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Hi I am an older guy well past retiring age looking to buy a reasonably priced key board to learn on. I came across this model on e bay (Alesis Q88 88-Key USB/MIDI Keyboard Controller) word controller has me confused can this model be used on it's own or is it just part of on other device Mal Hull
 
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SeaGtGruff

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A MIDI keyboard controller doesn't produce any sounds on its own, it's "just" a keyboard. You have to connect it to a computer via a USB cable (or if it doesn't have a USB connection, via a MIDI-to-USB cable), or you can also connect it to another MIDI-capable instrument or sound generator via a MIDI cable. You might wonder why anyone would want to buy a keyboard that doesn't produce any sounds, but they're great to use with DAW software-- programs used for recording, writing, editing, and mixing musical tracks, often employing "virtual instruments" (computer-generated instrument sounds) rather than actual instruments.

If you're looking for a reasonably-priced keyboard to learn on, you'll probably want to avoid a MIDI keyboard controller for now and get an inexpensive portable keyboard or digital piano-- there are probably some good used ones to be found on your local Craigslist, or you might prefer to buy a new one from a local music store. Note that just about any portable keyboard or digital piano out there is going to be (or ought to be) MIDI compatible, so don't get thrown off by the word "MIDI" on the box-- unlike a controller, a portable keyboard or digital piano can make sounds all by itself (although it can usually also function as a controller if you connect it to your computer).

A portable keyboard should have a wide variety of musical instrument sounds, whereas a digital piano usually focuses more on keyboard sounds (pianos, organs, harpsichord, etc.). A digital piano also usually has more piano-like keys, while a portable keyboard often has a more organ- or synth-like keys.
 

happyrat1

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Actually the Alesis Q88 gets good reviews on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Alesis-Q88-88-Key-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B00BSXJY64

Inexpensive MIDI controller with a true MIDI out port as well as USB with semi-weighted keys that have very good reviews.

As previously stated, you'll either have to use this with your computer acting as the synthesizer using VSTi Virtual Soft Synth Instruments or else pick up a used rack module like a Motif XS Rack or Korg Triton or TR Rack and an amp from craigslist or ebay and use that to generate your sounds.

As for a starter keyboard, this seems to be very inexpensive and very well thought of by its users and if you plan to learn to play with a true piano style then 88 weighted keys is the way to go.

The nicest thing about a MIDI controller as opposed to a synth keyboard is that you'll never outgrow it. If you need more or better sounds just add a new module or soft synth and it will keep on going til it finally dies of old age.

No disrespect to Mike, but if you are starting out with keyboards then this is the way to go instead of dropping a few hundred quid on a low end compromise keyboard that you will either end up selling again in a few years or else find too difficult and give up on entirely after a few months.

The Q88 seems reasonably priced and well worth the money for a beginner or a pro alike.

Gary
 
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Actually the Alesis Q88 gets good reviews on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Alesis-Q88-88-Key-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B00BSXJY64

Inexpensive MIDI controller with a true MIDI out port as well as USB with semi-weighted keys that have very good reviews.

As previously stated, you'll either have to use this with your computer acting as the synthesizer using VSTi Virtual Soft Synth Instruments or else pick up a used rack module like a Motif XS Rack or Korg Triton or TR Rack and an amp from craigslist or ebay and use that to generate your sounds.

As for a starter keyboard, this seems to be very inexpensive and very well thought of by its users and if you plan to learn to play with a true piano style then 88 weighted keys is the way to go.

The nicest thing about a MIDI controller as opposed to a synth keyboard is that you'll never outgrow it. If you need more or better sounds just add a new module or soft synth and it will keep on going til it finally dies of old age.

No disrespect to Mike, but if you are starting out with keyboards then this is the way to go instead of dropping a few hundred quid on a low end compromise keyboard that you will either end up selling again in a few years or else find too difficult and give up on entirely after a few months.

The Q88 seems reasonably priced and well worth the money for a beginner or a pro alike.

Gary
Hi,Can I jus use my laptop with no special soft ware on it or do I have to get special soft ware Regards Mal (Hull)
 
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happyrat1

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The keyboard ships with free DAW software (Abelton Lite Alesis Edition) and there are literally dozens of free VSTi plugins you can download from the internet. (Google "Free VSTi software").

How well it performs depends on how powerful your laptop is and how much memory it has and how much crapware is loaded onto it.

Also I certainly hope you don't plan to use laptop speakers to play back on. you may as well buy a $20 toy piano at a yard sale.

VSTi's can either work very well or sound like total crap if the system is misconfigured or underpowered.

Personally I prefer using hardware modules instead. They have all the power and sound of a hardware synth for a fraction of the cost.

And they never crash and they're much easier to setup and keep running smolothly.

Since you're in the UK take a look at the offerings of a company called Ketron. They make some inexpensive sound modules which supposedly sound pretty good. Take a look at the SD2 or shop around for a used SD1.

http://www.ketronmusic.co.uk/Products/Ketron/micro_modules/sd2.html

But you will still require a keyboard amp or monitors or a set of powered speakers and the proper cabling to get it all working.

Do not use a guitar amp! Wrong levels and frequency response.

Gary
 

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