Need new 88 key synth/controller with flawless keybed action


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Hi,

WARNING: Long post ahead...

This is my story so far. I've gone from playing a yamaha PSR-170 around 3 years ago to a PSR-E403 around 2 years ago. I started off with simple stuff like the built in songs, playing popular techno songs/themes etc. Then I got much better and I decided that I needed a better keyboard. I decided that, with the popularity of VST stuff nowadays, Ill buy an M - Audio Axiom 61 controller, and use it with some VST host (like ableton live lite). I use CVPiano for the piano sound and the free Kore 2 samples, apart from other VST effects/instruments. The variety of instruments/effects are great, even free stuff. However, the feeling of "control" that I had, even with my low end psr - e403, just isnt there for live performances. Searching for the right sounds (free ones mind, I dont use VSTs with price tags yet), with cost as a limitation, as well as tweaking these things, setting up the files, the probability of a BSOD messing up your live performance etc are a pain, unless I'm doing this for studio related work. It would be nice to have a "turn it on and play with great sounds" kind of feel.

A demo of the kind of stuff I like to play (mistakes plus BAD tone but w/e) YouTube- Racer X - "Scarified" on Keyboard. However I've also started loving to play more piano oriented pieces (classical stuff/prog rock etc). Think Beethoven's moonlight sonata mvt 3. Also stuff like this: YouTube- Hyperventilate 2008. I play in a rock/metal band and improvise doing various things from playing actual parts written for keys like synth leads/piano intros/solos etc to strings/pads to playing bass (since we dont have a bassist atm). For live performance, the stability of my current setup (axiom 61 + dell inspiron 1525 + ableton live lite + vsts) is questionable,what with the lose cables and all, as is the sound quality (audio out through onboard sigmatel audio ouch...). However, I also compose a fair bit, and like to have quality sounds for studio stuff. So my needs are:

1) 88 keys with the one of the best piano like feels out there. No compromise here.

2) Great sounding Pianos/orchestra(strings/brass/wind/choir etc)/synth leads with good tweakability. And maybe decent guitars. Versatile and rich piano sounds for all styles from Pop to classical. Stuff like organs/clavs etc arent really that important.

3) Good built in sequencer would be a plus. Ability to play back loops/backing tracks or maybe audio tracks.

4)Aftertouch, well its always great to have it. But based on my budget im not too sure.

5) Must be as portable/light as can be even with the graded hammer action keys.

6) Good pitch/modulation wheel controller. Love the korg ones.

7) Sampling: well im not really sure whether sampling means i can add more samples to the device to play live or whether i can replace samples of existing patches. Either way if the onboard sounds are great , then i guess this wont be too much of a problem.

Based on all these factors, I am enticed by the Korg M50 88 key keyboard. Has most features I need (except aftertouch/sampling), seems light and
looks nice as well. The touch screen is definitely a big bonus as far as interfaces go. It complements the axiom nicely in that the axiom has really synthy/plastic/light keys, a lot of programmable sliders/knobs for studio work with any DAW (plus as an extra keyboard for live work if necessary). And the axiom has channel aftertouch which is the most ill probably need for playing synth leads. Polyphony is a problem on the M50 though (heard about this).

I'm also looking at the yamaha s90es/s90xs boards. The tagline "the perfect balance of synthesizer and piano" fits well with my requirements. However, the pitch/modulation wheel setup is really not very appealing, id like to have the korg style joystick complementing my axioms pitch bend/modulation wheel combo. Also, theres no touch screen, and the fact that the S90XS's screen simply sucks. Ive also heard that the new high quality piano samples on the s90xs suck compared to an ES. Apart from that im not really aware of the advantages/disadvantages of these yamaha boards over the m50.

So, any suggestions? My final setup is going to be the new 88 key keyboard + my axiom 61, controlling a laptop or connected to the new keyboard itself, on a double tier stand. I may also need to use the 88 key keyboard to control VSTi s.

My price range: $1000-$2000 (most preferable would be around $1600).
 
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If you're using a laptop, why do you need an on-board sampler/sequencer, etc. when all that can be done with software? Just curious. I'm using an Arturia Keylab 88, which I like, but then, I'm not that great a pianist, so I can't say whether you'd like the piano action. Seems fine to me. It also comes with great synth software (Analog Lab and Piano V2). There are a bunch of faders, buttons, and knobs. 16 drum pads. Aftertouch. Setup and mapping to software was confusing for me, but it's been a great main keyboard for me. Not exactly lightweight, but it seems sturdy.

 
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Sounds like you want it all.
You can't have aftertouch AND the best keybed available in one board.
Best piano feel keybed : Kawai VPC1 or MP11SE, but no aftertouch, no sequencer or other gizmos and way too heavy for your needs.
Korg Kronos 2 88 : ticks all of your boxes, not super light but manageable, very good keybed with aftertouch, but too expensive.

Waiting for @anotherscott ;) but I would say the Kurzweil PC4, kind of within budget, and apparently a very decent keybed (better than the Fatar ones).
 
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I think /rohith291991 is probably well kitted out by now as it was in 2010 when they posted their original thread, and made there one and only visit.
 
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Easily happen, I dd not notice the date of the thread but when I saw the model number being PSR-E403, I looked at the date, the current model is the E463 so the 403 must be quite an old keyboard so then I noticed the date.
 
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Sounds like you want it all.
You can't have aftertouch AND the best keybed available in one board.
Best piano feel keybed : Kawai VPC1 or MP11SE, but no aftertouch, no sequencer or other gizmos and way too heavy for your needs.
Korg Kronos 2 88 : ticks all of your boxes, not super light but manageable, very good keybed with aftertouch, but too expensive.

Waiting for @anotherscott ;) but I would say the Kurzweil PC4, kind of within budget, and apparently a very decent keybed (better than the Fatar ones).
Again - not looking for a piano type keyboard. Already have one - with aftertouch.
 
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I think /rohith291991 is probably well kitted out by now as it was in 2010 when they posted their original thread, and made there one and only visit.
Maybe the post took him 9 years to type. It’s pretty long.

I was like you Col. I’m going “Korg M50, WTF?” which made me double check the date.
 
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SeaGtGruff

I meant to play that note!
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Sometimes a post just happens to be 9 years ahead of its time. This one got no replies and suggestions when it was posted 9 years ago, but if it had been posted today it probably would have gotten multiple pages of replies and suggestions!
 

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