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You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

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You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:16 pm

I've just been checking out a few dealers, and vintage synth sites, don't 5 octave keyboards look unduly large these days? That is, if you can find a synth with one in the first place, we seem to be surrounded by "cut down" versions.
It is weird though, I was looking at the Waldorf Wave, and thinking, blimey, that's big, not the actual synth, but the keyboard....synths used to be big, because they had large key keyboards, I must admit, I miss them.
There are all sorts of demos of people playing like virtuosos on 3 octave mini keys, I know all that, and some people don't need a big keyboard, but I always have done, and it's definitely affected a lot of my buying decisions, the four octave, or mini keyboards.
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby BJG145 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 6:49 pm

Mini keys are pants, we're all on board with that. **

Image

** (Except my Yamaha KX5)
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby DGL. » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:09 pm

BJG145 wrote:Mini keys are pants, we're all on board with that. **

Image

** (Except my Yamaha KX5)
Both statements Howard himself would agree with, esp. given that he had owned quite a few KX5's!

But yes, you can go full-size or go home (my Samson graphite m25 excepted as it's just so portable).
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby desmond » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:31 pm

Large keyboards? Pff... All you need is *one key*.

Then on the left a range of transform modifier switches (+1, +2, +3..+11, -1, -2... -11, +12, +24, -12, -24) etc.

(Having said that, this is more or less the way guitars work, anyway! :headbang: )

(I was going to mockup a graphic, but decided it was too much effort for a joke. :blush: )
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Trevor Johnson » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:47 pm

We can all have fun playing mini keyboards for an hour or two, but the novelty wears off.

Five octaves is a harpsichord manual, an organ manual, and easy to live with. Plus, you never look at the keyboard when you play, but have visual clues that relate to the edges of the keyboard, or console, in use.

Anyway, just some random thoughts from a classical organist, etc..!
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:19 am

5-octave, full-sized keyboards are still what I want as a minimum for a polysynth. I sometimes think I'm the only one.

The saddest result of key-drought, IMHO, remains the Behringer VC340. Rather than the original's 4-octave keyboard it has been saddled with 3-octaves and a transpose switch - which is a total PITA. Using its key-split feature leaves you with one octave of split on left or right, and having to squint at a 'helpful' graphic on the panel to figure out what the split is doing. It spoils an otherwise fabulous instrument for a ha'porth of tar, and renders the keyboard a waste of space - all for the lack of 11 bits of plastic. Sigh...
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Roland Fantom?

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:53 am

Arpangel wrote:I've just been checking out a few dealers, and vintage synth sites, don't 5 octave keyboards look unduly large these days? That is, if you can find a synth with one in the first place, we seem to be surrounded by "cut down" versions.

Roland's new Fantom range offers this, and is reviewed in the SOS November 2019 edition, on sale in UK this Thursday and online.
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:43 am

Yes, workstation type keyboards often seem to come in all sorts of sizes, including 8 octaves.
But also some "proper" synths used to offer this too, the Prophet T8 springs to mind.
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:48 am

The Elf wrote:5-octave, full-sized keyboards are still what I want as a minimum for a polysynth. I sometimes think I'm the only one.

No, you're definitely not alone on that one!

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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:55 am

The Elf wrote:5-octave, full-sized keyboards are still what I want as a minimum for a polysynth. I sometimes think I'm the only one.

Same here, otherwise my keyboard playing is compromised by having to avoid certain low or high notes :beamup:


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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:02 am

I must admit, I feel a bit of an imposter, I'm actually using a 4 octave mother keyboard at the moment, owing to not playing much! I've got our grand piano for playing, and the Buchla for electronic stuff, and bleeps and boops don't really need a keyboard....

:)
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby N i g e l » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:36 am

Didnt they solve this problem 30 years ago with midi ? any keyboard of your choice can be used to play any synth of your choice?

The problem is not minikeys or short boards but lack of modules.

Any way, minikeys are great for youngsters and small fingers or people who want to stretch over an octave without a finger gym and practicing 5 Hrs a day.

:D
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:52 am

N i g e l wrote:Didnt they solve this problem 30 years ago with midi ? any keyboard of your choice can be used to play any synth of your choice?
Yes they did, so why have keys at all? Especially all these Woolworths toy mini-keys? And given that we have the 19 inch rack standard, why do we now have so many non-racking 'desktop' modules? I have absolutely *no* 'desktop' space at all, yet people keep telling me how 'convenient' they are! How can any module be 'convenient' that doesn't fit in a standard rack? :headbang:

The world has gone mad...

N i g e l wrote:Any way, minikeys are great for youngsters and small fingers or people who want to stretch over an octave without a finger gym and practicing 5 Hrs a day.
And then they sit in front of a full-sized keyboard, and... :headbang:
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Wonks » Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:52 am

But then why do so many MIDI controller keyboards just have a USB port and no hardware MIDI outputs?
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:12 am

Wonks wrote:But then why do so many MIDI controller keyboards just have a USB port and no hardware MIDI outputs?

Yes, why? It's soooo annoying.
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby Forum Admin » Thu Oct 24, 2019 11:36 am

Wonks wrote:But then why do so many MIDI controller keyboards just have a USB port and no hardware MIDI outputs?

Isn't it so you can go splash out on a Kenton MIDI USB Host (or the MkII version)? :D :D :D
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby nathanscribe » Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:50 pm

The Elf wrote:And given that we have the 19 inch rack standard, why do we now have so many non-racking 'desktop' modules? I have absolutely *no* 'desktop' space at all, yet people keep telling me how 'convenient' they are! How can any module be 'convenient' that doesn't fit in a standard rack? :headbang:

I'm the other way round on this, I prefer modules to racks as I find it more convenient to have the control surface near the keys/controller. Nothing puts me off like having to rack a synth and finding it impossible to tweak because it's across the room from my master keys. Or having the MIDI round the back so I have to have the computer on to faff around, because my central MIDI interface is bus powered and only works via software.

Keyboard version > module > rack, for me. Modules with detachable rack ears are a good idea though.
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:13 pm

Fair point, but once you have three, four, five 'desktop' modules?...

After all, as well as the 'one keyboard, many modules' we've also been sold the 'many modules, one control surface'. In my case I find that my old JP-8080 can be pressed into service as a controller for a great many synths. That means I can rack 'em up and just use the JP-8080 as editor/controller.

In reality even my JP-8080 is racked - when I say I have *no* desktop space I really mean it!
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby ManFromGlass » Thu Oct 24, 2019 1:26 pm

When I get tired of not enough octaves I pull out a second keyboard (in my cramped room) and set it to 1 or more octaves higher or lower.
Between the 2 I can get 5 or more octaves and I feel like a rock god! Now if only I can find my spandex and aluminum covered banana. . . .
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Re: You know you're old when 5 octave keyboards start to look big...

Postby The Elf » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:08 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:When I get tired of not enough octaves I pull out a second keyboard (in my cramped room) and set it to 1 or more octaves higher or lower.
Between the 2 I can get 5 or more octaves and I feel like a rock god! Now if only I can find my spandex and aluminum covered banana. . . .
One of those four-octave prog-rock synth licks must be entertaining to watch! :lol:
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