Weighted Key controller purchase thoughts


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Hi all,

I've been wanting to purchase a full size digital piano for quite sometime but money IS an issue. From what I can tell under £600 (im from the UK) just wouldn't get me much worth getting.

I had an idea, my pc is pretty much stuffed with all the latest hardware so could handle anything thrown at it which lead me to the idea of purchasing a midi controller instead of a digital piano.

I could have cubase setup with some VST's to do what the onboard soundbank of a digital piano would do - saving money.
Would this idea work?

And if it would are there any ideal controllers for this situation, what I want would be simply a 88key fully/semi-weighted controller, I wouldn't need any sliders etc.

So far I have found:
M-Audio Keystation 88 es, but does anyone have any feedback on this - how it compares to a piano.

Does anyone have any good ideas that would give me the feedback similar to a piano but is only a controller with no fancy sliders?

I'm not expecting this to feel exactly like a piano - i understand digital is just imitating a real piano but I would like something that doesn't feel like the spring loaded plastic keys of a casio keyboard...

N.B. I've not played in many years but back in my mid teens I had a few years of lessons so I am looking for something that would be worthy past a beginner.


Kind Regards,
 
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Keyboards are very personal. Whatever anyone says in a reply to this question, only you will know whether the Keystation 88ES feels good to you. The Distance Selling regs in the UK mean that you can order one from Amazon, and send it back no questions asked if you don't like it. That's probably your best option, as I think it might be hard to find in a local music store, wherever you live.

I've not played on it personally, but the Amazon reviews suggest that it feels cheap and light weight and is only really suitable for beginners, which is pretty much what I would expect at that price. Note also that it comes with no sustain pedal, so budget extra for a sustain pedal at least.
 
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I concur with Oyst3h - even if everyone else who reviews the thing loves it, you might hate it. If you can send it back no questions asked, that gives you some security, but the only way to know if you're going to like the feel is to try playing it. And even then, who's to say that after a week of playing it, you wouldn't grow to love the feel (or hate it?)

That said, your strategy of getting a midi controller and using your computer as the sound engine is a good one. In my limited experience, the feel of the keyboard and the sound engine are the two things that more or less determine the cost of a keyboard - and getting both in one package is going to cost a lot of money. If you've got something that will serve as the sound engine, find a MIDI controller you love... and then, when/if the time comes that you want to change the sound engine, you don't have to get used to the feel of a new keyboard. A little programming time and you're right back in business.

If you plan on using this sort of strategy live, it might be a little clunky or delicate, but for home studio use, this is definetly how I'd go. Especially since good quality, fully weighted MIDI controllers tend to be heavy and awkward to move around. The lighter ones tend to feel cheap and toy-piano like.

I'm in a similar situation - years of lessons as a kid, and now after 15 years of playing other instruments I find myself on keyboards again. I'm playing live more than in the home studio, though, so I picked up a Korg M50, getting the sound engine I wanted and holding off on the fully-weighted keys for now.

Best of luck!
Kase
 
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