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Thread: Midi Keyboard Controller vs. Midi Controller?

  1. #1
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    Aug 2013
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    Midi Keyboard Controller vs. Midi Controller?

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    I hope this is the right place to ask this question, if not please let me know and I will move it to another area.

    I'm setting up an inexpensive home studio so I can record music at home. I play the guitar and the primary reason I want to record is to create songs with me playing the guitar. I don't have access to a bass guitar or a drum set so I want to be able to record those using software instruments if possible. My specific questions are around whether I would benefit from having either a midi keyboard controller or a midi controller/pad that I could use to control virtual instruments. I'd like to spend less than $100 ($50 or less would be perfect) and quite frankly the information and options out there is staggering. I've read everything I can find and I still can't figure out what would be the best option for me. Here's what I have in the way of software, I'd like anything I purchase from a hardware standpoint to be compatible:

    • ToonTrack's EZ Drummer and Metal Machine Expansion
    • Presonus Studio One Producer (with 2 virtual instrument packs)
    • Any free/cheap software synths/instruments I can download

    I play mostly rock/metal music so I'd be using the virtual instruments to add bass guitar and drums mostly, but I dabble in playing the blues so it would be nice to add horns or even strings (a current trend in metal/rock music it seems) sometimes.

    Here are a few items I've been looking at (sorry I can't post URLs yet):
    • Korg nanoKEY2 Slim-line Keyboard Controller
    • [Korg nanoPAD2 Slim-Line USB Pad Controller
    • M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 Ultra-Portable 32-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

    I welcome other suggestions for gear as well as help figuring out of a controller vs. a keyboard is better for my situation.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Denver, CO
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    Welcome to the forums Xcaliber!

    Yes, most here help out newbies much more than you will find elsewhere.

    I have had not such a great experience personally with the Korg nanoPad2. Being a drummer, I tend to beat the hell out of a pad controller. Destroyed two of the pads the first time I tried programming a beat. The AKAI MPD18 is a much more solid pad controller. Easy to configure with drum software as well.

    I would think you will be better off buying an actual bass, than trying to use VSTi's for it. I have yet to need a keyboard controller yet. I would just program keys with piano roll when needed. Does your Studio One have some type of 'virtual keyboard'? In Cubase, I can just use the computer keyboard as an input device. No velocity control obviously, but is serves it's purpose for general background stuff. You could also use the MPD to do this as well, just not layed out like a keyboard. For simple stuff, it really doesn't matter. You would just program the MIDI output notes withing the controller software, to send to whatever you need.
    PC Win10-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 10 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 5 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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