Looking to purchase my first midi keyboard as a b-day gift next month need recommendations.


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Hello everyone, I'm new here and looking to purchase my first midi keyboard next month as my birthday gift. My price range is anywhere from $100-300 (preferably something built well and not cheaply made) and preferably I'd want something that has drum pads on it and enough keys for me to play two handed. Something also that works well with FL Studio 20. Hope this is enough info to get some recommendations back and thanks everyone!
 
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happyrat1

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For $300 with your wishlist you are looking for an Unobtanium Unicorn. :D

Your best bet is to hit the used market on craigslist and ebay and pray you can snap up something vintage in that price range.

Gary ;)
 
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Not looking for something vintage I mean I've seen midi keyboards by Nektar and Roland and I'm just trying to find the best one within that price range. I realize better ones are more expensive but I'm just looking in that price range. Thanks
 
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If 4 octaves is enough, the Samson Graphite 49 is a decent low-cost piece. But two hands, you may prefer more keys.
 

SeaGtGruff

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I think you can get an 88-key controller with pads, knobs, and sliders for $300, but "less expensive" usually means "lesser quality," if not in the overall build then in the key action. As long as you're going to be the person using it, you'll definitely want to see if any nearby musical instrument stores have keyboards set up that you can try, to see what you think of the overall feel and especially the key action. You may or may not care about the type of keys (lever-like "diving board" organ-style keys versus box-shaped piano-style keys), or whether the key action is graded hammer scale versus semi-weighted or unweighted; only you can know what sorts of trade-offs you're willing to accept in striking a comfortable balance between price, quality, and features. And don't forget that if you're getting a controller, you'll still need to get some virtual instruments or VIs to play with it-- although there are many free VI plugins available to get started with.
 
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Welcome.

$300 can give you a top quality 25 note keyboard controller and a separate pad controller.

Or

An Arturia Beatstep at $99 and an Arturial Keylab Essential 49 at $200
 
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Just went to Sweetwater's web site and punched in your price range and 14 MIDI controllers popped up. There is stuff if you look.
 
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I don't think the OP was doubting that there are controllers in this price range, rather I think he was looking for suggestions as to which ones people here thought were good.
 
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I don't think the OP was doubting that there are controllers in this price range, rather I think he was looking for suggestions as to which ones people here thought were good.

Correct. I've gotten some great suggestions so far from you all. Next month I'll probably head to Guitar Center to try out some keyboards and see as well. Thanks!
 
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Save up more and get Yamaha Genos. looks so cool.

As with any keyboards there are Pros and Cons.

I am not a Yamaha fan but after listening to a guy playing one in my local Music Store I do have to say it certainly sounded impressive, btw it was being played via the add on speaker system specifically made for the Genos.

The most impressive feature of the Genos is that it can have up to eight sequencer loops programmed into a menu page for instant call up.

Its only competitor is the Korg PA4X which undercuts the Genos on price by quite a few hundred dollars.

This is Justin of A&C Hamilton, my local Music Store playing both back to back to demo similar sounds.

 

SeaGtGruff

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There are also now the PSR-SX900 and 700, which have some similarities to the Genos although they are not as advanced, akin to how the PSR-S series was not as advanced as the Tyros series.

However, I got the impression that the OP is interested in a MIDI controller, not an instrument per se.
 
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There are also now the PSR-SX900 and 700, which have some similarities to the Genos although they are not as advanced, akin to how the PSR-S series was not as advanced as the Tyros series.

However, I got the impression that the OP is interested in a MIDI controller, not an instrument per se.

Yes this is correct. I have an old Yamaha keyboard that's breaking down but I really just want a MIDI controller to record my own stuff through FL Studio 20.
 

SeaGtGruff

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Just my opinion, but if you intend to use the controller for making recordings in a DAW-- as opposed to performing live-- the quality and feel of the key-bed might not be as important of a consideration to you, since you'll be able to make any adjustments to note velocities in the DAW.

So you might possibly be satisfied with something like the Nektar Impact LX88+, which is slightly over your budget but might be available at a reduced price as a returned, opened-box, refurbished, or floor demo model. It can be risky to buy such items, but it also depends on whether the item was returned because of a defect or just because the previous buyer wasn't 100% satisfied with it for some reason.

But as I said before, you should definitely see if you can test any keyboards you're interested in before you buy.
 
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Just my opinion, but if you intend to use the controller for making recordings in a DAW-- as opposed to performing live-- the quality and feel of the key-bed might not be as important of a consideration to you, since you'll be able to make any adjustments to note velocities in the DAW.
I guess it could depend on what it is you're exactly trying to do (and possibly your skill level), but assuming you want to actually enjoy the playing experience as opposed to merely looking at the keys as a way to enter musical data, I find it hard to imagine being inspired to create and enjoy a satisfying performance by playing keys that respond poorly with the intent of fixing it in post.
 

SeaGtGruff

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The feel of the key-bed can certainly be part of what inspires you or turns you off about a keyboard, which is one of the reasons why it's so important (when it's possible) to try out a keyboard in a store before you buy it.

But in this case I wasn't suggesting that anyone settle for a keyboard with cruddy key-bed action and fix stuff afterward in their DAW, but more specifically to the possibility of settling for an 88-key piano-style keyboard controller with semi-weighted action versus a much more expensive one with graded hammer scale action. EDIT: My specific comment about adjusting note velocities in the DAW was meant to be about the way that a graded hammer scale key-bed can make it easier to play delicate passages with a light touch, or very forceful passages, both of which can be more tricky to do well with a semi-weighted key-bed, so I wasn't thinking about adjusting single note velocities due to a cheap keyboard with inconsistent velocity sensitivity, but more to selecting all of the notes in a particular passage and adjusting their velocities to make that passage quieter or louder.

Sometimes the number of keys can be just as freeing or limiting as the quality of the key-bed action.

So if your maximum budget is $300, you'll want to balance the number and size of the keys along with the number and types of other control surfaces and overall build quality and type of key-bed action.

I'm not recommending the LX88+ in particular, since I have no experience with one; it just happened to be the only 88-key controller near the $300 price cap having additional control surfaces such as pads, knobs, and sliders.
 
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I took a far amount of time researching and testing out midi keyboards, all 49 or 61 key versions.

Roland, could not put a finger on it but it did not feel right.

Novation Launchkey, felt OK and was reasonably well made.

Nektar, again felt OK and was reasonably well made.

Native Instruments, very nice feel and excellent build quality.

Arturia Keylab Essential, as the Novation and Keylab with not much to chose between them, went with the Arturia with what software that came with it.

Difficult choice you have, hope your trip to test out kit succeeds
 
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