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Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

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Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby TCisME » Sat Apr 10, 2021 1:46 pm

Hi,

First post on here! I've long been using the site as a knowledge base. Now I need some help!

Can anybody point me towards the cheaper, or cheapest, 49 key midi keyboard that uses 'zones' please? I simply want to enable playing of 2 instruments on one keyboard.

So far I can only see 2 keyboards that actually advertise this...

Samson SAKGR49 Graphite 49 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller
or the
Nektar Panorama P4 MIDI Controller

Are there any cheaper options? Also newer keyboards? Both these, although they still seem good, are really old!

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cheers,
Tim
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby desmond » Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:42 pm

Cheap controllers often don't have such MIDI controller features as they typically confuse the intended user, and splits/layers etc can usually be set up in whatever DAW you are using them with anyway - and they are intended for playing in to a DAW, rather than controlling an extensive non-computer-based MIDI setup.

So don't let the lack of these features in your controller keyboard make you think that you can't play layered/split sounds...
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby The Elf » Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:18 pm

Two that spring immediately to mind are the Roland A-800 - still a current model, I think.

And the Alto Live 49, which is the most forgiving, simple to use keyboard I've ever had the pleasure of owning. I think that one would be secondhand only, but well worth searching out. I paid 30 quid for mine!

Try looking for 'split', rather than 'zone', as 'zone' tends to imply more than a simple 2-way split.
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby TCisME » Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:43 pm

Thanks for your replies..
In respect of using the DAW to make 'the split'. I use Reason, and the only way I think that's possible is to make a combinator, or sampler where you can control zones and splits.
I don't want to have to make bespoke combinators every time I want to simply split the keyboard for 2 instruments.

There may be better ways of doing it within Reason I don't know about though... I'm not a black-belt Reason User just yet!

Thanks for the recommendations, and also thanks for telling me to look for splits rather than zones. I'll search again.

Again, If anybody knows any recommendations of keyboards that do, do the zones/splitting thing but don't advertise as such, would be greatly appreciated. I'll check out the 2 you said now 'The Elf'. Thanks

I'm not apposed to paying out more if it's a decent midi keyboard.

Thanks again for your help peeps!
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby TCisME » Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:05 am

Hi again!

So I understand that 'zones' is the wrong thing to search for when it comes to simply splitting a midi keyboard into 2. I'm having no luck finding any lower price midi keyboard that advertises this... even the Nektar Panorama P4 which advertises 4 zones, doesn't talk about them in it's ad's.

Remember all I want to do is play two different instruments in Reason, using one midi keyboard. I don't need them to overlap. I fully understand how I could achieve this using a combinator in Reason, but I don't want to be doing that lots of times. I just want my keyboard to appear almost as if it were 2 separate keyboards.

So now as mentioned before - That there maybe cheaper keyboards that have this function...

Could anybody advise me on what cheaper midi keyboards are available, that can achieve this?

Thanks :headbang: :clap:
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby The Elf » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:00 pm

The ones I've mentioned do it. The A-800 is reasonably priced for what it is, and I see an Alto Live 49 on eBay for 40 quid, if you can collect, or persuade the seller to post it.

Then there's Arturia's Keylab 49, and the Novation Impulse 49... I'm sure there are others.

After this you're maybe looking to 61-key options and/or in-built sounds.

More than 2 'zones' are fine - it just means you can create more than one keyboard area per MIDI channel, including a simple 2-way split. But when a keyboard mentions 'split' it's likely that this means it is restricted to 2 'zones'. For your use either is fine.
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby TCisME » Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:01 pm

The Elf wrote:The ones I've mentioned do it. The A-800 is reasonably priced for what it is, and I see an Alto Live 49 on eBay for 40 quid, if you can collect, or persuade the seller to post it.

Then there's Arturia's Keylab 49, and the Novation Impulse 49... I'm sure there are others.

After this you're maybe looking to 61-key options and/or in-built sounds.

More than 2 'zones' are fine - it just means you can create more than one keyboard area per MIDI channel, including a simple 2-way split. But when a keyboard mentions 'split' it's likely that this means it is restricted to 2 'zones'. For your use either is fine.

Thanks for your reply. I think I want to buy new. Unless that guy selling on ebay lived nearer maybe!
I'm not opposed to getting a 61 key controller. Obviously playing 2 separate instruments would be a lot better with more keys.

I've never been a person who uses their midi keyboard as part of their workflow. By that I mean, I never make use of the features that 'take me away from the screen' I don't use mixer channels and other features, or use automatic controls of the daw. track selecting and stuff.
I simply use it to enter my midi music notes. Occasionally I might automate a knob to a parameter, but that's it. I have an Akai MPD218 for my pads.

So I basically want a midi keyboard with possibly 61 keys. That will split and play 2 instuments in Reason, without any setting up of combinators or having to use the 'DAW'.

The 2 you advised above are of interest to me as I have a lot of Arturia software including Analogue Lab V. and also most of their effect vst's.
Also though the Novation Impulse 49. I've had a quick use of it the past and I remember felt like a decently built bit of kit.
From a quick read of reviews, it says the Arturia's keys aren't great. Also other than the Arturia effects, I don't use Analogue V very much.

That leaves the Novation Impulse 49 from the ones you gave as an example. I'm leaning towards this. Unless there is a highly recommended 61-key midi keyboard, that does what I want?

Having said I don't use many of the features on a midi keyboard. I would still like features like arpeggios, or anything that can make live playing/recording more versatile/easier.

So bearing in mind the original feature I absolutely need is to -
    'Split' the keyboard.
    - I also would like:
    Either a 49 or 61 keys.
    DAW integration isn't my priority.
    Any live features that will aid performance like arpeggios, note repeats etc. would definitely be preferable, but not essential.

The maximum I'd spend is around £300.. the price of a -
Nektar Panorama P4 Premium USB Keyboard Controller. But I keep looking at that one... then I come back here to ask your advice on whether there's something better and cheaper lol.

I've sold my M-audio Oxygen 25 so I'm 'keyboardless' at the moment! :SOS:

Any final tips on midi controllers that might fit the bill? Maybe there are other options, looking at the 61 key versions as well? I find information on midi keyboards is pretty sporadic. I can find out the cool obvious features, but then can't find anything about 'splitting' the keyboard :crazy:

Thanks again for any help, appreciated muchly!
Tim
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Re: Which cheap'ish midi keyboards use 'zones'?

Postby DGL. » Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:04 pm

In some ways buying an older workstation keyboard might be the best option, you generally get a few assignable controls, and they should all do splits, even the oldest ones.
Plus a decent workstation for yesteryear should also have a better keybed than a new cheapo controller keyboard.
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