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Thread: Midi controller keyboard

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    Midi controller keyboard

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    Hi

    I'm looking for suggestions for a midi keyboard that can plug into my PCs USB port . I'll be using Reaper as my DAW. It needs to be compact so a 32 key board perfect. I'm new to midi so hard to say exactly what I'm looking for capability wise...as a starting point...velocity sensitive, a good range of keyboard and bass guitar synths along with the ability to sustain notes. I'd prefer the unit is preloaded with lots of effects rather than having to download VSTs to it, although I'd be happy to do that in time .. ease of use ticks a box too.

    The budget is 100 and I dont mind buying second hand...ebay seems to have a wide range of new and second hand

    Cheers
    Mark

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    Most people are moving away from synths to master keyboards that just drive your system, and all the sounds come from the computer. VSTi technology is now so solid and HUGE that using real synths is a total pain. You are locked into a range of sounds that you use over and over. I've got loads of modules and synths I bought over the years and I don't use any of them, because you play them, then edit, then the computer plays the edited stuff while the synth produces the sound that you then have to connect to your interface to record the audio to do the mix - THEN - you always find a note wrong and have to go back to the midi file, then re-record the audio. My favourite synths and modules are now VSTi instruments in the computer so they just work! Working with a hardware synth is a compromise and a historic way to work now - especially as music changes so rapidly, so that favourite bass synth sound is soon so old!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    Most people are moving away from synths to master keyboards that just drive your system, and all the sounds come from the computer. VSTi technology is now so solid and HUGE that using real synths is a total pain. You are locked into a range of sounds that you use over and over. I've got loads of modules and synths I bought over the years and I don't use any of them, because you play them, then edit, then the computer plays the edited stuff while the synth produces the sound that you then have to connect to your interface to record the audio to do the mix - THEN - you always find a note wrong and have to go back to the midi file, then re-record the audio. My favourite synths and modules are now VSTi instruments in the computer so they just work! Working with a hardware synth is a compromise and a historic way to work now - especially as music changes so rapidly, so that favourite bass synth sound is soon so old!
    It's a keyboard controller I'm looking for rather than just a keyboard. I write all my synth parts by playing along to the track...as far as I understand midi (without the use of a virtual keyboard ) I just dont get how I'd be able to create / write parts without a physical keyboard to experiment with. I can get that it's no problem if you're really proficient at music theory, have a good ear and can read music, but I'd just be guessing what notes will sound good as I programme into sequence.

    Mark

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    Essentially there are two types of midi keyboards: synths and controllers.

    Synths are keyboards that have their own sound generating facilities, controllers have no on-board sounds, but are used as a midi input device, and require either computer-based VSTIs or external sound modules.

    From your description, it is really a synth you are looking for, rather than a controller.

    However, as Rob notes, that may not be the best option for you, given the workflows involved.

    There are three broad processes:

    A Synth Audio

    1 Get a sound you like on the synth.
    2 Record the synth's audio
    3 Make a mistake
    4 go back to 2 and repeat until satisfied.
    5 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    B Synth MIDI
    1 Get a sound you like on the synth
    2 Record the synth's midi
    3 Playback synth's midi through the synth
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Record the synth's audio
    6 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    C Midi VSTi
    1 Load a VST onto a track and get a sound you like
    2 Record the midi
    3 Playback midi
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Come back to it a month later and the VST remembers what patch you used.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    Essentially there are two types of midi keyboards: synths and controllers.

    Synths are keyboards that have their own sound generating facilities, controllers have no on-board sounds, but are used as a midi input device, and require either computer-based VSTIs or external sound modules.

    From your description, it is really a synth you are looking for, rather than a controller.

    However, as Rob notes, that may not be the best option for you, given the workflows involved.

    There are three broad processes:

    A Synth Audio

    1 Get a sound you like on the synth.
    2 Record the synth's audio
    3 Make a mistake
    4 go back to 2 and repeat until satisfied.
    5 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    B Synth MIDI
    1 Get a sound you like on the synth
    2 Record the synth's midi
    3 Playback synth's midi through the synth
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Record the synth's audio
    6 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    C Midi VSTi
    1 Load a VST onto a track and get a sound you like
    2 Record the midi
    3 Playback midi
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Come back to it a month later and the VST remembers what patch you used.
    Thanks for the explanation 👍

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    I think most of us have done all three - and the third option is by far the best. It got so bad that when using the second option for years, I started to name the track the patch number - so instead of 'Korg' I'd call the track 'org c31fader2half' so I could load the song and then go to the synth and set the right patch. In fairness, I could I suppose have done this with MIDI from the file, but the Kong always seemed a bit resistant to that. GM sounds on Kong and Roland seemed to be solid, but tweaked patches always gave men grief. Doing everything in the computer has been a godsend!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gecko zzed View Post
    Essentially there are two types of midi keyboards: synths and controllers.

    Synths are keyboards that have their own sound generating facilities, controllers have no on-board sounds, but are used as a midi input device, and require either computer-based VSTIs or external sound modules.

    From your description, it is really a synth you are looking for, rather than a controller.

    However, as Rob notes, that may not be the best option for you, given the workflows involved.

    There are three broad processes:

    A Synth Audio

    1 Get a sound you like on the synth.
    2 Record the synth's audio
    3 Make a mistake
    4 go back to 2 and repeat until satisfied.
    5 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    B Synth MIDI
    1 Get a sound you like on the synth
    2 Record the synth's midi
    3 Playback synth's midi through the synth
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Record the synth's audio
    6 Come back to it a month later to redo, and try to remember what patch you used,

    C Midi VSTi
    1 Load a VST onto a track and get a sound you like
    2 Record the midi
    3 Playback midi
    4 Correct any mistakes by editing the midi
    5 Come back to it a month later and the VST remembers what patch you used.
    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I think most of us have done all three - and the third option is by far the best. It got so bad that when using the second option for years, I started to name the track the patch number - so instead of 'Korg' I'd call the track 'org c31fader2half' so I could load the song and then go to the synth and set the right patch. In fairness, I could I suppose have done this with MIDI from the file, but the Kong always seemed a bit resistant to that. GM sounds on Kong and Roland seemed to be solid, but tweaked patches always gave men grief. Doing everything in the computer has been a godsend!
    I was doing some reading on a few recommended midi controller keyboards and a couple seemed to come loaded with their own VST'S. Whilst I'm happy to experiment with VST'S and download a few into reaper, the ability to add a VST in the controller also appeals...just wondering how this would then translate to the track in reaper...I'm guessing I'd still be left with just midi code in reaper until I apply a VST to it ( from reaper ).

    Mark

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    I've narrowed my search down to these three controllers...they are all aimed at the beginner. Wondering if anyone has any experience with them or the brand and how well they work with reaper?

    Nektar IMPACT LX25+ Review (2019)

    Akai MPK Mini MK2 Review – The Best Budget Controller Around? - MIDI Nation

    Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol M32 review | MusicRadar

    Thanks
    Mark

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I was doing some reading on a few recommended midi controller keyboards and a couple seemed to come loaded with their own VST'S. Whilst I'm happy to experiment with VST'S and download a few into reaper, the ability to add a VST in the controller also appeals...just wondering how this would then translate to the track in reaper...I'm guessing I'd still be left with just midi code in reaper until I apply a VST to it ( from reaper ).

    Mark
    Some keyboards come bundled with assorted software, some including VSTs. However, these aren't loaded onto the keyboard itself. You have to install it on your computer and from there you can insert it into your DAW or sometimes run it as a stand-alone application.

  10. #10
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    For me, out of those three, id go with the Akai, but I would actually not buy any of them for me because I play with two hands, so my master keyboard has 88 notes. Using a 60 odd note keyboard would be a compromise, so moving to even less octaves would for me be a killer. However, you might not be a pianist or want to be, so it would t be a problem. Kontakt is an excellent product so their keyboards ar worth considering, buy I'd not want mini keys either. They all do the job they're designed for.

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