Old 08-11-2011, 10:36 AM   #1
dwally89
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Hi,

I am primarily a guitarist but can also play a few basic things on piano/keyboard, mainly just chords.
I am looking to buy either a normal keyboard that can output MIDI, or a MIDI controller.

1. MIDI controller vs Keyboard with MIDI output?
2. How many keys?
As I said, I'm primarily a guitarist, so will only be using this to add more texture to my recordings.
Is a 25 key controller too small?
3. Has anyone got any specific ones that they recommend? I'm currently looking at this one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Akai-LPK25-L...3080767&sr=1-8
I'd prefer not to spend too much more than £40 if possible, £70 or so at max.

Thanks
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:58 AM   #2
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One consideration is the feel, do you want the feel of weighted keys like a real piano or more of a lighter touch. The problem with weighted keys is that it can be difficult to play things like drums or any instruments that require rapid key playing.

Another consideration (one of the most important for me), is the velocity sensitivity. The more numbers it puts out from 1 to 127 the better.

Controller selectable sliders and knobs are also important for spitting out CCs, a Bender, Mod wheel, and at least one slider would be minimum for me.

I prefer the 64 key unweighted for most things but I also have a 88 key weighted keyboard for piano players that come in the studio.

Just some of my thoughts.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwally89 View Post
Hi,

I am primarily a guitarist but can also play a few basic things on piano/keyboard, mainly just chords.
I am looking to buy either a normal keyboard that can output MIDI, or a MIDI controller.

1. MIDI controller vs Keyboard with MIDI output?
2. How many keys?
As I said, I'm primarily a guitarist, so will only be using this to add more texture to my recordings.
Is a 25 key controller too small?
3. Has anyone got any specific ones that they recommend? I'm currently looking at this one:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Akai-LPK25-L...3080767&sr=1-8
I'd prefer not to spend too much more than £40 if possible, £70 or so at max.

Thanks
My advice. Dont get a keyboard. These things are fantastic:

http://www.yourockguitar.com/

Dont let the marketing fool you :facepalm:. It actually tracks very well.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tod View Post
One consideration is the feel, do you want the feel of weighted keys like a real piano or more of a lighter touch. The problem with weighted keys is that it can be difficult to play things like drums or any instruments that require rapid key playing.
I don't thing weighted keys would be a requirement for me, as I'm mainly a guitarist

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tod View Post
Controller selectable sliders and knobs are also important for spitting out CCs, a Bender, Mod wheel, and at least one slider would be minimum for me.
What are CCs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tod View Post
I prefer the 64 key unweighted for most things but I also have a 88 key weighted keyboard for piano players that come in the studio.
Do you have an specific models to recommend?

Thanks
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lxm View Post
My advice. Dont get a keyboard. These things are fantastic:

http://www.yourockguitar.com/

Dont let the marketing fool you :facepalm:. It actually tracks very well.
Am not so convinced...
If anything, I'd prefer to get a MIDI pickup for my guitar if I was going to go via that method.

At the moment I'd prefer to get a MIDI Keyboard controller
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lxm View Post
My advice. Dont get a keyboard. These things are fantastic:

http://www.yourockguitar.com/

Dont let the marketing fool you :facepalm:. It actually tracks very well.
I don't recommend the YRG. The fretboard is pretty nice (not velocity sensitive tho), but the string triggers' tracking is awful. The string sensitivity is very uneven, even after trying to adjust it with the later developed software editor.
I just couldn't set the strings to be sensitive enough for picking, which resulted in many missed notes, especially when I'm used to a light touch.

This would be a wonderful piece of gear, especially for it's price, if only they had done some quality control, and maybe not used the cheapest piezos for the string triggers. I'm going to send it back soon for a refund, and go back to waiting for the Starrlabs' Rock Controller.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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I guess you got a bad one. Mines near perfect. Velocity is great, get a wide range with the strings. I had to play with the editor alot to get it dialed in of coarse. The fretboard is not velocity sensitive unfortunately. Not much of a tapper so I dont mind too much.

I doubt that Rock Controller will ever come out. I bought a ZTAR and it SUCKED. Like really really badly. Horrible string triggers. I didnt have the very latest triggers(by a year). For $1500 I would hope for much better performance.

Nothing is perfect unfortunately. I would pay alot of money for the magic bullet.... thats for sure.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dwally89 View Post
I don't thing weighted keys would be a requirement for me, as I'm mainly a guitarist
No, I'm sure you don't, if I had to choose one keyboard it would be unweighted for more flexibility.

Quote:
What are CCs?
They are what controls the various parameters of a VSTi, Volume, Pitch Bend, Aftertouch, etc.. There are 127 controllers (CC) in all along with a few others.

To get an idea, insert an empty midi item in a track in Reaper. Then open the Midi Editor and look down in the left corner and you'll see a controller (CC) lane. Click on the little down arrow and you can see all the controllers available in Reaper.

The more you get into midi the more important they become.

Quote:
Do you have an specific models to recommend?

Thanks
Not realy, all mine are fairly old samplers and synths that provide pretty much everything I need. Since they're also sound moduals and samplers they were pretty expensive.

I did take a look at the link you provided and also checked it out on the Akai web sight. It's really bare bones with no knobs, wheels, or sliders. There also wasn't much info about it. It does have software for editing programs but just what parameters are editable wasn't clear. I tried to download the manual but had to register and didn't want to do that. You might do that though to get a better idea whats all there.

For the price and since your just getting started it might be OK. You can add and edit CCs in the ME (midi editor) manually if there's no way to do it from the keyboard.

Tod
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:41 PM   #9
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I bought an M-Audio Oxygen 25 the other day and I have mapped it to Reaper successfully. I like it, it's nice to have the transport buttons on it so you don't have to hit play/record/all that stuff with the mouse. It also comes in 49 and 61-key.
More info: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Oxygen25.html
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:04 AM   #10
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I bought an M-Audio Oxygen 25 the other day and I have mapped it to Reaper successfully. I like it, it's nice to have the transport buttons on it so you don't have to hit play/record/all that stuff with the mouse. It also comes in 49 and 61-key.
More info: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Oxygen25.html
Thanks, but looks a bit expensive for me at the moment
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:49 AM   #11
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Also, why are keyboards so much cheaper than controllers, when keyboards also have a MIDI out?
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:40 AM   #12
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Thanks, but looks a bit expensive for me at the moment
Personally I wouldn't go for anything less than a Oxygen 49.
But, have a look at used ones, with velocity, at least one feader. You can get some cheap
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:32 AM   #13
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Am currently considering this one:
http://store.apple.com/uk/product/TA...4NjE&s=priceLH
Quote:
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Also, why are keyboards so much cheaper than controllers, when keyboards also have a MIDI out?
Anyone got an answer to this question?
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dwally89 View Post
Looking good
Quote:
Anyone got an answer to this question?
Well, real control-surfaces has motorized touch-faders.
Maybe more programming needed as well. I don't know..
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:30 AM   #15
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I have the Akai LPK25 that you posted. Decent controller, although the keys are too small (not to mention there's not enough of them) for any "real" playing.

I found myself switching octaves, and there were some instances when I'd be playing/composing something that spans across three octaves and it was virtually impossible.

Quote:
Is a 25 key controller too small?
If you're just planning on triggering single notes and such then it should be OK..

Quote:
Has anyone got any specific ones that they recommend?
I suggest spending a little extra and going for the M-Audio KeyRig49 ---> http://www.amazon.com/Audio-KeyRig-K...3489498&sr=8-1

That way you get 49 real-sized keys which should be enough for pretty good keyboarding and such.

=====

EDIT: Saw your post about the M-Audio Keystation.. If you're spending that much money you might as well get an M-Audio Oxygen. You only get 49 keys, but in exchange for the 12 additional notes you get faders and knobs.

I decided to return my Korg MicroKey (37 keys) because it felt weird playing with the small keys. So just today and exchange it for an Oxygen49. Spent more than I initially planned but this thing is a beaut. Keys feel the same as it did with my old Roland XP-30 from waaaay back in the day.
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Old 08-16-2011, 04:51 AM   #16
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Saw your post about the M-Audio Keystation.. If you're spending that much money you might as well get an M-Audio Oxygen. You only get 49 keys, but in exchange for the 12 additional notes you get faders and knobs.
Thanks for the response.
I think it'll be better for me (at the moment) to purchase the Keystation as it has more keys and I currently don't see myself using the faders etc, I mainly want this as a way of inputting MIDI into the computer, and possibly also for teaching myself a bit how to play piano/keyboard.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:50 AM   #17
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I currently don't see myself using the faders etc,
If you plan to work a much with daws and recording, you will some day be very happy that you choose to get some knobs and faders..
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:16 AM   #18
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If you plan to work a much with daws and recording, you will some day be very happy that you choose to get some knobs and faders..
Can't I just do all that stuff in the GUI?
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:27 AM   #19
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Can't I just do all that stuff in the GUI?
Well, if you need to add some midi cc events with realtime feel, it's hard without some outboard knobs/faders.
I have a 49key midi keyboard, just like the one you mentioned, and had to buy a controller to get the needed buttons/knobs/faders when I started to use a brass vsti.
Got an Korg nanoKontrol2, and it's working good, so.. yes, of course you can add that later.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:32 AM   #20
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Well, if you need to add some midi cc events with realtime feel, it's hard without some outboard knobs/faders.
I'm still quite new to MIDI, please could you explain what MIDI cc events are?

Thanks
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:25 PM   #21
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For me, the #1 reason I like the Oxygen is because of the transport controls on the keyboard (stop, play, rewind, fast forward). The track selection buttons are awesome too.

I can't even begin to explain how convenient it is to no longer have to extend my arm and reach for the mouse/trackpad to press record, select a particular track, stop playing, etc.

Sounds like such a small thing, really, but it opens up a huge new world of convenience for recording.

The faders and knobs are a nice bonus -- I was going to get a Novation Nocturn, but I figured, why get a a keyboard and a mixing console when the Oxygen gives you that in one?

The Oxygen also allow you to switch between 16 MIDI channels right from the keyboard itself -- very handy for switching between instruments on the fly.

Although I suppose all this is a bit over the top for you right now. If you don't think you care very much for faders and the added convenience of transport controls (like G-Sun said you can always get them later), then you can

1.) save money and go for the 49-key model, or
2.) spend the extra money go for the 61-key model (it does cost twice as much as the maximum that you specified in your original post).

Either one will last you for a while since you pretty much get all the keys you need for "real" keyboarding without needing to hit the transpose button (except to access the really high or really low notes).
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:54 PM   #22
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I'm still quite new to MIDI, please could you explain what MIDI cc events are?
It's controller-messages, could be anything, but piano sustain-pedal (CC64) is the one you are most likely to meet first (and need to get right).
http://www.tweakheadz.com/midi_controllers.htm
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:14 PM   #23
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I, too, am new to all this keyboard, midi controller, workstation stuff and don't know what to do. As posted above by cdvan the Oxygen sounds like something I could use. But, I would like for it to work as a stand-alone keyboard with a built in sound library. That way I could use it for song writing or possibly just practice without having to run it through my computer, REAPER, or an interface. I would like to be able to use it in place of REAPER's virtual keyboard in order to use ReaSynth, etc.

Is there such a thing? If so, I would sincerely appreciate some direction.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:23 PM   #24
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I, too, am new to all this keyboard, midi controller, workstation stuff and don't know what to do. As posted above by cdvan the Oxygen sounds like something I could use. But, I would like for it to work as a stand-alone keyboard with a built in sound library. That way I could use it for song writing or possibly just practice without having to run it through my computer, REAPER, or an interface. I would like to be able to use it in place of REAPER's virtual keyboard in order to use ReaSynth, etc.

Is there such a thing? If so, I would sincerely appreciate some direction.
I'm no expert on this, but from what I can see, what you want is a keyboard with a MIDI out, e.g.
http://www.casio.co.uk/products/musi...ct/CTK-3000F5/

This keyboard works fine without a computer, but will also be able to be connected to a computer via MIDI to be used with REAPER
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:09 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Doodad View Post
I, too, am new to all this keyboard, midi controller, workstation stuff and don't know what to do. As posted above by cdvan the Oxygen sounds like something I could use. But, I would like for it to work as a stand-alone keyboard with a built in sound library. That way I could use it for song writing or possibly just practice without having to run it through my computer, REAPER, or an interface. I would like to be able to use it in place of REAPER's virtual keyboard in order to use ReaSynth, etc.

Is there such a thing? If so, I would sincerely appreciate some direction.
Midi controller: Keys, no sounds
Keyboard/ Digital piano / Synth: Keys with sound
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Old 08-18-2011, 04:42 AM   #26
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Midi controller: Keys, no sounds
Keyboard/ Digital piano / Synth: Keys with sound

I think this description is one of the main things I needed. I didn't know the difference between them. One other question. Currently, I'm using a ZOOM R16 interface/control surface/stand-alone multi-track recorder along with REAPER. Everything works fine for me to record guitar and vocals. But, the ZOOM R16 does not have midi in/out; nor does my computer. Do I need a midi connection in order to use a keyboard to play a VSTi like Reasynth?
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Old 08-18-2011, 05:24 AM   #27
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Do I need a midi connection in order to use a keyboard to play a VSTi like Reasynth?
Yes, but some midi-keyboards are usb. So, you can plug it directly to your computer
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Old 08-18-2011, 07:57 AM   #28
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Man,this is sounding better all the time. Is there an advantage to using regular midi connections versus USB?
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:44 AM   #29
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Man,this is sounding better all the time. Is there an advantage to using regular midi connections versus USB?
You can use regular MIDI connections to plug the controller into other things like sound modules, USB audio interfaces etc, whereas USB will only let you plug it into the computer.
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