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Do i get a MIDI controller or sysnthesizer?
Old 9th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Do i get a MIDI controller or sysnthesizer?

Hi all,

I grew up playing piano for about 8 years, but have not have the chance to practice for a little time.

I want a keyboard that can allow me to practice my piano skills and as well as helping me make music in the electro house/progressive house/trance music genre with FL studio (I want to switch to logic pro later down the line when i get my hands on a mac).

So I was wondering if I should get a synthesizer or just a plain MIDI controller?

I've been shopping on amazon for a little bit and here are a few that have caught my attention.

let me know what you guys think!


Amazon.com: Korg microStation 61-Key Micro Synthesizer with Sequencer: Musical Instruments

Amazon.com: M-Audio Keystudio 49-key USB MIDI Controller Keyboard: Musical Instruments

Amazon.com: Novation 49 SL MkII USB Midi Controller Keyboard 49 Keys: Musical Instruments

Amazon.com: M-Audio Venom 49 Synthesizer: Musical Instruments

any other suggestions will be great as well!

and thank you!

Puffy
Old 9th September 2012
  #2
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Paul in SoCal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
If you want a keyboard that allows you to practice piano, you definitely want 88-key "hammer-action" weighted.

Now of course there are several weighted controllers that you could consider, but you'd always have to have your computer on to practice your piano. Here's an idea: buy a stage piano, so that you can use it as a master keyboard for your DAW and also as a stand-alone instrument when you want to study piano.

IMHO the Roland RD-xxx series has some of the best keyboards on the market, Of course new models tend to be pricey (I believe the current RD-300nx retails for about $1,800), but you can get a used RD-300sx for less than a grand, which is roughly the price of a brand-new 88-key weighted controller.

If that's still too much, then you can consider a Casio Privia model. For the price (around $500), they have a fairly decent keyboard and a fairly decent piano sound.
Old 9th September 2012
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I would definitely get a Synth!
You can use it as a controller so you have best of both worlds.
The Venom although very cheap is not worth it. Its full of bugs and personally the sound is terrible!
You just have to figure how much you are going to spend and some controllers are just as expensive as a real hardware synth.
Old 9th September 2012
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
cool, thanks for the replies so far.

however my budget is a bit limited.

so should i just get a midi keyboard in the meantime? can i practice on those things?

and although i want to practice and tune my piano skills, my main focus will still be on producing.

cheers guys!
Old 9th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah get a controller. You don't need weighted keys yet a lot of producers don't use them. There nice but it's not a necessity, sure you can practice on your controller I do all the time.
Old 9th September 2012
  #6
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
oh and how about the korg? that ones got 61 keys and it looks decent!
Old 9th September 2012
  #7
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sameal's Avatar
I'm using a korg sp-170 as my midi controller. it works and feels great for me.

the piano sounds aren't half bad either.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
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skira's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffy ➑️
cool, thanks for the replies so far.
however my budget is a bit limited.
so should i just get a midi keyboard in the meantime? can i practice on those things?
Few keyboards offer realistic piano action; they are a small, generally expensive niche product. The controllers and synths you listed all have bouncy 'synth action' keyboards which won't give you the control you'd expect when playing or practicing piano. If you want a controller that best and most inexpensively approximates the feel of a piano keyboard, that be the Akai MPK88, which says it has "fully weighted keys." I saw Trent Reznor use it on stage, and it's supposed to be a sturdy unit. ($700 at B&H.) But if you want realistic piano feel while also being able to make electronic music you're out of luck on a really limited budget. Which leads me to...

"Limited budget" meaning what exactly? What's the budget?

Do you have an audio interface to use, or do you expect just to connect your keyboard to your computer via USB?

Did you know that the Venom was discontinued? There are blowout prices in the UK right now where it's selling for approximately US $300, but those price drops have not (yet) hit the US.

Personally I like the Novation controllers. The 49 key SL MK // is a great controller, designed for use with softsynths (the long LCD screen tells you what each encoder-knob is programmed for). They also sell a less expensive controller called the Impulse, which some people like for the editable arpeggios, and the pads which can be used to launch clips, and the mixer and transport controls.
Old 10th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Depends on if you want to be tethered to a puter when you want to practice.
Old 10th September 2012
  #10
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for the replies again guys.

yeah, if i i have to trade between the piano feel and production i will probably put production first, but the akai 88 does look pretty reasonable.

as for being on budget, i think i'm shooting for under 5, but it does seem like for an extra 100 i can get something a lot better (but isn't that how it usually work for electronics? lol)
Old 10th September 2012
  #11
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Polarelch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi, I've been playing the piano for over 30 years now, and tested a lot of current keyboards. Some of the normal synthesizer keybeds are better than others.
Most of the midi controller keyboards are utter crap.

If you want to get an affordable Synth with a very good keybed (for a synth), I'd suggest the Blofeld Keyboard.
If you have the chance, go to a shop and test as many as you can, and if you wanna practice piano, you'd need to test them with piano sound, cos that's a whole other thing than when you play synths, or organs, etc. There's hardly any keybed that's good in all disciplines.
Get what you feel well with!
Old 12th September 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you are only getting a controller keep in mind that you will have to access sounds in the computer to hear anything so you will have to have the computer on and some kind of program open whenever you want to play or practice.

I recommend, as the other guy did, one of the Casio Privia digital pianos. The weighted keys feel great and they have a decent piano sound, with built in speakers and a headphone jack so you can hear without having to buy a keyboard amp.

You can then also use it as a controller (try to get one that has USB out).

The only thing it's missing as a controller are pitch bend and mod wheels. If you really need that, you may want to also get a cheap 25 key controller for that.
Old 13th September 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
BTW korg microstation has MINI keys , half sized , so thats really not gonna help practice your piano chops !

Careful, there's a whole new generation of MINI and MICRO key controllers (and synths) for the laptop computerists,

Read the specs carefully, close up photos can deceive...
Old 13th September 2012
  #14
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
thanks for the insight,

really good info here.

the midi controllers seem tempting, but the computer thing would be a pain in the ass.

i've been eyeing this piece, Amazon.com: Akai Pro MPK61 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller: Musical Instruments anyone have any thoughts, or experience on it?
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
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Paul in SoCal's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffy ➑️
thanks for the insight,

really good info here.

the midi controllers seem tempting, but the computer thing would be a pain in the ass.

i've been eyeing this piece, Amazon.com: Akai Pro MPK61 USB MIDI Keyboard Controller: Musical Instruments anyone have any thoughts, or experience on it?
I love the Akai MPK49/61: built like a tank, excellent keyboard response (some people find it too stiff though, it's down to personal choice) and features up the wazoo. The pads need a $15 modification (you can find it online or even on EBay) to become exactly like those of the MPC series, or else they're a bit on the stiff side and not very responsive at low velocities. The faders are sturdy, solid and smooth.

Again, if you need it to practice your piano playing, not really ideal (unless you get the MPK88.) For anything else, it's one of the best.
Old 13th September 2012
  #16
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Polarelch's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The Akai MPK keys are widely considered a bit stiff and "hard" to play on, but some like it. Really, try to find a shop where you can test and feel some before deciding.
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