Best semi-weighted keybed


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What has the best semi-weighted action in your opinions? The best my wife and I have felt so far is the Korg "natural touch" keyboard on the Kronos 61, but it's out of our price range. She doesn't like the feel of either the Krome or the Yamaha MODX, although reviews seem to point to the MODX as better than the Krome. It seems the Roland FA is the only other option in our range but there isn't one around to try.
 
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I was in my local music store last week and played a Kronos, a Roland DS 61, and a MODX, of course loved the Kronos and the Roland.

The action ofthe MODX was good but the menu system was not to my liking and it sounded typical Yamaha in this price point which again is not to my own liking, I loved the DS but next to the DS was an FA on which I played few notes but alas it was not connected to the PA system so it was only a quick rattle of the ivories.

What I am getting at is that to me the FA keybed felt very similar to the MODX

Hope this helps.
 
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Thanks. Yes, the menu system of the MODX seems very busy and if it's typical Yamaha won't be that intuitive, but I didn't spend much time with it. I did have a chance to look at both an FA and DS61 a while ago, and it seemed to me that the action (and certainly the menu) were pretty good on the FA, but at the time it was more than I wanted to spend so again didn't spend much time with it. Now I'm looking in that range but my local store no longer stocks anything but Yamaha. I do wish the FA had a touch screen.
 
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As an avid Korg user, I have to be honest and say I take issue with Korg's description of the Kronos' and Krome's 61 key actions as "semi-weighted". To my way of thinking, they're both what I would call "synth action" keybeds.

Now that I've got that out of the way:

The best my wife and I have felt so far is the Korg "natural touch" keyboard on the Kronos 61, but it's out of our price range. She doesn't like the feel of either the Krome or the Yamaha MODX, although reviews seem to point to the MODX as better than the Krome. It seems the Roland FA is the only other option in our range but there isn't one around to try.
In my opinion, in reference to the above:
  • Kronos is the best action of those mentioned
  • then a big gap
  • FA(06 I'm guessing) would be my next preference
  • MODX(6 I'm guessing) and Krome 61 I can't split. To my touch the actions feel pretty much identical. MODX might just edge out Krome due to a superior hinge point at the back of the keys.
I used to own a Kurzweil SP4-7 which to me felt more like a proper "semi-weighted" keybed. It was lovely to use, too - struck a good compromise when trying to play piano and organ at the same gig. That said the SP4-7 is nowhere near as versatile as the other keyboards mentioned here.

Of course all of the above is highly subjective and there's no substitute for trying the keyboards out yourself.
 
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DS61/FA06, FA07 (which is different from the FA06), and Kross/Krome all have an issue where the keys quickly have much more resistance as you move toward the back of the keys. This interferes with smooth control of dynamics, as only a small portion of the black keys are well playable, and you'll also run into the issue when a passage/chord forces you to play a white note toward its rear. The MODX6/7 is much better in this respect.

Other boards worth trying in the sub-Kronos price range would be Kurzweil Artis 7, Vox Continental, Numa Compact 2/2X, Casio MZ-X500/MZ-X300 (and maybe others), or an organ-style waterfall board (Roland VR730, Nord Electro 6, Hammond SK1, Crumar Mojo 61), depending on what other sounds and features are also important.
 
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FA06, FA07 (which is different from the FA06), and Kross/Krome all have an issue where the keys quickly have much more resistance as you move toward the back of the keys.
Hey Scott,

I'd have to go to a music store and check (which ain't gonna happen for a while) but my memory is that the FA06 is considerably easier to deal with in this regard than the Krome. The Krome's keys actually hinge at the top of the visible part of the key itself, rendering the very top of each key unplayable - I don't recall the FA06 being that extreme. Please correct me if my understanding of the FA06 is faulty.

I also much prefer the FA06 feel - but that's subjective of course.

Cheers!
 
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As an avid Korg user, I have to be honest and say I take issue with Korg's description of the Kronos' and Krome's 61 key actions as "semi-weighted". To my way of thinking, they're both what I would call "synth action" keybeds.
Thanks. They advertise it as if it is more than just a regular synth action, but I won't put too much "weight" into that. :) I almost titled the post synth action ....
In my opinion, in reference to the above:
  • Kronos is the best action of those mentioned
  • then a big gap
  • FA(06 I'm guessing) would be my next preference
  • MODX(6 I'm guessing) and Krome 61 I can't split. To my touch the actions feel pretty much identical. MODX might just edge out Krome due to a superior hinge point at the back of the keys.
I used to own a Kurzweil SP4-7 which to me felt more like a proper "semi-weighted" keybed. It was lovely to use, too - struck a good compromise when trying to play piano and organ at the same gig. That said the SP4-7 is nowhere near as versatile as the other keyboards mentioned here.
Good info, thanks. It's too bad that Kurzweil doesn't have more these days.
 
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DS61/FA06, FA07 (which is different from the FA06), and Kross/Krome all have an issue where the keys quickly have much more resistance as you move toward the back of the keys. This interferes with smooth control of dynamics, as only a small portion of the black keys are well playable, and you'll also run into the issue when a passage/chord forces you to play a white note toward its rear. The MODX6/7 is much better in this respect.

Other boards worth trying in the sub-Kronos price range would be Kurzweil Artis 7, Vox Continental, Numa Compact 2/2X, Casio MZ-X500/MZ-X300 (and maybe others), or an organ-style waterfall board (Roland VR730, Nord Electro 6, Hammond SK1, Crumar Mojo 61), depending on what other sounds and features are also important.
Interesting, thanks. Although we don't necessarily need a workstation, we want something we can download/add sounds to, so I'll have to see what other ones do that.
 
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my memory is that the FA06 is considerably easier to deal with in this regard than the Krome
I'm not sure, it's possible that Roland's budget-board rear-of-key response may not be quite as bad as Korg's, but either way both are pretty bad for dynamically expressive playing. The Numa I mentioned also get stiffer toward the back, but it's not as bad... I find piano more playable on that action than on those Roland/Korg models.

Although we don't necessarily need a workstation, we want something we can download/add sounds to, so I'll have to see what other ones do that.
Do you mean additional factory sounds you can download into them? Or the ability to download your own custom sounds into them? If the latter, your choice in cheaper-than-Kronos boards would probably be Roland Juno DS, Casio MZ-X500/MZ-X300, Yamaha MODX, Nord Electro 6. Nord is the most expensive and the least capable overall... but it has some of the best piano/organ sounds and is one of the easier boards to use.
 
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both are pretty bad for dynamically expressive playing.
Yeah I hear you, the Krome is certainly challenging. I’ve been using mine for so long now that I’ve become accustomed to it to a degree. I’m on record here and elsewhere as saying that I love the sound and the ease of navigation of this keyboard so much that I’m prepared to live with the keybed.

Where I can though I play piano on my SV1. I also tend to not use or remove velocity curves in a lot of my Krome patches to prevent inconsistent volume response when playing live.
 
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Do you mean additional factory sounds you can download into them? Or the ability to download your own custom sounds into them?
Probably sounds that either the mfg or other users have created; I don't know if we'll ever get into developing our own sounds, although it would be fun. I'm new to this though and a while ago posted a thread about that very topic, but still don't fully understand it; I'd think sound file formats would be standard no matter the source. But I don't want to get this thread on another topic.
 
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Boards mentioned that have additional downloadable factory sounds would be Roland DS, Roland FA, Kurzweil Artis 7, Yamaha MODX, Nord Electro 6, Hammond SK1. But that's a kind of an arbitrary differentiator. A Hammond SK1 with its entire library of downloadable sounds still has fewer sounds than some other boards with no additional downloadable sounds. I know, the focus of this thread is on the actions, but it may also be worth considering what sounds are most important to you. Also, you can get lots of other sounds by driving an external sound module, iPhone/iPad, or laptop. If you may want to look at that route toward getting whatever additional sounds you may want, then you might also want to look at the MIDI capabilities of the various boards under consideration.
 
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Unless you want weighted "hammer action" keys - or want to pay top dollar of Kronos/Montage - you wont get better than the Roland FA07. NOT the 06 which isnt good (small keys and plasticky) - nor the Krome which IMO is horrible feeling (angular, sharp, plasticky feel - its the same board as on the King Korg that got universally slated for its keybed)). The modX is better than the FA06/Krome but not as good as the FA07 IMO.

I have zero issues with the rear of key response after a year of play on my 07.

Regards action, you have 3 really.

  1. Synth action - though this really should be called organ action. There is no resistance at all.
  2. Semi-weighted - this is what Id call traditional "synth action". No resistance to the keys, but they have metal plates under them which gives them a better feel.
  3. Weighted/hammer action - more like a piano - though they all differ (Nords are far from piano like, Rolands latest are very close - the other fall in between).
 
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Unless you want weighted "hammer action" keys - or want to pay top dollar of Kronos/Montage - you wont get better than the Roland FA07....The modX is better than the FA06/Krome but not as good as the FA07 IMO.
Of course, a lot of this is subjective. Non-hammer actions that I think are probably better than FA-07 include, well, that whole list I mentioned earlier... Kurzweil Artis 7, Vox Continental, Numa Compact 2/2X, Casio MZ-X500/MZ-X300 and the more organ-centric (waterfall) actions (Roland VR730, Nord Electro 6, Hammond SK1, Crumar Mojo 61). Though I've only played 6 of those 8 actions personally, and am inferring about the others based on other people's comments. What gives you confidence than none of those are better than the FA-07? Which have you played?

It's surprising how many different synth/semiweighed actions Roland has been offering lately. While I'd agree that the FA-07 is better than the FA-06, I'd also say that the Jupiter 50 feels better than the FA-07, and the Jupiter 80 feels better than the Jupiter 50.

I have zero issues with the rear of key response after a year of play on my 07.
Do you mean that, after playing it a lot, you've adjusted to it? Or do you mean you never had an issue with it? Do you play piano on it? I admit, this is an aspect I'm particularly sensitive to, others may be more concerned about other aspects of the action.

Regards action, you have 3 really.

Synth action - though this really should be called organ action. There is no resistance at all.
Semi-weighted - this is what Id call traditional "synth action". No resistance to the keys, but they have metal plates under them which gives them a better feel.
Weighted/hammer action - more like a piano - though they all differ
I even put synth and semi-weighted in the same category, so to me, there are basically only two classes of actions! I agree that hammer action boards vary a lot among themselves, but so do the non-hammer boards, and not strictly along a line of ones that have weights added and ones that don't. Other differences include (as mentioned) how even the response is from front to back, how "springy" the board is (.e. how much "upforce" you feel), and even the shapes of the keys (waterfall, lipped, diving board variations). Also the overall size of the keys, in every way... total dimensions (i.e. how wide an octave is), the length of each white key , length of the black keys, the widths of the black keys (or the white key space between them)... there are so many ways one can play differently from another.
 
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Ive played all of them bar the Kurzweils - extensively. I do agree about the waterfall boards - but there pretty specific to organ clones (primarily) so didnt mention them.

The 07 really is a nice board - I actually think its better than the Kronos as well. Whenever I play a Kronos now I think its lacking - BUT that may be more because Im used to the 07 now.

RE the Jupiters - I think the 50 is almost identical t the FA07, though the 80 is better.

Regards the issues with key response - Ive never really had an issue with it TBH. No difference from what I can feel between that and my old Fantom, or the Roland JV80, JP800 - or Korg X3, 01Wfd and Wavestations before that (from memory of course). Im generally surprised when people mention it. The 06 certainly suffers from it - its part of the shorter/smaller keys but the 07 doesnt have that from what I feel. I will say I dont play piano on it - I only every play piano on hammer action boards - you just cant play it properly not.

regards "types" of board - I agree totally, there are differences through each "catagory". What I was meaning is there are basically those 3 "catagory's" of board. Traditional unweighted boards a la organs, Semi weighted - which now seems to refer to what "synth action" used to be - ie weights in the keys and a more springy action (is some feed back from the keys), then weighted/hammer action.

I guess what I was getting at was "semi weighted" never was really. I guess you could call the Nord Piano/stage boards semi weighted - in a catagory in itself. There not really hammer action boards, and are much lighter that Pianos and heavier than "semi/synth" weighted. It is becoming more random than it used to be for sure.
 
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Ive played all of them bar the Kurzweils
Th Kurzweil Artis 7 is nice, except I felt the pushback was too strong. A lot of people like it just as it is, but I swapped in some (unfortunately hard to find) aftermarket lighter springs, and now I really like it. But either way, the keys are a good size, and feel pretty even over most of the surface area.

I guess you could call the Nord Piano/stage boards semi weighted - in a catagory in itself. There not really hammer action boards
Yes they are, they have hammer mechanisms in them.

A "semi weighted action" does not refer to an action with less than the "full" amount of weight (whatever that might be), but rather, it means there's weight but no hammer mechanism.
 
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Th Kurzweil Artis 7 is nice, except I felt the pushback was too strong. A lot of people like it just as it is, but I swapped in some (unfortunately hard to find) aftermarket lighter springs, and now I really like it. But either way, the keys are a good size, and feel pretty even over most of the surface area.


Yes they are, they have hammer mechanisms in them.

A "semi weighted action" does not refer to an action with less than the "full" amount of weight (whatever that might be), but rather, it means there's weight but no hammer mechanism.
Oh i know that, but those nords may as well not have hammer action, they certainly dont geel like they have hammers.

It does show sveryone has a different idea of z good action (or acctptable if building to a budget)
 
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What has the best semi-weighted action in your opinions? The best my wife and I have felt so far is the Korg "natural touch" keyboard on the Kronos 61, but it's out of our price range. She doesn't like the feel of either the Krome or the Yamaha MODX, although reviews seem to point to the MODX as better than the Krome. It seems the Roland FA is the only other option in our range but there isn't one around to try.
I love the Keyboard on the Roland Rd-300NX. Try one, I think that you'll like it. I actually have one for sale in perfect condition. $750 b/o
 
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last time when i was in a music shop i tried the keys on many keyboards, and i must say i felt disappointed by most. yamaha, casio, kawai, something was just off on most of them. i was very surprised by the fact that keybed on korg kross felt much better than the awful keys of korg krome, since the kross is supposed to be the worse model. both were 61 key versions. i actually pretty much enjoyed the keys on korg kross, i can't say they were the best, but it was the best out of the bunch, they didn't feel squishy, had some resistance to them, fast return. there wasn't a roland fa in there but there were a lot of other rolands, and they all felt disgusting, juno 61 was among them and i believe it has the same keybed as fa-06. yamaha psr s670 and s770 felt not as good as i expected. kawai pianos i didn't dig at all, would stay away from anything from kawai unless it has their top notch keys which can be found in their most expensive models which i didn't try. casio is most definitely worse than anything else. so, yeah... on the midi keyboards side... alesis v had the best feeling keys, very good resistance to them and the return is very fast, but unfortunately, i read it has poor velocity sensitivity, although didn't figure out in the end whether it's curable by software or not. really not much semi-weighted options on the market, tons of unweighted cheap keys, or very expensive hammer action (or at least somewhat expensive but most always not that good). myself i ordered a komplete kontrol a-series midi keyboard, hopefully keys will be to my liking, it is said they are semi weighted. i'd suggest you to try a korg kross in person in any shop if you want a workstation. if you only care about keys, i believe there were a few 88 midi keyboards with hammer action, like m-audio mk (which i am wary of) or studiologic sl88 (about which i'm not so wary of, but didn't test it in person). as i've learned, just the hammer action in itself doesn't mean the keybed is automatically good, as in case with the lower end kawai, they can feel pretty much disgusting. i suggest you try anything in person, because even if a lot of people tell you that some keyboard feels really nice, you yourself might completely hate it, so if you still decide to buy blindly, buy it from somewhere you can easily return it. peace.
 
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i was very surprised by the fact that keybed on korg kross felt much better than the awful keys of korg krome, since the kross is supposed to be the worse model. both were 61 key versions.
These two keyboards have an identical keybed.
 

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