I miss the hardware midi-controllers that gave you hands on performance


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Hello one and all and may we all have a calm and pleasant New Year. It seems that all you can buy these days are THOSE VIRTUAL CONTROLLERS THAT CONTROL JUST VIRTUAL KEYS. Enough is enough. I am looking for a good, semi-weighted midi-controller (or basic keyboard with a few sounds) that can use the old 5 pin REAL midi connectors. It just seems to be scarce these days. And to boot when you read the user reviews of these virtual controllers they are not all that flattering. Help.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Most controllers that I've seen-- be they keyboard controllers or just launchpad controllers with lots of knobs, buttons, pads, and sliders-- have both types of ports, USB-MIDI and 5-pin MIDI DIN. What brands are you looking at that have only USB-MIDI? How much were you hoping/willing to spend-- and as Gary asked, how many keys are you looking for? Do you need a keyboard that also has extras like buttons, knobs, and sliders, or do you want just a basic keyboard without all the frills? I haven't had any problems with my M-Audio Axiom, but M-Audio tends to get poor user reviews, especially for their less-expensive controllers. A couple of other companies that I like for controllers are Novation and Akai Professional.
 
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How many keys are you looking for?

Gary ;)
Hi,
61 keys, semi-weighted, no buttons, no triggers...just MIDI OUT, pitch and mod wheels. M Audio used to make these kinds of keys but now...not one. I do not like playing music through a computer. I will record via a computer but do not like getting MY SOUNDS from software. I want hands on, REAL devices. I could find an old school electric piano with Midi out...but those are usually very expensive and HEAVY. I want something fairly light and portable with the above-mentioned specs. Thanks for your reply.
 
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happyrat1

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Well the Keylab has a MIDI out port.

Or you can look at some Roland Controllers and Studiologic controllers if you need really barebones with MIDI functionality.

https://www.roland.com/global/products/a-800pro/

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboards-midi/roland-a-800pro-61-key-midi-keyboard-controller

https://www.midi-store.com/Fatar-Studiologic-VMK-161-Plus-midi-keyboard-p/301557.htm

Gary ;)
right now I am checking out an M-audio 88 keystation....semi-weighted, midi-out, ac powered. Thanks.
 
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Another recommendation for the Arturia Keylab 61. Avoid the Keylab "Essential" budget line, though, as I believe that doesn't have MIDI outs.

But I'll echo some of the other posters here that I disagree that many boards have dropped MIDI. I'm still seeing MIDI ports on most boards, only a few budget lines like the Arturia Essential line, or specialized boards like Roli. For one thing, MIDI is cheap, you don't have to build in an interface like with USB. Many companies do it to save money and they're simple as F***. Not sure I'm seeing what you're seeing, so I feel like your rant is a bit misplaced.
 
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Another recommendation for the Arturia Keylab 61. Avoid the Keylab "Essential" budget line, though, as I believe that doesn't have MIDI outs.

But I'll echo some of the other posters here that I disagree that many boards have dropped MIDI. I'm still seeing MIDI ports on most boards, only a few budget lines like the Arturia Essential line, or specialized boards like Roli. For one thing, MIDI is cheap, you don't have to build in an interface like with USB. Many companies do it to save money and they're simple as F***. Not sure I'm seeing what you're seeing, so I feel like your rant is a bit misplaced.
hi...go to SWEETWATER and look at their controllers. Almost all of them are MIDI over USB. You have to use a computer to access the midi and that is what I do not want to do. I don't think they have ONE controller in their line up that is traditional Midi WITH AC power and semi-weighted action. Check it out. Thanks for the help.
 
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One neat trick, when you do find a keyboard with both (weird the Sweetwater has only those boards, their selection has been getting strange these days), skip the AC power. Most can be powered through USB to the wall, and then use MIDI to the computer. Way simpler and cheaper than AC power adaptors. Now THAT plug is totally unnecessary these days, and I suspect will disappear in coming years. I power my keylab via USB, and go MIDI to my mac.
 
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I know, Sweetwater seems to be going in a new direction. What kind of adapter will I need to get the USB to draw AC juice?
 
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Nothing, that's the point. Just a good old USB->wall nub, like you'd use when plugging your smartphone or tablet into the wall. Since the USB port is designed to draw power from a computer when used without MIDI, AFAIK, all USB equipped keyboards will automatically draw power from the USB plug, no matter what interface is being used. In fact, it would probably require additional wiring to keep that from happening. I'm not 100% sure on this for every board, but everyone I've used works this way.

Many companies have stopped supplying AC adaptors in the kit for this reason. Not sure why they don't just get rid of the AC plug altogether.
 

SeaGtGruff

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right now I am checking out an M-audio 88 keystation....semi-weighted, midi-out, ac powered. Thanks.

I've been sitting on the fence about getting an 88-key controller-- the newish M-Audio Hammer 88, which costs more than twice as much as the Keystation 88 because it has hammer-action keys rather than semi-weighted.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Yeah, as I said, I have the M-Audio Axiom (61), which is semi-weighted. My main reasons for thinking about the Hammer 88 as opposed to the Keystation 88 is that I've read posts from professional keyboardists in which they talk about how some really great hammer-action controller has breathed new life into their soft synths and sound modules by letting them play with more nuances.
 
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m-audio-keystation-61es-32608.jpg
 
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happyrat1

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I used to own an M-Audio Oxygen 49 Controller. One of their cheaper models.

It was the biggest piece of crap I've ever played. It would skip notes like nobody's business unless I turned off velocity.

I've since replaced mine with an Alesis QX49. Light years better. The keys have a great feel and it hasn't skipped a note on me once.

The QX series is discontinued but has been replaced by the VI series. The VI series also has real MIDI ports as well as USB and can be powered by an optional AC adapter.

You get what you pay for...

Caveat emptor...

Gary ;)
 

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