M-Audio Hammer 88 Pro


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So, I got my replacement Hammer 88 Pro today. Guess what?


It literally does the exact same thing! This was #55 from the stock order, with the previous one being #88. Got it set up, and I kid you not, within five minutes it was hanging notes just like the unit I just shipped back. I'm letting SW know when they open tomorrow so we can get this one returned. I'm done with this experiment. What a joke.

Two in a row, more than one production number difference. I'm thinking these have a serious problem. Maybe other folks have been lucky, but two in a row having the same exact problem? SW said the issue was likely mechanical when I talked to them yesterday. That means this first production run must have issues. I hope M-Audio can get this under control somehow.


Now I have to find something else that will work. Good luck with that since I dislike TP-100LR and I need 9 faders and the ability to send multiple program changes from one button press (i.e. to multiple modules on different channels). Which BTW the Hammer 88 Pro cannot do - its pads and controllers are either assigned to a single midi channel, global, or assigned to a single zone or all zones (using whatever midi channel that zone is on). One assignment per control. So no multiple program changes from one pad. One could get around that with an iPad or Mac/PC and software, but the whole idea here was to not need that. I don't like having apps crashing and disrupting communication between my keyboard and my rack, nor do I have the budget to have a second $3000+ computer to run all sorts of stuff and haul around to gigs. :laugh:

I don't get how an upgraded Hammer 88 with an excellent build quality and solid controllers selling for $799 can get out of the factory with this kind of issue. I'd think it was a fluke were it not for two in a row doing it! I'm really disappointed.
 
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happyrat1

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I haven't liked M-Audio controllers since I got rid of an Oxygen 49 years ago. Velocity response was ridiculous until I turned it off completely. The thing must have run on an Intel 8008 processor for crying out loud. There was almost a full second lag between hitting a key and sound coming out of the computer. Their keyboards are total trash. I have no problem with their MIDI interface (4x4), their sustain pedals or their powered monitors. But I refuse to even look at their controllers these days. :p

Gary ;)
 
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Well, Akai and Novation don't make 88-note controllers anymore. Actually I don't know that Novation ever did.

That Kurz looks nice, but there's a specific feature set I need to run my setup, which I don't think that would be able to do (or not all of it).

Non-negotiables:
- 88-note hammer action - needs to be pretty fast and quick because I play a lot of jazz and ragtime. I.E. no Fatar TP-100L/R or really heavy hammer actions. Plus I won't only be playing piano on it. Not super heavily graded if possible. I liked the Hammer 88 Pro action after getting used to it, GHS is fine, Kawai RH3 and Yamaha BH are better, it just can't be really heavy, slow, and preferably not particularly mushy because I need to be able to play ragtime and jazz.

- 9 faders - for drawbars as I'm planning on eventually getting an HX3 plus they would be good for software should I go that route someday

- Pitch/mod wheels, preferable next to the keys but I'm kind of giving up on that ideal. No joysticks or paddles or pitch/mod sticks. If wheels are in addition to those, that's fine.

- 5-pin MIDI - I'm not going to be using this with a computer primarily, but rather a hardware rack setup.

- A selection of programmable pads or buttons that I can use for program changes.

- Buttons or pads MUST be able to send multiple program changes on multiple midi channels simultaneously (i.e. one program change per zone or one program change per midi channel). This is to enable switching of sounds on multiple rack modules at one time, for performing various songs. The Hammer 88 Pro it turns out can only send single program changes and is limited to either one midi channel, global midi channels, or a single zone or all zones, but it can only affect one or all with one program change per pad/button, so it's useless for my needs. This is an absolute must.

- Saveable presets/setups per song, i.e. performance setups or patches. The more the better.

- Minimum 4 zones, fully assignable and programmable

- Expression pedal and sustain pedal inputs minimum

- Under 45 lbs - I'm living on campus now and I don't want to be hauling anything heavier all over the place on foot (that's before we talk about my accident-related injuries that have complicated things and made life harder). Figure a case adds at least 20 lbs.

- Under USD 2,500 because I estimate I have already invested a good $2000 in a high-quality rack setup and modules and otherwise I would have just bought a standalone board. Heck, for that combined price I could have bought a Forte. The idea was to maximize portability and flexibility while having a variety great sounds. And I was *trying* to not spend as much as a flagship board.
 
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Quite a wish list.

I have the feeling that such a unit which meets your extensive criteria does not presently exist.

Perhaps a DP/MIDI controller that has the action you seek should be the prime mover, forget inbuilt sliders and knobs an add on a unit like a Korg Nano Kontrol which should provide the connectivity you seek.
 
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happyrat1

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Actually if he can live without velocity sensitivity I bet it would work well enough if he just turns it off on the M-Audio. That was the only way I could get mine to work at all. Otherwise the latency is just ridiculous.

Gary ;)
 
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Not quite my idea of a solution lol, Gary! :p I'm not sure that turning velocity sensitivity would fix the problem of it missing note-off messages. I will say there was no latency whatsoever.
 
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Quite a wish list.

I have the feeling that such a unit which meets your extensive criteria does not presently exist.

Perhaps a DP/MIDI controller that has the action you seek should be the prime mover, forget inbuilt sliders and knobs an add on a unit like a Korg Nano Kontrol which should provide the connectivity you seek.
So, I've thought about doing this before. The issue I see is that I'm using this setup without a computer, and things like the Korg Nano Kontrol and SL Mixface are usb-only. The Nano Kontrol I believe also needs the computer for assigning what it does. If I were going with a computer-based setup, sure, that would be a great way to go! But I'm not sure that a person could set things up so they would talk to the hardware. Maybe if a board had USB host capability?

Technically one board does exist that does everything on that list, but it was discontinued two years ago and I'd have to import one of the few remaining new ones from Germany. It's the Viscount K4EX.
 

happyrat1

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The Nano Kontrol might actually be doable. If you use a USB MIDI Host device (Mentioned THOUSANDS of times in these forums) BUT that would add another piece of gear plus wall wart you'd have to lug around and hook up.

Honestly I agree with Biggles. Your spec list is unobtanium. It's a shame Roland doesn't make 88 controllers these days (or do they?)

Here's what's available in Canada.





But maybe you should make do with one of these???


detail.jpg


I've heard a few good things about the MKII editions and they're in your price range.

To be honest, M-Audio has had a lousy reputation with most musicians for decades.

Gary ;)
 
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happyrat1

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BTW, if you want a technical reason your M-Audio is skipping notes, I will tell you.

The embedded CPU they use is too slow to scan the keys and encode them in real time.

In my case it was Lag AND Skipped Notes.

I'll bet you a six pack of Stella Artois that if you disable Velocity from the menu it will play every note as quickly as you can.

Shitty engineering. That's the entire problem.

Gary ;)
 
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It isn't skipping notes actually. Notes are sticking and not getting note off messages. Hanging notes. Like you would get on an old keyboard with bad contacts.

The Keylab 88 MKII reportedly has a slow, mushy action that's unsuitable for faster playing (I play jazz and ragtime among other things so that's a no-go). It's also really limited in program changes from the pads. But the action is my primary concern with that board. Other than those two things it seems to be a nice board overall.
 
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I'm not against the idea of a USB host at all. I just kind of forgot about them. I'm already bringing a rack with a good power supply, so one more power connection is no problem at all. :D
 
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The Arturia Keylab Mk 2 has a Fatar TP/100LR keybed.

Do check on some of the other controllers that you have considered and compare their keybeds to the Arturia.

The Studiologic SL that you are considering has the same keybed.
 
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The Arturia Keylab Mk 2 has a Fatar TP/100LR keybed.

Do check on some of the other controllers that you have considered and compare their keybeds to the Arturia.

The Studiologic SL that you are considering has the same keybed.
Hi! Yep, I know that the SL73/88 Studio, NI Komplete Kontrol S88 MKII, and Keylab 88 MKII all have that keybed. Which is why none of those are really something I want to deal with.

The SL88 Grand has a Fatar TP40/Wood action, which is apparently better, but also bad for repetition of notes and rapid playing as well from many reports. I wish I could actually try these things out but no one has them on the floor.
 
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Ignoring all the bells and whistles of controls, what are the top three keybeds that you prefer in order of preference?
1. Kawai RHIII, found in the ES8 and MP7SE, possibly others
2. Yamaha BH, found in their Motif XS8, Motif XF8, Montage 8, S90XS, and S70XS
3. Roland PHA-4, found in the RD-800
 
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Nearest?

Kawai VMC1 with RMIII grand

Yamaha YC 73 has BHS but only 73 keys

Roland FP 60X digital piano has PHA-4
$1100, 42 lbs, onboard amp and speakers.
 

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