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MIDI Keyboards

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MIDI Keyboards

Postby biohazard » Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:19 pm

Hey guys,

Can anyone recommend a good entry level (top end budget £100) MIDI keyboard for use with sonar/cubase/reason etc?

I was looking at the M-Audio Keystation but wondering if any others are better?

Cheers for any recommendations.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby Matt_Moose » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:28 pm

What features do you absolutely need? Which would you like? Which don't you care about? (helps narrow it down a bit)

For example: 25, 49, 61 keys? That'll give you some budget constraints straight off.

Lots of knobs/sliders? Or will you still use pc keyboard for all that, so actually it's only the keys that are an issue/need?

Assuming it's just going to be in studio (assuming) and not gigged, is build quality really an issue?

At the end of the day, the £100 (there or thereabouts) end of the market is so competetive, that you _will_ get what you pay for. As in, something with loads of knobs on (literally) will probably be a lower quality key action than something that is just a 'board.

Conversely, something that is just a 'board will be better built and have a better action.

Sorry I've not named makes and models, but there really are a lot of them out there. dv247, thomann, dolphinmusic, dawsons et al will all have them.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby biohazard » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:22 pm

Hey thanks for the reply. To be honest I don't know 100% what I want/need as this will be my first MIDI keyboard purchase.

However, you're right about it'll just be fore studio, no gigging.

I think 49 keys will probably suffice me, if I needed anything more I can actually edit that in the software.

As for knobs and sliders or software taking care of this which would you recommend? I'm thinking let the software take care of this so not too worried if it doesn't have loads of knobs and sliders on it.

Does this help narrow down recommendations?
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby Nites » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:34 pm

M-audio Oxygen 49 v3 is under £100. They say its better than the old one.


But I'd really recommend you get an old vintage 80's synthesizer and use that for midi. The keys are much better than all the cheaper modern ones. You can get a 61 key Kawai with Aftertouch for less than £90.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby un_quantized » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:58 am

Nites wrote:

But I'd really recommend you get an old vintage 80's synthesizer and use that for midi. The keys are much better than all the cheaper modern ones. You can get a 61 key Kawai with Aftertouch for less than £90.

+1

I was going to say the same thing, you'll get a much better quality keyboard and some sounds you can use too!

Or save a bit more - in the 200 - 300 price range there are a host of excellent second hand keyboards that were top class pro models in their time, and not that much has changed since the late 80s/90s in keyboard technology.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby biohazard » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:47 pm

You guys meaning something like the Kawai K4 synthesizer?
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby un_quantized » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:30 pm

biohazard wrote:You guys meaning something like the Kawai K4 synthesizer?

Could be. It's not a keyboard I know well but it definitely has its fans.

Models like Kurzweil K2000 & Korg Wavestation are excellent instruments and can be found in the 2 to 3 hundred range. Others like Yamaha SY77 & SY85 and Korg Trinity were flagship models and worth looking at.

Then there's virtual analogue type keyboards which may be more up your street - Roland JP8000 (probably a bit more than 300), korg MS2000, Yamaha AN1X. These have the advantage of various knobs and sliders that will transmit midi data, making them more versatile for controlling VST instruments etc.

Some older models like Roland D50, Korg M1 and Yamaha DX7 have slightly cranky midi but should be fine as keyboards to simply send midi keyboard data.

Others may help will more models or more detail, but IMO it's worth looking at some reviews and seeing what these models offer. You can get some fantastic instruments for very little money.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby Matt_Moose » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:18 pm

DX7s,D50s - quality in their time. And I've got a RD1000 and a CP70, so am sticking head above parapet here, but...

The thing with those 'boards (nice as they were/are) is that a) there's a risk they'll break with some internal problem due to age or b) they're played out. eg: you know the bit in The Blues Brothers where they say "the action's shot" on the wurly/rhodes/whatever? Well, as Stevie says, there's nothing wrong with the action - but, it's character, and maybe not the precision you might be looking for with a 49key 'board in your studio.

Seriously - find one of the online music shops where you can filter down on price between £75 and £125 and then see for yourself what results you get. (Just done it on DV247 and - woo - lot of choice.)

Basically - you need to get yourself to a Dawsons or similar and just press the keys. I had a CME - bad knobs, great action. I've got an M-Audio Axiom now. Good all round, but the touch is a bit plasticky.

In summary: the "vintage" 80s 'boards will have a hug-able touch. But for your only 'board in your home studio, you want something reliable and flexible for future needs.

To be honest - M-audio, CME, Alesis, Novation - as I said before, it's the competitive end of the market, so the prices reflect the bells and whistles and/or quality you get. You're not going to be ripped off around the £100 mark. So don't worry :)
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby un_quantized » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:37 am

Matt makes a very good point.

I was going to mention 'buyer beware' in my previous post :)

There are plenty of dogs out there that have been gigged half to death in smoky, sweaty venues. Or even hammered in smoky sweaty studios.

While the majority of musicians/studio folk look after their kit, there are a few who are less careful, and of course 10/15 years + of heavy use will have an affect.

I just love the fact that keyboards that used to cost a grand and a half or more can now be had for a few hundred, but if you're not confident enough or prepared to do the legwork to find a good 'un then the suggestions about a controller are better for you.

A while back I thought the EMU boards were quite nice, I liked the feel of the keyboard, but some I've seen are looking a bit flimsy after a couple of years use. M Audio stuff seems to be a touch better built.
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Re: MIDI Keyboards

Postby jayzed » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:15 pm

I love the feel of my Kawai K1 Mk II. Sounds are a bit limited (D-50 on the cheap) but it has aftertouch and good mod/pitch wheels. It's also quite small and streamlined, quite good if you are just using it as a controller. Can be bought for bugger all, I've heard. Of the modern USB keyboards I've always liked the Novation feel. I think some of the others have improved their feel recently, however.
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