The 'State of MIDI Equipment' in 2023 Survey

Curious how everyone else is using MIDI Controllers and Keyboards in their own music production and performance setups? So were we. 

That’s why we surveyed over 220 MIDI enthusiasts to find out what they’re using their own MIDI gear for, how important is MIDI equipment in their workflow and what challenges they face with using MIDI. 

Here’s what we found out.

midi equipment survey 2023

Section 1: Usage

What do you use your MIDI equipment for?

When asked what you use MIDI equipment for, the vast majority of respondents (92.7%) said they use their MIDI gear for music production.
However, 58.3% said they use their gear for performing their music productions live. Another 16% are using their equipment for DJing. 

Respondents also said they are using their MIDI gear for lighting, sound design (creating patches) and experimenting/live looping for idea generation. 

Do you use MIDI equipment as a hobby or professionally?

54.9% of respondents said they are using MIDI equipment as part of their hobby, where as 37.8% are professionals.
7.3% are using their MIDI equipment in a semi/part time professional circumstance, as part of a band/DJing in the evenings for example. 

If you use MIDI equipment professionally, what is your job title?

The majority of respondents said they are professional Musicians, Producers, Teachers, Composers and Artists.
Some interesting other job titles we received are Worship Leader, Studio Owner and Developers (Hardware/Software).

How important is using MIDI equipment in your setup?

A massive 73.9% of respondents said that MIDI Equipment is absolutely essential in their setup. A further 23.7% said it’s a good addition to their workflow but not essential. Only 1.4% said you only use them occasionally and tend to revert back to the computer keyboard and mouse. 1% said their MIDI gear doesn’t get used at all, (it mainly collects dust).

Do you see yourself using your MIDI equipment more or less in the future?

Over half of you (56%) said that you see yourself using MIDI equipment more in the future. 42.4% said you see yourself using your gear the same amount. Only 1% said you see yourself using your MIDI gear less.

Do you use MIDI equipment to collaborate with other musicians?

51% of respondents said that they use their MIDI equipment to collaborate with other musicians, 49% said they don’t.
Of the respondents who do, they do things such as live recording loops together, as part of a band, for jamming together, VJ/DJ syncing, and even performing/recording online together via realtime MIDI sharing. Technology wise, respondents said they are using MIDI sync, Steinberg's VST Connect, each person in the group has a MIDI device for loop launching.

Section 2: Equipment

How many Midi Controllers and Keyboards do you currently own?

26.6% of respondents said they currently own 10 or more MIDI Controllers/Keyboards, 22% said they own between 6 and 9, 16.2% own 5, and 35.2% said that they own between 1 and 4 pieces of MIDI equipment.  

How much do you spend per year on MIDI controllers/keyboards?

The biggest percentage of respondents (33%) said that they spend between $201 and $500 per year on MIDI gear, 29% said they spend up to $200, 14.9% said they spend up to $1000, 14% of respondents said they spend over $1000 and 9% said they spend $0 per year on MIDI gear.

What setup are your MIDI controllers/Keyboards used with?

96.8% of survey respondents said that they use their MIDI equipment alongside a computer / Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
25.3% of respondents said they use their MIDI gear as part of a modular/Dawless setup. 

If you use a DAW with your MIDI equipment, which one(s) do you regularly use?

65.2% of survey respondents said they use Ableton Live, 16.7% said they use Cubase, 15.4% said Logic Pro, 10% said Reason, 7.7% said Bitwig, 4.1% said FL Studio, 6.3% said Pro Tools, 3.2% said Reaper, 3.2% also said Garage Band, 1.8% said Studio One, 1% said Maschine and 0.5% said Loopy Pro.

What are the most important features you consider when buying a MIDI keyboard/controller?

74.7% of survey respondents said the number of keys/knobs/pads/sliders, 55.7% said connectivity (USB/MIDI In/out etc), 53.8% said compatibility with software, 40.3% said size/weight, 40% said velocity sensitivity, 35.7% said price, 29% said aftertouch, 18.1% said power options and 13.6% said sequencer is an important feature.

Respondents also mentioned MPE compatibility, weighted keys, the looks of the unit, motorized faders and RGB/MIDI feedback.

What was your first MIDI Controller/Keyboard?

Survey respondents listed a wide variety of MIDI Controllers/Keyboards as their first piece of MIDI gear. Some popular choices were Novation SL MK1/MK2, Novation Launchpad mk1, M Audio Oxygen 8/49, Akai MPK Mini, Akai APC40 mk1, NI Maschine mk1, Novation Remote 25sl, Roland Rhodes and even a Casio CZ101.

What is your favourite MIDI controller/keyboard now?

As with the previous question, survey respondents listed a wide variety of MIDI equipment which included: Arturia keylab, Ableton Push 2, A&H Xone:K2, Midi Fighter Twister, Akai Apc MK2, Novation Launchpad MK3, Sensel Morph, Nektar Panorama, Komplete Kontrol MkII and Korg nanoKontrol. 

Many respondents listed their own custom builds or Yaeltex (who provide custom built controllers) as their favourite.

Section 3: Experiences

What is the most exciting/inspiring way you’ve ever seen MIDI equipment used?

Respondents to this question mentioned Live Looping/finger drumming, controlling an entire live show, Live VJing and Ableton Push performances.

Particular artists mentioned were Björk, Stephan Bodzin, Kink, Tim Exile and Beardyman.

What is the biggest challenge you have when using MIDI gear in your setup?

Respondents to this question listed the following as challenges when setting up their MIDI gear: cable management, deskspace/ positioning, mapping to the DAW in the suitable way, complexity/keeping things simple, not wasting too much time on setup, Making dynamic presets/MIDI mapping and routing flexibility.

What is the most memorable MIDI project you’ve ever worked on?

Survey respondents had a variety of interesting MIDI project memories including building their own custom MIDI controllers, art installations, composing for theatre performances,  live/looping performance setups with multiple pieces of MIDI equipment, creating python scripts/templates for Ableton/DAW setups, composing for TV and film soundtracks, controlling lighting and playing multiple synths from a single  keyboard.

Some unique responses were MIDI tap shoes designed for a popular 80s dancer, a step sequencer made with lego bricks and a project where MIDI data would be generated by disturbing algae with a stick in rows of glass jars. 


MIDI has been around for a long time and from our survey respondents, it’s clear that it is a technology which is considered standard at this point. MIDI and MIDI equipment gives respondents the ability to control multiple instruments, software and lighting for many varied situations.

Many respondents struggle with the space required for all of their MIDI equipment, the time to set up and configuring / MIDI mapping. In general, respondents feel that their MIDI equipment is essential or at least a major part of their setup/workflow and here at we feel the same!

We want to thank everyone who took part in this survey. We were overwhelmed with the amazing response from members of all the different communities online, which helped to give us a wonderfully balanced result.