MIDI controller 88 keys, weighted action...


Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
Ok, I have been using a Proteus Plus for years and am utterly frustrated at it's 61 keys and no weighted keys. I am constantly playing and then transposing down an octave...

So I'm in the market for a high end MIDI controller with weighted keys and the full 88 keys.

So far i have found the CME UF8, Studio Logic VMK 188 plus, the SL990XP, ProKeys 88 and Keystation Pro 88

I am wary to buy another M-audio product as their tech support/customer service is abominable, and after having my microtrack break, and not able to get any tech support... I am not too keen on M-audio..

Any experiences, preferences that you have for one over the other?
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Sausalito, CA & Ann Arbor, MI
I've had experience with several of the new controllers, and my primary goal was live performance, not a DAW studio controller.

My requirements were simple. Multiple zone control, outstanding graded hammer action and a far amount of velocity curve control.


CME VX8

The CME VX8 (which is the new flagship from CME) had great action, incredible features and excellent integration with Protools. It's clearly more of a "studio" controller than live, since it really needs a DAW to make it shine.

On the downside, reliability was a problem. I got the VX8 home, wired it in and it died 36 hours later. No reason, no user issue, just DOA. I took it back, GC ordered a replacement, and two weeks later I had a new one. 10 days later, the motorized faders locked up mid session and not even a master reset would fix the problem.

it went back to GC for good.


Yamaha XK8
Excellent keybed and key action on this controller. I was a little suspect when I brought it home, due to the obvious lack of sliders and knobs. Once home, and wired in, the unit performed flawlessly when controlling the DAW (and Cubase is native for this controller, but will map to many other DAW's as well).

Using the KX8 for live applications proved to be difficult, unless you're using a laptop to control the vast majority of the functions (which I don't do). For live performance, simply assign midi channels and program change assignments manually was an exercise in frustration. This clearly is a studio controller and NOT a direct replacement for the old school KX88.

It went back as well.

I'm back to using my Kawai MP9000 stage piano as my primary controller, for more advanced midi functions, and if I only need two zones and layers, I'll use my Yamaha CP33 Stage Piano which is more than adequate.

Beyond those two, I didn't find any of the new offerings satisfactory from a keyboard action standpoint (but I am really picky and used to playing a Grand Piano).

If I were to replace my MP9000, I'd likely try and find a good condition Yamaha KX88 and hope it never dies (it is built like a tank).

Your mileage may vary.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
ooooh.. thanks for that reply. That is very useful. I too am a pianist, and I get really frustrated with my little Proteus... i had my Yamaha clavinova hooked up to the computer for a while, but I miss having the slider knobs... for playing other instruments.

The Kawai might be more what I;m looking for. It has slider knobs right? I tried to find a pic online quickly... and it looked like it had some.

I would like to have something somewhat portable as I do workshops and the like at times and need a decent sounding piano...

Now I need to look and see what the pricepoint is on the Kawai..

I didn't think I could find a good MIDI controller with also a good piano sound for live performance... Though i'll be using it mostly for the studio... it is handy to have something to take out when i need to.

Thanks,
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Sausalito, CA & Ann Arbor, MI
Just so I'm clear, I'm not recommending any of the Kawai's as a full blown direct replacement for a big full function midi controller. It just happens that mine has sufficient capability for me and I already own it.

Hard core midi users who may be controlling many outboard modules may find the Kawai inadequate for all their needs. I don't typically control more than one or two other units at a time, and only used zones, splitting and some basic layering (pretty lightweight stuff compared to many others).

I think if you're a pianist who needs some additional midi control functions beyond what most other digital stage pianos offer, then the Kawai is a good choice.

The Kawai MP9000 that I'm using has been replaced by the MP8-II. It still has four zone capability, and some outstanding controller functions, but is still a stage piano first, midi controller second.

The other problem with the Kawai is the weight. Mine tips the scales at 73 lbs and add a road case and your at 100 lbs. The street price for the MP8-II is around $1895.00.

Another option from Kawai is the MP4, which has similar weighted action, same controller functions, but lacks the wooden piano keys and weighs in at 40lbs and costs about $1200.00.

Seriously consider looking for a Yamaha KX88 that is in good condition. Personally, I think it's still the one weighted controller to beat, but I also haven't had the chance to play the new StudioLogic, which is supposed to be quite nice as well.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
Thanks again.. . My needs are relatively simple as well as far as midi controllers go. I for large part am orchestrating, one voice at a time, and not playing MIDI live... usually doing more traditional orchestrations,... orchestrating musical theatre or light opera... so I don't need a ton of midi buttons and whistles...

However... all that said, I'm going to try the M-audio Keystation pro 88, I hope it is ok. I have 30 days to return it if I don't like it... I figure for the few times I need a good piano sound, I can bring along my laptop and play the sounds through the laptop....

thanks for all the info.... the yamaha CP33 looks like it might be another option.... though it's about twice the price of the m-audio. So I'm not sure I need to pay that much just for a built in piano sound... I think if that were the case I'd look into the Kawai...
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Sausalito, CA & Ann Arbor, MI
I own a CP33 as well and have used it to control my Motif and with two zones, its just fine. It also has those famous Yamaha piano sounds, if you like them.

At 36 lbs, its also a joy to move around, so it has become my main stage piano, when I'm using a simple rig. It's got great action too.

Good luck with the M-Audio and hope it works for you.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
Wow do you have enough keyboards? LOL.

That's great info. I'm not crazy about the Yamaha piano sound though I must say my Clavinova sounds far better through some good headphones than it does through its speakers...

I get a far better sound through my NI's soft synth... :)

I might be asking you more questions in the future!!!

Thanks for the help...
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
ps, do you prefer the Kawai sounds to the Yamaha piano sound??? just curious as I know nothing about the Kawais.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
66
Reaction score
0
Location
Sausalito, CA & Ann Arbor, MI
Typically, I'd say the Kawai and Yamaha pianos are very close and both are excellent. Overall, I'd likely give the edge (slight, but still an edge) to the Kawai, particularly for very piano heavy pieces. When playing with a combo, the Yamaha does great and cuts through the mix like a champ.

In the studio, I almost always use the Kawai.

Then again, I play a Yamaha C7 grand (Yes I am a bit of a gear whore, sorry :eek: ), so go figure.

IMHO, You can't go wrong with either one.
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top