Most musicians that are serious piano players want to get the most out of their instrument so going for an 88 key midi controller is the obvious Controladores MIDI choice. It’s not the number of keys that will dramatically increase the price of the keyboard anyway.. it’ll more likely be the feature-laden ones that will cost the most money.
Any size keyboard will give you the manipulation of faders, on-board MPC pads for velocity, pressure sensitive controls, pitch and mod wheels but unless you’re a real hot-shot pianist do you need a full-size keyboard? You could get away with less octaves but why restrict yourself for a few extra bucks.
On the other hand, any type of player can appreciate a fully weighted keyboard that’s designed to act and feel like a real piano as opposed the those cheap synth type plastic keys. There are semi-weighted keys and fully-weighted keys, fully being the best option for feeling the closest to a real piano. Another useful feature on any 88 key midi controller is an assignable foot switch input enabling you to attach an expression pedal or another controller. There’s several models that offer even more of their own unique features so check them out to make sure you get the one that’ll do the best job for your needs.
The other popular size keyboard controllers are the two octave which is 25 keys, the 4 octave range which is 49 keys, and the 5 octaves at 61 keys. The classic full-size being the 88. To play some real killer piano for rock, Jazz, or blues you would be pretty constricted on anything less than at least the 61, then when you check the price and see the extra octaves on the 88 are only a few bucks more, it’s a no-brainer.
If you’re like me and only need to play a bass line or comp a few chords here and there, you can easily do that on a 25 to a 49 key model, and don’t forget, they have moveable up and down octaves. Also, you’ll be able to split and control for two different sounds on the same keyboard on most decent models these days.
Compared to when keyboard Midi controllers first came out, many now have tons of features allowing for almost every type of control or edit you need to make in your DAW’s virtual instrument plugin. The ones from the early days looked like a controller, now some are hard to tell apart from a full-blown synthesizer.