What's best controller for PERFORMANCE/STAGE???

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Hi, I have a Motif ES Rack, I'm switching to Rack's and Controllers - luggin' around equipment is killin' my back! - and I was wondering which controller do you recommend? I prefer 76 or less keys.

Thanks!
 
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Well, it depends if you want the best action or the lightest weight. I can definitely relate, recalling injuries of the past lugging around my old Hammond M3 (the one with the full hardwood cabinet).

What type of keys do you play? Do you want weighted-action, for playing realistic piano patches, or are you playing more synth and organ (which tends to want lighter action)?

My two primary controllers provide the different action, considerable weight difference. The Roland A-80 is, in my opinion, the best damned weighted-action MIDI controller ever built for realistic piano action and live action features (and it's 88 keys). However, it's bulky and heavy (I own 2 of them). They've been out of production for years, and professional studios have most of them. I picked up my second one from CraigsList recently for $425.

The M-Audio line has quite a few options, pretty much all light in weight, and in different sizes. The action is nowhere near piano, though, like the A-80.

In my view, it's hard to get really good weighted-action without the weight. So there needs to be a decision made as to what the priority is.

I hope this helps!
 
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My piano teacher uses a Motif rack with a controller (he has an M-audio one and an evolution one), although he prefers semi-weighted to piano-action (since piano-action isn't near close enough to a piano anyway, I guess). M-audio is ridiculously light, I myself am considering selling my RD-300sx and getting an M-audio controller with a Motif rack.
 
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It's funny, I've run into keyboardists who are familiar with Roland's A-80, and everyone I've talked to agrees about the A-80. From Elton John & Billy Joel to Rick Wakeman, the action on the Roland A-80 is second only to a nice grand piano.

Here's the way to look at it: Do you want piano action or synthesizer action?

If synthesizer action is okay, here's a great deal on the 88-key M-Audio Pro:
http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOKEYSTAT88
 
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I've used both an M-Audio KeyStation 88es and an M-Audio Axiom 61. 61 keys is limiting for a pianist (although a full 88 seems like overkill; 73 or 76 is my preference for keyboards), but combined with a larger keyboard like the 88es, it's just fine. Before I sold the axiom, I used both in a two-manual organ setup, and it worked well. I like the weighting better on the Axiom compared to the KeyStation too; both are semi-weighted but the Axiom just feels better. The KeyStation does have some volume issues playing with other keyboards though: my Nord Stage sounds very different played through its own keyboard and through the KeyStation, which tends to sound notes a lot louder. It's not quite playing at constant velocity, but feels pretty close. Maybe mine's defective?

If you're going for a two-manual setup, I recommend the Axiom for one. If not, you'll want to look elsewhere.
 

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