Midi controllers with 4+ zones?

Discussion in 'MIDI' started by Finkalicious, May 15, 2017.

  1. Finkalicious

    Finkalicious

    Joined:
    May 15, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm in the market for a new midi controller, and there is very little info on which ones can split into more than 4 or more zones, unless I comb through user manuals!

    I currently use an Axiom Pro, which despite it's widely reported issues has been ok for me because when I perform I only use it as a midi controller for an external sound module. Since I haven't had a computer up until now, the need for software integration hasn't been an issue.

    I do have a computer now and want to upgrade to a better keyboard with software integration so I can start incorporating it into performances, but still want the same functionality from a MIDI standpoint that the Axiom Pro has!

    Here's what I need from the controller:

    First and foremost, it HAS to have 4 or more zones, so I can layer tones from my sound module in the same way that I'm doing it now.

    49+ keys, 61+ would obviously be preferable

    Lots of presets, like more than 20 if possible

    The ability to program sustain and expression pedals to do more than just sustain and volume...ie cutoff/resonance filter settings, portamento etc.


    I know this probably narrows it down to only a few choices, and the new M-Audio ctrl 49 probably fits the bill the best, since it's basically the newest version of what the Axiom Pro is supposed to be. However, knowing how many problems the Pro has, it makes me hesitant to purchase another m-audio product. Also it only comes in a 49 key version.

    I've also seen that the Nektar Panorama series splits into 4 zones, but don't have much other info about it. I think the Behringer Motor also splits into 4+ zones.

    Any recommendations? Or other solutions anyone might have? I know having a computer can resolve some of these needs, but since I'm not adept with it yet, I'm not going to be incorporating it into performance for awhile, and need the controller to have these functions while I'm transitioning.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Finkalicious, May 15, 2017
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Finkalicious

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    4,664
    Likes Received:
    1,399
    Location:
    GTA, Canada
    I can't address your specifics directly, but the top names in controllers include the Akai MPK series, Studiologic, and Arturia Keystations.

    Any of these brands would be an instant step up from the M-Audio line of controllers.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, May 15, 2017
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Finkalicious

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Just curious. If you're moving to a computer based approach, couldn't you use the computer to set up zones, etc.? I know that there are MIDI processors out there that will take a MIDI signal, split it, process it, do all sorts of cool things with it, and then send pieces to separate programs. (Or just change the MIDI channel of different notes and send it to the same software.)

    Also, how the heck to you play four separate zones in four octaves? Aren't you cramped for space? Or are some of the zones really just one note wide to trigger certain sounds or pre-programmed chords? And if that's the case, I'd look at a controller with built in pads, too.
     
    Fred Coulter, May 16, 2017 at 2:38 PM
    #3
  4. Finkalicious

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    445
    As far as I know, keyboards that have "zones" let you define their channels, octaves, key ranges, etc. So basically, a zone can be used with a split, with a layer, or both. Also, there isn't a "split point" per se, because the boundaries of each zone define where the "split points" are.

    For example, with four zones you could have one zone that spans the entire keyboard, plus a second zone that spans just the bottom half of the keyboard, plus a third zone that spans the middle of the keyboard, plus a fourth zone that spans the top half of the keyboard, such that the keyboard is split between the second and fourth zones with no overlap, but the third zone overlaps the top part of the second zone and the bottom part of the fourth zone, and the first zone overlaps all of the other zones.

    You're correct that software can create all sorts of splits and layers. I think the only real advantage of being able to do it on the keyboard controller itself is that the controller can send patch changes to the sound module(s) on the appropriate channels for each zone, rather than having to manage the patch changes with software.
     
    SeaGtGruff, May 17, 2017 at 3:00 AM
    #4
    Fred Coulter likes this.
  5. Finkalicious

    Fred Coulter Collector of ancient keyboards

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    717
    Likes Received:
    353
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I'll bow to your superior knowledge. I was thinking that you'd merely set the split point, not that you could create overlapping zones, etc.

    Still not sure how much room you've got to work with on a four octave keyboard, but I suppose it could be done.
     
    Fred Coulter, May 17, 2017 at 10:55 PM
    #5
  6. Finkalicious

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    445
    Actually, zones can very useful, because if you define four different zones, each spanning the entire keyboard and playing a different voice on a different channel, you can layer any two or more of them together, or you can switch back and forth between each of the four voices at will-- sort of like four different registrations, except you can use them in layers and/or splits if you wish. :)
     
    SeaGtGruff, May 19, 2017 at 10:49 PM
    #6
  7. Finkalicious

    happyrat1 Destroyer of Eardrums!!!

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    4,664
    Likes Received:
    1,399
    Location:
    GTA, Canada
    Other uses for zones include control functions. For instance you can set up a zone of a single key to toggle a riff or loop for accompaniment and as Michael has already mentioned you can also set up zones to overlap as well as set various splitpoints so you can create some pretty rich mixes.

    Gary ;)
     
    happyrat1, May 19, 2017 at 11:13 PM
    #7
    SeaGtGruff likes this.
  8. Finkalicious

    SeaGtGruff I meant to play that note! Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    445
    Yes, you can usually set the various controls (wheels, sliders, buttons, knobs, pads, etc.) to different types of MIDI messages for each zone. They can be very powerful and useful! :)
     
    SeaGtGruff, May 20, 2017 at 12:08 AM
    #8
    1. Advertisements

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 (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Similar Threads
  1. truckin

    Zones? What are they?

    truckin, Aug 3, 2008, in forum: General Keyboard Discussion
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    492
    Sargas
    Aug 4, 2008
  2. MontyMoose

    Roland RD700 GX - Expression pedal & zones

    MontyMoose, Aug 5, 2009, in forum: Roland Keyboards
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    1,777
    MontyMoose
    Aug 5, 2009
  3. BlackAndWhite

    Using USB Controllers for MIDI

    BlackAndWhite, Dec 9, 2009, in forum: MIDI
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    1,020
    BlackAndWhite
    Jan 28, 2010
  4. maestro6078

    I need help setting up all of my midi controllers for stage

    maestro6078, Apr 29, 2010, in forum: General Keyboard Discussion
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    803
    Burn4Him
    Aug 11, 2010
  5. John Allen

    Midi Controllers >> More than one?

    John Allen, Feb 28, 2004, in forum: alt.steinberg.cubase
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    362
    John Allen
    Feb 28, 2004
  6. Frédéric LELEU

    Midi controllers binding

    Frédéric LELEU, Mar 3, 2004, in forum: alt.steinberg.cubase
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    410
    Frédéric LELEU
    Mar 3, 2004
  7. boxerdad

    XK1-C 1/4" line outputs

    boxerdad, Feb 27, 2017, in forum: Hammond Keyboards
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    108
    boxerdad
    Feb 27, 2017
  8. gymnaze

    Novation automap 4.10

    gymnaze, Apr 26, 2017, in forum: Sequencers and Music Software
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    172
    gymnaze
    Apr 26, 2017
Loading...