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MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

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MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby Peter Land » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:19 am

Hi there,

I am in need of a new Midi Controller Keyboard and would be really appreciative of any advice/pointers you might be able to give me..

Although the keyboard would serve as my controller for Logic Pro and Sibelius 7, 88 hammer-like/realistic keys would be preferable. My upper financial limit is 1300 Euros. Ie. the Doepfer LMK-4. I see however that there are many other controllers available for much less money with many more programmable faders/knobs. Pitch-bend and a Mod Wheel are a must, although I'm open to the joystick option 2-in-one variation if anyone can recommend this route.. I have already visited my local music store (musicstore.de in Cologne, Germany) which has a massive collection of midi controller keyboards, and to be honest, I feel just as lost as I did before my visit! I found the feel of the Doepfer Keyboard very nice, but, I see with several other keyboards that there are now integrated drum pads and so many programmable faders/knobs...most of which the Doepfer seems to be lacking.. One perhaps trivial element I like about the Doepfer is it's minimal size. My keyboard will be installed on sliders hanging under a wooden table - due to it's pitch/mod wheel being located on the left side, the Doepfer wouldn't take up too much space. In comparison, the Studiologic VMK 188 Plus would take up quite a bit more space (in terms of it's depth)..

Can anyone provide me with any advice/pointers on their experience with such keyboard controllers? Does anyone have any experience with integrated drum pads? (i.e.. (Avid) Axiom Pro 61 or Akai MPK 88 for example) Perhaps it'd be better to buy then another unit which would then a dedicated drum pad? And any experience with the programmable faders/knobs? Apparently they can be quite inaccurate?! Perhaps it's also better here to get an other piece of hardware dedicated to this job? I've already read a number of reviews on different keyboards but some of the reviews I've come across are already 6 years old, so I thought I'd ask you about what the current collective opinion might be :)

Many many thanks for any help you can offer!!

Peter
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Re: MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby Peter Land » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:40 pm

i'd really appreciate any help you guys out there can offer :)

hoping for a reply!!
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Re: MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby Peter Land » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:12 pm

does anyone have any experience with the Roland A88? This seems to be a new keyboard. It's going for 1000 dollars (899 Euros at my store..coming in in about 2 months i'm guessing.) It sounds interesting...


http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/A88
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Re: MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby fatbenelton » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:48 pm

Peter, to be honest you are probably in the best position to answer your own question as you have the ability to go and test them all out in Cologne............the 'best feel' is very subjective so I'd go with the one that hits your key requirements - feel with mod and pitch wheel/joystick. If you find two or more you can't decide between then take into account the extra features. Sounds like you like the Doepfer and that it would fit in very nice in terms of size........go for that.
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Re: MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:31 am

I'm afraid I agree Peter - some years back I reviewed the first CME UF series of keyboard controllers for SOS, and was lucky enough to visit the Frankfurt Musikmesse that year, so I could try out not only the CME, but also models from at least three or four other manufacturers on nearby stands, as well as nipping into the acoustic hall to compare all these actions with those of upright and baby grand acoustic pianos.

I came to my own conclusions, loved the CME UF8 action, bought it after the review and am still using it and enjoying it years later.

However, when my review came out, other readers subsequently described its action as 'too light', too heavy', 'too spongy'...

Enough, you get the picture. What I found a perfect action didn't suit some other people - this is a very personal and subjective area :beamup:


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Re: MIDI Master/Controller Keyboard advice

Postby Scramble » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:40 am

As for drum pads and knobs, it depends on whether you really have something in mind for them. It sounds like you're thinking about them on the basis that you might find a use for them. I bought a small keyboard years ago with knobs and sliders thinking they'd come in useful, but as it turned out I never used them. But you might. But think about what your priorities are. If you're a serious keyboard player as opposed to occasional plunker then your priority is to get a keyboard you like the feel of, and which offers you the MIDI functions you actually use. But if you really like to tweak knobs in real-time then things are different, although you could still get a dedicated unit for that.

Bear in mind that drum parts can also be played in via the keyboard. You won't get great results but a small cheap drum pad on a keyboard won't give you great results either.
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