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Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

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Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:41 am
by gigasquid
One of the best keyboard synths I've come across for touch sensitivity was the Korg M1. Superb keyboard action but alas these are now fairly prehistoric.

What's your take on more contemporary keyboard controllers that have great expression?

I'm not an experienced piano player but would like something for ambient (etc) composing. I prefer more of a keyboard than heaps of touch-pad controllers although a combo would be fine.

Thanks and appreciation.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:25 pm
by Martin Walker
I've still got my Korg M1, and I know what you mean - its keyboard had a great 'synth' action with bothe velocity sensitivity and aftertouch.

I moved over to the lightish hammer-action keyboard (CME CM8) a few years ago, but I still think the Korg M1 has the edge as far as aftertouch goes.


Martin

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:39 pm
by mick.n
Agreed, the key action on the old M1 is the excellent "Yamaha factory standard" keybed that is\was used on the yamaha EX5 & Motif 6 (both of which i have).

Also the Korg trinity (that, regrettably, i sold a long time ago) has the Yamaha factory standard keybed.

I use the EX5 as my master controller keyboard in my recording set up.

Also, the 76 note keyboard has its advantages too, its a heavy bugger though. :shock:

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:40 pm
by gigasquid
Thanks Martin and mick.n. I searched high and low locally but good keyboard controllers are thin on the ground in New Zealand.

One I looked at was the M-Audio Axiom Pro 49/61, but it says little about velocity sensitivity or aftertouch. Most of the controllers in that genre don't appear to have aftertouch at all. Maybe it's a cost thing.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:47 pm
by Paul Norheim
The Axiom is velocity sensitive and has aftertouch. But you may also try out the Novation Remote SL MkII.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:57 am
by Rave On
In addition to the SL and Axiom, you may want to look at the Akai MPK series. The M-Audio seems to be a step down from the above three. Do a search for the SOS reviews.

I'm about to purchase my first controller. I am drawn to the SL for it's automapping and touch sensitivity. I am drawn to the Akai for its superior drumpads, which would save a purchase of dedicated pads. The Akai has aftertouch and the pads are both velocity and pressure sensitive. The Remote and Axiom seem to be fine controllers, but don't seem to have pads up to the job of inputing drums.

Also, I ran across this comparison on YouTube recently. Might be helpful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W3fBrB72Ww

Best of luck on your search, gigasquid!

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:06 am
by gigasquid
Thanks Rave On et al...my arsenal of choices has grown considerably thanks to you folks. :)

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:16 am
by The Elf
My favourites are still pre-historic:

Kurzweil K2000
Korg Wavestation
Roland D-50

Roland JX-8P is a nice overall feel, but the aftertouch is useless unless you know the mod for it. The DX7 is still pretty good too.

If I could rip out the weighted keyboard in my K2600 and replace it with any of the above I would!

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:24 am
by gigasquid
Thanks Elf.

What I found fascinating was (as Mick.M said above) that some synth manufacturers used keyboard beds (the ones with great action) made by Yamaha. There were maybe 5 or 6 brands that used these. Perhaps the Wavestation was also one of them.


Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:47 pm
by aviray
I dont think WS and M1 used same keys, WS were terrible ( I had few of them), suffering terrible "stickissis". M1 is probably the best built and most elegant synth of all times, no surprise it was Joe Zawinuls and other top performers most fav controller.
I had Akai MPK - good keys but I prefer Novation SL. Doepfer makes probably the best built controllers that can last lifetime, great combination of Fatar keys and German rest. Most good keyboards use Fatar keys - Novation, Clavia, Virus etc but Fatar themselves never were able to make good box, chassis, electronic etc ( note that Fatar makes various quality, from economy to the top , like what Doepfer use- finally the components determine the final price).
M audio and the rest are not as good as MPK and SL, which one of the 2 ? You must try yourself, cant say one is better than other, just different, same with their controls, each good in its own way.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:33 pm
by mick.n
gigasquid wrote:Thanks Elf.

What I found fascinating was (as Mick.M said above) that some synth manufacturers used keyboard beds (the ones with great action) made by Yamaha. There were maybe 5 or 6 brands that used these. Perhaps the Wavestation was also one of them.


Hi :) I should have mentioned in my first post that not "all" yamaha synths have this factory standard keybed. My yamaha W7 has the inferior "membrane" keyboard which feels no where near as "good" as the factory standard action......yet the 76 note W5 (the W7's bigger brother) has the factory standard action!

Also,IIRC, the Korg X3 had this membrane contact keyboard, it felt awfull & cheap after being used to the yamaha factory standard action..at least to these old fingers. 8-)

just something to bear in mind if you decide on the yamaha or korg route. :)

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:39 pm
by jayzed
I chose my Novation Remote as it had the best synth action and aftertouch in the shop of the various options I tried. I'm still happy with it two years later.

I passed on buying a second hand JX-8P because the aftertouch was so horrendous! I didn't know there was a mod. I was looking for a keyboard controller and I used to like my JX back in the 80's, although I didn't recall the aftertouch being that bad so it put me off. Shame.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:45 pm
by The Elf
In its raw form you practically have to stand on your hand to get aftertouch out of a JX-8P, but there's a resistor or two you can change under the mod stick that sorts it out. I did it with mine and it was fine for many years until the pressure sensor started to wear unevenly across the board.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:20 am
by Combo
gigasquid wrote:Thanks Martin and mick.n. I searched high and low locally but good keyboard controllers are thin on the ground in New Zealand.

One I looked at was the M-Audio Axiom Pro 49/61, but it says little about velocity sensitivity or aftertouch. Most of the controllers in that genre don't appear to have aftertouch at all. Maybe it's a cost thing.
Kia ora, e hoa.

Yes, the Axiom controllers do have mono aftertouch. Part of me wanted to suggest them when I first read your post. But keyboard action is such a personal matter. And I have no experience of the hardware M1. Not much more of acoustic pianos for that matter. Just enough to know that if you can get your fingers round some soggy springs, you'll have it singing and crying in no time flat.

Re: Recommendations wanted for touch-sensitive keyboard controller

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:48 am
by gigasquid
Ah, Kia Ora Britney.

You sound like you might be just down the road :)

I agree with what you say. I wanted to narrow the field a little before going out and trying. So what are you using for keys Britney?