Looking for light synth action keyboard


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Looking for recommendations for a "feather light synth action" (not necessarily light weight) 73/76/88 keyboard. Primarily I would be using it as a midi controller, but having actual speakers/samples/etc would be an unexpected side bonus (most important is just controller).

Just for reference, I really like a very light synth action - the lightest actions that have felt really nice to me are the Yamaha MOXF6 (a little overkill for just a midi controller), iRig Pro (sadly only 37 keys), and the updated version of the Vox Continental (way overkill for a midi controller).

I've got a Roland A-800 Pro but I still feel like the action is too stiff, especially on the black notes. So many controllers when I use them on the black notes, it seems like the upweight is forcefully pushing my fingers back up and I have to strain.

One important thing is that the keys are full size (especially width). I've played on some "compact" midi controllers before and thought to myself "why do I keep missing notes" only to realize that the manufacturers shaved the width of the keys from a standard acoustic piano, very frustrating.
 

happyrat1

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The Arturia Keylab Essential 49 and 61 have some of the lightest actions I've ever felt on a controller. I own the 49 model but the 61 is probably the same.

You may want to try one out.

Most 88's are weighted hammer action but I once owned a Korg TR76 which had a nice light action.

For a lightweight 76 maybe also take a look at the new Roland Juno DS76. I own a DS61 and the action is synth action but not as light as the TR76 or the Keylab.

Gary ;)
 
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Welcome.

Sorry but I am finding your post a little confusing.

You want 70+ keys yet quote a 61 key Yamaha which you say is overkill.

So I am making a few assumptions like overkill relates to features and cost.

If you want built in speakers then it looks like an Arranger such as a Roland BK3 or Korg PA 300 may fit that part of your requirements but they are only 61 keys. Do note both of these are cheaper than the MOXF6 which is a Wrkstation and does not have inbuilt speakers.

I would suggest that a straight midi controller would be a better choice and just as I was typing this I received a message to say there was a new reply.

I echo Gary’s suggestion, if I was buying a controller then the Keylab Essential would be the one, I have tried the keyboard for feel a couple of weeks ago and I believe that it is what you seek.
 
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@happyrat1 yeah you're right. I don't think I've seen an 88 synth-style keyboard before, just 76 max. Honestly I might even be able to get on with 61-key, but I think it might frustrate me since I play a lot of classical music.

Keyboard mag did a review on the 61 essential, and seemed pretty favorable - though the author said, " I’d prefer a slightly smoother action overall, but this keybed is certainly nothing to complain about." Unfortunately I have no idea what he means by "smoother action".

@Biggles

Thanks. Yeah sorry about that. I meant overkill mainly in terms of features/price. Yamaha just released Modx7 which is a 76-key successor to Moxf series, but even if I like the keybed, it seems like a waste if all I want is the midi control. I use Pianoteq so I'm not concerned with samples/sound engine/etc.


I also looked at the Numa Compact 2/2X. PianoManChuck had me a little worried though, since it has a shallow keybed he gave the impression that it might be hard to depress the black keys. None of the music stores near me have one for me to playtest either. :(

Here's the video:
 

happyrat1

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Seriously then. Take a look on your local craigslist for anyone selling a Korg TR76. It's a 15 year old keyboard and probably can be had for a few hundred bucks.

It literally had the quickest, lightest, smoothest action of any keyboard I've owned over the years.

If you can get your hands one in good shape I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed.

Gary ;)
 
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@happyrat1

Cool. I looked up that TR76 keyboard, it uses a Fatar TP / 9S action and seems very nice. Unfortunately I can't find it cheaper than approx $700 which is a lot for a used board. The same action is also in the Korg X2 (76 key) so I'll keep my eyes out for that board as well.

I also had a recommendation to try the Yamaha Piaggero NP-32 - 76-key with "relatively" light action. It's cheap enough to where I might just order one off Amazon, test it out, and return it if doesn't work for me.
 
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@happyrat1 - I forgot to ask you. How do you like the keybed/action on your Kurzweil PC3K8? I've gotten to play a little with a Studiologic VMK-176 Plus which had a very similar hammer action, a slightly heavier one though, TP / 40M as opposed to the PC3K8 Fatar TP / 40L.
 
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happyrat1

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Getting used to a weighted hammer action was tricky at first, but I've adjusted the velocity curve of the keyboard to 2 out of 7 and now I absolutely love it. In fact it's my main keyboard controller for all of my synths when I'm composing. The aftertouch adds a bit of extra expression which really comes across well.

I have to say for me it really improved my workflow.

Gary ;)
 

happyrat1

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BTW, when I bought the Kurzweil it was an immediate replacement for the TR76 so there was quite the adjustment to get used to it.

Gary ;)
 
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Cool. My background is actually in full acoustic pianos (mostly uprights) - so I've also wanted to get a reasonable facsimile of hammer action. Fatar TP / 40L sounds amazing but sadly its not in very many boards.

These were the only ones I was able to find:
  • Forte 7 (76)
  • Forte (88)
  • Forte SE (88)
  • PC3x (88)
  • PC3A8
  • PC3K8 (88)
  • PC3LE8 (88)
Most of which used seem to sell for $1500+ which is a lot to plunk down for a used board. SIGH....
 

happyrat1

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Avoid the PC3LE line like the plague. It's been a lemon since the day it was released.

No probs with my PC3K though. PC3A is the same as the K but with the German Piano ROM instead of 128 MB sample memory.

Forte is the latest generation flagship from Kurzweil.

Gary;)
 
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happyrat1

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BTW,there's also the Artis and SP5 lines to look at from Kurzweil as well as I believe Nord also uses Fatar Keybeds.

Gary ;)
 

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