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Recommend midi keyboard around £300

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Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 10:56 am

My Cheetah Mk5V is very long in the tooth now (nearly 30 years old! Midi was new and radical, USB hadn't been invented) so thinking about an upgrade to something a bit more 21st century.

So what do you suggest for up to £300 approx (less ideally)? I'd like an expression pedal input and aftertouch ideally to cover all the bases but no built in sounds needed, this is entirely for midi input. Doesn't need pads, sliders etc etc, just mod wheel and pitch wheel, octave switching, the basics.

I was thinking 49 keys for compactness and ideally quite low profile so it can sit on my desk between my mac keyboard and my macbook. Sort of open minded about mini keys v full size, I have a tiny Arturia Minilab which is mini keys but useless and the Cheetah is full size 61 keys. Something in between is what I seek oh gurus of the ivories...
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby The Elf » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:24 am

It's a bit over your budget, but the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 is a very nice keyboard (a Fatar, in fact) and comes with lots of software goodies ready to install. For the money I think it's great value. It's only real drawback are the overly-resistant mod and pitch wheels. If I needed a new 61 keyboard I'd be heading this way myself.

NI also do the A49, which I'm not so keen on. but the price is very attractive.
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:40 am

There are any number of cheap MIDI controller keyboards but many (most?) do not have expression pedal inputs and aftertouch is generally missing on the low end ones. If you get one with expression support then you're likely to get some features you don't want as well, as it'll be a better specified unit all round.

The Novation Impulse 49 has expression pedal input and apart from having a few things you don't need, looks to be a good fit for your overall purpose. There's an SOS review here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/no ... impulse-49 and checking the GAK website they are currently selling them for £229.

I've not got any direct experience with it though, just giving you some additional input!

Edit: Ah, Elf beat me to it :)
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby voiceoverchap » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:42 am

Note that if you go for the latest A series keyboards from Native Instruments, Windows 7 OS is not supported. Novation Launchkey works for me though I do miss aftertouch.
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Logarhythm » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:51 am

Novation Remote SL range also falls into a similar category - you'll get a number of unwanted knobs etc (It's a special feature that I think they call the "General Election" ;) ) but has a nice Fatar keybed with aftertouch and 2x pedal inputs.
The Mk II version seems to be available at just over the £300 mark (£320 is the cheapest I found with a quick search) for the 49 key version.
It's semi-weighted though, and whilst far from a heavy action it isn't quite as light as a full unweighted synth keybed.
FWIW I'm a very happy user of a Remote 25SL - I'd buy the bigger one without a second thought, if I had space for it...
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:53 pm

Thanks everyone, very interesting. It looks like the bells and whistles come in very large packages, too big for my desk. So I may dump the idea of aftertouch and expression (haven't missed it all these years) and go for something small and simple like these two. Any views on these?

M Audio Keystation:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/M-Audio-Keystation-49-MKII-MK2-Velocity-Sensitive-USB-MIDI-Keyboard-Controller/172488830932?hash=item282922afd4:g:gSAAAOSwNnRYfKuy:rk:1:pf:1

Alesis Q49
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alesis-Q49-49-note-USB-controller-keyboard-NEW/312413142014?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 12, 2019 12:57 pm

I've got the M-Audio one and have been very happy with it, but of all the instruments I play badly, anything keyboardy is well down the list, and I have nothing to compare it to.
So I can confirm it works but that's about it!
Oh yes, and it's got a sustain pedal socket rather than expression if that makes a difference?
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:41 pm

So this is looking like the very thing...sustain AND expression jacks, d-beam hand wavey thing that can be assigned to aftertouch or whatever, mod/pitch lever (much better than a wheel I'm thinking), nice key action, nice and small...and all for £125...in black or white...

Roland A49

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roland-49-MIDI-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B00AYPPZAG
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:47 pm

For less than £300 you could get a black one and a white one!
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:50 pm

One for each hand and a bit left over to buy a silver cape!
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Wonks » Sat Jan 12, 2019 3:51 pm

You don't already own a silver cape? What's that in your forum picture then! ;)
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:16 pm

Logarhythm wrote:Novation Remote SL range also falls into a similar category - you'll get a number of unwanted knobs etc (It's a special feature that I think they call the "General Election" ;) ) but has a nice Fatar keybed with aftertouch and 2x pedal inputs.
The Mk II version seems to be available at just over the £300 mark (£320 is the cheapest I found with a quick search) for the 49 key version.
It's semi-weighted though, and whilst far from a heavy action it isn't quite as light as a full unweighted synth keybed.
FWIW I'm a very happy user of a Remote 25SL - I'd buy the bigger one without a second thought, if I had space for it...

I'm also a happy user of a Remote 25SL MkII - the keyboard action is fine for my purposes, as is the aftertouch, and the various knobs and sliders :thumbup:

I am however disappointed with the X/Y pad, which needs a lot more pressure than the one on my Korg Nanopad, as well as having a 'dead zone'across the top of the pad where nothing happens :thumbdown:


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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Kippiis » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:18 pm

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 is a very good option. It isn't cheap but worth every dollar.
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Kippiis » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:18 pm

Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 is a very good option. It isn't cheap but worth every dollar.
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dave B » Sat Jan 12, 2019 4:37 pm

Another vote for the Novation SL range - these are probably the best that I've come across. They keys are a joy to play and it's nice and configurable. It is also usb class compliant.

I mention the latter as it is quite important these days. As OSes change, manufacturers are increasingly lax about driver support, so make sure that anything you get is class compliant and it will work fine on just about any platform. My SL even plugs into my Kronos..
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:46 pm

You don't already own a silver cape? What's that in your forum picture then!

That's my Harris tweed cape, strictly for outdoor use.
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:47 pm

make sure that anything you get is class compliant and it will work fine on just about any platform.

How can you tell? Do they always say?
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Folderol » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:57 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:
make sure that anything you get is class compliant and it will work fine on just about any platform.

How can you tell? Do they always say?
Not always. Sometimes you have to really dig for the information :(
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dan LB » Sat Jan 12, 2019 5:57 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:So this is looking like the very thing...sustain AND expression jacks, d-beam hand wavey thing that can be assigned to aftertouch or whatever, mod/pitch lever (much better than a wheel I'm thinking), nice key action, nice and small...and all for £125...in black or white...

Roland A49

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roland-49-MIDI-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B00AYPPZAG

Had one of these before, It's decent for the money but the mod lever is sprung so always returns to zero when you let go so you can't just leave it in one position. I much prefer separate wheels for pitch and modulation

Dan

EDIT: just to add that it's not fully* class compliant either

* it comes with a driver CD rom and obviously you can download the drivers too, but you can manage to trick it into working with an iPad
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Re: Recommend midi keyboard around £300

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:01 pm

Found this on the Roland site, quite a dig as Fold said. So you can switch the A49 to Class compliant:

Normally you will install a Roland driver on your computer to use the A-49 keyboard, but if there is not a driver available, or if you are connecting to a device that does not allow drivers to be installed (such as an iOS device), you can change the USB Driver Setting to "Generic." This will allow the A-49 to use the built-in USB driver in the computer (such as Core MIDI) instead of requiring a Roland driver to be installed. This mode is also called "Class Compliant."
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