Old 04-25-2019, 11:07 AM   #1
kirk1701
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Default Keylab 88 vs ???

I bought the first Minilab when it was still $99. I love it. The upgrades have been enormous, especially Analog Lab 3. It suits all my synth and key needs.

However, the more I use it, the less I'm satisfied with the teeny controller. I can't record a take in one pass. This is particularly time-consuming for piano parts.

My first instrument was piano many years ago and while I migrated to guitar, I still retain the impulse to reach for a piano when I need to sort out harmonies and whatnot.

I'd love to upgrade to an 88-key hammer action controller, but the pricing is ridiculous. People give away 100-year-old hand-made upright pianos, but a MIDI controller is $1000-1500?! Am I crazy or is that nuts?

Anyway, does anyone know whether Arturia offers upgrade discounts for pre-existing customers? I don't really need Piano V or anything other package that comes with the Keylab 88. I just want the MIDI control.

Barring that, any suggestions for affordable alternatives? Anyone have something like this cluttering their studio they'd like to get rid of?
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:24 AM   #2
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I've been waiting for Native Instrument's S88 to go on sale. Good thing I'm not holding my breath.

I doubt that you'll find a "loyalty" discount on Arturia's hardware. Or anybody's hardware for that matter (not counting U.S.-manufactured pickup trucks).

And wait until the next time you run Arturia's software manager. V7 is here, along with Analog Lab 4. More long downloads!
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Old 04-25-2019, 11:26 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by TheMaartian View Post
I've been waiting for Native Instrument's S88 to go on sale. Good thing I'm not holding my breath.

I doubt that you'll find a "loyalty" discount on Arturia's hardware. Or anybody's hardware for that matter (not counting U.S.-manufactured pickup trucks).
DAMMIT! They've been pushing their compressors, pres, and filters at me for a couple months now. I don't need those, as cool as they look. I hate that we're slaves to what companies want to sell us, rather than being able to bargain on what we actually need. That's another discussion entirely.

I had an M-Audio 61 key controller for about a week. I hated the action. It was painful to use. I'm not exaggerating. That synth action is really irritating. If you're used to analog synths, then I suppose you're used to knob twiddling for expression. I'm a "classical" musician. I've spent a lifetime developing the skills to manipulate an instrument. Mouse-clicking and menu-surfing is a huge creative turn-off for me. No judgement, if it helps anyone express themselves it's good. It just doesn't help me.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:30 PM   #4
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DAMMIT! They've been pushing their compressors, pres, and filters at me for a couple months now. I don't need those, as cool as they look. I hate that we're slaves to what companies want to sell us, rather than being able to bargain on what we actually need. That's another discussion entirely.

I had an M-Audio 61 key controller for about a week. I hated the action. It was painful to use. I'm not exaggerating. That synth action is really irritating. If you're used to analog synths, then I suppose you're used to knob twiddling for expression. I'm a "classical" musician. I've spent a lifetime developing the skills to manipulate an instrument. Mouse-clicking and menu-surfing is a huge creative turn-off for me. No judgement, if it helps anyone express themselves it's good. It just doesn't help me.
Hear you.... if I were you, I'd get a 73-key Studiologic SL73 Studio controller ($500 new) or the SL88 (same price!) and a SIMPLE midi controller (encoders/knobs) for tweaking anything you need... the Minilab gets the job done. Or a Behringer X-touch Mini, or Beatstep.

It's a small investment... but you get great key feel (weighted), MIDI capability... and enough keys to get the job done. Minimal investment. You don't need an NI S88 MK2 ($1050). Just get the keys, and a tiny controller you can sit on top of it, for tweaking. Two devices are a lot cheaper than an all-in-one.
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Old 04-25-2019, 07:28 PM   #5
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Hear you.... if I were you, I'd get a 73-key Studiologic SL73 Studio controller ($500 new) or the SL88 (same price!) and a SIMPLE midi controller (encoders/knobs) for tweaking anything you need... the Minilab gets the job done. Or a Behringer X-touch Mini, or Beatstep.

It's a small investment... but you get great key feel (weighted), MIDI capability... and enough keys to get the job done. Minimal investment. You don't need an NI S88 MK2 ($1050). Just get the keys, and a tiny controller you can sit on top of it, for tweaking. Two devices are a lot cheaper than an all-in-one.
Good advice! I do have the OG Minilab. Arturia released Analog Lab 4 this week. Downloading now. Looking forward to the Mellotron.

I'll have a closer look at the SL88.
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Old 04-25-2019, 10:46 PM   #6
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Good advice! I do have the OG Minilab. Arturia released Analog Lab 4 this week. Downloading now. Looking forward to the Mellotron.

I'll have a closer look at the SL88.
Awesome. Yeah I really love those Studiologic Studio boards. I think it's the same keybed as on the Nord Stage 3 (the 76 and 88 key versions). Great feel, in my opinion.

If you're looking to save a tiny bit more money... go for a Casio PX-160 or CDP-135... the feel of those boards is GREAT and they're cheap. Internal sounds suck, but that's to be expected. But as a controller, they're super dope.

Any used Yamaha "P" series piano is worth it, too.. P-95, P-120, P-85, P-35 (all of those have MIDI in/out btw) but the P-45 doesn't (just USB, still fine though).

I'm no amazing keyboardist by any means but I have to have a weighted board AND synth-action board in my studio, or several of various brands.

My main studio workhorse is a Nord Stage 3 76HP... love it (and the uprights/grands within)... I also have a Yamaha P-121 (their very first 73-key digital piano... some damn good sounds inside it... a pleasant surprise)... also have a Casio CDP-135 that I'm letting a friend borrow at the moment.

Used to have a Casio PX-5s (again, great-feeling board)... used to also have a Yamaha P-60 (excellent feel and piano sound.. heavy and HUGE though)...

The Studiologic boards are well worth the money, I think. I'm likely picking up an SL73 as soon as they're back in stock. The 88 is the same price... might opt for that instead, I don't know.

For synth-action stuff... I have an Arturia Keylab 49 MK2, Keylab Essential 49, and lots of mini-key stuff (Minilab MK2, Keystep, Axiom Air Mini 32 by M-Audio, and an NI Komplete Kontrol S49 (MK1).

Needless to say, I love keyboards. haha.

Which M-Audio 61-key board did you have btw? The Axiom series (Mk2 especially, the ones with the screen in the center) feel pretty good, all things considered.

"Mouse-clicking and menu-surfing is a huge creative turn-off for me. No judgement, if it helps anyone express themselves it's good. It just doesn't help me."

Hear ya. Nothing more annoying than mouse-clicking and menu-diving. That's one of the reasons I own a Nord. Depending on your budget, I'd consider buying a used Nord Piano 2 or 3 (the 88s). Price is good used, and they feel great... superb sounds... like ZERO menu-diving. Plus, you get a decent sample synth section, which is fun.. again, no mousing.

Something you should also consider is a Control Surface for Reaper... like the Behringer X-Touch or something.... it's so nice having motorized faders, mute/solo/record... transport... very little mousing. I use the mouse out of necessity but try to get the "hardware feel" with everything I do. It's just more fun that way.

Last edited by themixtape; 04-25-2019 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:12 AM   #7
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I was in on the ground floor with the Faderport. It's great. I use the mouse and keyboard, but I don't like editing MIDI with it. I'd rather just play the part in real time. It's really time-consuming to draw in notes, then add expression later. Waste of time.

I think I had an M-Audio Oxygen. I didn't have it long enough to have a clear memory. It definitely didn't have a screen.

I took piano from the time I could read (grade one in Canada) all the way through high school. Then I switched to guitar. So I have well-developed fingers. When I strike a piano key, I strike it with authority. So if there's no resistance on a keybed, I hit the plastic bottom hard.
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirk1701 View Post
I was in on the ground floor with the Faderport. It's great. I use the mouse and keyboard, but I don't like editing MIDI with it. I'd rather just play the part in real time. It's really time-consuming to draw in notes, then add expression later. Waste of time.

I think I had an M-Audio Oxygen. I didn't have it long enough to have a clear memory. It definitely didn't have a screen.

I took piano from the time I could read (grade one in Canada) all the way through high school. Then I switched to guitar. So I have well-developed fingers. When I strike a piano key, I strike it with authority. So if there's no resistance on a keybed, I hit the plastic bottom hard.
Right on.. yeah, take a look at the Studiologics or a used Yamaha P... I honestly LOVE the feel of the Yamaha P95, P85, P60, P35, etc... I think they have the best feel of all the weighted digital pianos/midi controllers... but the newer Casios are really good, too. If you are classically-trained, definitely try some of them out, or take a chance on the Studiologics... they're never in stores, but worth the investment. Also, sometimes there are good, helpful reviews on YouTube... not always though. A lot of people are just like "here's my new digital piano! It's so cool. It's got 88 keys. And I like the look of it"
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:57 AM   #9
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I really hate gear. It's all overpriced and never what you actually need.
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