Best action on a 49\61 key midi controller


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Hello fellow key strokers.
I recently joined a technical progressive metal band and finding the keys on my 3rd gen. m audio oxygen 61 rather annoying to play. they're fine for regular studio midi work but its hard to play ultra fast keyboard solos with such crappy keys, theyre too small, wiggle left to right, and their response just feels sluggish. most cheap midi keyboards ive had my hands on seem to be this way, some are stiffer but i still feel sluggish while playing them and the keys are too small for accurate fast arps. the only exception are yamaha synths which seem to have better keys and im not willing to spend all that money on a synth and use it as a midi controller when all i need is a proper keyboard.
what do you guys recommend?
heard good things about the novation control range, and the roland A range.
do you find it easier to play fast synth solos on a non weighted or semi weighted keyboard?
I dont really need faders and sliders. only a pitch and mod wheel.

I know its all about personal preference but sadly I live in a country where musical instruments are heavily taxed and each music supplier only carries a limited number of brands and i dont feel like driving around the country to every music shop.

Thanks in advance

EDIT: I have a strong classical piano background but i already have an 88 key hammer action keyboard I can tolerate. just looking for a keyboard for synth solos and leads.
 
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happyrat1

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I have no personal experience with any of these but the best rated controllers are the Studiologic line using Fatar keybeds,

http://www.studiologic-music.com/products/

The Akai MPK Line

http://www.akaipro.com/category/keyboards

plus I also hear good things about Arturia Keylab controllers also using Fatar keybeds.

https://www.arturia.com/products

If I were currently looking for a mission critical controller these are the brands and models I would be looking at. The Roland controllers also have a great reputation.

I used to own an Oxygen 49. I agree it's a terrible action and would not recommend it to my worst enemy.

I replaced it with an Alesis QX49 which is a great improvement but alas still not up to the level of my hardware synths for responsiveness and speed. Also it's been discontinued.

Gary ;)
 
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thank you very much for the informed answer, ill be sure to check em out. what
I have no personal experience with any of these but the best rated controllers are the Studiologic line using Fatar keybeds,


The Akai MPK Line



plus I also hear good things about Arturia Keylab controllers also using Fatar keybeds.



If I were currently looking for a mission critical controller these are the brands and models I would be looking at. The Roland controllers also have a great reputation.

I used to own an Oxygen 49. I agree it's a terrible action and would not recommend it to my worst enemy.

I replaced it with an Alesis QX49 which is a great improvement but alas still not up to the level of my hardware synths for responsiveness and speed. Also it's been discontinued.

Gary ;)


thanks for the very informed answer, i have a feeling ive found my online home as a keyboardist.
what do you think about the new alesis vi range? they have semi weighted keys and feel pretty solid. hows the build quality? i find most cheap midi controllers to break down easily. I have two keyboards that lost their pitch bend and mod wheels.
 

happyrat1

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I haven't tried a VI controller/

The QX49 I own has a pretty good build quality as far as any plastic controller goes. I'm not certain what the internal spring mechanism is whether its physical coil or leaf springs or whether it's just the springiness of the keys themselves, flexing the plastic on each keypress. I've only had mine for the last year and a half and I can attest they have a nice finish and feel if a bit harder to press than the Oxygen, and they have no side to side sway like the cheapo Oxygen keys.

They also have somewhat more travel than the Oxygen and therefore are not suited to fast arpeggios without some practice.

I will say, however, that the Oxygen could not perform velocity if its life depended on it and with the Alesis velocity sensitivity works just fine. I had to disable velocity on the Oxygen to even get a usable note and it would drop notes like nobody's business.

None of that nonsense with the Alesis. But like I said earlier, the QX49 has been discontinued and I have no idea how much redesign has gone into the VI series.

Gary ;)
 
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Thank you very much
Do you find it easier to play fast solos on a semi wighted keyboard or on a synth action one?
 

happyrat1

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I can rip a hell of a lot quicker on a synth action keybed.

My quickest keyboard used to be a Korg TR76 with 76 synth action keys. They had channel aftertouch and very little travel.

I replaced it with a Kurzweil PC3K8 which had a learning curve dealing with the weighted hammer action but eventually it strengthened my fingers so I can rip even quicker on a synth keyboard now.

Currently I use the Kurzweil as my main controller and have a Casio XW-P1 as my secondary synth on the top tier.

Going from the Kurz to the Casio is like slicing a hot knife thru butter now.

Surprisingly, the Casio has a pretty decent synth action.

The Kurzweil uses a Fatar TP-40 keybed which general consensus is that it's an effective compromise between hammer action piano style and synth style. It also has channel aftertouch.

I also tend to have my velocity curve set to 2 or 3 out of a range of 7 with 1 being the lightest.

Gary ;)
 
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I can rip a hell of a lot quicker on a synth action keybed.

My quickest keyboard used to be a Korg TR76 with 76 synth action keys. They had channel aftertouch and very little travel.

I replaced it with a Kurzweil PC3K8 which had a learning curve dealing with the weighted hammer action but eventually it strengthened my fingers so I can rip even quicker on a synth keyboard now.

Currently I use the Kurzweil as my main controller and have a Casio XW-P1 as my secondary synth on the top tier.

Going from the Kurz to the Casio is like slicing a hot knife thru butter now.

Surprisingly, the Casio has a pretty decent synth action.

The Kurzweil uses a Fatar TP-40 keybed which general consensus is that it's an effective compromise between hammer action piano style and synth style. It also has channel aftertouch.

I also tend to have my velocity curve set to 2 or 3 out of a range of 7 with 1 being the lightest.

Gary ;)



Damn that casio looks sweet
im using a privia as a midi controller for pianos and pads and love it(aside from some nasty velocity spikes).
too bad the xw-p1 is not available here, i would grab it asap if it was. i feel tempted about ordering it from amazon but im afraid the internal sound engine will become obsolete because im using mainstage which has more processing power then i need.
and sorry for the ignorance but from the video it looked like the Casio has semi weighted keys and not synth action. am i wrong?
 

happyrat1

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No, the Casio has synth/organ action keys. Totally unweighted.

And nowdays old synths don't go obsolete.

They become "vintage." ;)

Actually you could pick it up for the price of a decent 61 controller and have the sound engine as a bonus.

Lots of support and free patches over at http://casiomusicforums.com as well.

You could do a lot worse than pick one up as your controller.

Gary ;)
 
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It looks amazing and ive always felt that playing through a computer is a bit sluggish so the added sound engine is a bonus, im just feeling hesitant about ordering it without trying it out first.
 
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happyrat1

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The reality is that most brick and mortar music stores these days are temples to guitar players and you're lucky if they stock more than two or three keyboards in any of them.

Sadly the only thing most of us have to go on is the advice of others.

My advice is to register over at the casio forums and ask the locals for their impressions.

The XW-P1 is universally loved by 99% of those who took the plunge and bought one.

And keyboards are not like guitars. There's a certain level of quality control that guarantees one Brand XYZ plays pretty much like every other XYZ out there.

Gary ;)
 

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