Alesis VI25 MIDI & Drum Pad Controller Review


Bottom Line – This is a solid MIDI controller with lots of control options for a traveling musician.  The larger boards with more keys are nice too but when comparing the larger boards there are slightly better options at similar price points.  For the 25 key option the Alesis VI25 USB MIDI Keyboard and Drum Pad Controller is a great option and has a lot to offer in a small space.


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As a touring musician, I am obsessed with compact, travel friendly controllers, synthesizers and keyboards and I’ve been hunting for the best midis.  I recently came across the Alesis VI25 on a recommendation from a friend of potential best keyboards.  While looking for some of the more affordable small midi controllers that I can travel with and beat up a little, I found the Alesis VI25 Midi Keyboard and Drum Pad Controller to be a great option for my life style and songwriting needs while on the road.  My friend that suggested it does not travel and owns the 49 key version of this midi controller and loved it, so for a midi controller under $200 I decided to give this one a whirl and found it to be delightful.  While its slightly bigger than some of the other travel size midi controllers, I find the full size semi weighted keys to be such a bonus.


Pads, Knobs, Buttons

While being fairly compact, the Alesis VI25 USB MIDI Keyboard and Drum Pad Controller is fitted with 16 velocity sensitive trigger pads which are perfect for beat production and sample triggering.  Paired with the 25 full sized, semi weighted keys with aftertouch, the ability to create lots of simultaneous sounds are laid out beautifully.  In addition, there are 24 assignable buttons and 8 assignable knobs, which allow your imaginations to be unleashed.  With a little programming, this board can function as well as some of the best synths and modules or be used for any standard tone or sample you can find on your DAW.  Use these great buttons and knobs to manipulate effects plugins, open and close filters, adjust parameters, change volumes, trigger effects and more!

Wheels are turning

What’s a great midi controller without pitch and modulation wheels?  I know I wouldn’t want a midi controller that didn’t have pitch and modulation control.  The Alesis VI25 Midi Keyboard and Drum Pad Controller have solid pitch and modulation control wheels  which made expression easy and at your finger tips.

Connections are everything in this business

Well, you know, USB connections…lol.  This controller has both USB and MIDI connections that are simple to use.  The USB connection is made to plug and play with whatever your software might be.  There is also a connection for a foot pedal, which can be sustain, volume, expression etc.

Octaves, Tempos, Rolls

Even the 25 key version of this midi controller is packed with all the essential features, including Octave up and down, tempo control, roll mode, and value up and down.

Alesis VI25 Midi Keyboard and Drum Pad Controller Features:

  • MIDI keyboard controller for composing digital music and playing virtual instruments
  • 25 full-sized, square-front, semi-weighted keys and 16 multi-color RGB backlit pads that respond to velocity and pressure
  • 8 knobs and 24 buttons assignable for hands-on control of your digital audio workstation, plug-ins, and instruments
  • Powered by USB connection to computer with optional power adapter for more complex setups
  • Includes AIR Xpand!2 virtual instrument and Ableton Live Lite free downloads


FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Aleses VI25 Midi Keyboard need a power supply to work?
To get this machine on, all you need to to connect it via USB to your computer.  If you want this MIDI to work without a keyboard you will need an adapter which is sold separately.  Also know that without connecting it to another board with a MIDI output or running it through a DAW, there are no built in sounds and it only work as a MIDI controller.
Can I use a sustain pedal with this board or is it too small?
Yes!  Even though this is a small board, it has an option for a foot pedal input.
Are there any built in tones?
This is a true MIDI controller and thus has no built in tones.  It will connect to other MIDI devices and tones can be assigned or it can be run with just about any music program via DAW.


8.4 Expert Score

For a MIDI controller under $200 that is compatible with just about any music program and easy to travel with, I would recommend the Alesis VI25 MIDI Controller.  The semi weighted keys are a nice touch and the buttons and knobs are great too.  The pads leave a little to be desired but I would expect that from any of the cheaper MIDI Controllers and just appreciate that there is so much to work with for such a low price.  Works great with Ableton especially.

  • Portable
  • Customizable
  • Affordable
  • Pads can be sticky
  • Slightly fragile
  • Keys are slightly cheap