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Semi-weighted midi keyboard Vs. Fully-weighted
Old 18th March 2013
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Semi-weighted midi keyboard Vs. Fully-weighted

I can't really get to a shop to try out the difference between a semi-weighted and fully weighted keyboard, so was wondering if any of you chaps have tried them and could provide some advice.

I guess my question is how much better is the full weighted compared to semi-weighted? Better as in the feel, the enjoyablility of playing it etc. There is a big difference in price:

M-audio Keystation 88es for £140
M-audio Oxygen 88 for £300

So when compared to a basic non-weighted keyboard is there a big difference between the two, i.e. is it really worth paying twice as much? Or is there little difference between the two and the biggest step up is to the semi-weighted keystation?

Any advice would be much appreciated
Old 18th March 2013
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
It depends entriely on your experience and what you want to play.

Fully wieghted keyboards are aimed at those who feel comfortable using a proper piano, and have practiced and trained on a 'real keyboard'. To reach the level of hand 'gymnastics' to play the classical reptoire, or maybe Jazz, some weight is necessary for the fingers and hands to work against.

Note however that what this wieght is, has changed over time and people debate how much is actually needed - Beethovens pianos for example would have been much lighter than todays concert grands. Even Lizst prefered a light touch apparently.

If you are not used to it, and are not really interested in playing or practicing to a certain level, full weight can feel like each finger needs to throw a brick. However, even if you just want to play pop, or funky basslines, no wieght at all can feel a bit odd to some people and can feel a bit 'slippy' with nothing to dig into.

So, personally for me semi-weighted is enough since thats great for pop or improvising - and it works well if you are using velocity responsive synth patches. Also, it wont stop me from playing Bach say, but since I'm not a grade 8 pianist, and am not interested in training up to a certain complexity, and I am not playing in a band night after night, I dont like or need the full wieght.

Just depends on taste, though I would recomed some wieght, medium to anyone who like to play a bit, or is competent enough to be doing song writing etc - it does help with expression I think to have a firmer keboard. Some of the later synths like the DX7 or JX8P or D50 got it about right I think with an action that feels substantial but responsive to play. Its a shame this is not longer the default.
Old 18th March 2013
Lives for gear
ksandvik's Avatar
🎧 10 years
It's doable to play piano on semi-weighted and to play organ/synths on weighted, even if most keyboard players prefer the other way around.
Old 18th March 2013
Lives for gear
🎧 5 years
If you plan to play a lot of piano or if you are a piano player already, you should go for the keyboard with the hammer action. Personally I dislike the feeling of playing piano on a synth action keyboard, whereas I feel comfortable playing any sound on a hammer action keyboard.
Old 19th March 2013
Gear Addict
trapezius's Avatar
🎧 5 years
I guess you just have to ask yourself how much piano you want to play. If you do that, I highly recommend weighted keys. You get much more dynamic control and correct response.
Playing organs and synths on it can feel a bit weird though. But the hands are really quick to adjust to the added resistance.
Just remember you can't get that double-trigging effect that you do on organs and some synths.
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