Hey youse guys...Help me get the right controller / keyboard!


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Hi all...

I am a veteran bassist looking to do some home digital recording and am in desperate need of guidance on selecting a controller/keyboard. I have a 2gb Macbook pro and will probably start out just using garage band (yeah, I know it's not the best) and 99% of the time I am going to be using Scarbee/Kontakt's rhodes/ep emulator so the keyboard doesn't need to have great sounds. I need to get a controller that meets the following needs:

1) Preferably 88 keys (76 ok). Weighted keys are nice, but not a dealbreaker.
2) I play a lot of keys/piano so I want something that "feels" good. Not necessarily weighted, but not that cheap, plasticy-feeling stuff.
3) Money is not an issue.
4) I like to program my own drum beats.

I would go ahead and buy a real keyboard, like a Nord, just because it feels so good...but I hear they don't make a good controller, though I wouldn't know why. True?
What else do ya need to know? Thanks for your help...
-Greg
 
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Hey Oh Henry!

ok well first off if money is not an issue at all go with a motif it will suit everything you want and more. and its great for making beats. and the new xf is coming out soon which will be the best of the best.

however if that is a bit pricy then maybe look at an CME VX80 its got the audio in audio interface.

to be honest it sounds like all you want is 88 keys and a decent feel? if your using garage band then as far as making beats goes it doesn't matter what keyboard you have.

also nords arnt generally hte best midi controller cause they dont always match up easily to a DAW however i know people that use them and they work fine just need to take time to set it all up right.
 
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1) Preferably 88 keys (76 ok). Weighted keys are nice, but not a dealbreaker.
2) I play a lot of keys/piano so I want something that "feels" good. Not necessarily weighted, but not that cheap, plasticy-feeling stuff.
3) Money is not an issue.
4) I like to program my own drum beats.

-Greg

How portable?

Would you consider a separate piece of hardware for programming drum beats?
 
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How do Greg,

I'm afraid that I have to disagree with Burn4him about the CME,as they are fairly popular for having compatibility issues & I would advise against buying any midi controller with a built in audio interface,because they're just too basic in quality...so I strongly recommend a stand-alone audio interface(if you don't already have one).

As far as midi controllers with built in sounds go,I can't think of a better deal,than the Kurzweil PC3LE7...as the one of the primary functions of the PC3 series,is their controller capabilities.
The 76 key(as well as the 61 key),has full size,semi-weighted action and of course the LE8,has full weighted.

The LE series all have drum pads,stellar onboard sounds & effects,& even a basic sequencer.

The 76 key goes for $1795 and it may have more than you need,but it's a fantastic deal for all that you get,if you're willing to spend this much.


-Elwood
 
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+1

76 semi weighted keys, drum pads, sliders (and good sounds)

As you can see by this photo,no sliders....but there is rotary knobs.


-Elwood
 

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Dudes, I have a lot of homework to do here!

How portable?

Would you consider a separate piece of hardware for programming drum beats?

Portability...well I won't be gigging with it but lighter is always better. The weight isn't very important. I don't mind having a separate controller for drums, either.

Thanks for the replies thus far. I don't mind spending 2 or 3k on a nice keyboard, but it does need to be user-friendly since I'm not super tech-savvy.
 
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As you can see by this photo,no sliders....but there is rotary knobs.


-Elwood

Thanks for that - thought that was a row of sliders on the left. I can see the rotary knobs clearly in the photo.

You mention quality control on the CMEs - wasn't aware of that but I did have a play on one of the 76 key ones a couple of weeks ago. Sliders to control an organ VST and the keyboard was fine for piano too (my friend had it driving an XV-5050 with the SRX-11 card - and one of those Vintage Keys or Classic Keys ones from Emu).

That Kurzweil still looks like a good option - sliders would have been great. Here in the UK Digital Village (DV247) have it priced at only a little bit more than what I paid for my Juno Stage - which I've found to be a great gigging keyboard.
 
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Well...reviews seem to be few & far between & the ones I did find,were not good.

The CME's appear to be a great option...with all of it's controls & aluminum casing & such,but I am very sketchy about taking a chance on one.

Besides which,midi controllers are not like regular boards,where you can instantly listen to one and make a decision.....midi controllers though can have hidden problems you won't find until you get one home & use it.

This guy mentioned that he wanted sounds & he had money to spend,so why even consider CME?


-Elwood
 
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Just a controller - no sounds needed?

In theatre world (where I occasionally play) - I see Oberheims and Kurzweils driving VSTs. I don't own either (too heavy for me) but I did consider this for running my VST rig (laptop + Kore).

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov99/articles/oberheim.htm

They weight a lot but reliability must be good or they wouldn't use them for touring show.

BTW: For my laptop+Kore live rig I went for a used 76 key Roland A-33 on EBay - very light, fine for piano organ and synth (for me anyway - though no sliders for organ VSTs) - can run on batteries (for ages) if needed - cost £80 + £30 postage with a case I think. They're not expensive second hand. If you see one it's a cheap way to dip your toe into the world of VSTs. It's MIDI only - you'll need someway to plug it into your Mac.

That Kurzweil Elmwood is championing would be my choice if money really isn't a factor. You may not always want to set up your computer to play - just fire it up and stick in your headphones.
 
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How about a yamaha mo88? I can get a great deal on one. Any midi compatibility issues (macbook pro). Not sure what recording software I will be using yet.
 
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From what I've heard,Logic & Cubase work well with Yamaha keyboards.Don't know zip about Macs...never had one,never will.

I thought you didn't need sounds?If sliders,knobs,drums pads & an LCD screen is most important to you,you can pick up an Akai MPK88 new,for $799.

From what I've read,Akai is compatible with most software applications.


-Elwood
 

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The mo88 will work great with macs!. the mo series is basically a striped down version of the motif es without sequencing and sampling. and its not nearly as heavy!
 

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