Nord solutions?


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Hi,

A Nord Stage piano is really out of my price range, but I am going crazy reading through websites and reviews to find a better solution!

I need a great piano sound for on stage play, in ADDITION to synth patches and workstation use for home recording. This is my first big buy for a digital piano, synth...my first instrument is guitar, but I play a grand piano in my home and finally want to work that sound into the band for live shows, and home recordings!

Is it better to buy any midi controll keyboard and just get the right plugins and patches? Would this allow me to pay as I go for improving the instrument, like I can get a great piano sound and then when im ready to afford more I can add other plugins? Any suggestions on which to buy?

Please educate me! I'm totally lost!
 
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thanks so much!

I would love to spend somewhere between $1000-2000.

The other thread seems mostly focused on studio pianos. I really need one that can take a stage first and also double for studio work as well.

good piano sound and weighted keys are very important to me.
 
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Unless you're looking at arranger keyboards, there's no such thing as a studio keyboard versus a stage keyboard. If you don't want to use features like sequencing on stage, then simply don't use them! If the keyboard has the right sound and feel, who cares what other features it has?

Nord doesn't make an arranger keyboard, and none of the main workstation keyboards discussed in the other thread, the Korg M3/M50, Yamaha Motif series or MO6/MO8, and Roland Fantom or Juno series, are arrangers either. All are equally suited for stage and studio use.

If a Nord Stage is out of your price range and weighted keys is a must, Nord has nothing for you. I'd look at the Yamaha MO8 or the Korg M50-88, or if you can find one, the Korg TR-88 (which is now discontinued but might still be in stores).

I wouldn't bother with a computer-based solution; you won't get much cheaper than a keyboard anyway and it means bringing a laptop to gigs (depending on where you play, that could bring up possibility of theft or damage). I did a quick price check on the gear I'd recommend, given that you want a weighted controller, and you'd be looking at a minimum of $1,030 US (priced on zzounds.com). This is for the M-Audio KeyStation Pro 88 controller ($400; M-Audio does have a better one too; this is the cheaper one; I've never played either so I don't know what the quality is), an Edirol UA-25 audio interface ($230; if you're gigging, you want one that's durable; the cheaper audio interfaces are a lot less rugged, although you could obviously buy one anyway), and Native Instruments Kontakt 3 ($400). The audio interface gives you a MIDI connection to your computer and a good audio connection, as well as giving you the 1/4" out so you can run into a DI. Kontakt is a sampler with an extensive library; for the price, nothing beats it.

That would give you great piano sounds, orchestral sounds, and a bit of everything else. You could get some free synths, if you're into synth programming, but depending on your needs, you'd almost certainly want to expand, which would also force you to get some kind of host that supports multiple plugins. This can be a DAW and can be free (GarageBand is not the most ideal but is bundled with Macs nowadays), pretty cheap (Reaper for $50 for their non-commercial license or $225 for their commercial license) or really expensive ($500 for Cubase). Or, you could get a host dedicated to stand-alone performance, like Native Instruments Kore. Kore is great for picking and organizing sounds across all your plugins, but it doesn't do audio or MIDI recording like a DAW would.

Need more sounds? For B3 organ, Native Instruments B4-II; for more various synth sounds, NI again has a lot of good products here; they all tend to be around $200. (Of course, there are other great products out there; I'm just most familiar with NI and find them to be quite cost-effective).


Really, it's obvious that you can spend a ton on a computer-based setup, but you can do so incrementally and you can add to the setup whenever you like instead of spending a lot at once on a workstation and being stuck with what you get. Computer-based setups will give you better-quality sounds because you have more variety and more space for samples. Kontakt 3's library is ~32 GB; you'll never find that much sample data on a workstation today, other than the Oasys. The difference is that Kontakt can stream from disk instead of having everything pre-loaded in memory.

So what do you choose? If all you ever do is play gigs and have no interest in recording your own stuff (recording with your band in the studio is very different since you don't need the gear for that), I'd go with a workstation keyboard; if not, I'd go the laptop route.
 
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ok...how about this?

I was looking at the VMK-188 Plus, mainly because it has weighted keys that I hear are pretty good for a controller keyboard.

Now I know this keyboard has no sounds in it, but I never used a controller. Do you HAVE to have a laptop activating it? Like, I'll have to have a laptop running a Grand Piano software through it, while im on stage?

Is there a way to just buy the software, load it up, and take it on the road with a nearly convincing piano sound?

If anyone has any experience with midi controllers, id love your help!

It would seem that I could buy one for $500, and spend $300 or whatever on the plugins to get piano and rhodes sounds.
 
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You cannot use a controller with a virtual software instrument without a computer. If you want a dedicated controller and don't want to use a laptop on stage, then you will need a rack unit or sound module (ie: Motif XS rack, Triton rack, etc).

This gives you NO advantage sonically over buying a dedicated workstation, EXCEPT you can change sound modules at will and keep the "feel" of the controller you're accustomed to.

If I were you, I'd buy the best workstation solution you can afford (with the keyaction that feels best to you). This way, you have an all in one solution that will get you started. You can at that point do the following when your budget and need allows.

a. add sound modules or rack units
b. add a laptop with virtual instruments
c. add a DAW or software based recording setup

It makes little sense to spend a large portion of your budget on a great midi controller, when you have nothing to control.

You talked originally about a $1000-2000 budget (big spread there) and then said $800 ($500 controller & $300 software). HUGE difference in what you can buy at those price points.

First, lock down your budget . . . as everything else after that is moot, if you continue to look at things out of your budget.

If your budget is $800 and you're not going to use advanced workstation functions and sampling, and you can live with 32 voices. Check out the Yamaha MM8. Excellent acoustic and electric pianos. Good everything else (including a very acceptable weighted keyboard action).

You won't find anything close for a $500 controller and $300 rack (and as for VSTi's, you need a laptop or PC which will totally blow your budget).

If you can spend around $1300, then the MO8 is your next obvious choice.

Don't make the mistake of getting "sucked in" to the sound and features of equipment that is out of your budget, because it tends to make you "unhappy" about what you can afford. Those damn Honda Civic's never drive like that Ferrari F430 you test drove, so it's sort of anticlimactic when you buy the Honda.

Good luck.
 
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