First keyboard help

Discussion in 'General Keyboard Discussion' started by borkoborko39, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. borkoborko39

    borkoborko39

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    Hi i want to buy a keyboard but i can't decide which one. So im no professional at music but i want to learn creating beats and playing piano music. I found some cheap ones and i can't decide which one to choose. If you have same kb can you give your opinions. Also other suggestions. I don't understand what to search for in a keyboard.
    The first is Acorn Nektar Masterkeys 49 or 61 - 4 programmable knobs, pitch bender, octave buttons.
    Second Alesis 49 - 8 pads, 4 knobs, 4 buttons, pitch and octave.
    Third - Nektar GX49
    The first thing is do i need more than 49 keys.
    For now i think Alesis to be more appealing to me, it also comes with Ableton Live
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
    borkoborko39, Nov 10, 2018
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  2. borkoborko39

    Rayblewit Love Music / Love Life

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    Are you starting out a complete novice?
    The basics required to learn playing keys from scratch are black and white keys. Any of those keyboards have the basics.
    These are cheap beginners models and will get you started.
    "Creating beats" . Don't expect to be too creative in the early learning process. These models will be limited in offering choices of rhythms and beats. So take your time first and learn the keys and music generally.
    You can upgrade your keyboard to a more advanced model later when you are ready. It may take months or a year but you will feel it when time is right.
    Good Luck ray
     
    Rayblewit, Nov 10, 2018
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  3. borkoborko39

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    Regarding whether you "need" more than 49 keys, 49 keys are sufficient for playing all the notes on the grand staff plus a few ledger lines above and below without needing to use the octave-shift buttons, so it is-- in my opinion-- the minimum number of keys you should consider for playing with both hands at once.

    Longer keyboards-- with 61, 76, or 88 keys-- are even better for playing with both hands at once, and the longer the better. A keyboardist who's happy playing with 61 keys and who then buys a keyboard with 76 or 88 keys generally doesn't want to go back to 61 keys if it can be helped.

    Shorter keyboards-- with 25, 37, or 44 keys-- can be sufficient for playing leads or bass lines with one hand, as well as to use for creating or triggering beats and loops with a DAW and other software, especially if desk or lap space is an issue and greater portability is desired.

    So as far as the number of keys, that really depends on whether you have other keyboards or this will be your only one, how many hands you expect to play with, what you plan to use it for, how portable and compact you need it to be (such as whether it needs to fit inside a backpack), whether you're going to set it up in a semi-permanent spot in a studio or will be setting it in your lap and playing it while you sit in a comfy chair, and other considerations.

    For example, if you're looking for a keyboard that you plan to use while taking piano lessons, you'll be much better off with 76 or 88 keys. Or if you want a keyboard that has weighted piano-like keys, you'll need to look for 76 or 88 keys because you generally won't find weighted keys on a keyboard having fewer than 76 keys.

    But for your purposes, I think 49 keys might be adequate for a starter keyboard, especially if it isn't too expensive.

    Regarding which of those three is best, I have no personal experience with any of those brands, so I won't offer an opinion about which is best. If you can't try them out in person to see how well you like the way their keys feel, then I would recommend reading online reviews from people who actually bought them.

    Note that all three keyboards come with a DAW-- PreSonus Studio One Artist (with the Acorn), Ableton Live Lite 9 (with the Alesis), and Bitwig Studio 8-Track (with the Nektar). If the bundled software will be one of the deciding factors then I recommend researching the specific capabilities and limitations-- especially the limitations-- of each of those DAWs and any additional bundled virtual instruments software.

    You can get PreSonus Studio One Prime for free-- although Artist is better than Prime as far as capabilities and limitations-- so you might want to install and register Studio One Prime to see what you think of it before ruling it out, and study the chart on PreSonus' web site that shows the differences between Prime and Artist. One thing you should be aware of is that neither Prime nor Artist let you use third-party plug-ins, although Artist does let you purchase a module that lets you use third-party plug-ins.

    Ableton Live Lite is the least-capable and most-limited version of Live-- even less capable and more limited than Live Intro, which is the least-expensive paid version of Live. In contrast, Studio One Artist is the least-expensive paid version of Studio One-- so in terms of how much you'd have to pay for the DAW if it weren't bundled with the controller, I'd say that the Acorn gives you a better DAW deal than the Alesis does. On the other hand, Live lets you use third-party plug-ins, which is good because Live Lite doesn't come with a lot of included instruments as compared to what you get with Live Standard or Live Suite. And Studio One doesn't have a clip-launching mode such as the one that Live is famous for.

    I've heard of Bitwig Studio and have a demo version on my computer, but I hadn't heard of 8-Track until today. It appears to be available for free from Bitwig Studio's web site, so I'm sure I'll be installing it sooner or later. Bitwig does have a clip-launching mode similar to Live's, so you don't need to get Live just for that feature. And it looks like Bitwig also supports MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression), which might not be available on any of those three controllers but I think you should still be able to make use of it in the DAW. But if 8-Track is free (which I haven't verified yet) then you could of course get the Alesis and download 8-Track to use with it.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Nov 10, 2018
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  4. borkoborko39

    Biggles

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    Welcome.

    The best advice I can give is Do Not buy the Alesis.

    I bought one and sold it on, it is dire, it is terrible, the keys are velocity sensitive but the sensitivity is not consistant. You have been so advised.

    I will ask you a question..... How serious are you in learning to play a Piano/keyboard?

    Creating beats with a MIDI controller is one thing and all you need is a controller keyboard.

    If you want to learn to play a piano/ keyboard then a MIDI controller keyboard is not really the best way to do this. A proper electronic piano or keyboard will have built in instrument sounds and its own amp and speakers and a 61 key unit will give you years of service and be a great learning tool. As a bonus such a keyboard can also be a MIDI controller keyboard hence its the best of all worlds.

    Conversely if its just beats you want then a better quality MIDI keyboard like a Keylab Essential or Novation Launchkey will be a better choice for you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
    Biggles, Nov 10, 2018
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  5. borkoborko39

    borkoborko39

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    Yup i haven't played real physical piano and im a noob but i want to learn. I've created little melodies with fl studio and i will be using the kb with couple of free plugins and Nexus for instruments. I going to create mainly slow relaxing ambient music with piano and some strings/pads. Im just looking for a cheap keyboard and maybe upgrade later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    borkoborko39, Nov 11, 2018
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  6. borkoborko39

    Jeremykeys

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    I think we're now at the question of how much do you want to spend? Also, since it seems like you are going to be connected your computer, are you going to be using the sounds In The keyboard or the sounds in your computer program.
     
    Jeremykeys, Nov 11, 2018
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  7. borkoborko39

    Biggles

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    In answer to your question for learning piano it is a resounding yes.

    49 keys are just to few to learn how to play the piano, 61 is a minimum.

    But, pianos have hammer weighted keys and you are only going to get that without buying a proper digital piano or an expensive 88 key controller.

    For DAW use in creating beats, sequences etc 49 would be OK and of the three you quote the Nektar is the better controller. If this is all you really want then you can find it easy to create your beats etc in a DAW.

    Conversely learning a piano properly is vastly different.

    Please do not try to run before you can walk, learn at least a bit of music theory and practice. If you think it is easy to learn to play a keyboard it is not, it takes a great deal of time and commitment but it is well worth the effort.
     
    Biggles, Nov 11, 2018
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  8. borkoborko39

    Rayblewit Love Music / Love Life

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    Start out just basics. Do not to expect to advance overnight. It takes time.

    [QUOTE="borkoborko39, post: 196784, member: 10554"just looking for a cheap keyboard and maybe upgrade later[/QUOTE]

    Smart thinking. .
    Your mum didn't buy you florsheims when you were learning to walk . .:D
    Ray
     
    Rayblewit, Nov 11, 2018
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  9. borkoborko39

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

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    The question of money is kind of tricky at this point, because you can't get a better keyboard without spending more money, but it's probably smarter at the very beginning to spend less money in case your interest fades. After all, you don't want to spend several hundreds of dollars or more to get a nice digital piano or 88-key synth that could also do duty as a keyboard controller, only for it to turn out to be "money down the drain."

    If you wish to consider an 88-key controller with weighted action that could be suitable for learning to play the piano, you might take a look at the M-Audio Hammer 88, as I think it's about the least expensive option for that. There are less-expensive 88-key controllers, but I think they're just semi-weighted. M-Audio doesn't have the best reputation among a lot of players who bought one of their cheaper models and didn't like it, but I have a 61-key Axiom that has been good for me-- the keys are a little bit "noisy" which seems to be a common complaint, but it doesn't bother me too much-- and the Hammer 88 in particular got good reviews from people who bought one or just tried one out in a store when it came out last year, although it would be interesting to see if anyone's opinions about it have changed after using it heavily for a year. The one thing that might be a drawback is the lack of many additional controllers-- pads, buttons, knobs, sliders, etc.

    If you want to consider an 88-key instrument that can actually make its own sounds in addition to functioning as a controller, you might take a look at the Casio Privia models, as I think they're among the least-expensive options out there, and they seem to get good word of mouth from performing keyboardists.

    However, I actually feel that an inexpensive 49-key controller might be the "sanest" choice for you to get your feet wet with, at least until you figure out if the keyboard is something you want to pursue. As pointed out, it won't be at all suitable for learning to play the piano on, but I'm inclined to think that you shouldn't start taking piano lessons until you've made a firm commitment to keyboards.

    Of course, if you're already certain that your commitment is firm, and if you can afford to spend more than $100 or so right now, then by all means give some thought to something with more keys and better key action.

    But even though a decent 49-key controller might not be suitable for learning on, if you do decide to get a longer and better keyboard later-- whether just a controller or an actual instrument-- you could keep the 49-key controller to use as a "second tier" keyboard.
     
    SeaGtGruff, Nov 11, 2018
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