If you’re a mobile musician and don’t need to do expansive two-hand piano work, the MPK Mini 25 Black is a fantastic drum pad piano for the money.

The software package here is a bit different, with MPC Beats, 6 virtual instrument packs and an additional 2GB of other sounds.

Check current prices on Amazon for the AKAI Professional MPK Mini MK3

Budget Pick: Worlde Panda MINI Portable 25 Keys

We try to include a budget pick in every review. Rarely is it a particularly awesome piece of hardware, but it sits at a price that deeply undercuts the competition.

That’s pretty much what you need to know about the Worlde Panda MINI. It’s perfectly adequate as a 25-key, 8-pad controller. It has velocity and pressure sensitivity and should be assignable in just about any MIDI software you want to use. It even has seven color choices for pad backlights, plus four faders and four knobs.

It’s a little bit chunky and not the most attractive, and you’ve probably never heard of Worlde. If you can afford stepping up to the AKAI MPK Mini or the Alesis option, you probably should. But if you need to keep it below $100, the Panda MINI from Worlde should do the job.

One note: you won’t get any starter software or sound and instrument packs with this one. So if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll actually end up spending more to acquire the software you’ll need to get started. Absolute beginners, then, should stick with a name brand that includes starter software. But if you already have the software and just need a cheap portable piano with beat pads, go for it.

Check current prices on Amazon for the Worlde Panda MINI Portable 25 Keys USB Keyboard MIDI Controller


Tags

beat pad piano, drum pad keyboard, drum pad piano, keyboard drum pad, keyboard piano with drum pads, keyboard with drum pad, piano with beat pad, piano with drum pad


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