Purchase suggestions please


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I'm looking for a piano-style keyboard to connect to my PC. My PC is connected to a NAD C316BEE Stereo Amplifier which is connected to Paradigm Mini Monitors (made in Canada and very good). I have Acid Pro 7 installed along with their Acid loops.
I want high quality piano sound coming out of my speakers and a realistic feeling piano keyboard presumably weighted to some degree (not sure about that aspect). I don't need all the features, drum pads etc, just the piano keyboard and a USB connection to my PC, I think. Space is limited and I think a 61 note keyboard might be max.

Budget is flexible however less is better, as always. Cheers.

Johnish
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Are you looking for a keyboard instrument that creates its own sounds, or just a keyboard controller that will trigger sounds from a virtual instrument running on the computer?
 
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The later. Since posting I have been researching and right now the M-Audio Keystation 61 looks interesting. Any thoughts?
 

SeaGtGruff

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I'm not sure what kind of keys the Keystation has. I have an M-Audio Axiom 61, which has semi-weighted piano-like keys-- they're "box-shaped" like a piano's keys, but the action feels more "spongy" than a piano.

Some controllers have synth-style keys-- they aren't box-shaped like a piano's keys-- and I'm guessing you probably don't want those.

Semi-weighted keys usually have a noticeably different action or feel than a piano, but if you want something that has "graded hammer" action (which feels more like a piano's key action) it will probably cost more. Also, I don't know if graded-hammer keyboards come in 61-note models; they're more likely to be 76- or 88-note.

The feel of the key action can be such a personal thing that it's best to see if you can try a keyboard in a store before you decide to buy it, so you can determine whether you'll be satisfied with the key action. I'm content to use semi-weighted keys, as well as synth-style keys, but some people don't like to settle for anything less than graded-hammer piano action.
 
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Thanks Michael, I would go for a larger keyboard if I had the space, but right now and for the foreseeable future I don't. Regarding the 'feel' seems the best I can do with a 61 note keyboard is semi-weighted. I would visit a store and try before I buy however that's easier said than done right now. If you are content to use semi-weighted keys then chances I shall be likewise. Again, thanks for your thoughts.
 

happyrat1

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Here's the $64,000 question...

What's your budget?

The keystation is the cheapest thing M-Audio puts out and I thought it was discontinued.

Like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

PS. If you need any help sourcing from Canada I can help you out with some links. I've been buying my keys in the great white north for more than 20 years.

From a user's perspective, I can also state that I've owned an M-Audio Oxygen 49 in the past and it was crappiest, most unresponsive keyboard I've ever owned.

I replaced my Oxygen with an Alesis QX49. Discontinued now but comparably priced and orders of magnitude better in terms of responsiveness. Take a look at the current line of Alesis Controllers.

https://www.amazon.ca/Alesis-V61-Keyboard-Controller-Buttons/dp/B00IWWHIUI/

https://www.amazon.ca/Alesis-VI61-Advanced-Keyboard-Controller/dp/B00IWW5H24/

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks Gary, I lived in Canada for nigh on twenty years and happily enjoy being a Canadian and a Kiwi. When I retired I was living in Ottawa, two meters of snow all around and minus 28. Even though Canada is undoubtedly the greatest most wonderful country on this planet the winters are just too brutal for this aging softie. I headed south.

An Alesis you say? OK, so that is a better option than the M-Audio? Thanks for the heads up and that is what I might just go with. And thanks for the offer to assist with sourcing in Canada. Little choice in this neck-of-the-woods; it is way more expensive here though still easily doable and cheaper than importing.

Cheers.

John
 

happyrat1

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Hi John. I was born and raised in Montreal back in the 50's and experienced my share of -30C winters but moved to Mississauga two decades ago where the winters have been significantly milder :)

As for your controller options in New Zealand? There seems to be one major retailer in NZ named Music Planet that seems to have a decent selection of controllers.

Specifically there's a 61 key Nektar that might fill your needs for a reasonable price. I have no personal experience with Nektar but I've heard many favorable reports about their value for money and playability.

Here's some links. I'd advise you to drive to the store first though, and try them out for feel.

http://www.musicplanet.co.nz/keyboa...trollers/nektar-gx61-61-key-usb-keyboard.html

http://www.musicplanet.co.nz/keyboa...ktar-lx61-61-key-usb-controller-w-8-pads.html

http://www.musicplanet.co.nz/keyboards-pianos/keyboards/usb-midi-controllers.html?p=1

If at all possible I'd suggest getting one with weighted or semi weighted keys and functional MIDI ports as well as USB ports since with real MIDI ports you can break away from the computer and use them with hardware sound modules as well. This would be insurance against future obsolescence as well as giving you the ability to leave the computer at home and expand your soundset one module at a time as budget and talent permit.

The Nektar pages don't mention MIDI ports but they also carry a controller by MIDItech which I've never heard of but clearly mentions MIDI ports in the specs.

http://www.musicplanet.co.nz/keyboa...miditech-i2-control-61-key-midi-keyboard.html

This is why I strongly implore you to go to the store and test drive them.

Rather than face around the world shipping costs and import duties these probably represent your best options.

Best of luck ;)

Gary ;)
 
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As far as I know, there is one fully-weighted 64-key instrument:

. .. the Roland RD-64.

It's not cheap, but if you want a short, weighted action, it may be your only alternative. Comes with its own sound generator, but sends MIDI to control whatever software you have.

. Charles
 
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Thanks again Gary, most helpful. Rockshop is another New Zealand retailer chain and they stock the Alesis line. Based on your comments above I might just go with an Alesis. A tad more money but in the same ballpark. If it was just down the road I would for sure go visit a store or two, but that is not the case. Anyway, not a biggie, and if the Alesis and I don't get along then one of my family gets a free keyboard.

Cheers.
 
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As far as I know, there is one fully-weighted 64-key instrument:

. .. the Roland RD-64.

It's not cheap, but if you want a short, weighted action, it may be your only alternative. Comes with its own sound generator, but sends MIDI to control whatever software you have.

. Charles

Thanks Charles, I shall keep that in mind should the Alesis not meet my needs, or my needs change. Cheers.
 
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happyrat1

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All the best John. Best not to spend too much money anyway. However I'm not sure if the new Alesis models ship with true MIDI ports or not though.

Best to do your homework before you pull the trigger.

Should you become proficient some day and decide to upgrade a quality instrument tends to retain more resale value.

Good luck and happy hunting...

Gary ;)
 
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The Alesis V49 arrived. I booted up Acid Pro 7 and in no time - music to my ears. Thus far I'm more than happy. I do need a sustain pedal though, that is clear. I note at Amazon the M-Audio SP-2 which looks about right and they say works with most any keyboards. $13.72US at Amazon and $60.00NZ at the Rockshop here in New Zealand. (1 US = 1.38 NZ). Talk about a ripoff!

Any suggestions, alternatives, better products?

Many thanks.
John
 
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I do need a sustain pedal though, that is clear. I note at Amazon the M-Audio SP-2 which looks about right and they say works with most any keyboards. $13.72US at Amazon and $60.00NZ at the Rockshop here in New Zealand. (1 US = 1.38 NZ). Talk about a ripoff!

Any suggestions, alternatives, better products?
Hey John. Yes we antipodeans get gouged badly when it comes to musical equipment. Would you believe I saved AUD300 ordering a keyboard stand from overseas instead of buying it here! That included shipping.

Pedals I use:
- the aforementioned M-Audio SP2
- On Stage KSP 100
- Kurzweil KP-3

All three have been very reliable and are polarity switchable, which means they'll work with any keyboards you may own now or in the future.
 
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happyrat1

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Sorry John. All of my switch pedals are M-Audio SP-2 as well.

Like Cowboy mentioned they are very well built and solid as a brick outhouse and polarity switchable so they are universal on all keyboards.

But...

In North America they are dirt cheap by comparison. Even in Canada they sell for under $30 CDN so I can't help you out there.

I'd suggest taking a look on Ebay to see if you can find an Asian or American vendor with new stock and the cheapest shipping rate.

Gary ;)
 

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