Best Sound Modules For MIDI Keyboard

Best Sound Module For MIDI Keyboard

In this guide we’ll find the best sound module for MIDI keyboard for the money.

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Top 10 Best MIDI Sound Modules

  1. Dexibell VIVO SX7 – [Keyboard Sound Module]
  2. MIDIPLUS PianoEngine – [Piano Sound Module]
  3. Miditech Pianobox Pro – [Piano Sound Module]
  4. Ferrofish B4000+ – [Organ Sound Module]
  5. Crumar Mojo – [Organ Sound Module]
  6. Roland Integra-7 – [Synthesizer Sound Module]
  7. Waldorf Blofeld – [Synthesizer Sound Module]
  8. Behringer Crave – [Synthesizer Sound Module]
  9. Moog Mother-32 – [Synthesizer Sound Module]
  10. Roland TD-17 – [Drum Sound Module]

Table of Contents

  1. Best MIDI Sound Modules Reviews
  2. Buying Guide
  3. FAQ

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Best MIDI Sound Modules Reviews

Dexibell VIVO SX7

Dexibell VIVO SX7

Pros
  • Loads of presets, effects and sounds
  • Plenty of connection options
  • iOS compatible app
Cons
  • Not exactly budget-friendly
See price @ Sweetwater

Dexibell VIVO SX7 is a digital keyboard sound module that offers unlimited polyphony with 320 Oscillators over 80 presets that can be downloaded directly from Dexibell. It has 6 DSP FX with 17 Effect Types, 24 Reverbs, and Master 3-band EQ.

Best features and specs

Dexibell VIVO SX7 is driven by a True to Life hybrid sampling/modeling sound engine that gives you the feeling of playing the real piano with virtually unlimited polyphony. This technology intensifies responsiveness and timbral accuracy, similar to the way a real keyboardist would play.

User impressions

Users say that Dexibell VIVO SX7 is extraordinary in every possible way as it gives pure sound, has a vast library of sounds, and the sound module’s build quality is really good and sturdy. Users add that there are a few rather disappointing downsides, such as if you change between the sounds and then forget to save the last one, it will be lost. Some users had issues with installing sounds from the website, despite following the instructions closely.

What we think

What we liked the most about Dexibell VIVO SX7 is the feeling of being in harmony and deep interaction with the instrument. It, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the amazing T2L technology that aims at capturing every nuance while you’re playing the instrument.

Bottomline

Dexibell VIVO SX7 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a keyboard sound module that comes from a trusted manufacturer and gives the most realistic experience while playing and an extensive library of presets and effects.


MIDIPLUS PianoEngine

MIDIPLUS PianoEngine

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Compact and very portable
  • Rechargeable battery
Cons
  • LCD display doesn’t follow the data in the real-time
See price @ Amazon

MIDIPLUS PianoEngine is a very compact and extremely portable sound engine that is packed with 100 drum and piano sounds. It comes in a very attractive red color and supports 24bit / 48 kHz high-quality audio input and output and up to 64 complex tones.

Best features and specs

Despite being relatively tiny, MIDIPLUS PianoEngine offers a lot. It supports MIDI devices with USB output, MIDI OUT, and MIDI IN with zero latency. Also, this sound module has an LCD display that shows what is actually happening at the moment.

User impressions

Users like MIDIPLUS PianoEngine for its bright red color, compact form factor, and being an absolute mighty beast. Some note that they experienced an issue with the information that is shown on the LCD that doesn’t quite follow the Data dial selection in real-time.

What we think

It is always good when you have a device that is really a bang for the buck and, while being really affordable, offers you tons of features. The feature that we liked a bit more than others about MIDIPLUS PianoEngine is that it has a 2500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, and we can’t stress the importance of this enough.

Bottomline

MIDIPLUS PianoEngine is a great choice for someone who is looking for the best piano sound module that comes in the compact form factor, and sounds absolutely great. This sound module has a rechargeable 2500mAh Li-ion battery that will help you out not once. Note that there’s a chance of experiencing an issue with readings on display.


Miditech Pianobox Pro

Miditech Pianobox Pro

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Well-built
  • Vintage keys soundset
Cons
  • Design feels a bit outdated
  • Some sounds may sound artificial
See price @ Amazon

Miditech Pianobox Pro is a MIDI expander that offers 64 piano, 128 GM sounds, 100 drum patterns, and vintage keyboard sounds from E-MU. Also, it can be effortlessly connected to a master keyboard and played directly.

Best features and specs

Miditech Pianobox Pro features 8 function keys to switch between individual sounds and patterns easily. What’s more, is that this sound engine can be put into action as a metronome with a selected tempo. Also, it’s quite possible to use this audio module via guitar input as an accompaniment machine, thanks to 100 included patterns.

User impressions

Users say that Miditech Pianobox Pro surely does what it’s intended to do and is well-built, but sounds that should have a resemblance to real instruments feel rather artificial. Also, the longer you press a certain note, the more it changes through time till the point when it sounds completely off-key. Users advise anyone who is looking to play classical music to look elsewhere.

What we think

It’s not really a surprise that we, audio producers and musicians, love everything that can transfer us back in time, virtually, at least. Miditech Pianobox Pro offers a unique possibility to choose directly between 64 General MIDI Soundset, and 64 E-MU sounds that include a lot of unique pianos, keyboard, and synthesizer sounds.

Bottomline

Miditech Pianobox Pro is a great choice for someone who is looking for a piano sound module that offers a wide variety of piano, keyboard, and easily switchable synthesizer sounds. Note that this unit has issues regarding sounding artificial and off-key when the note is pressed longer than it should be.


Ferrofish B4000+

Ferrofish B4000+

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Well-built
  • Excellent Hammond sound and effect modelling
  • Loads of polyphony
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Small screen
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Ferrofish B4000+ is a truly amazing recreation of beloved by many Hammond B3 organ in a compact and highly portable module with physical drawbars. It has a very intuitive interface so that it’s easy to access all tone-shaping capabilities possible while customizing the sound any way you want.

Best features and specs

Ferrofish B4000+ is packed with features that every dedicated organist will find to like. It has 2 MIDI inputs, as well as inputs for adding a foot controller for sustain or rotary speaker control, an external audio input for running an additional signal through the chain, and a volume pedal.

User impressions

Users like Ferrofish B4000+ for giving a chance to experience that famous and cherished Hammond organ sound. Also, this is the best sound module for MIDI keyboard, which has a compact form factor, and it’s easy to connect it via MIDI. The only minor inconvenience is that the screen is a bit small.

What we think

We really don’t know how it’s possible not to like Ferrofish B4000+. Using this sound is pretty straightforward as it can be, you just need to hook it up to a MIDI controller, and you’re all set. Also, not all of us can free a certain amount of money just to purchase a full-modern Hammond, so obtaining this sound module is a dream come true.

Bottomline

Ferrofish B4000+ is a great choice for someone who is looking for an organ sound module that offers you a truly legendary sound of Hammond B3 organ and is a great value for money. It offers you tone-shaping capabilities to customize the sound in any way possible.


Crumar Mojo

Crumar Mojo

Pros
  • Great sounds
  • Vintage looks and feel
  • Plenty of options for connections and controllers
Cons
  • None
See price @ Sweetwater

Crumar Mojo is a highly portable and compact version of the tonewheel organ that can accompany you everywhere. This sound module has a DSP platform and robust and sturdy sound engine as GSI VB3-II VST. Moreover, thanks to the import/export functionality and USB ports, Mojo Desktop can exchange programs with GSI VB3-II VST.

Best features and specs

Crumar Mojo has the coolest and most unique looks possible. The fact that it’s in desktop format offers loads of advantages, being portability, real tonewheel experience, and controlling parameters through the touch-sensitive display.

User impressions

Users agree that Crumar Mojo works amazingly well and sounds even better. It provides the same warmth and full sound as the real unit. Users also liked the possibility of operating the organ by pushing and pulling.

What we think

It’s not a secret that we, audio producers and musicians, can’t come past a really good emulation of a real-size instrument. Crumar Mojo is our absolute favorite. We are in awe of its looks, uniqueness, and vintage feel. And it sounds marvelous, to say the least.

Bottomline

Crumar Mojo is a great choice for someone who is looking for a state-of-the-art organ sound module that provides full and warm sound. It’s highly portable and compact, fits in the backpack, and ensures that you have the best sound experience possible.


Roland Integra-7

Roland Integra-7

Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Clean and crisp sound
  • Custom iPad Editor app
  • Rack Mountable
Cons
  • On the pricey side of things
  • Limited memory for user setups
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Roland Integra-7 is a two-unit rack synth that gives you endless possibilities to be creative on a stage or in the studio. With this unit, you have more than 6000 sounds and a wide variety of dedicated effects.

Best features and specs

It is always nice when the manufacturer thinks about a few unique features to add to the product so that Roland Integra-7 has SuperNATURAL sound and Behavior Modeling features. The first one lets you build realistic and detailed orchestral pieces, spacey scenes, and anything else that you have in mind.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with Roland Integra-7 as it’s an outstanding piece of gear that sparks creativity with all of those sounds, as well as it easily connects into DAW with the help of USB or MIDI. Also, it has a very sturdy build and it’ll remain your faithful companion over the years.

What we think

What we like about Roland Integra-7 is the versatility that it offers. If you’re a lucky owner of an iPad, then you can control the best MIDI sound module straight from it, thanks to the custom Editor app. Not only can you control Integra-7 parameters, but also select sounds and load 16-part Studio Sets.

Bottomline

Roland Integra-7 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a synthesizer sound module that offers you a wide library of presets. Note, though, that if you’re on a tight budget, this sound module won’t be an ideal choice for you.


Waldorf Blofeld

Waldorf Blofeld

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Excellent analog modelling sound
  • Sturdy design
  • High quality presets
Cons
  • No MIDI output
  • No audio output
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Waldorf Blofeld is a synthesizer sound module that combines power, accessibility, convenience, and extraordinary-sounding analog-modeled circuitry. It has an easy-to-read display that lets you easily navigate through all of the settings and more than 1000 sounds.

Best features and specs

Waldorf Blofeld is sturdy, well-built, has a sleek steel design, and USB connectivity which allows you to manage and edit sounds with the help of your computer. Due to the fact that this module has easily tweakable 5 buttons and 7 knobs, you can effortlessly change the parameters and monitor the changes with the help of an easy-to-read display.

User impressions

Users like Waldorf Blofeld because it provides a really great sound, high-quality presets, and is extremely versatile. Users say that the layout is really easy to understand and easy to tweak, thanks to all knobs. The only downsides that users point out are the lack of audio and MIDI outputs.

What we think

It’s always nice when the instrument has a simple and understandable interface with a lot of options to tweak and set the parameters exactly as it’s needed. Waldorf Blofeld offers the opportunity to do exactly that. And also, 1000 sounds and various FX open the door to being creative and trying new things each moment.

Bottomline

Waldorf Blofeld is a great choice for someone who is looking for a synthesizer sound module that is versatile enough, affordable, has 1000 sounds, and loads of FX. Note that this sound module is a bit limited in terms of connections as it doesn’t have audio and MIDI outputs.


Behringer Crave

Behringer Crave

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great for those that love vintage sounds
Cons
  • Limited options of FX
  • Not possible to record in the sequencer in real-time
  • It’s impossible to store presets
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Behringer Crave offers a chance to come back in time to experience the sound of the 70’s. Also, it’s an analog unit and it offers a lot of possibilities to tweak and set the control of the sound as you want. This sound module is based on the combination of VCO design and a 4-pole lowpass filter.

Best features and specs

Behringer Crave offers you a possibility to create new synth sounds and you can do so by chaining multiple Crave modules together, having a 16-voice polyphony. Also, this unit has 64 onboard storage slots for sequences that are produced by a 32-step sequencer.

User impressions

Users say that Behringer Crave is definitely worth the money spent as it has a top-notch build quality and a lot of highly tweakable knobs. Also, there’re a decent amount of videos about this unit that will get you covered if you experience any sort of frustration. Though, some users noted that they wished that this sound module would have had more FX.

What we think

Behringer Crave offers a unique opportunity to compose the same music that was a distinguishing feature of the 70’s to 90’s with the help of a 3340 voltage-controlled oscillator. Another truly unique possibility that Crave offers is patching it with other modular synth gear through 18 inputs and 14 outputs.

Bottomline

Behringer Crave is a great choice for someone who is looking for a synthesizer sound module that is definitely worth the money spent, is analog, versatile, and a true marvel in terms of giving a field for experimentation.


Moog Mother-32

Moog Mother-32

Pros
  • Classic Moog tones
  • Powerful sequencer
  • A wide range of connections
Cons
  • Only one oscillator
  • Limited number of FX
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Moog Mother-32 is a very distinctive, vintage-voiced, mighty, and raw beast of a synthesizer that offers switchable high-pass and low-pass Moog ladder filters, MIDI input for external control, MIDI to CV conversion, and a voltage-controlled 32-step sequencer.

Best features and specs

Moog Mother-32 offers really great sound-shaping abilities, basically giving an opportunity to produce a range of sounds from sharp and metallic to wooly and fat. By rerouting mini-toggle switches, you will uncover new sounds without even touching patchbay cables.

User impressions

Users like Moog Mother-32 for a unique opportunity to try out modular synthesis and test the limits of one’s creativity and experimentation.

What we think

What we really like about Moog Mother-32 is the combination of two modes that allows you to play and edit patterns with an incredible level of detail. As you can, with the help of KB mode, play notes from the keyboard and program notes with Step mode.

Bottomline

Moog Mother-32 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a vintage-sounding synthesizer sound module that gives a chance to try modular synthesis.


Roland TD-17

Roland TD-17

Pros
  • Affordable
  • A wide range of FX
  • A wide range of connections
Cons
  • Limited options for extending kit
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater

Roland TD-17 offers a possibility for both experienced and semi-experienced drummers by offering 310 drum sounds and 50 kits to try almost any style of music. There’s a chance to import the sound as WAV files with the help of an SD/HC card.

Best features and specs

Another amazing feature of Roland TD-17 is an onboard transceiver that lets you send MIDI to your DAW via Bluetooth and stream music from your phone in order to practice.

User impressions

Users say that Roland TD-17 is a very good module that can fit in everyone’s budget and is easy to use. Users like that it offers great customization ability and it’s simple to add other kits to practice more.

What we think

Roland TD-17 offers you a good chance of polishing your technique through practice. It’s very beneficial to have the ability to import your own drum sounds and save them to any 50 user kits.

Bottomline

Roland TD-17 is a great choice for someone who is looking for a drum sound module that is reasonably priced, is packed with features, and offers a great chance for future development.


Sound Modules Buying Guide

What is a Sound Module?

Sound modules are electronic musical instruments that offer a wide range of ‘real’ and synthesized sounds.

They do this by way of storing short segments of recorded audio stored in the unit’s internal read-only memory (ROM), that can be triggered by an instrument.

This system has given rise to the term “ROMpler,” which typically refers to devices that play back sampled sounds rather than synthesize different waveforms via analog or digital circuitry. (You can read more about ROMplers from this Wikipedia article).

Because sound modules generally do not have built-in keyboards, they are usually played via a connected MIDI-equipped keyboard. Some keyboards may have built-in sounds or synthesis options of their own, while others simply function as MIDI controllers, without having any sound generation capabilities.

If you’re interested in these controllers to compliment your choice of sound modules, we offer a guide on the best controllers to use.

Typical Features in a Sound Module

A large number of high-quality sounds is always good to have in a sound module.

These devices are typically called upon to replicate a wide variety of instruments–including guitars, drums, reeds, horns, strings, and more–so they will have to cover a lot of sonic ground in addition to being reasonably accurate-sounding and convincing.

On-board effects are useful additions to any sound module. Apart from enhancing the built-in sounds, the effects section may also be used to process external signals if the device supports this function.

How to Choose a Sound Module

When choosing a sound module, the most important concern is, naturally, if the module has the sounds you’re looking for. As well as how much you like them.

Keep in mind that the sounds are permanently burned into ROM, so you are stuck with them for the duration of the unit’s lifetime whether they’re useful to you or not.

You should therefore choose a sound module that has a sonic character or a palette of sounds that you could definitely use.


FAQ Section

Who invented MIDI?

Dave Smith, who now is the head of Dave Smith Instruments, foresaw a demand for a universal protocol so that electronic musical instruments would start to communicate with each other. So in 1983, he created the first version of the MIDI standard and showed it by connecting Prophet600 and Roland JP-6 synthesizers.

Is MIDI still used?

Since 1983, the popularity of MIDI has only grown and these days, it’s hard to imagine the life of a gigging musician or an audio engineer without MIDI. Over the years, the standard has been overseen a couple of times, and the latest one, MIDI 2.0, was released in 2020.

Is MIDI digital or analog?

It’s not digital, nor analog, but a sequence of analog input and digital output as MIDI is all about signals that pass between devices. That being said, when you, for example, play a certain melody on a synthesizer, all notes are transmitted as MIDI messages to the faithful computer sequencing software which records these messages.

Is MIDI or audio better?

It simply cannot be compared and, therefore, be chosen which one is better. The sole idea of an audio recording is to capture the sound of actual performance, whereas MIDI is all about capturing the actual notes.

What is an external sound module?

To put it simply, the sound module is a part of a keyboard that produces sounds. Mostly, the sound modules are rack-mountable, but sometimes they can be found in table-top form-factor. MIDI is used to connect an external sound module to the actual keyboard that can be played upon.

What are the disadvantages of MIDI over digital audio?

There aren’t that many disadvantages because MIDI is favored by many, but still, the following are considered downsides such as higher cost, the impossibility of voice emulation, the accuracy of playback. 

Not only do MIDI instruments cost more but also musicians have to have a certain skill to edit the sound material after it is recorded. Also, MIDI instruments cannot emulate voice and other effects. Finally, you have to be extremely precise so that MIDI playback would be no less than identical to the device used in the production.

What does a MIDI sound module do?

Generally speaking, it allows a musician and audio engineer to control synthesized instruments, timbres, and any effects possible through the usage of digital pianos, MIDI keyboards, and computers.

Is there a MIDI guitar?

In short, yes, there are a few of them. It’s done with the help of a MIDI pickup that mounts onto any guitar of your choosing. It captures an individual vibration of each string and sends it to a decoder that converts this information into MIDI.

How can I make my MIDI sound Natural?

There are a few factors or ways how you can achieve the desired result, but you should always keep in mind adjusting velocity and timing. Remember that the harder you press the note, the higher velocity ‘number’ you get, the difference between velocity numbers gives you the most natural performance. Also, keep in mind that people don’t usually keep perfect timing and each note should be slightly off-grid. So try not to overdo your quantization, keep it somewhere around 20-30%.

How do I connect my sound module to my MIDI keyboard?

To connect a sound module to the MIDI keyboard, you need a sound module itself, a keyboard with MIDI capabilities, and a MIDI or USB cable.

First, you need to choose whether you will use a MIDI port or USB port. If you use MIDI, then connect the controller keyboard to its power source. Next, locate the USB or ‘MIDI in’ port on the sound module, put the other end of the cable in this port, then power on the sound module, after that, the controller keyboard. Check with the manual, choose and set the MIDI output channel, confirm that the MIDI input channel of the sound module matches the output channel of the keyboard. Finally, play a few notes and double-check that the signal triggers the sound module.

2 Comments on “Best Sound Modules For MIDI Keyboard”

  1. so in a generalization whats the biggest difference from an audio interface and the sound module?

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