5. Other Features
Controller keyboards may incorporate many additional features. Lets look at a few of the most important:
Any keyboard designed for connection to MIDI equipment must have at least one MIDI port. In order to control multiple devices more easily, some controllers have more than one MIDI output port. Though pure controller keyboards do not themselves contain sounds, some nonetheless have a MIDI IN port, allowing settings to be controlled remotely, for example from computer software.
Connecting a MIDI keyboard to a computer conventionally requires a MIDI interface. Some keyboards simplify the connection by the addition of a USB port effectively a built-in MIDI interface. A few keyboards designed solely for studio use dispense with ordinary MIDI connections altogether - in this case the USB connection often carries power too. The presence of USB connections on controller keyboards has also lead to the creation of convergent devices which include not only a MIDI interface, but also an audio interface, meaning that a single device can be all you need in addition to a computer to make music great for long journeys with a laptop!
Some controller keyboards are now starting to incorporate drum machine style pads in addition to keys as an alternative method of entering drum patterns also handy for triggering loops and sound FX.
Most serious gigging musicians use flightcases to protect their equipment. To save having to buy this separately, some professional controller keyboards are available in flightcased versions, whereby the keyboard case is the flightcase simply remove the lid, plug in and play.