Old 07-28-2016, 12:25 AM   #1
kero
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Default Midi Keyboard, is 49 keys ok?

I have a midi keyboard controller, 25 keys, but have started learning Piano and using 2 hands.
I am just about to order one with more keys.

I don't want to take up too much space, will 49 keys be ok? or do I really need to go for 61?

I plan getting an Alesis Q49 as I have an Alesis Q25 and its fantastic, no frills, plug and play.

Any pointers?

Last edited by kero; 07-28-2016 at 01:05 AM.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by kero View Post
I have a midi keyboard controller, 25 keys, but have started learning Piano and using 2 hands.
I am just about to order one with more keys.

I don't want to take up too much space, will 49 keys be ok? or do I really need to go for 66?

I plan getting an Alesis Q49 as I have an Alesis Q25 and its fantastic, no frills, plug and play.

Any pointers?
For basic piano-stuff 49keys will work,
but good piano boards are 88keys and weighted.

I use a 49key board for midi/synth/sample-stuff
and have a 88key ePiano for piano.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:43 AM   #3
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Also use a 49'er but I'm a 'one hand man'

I wouldn't like to learn properly on one this size - I'd look at least at a 61 key.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:52 AM   #4
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If you are serious about decently playing piano. . . I guaranty you that you'll get fed up of 49 keys pretty quick, quick like few weeks!

To me, bare minimum is 61 semi-weighted but 88 fully weighted being the best.

Started with 61 keys, a DW-6000 (bof, no comments) then a JV-80 (I still love this one).
Still playing the JV for synth stuff (the after-touch pretty good on it) but bought a Yamaha semi-weighted 76 keys for piano stuff. Used it for 18 years (well, let's say it was OK but no more)
Finally gave up on the Yamaha and bought a good one, a VPC1!
Now, I think I can say I'm feeling like 'playing' a piano (well, I'm not good but I'm trying hard)
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:56 AM   #5
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While you may be able to make enjoyable music with a low key count it is very limiting.

Personally I will say 61 absolute minimum for synth and samples. Go 61 if very limited on space and need something light and portable.

88 keys with weighted hammer action (not semi weighted/springs) is a lot better. You may wish you had gone that way earlier. Enjoyment factor when playing goes through the roof. This is especially so when playing acoustic piano and electric piano sounds.

You can still get a lot of enjoyment from a 49 key but when you use 88 key weighted hammer action it feels much less like a toy.
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Old 07-28-2016, 01:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by typhonj View Post
If you are serious about decently playing piano. . . I guaranty you that you'll get fed up of 49 keys pretty quick, quick like few weeks!

To me, bare minimum is 61 semi-weighted but 88 fully weighted being the best.

Started with 61 keys, a DW-6000 (bof, no comments) then a JV-80 (I still love this one).
Still playing the JV for synth stuff (the after-touch pretty good on it) but bought a Yamaha semi-weighted 76 keys for piano stuff. Used it for 18 years (well, let's say it was OK but no more)
Finally gave up on the Yamaha and bought a good one, a VPC1!
Now, I think I can say I'm feeling like 'playing' a piano (well, I'm not good but I'm trying hard)
Thank you typhonj, I have found the perfect one with 61 keys that fits on my desk.
https://www.gak.co.uk/en/korg-microk...-61-mk2/125140

no buttons or anything, perfection!
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:08 AM   #7
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but have started learning Piano and using 2 hands.
Sorry, I thought you were looking at really playing piano and looking at what the other said, I think they were also mislead!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE0PsGqEYD4

Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by typhonj View Post
Sorry, I thought you were looking at really playing piano and looking at what the other said, I think they were also mislead!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE0PsGqEYD4

Good luck!
yes, this is the one, got many great reviews, will go for it. this is one review out hundreds of fantastic ones! thanks for pointing out though!
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:46 AM   #9
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yes, this is the one, got many great reviews, will go for it. this is one review out hundreds of fantastic ones! thanks for pointing out though!
Yes, Microkeys has very short and small keys, you can easily play more than an octave, even with small hands. If you get used to full size keys you will have to constantly look at the keys when playing. Short keys make playing feel cramped (your fingers have to be in different positions when compared to playing on full length keys). Easy to slip off the thin keys too.
Even if you have small keys it will feel very different to a real piano, weighted hammer action or digital piano.
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:54 AM   #10
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Yes, Microkeys has very short and small keys, you can easily play more than an octave, even with small hands. If you get used to full size keys you will have to constantly look at the keys when playing. Short keys make playing feel cramped (your fingers have to be in different positions when compared to playing on full length keys). Easy to slip off the thin keys too.
Even if you have small keys it will feel very different to a real piano, weighted hammer action or digital piano.
I understand Softsynth, thanks for pointing it out. I do have small hands and skinny fingers and not much desk space! I guess its gonna be fine!
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:31 AM   #11
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I understand Softsynth, thanks for pointing it out. I do have small hands and skinny fingers and not much desk space! I guess its gonna be fine!
I have smaller hands too.
Even so if you are learning to play piano I feel you would be much better off with a 49 full length keys with normal spacing than 61 cramped ones.
Your call of course.
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:26 AM   #12
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I use 41 right now out of necessity, but its not very comfortable as most sample libraries have key switches as well as many uses mode then 4 octaves. So I'd say 61 is the minimum.
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:43 AM   #13
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I use 41 right now out of necessity, but its not very comfortable as most sample libraries have key switches as well as many uses mode then 4 octaves. So I'd say 61 is the minimum.
Kero says he's learning piano so a 61 key keyboard with micro keys could be detrimental to his performance.

Mik,
I suggest you consider getting yourself a cheap and nasty 25 key USB keyboard as a switching device to use with the other keyboard.
If you do not want to stretch for a new one you can pick up used ones for peanuts on eBay.
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:50 AM   #14
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I use 41 right now out of necessity, but its not very comfortable as most sample libraries have key switches as well as many uses mode then 4 octaves. So I'd say 61 is the minimum.
Thanks Mik
I really want small one though, 61 looks a bit to big next to my screen.
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Old 07-28-2016, 06:16 AM   #15
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@ kero .... Playing piano gets far more involved than how many keys _ if you are making a serious, long-term effort. You can learn many important aspects on lesser number of keys. Much depends on how you choose to go about this and how committed you are.

Much has to do with muscle memory, and all its complex factors. This comes from learning many different techniques by repetitive, error-free practice ... and does not require 88-keys, initially.

Chord progression is a vast skill in itself and not dependent on number of keys.

Key touch is very important (AT SOME POINT). You are talking $700. (used) to $1,000. ++ for Roland A-88, Roland RD-300NX, NI S-88 to get keybeds comparable to quality acoustic pianos. Top pianists/keyboardists can still do magic on lesser keybeds.
Listen to Jordan Rudess playing on almost anything !

Not a specific answer, but lots more to focus on early than 49, 61, or 88, IMHO.

Last edited by sostenuto; 07-28-2016 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:10 AM   #16
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@ kero .... Playing piano gets far more involved than how many keys _ if you are making a serious, long-term effort. You can learn many important aspects on lesser number of keys. Much depends on how you choose to go about this and how committed you are.

Much has to do with muscle memory, and all its complex factors. This comes from learning many different techniques by repetitive, error-free practice ... and does not require 88-keys, initially.

Chord progression is a vast skill in itself and not dependent on number of keys.

Key touch is very important (AT SOME POINT). You are talking $700. (used) to $1,000. ++ for Roland A-88, Roland RD-300NX, NI S-88 to get keybeds comparable to quality acoustic pianos. Top pianists/keyboardists can still do magic on lesser keybeds.
Listen to Jordan Rudess playing on almost anything !

Not a specific answer, but lots more to focus on early than 49, 61, or 88, IMHO.
Sostenuto,
Can you imagine trying to teach someone that is starting out to play piano with just synth action micro keys at home?

Someone with Rudess's vast experience (and given his age) would have learned on full size keys, especially as he is a classical pianist.

Kero is learning to play piano. He is saying he only has space for a small keyboard, which in practice means 49 proper keys or 61 micro keys.

Rudess with an X key (note the heavy use of transpose buttons):
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:45 AM   #17
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Yea ... tough topic as so many different ways to start/learn, AND so many varied objectives. Nuns started me in 2nd grade with scales, arpeggios and and a ruler smack when wrists held wrong. Hanon exercise book too. Years later Howard Brubeck had to force me back to Dohnanyi (essential finger exercises). In that sense, I could see some one learning on a fairly minimal keyboard

I doubt seriously that most beginners (today) will tolerate the 'basics'. Many will shortcut to videos and 'enjoy' the process much more quickly.

Agree, one would be hard pressed to play well on a concert grand if everything prior was a cheapie MIDI mini
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:52 AM   #18
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I'd steer away from full size weighted hammer action boards unless playing piano (samples) is the main purpose- a synth action or semi-weighted with aftertouch works better for synthesizers. If physical space is not a problem, 61 keys is pretty sweet, but 49 does fine if you play different parts (like leads and chords) on different tracks anyway, octave switching becomes natural pretty quickly.

Having knobs on the keyboard is likewise very useful for synth playing. Oh and you'll need pedals too if you want to play piano.
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Old 07-28-2016, 07:54 AM   #19
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It depends on your keyboard skills, the space you have, and how you play. A serious keyboard player will find 49 keys confining quickly. But I'm thinking that if you have to ask the question, you may find 49 keys adequate. It's simple to transpose the keyboard up or down an octave, as needed.

I'm mostly a guitarist, and recently added a 49-key controller on my DAW desk. It works OK for me, it's handy, and it's all that fits. So I'm OK with it. But off to the side I do have a 76 key instrument in case I want to do a more elaborate part. With my limited keyboard skills I will probably not need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kero View Post
I have a midi keyboard controller, 25 keys, but have started learning Piano and using 2 hands.
I am just about to order one with more keys.

I don't want to take up too much space, will 49 keys be ok? or do I really need to go for 61?

I plan getting an Alesis Q49 as I have an Alesis Q25 and its fantastic, no frills, plug and play.

Any pointers?
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:05 AM   #20
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Depends. If you're into piano, then 49 keys won't do, and personally I don't think 61 will do, either. I prefer 76 key, and own a Kurweil PC376. Why 76? Because I use it for synth'd orchestral sounds as well as piano, I prefer the semi-weighted keys to fully weighted keys found on the 88 key models. If I need the lower octave I can easily do that with the press of button.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:06 AM   #21
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It depends on your keyboard skills, the space you have, and how you play. A serious keyboard player will find 49 keys confining quickly. But I'm thinking that if you have to ask the question, you may find 49 keys adequate. It's simple to transpose the keyboard up or down an octave, as needed.

I'm mostly a guitarist, and recently added a 49-key controller on my DAW desk. It works OK for me, it's handy, and it's all that fits. So I'm OK with it. But off to the side I do have a 76 key instrument in case I want to do a more elaborate part. With my limited keyboard skills I will probably not need it.
OT __ sorry .... but just now wrestling thru this for MIDI Keyboard on DAW #2. Already have standalone Roland digipiano driving DAW #1 AND Axiom Pro61 as main DAW #1 controller.
Was hoping to use 49-key for DAW #2 BUT one main usage is learning/playing Orange Tree Samples Guitar & Bass Libraries. To use all keys assigned for articulations/key switches, it seems to take 61-keys MINIMUM ??

Struggling enough with fundamentals right now, but you know better ..... 49-keys just won't get it later to play these Guitar samples effectively __ right ??

Last edited by sostenuto; 07-28-2016 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:10 AM   #22
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I'd steer away from full size weighted hammer action boards unless playing piano (samples) is the main purpose.
Piano via samples or better yet Pianoteq synthesizer.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:25 AM   #23
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Some input from a non-piano player.

Started out with a 25 key, was very happy with the difference from trying to mouse stuff into the piano roll, but quickly got tired of needing to change octaves.

Picked up a 49 key. It had driver issues so wasn't real usable with softsynths, but I did play around with it. It was like driving a car with a 4 speed manual transmission on the highway: you can get there, but you'd REALLY like an extra gear ratio, or in this case, octave.

Picked up a 61 key and I'm pretty happy with it, very little octave switching required for my needs. It is nearly the same width as my current desk so I cannot go larger without a new desk too, but I am not bothered by this. With the smaller keyboards I always wanted something bigger.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:25 AM   #24
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Personally I dislike the most common type of "serious" MIDI keyboard, that being semi weighted (the supposed step up product feature). I much prefer synth action and/or graded hammer action.

To me the affordable semi weighted keyboards I tried were the worst of all worlds, not the jack of all trades. Neither good at replicating piano feel or easy synth/organ action. A top end Kurzweil might be completely different.

Maybe I haven't tried the right semi weighted?, i've not being convinced by the usual suspects.

This comment is mainly personal bias, that's moving away from the OP's original question. Whatever the key feel I believe he needs the right size and shape of keys if learning to play piano.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:34 AM   #25
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I'm not a piano player, but I played for a long time.
I recently gave my Korg Wavestation EX to my kid, since I don't have room for it.
So I bought a M-Audio Oxygen 49.
When it come to the feeling of playing, it is two different worlds.
If you're into playing for real, full size weightened keys.
The number of keys depends on what you're playing. As many you can afford, have room for.
If you only going to play fills, some chords, 49 is ok, but two hand, I'm not sure 61 is enough.
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:41 AM   #26
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If you are serious about learning piano, I'd recommend at least 61 full sized keys and preferably 76 or 88 weighted and graded hammer action keys even if you have to do some serious juggling to make it fit.

Piano and synthesizer are my main instruments and I HATE mini keys!! I just purchased two of the Roland Boutique JP08 synths but did not buy the mini keyboard to go with them. I use a 76 note semi weighted Yamaha piano as a controller for them.

If you want to play samples, synth sounds and other stuff but not learn to play piano to the point where a real acoustic piano would feel right to you, 49 full size keys at a bare minimum but preferably 61 minimum would be my personal recommendation.

I learned to play on organ and a Roland Juno 6 synth (when they were brand new in the early 80s) and then progressed to piano, learning on an acoustic one.
These days, I compose on piano and/or synthesizer and they are very different beasts. If I want to record a piano part, I play on either an acoustic piano or a Yamaha graded hammer action digital piano. If I am recording synth parts, I use 61 key synth action keyboards for chords and bass together. If I'm playing lead parts or bass lines, I sometimes use two or three octave synth action keyboards (Roland SH09 and System 100 are two examples).

Bottom line, if you want to learn piano, learn on a piano keyboard whether it be a real acoustic or a weighted graded action digital preferably with at least 76 notes.
If you want to play primarily synth and sampler instruments, go for at least 49, preferably 61 keys and full size, not mini.

It all depends on why you are learning and what you want to do with those skills. If you are serious, use proper tools. You will be glad you did later on.
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:59 AM   #27
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wow,many replies, thank you

I have ordered a Korg Microkey 61, almost ordered an Alesis Q61, which is amazing, as I have the q25 and thats outstanding, no frills, no drivers....

but the Korg fits on my desk, I am going to learn to play, and I also use it for triggering drum software.
I don't mind that the keys are small or not weighted, the Alesis q25 keys are not weighted, feel fine to me.
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:46 AM   #28
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wow,many replies, thank you

I have ordered a Korg Microkey 61, almost ordered an Alesis Q61, which is amazing, as I have the q25 and thats outstanding, no frills, no drivers....

but the Korg fits on my desk, I am going to learn to play, and I also use it for triggering drum software.
I don't mind that the keys are small or not weighted, the Alesis q25 keys are not weighted, feel fine to me.
Hope you're happy with it, though not a good choice to learn piano you can still enjoy it I'm sure.

Check out the bundled software (much like Korg nanokey2).
http://korg-license-center.com/
Lots of genuine goodies including Lounge lizard session, which can be upgraded to full Lounge Lizard for half price, or quarter price during sale time (which is now!).
https://www.applied-acoustics.com/lounge-lizard-ep-4/
$49 as upgrade. You can do this with Strum2 and Ultra Analog2 too.

Korg M1 LE is a full Korg M1 workstation albeit only allowing you to use the original soundset. M1 was hot stuff in 1988, it was all over the early 90s dance music and films.
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:53 AM   #29
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Hope you're happy with it, though not a good choice to learn piano you can still enjoy it I'm sure.

Check out the bundled software (much like Korg nanokey2).
http://korg-license-center.com/
Lots of genuine goodies including Lounge lizard session, which can be upgraded to full Lounge Lizard for half price, or quarter price during sale time (which is now!).
https://www.applied-acoustics.com/lounge-lizard-ep-4/
$49 as upgrade. You can do this with Strum2 and Ultra Analog2 too.

Korg M1 LE is a full Korg M1 workstation albeit only allowing you to use the original soundset. M1 was hot stuff in 1988, it was all over the early 90s dance music and films.
My God you were right Softsynth! its just arrived, MICRO indeed! great for on the desk and compact.
I will still learn on it, though I think full size keys would be wiser to learn the piano properly, as you said!
BUT, for me its excellent, simple, fine for my small fingers or a kid!
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:35 AM   #30
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Kero says he's learning piano so a 61 key keyboard with micro keys could be detrimental to his performance.

Mik,
I suggest you consider getting yourself a cheap and nasty 25 key USB keyboard as a switching device to use with the other keyboard.
If you do not want to stretch for a new one you can pick up used ones for peanuts on eBay.
I have one like that already! But have no more usb slots, even with extension. Thought i do connect second one sometimes. But how would you get both to send signal to same track?
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:37 AM   #31
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^^^^
3 tracks:
(a) input from keyboard 1
(b) input from keyboard 2
(c) receive from tracks 1 and 2, record the Output
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:30 AM   #32
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I have one like that already! But have no more usb slots, even with extension. Thought i do connect second one sometimes. But how would you get both to send signal to same track?
I have five or six MIDI devices working at same time most of the time with no issues.

First time with new device:
Turn keyboard/new MIDI device on.
Open DAW
Preferences>
Enable and control>apply
Exit preferences.

They should now work together every time you open Reaper with them switched on.
If you forget to switch them on just go into Preferences and enable device.
If you open the DAW with two keyboards connected and set up in preferences they will both work with the same VSTi automatically.

No need to mess with sends and receives or the channels to get it up and running, it just works.

If you want to assign different controllers to different VSTis that is simple too.
Just go to MIDI:all channels and change VSTi control to your chosen specific keyboard (you will see a list of devices).
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:32 AM   #33
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My God you were right Softsynth! its just arrived, MICRO indeed! great for on the desk and compact.
I will still learn on it, though I think full size keys would be wiser to learn the piano properly, as you said!
BUT, for me its excellent, simple, fine for my small fingers or a kid!
Check out the Korg software package, best thing about it.
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Old 07-29-2016, 07:47 AM   #34
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the "problem" within mostly All Daws and more than one Hardw MIDI IN OUT available is that they do not have a simple Software MIDI IN-OUT Patchbay/Matrix

You can patch All which means really all or only one..
at max point you can assign to Global IN/Out xyz and exclude xx port
Never A+B to x
B+C to y
A+B+C to t
C+A to u

that´s why I open, since a long time, only virtual Ports within DAWS and do the routing outside..
Simply with one PRG at a specific channel and port
and I switch to different Soft. MIDI routing and much much more... and can of course bypass REAPER,.....
simple example gif but of course not all MIDI DAW/Live user need such
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:25 AM   #35
peter5992
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If you are serious about learning piano, I'd recommend at least 61 full sized keys and preferably 76 or 88 weighted and graded hammer action keys even if you have to do some serious juggling to make it fit.

Piano and synthesizer are my main instruments and I HATE mini keys!! I just purchased two of the Roland Boutique JP08 synths but did not buy the mini keyboard to go with them. I use a 76 note semi weighted Yamaha piano as a controller for them.

If you want to play samples, synth sounds and other stuff but not learn to play piano to the point where a real acoustic piano would feel right to you, 49 full size keys at a bare minimum but preferably 61 minimum would be my personal recommendation.

I learned to play on organ and a Roland Juno 6 synth (when they were brand new in the early 80s) and then progressed to piano, learning on an acoustic one.
These days, I compose on piano and/or synthesizer and they are very different beasts. If I want to record a piano part, I play on either an acoustic piano or a Yamaha graded hammer action digital piano. If I am recording synth parts, I use 61 key synth action keyboards for chords and bass together. If I'm playing lead parts or bass lines, I sometimes use two or three octave synth action keyboards (Roland SH09 and System 100 are two examples).

Bottom line, if you want to learn piano, learn on a piano keyboard whether it be a real acoustic or a weighted graded action digital preferably with at least 76 notes.
If you want to play primarily synth and sampler instruments, go for at least 49, preferably 61 keys and full size, not mini.

It all depends on why you are learning and what you want to do with those skills. If you are serious, use proper tools. You will be glad you did later on.
+1

That's it, really.

If you really want to learn how to play the piano, a real piano or a weighted 88 key midi keyboard is the best way to go.

If you want to sequence in midi parts 61 keys may be fine.

But 49 is really limiting.

I have a 61 keys synth / midi keyboard, as well as a 25 key Akai. I use them both, the Akai more for midi etc. But I don't have any real piano chops (wish I did).
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:40 AM   #36
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I've got 2 synth/sampler 61 key controllers and a Yamaha 88 key weighted keyboard.

I've gotten to where I use the synths most of the time. I've played and used them long enough to have a feel for them.

For playing midi drum parts, the synths are an absolute must, at least for me. The weighted keys are just to slow.
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Old 07-29-2016, 01:21 PM   #37
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Check out the Korg software package, best thing about it.
Not sure how to go about that, I am fine the way it is, don't want to complicate things!

Works instantly in Garage band, but had to lots of configuring in Reaper, but got there in the end
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Old 07-29-2016, 03:26 PM   #38
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Not sure how to go about that, I am fine the way it is, don't want to complicate things!

Works instantly in Garage band, but had to lots of configuring in Reaper, but got there in the end
No not the control software, just the packaged VSTi's. Several good ones in there. Use those inside Reaper and some standalone too.

You will find all the links in your package. I already mentioned them here in this thread.
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Old 07-29-2016, 06:49 PM   #39
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I've got 2 synth/sampler 61 key controllers and a Yamaha 88 key weighted keyboard.

I've gotten to where I use the synths most of the time. I've played and used them long enough to have a feel for them.

For playing midi drum parts, the synths are an absolute must, at least for me. The weighted keys are just to slow.
Interesting. I have an 88 key graded hammer Yamaha and a 61 key synth dual setup too, and probably use the 61 for the majority of bowed, blown, plucked or strummed VIs, but for anything percussive (including piano of course) I absolutely use the 88, and with faux drums especially I feel that the thump, the weight and the resistance are a must for having any kind of tactile sense of control.

And yeah, what some other people have said:

If you want to learn to play the piano, you need either a real piano or an 88 key digital piano with a decent weighted hammer action. I suppose you could sort of do this with 76 keys if they were properly weighted, but I certainly wouldn't want to.

But if you don't need to play the piano, but want to play music on a keyboard in other sorts of ways, then there are no rules about what's enough and what's not. It's all entirely subjective. If, for instance, you're just laying a few ambient pad sounds behind the major instrumentation, 49 or even 25 could be enough... A piano is a very specific, defined instrument. A digital keyboard is just a layout that can be used in any imaginable number of different ways, depending on what you want to do.
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