PDA

View Full Version : Choosing a weighted keyboard



oqtoe
03-04-2008, 08:35 PM
Hey there,

I'm on the brink of buying another 88-key keyboard to replace an old Yamaha. This time though I really have no use for onboard sounds so I'm looking for a solid hammer-action trigger. I would go with an older PC2X though I don't see the point in paying that much for sounds I'm not going to use.

I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions or preference on what type of trigger I should purchase. I've looked at what Studiologic has to offer and don't mind them. I'd like to play and feel some of the CME stuff. Also, I've heard Yamaha is coming out with the KX8.

I'm looking for a good quality trigger that's 88-key, hammer-action. I'd prefer not to go with M-audio as I find there's to be a bit rickety. This unit will be on a second or bottom tier used for gigging.

And thoughts would be greatly appreciated from the community.

oqtoe

kensuguro
03-05-2008, 11:02 AM
Studiologic's new vmk series is the best from what I read. I actually played it a bit at the store, and it felt fine. Just didn't have any sounds to trigger, so it's hard to say. Mechanically speaking, it has one of the best keybeds that Fatar creates, the TP40GH.

I've also heard opinions that since many of the top line stage pianos have custom keybeds, they tend to have better action. On that note, the roland fp7 or 700sx/gx seems to have great feel. Definitely more expensive than a vmk tho..

Only problem with vmk is that it's not a powerful master keybaord. Actually, it doesn't have most master keyboard functions (like, zones?). Depends on what you need I guess. The keybed is top of the line I can assure you that.

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/1855283/page/2#Post1855283

TheAlps
03-05-2008, 12:38 PM
I have a Kurzweil K 2600 SX, and have been using it for years. It is the creme de la creme of weighted keyboards. It has actual mechanical hammers inside (and it weighs a LOT) and its also very rugged. I have moved 6+ times since I bought it and never had any issues other than needing cleaning. They are kind of expensive but not too harsh. Mine cost 7500 bucks when I got it in 2001, but they are like 3500 now and still just as worthwhile as my main midi controller today as then. Before you make a choice, I cant recommend more strongly to at least play on a k2600 or one of the new 61 ley k2661's

http://www.kurzweilmusicsystems.com/ProductList.php?cat=13

oqtoe
03-05-2008, 05:25 PM
I agree, the weighting on the Kurzeil boards are great. I used to use Kuzweil though right now I have no use for the samples or synths so I'll likely go with the Studiologic. That is unless I found something even more suitable as a trigger. The 188 plus might be a bit heavy for the second tier on my WS-550 though.

I appreciate all the input.

oqtoe

kensuguro
03-05-2008, 06:16 PM
7500 bucks when I got it in 2001


wow, that's expensive!

StrangeCat
03-05-2008, 09:27 PM
Also agree on the Kurzeil boards, they have best piano feel by far!
Also the Yamaha S90? has great Piano feel.
To many weighted keyboards don't have the right pressing and releasing of the keys, you either have to press down to hard or the keys don't come up right.
:samurai:

TheAlps
03-06-2008, 12:32 AM
wow, that's expensive!

Yea tho i got the S/X version with the sampling options and expanded ROM and everything i could get for it at that time. But its the best money I ever invested... 8 years later, there is nothing left in my studio from that time that gets any use, with one exception of my k2600 which I use all day every day. Tho I guess I dont really use the sounds on it or the sampling features, even if it does have AES/EBU i/o among tons of other very professional features... Also it weighs really a lot, I had to buy a special stand for it to sit on after it crushed the 2 tier stand i had with a roland A70 on also. But its still such an awesome instrument

Sr_Velasco
03-07-2008, 10:40 AM
Has someone tried the Numa from Fatar?

http://www.fatar.com/Studiologic/Pages/Numa_details.html

Cheers

Iplayjazz
03-07-2008, 11:36 AM
that NUMA does look nice, but no faders, knobs, pitch/.mod wheel? I would need at least 2 of those to play organ or strings like Strad by Garritan.

But for just piano I guess it could be nice


alan

EricH
03-07-2008, 11:56 AM
Has someone tried the Numa from Fatar?

http://www.fatar.com/Studiologic/Pages/Numa_details.html

Cheers


Another fatar action in a cheap, plastic box? :D Sorry, for this grumpy post, but this announcement caught me in a particularly bitter mood about why no one makes the controller board that I *really* want.

I sorta like the idea of a "just the keys" board, but why is it so big? I mean, what's in all that space behind the short key action? I'd readily embrace its depth if it were housing 14" keys, but from the pictures it looks to be the usual 8" fatar action. I guess all that empty space is for me to rest my laptop on? I'd rather have a less akward size than a big empty plastic "laptop table".

And what's with all the non-black keyboards out there? Like fatar's vmk-188 for example - it used to be black and more desirable to me (although I still passed because it was in a plastic case). But then they made it all silvery. Is there really anyone out there who is like "Man, I hate piano black! What a terrible color for a freaking piano!".

Please someone - make this 88-key controller board: Solid steel housing, 9 sliders, 9+ knobs, 9+ buttons, mod/pitch *wheels* (no stick), Housing *fits* the action, and make the color - oh, I don't know..... how about black? I mean, I know it doesn't go with everthing like candy-apple-red does, but we'll all manage somehow. If we can get at least *this* far, then let's talk about how "grand" or "ivory" your action feels.

I know this fantasy board costs $1500 minimum, but I'm ready. I know you can pick up these plastic controllers for sub $1000, but I don't want plastic. As it is, I have to pay $2500 to get the build quality I want, but in a stage piano that has audio features that I don't need, and is light on controller features which I do need.

Sorry for the rant. I'm thinking RD700GX for me maybe.... I'll see what I think when I can play it. But it already can't send even channel aftertouch (manual says it only does so with a foot pedal), so I don't know - I'll probably keep playing my old pc2x and griping about the abysmal state of controller keyboards until I'm 90 years old.

:) <-- See? I'm really not bitter!

-Eric

Aaron Dirk
03-07-2008, 12:16 PM
Numa looks interesting.... but they seem to have forgot extra controlling features.... oh, like a mod wheel and a pitch bend. Not that piano playing needs it. Besides having a gazillion pianos, I also have a gazillion other sounds too.
I do like the removable transparent music stand. I currently have to have a stand off to the side, which isn't ideal. Then again, lately, most of the stuff I read is available in the public domain in pdf. Looks nice and big in front of me on my widescreen

what "I" really would like to see in a keyboard controller: :)

A Novation ReMote 88 key midi controller - no sounds
and they teamed up with Kawai and used their mp8 wooden keys
and they stuck a long ribbon controller on it, like the kurz 2500
added lots of extra midi/controller inputs.
and most importantly - nothing feels cheap about it! everything is really smooth and solid!

seems reasonable - I would buy it in a heartbeat

sure I can buy all three separately, but instead of having to hassle with getting three devices to work together, it would be just one, unified controller.

The Professional's Professional Keyboard Controller :|:

EricH
03-07-2008, 06:44 PM
Maybe we need a new class of instrument. There's "stage pianos" that often have excellent build quality, but light controller features with audio features I'll never use (RD700GX). Then there's "midi controllers", which usually have crappy build quality, excellent controller features, and for some weird reason seem to mostly come in white, red, and tennis-ball green, but never black - lol

So, maybe we need the "stage controller". Something not powered by usb and made of plastic, but something tough, understated, soundless. Something for guys who play vsts live which seems to be a growing trend (one that I am in fact quite late to join).

EricH
03-07-2008, 06:46 PM
Actually, I just realized I was exactly describing the old Roland A80.

What happenned to that class of instrument? Surely the need for controllers-built-like-a-tank is greater now than it was in the early 90s'.

TheAlps
03-07-2008, 07:29 PM
yea except the A80 action is pretty squishy synthy. Tho the features onboard as a controller are just awesome...

nikolas
03-08-2008, 05:41 PM
I don't know how you people will react to this but I got around the summer the Casio PX 110. A ridiculously cheap digital piano, which is exactly that: a digital piano. No knobs, whatsoever, no mod wheel, no pitch bend! So anybody for a genouine midi controller might be discoureged by this (sorry really late, sorry for the spelling and tpyos...)

BUT

It does have some rather good piano sounds, which can come in handy, when you are too tired to open the computer and load whatever samples/sounds you use... Just push the button and in 1 sec, it's open.

It has it's own stand and pedal (even 3 pedals, for an extra £50 (I'm in the UK).

Midi works wonderfully.

but the main thing is the touché! I'm a pianist, with a diploma and blah blah! Well this is the best digital thingy I've played so far (and for the price of course! I'm not comparing it to something worth $7500!) The response, the touch, the weight just feels very natural to me (and I have 2 pianos, a baby grand and a KRAUSS upright back in Greece). The response is great and it does take effort to reach low velocities and high velocities as well. It has resistance, etc..

So for real piano feeling I would recomend taking a look and play. Especially since it's "officially" $600 only and I reckon one can get it rather cheaper nowdays...

I have heard that spare parts are hard, or impossible to find, but I've yet to establish that in all truth, and since the summer there is nothing wrong (yet). I've moved it in the back seat of my car 3 times with no problems...

I do actually plan on connecting the MIDI OUT to a tiny keyboard with a few knobs to get the mod wheel, pitch wheel, etc, but for now it's just fine, and I'm a bit dry!

hutchpilot
03-09-2008, 01:52 PM
I am also among the frustrated with this category in the market. The options seem to be cheap controllers with dubious reputations (below $1000), stage pianos (about $2000) and 88-key workstations (about $3200). Not a great group of choices. It seems Roland could produce a successor to the A-90 for $1500-1800. I think it would have broad appeal. Meanwhile, Yamaha came out with the KX-8 (around $650), which has one of their lesser actions, only four knobs and no sliders, and, most amazingly, only one (!) pedal jack, for a sustain pedal. I already thought they'd gone nuts when they made the Motif mint green (yuck), but this really shows a flaw in their thinking. The search continues!

kensuguro
03-10-2008, 09:54 AM
well, the new vmk series seems to be very close. Certainly not black, and I couldn't agree more about having black controllers. But the keybed is very nice (fatar TP40GH), has a decent set of controllers. Only problem is that it doesn't have some basic master keyboard features, like splits, etc.

In terms of master controller features, Doepfer LMK series look very well featured. I hear they're built extremely well, and made to be portable. BUT the only problems is that they use fatar's TP10 keybed, which is fine, but won't measure against vmk's TP40GH. Also, LMK's keys are notorious (as far as I gather from forums) for having quality control issues, like varying velocities, can't get max value, etc.. Anyway, bottom line is, it's not worth the money, and LMK's are extremely expensive.

So, while there are niche market items, no one's hit the requirements spot on. I do believe that there is an extremely high demand, but perhaps the overall gigging population is decreasing? It does make sense that manufacturers think a VSTi heavy live performer would be less of a pianist, and more of a knob tweaker. (statistically, that might be true)

EricH
03-10-2008, 03:31 PM
Yeah, the TP10 is the only reason I passed on the Doepfer. Currently, I have an old PC2x which is also TP10, and it's a half-decent controller in a rugged, steel box (just lacks some knobs and more sliders - like many other stage pianos). About the quality control, I suspect that's a Fatar problem with the TP10. My pc2x also has inconsistent velocities, especially between black & white keys.

There's certainly still enough gigging musicians to support a steady stream of new, well built stage pianos. I guess I've developed a more cynical view - that there really is a big demand, but it makes more money not to fill it. Back in the A80's day, having a controller keyboard meant you were controlling outboard gear. Today though, perhaps high quality vst is precisely the reason that the Rolands of the world pulled the first-class "stage controllers", to keep people buying their audio hardware.

michael88s
07-07-2008, 08:17 PM
If not for the keyboard action becoming noisy, and a bit uneven, and it's not being able to access the furthest velocities at either end, I'd still have a Fatar 2001, in fact I've owned four of them over the years. What a great controller- four midi outputs, four midi inputs, pedal inputs, sliders/buttons/wheels, EIGHT independent zones, aftertouch etc etc. Aside from the keyboard getting funky, the only thing I ever missed was programmable velocity curves- Fatar's velocity system didn't cut it for me. Also it was solid at 49 pounds, metal, etc. Ah, well...

In a home studio, which I'm in the process of setting up, I'm finding it easier than if I were playing out and had to access several VSTi's or Giga instruments. I've got a Yamaha P60, and I really like it's weighted action. I use an old box called an Oberheim Systemizer, midi the P60 thru it, and out to my computer. The Systemizer can split my keyboard into four zones, and can send some basic cc messages. Still no wheels/knobs/pedals though, but I'm probably going to merge data with a small non-weighted controller keyboard to get that stuff.
TOO BAD there's nothing out there that's an obvious choice for live performance control.

scope4live
07-08-2008, 02:05 AM
There is the new stuff like the KS88's I use that are great for live ensemble work, since they have 88 notes, tons of controls for analog hardware synths and DAW apps.But their action is O.K., and not the best, but they are perfect for what I use them for at gigs. There's the VAX77 that looks interesting too......http://www.infiniteresponse.com/

But I am sorry to say that I agree w/micheal88's statements. Only older controllers have my vote.

For dynamic recording and practicing, I still use my heavy 90lb. Oberheim MC3000, it has really controllable velocity programming. Each library from a developer has their own idea of what sound / layer will be triggered at what velocity, and only Programmable velocity curves can make the library work the way you want it to. The Oberheims action is good, but still a trade-off. But if you are a trained ( classically ) Pianist, surely these small trade offs are acceptable. I had to perform many recitals on many different Pianos. You just have to deal with what you have, but in the virtual world, if one was looking for the best action, w/ the best controller features, a hybrid combination comes to mind.

The TP40GH is IMHO the best action currently available. The best controller ever made IMHO is the Oberheim MC3000D. It has the most customisable configurations ever made and is just a desktop module.

Coupling that w/ an TP40GH would be incredible, but the MC300D is very rare. They sold several hunderd of them, but nobody in their right mind would get rid of it. 48 Programmable custom velocity curves should suffice I think. I have only 16 user and 4 ROM that I use. But I can mimick the sticky action of a Fender Rhodes, and using that on Scarbees Rhodes, while blending in TX816 tones from Gigastudio makes me very pleased. Then there's the Vintaudio Uprights, SampleTekk Pianos, Post Bosendorfer, etc. It's really helpful in our virtual world.

I must say the Fatar 2001 and Oberheim Systemizer sound like a pair of Dogs That Hunt. I have little use for pets that have lost their instincts. *()

Someday, someone will get it right, but by that time ( Kontackt 7 & Gigastudio 128bit O.S. ) we might have robots and PC's playing for us while we show up to collect the check.

michael88s
07-08-2008, 10:16 AM
Wow Jimmy, 'Dogs That Hunt'!! I never heard that one- what's it mean? Something like, 'Long In The Tooth' maybe?

That Oberheim MC3000 keyboard sounds great, as does the module. Once in a while I see a Kurzweil Midiboard around, and I wonder if that might be worth looking into. I believe you can get aftertouch on individual notes on that one, which might be useful for orchestral music.

A reviewer of the KS88Pro mentioned something about a bit of extra latency to do with the keyboard- have you experienced that?

P.T.
07-12-2008, 12:14 AM
How about the Casio Privia series of digital pianos. You don't have to use the sounds and they are quite inexpensive.

I don't have one but am seriously considering it.

Chalfant
07-12-2008, 02:47 AM
Depends on what you want to do.

If you're not going to use the onboard sounds then I'd look into the M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, it's marvelous and it's $400

P.T.
07-12-2008, 05:46 AM
Depends on what you want to do.

If you're not going to use the onboard sounds then I'd look into the M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, it's marvelous and it's $400

I tried that and while it had the features, I didn't care for the keys at all.
I think the keys on the Casio's are much better.

I'm beginning to think that I will need at least 2 controllers If I want controls, splits and full hammer keys that I like.

michael88s
07-12-2008, 11:18 AM
One of those new Casio pianos, don't know which one, sounds quite good actually, and I agree that the action is way better than the action on the Keystation Pro 88. The KS key action, for want of a better description, feels 'loose', not precise. That's unfortunate, because the KS sure gives you a lot of control.

scope4live
07-12-2008, 07:27 PM
The KS88's are for those who need 88 notes, but really are covering a wide array of styles and sounds.

Every " Weighted Action " keyboard will mush up after constant use. My very first one, the KX88 Yamaha went out after 2 years. The Oberheim is still hanging in there, but the KS88's have lasted me for over 2 years, so the keybeds are a trade off, as none of them are full hammer action anyway. I put felt strips on the keybed, a trick I learned from watching Concert Pianists whine to their tuners about this and that. It works on real hammers so I tried it, and it does help. But these electronic keybeds are a tradeoff so we don't have to lug around a CP88 or Helpenstill mic'd Upright. They will never have the dynamics and touch of a real Piano.

So find one you like, if it's something that makes you happy, you're lucky. I just use the cheapest, massively knobbed controllers I can find, and smile and play. But even with these cheap pieces of crap that everyone sells us, I still have fun and make money. Besides, can anyone honestly tell me that they can hear more than 5 layers / levels of velocity? Not. I can get ppp / p / mf / f & sfz, and that's plenty for these overpriced regurgitated " Pianos ". On a real piano, especially on a piece like Fantasie Impromptu by F.Chopin, I can feel and hear 8 different levels. If I could find a digital piano that could do that, I would buy it. Until then, Gigastudio Libraries and KS88's will have to do. :)

P.T.
07-13-2008, 12:22 AM
But, we are talking about keyboard controllers to control sample libraries and softsynths, not digital pianos.

I mentioned the Casio digital piano because it has a good keyboard and can be used as a controller.

One test I do on a keyboard is a slide across the keys. (What is that called?)
Can't do it with the m-audio. The keys press down too low.

The Casio's feel quit bit like a piano. Even the cheapest ones with hammer action.
Give me that plus a few knobs and a pitch wheel and mod wheel and a keyboard split or two and I would be very happy.

scope4live
07-13-2008, 12:34 PM
There Ya' Go.

You got the one you like. :)

Try adding felt strips under the actions " hammers ", ( where the cheap plastic keys disappear under the hood ) and make it even more suitable for your needs. It will prevent mushiness after heavy usage, and even out any quirks w/ certain libraries. When trying out the velocity curves, if they even have any, just make it so that when you play the hardest touch, the top velocity layer gets triggered. Using this approach while messing around with the curves will optimise the controller for your personal needs.

These controllers are extremely generic right out of the factory, but can be made to respond better with a couple of tricks. Afterall, most action is library dependant anyway.


Brotha'Man Micheal88s,

I use Gigastudio and Scope DSP cards, latency is a non issue. They are both real time applications. I have seen latency though in certain apps. like Forte, and VSTi's from certain developers. But I use the MIDI I/O's instead of the USB MIDI protocol. To ensure that I have zero IRQ conflicts I disable all but 2 USB ports in the device manager. Even so, the disabled ports still have enough juice to power up the controllers ( 2 ) so I can avoid using those junkie wall warts. I despise those w/ a passion, and refuse to but any products that use them.

If they are going to be that cheap during their manufacturing w/ a cheap ~~~ wall wart, one can only imagine the budgetary sacrifices that were made on the components that aren't in plain veiw. Very Bush League. )(~

P.T.
07-13-2008, 10:00 PM
Adding Felt.

Would that be one long strip of felt under the entire keybed of individual strips?

AlexDavis
07-14-2008, 12:07 AM
Depends on what you want to do.

If you're not going to use the onboard sounds then I'd look into the M-Audio Keystation Pro 88, it's marvelous and it's $400

I have to agree with some other posters here. This keyboard does NOT feel good. Very far from piano action. However, I still bought it because of the cheap price, and the multitude of programmable faders/knobs.

I love it despite it's awful feel.

-A

michael88s
07-15-2008, 10:47 AM
When I had my old Fatar 2001 with modules or a computer on the gig, I got used to playing all kinds of sounds from the weighted keyboard, but I always felt that certain sounds-like brass, some synth stuff, organ (especially organ!!), should be played from a non-weighted keyboard. Another case of 'you can't have everything'.

Jimmy, latency hasn't been much of an issue for me either, since I use an Audiophile 2496 card at home, and an Echo Indigo on my laptop.

the KS88, compared to what else is available, seems to me to be an acceptable compromise, if you need a lot of control. I think one of the reasons I haven't liked it much in the music stores is that it's never hooked up to anything- all I can focus on is the action, there's no sound/tactile interraction. Don't get me started on music stores like Guitar Center, and how listening/evaluating unfriendly they are. Hey, they want us to buy this stuff, why don't they have a decent listening environment??

Pedro Camacho
07-16-2008, 05:42 AM
Yamaha P-250 is the best for me.

cleartrueblue
07-16-2008, 02:20 PM
Replaced my LMK4+ with a Kawai MP9500 picked up on ebay for $1050. It's fun now to be able to play more expressively, especially at lower dynamics. The Kawai uses a velocity sensing mechanism different to most, where (I think I've got this right) pressure is measured from a thrown hammer striking a sensor. I can easily say the playable resolution (which is very important to me) is an order of magnitude better than any of the numerous other controllers I've owned or demoed.

Try this: start a MIDI file recording with no or muted audio. At your controller, repeat a note or short phrase or chord at what feels to be a number of different discrete dynamic levels...say 8 levels (ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff if you will). Then go look at the file.

Aside from the resolution, the action is also quite nice (I play piano), and the MIDI controller capabilities more than serviceable.

Weighs a bit so unlikely you'd want to gig or travel with it.

[EDIT: apologies to OP, hadn't noticed the gigging requirement.]

ohernie
07-25-2008, 01:46 PM
Yeah, the mass vs spring issue has been vexing me for awhile - it's pretty much the problem all modern keybeds. Mass provides a natural logarithmic curve to the touch of the key itself that allows for greater control. you can't fix it with electronics. What's really funny is that the crappy rubber switches that usually make for the worst of all worlds with their spongy feel actually work ok with the Kawai because they are mechanically disconnected from the fingers. That is, the finger imparts energy to the weight and the weight transfers it to the switch. All the switch does is measure the terminal velocity. The other nice thing about weights is the force needed to hold a key down is significantly less than the force needed to activate the key so there is less strain on the hands. I still remember how my old Roland EP7 used to kill me. I'd actually hit notes twice because there was enough back pressure to push my finger back up if I relaxed it as I would on a real piano. (I also had to remember that it was single sample - it was sampled mf and didn't have a "spank" range. It wasn't going to jump, no matter how hard I hit it.) If I could find an action that used mass along with some form of escapement so that the key force would be minimal with the key down (mild "click" in the touch at the bottom of the stroke to physically cue the fingers that the task was completed) I'd be in heaven.

Ernie

michael88s
07-30-2008, 11:45 AM
I'm waiting for a Keystation 88 Pro that I ordered, and will post after spending some time with it. I'm hoping that it might work out well for both live and in the studio. We'll see.

scope4live
07-31-2008, 01:36 PM
For 3 Bones,

You'll love it. The action and meger amount of velocity curves, which aren't even programmable, are it's only downside IMO.

Unless you are doing Piano only, you'll enjoy it's endless MIDI Control.

I do not require that kind of action for Horn Sections, and Synths, but I think the action is adequate for all styles other than solo Classical Piano.

When you hook it up to a PC. Use the USB out to a port that's been disabled in your Device Manager. Then use your MIDI if possible, because PCI MIDI is much better than USB IMHO. But having it connected as I described will avoid IRQ conflicts, and power the Keyboard also. Disabled ports still have enough juice to power up the LCD's, even when disabled, or ina suspended state.

Per Lichtman
08-04-2008, 12:06 AM
My girlfriend is a concert pianist and she and I recently went and tried a range of keyboards by different manufacturers. At home I have a Yamaha P-60 and she hated (strongly) most of the other keyboard we tried except the Roland RD-700, which she called the closest to the feel of a real piano of any "keyboard" she'd tried. She also mentioned that the texture of the keys seemed to be a bit more similar to the real thing. She also wasn't impressed with the K2600 btw.

My own experience is similar: for any performer accustomed to the feel of a classical piano, you start with the first decent feel ca. $500 (for instance the Yamaha P-60, though some of there more expensive ones are roughly equivalent in feel) and it really doesn't get better until you get to the Roland RD-700 (over $2000). Then of course you could get into the obscenely expensive ones, but then again you could always try putting a MIDI-mod on a real piano though.

Now keep in mind I said for people "accustomed to the feel of a classical piano". Lots of keyboardists love keyboard controllers that have a much lighter feel or just a very different one. I personally really prefer to get closer to the feel of a classical piano and those are what I found so far.

Per Lichtman
08-04-2008, 12:08 AM
I've got a Yamaha P60, and I really like it's weighted action. I use an old box called an Oberheim Systemizer, midi the P60 thru it, and out to my computer. The Systemizer can split my keyboard into four zones, and can send some basic cc messages. Still no wheels/knobs/pedals though, but I'm probably going to merge data with a small non-weighted controller keyboard to get that stuff.
TOO BAD there's nothing out there that's an obvious choice for live performance control.

Put a dedicated MIDI controller on top of it. :) I use a BCF-2000, placed on the left hand side near the speaker and volume control with the back part resting on a desk or table. Not the most elegant visually but...

michael88s
08-04-2008, 11:17 AM
Well, after only scratching the surface of the KS88Pro, I have to say that I like it a lot already. The level of control is, like you said Jimmy, pretty incredible, WAY beyond my old Fatar 2001, and I thought that controller was top-notch at the time.

The keyboard action is taking some getting used to, but interestingly enough, I'm starting to like it, and I am primarily a piano player. The action is a bit noisy, but you don't really notice that unless you're playing VERY softly.
There seems to be quite a bit of initial resistance when you start to press a key, such as you might find on a heavier piano action, then less resistance afterwards. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and in the case of this controller I think it's a good thing, because you can get higher velocities more easily, almost as easily as on a synth keyboard. I never had a weighted keyboard before that could do this, and for live use, it's going to be great. In my home studio, I'd rather have more control over the velocity sensitivity than the KS88 curves provide, but there's software for that.

So, all in all, I think the KS88 will make a great weighted controller for live use.

michael88s
08-04-2008, 11:36 AM
Jimmy,

Thanks for the tip about using USB and midi together with the KS88.


One question: the sustain pedal inputs don't seem to work properly with cc64- they hold notes for one pedal press and release cycle, then release the notes after a second press/release of the pedal. When used with cc146 the pedals work fine. I read on an m-audio forum that the software is set that way, I just don't understand why, and why this'feature' can't be bypassed so I could use cc64 normally for sustain. Do you have some info on this?

Thanks,
Michael

michael88s
08-04-2008, 11:47 AM
Per,

That BCF-2000 looks pretty interesting. Maybe on my next go round. :)

Per Lichtman
08-04-2008, 06:11 PM
I like it. :) If your primary use for it is as a MIDI controller, it's really easy to use and it doesn't matter whether you use it on Mac or PC, etc. But if you want to motorize the faders, etc. then it tends to be a bit more involved depending on the host. Honestly, I ended up sticking to using it MIDI just to keep things simple. Maybe one day... :)

Iplayjazz
08-13-2008, 06:18 PM
anyone try the new Yamaha KX8 yet?

scope4live
08-18-2008, 09:09 AM
The KX8 is an example of where the market is headed.

" One fingered compositions " says it all.

I have considered buying some Mannequin's and setting them up on a stage and coming back every 45 minutes to load another set. I could pay a fine looking Ho' about 1000 USD weekly and take the other 3 large out to the tables during the show.

Someday in the future actual performance and practice will become chic, as opposed to the laziness being promoted by these profiteers.

Sadly most audiences can be fooled as easily as the target sector for these generic instruments. :hp:

Iplayjazz
08-18-2008, 01:16 PM
uhhh.........I don't use or care about arpeggiators,one button composition etc., but need a decent action for my studio controller. The old KX88 was a standard....just wondering if this is any good. I practice and perform on real pianos.

scope4live
08-18-2008, 05:41 PM
Wasn't trying to ruffle your feathers bro, I use to have the KX88, TX816, QX1, and DMP7 back when equipment was built to last. I was excited when I read your post and when I saw the units available, especially the way they emphasize the 2 Octave version, I sadly realized they too have become subject to the demands of the new MIDI file culture. :(

We can get by for now with the meger offerings available and hope someday someone will release a simple real hammer action controller where even the pedals actually work.....what a concept. From playing a Helpenstill Upright and CP88 as well as the headliners real Grand Pianos for years I have become somewhat bitter, I apologise.

Until then my lame arse KS88's w/ felt strips will have to do.

I will however give the KX8 a try, as I am sure Guitar Center will sell truck loads of 'em, but the features that they emphasize pretty much explain their target market to me.

The best benefit of practicing on our acoustic pianos is when we play these weak controllers we are plagued by, one can really whail due to the lack of physical resistance. :)

Iplayjazz
08-19-2008, 08:27 AM
that's cool. It just seems that ever since I entered the market(with the Roland D-70 circa 1988) the industry hasn't progressed all that much. Its kind of like the auto industry. I mean really.....we should be driving cars that start at 50 mpg and go UP from there by now. And we should be choosing between several brands of weighted controllers with wooden keys, real escapement/hammers,built-in hard drives,etc. Its frustrating how much inertia is controlling business.

<<rant over>>

michael88s
08-19-2008, 09:29 AM
Well, I'm not saying that things are good BUT things could be worse.

Thankfully, we have companies that continue to make real pianos, quality instruments, that musicians, generally, have to make some sacrifices to afford. These companies would probably make a helluva lot more money if they got on the bandwagon and sold crappy electronic instruments and controllers instead.

These companies that sell 25-note 'controllers? Who are they marketting to? Musicians? No way.

So, when a company like Yamaha, or Kurzweil (which owns Young Chang), sells controllers that don't cut it well for us, I have to remind myself to cut them some slack because they ARE making real pianos, and we need companies like that.

scope4live
08-31-2008, 11:22 PM
Brotha' Man 88's,

Here's a dream come true. Very rare, but when used w/ the FP Wood Fatar keybed, or a great action SL of yore, this Dog Will Hunt.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Oberheim-MC-3000d_W0QQitemZ230285079117QQcmdZViewItem?hash=ite m230285079117&_trkparms=72%3A552%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C2 40%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov99/articles/oberheim.htm

The chains, and programmable velocity curves are unavailable anywhere in software or hardware. I did try the link for the curves in the threads here, but they are only singularily applied.

This has 1,024 performances where everything for each 8 zones is programmable, and the 64 curves can be applied for layers, pedals, etc.

I am surprised it even made it to ebay. Any touring group w/o a grand either uses one of these, or an expensive digital from Young Chang, or Viscount of Italy. My MC3000's action is O.K., but only responds well because there's an MC3000D inside of it.

The NUMA caught my eye as it has no controllers, but once I read their marketing about the new " Touch Sensativity Technology ", I realized it was for the MIDI File guys. Too bad the old keybed from the KX88 can't be found anywhere. That was quite physical and had PAT too.

This Dog Will Hunt !! :)

__________________________________________________ _____________

Wow!!.....................Winning bid was 511.00 USD. Obviously someone needed a spare on one the big jobs, or a wise shopper. They sold for 599.00 USD back when the dollar was worth more. Some things never make it to ebay, they must be old hardware that still smokes other alternatives from the disposable controller developers. )(~

In case someone here purchased this, you will need a manual or you could miss several shortcuts and uses of this fine axe.

http://www.markglinsky.com/ManualManor.html

michael88s
09-01-2008, 08:15 PM
Thanks for the lead Jimmy. I noticed that the bidding went a little nutso the last three minutes!

For me it would probably have been overkill anyway, because I'm pretty much a 'meat and potatoes' guy- piano mostly, sometimes organ. Although I sure wouldn't have minded having that velocity curve flexibility!

I went the rounds of the music stores this past weekend. Of what was available, the best controller keyboard with decent action was the Studiologic SL-990XP, and obviously it has no 'control' at all. The new Yamaha KX8 was a disappointment, and seems to be pretty flimsy too- plastic- and pressed board (?) underneath. NOT a road keyboard. The sweetest keyboard feel and action, to me, was the 88-key Yamaha Motif XS which isn't a controller per se, and costs close to $3K I believe.

Bummer. WHY do I go to the music stores???

Maybe I'll look for an old KX88. But I'm actually getting pretty used to my KSPro88. :)

Oxytoxine
09-02-2008, 02:10 AM
i would also recommend having a look at the alesis fusion 8 hd.
it is much cheaper (in fact prices are crazy cheap) but has a very nice keybed (can't remember the exact name, but its a fatar one). i like its action much more than the kawai and technics digital pianos i know.

it's however restricted in its use as a masterkeyboard, as only 4 knobs can transmit midi data to the host (but it transmits/recieves mmc), but i got a seperate controller for that, too.

and it's also a very capable and decent full-blown synth, in case you need it once..;-)

best

oxy

scope4live
09-02-2008, 02:11 AM
You'd think Yamaha would put the keybed from the Motif in a controller, and optimise the connection to Cubase seeings how they own Steinberg.

Let's pray that NAMM 2009 has a few promises kept.

ohernie
09-02-2008, 11:49 AM
The new Yamaha KX8 was a disappointment, and seems to be pretty flimsy too- plastic- and pressed board (?)

Just an FYI. I've worked on, as in repaired & modified, several keyboards. The main structural element is the frame of the keybed itself. The pressboard underneath is slightly more than just a cheap skin though it may act as a support for additional elements like the power supply and wheels.

I don't see plastic as much of an issue as parts, like knobs, that stick out from the surface. No matter how strong or flimsy the plastic, if nothing sticks out, nothing gets broken. Buffing with Novus is also a whole lot easier than trying to figure out how to touch up painted metal. Don't know what I'd do to fix up a scratched Motif.

Ernie

michael88s
09-05-2008, 02:20 PM
Oxi, it looks like the Alesis Fusion 8 HD has been discontinued??
Interesting concept, I like that idea better than the Receptor rackmount pc.

Jimmy, I didn't know Yamaha owns Steinberg. I sure hope they don't screw up the way Tascam did with Gigastudio :(

ohernie, no argument from me about knobs being more of a problem than plastic casings, but they're both problems. I admit that the extra care to move something with knobs and sliders, like my KSPro 88 is a bit of a pain- but it's worth it. As for plastic, on the Yamaha KX8, just like on my Yamaha P60, the plastic casing isn't flush with the bottom, it protrudes a bit and could grab something and crack pretty easily. Also the thin plastic doesn't absorb shock very well at all. I know this from experience. I had the mishap of having my P60 slide off a dolly, land on it's back, and two keys broke plus four jumped their tracks. That turned out to be an interesting gig :confused: my fault entirely, and since then I haven't been a big fan of light duty keyboard cases. On the other hand, I actually saw our singer back up his car over a well-built Roland D50 (not mine) in only a padded case and not damage it at all! Go figure..

pianokim
09-05-2008, 09:23 PM
Hi.

I'm using the Peavey Cx8p which I love for live use.
I have done a few little modifications to it and am very happy with it.
I originally wanted the Oberheim MC3000 but could never find one for sale.
I wish the Cx8p had more than just 128 memory locations - like the MC3000 with 10 times that.

Does anybody know if it's possible to modify the Cx8 to have more memory?
Or know anyone who could do this?

Thanks

-Kim

michael88s
09-06-2008, 10:02 AM
Hi Kim and welcome to the forums!

I couldn't find any reference online to the keyboard model you gave- did you mean the DPM C8X?

If so, it appears to be a pretty interesting keyboard, with a lot of control. Unfortunately, I don't know much about it, sorry. But... if it's the DPM C8X, doesn't it have a floppy drive, and couldn't you save presets to disk?

Michael

pianokim
09-07-2008, 05:04 PM
Hi Michael

I'm sorry I mispelled the name of the Peavey.
Here's a link to the one I have:
http://news.harmony-central.com/Newp/WNAMM98/Peavey/DPM-C8X.html

It's smaller and lighter than the one you're referring to and does have twice the memory of the older one. No disk drive though.
I put a new blue display on it - looks better, and replaced the wooden end blocks with aluminum. Looks great - everyone's always asking me about this board.
I just wish for two things the MC3000 has: more memory and sysex facilities. It's been impossible for me to hunt down an MC3000 - that one seems to be more widespread in Europe.

-Kim




Hi Kim and welcome to the forums!

I couldn't find any reference online to the keyboard model you gave- did you mean the DPM C8X?

If so, it appears to be a pretty interesting keyboard, with a lot of control. Unfortunately, I don't know much about it, sorry. But... if it's the DPM C8X, doesn't it have a floppy drive, and couldn't you save presets to disk?

Michael

michael88s
09-07-2008, 05:45 PM
Hi Kim,

Well, good luck trying to find an MC3000 if that's what you want. Maybe eBay will have one, one of these days.

Michael

scope4live
09-07-2008, 09:04 PM
Don't forget there's also an MC2000 with 4 less MIDI hardware I/O's and less chains, velocity curves, etc.

12 years later I still never use all of the features. Since going to less hardware I don't need all of the MIDI I/O's either, but the 8 pedals are crucial.

I still think the best option is a controller bed w/ the MC3000D. I should have bid on that puppy, as I dread carrying this beast, it's killing me but the pay eases the pain. :)

pianokim
09-08-2008, 03:27 PM
The MC2000 seems just as hard to come by.
I don't think these boards were ever very widespread in the US.
MC3000d looks cool - I don't know where I would put it though, it's quite big. Plus it would add extra latency to the whole setup.

I still have a MidiTemp PMM-88E from before I came to the US.
That thing can do just about anything with midi. Maybe I could somehow fit it inside the Peavey.

-Kim


Don't forget there's also an MC2000 with 4 less MIDI hardware I/O's and less chains, velocity curves, etc.

12 years later I still never use all of the features. Since going to less hardware I don't need all of the MIDI I/O's either, but the 8 pedals are crucial.

I still think the best option is a controller bed w/ the MC3000D. I should have bid on that puppy, as I dread carrying this beast, it's killing me but the pay eases the pain. :)

ohernie
09-09-2008, 01:58 AM
I've done a lot of postulating about what I would like to see in a keyboard. I'm headed more and more for splitting the controller from the control surface, ala 3000d, mainly because I hate the way keyboards panels are laid out. I'm thinking of a large but thin (3" max) panel, 76 note keyboard size that would be set up as if it was a keyboard with "dumb" midi controllers stacked underneath it. If keyboards were used they would probably be set to "local off" and the functionality transferred to the control surface.

My situation is made more complicated by the fact that my former field of expertise is microprocessor systems. If I don't like the existing panels I can build one - not that I want to. I did that 18 years ago when I couldn't find a drum machine I liked. Made myself a midi controller (no sounds) equivalent of a Roland CR80 on steroids. It took me about six months of wiring and assembly language programming from the time I gave up trying to find what I wanted to it's first gig. Right now I'm just postulating and gathering info. I'm not quite frustrated enough but it's getting there.

JimmyV: Thanks for the heads-up on the Oberheim units. I downloaded the manual for the 3000 for reference. If I ever get around to implementing it's functionality on a PC I'll let you know.

Ernie

scope4live
09-09-2008, 03:27 PM
That would be a dream. I have many European DIY'rs that think they can do something similar, but mostly all smoke and no fire.

I will help pay your R&D costs, trust me. I have several custom developers I draw my strengths from for the Scope DSP Platform. If it wasn't for Gigastuduio 4 and the VST Romplers, I wouldn't need anything more powerful than the old 1 GHz Coppermine w/ the whopping 256k L2 Cache.

But those developers can't make what we are talking about.

Let Me Know. ;)

ohernie
09-11-2008, 01:49 PM
Sounds good, I think we have similar needs. I'm in the middle of another software project right now. I've got the meat & potatoes done so user interface is next (blech). It'll be at least a month before it's finished. When I get close to where we can discuss needs and specs I'll PM you.

Ernie

scope4live
09-12-2008, 10:28 AM
You can count on it Brotha' Man Ohernie. )(~

isha123
02-13-2012, 01:30 AM
I agree with this. Always try to choose a keyword that relevant, competitive.